Welcome to the TV Store Online Blog
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Film historian and author James Neibaur talks with TV STORE ONLINE about Jerry Lewis and the book he co-authored on Lewis The Jerry Lewis Films: An Analytical Filmography of the Innovative Comic...
NEIBAUR: It's not that Ted or I thought that it was a bad movie by any means. I mean, it's a great idea for a film, it has those colors and it was done by Frank Tashlin. It just doesn't seem to arrive at the potential of the idea. Jerry Lewis seemed to like it more than we did, and that was one of the areas where we didn't see eye-to-eye with Jerry while we were working on the book with him.
TV STORE ONLINE: What do you dislike about CINDERFELLA?
NEIBAUR: Well, it really isn't about that. I just don't think that it ranks up there as one of his best films... I don't know if the film needs that many songs in it. It seems as if the song numbers are intermissions in the film and that they really took away from the action. They didn't blend with the action, and there didn't seem to be a lot of great scenes or ideas like we had seen in something later by Tashin and Lewis like WHO'S MINDING THE STORE? (1963) or THE DISORDERLY ORDERLY (1964).
There are particular scenes in both of those that really standout. You have that great typewriter pantomime in WHO'S MINDING THE STORE? that is really funny and very memorable. Whereas, in CINDERFELLA, you have Jerry doing that walk down the stairs? It's funny and amusing but those musical numbers in the film really stick out and make it uneven. Overall, the structure of CINDERFELLA isn't very good either. It seems that it was just too standard of a story, and that was something they had to stick with. Even though they were parodying it with Jerry in what is usually a female role, it just didn't seem to be enough. I'm sure they worked really hard on the film, and it amusing in places, but I just don't think it's one of his best films.
TV STORE ONLINE: You just mentioned WHO'S MINDING THE STORE?....Do you have any other favorite scenes from that Jerry film?
NEIBAUR: There are a lot of great scenes in that one. Interestingly enough, WHO'S MINDING THE STORE? was the first movie I ever saw as a kid in a theater. It came out on the weekend that followed the Kennedy assassination and there was nothing on television because of the funeral, so my parents took me to the movies. I was five or six years old at the time. We sat way up in the balcony and the theater was packed. The first scene in the film features Jerry sitting at a counter and loudly slurping soup. When he came on the screen in that scene, the entire theater was rocking with laughter. I was young, but there was some part of me that realized that here was this guy that was making all of us laugh during a very sad time in our country. As a small child, even though that I couldn't articulate it that well, I realized that there was something magical happening, and I think that's were I fell in love with comedy.
The broken vacuum cleaner bit is very strong in WHO'S MINDING THE STORE? Tashlin came from cartoons and he really brought a lot of cartoon action and colors to the film. It's filled with some wild slapstick as well. There's Jerry trying to walk all of those dogs, and then when Jerry has to try to squeeze the shoe onto the foot of the lady and they end up wrestling around.
TV STORE ONLINE: When you were working with Jerry on the book did you get to ask him about working on that vacuum cleaner scene in detail?
NEIBAUR: We didn't get to talk to him particularly in great detail about every scene just because he's a very busy guy. He was gracious enough though to allow us to sit with him in his living room and on his boat, and when we talked about that film he said something to the effect that his contribution was that he would come up with an idea and that Tashlin would just run with it, and that the film was Tashlin's "Baby". He said that he contributed very little, because Tashlin had his own ideas and that because Tashlin had come from cartoons, he had really wanted to open it up and go into that realm for that scene.
TV STORE ONLINE: Often times you'll see critics write about the Jerry Lewis solo films and about how the directorial styles of Lewis and Tashlin are very much alike....
NEIBAUR: Yeah, but I think that what Jerry Lewis did as a director was different that what Frank Tashlin did. Tashlin, could be at times a little conventional, but what Lewis did as a director was to create an entire world in which we the audience could exist in. There is a complexity to the Lewis films and anything can happen in that world. Jerry's character has a surreal existence in that world. Tashlin could be offbeat too, but he always had elements of the real world and the mainstream in his films even though critics called his films cartoon-like. Jerry's films always maintained that level of the surreal or the outrageous throughout them the entire length of the film. That's something that Tashlin didn't do.
