12 Cold Reasons Why Charles Bronson and I Could Have Never Been BFF's
Charles Bronson, what a man's man
For years when movie fans gathered at lunch or in coffee shops to relax and talk films, Clint Eastwood would ultimately be brought into the conversation as being “the” epitome of rough, raw, and mean in his roles as “Harry Callahan,” in his “Dirty Harry” films. No one disagreed. Eastwood’s forte “was” that of a “take no crap from anyone” character with a fearful squint and scratchy-voice which said lines such as, “Go ahead. Make my day,” that we still say in 2014 when afforded the opportunity.
Things change. Fads change. Film stars, sadly, do the same. Enter stone-faced Charles Bronson. He slowly moved slightly-past Clint Eastwood as the “new” rough, rowdy and macho male icon whose characters as well as himself could walk any dark alley anywhere without a bodyguard or firearm and call it “a refreshing walk after dark.”
Charles Bronson was a living mystery
What made Bronson so tough is still a mystery. Unlike Eastwood, Bronson had no catch-phrases, key-expressions on his face or any one tell-tale feature that fans could impersonate. Think about it. Have you ever tried to do an impression of Bronson only to find out that he and his characters only spoke in a quite-toned English although Bronson spoke Lithuanianand Russian in his early years.
I admit it. I admired Charles Bronson from his “Death Wish” films to his portrayal of “Danny,” in “The Great Escape.” I admired every syllable of his lines. No offense toward Clint Eastwood, my first “roughneck” villain. But as the years went by, I faced my adversary: Reality, and grew to painfully-realize that there was one thing about Charles Bronson that I had been shunning and living in fear—afraid to face:
12 Cold Reasons Why Charles Bronson and I Could Never Be BFF’s
- Charles Bronson would not be my best audience to practice my corny one-liners on after dinner. I can just hear him in his dry voice, "I vant yew tew shut--tup. Now." End of my comedy act.g
- Charlies and I are going for a burger and out of respect, I urge him to go ahead of me. He squints even sharper and tells me that "I vill go when I feel like eeet." After ten minutes, he decides to walk ahead of me to the cab.
- Bronson and I get invited to a Broadway play, and he decides it will be a good outing. Foolishly, I ask, "Uh, are you going to wear those black clothes and jacket to this Broadway event?" He squints. We have a short falling-out. And he wears those same black clothes and jacket.
- One afternoon Charles and I are strolling down Fifth Avenue, New York City, and I run into a convenience store and buy myself a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips for I haven't had lunch. "Did yew get me any?" Bronson snarls. "Uh, I didn't know that . . . " (he interrupts) "Yew should have known that I love dos things." So I give him my chips to make him not beat me up in front of all the New Yorkers walking home from work or catching cabs. What a selfish man.
- We arrive back at the plush Fifth Avenue penthouse he and Jill share. He mixes himself a drink and since I do not drink, he offers me the chance to go get myself a drink of cold mineral water in their spacious kitchen. Then he yells, "Were yew hittin' on Jill de odder night, kid?" I am shocked. "No, Charles. I would not do something that dumb." I reply. "Dat's wise, kid. Odderwise I wuddi've taken ye' head off tuh gimme some fightin' experience." Talk about loving a woman. Wow.
- Charles Bronson is a home-body. He never wants to go out in public. As for me, I like to attend a film festival once in a while or maybe see a New York Giants football game. But if I start to leave, Charles begins this "pity party," about him not getting to go anywhere with the guys, so as I start to the door, I just have to say it, "What? And you married to the lovely Jill Ireland, sit there and complain?"
- Bronson cannot tolerate music by The Beach Boys, Lovin' Spoonful or Led Zeppelin, so we argue a lot about what music I get to hear when I am visiting him and Jill. A true BFF will share things to make the friendship stronger.
- Bronson is too sensitive about Jill. One evening she had invited me to dinner and I came over and was sitting listening to Charles talk about hs newest movie venture when Jill came from the kitchen and said to me, "Ken, do you mind helping me in the kitchen? I cannot get "Charlie-poo," to turn his hand for me." I jump from the couch then look in Charles' direction. He has "that" look on his face that has made him millions of bucks and a household-name. So without him even speaking, I slowly look at Jill in an "I'm sorry" look on my face and sit down. I notice a small smile on Charles' lips. Man, how obcessive can you get?
- Charles Bronson really cannot stand someone telling him the truth. On another evening, I was at Charles and Jill's place just kicking-back with Charles and Jill danced through the room in a new designer dress she had bought. "Do I look good in this, guys?" she cooed. "Uhhh, err, well, I will get back to you on that one, Jill," I said as to not offend Charles. "Whattt? Do you know how much this cost?" Jill snapped. "Yeah, do yew not tink dat my wife's attractive?" Charles asked very seriously. "Oh, sure, Charles. She is very pretty." I answered to save my own butt from being beaten." "Yew tryin' tuh make duh time wid my wife?" Charles asked now getting angry. I just got up and left before he got into one of his sparring moods. Who does me think I am, Evander Holyfield?
- Bronson will not wear sneakers. That irritates me. It's like he is on the set of one of his films all of the time.
- Bronson will not go to have an evening of hotwings and a ballgame on huge-screen televisions at a local wings restaurant. He claims that eating wings are offensive to his religious views.
- Charles Bronson is not an avid reader. One night, not long ago, he got really angry at me when I simply asked him to read one of my hubs. "I dun't like readin' trash, kid."
I think that us being BFF's is quickly not making any sense.
Note: To all of Charles Bronson's surviving family and friends. I meant absolutely no harm in any way to you or your lovely wife, Jill, in this piece. I just thought some comedy with you as the centerpiece, would be the best way to say that "I miss you both and as long as there are things such as the Internet and YouTube, I, and your throngs of fans will always love and remember you and Jill. Sincerely, Kenneth P.S. did "any" of these things make you laugh?