Lloyd the Bartender

That’s swell. l like you, Lloyd. l always liked you. You were always the best of them. Best goddamn bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon, for that matter” Jack Torrance, The Shining

This drawing was inspired by the american actor Joe Turkels brilliant performance as Lloyd the Bartender in Stanley Kubrick’s exquisite adaption of Stephen King’s 1978 horror book The Shining. I haven’t read the book but I vividly recall my first viewing experience of the feature film version. It was early 2003, I was fifteen years old and it was early nighttime this mid-weekday when I was randomly switching through the TV channels around nine-thirty when I suddenly came upon this image on the TV screen:

As this opening title flys swiftly over the north american landscape I found myself sucked into the story or without knowing what I was about to see I felt that I had to see where this rocket-like turbo speed moving image would end up. And it did end up gazing at the Family Torrance’s family car with them of course in it. The opening title sequence was so perfected in terms of movement watching this endless landscape enter and exit the frame without any cameraframe shaking and so forth. I felt basically that I was watching some type of vortex which could resemble and old school windows 98 screensaver that kept on dragging you into the screen. I was spellbound or hypnotised by someone, and that someone was the one and only Stanley Kubrick  whom I didn’t fairly know at that time, but whom I clearly as I grew older could define as one of Cinemas greatest storytellers!

Growing up those early teenage years the environment outside the small town where I grew up was rather peaceful and quiet place. My neighbourhood was the rather typical middle class religious south norwegian community were everybody knew everybody, with high moral and protectiveness and no theft, no vandalism just the occasionally drunkenness or night noise by those much older teenagers – it was kinda like the fictional town of the film Pleasantville so to speak. Therefore we in our earliest stage of adulthood found excitement beyond the law by watching movies with heavy ratings – like Rated 18 or Rated R witch is like from 17 years and older, and we would recommend, discuss and critique these movies during recess at school the day after we saw them. This was of course a secret society with loyal members. These were mostly american action, sci-fi and horror flicks, where some of them now are notably considered classics. I will reveal more of these movies and tell more tales from this time on this blog in times to come.
I’ve heard the title before, some friend of mine had told me as well as the other kids on the block at school that there was this intense, erie and bloody film called The Shining starring the guy who played America’s President in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, referring to Jack Nicholson. “This film is like nothing you’ve ever seen man, the setting is a old evil hotel that bleeds human blood, it has two little killer twins, naked old ugly women, a psycho-sick kid who has voices in his head and rides a tiny motorcycle, and an weird axe killer and a scary labyrinth which kills people“!  And all this came to my mind as I saw the title. Both overwhelmed and a bit nervous I thought positively “This could literally turn into a hell of a night“. Despite the graphic horror I might encounter viewing this film I knew that there was one huge obstacle in the way.

Anyway, just prior to this subliminal discovery, my father had gone into the dining den  after watching the weather forecast and I had been sitting in the sofa next to him just finishing reading Washington Irving’s short story Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle was apart of Irving’s highly regarded short stories among with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Devil and Tom Walker also written in the first part of the 1800. These stories was given to me by my grandfather as a Christmas present a couple month before, and that moment I was hooked on this american author with his satirical, ironic and ominous folklore tales.

As I turned up the volume on the opening sequence I heard the sound of paper being folded fast and even faster footsteps heading my way. It was my father and he had recognised the haunting music by Hector Berlioz titled Symphonie Fantastique. My father asked me a question he already knew the answer to “Its the Shining, right?” (or as he called it Ondskapens Hotel a.ka The Hotel of Evil, which is the norwegian translated title)  “Oh…is it?” I mumbled without removing my eyes from the screen, assuming that this opening sequence could go for any ordinary PG-13 movie. My father cleared his throat with a loud noise and continued “This is an R rated film…“. I replied nervously while turning towards him making a lazy gesture with my hands and shoulders in a fashion like does-it-matter “really… this old film?“. My father paused while he rested his hands on his hips, he scratched his forehead while he looked at his watch. At this moment I was literally turning up the volume even higher and cursing inside of my head, thinking “Damn it, now I know for sure I’m not much of an actor when I can’t evenso close, now I probably have to lie awake on my room and listen to my father watching the movie” Which I did sometimes when I couldn’t sleep. My father isn’t a particular movie enthusiast…But thrillers of any sort, or especially detective thrillers is he particular fond of. Like on every friday during my pre-high school years he would eagerly watch an australian secret agent series called Stingers (1998 – 2004) which lasted over eight seasons…and I’ll bet he saw them all! So expecting to be turned down for a Tuesday night with Torrance’s, he cleared his throat one more time and sat down next to me. As I was basically thinking “Thank God, yes,yes,yes…Can’t wait to tell my friends tomorrow what I am being now ALLOWED to watch“. With a satisfied smirk around my face I turned the volume even further up while I was now making myself comfortable by slowly leaning back my back towards the sofa seat when I suddenly lost the TV-controller to my father quick hand.  He turned down the volume a bit before the controller was placed firmly on his left thigh which was the thigh that was furthest away from me. And as the first hour of the movie went on it stayed there…untouched, until the second part of the movie started…

Around the time where the main character Jack Torrance writes the same sentence over-and-over-and-over again on his typing machine. The controller moved from his thigh and up in his left hand, without as much as looking at me. And then when Jack grabs his axe and goes out on a murderous rampage to get his wife Wendy, my father then turns from being the audience to becoming the film editor. Switching on something called the text-TV which makes your screen turn black when it doesn’t have signal. You can still here the sound but you only see the black screen with the TV-station logo on it.
From that point as the film went on and as protective as my father is, he quickly turned on the black text-TV every time something unsuitable-for-children-under-18 came up which happens rather a lot when the film was in its last chapters. And my oh my had my father honed his skills as a quick drawer. For instance the scene where Jack Torrance goes into the room where the beautiful woman is bathing CUT to: Text-TV…audio-of-scream-evil-laughter-intense-orchestral-music! Cut to little Danny Torrance riding his cute little bicycle if I recall it correctly.