Jerry would experiment, I'm sure you remember the scene in THE PATSY (1964) where Jerry's character is getting a haircut and his feet get tickled and the sound gets sped up so he sounds like a chipmunk? He was experimenting with sound. He did it for the gag and to enhance his artistic vision as well. He liked to experiment with colors too. If you remember that scene at the beginning of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1963) where the chemistry classroom explodes and all of the students come running out? If you watch that scene today, you'll notice all of the great colors in it. The students coming running out of the classroom and each of them are wearing very distinct colors of clothing. Jerry was painting there. He really liked to experiment and play around with the medium in which he was working. That's what makes Jerry Lewis different from Frank Tashlin.
TV STORE ONLINE: You mentioned THE NUTTY PROFESSOR....That's my favorite Jerry Lewis film and I find it interesting because of how it isn't a sort of gag-after-gag film like those that came before it like THE BELLBOY (1960) and THE ERRAND BOY (1961).....
NEIBAUR: THE NUTTY PROFESSOR was something Jerry really wanted to do because he had this unique idea based on two characters. He was inspired after seeing the film DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1941) with Spencer Tracy.
TV STORE ONLINE: Right, but around the time of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, Jerry had also tried to acquire the film rights to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye...It just seems like he might have been working in a particular direction as an artist/actor and then he sort of moved in reverse and did THE PATSY (1964).
NEIBAUR: Well, I don't think that The Catcher in The Rye was filmmable. I don't think it would have translated to the screen and that's why I think that it hasn't been made yet all of these years later. I don't think that he was moving in any particular direction either. I think THE NUTTY PROFESSOR was just the film that he made at that time, and when he followed it up with THE PATSY I think he was investigating show business. In fact, he does that in THE ERRAND BOY (1961), but I think he does it better in THE PATSY. I think THE PATSY is every bit as good as THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and THE PATSY gets just as surreal and outrageous as any of his other films. It's filled with so many incredible ideas and it has dramatic elements in it as well. THE PATSY might be my favorite Jerry Lewis film.
TV STORE ONLINE: With THE NUTTY PROFESSOR...A rumor has been swirling around for decades that Jerry based "Buddy Love" in the film on his former partner Dean Martin...
NEIBAUR: There have been a lot of people that have speculated on that, and it's not the case. Dean Martin was never like Buddy Love. Anyone that I've ever talked to that knew Dean Martin has said that he was a really nice guy. Jerry has admitted that Buddy Love is based on his own alter ego and his own worst perspective.
Even though Jerry and Dean were no long partners at the time and they probably weren't in touch with each other, when Jerry shot THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, he still maintained a love of him as if he was his own brother. People have tried to suggest this over the years, but really it just falls flat. Buddy Love was really just Jerry's own demons.
TV STORE ONLINE: In your book you mention that Jerry wouldn't let you watch his take on The Jazz Singer which he did for NBC in 1959...With that on DVD now...What are your thoughts on it these years later?
NEIBAUR: Lewis told us that he thought that he was too young for the role, but I think his performance is quite good. I think he surrounded himself with really great actors and the fact that he preserved something so early from those beginning days of television, I think is really wonderful. Hopefully the new DVD will do well and he'll release more things from his archive that we'll all get to see.
TV STORE ONLINE: In your book you make a mention that critics have called THE LADIES' MAN (1961) "Felliniesque"... I was wondering if you could talk about that?
NEIBAUR: Well, that's probably because Fellini always had a surreal bent to his work just as Jerry's films have. With something like THE LADIES' MAN....Jerry plays a guy who is spurned by his lover and it turns him off of all women. He can't stand to be touched by a woman even. It's always with younger women too. He doesn't have a problem with any of the matronly types. It's very surreal, and then he's put into a all girls boarding house which intensifies that. With that gigantic dollhouse set, he really created a world onto itself too. Fellini did that. He, like Jerry, created worlds for their audiences.
TV STORE ONLINE: If you could pick one moment or scene in any Jerry Lewis film that you thought defined him as a filmmaker what would it be?
NEIBAUR: I think probably that scene in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR were "Professor Julius Kelp" is at the dance and he's responding to the Les Brown music. It's because he's in that world, he's at that dance, and he's supposed to act one way but something is distracting him. Something has his attention, and he tries to ignore it, but he can't help but to respond to it. When he's caught, he stops. That's what defines Jerry Lewis the best. As a filmmaker he tries different things in the context of cinema. He tries things and he's distracted by different ideas but he keeps going on. He's created some of the most brilliant and surreal comedy films ever made.
The Jerry Lewis Films: An Analytical Filmography of the Innovative Comic by James L. Neibaur and Ted Okuda is available HERE:
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
FIRST LOOK: SFX Madman and Director Gabe Bartalos talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his upcoming WTF descent into the madness of the mind in his new film SAINT BERNARD.
