TCM always has one of the best memoriam reels each year, although there are always going to be omissions, this year a few coming to mind including Patrice Wymore, Tom Adams, and Jeremy Lloyd who is seen in that wonderful moment in tonight's showing of "A Hard Day's Night" dancing and jumping high next to Ringo in the disco scene, Mr. Lloyd having just passed away over a week ago (having gone on to become a legendary TV writer particularly of Britcoms), and there are always the mainly TV people deemed to be without enough association with theatrical films to be included every year, this time including Ken Weatherwax, Ann B. Davis and Dave Madden (although the latter two did have "Lover Come Back" for Davis, and "Charlotte's Web" and "Eat My Dust" for Madden).
But the omission that disappoints me the most this year is Ed Nelson, who seems to be excluded from every memoriam tribute this year. Despite Ryan O'Neal and Mia Farrow having gone on to become the top movie stars to come from "Peyton Place," Ed Nelson was for any fan of the series the definitive star of that great show having appeared in every episode from the very first scene set on a train to the last one in a prison cell. As the moral center of that series, Nelson's Dr. Michael Rossi became one of my favorite characters, and I believe I took his performance to heart to the degree where I emulate him in considering matters of conscience.
But Nelson also was a major staple of the early films of Roger Corman, including "Attack of the Crab Monsters", "Invasion of the Saucer Men" "Night of the Blood Beast", "The Devil's Partner" and "The Brain Eaters" (opposite Leonard Nimoy in one of his first appearances as an alien being), as well as "Cry Baby Killer" opposite Jack Nicholson starring in his first film. And he also finally did get into big movies in his own small way, in "Airport 1975" as the ill-fated first pilot trying to transfer to the damaged plane before Charlton Heston has better luck achieving the stunt, as well as "Midway" again with Heston, playing an officer who does Chuck the favor of allowing his Navy son to marry a Japanese bride in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. And some other big movies he could be seen in in very small roles included "Elmer Gantry", "Judgment at Nuremberg" and "Soldier in the Rain".
He was surely a TV actor primarily, one who should be revered as a legend in that regard, but as I expect the Emmys and Golden Globes to exclude him as they are always the worst offenders of forgetting people, I was hoping TCM would make a point of remembering him.