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'24' isn't the first to get a head

Saturday, November 09, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

So that's why he needed a hacksaw.

This week on Fox's "24," viewers saw just how far special agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) will go for the cause, assuming an undercover identity and sawing the head off a man he recently killed to infiltrate the dead man's cohorts.

That's by no means the first time a severed head has played a dramatic role in popular entertainment, but it did get us thinking about the great heads (not minds) in pop culture history. Understanding that we can't list them all ("Highlander," "Braveheart"), here are a few:

"Futurama"

Disembodied heads regularly float in futuristic jars on this animated sci-fi comedy series. In tomorrow's season premiere (7 p.m., Fox), the heads of Al Gore (voiced by the real deal) and Richard Nixon (not the real deal) play important roles in the story.

"The Practice"

Back in the ABC legal drama's golden years, Ellenor (Camryn Manheim) defended and dated George Vogelman (Michael Monks), who chopped off a woman's head and put it in his medical bag. Later he dressed as a nun and stabbed Lindsay (Kelli Williams).

"Seven"

Some days the idea of Gwyneth Paltrow's severed head in a box held by Brad Pitt isn't nearly as disturbing as this film intended it to be.

"The Godfather"

So it wasn't human, it's still pretty shocking when you find yourself in bed with a severed horse head.

"8 Heads in a Duffle Bag"

A mobster hires Joe Pesci to deliver the heads of his latest victims in this 1997 comedy. Pesci, of course, loses the bag. Think "Weekend at Bernie's" without that pesky body.

"Re-Animator"

A medical student learns how to reanimate dead human tissue, which leads to scenes of a dead body carrying its severed head around in this 1985 camp classic.


Rob Owen can be reached at 412-263-2582 or rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments about TV to www.post-gazette.com/tv under PG Online Talk.

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