TV STORE ONLINE: What can you tell me about SAINT BERNARD? There isn't much written about it online... Where did the idea for the film come from?
BARTALOS: I just finished shooting the film back in November of last year. From there I took it to the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain and it really went over well. The film is less horror based than my previous film SKINNED DEEP (2004). It has a much bigger scope to it than SKINNED DEEP. This time around I was conscious of more than just getting film through the gate in the camera. I'm really proud of this new film. We shot in Super 16 and it looks beautiful. It focuses on a musical composer named "Bernard" who is played by Jay Dugré. Jay played "Brain" in SKINNED DEEP. Bernard descends into madness and we're along for the ride. The madness is manifested through very weird large-scale mosaic sets and prosthetic characters and difficult scenarios. It all becomes very maze like and he has to navigate through that. He's a very likeable guy, and you'll realize that you're going through some really difficult and surreal times with him.
Being really interested in the brain and in psychology I really wanted to figure out a way that we could visualize mental illness. This has really allowed me to use a palette of dreams and surrealness and explore mental imbalance. Having been able to do that has allowed me to produce some really far out imagery. Film goers have become really sophisticated and they've seen almost everything, so with SAINT BERNARD, I really wanted to give the people something in images and narrative that I think that they've never seen before.
TV STORE ONLINE: I see Warwick Davis is part of SAINT BERNARD....
BARTALOS: Right, he was in SKINNED DEEP. In SAINT BERNARD he plays "Othello" and he's the guardian of a 50 foot high log pile and he's a kind of guardian angel that introduces "Father Time" to the story. I'm really into playing with a lot of different sensibilities in SAINT BERNARD and I really like playing around with characters that exist through history or those that only exist on paper and bringing them to life in my world.
TV STORE ONLINE: When I see the cast for SAINT BERNARD...One name really sticks out to me and that's Bob Zmuda...
BARTALOS: Laughing...Most people know Bob as the founder of Comic Relief. I know him through my collaborations with Tony Clifton. Bob's very talented and he has a great singing voice so I approached Bob to play a character. There's a scene in SAINT BERNARD that occurs in a church. There is a priest that has a sort of about face. I really needed a very charismatic person who could go from being completely charming to flat out monstrous. Bob has a great voice and he's a great salesman and pitchman. He's got this wonderful mane of hair. I approached him to play the character and said, "Do you have anything against playing a priest?" He just knocked this character out of the park and he played both sides of the spectrum that I needed just perfectly.
TV STORE ONLINE: Laughing... If you've done the Tony Chifton make-up for Bob Zmuda... How many times have put that make-up on Andy Kaufman in recent years?
BARTALOS: Laughing...There are many layers to that question so we'll have to save that one for another interview...laughing
Check out the official SAINT BERNARD website HERE:
Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
TV STORE ONLINE: I realize it's kind of odd to be talking to you about a film that isn't yours...
DANTE: Well, it was almost one of my films for a couple days...
TV STORE ONLINE: So how did you ALMOST come to direct HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982)?
DANTE: As I recall...John Carpenter said that he wanted to do another HALLOWEEN but he didn't want it to be like the first two...I met John for dinner at some restaurant at Universal,which now is CityWalk, and we talked about a approach to the material. He was into this Catholic thing. I suggested that he hire Nigel Kneale who was a very intelligent Science fiction writer who had written some really good pictures like FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH (1967) and the QUARTERMASS pictures. I thought it would be right up his alley, and this was when I thought I was going to be the director and John would be the producer. Then John got in touch with Nigel, and Nigel did a treatment. This came at the time that I also got an offer from Steven Spielberg and John Landis to be involved in TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). So since nothing was for certain yet on HALLOWEEN III, I decided to start work on TWILIGHT ZONE because that was definitely happening. So I told John that I was going to have to leave to work on that. So John hired Tommy Lee Wallace to direct the film.
TV STORE ONLINE: Before you suggested Nigel Kneale had you been given the option to come up with a story idea for HALLOWEEN III?
DANTE: No, John already had a story in mind for what he wanted to do. It was similar to the story that was told. When he hired Nigel Kneale the idea got fleshed out and went into what I thought was a much more interesting direction. Then, as I understand it, Nigel saw the picture or maybe he had just seen a rewrite of his script, but he demurred and didn't want a credit on the film.
TV STORE ONLINE: I've read that around this same time Nigel Kneale, yourself, and John Landis were involved in some sort of reboot of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) for Universal...
