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<   No. 2314   2009-05-28   >

Comic #2314

1 Kerim Bey: Ah, my friend, come in! Welcome to Istanbul. I am Kerim Bey, head of Station T. Coffee?
2 Stud: Medium sweet, thank you. Any word from the Russian girl?
3 Kerim Bey: She said she will contact you. But I think you're wasting your time. My advice is to spend a few pleasant days with us here in Istanbul... then go home.
4 Stud: Oh. Well that's what I'd planned to do anyway.

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Kerim Bey is played by Pedro Armendáriz in the film version of From Russia With Love. Unfortunately, he died very soon after completing his obligations for the film, committing suicide to prevent a painful death from terminal cancer of his hip joints. He was apparently in great pain throughout shooting of the film, and only took the job to make enough money to provide for his family after his death.

Armendáriz had starred in the 1956 film The Conqueror, with John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, and several other actors. This film had been shot in Utah, downwind and not far from where the US Government was at the time conducting above-ground nuclear tests in neighbouring Nevada. The production crew were aware of radiation in the area, but at the time nobody really knew what effects it might have on health.

Within 25 years of the filming of The Conqueror, 91 of the cast and crew who had been on location in Utah (out of 220) had contracted cancer of various types, and 46 had died of it. Some people consider this merely a coincidence of bad luck, but statistical analysis performed by medical professionals shows that this is a significantly unusual preponderance of cancers in a group of people of that size.

2022-06-18 Rerun commentary: The film The Conqueror, by the way, was about the great conqueror Genghis Khan... played by John Wayne in one of the all-time great travesties of casting. His performance was so bad that Wayne was posthumously awarded the Golden Turkey for Worst Casting in the 1980 critical film review book The Golden Turkey Awards. The film as a whole was also listed as one of The Fifty Worst Films of All Time in 1978.

All in all, you might be hard pressed to find a more all-round disaster of a movie.

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