When I was working on my post about David Cassidy, I tried to remember all the actors I was mad for as a teen. Last night, PBS showed Dressed to Kill (1980), reminding me how much I used to adore Keith Gordon. I’d seen him in All That Jazz (1979), but he really made an impression in the TV movie Kent State (1981) playing one of the four college students killed by the National Guard during a campus war protest in 1970. Gordon portrayed Jeffrey Miller, the victim in the iconic Kent State photograph (anguished girl kneeling beside body). This movie really affected me, especially since the Kent State massacre is the first story I remember watching on the news, not counting my father dragging me out of bed to witness the moon landing. I remember going to school the next day wanting to discuss the Kent State, but I couldn’t find anybody else who had watched it. I was disgusted that everyone had watched One Day At a Time or Charlie’s Angels instead.
Oh, so back to Keith Gordon! Those were the days when you couldn’t just rent any movie you felt like watching. You had to wait for it to come on TV, if you didn’t catch it in the cinema. That made following Gordon very difficult. I bought the soundtrack LP to his Home Movies, but I never got to see the movie. I just stared at his image on the LP cover. Dressed to Kill was shown on a paid movie channel we didn’t get, so I listened to it without a picture every time it came on. Now that’s devotion. Last night was one of the only times I’ve watched the film! Gordon starred in Christine in 1983, but scary movies were never my thing. Through the 80s I would see him in the occasional role, and then I pretty much forgot about him.
I looked up Keith Gordon to see what he’s been doing for the last thirty years. He’s 50 years old, and I’m happy to report that he’s still working in film. He moved behind the camera beginning in 1988, primarily as a director. He directed a movie that impressed me, A Midnight Clear (1992) with Gary Sinise and Frank Whaley. I’m definitely going to rent some of his other films. He also directed nine episodes of the excellent TV series Dexter. Here’s an interesting interview with him from last spring.
It was nice to reminisce and check back in with Gordon’s work, and I wish him all the best in his future projects.