Clint Eastwood and bad science-fiction movies don’t often go hand and hand. But the actor actually has one to thank for starting his career.
Back before he was Dirty Harry Callahan or the Man with No Name, Eastwood was just some random lab tech wearing a white coat. The actor made his film debut in the 1955 B-movie “Revenge of the Creature” (also called “Return of the Creature from the Black Lagoon”).
Eagle-eyes fans will have to pay close attention, especially considering the film is black-and-white. Eastwood isn’t on-screen for long. But he does have speaking lines and a brief but quirky gag. That’s more than some actors can say when it comes to their film debut.
Eastwood plays a lab tech discussing the number of rats in a lab experiment. He argues with his colleague, believing that the cat in the cage ate one of the mice. But as it quickly turns out, one of the rodents managed to get into Eastwood’s lab coat pocket.
Eastwood actually played in another B-horror movie that same year. So if viewers want, they can have a double-creature feature of Eastwood’s bit roles. He appeared as a jet fighter pilot in the film “Tarantula!” Eastwood appears in the sky bombing the giant spider threatening civilization.
Clint Eastwood Grew to Prominence with Westerns
Many may be surprised that the actor didn’t originate in westerns. The actor’s name would be strongly associated with the genre in the years to follow with some genre-defining turns both in front of and beyond the camera.
But Eastwood did grow to prominence with the TV western “Rawhide” in 1959. It’s where most viewers probably saw Eastwood for the first time. He played the role of Rowdy Yates for seven seasons. The TV show even helped him prepare for his future career in film.
“Years ago I was doing a series called ‘Rawhide.’ You have all these scenes on horseback, we’d ride in and pull up there right in front of the camera,” Eastwood said. “When they’d yell ‘Action’ the horses would just go crazy. I asked one of the directors, ‘Why don’t you just not say Action, why don’t you just say Go instead.’ And sure enough, they tried it and it worked.”
After “Rawhide,” Eastwood was cast as the Man with No Name in the now-iconic “Dollars” trilogy. And the rest as they say was cinematic history.