PLEASE NOTE THIS SITE IS NEITHER AFFILIATED WITH NOR AUTHORIZED BY CHARLES SIEBERT
Did you ever really notice the work of actors in television commercials? They have only about 15 seconds to imprint the totality of their character on your brain, and when it works, it really works. Think of the Dell Computer guy, Progressive Flo, and others. If you find yourself wondering what the character is going to do after the commercial is over, the actor has done his or her job, and done it well. Back in the early 70s, the old and now defunct A&P grocery chain was trying to regain market share. They had a series of commercials that “put price and pride together again”. (I can still hum the jingle.) Two actors played a sort of vaudeville scene, with straw hats and canes, as “Price” and “Pride”. (Remember, in the early 70s, there would be lots of middle-aged grocery shoppers who’d remember vaudeville). There was nothing particularly striking about the commercials, except that it got me thinking about how well cast the two actors were, and the chemistry they had; I thought, they could be in a larger show, not a 30-second commercial. So I began paying attention to actors in commercials and in TV and movies in supporting and bit parts, even walk-ons, and appreciating their craft.
When we see a movie or stage production, there are many levels on which we may enjoy it. It may be pure entertainment, or a spectacle. We may love the visual look of the production: the art design, lighting, effects. There may be a bravura performance by a great star. Of course we want a good story, and good dialog. But the best productions integrate all the elements, so we feel satisfied that we’ve seen a GOOD movie or play.
An important part of this is the troupe of actors who surround the leads. Think of the wonderful character faces, the small bits of business that leave you with a warm feeling of insight or recognition, or the multitude of small performances that blend in and disappear, leaving the viewer feeling immersed in a very real world.
In live theater, even the greatest performances by the most gifted actors fade away each night. Garrick, Forrest, Bernhardt, Terry, Lunt and Fontanne – their performances are gone, or at most, preserved in silent pictures or early kinescopes. What a strange passion, acting – throwing words out into the darkness, to blow away on the wind of time, living on only as yellowed clippings and fading memories.
The filmed performance, at least, lasts, and can be revisited again and again.
Dr. Samuel Johnson, eulogizing actor David Garrick, wrote, “He increased the world’s stock of innocent amusement.” In today’s sensationalized culture, this may sound like faint praise, but it is not. Let’s be grateful to the actors who in so many cases do things that we would be unwilling to do, for our entertainment.
What follows is an appreciation of the work of one actor: Mr. Charles Siebert
Well, there are no frequently asked questions, of course. Why would there be? Perhaps few will view this site. However, a little information and a few caveats:
This is an appreciation of the acting of Mr. Charles Siebert. I don’t know enough about directing to comment on that aspect of his career. Mr. Siebert’s personal life is his own business and none of yours or mine. This site is not authorized by or affiliated with Mr. Siebert, and the opinions are mine alone.
If you are primarily interested in Trapper John, MD (TJMD), note that this is in a separate area.
Comment, including dissenting opinion, is welcome, but please be civil. Comments about Mr. Siebert’s career, even negative comments, are welcome, if they are well-stated and reasons are given for your opinion. For example, “you suck” is not a welcome comment.
If you are a Riverside Crusher (see the Overview of the TJMD section), you are still welcome.
Please note that I am seeking material for this site, including performances I have not viewed.
Links and sources are available in the Bibliography section.
Like this website? Like us on Facebook, too: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.286650401413934.68822.286642081414766&type=3#!/CharlesSiebertAppreciation
(some day I will figure out how to install the Facebook ‘like’ widget, maybe)
In researching this site, I purchased legitimately produced mass-market media, took DVDs out at my local library, purchased subscriptions to periodicals like Variety and the NY Times, and acquired other print materials legitimately using LexisNexis, Academic Search Premiere, etc. If we want to support actors, artists, and writers, let’s not begrudge them their royalties.
I did view TJMD on YouTube, as it is not readily available elsewhere and I see no attempt by the copyright holders to take down these videos. I used legitimate internet video streaming sites to view some other syndicated TV shows.
I use quotations from reviews and contemporary journalism, as well as a limited number of screen captures, for the purpose of criticism, review and commentary, a legally permissible use. I think I have been careful in my use.
Please cite source if using original material (my comments) from this site.
Please note that many of the images used in the “Marquette University Players” section are copyrighted by Marquette University and used with special permission; anyone wishing to use those materials should request permission from Marquette. The information is imbedded in the image.
Who died and left me to be chief critic? I don’t claim to have any special qualifications as a drama critic. My observations are my observations and my opinions are my opinions. As much as possible, I include reviews from real critics.
Why did I do this, and why Mr. Siebert? When I was a child, I thought that the joy of getting to heaven would be to hear all the good things we did for people without even knowing it. (Now, as an adult, I realize that I might also hear about all the bad effects I have had on people). Mr. Siebert, without knowing it, did something that effected a small positive change in my life that became part of a cascade of events which has allowed me, despite my having gone through my share of trauma, to wake up every day in a state of ecstatic happiness. Cryptic, but true. This is my way of saying thanks. Let’s each one of us go out and do something to appreciate others.
Update, March 2013: When I first began the research for this site back in February, 2011, I actually wasn’t sure Charles Siebert was still alive. He hadn’t been professionally active for several years, but as I continued my search, I was happy to learn that he was indeed both alive and well. In October, 2011, I thought that I had completed this site. I expected that I would occasionally find another piece of the actor’s filmed work, and occasionally update the site. Well, it hasn’t turned out like that! While I was busily and cluelessly working on the site, for reasons known only to himself, Mr. Siebert decided to return to the stage. So what started as a gesture of tribute has turned into an ongoing hobby, sometimes a bit of an expensive hobby, but a fun and delightful one. It has brought an extra spark into my life, and has both literally and figuratively taken me to places I never thought I would go. What goes around comes around, they say. Therefore, I suggest again: go out and do something for someone else, and you may be surprised at what comes back to you.