DANTE: I was. I was hired to be the backup director for Jack Arnold because he at that time had only one leg. Universal was worried that he wouldn't be able to finish the picture. They wanted to have another director on hand in case their was a hill that he couldn't climb and they just wanted someone to help out on the picture.
TV STORE ONLINE: Did you see HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH when it was finished? What did you think of it?
DANTE: I did see it. I liked the picture. I know it got a lot of bricks thrown at it because it wasn't like the first two HALLOWEEN pictures but that was what I liked about it. I thought that the casting of Dan O'Herlihy was a great choice. I can't remember now who suggested Dan for that role initially, but I think it might have been Nigel Kneale. I just thought he was the perfect choice for that. I don't think HALLOWEEN III deserved the criticism it took. I thought it was a great concept.
TV STORE ONLINE: It seems like that whole idea of keeping the brand name intact but changing the story direction was a little bit ahead of it's time in thought....
DANTE: I think it was. I think John was thinking about it in terms of continuing on with it as series where each would have a completely different storyline. I thought it was a great idea to make it a anthology series out of it. It couldn't be done now. It's just too associated with Michael Myers now.
TV STORE ONLINE: Did you get to know Nigel Kneale well in the time you worked with him on that CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON reboot?
DANTE: Yeah, I had first met him through a friend of mine, Jon Davison. He had met him over in England while he was there making TOP SECRET! (1984) and they had become good friends. Nigel did a treatment for us for a remake of X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES (1963) but we couldn't get anyone to bite on it. We actually worked with him on several things over the years.
TV STORE ONLINE: Did you ever read that first Nigel Kneale script for HALLOWEEN III?
DANTE: I did, but I only have a vague memory of it now. I was also involved with John at the time on a script he was working on which eventually became THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT (1984). He was writing it for Avco Embassy but he only got about 25 pages in when the company started passing it around and offering it to other writers. I started working on the script for that and another for them called MELTDOWN, which was about a atomic power plant, but then Avco Embassy went under and it was sold to Norman Lear and he decided that he didn't want to make those kinds of movies so THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT ended up being made at New World Pictures. I worked on MELTDOWN for no money which left me less than enthusiastic when they went under. In fact, they also owed me my editing fee on THE HOWLING (1981) when they went under...I never got that either...laughing
Check out Joe Dante's fantastic site TRAILERS FROM HELL here:
Follow Joe Dante on Twitter here:
Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Karen Knotts talks about her dad Don Knotts and his classic 1966 Universal Studios film THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN.
KAREN KNOTTS: He was offered a five picture deal at Universal Studios. It was while he was still on The Andy Griffith Show (1960-68). Andy had originally said when they first started shooting the show that he wanted it to go for only five seasons. So my Dad decided that he had better start scrambling for work. So he took an offer for a five picture deal at Universal because he thought that the show was going off the air. THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN turned out to be the first of five films that my Dad made at Universal.
TV STORE ONLINE: Your dad had become quite the hot property because of his work on The Andy Griffith Show...He had worked in some great films but this marked the first time that he had to carry a film on his shoulders...
TV STORE ONLINE: Yet, Andy Griffith had a lot of involvement in the writing of the screenplay for THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN, didn't he?
KAREN KNOTTS: He did. There was a first draft of the movie that was written by Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum. My Dad and Andy had worked with them many times on The Andy Griffith Show. Dad wasn't very happy with what they had done in the first draft, so he called Andy and asked him if he'd serve as a consultant and help with the script. I think Andy had a lot to do with the story line for the movie as we know it today. Once they got that all worked out they were on their way and they starting shooting the movie.
KAREN KNOTTS: I don't think it was, but I can't recall if I ever heard my Dad say anything about it, but who knows it might have.
TV STORE ONLINE: THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN was directed by Alan Rafkin and he also went on to direct some of your dad's other Universal films as well...What was your dad's relationship like with Rafkin?
TV STORE ONLINE: How do you think THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN ranks among your dad's movies that he made? How does it stand next to something like HOW TO FRAME A FIGG (1971) or THE LOVE GOD (1969)? What THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN one of his favorite films that he had been a part of?
KAREN KNOTTS: Yeah, THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN was his favorite for sure. But, he really enjoyed THE LOVE GOD too because he thought it was such a different role for him to take on. I think THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN is a classic. He talked about the movie fondly. He told me a story once about how he had snuck into the back row of one of the local theaters when it was released because he had wanted to see how the audience was going to react to what was on the screen. He had seen the film in a screening room and heard the Studio Executives laugh at it but he wanted to see how it would play to the public. He wanted to make sure that people were laughing in the right places.
