Yesterday, SIGHT & SOUND's poll declared Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO as the best film ever made, replacing the champ for the past five decades, CITIZEN KANE. While it was never a favorite of mine, I'm rewatching it for the first time in many years as I type this, reminded of just how good James Stewart is.
The first time I ever noticed Jimmy Stewart was when he got his own TV sitcom in 1972. If I had seen him before that, he made little impression on me. With the sitcom, however, came lots of press about what a big star he was and about something called HARVEY.
In 1973, Stewart revisited HARVEY in a TV special co-starring the great Helen Hayes. I believe it was the first time I had ever seen or at least noticed her in anything.
When his sitcom ended, Stewart returned quickly in a T movie entitled HAWKINS ON MURDER which led to another series, HAWKINS, this time a dramatic one with the actor as a lawyer.
A popular talk show guest, he remained in the TV eye on shows such as Johnny Carson's TONIGHT where he famously recited a poem that made audience members tear up. This led to a best-selling book of poetry by Stewart.
In 1980, Jimmy Stewart gave a lovely performance in a half-hour syndicated holiday special made by the Mormon Church entitled MISTER KREUGER'S CHRISTMAS. By that point, I had seen many of his classic films from THE PHILADELPHIA STORY to WINCHESTER '73 to DEAR BRIGITTE and James Stewart had taken a permanent lace on my favorite actors of all time list.