So my viewing experience of The Shining was somewhat limited, but as my imagination ran pretty wild at that time it had the opposite effect, my whole impression was absolute mesmerising! And I’m sure that having read Rip Van Winkle just minutes before watching the film, helped enhance the experience.
Cos’ Rip Van Winkle is frankly about this inactive character who as has a perfect but a rather demanding wife Dame Van Winkle, and a young daughter. The short story is kinda a morality-tale which has bizarre consequences for Rip. Its about this lazy man named Rip who one day during the fall in the mid-1800 escapes the everyday house chores and takes a walk up in the mountains. Here he suddenly hears his name being called as well as flute music in the air. Before he knows it he stumbles upon a man who is dressed in old clothes dragging a keg of brewery. Rip helps the man into a secret passage where there are nine other old fashioned men with long beards and long flutes. Without asking who or what, the tired Rip opens a keg and starts drinking. Then he falls asleep, and when he wakes up his beard is all grown long and white and his body has grown old as well. He soon discovers that his wife is dead, the war of the American Revolution has passed by and King George is no longer in charge but George Washington is. His now twenty years older daughter takes care of him and he learns that the old bearded men where actually ghosts. The war-ridden male settlers in town envy Rip wishing that they too had slept through the war.

In The Shining however, we meet an active protagonist-turned-antagonist Jack Torrance who’s job next to writing his new book is to be the superior housekeeper of a huge abandoned old hotel. He brings his son and wife along for the ride. Gradually something snaps in Jacks mind, but what? This ambiguity makes the film great, it must be the-shining-effect or was that Danny’s gift? I won’t go to deep in this tiny compression. Jack as well as Rip is also sick of his wife Wendy’s nagging but here he differs from Rip, Jack does something actively after the hotel has gotten the better of him he wants to kill her and later his own son. My quick conclusion and point to make was that the viewing experience was somewhat helped by the contrast of first reading and imagine a lazy but friendly inactive character, then viewing and imagine a much more complex and trubbled active character. Back to the question, why the bartender drawing?

On one day during the hot summer of 2003 I evoked a certain bartender which I thought could make a neat little drawing. This bartender made quite an impression on me months before while watching The Shining. His name was Lloyd. And I thought without a shadow of a doubt that Lloyd’s face, posture and gestures seemed to be the what the perfect bartender should be like: Short to the point and always shoulder to cry on. At that time I hadn’t seen Joe Turkel the actor before. He was in his mid fifties when he did this role and I thought at the time that he was probalby casted because of his age fitting as an experienced servant behind the bar. His impressive facial features as the images show below, great lines in the lower part of the face his cheeks, and around his mouth. Expressive pitch-black eyes, the slick hair and pointy almost devilish ears and smile. I would underline the fact that the lack of color of his eyebrows was the first thing that caught my attention and that was my staring point I seldom start with anything ells than the eye area when I draw. His presence with the nice wine red tux with its italian-mafia-like opened-button slickness were also appealing features whereas he easily could pass for mafia boss. Knowing that Joe Turkel grew up in Brooklyn, NY one could think that a heavy fast talking New York accent could damage the role but here the actor succeeds in talking calm, cool and collected. In my drawing I felt I wanted portray Lloyd as maybe 10 or 15 years older than how he is seen in the film. So the drawing is a questi-mate of Lloyd anno 1995, old, bald, buttoned-up but with that same great back posture as if he would stand infront of a bar all though I haven’t drawn one in this drawing. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from TASCHEN’s fantastic book called The Kubrick Archives:
Joe Turkel
as Lloyd the Bartender during a take while shooting The Shining.

Joe Turkel, Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson in between takes.

Joe Turkel is focusing while Stanley Kubrick is staging a point-of-view shotStanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson is closing in on the monitor, watching the rushes, while Joe Turkel has brought along his glasses for the occasion.

TASCHENs The Kubrick Archives. A great book expanding over 500 pages and over 7 decades made in cooperation with Jan Harlan, Christiane Kubrick, and The Stanley Kubrick Estate. Edited by Alison Castle, 2008

By the way Joe Turkel and Stanley Kubrick worked together already back in 1957 on one of cinemas greatest anti-war movies: The Paths of Glory starring Kirk Douglas. Whereas Stanley Kubrick’s then future wife Christiane Kubrick is to be seen and heard singing in the end of the picture.  
Joe Turkel
is probably most recognised as Dr. Eldon Tyrell the innovated scientist and CEO of the Tyrell Cooperation in the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford. Both films are highly Recommended!

Good morning and salute, JohnH

About JohnH

I'm a film editor, self-taught sketchartist, analogue photographer and drummer!
This entry was posted in Great Actors and Actresses, Visual inspiration and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Lloyd the Bartender

  1. Ambivalise says:

    Wow! You really know how to write a good post 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s