KAREN KNOTTS: I think it is. The haunted house story makes it a classic. The acting was great in it. It was scary and funny. It's a underdog story. My Dad was basically reincarnating "Barney Fife" for THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN.
TV STORE ONLINE: I love the colors in the film and the score really makes THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN that much more wonderful...
KAREN KNOTTS: Yeah, it's a beautiful movie. They spent a great deal of time trying to find what they thought was the perfect looking organ for the movie. They spent a lot of time getting that music just perfect for it too.
KAREN KNOTTS: Me too. I love that as well. I love how she sweetly encourages him to go off and do what he does...
TV STORE ONLINE: That scene on the porch between them is so wonderfully child-like and tender....
TV STORE ONLINE: Considering how often your dad and Andy Griffith worked with writers Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum...I was wondering if you could recall ever hearing your dad talk about a film project that all of them were working together that never came to fruition called "Me and My Shadow"? It was supposed to be about two depression era hitchhikers going across the country.
KAREN KNOTTS: I do remember hearing about it, but I don't think that it ever got written in script form. I think it was just something that my Dad and Andy had wanted to do together. They wanted to do that for a long time. It was about two con men that go across the country together. I think it was just a wish and dream of theirs.
KAREN KNOTTS: I think the courtroom scene is my favorite just because of all the characters that appear in it. I just noticed the last time I saw it that the schoolteacher "Miss Tremaine", who is played by Ellen Corby, is wearing black leather gloves. There are so many details in it...They shot the film in like seventeen days and it was done on a fairly low budget.
TV STORE ONLINE: Do you think that Universal knew what they had with the film? When THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN was released it was pushed out on a double feature with MUNSTER, GO HOME! (1966)...
KAREN KNOTTS: I think they did. They marketed it as a family film and that was a very popular genre for that time. It was marketed the same way that the Fred McMurray films were being marketed in that time. I can remember my Dad telling me though how that genre disappeared, and that's why he stopped making those types of films when he did.
KAREN KNOTTS: Before my Dad passed away in 2006, I had started talking with him about producing this show. But I didn't get really serious about it until after he was gone. When he passed away I kind of panicked because I thought that the most important thing to do was to sit down and get all of these memories down onto paper because as time goes on your memories can fade away. So I got the show up the stage and we had some success with it right away with a short run but I thought that it really needed some fine tuning. So I did some work on it over the years as I've been going around with it. I've done the show all over the country and I do it every year at the Mayberry Days Festival in North Carolina. When I first started doing the show people that saw it would say, "That's a nice tribute to your Dad" and as it's evolved I now her "That's a great show". My goal with it was always for it to be both.
TV STORE ONLINE: Writing the show...Going back through those times and memories of your Dad...Was it ever difficult emotionally?
TV STORE ONLINE: Do you find that the response that things in the show get vary from audience to audience?
KAREN KNOTTS: Absolutely. One audience will give me just a little chuckle on a line and then on the next night a different audience might roar out loud on the same line...It's what I love about live theater.
TV STORE ONLINE: Can you share with me one of your favorite stories from your show?
KAREN KNOTTS: Sure. So Dad and Andy did a live stage show.... They would do it all over the country. There was one show that they were set to do at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe. This was right around the time that my Dad had left The Andy Griffith Show. Andy took me backstage with him and we stopped at the curtain. He said, "Put your ear up to the curtain.. What do you hear?" I said, "I hear the audience giggling and laughing..." He said, "That's right. I always listen to the audience before I go on stage and that gives me a idea about how they're going to react." It was fantastic because all of these years later I still use that technique myself before I go out on the stage.
Check out the website for Tied Up In Knotts HERE:
Interview Conducted by: Justin Bozung
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
TV STORE ONLINE recently got the opportunity to speak with Paul Golding. Golding, a former student at The University Of Southern California or U.S.C. with George Lucas in the mid/late 1960's talks about working with Lucas on a series of films while the two were attending U.S.C together.
TV STORE ONLINE: I'm such a huge fan of these short films that you made with George Lucas while you were both at U.S.C....In particular, THE EMPEROR (1967).
GOLDING: When George and I made THE EMPEROR...He was one semester ahead of me at U.S.C so he got to be the director and I worked as the editor and the sound man on the film. We made it for class and it was only supposed to be a ten minute film done in black and white and in sync sound. We were both listening to the Emperor Hudson radio show at the time, and we both tried to call each other at the exact same time that we were listening to his show because we both knew that we had to make a film about this guy. We started to work on it, but it was only supposed to be only ten minutes long, but both George and I were rather ambitious and saw this as a thirty minute documentary with commercials. This lead to a lot of problems for us with one of the teachers at school. Finally, the school gave in and allowed us to shoot more film on the agreement that the final film would only be ten to twelve minutes in length max.
When you watch THE EMPEROR you'll see that the titles appear in the middle of the film, and when we screened the film for the first time in the big room at U.S.C and those titles came on the screen you could hear this wave of sadness and disappointment in the crowd because everyone knew what we were going through with this film. They all knew about the battles that we had been fighting with the school to shoot this and they had thought that we had caved in on the school's demands. So when the titles finished on screen and the film kept playing, you could hear everyone in the big room get excited as the film kept going because every minute of it past those titles was our deliberate attack on the facility.
TV STORE ONLINE: Did the two of you have any trouble getting Bob "Emperor" Hudson on board to be in the film?
GOLDING: Yeah, we did have quite a bit of trouble with that. He had no idea what was going to happen with us being in his studio and he didn't want anyone in there screwing up his radio show. The first day we went into his studio, we went in there with three cameras and we had said before that we just needed to get everything that we could get and then we'd make up the rest with the soundtrack. When he saw that we didn't screw anything up he started to get a little friendly with us, and then he became more friendly, and eventually he offered to do that little interview with us in the radio station breakroom that you see in the film. There's even a gag in the film were he turns directly to the camera and says, "George Camera..." He meant to say George Lucas...
TV STORE ONLINE: You even gave him a writing credit on the film...
GOLDING: Right, well, he came up with everything he said in the interview. He was an amazing personality. There was no one else on the radio at the time that talked like him, and I think George and I were lucky to have had the opportunity to document him.
TV STORE ONLINE: One of my favorite moments in the film is that shot of the car pulling up to the radio station and out gets some military guys, and you can clearly see it's George Lucas in a General's military dress...I love that dissolve there from those military guys into Emperor Hudson walking into the broadcast booth at the station....
GOLDING: Right, that's both George and I walking in dressed like that.
TV STORE ONLINE: It seems so inventive yet these almost fifty years later....
GOLDING: Thanks. I see the film now as a real piece of what I call "filmmaking". It was filmmaking at its purest. We all worked together wonderfully and we were all very open to each others ideas. It was George and I and two others. Our Photographer was Rick Robertson. With THE EMPEROR we wanted to visualize a radio show, and so we knew that we would need shots with Emperor Hudson but we also realized how important actual music would be in the film. So we all got together and assembled a play list of the songs that we wanted to be in the film.
TV STORE ONLINE: I love those two girls that are staring right into the camera in the opening of the film....One of them says, "To pulverize Pasadena, to numb North Hollywood..."
GOLDING: Yeah, we shot those girls to playback on a soundstage at U.S.C. They were just miming that section because those lines had been something that Emperor Hudson used to use on his radio show.
TV STORE ONLINE: Those aerial shots over Los Angeles are pretty incredible too...
GOLDING: I can't remember how we got those now. I think maybe George knew the guy who shot that...
TV STORE ONLINE: What about the "Buy More Bananas" sequence with John Milius and Walter Murch?
GOLDING: Those were just commercials that we wanted to include. That and the Camaro commercials were just very popular spots at the time on the radio. That's not the voice of John Milius in the banana thing, it was Richard Walter, and George did the animation in the Camaro spot. What was funny about the original Camaro commercial that you heard on the radio was that they never told you that a Camaro was a car...laughing We thought it was appropriate to make it a rhinoceros instead.
TV STORE ONLINE: What were some of the films that influenced you and what were some of the films that you thought influenced George?
GOLDING: George and I both loved the films of Akira Kurosawa. I really loved the films of Godard, but I don't think George liked his work as much as I did at the time. What you need to understand about George was just how far out he was back then. He wasn't the conservative person back then that he slowed morphed into today. George was the guy who introduced me to the music of Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention, and had it not been for that, I might not have used Zappa's music on the soundtrack when I was editing MEDIUM COOL (1969).
Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung
Watch THE EMPEROR (1967)
Watch the other U.S.C. Golding/Lucas Shorts:
1) Herbie (1965)
2) Anyone Lived In A Pretty [How] Town (1967)
3) Wipeout (1966)
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Legendary Stunt Man Dick Warlock talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his role in HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1983)
WARLOCK: Right, and they asked me to be the Stunt Coordinator on HALLOWEEN II and then I was asked by John to play Michael Myers and one of the cops. When it came time to shoot HALLOWEEN III they invited me back to work with them again.
TV STORE ONLINE: Right, and in HALLOWEEN III you have a more prominent role as an actor...
WARLOCK: That's right. I play the "Assassin" in the film...
TV STORE ONLINE: Had [Director] Tommy Lee Wallace had you mind for that role in the film or did you play that part just because they needed someone for it...
WARLOCK: You know, I'm not sure. I'll have to ask Tommy that the next time I see him. It was probably because I was there and they needed someone for that role...Tommy and Debra had both expressed to me how happy they were with the work that I had done for them, so it probably just came out of that.
TV STORE ONLINE: Going in to HALLOWEEN 3....Did you get to read the script prior to shooting?
TV STORE ONLINE: The Assassin is such a memorable character in H3....Did you put any thought into playing him past what Tommy Lee Wallace might have given you direction wise?
WARLOCK: Well, it wasn't method acting...laughing People will ask me often how I came up with the way that Michael Myers walks in HALLOWEEN 2, and that came about because I had remembered how Nick Castle had gotten up in that scene in HALLOWEEN (1978) where he was laying down by the side of the bed...Do you remember that scene?
WARLOCK: That was really mechanical of Nick. So when I played Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN 2 I just tried to carry on what Nick had done in the first film. When George Wilbur played Michael Myers later one in the franchise...I asked him, "Didn't you see Part 1 or Part 2?" He said, "I don't care how you guys played him in those..." As for the Assassin, I didn't know that was what the character was called as we were shooting the film. I just knew that he was a robot, and I just considered him to be a sort of Michael Myers without the mask on.
TV STORE ONLINE: When the Assassin dies in HALLOWEEN 3 he has a strange orange liquid come out of his mouth...
WARLOCK: Oh, that's a secret! I can't tell you what that was...
TV STORE ONLINE: Darn...
TV STORE ONLINE: I've always wondered if it was Tang or something like that?
WARLOCK: That's very close. What it was...It was frozen Orange Juice Concentrate. Right before we started rolling someone opened up a can of frozen concentrate and I put it in my mouth and then I spit it back out!
WARLOCK: Over the years I've done bit parts in all kinds of things...Initially I think that I would've liked to done more of that, but over the years I've come to realize that I suck as an actor. I just don't think I'm believable as an actor...laughing
TV STORE ONLINE: You've worked on so many incredible films as a stunt man....Hollywood doesn't seem to give the stunt man as much respect or acknowledgement as he deserves... Do you agree?
TV STORE ONLINE: Speaking of Hal Needham....He branched out to direct a film, and so did stuntman Chuck Bail...Did you ever want to branch out and try your hand at directing?
WARLOCK: Not really. I didn't really have a desire to do that. I've done a bit of Second Unit directing on a few things under the table, but that's enough for me. I don't really have the ego that one needs to be a director.
For more with Dick Warlock please visit his official website HERE:
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments
Friday, March 21, 2014
A little left overs? On the heels of our interview with actress Catherine Hicks about the 1980 telefilm MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY we had a bit extra left over with Hicks talking about the 1985 unjustly maligned final film of the great director, Richard Brooks.
HICKS: That was my brush with old Hollywood actually. The famed Producer Freddie Fields had seen me in GARBO TALKS (1984) and he had told Richard Brooks about me and I got the job based on that recommendation.
TV STORE ONLINE: So who was this character "Flo" character to you? How did you find her?
HICKS: Well, she was in the similar vain of the lonely blond character that I play sometimes. That character got her start in a television movie I did with Annette O'Toole and Lisa Eilbacher called LOVE FOR RENT (1979). I played a little polka-dotted blond that takes her own life... I was thinking about the film PICNIC (1955) when I was doing FEVER PITCH. I kept thinking of the theme song from that film "Moonglow". We shot FEVER PITCH in Las Vegas, and that piece of music seemed to fit the loneliness of Vegas with its trains in the background. I think I was trying to capture that feeling with that character in FEVER PITCH that you felt in that theme music from PICNIC. I also thought about Marlene Dietrich too, because I wanted Flo to have that sort of tough edge to her. What's funny about it....Everytime I see ELMER GANTRY (1960), I'm reminded of working with Richard Brooks on FEVER PITCH. He helped with that character too. He would tell me that she was just like Shirley Jones in ELMER GANTRY, and he would give me little things to do like how I wore my shawl in the film...
TV STORE ONLINE: Right, I was going to ask you about that shawl scene in the film...
TV STORE ONLINE: FEVER PITCH was such a labor of love for Richard Brooks...
HICKS: I don't know, and to be honest, I didn't think that it was a very good film. I just wanted to work with Richard Brooks and Ryan O'Neal. I think Richard had been alone a lot by that point, and as he had gotten older I think he gave in to entropy a bit. I just thought that the entire film was run over by its simplicity in message.
TV STORE ONLINE: I'm a huge admirer of FEVER PITCH...For me it feels like a film out of the '40s...But the film is cut so fast. It has this hectic pace about it, where it makes you lose your breath when you're watching it...
TV STORE ONLINE: And FEVER PITCH is so wonderfully surreal....I love that sequence with Ryan O'Neal where he starts to attack those guys with that telephone as if it were a lasso...
HICKS: Yeah, it's kind of like an acid trip.
TV STORE ONLINE: What do you remember about shooting that sequence in the dressing room with Ryan O'Neal? I love that sequence because it just goes on and on and Brooks shoots the entire thing in a mirror...
HICKS: What I remember about shooting that scene was that I stayed up all night going into it. I wanted her to feel exhausted when she had to deal with Ryan O'Neal's character. One thing I remember about working with Richard Brooks on FEVER PITCH was that he used to always yell at the extras. He used to say, "These young people...They don't listen!" It was interesting because it was like he had picked up on the start of the techno age and how technology has changed our culture today. There were some hairy moments on the set of FEVER PITCH, but he liked me and he like Ryan O'Neal.
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Catherine Hicks looks back at her Emmy nominated performance as Marilyn Monroe in 1980's Marilyn: The Untold Story
Emmy nominated actress Catherine Hicks talks with TV STORE ONLINE about her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the 1980 telefilm MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY. The film is based on a best seller by Norman Mailer.
TV STORE ONLINE: In doing some research and watching some interviews online with you....Why do people only seem to be familiar with three pieces of work that you've done over your career? People only ever talk to you about CHILD'S PLAY (1988), STAR TREK 4 (1986), or the television series Seventh Heaven (1996-2007)? No one talks about your stunning work in MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY (1980) or the Richard Brooks film FEVER PITCH (1985)?
HICKS: Well, when everything is said and done, the horror, sci-fi, and family show stick out because they have some what of a fan base for them. MARILYN is available on YouTube, but I don't think it's available on DVD currently. So maybe that's why I don't get asked about it when I go out to these movie conventions to meet fans.
TV STORE ONLINE: I found a quote where a writer called you, "The Donna Reed of the new millennium..." I love this analogy...laughing
HICKS: Laughing...I'll take it! I play both those extremes. I can play a sexy dumb blond and I can play a nice clean cut mom.
TV STORE ONLINE: So let's talk about MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY...You're so incredible in that role, and it wasn't your first time playing Marilyn was it? You had done the Arthur Miller play After The Fall and also Bus Stop on the stage while you were in college, no?
HICKS: The part of my story that is the most interesting is that while I was in college I wasn't interested in acting in the theater. While I was in school I was studying English and Theology. My epiphany happened later. I timidly went to the theater one day while I was an undergraduate at Notre Dame. I just went in to audition for like one of twelve squid tentacles. That's all you could do there because of all the theater majors. When I decided to purse acting I ended up going and studying at Cornell University, and after I graduated, that's when I did After The Fall. We did it up in a rep company up in Ithaca, New York.
Cornell wasn't like Yale Drama School where there's a lot of polish of exterior styles. We did major interior work. We were working in Stanislavski and Grotowski. It was a very different approach to theater. We were studying theater that rocks the world of those that see it. Theater should go to the core of everyone that is experiencing it. We prepared After The Fall for a year before we performed it, and the performance was on campus and it was only for two weekends. But, all of that deep preparation for Maggie was still inside of me when I got on a bus with my head shots and headed for New York City. I wanted to be on Broadway.
There was a former theater student from the program at Cornell that saw me in After The Fall and liked what I had done, and he helped me get an agent. So not long after getting to the city, I booked three national television commercials and I was hired onto the soap opera Ryan's Hope (1975-89).
TV STORE ONLINE: How did MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY come to you?
HICKS: Marilyn, again, was still inside of me from doing After The Fall. I think that she's still inside of me all these years later as well. When I think about her, I'm never thinking that its an adoration of a great movie star, but that she's my dead older sister. I felt then, and still do, that I have to act as a sort of Defense Attorney on her behalf so that her story can be told, and that the facts aren't twisted. When I first moved to New York I started researching her too. I would ask people if they ever knew her. I can remember, I got into a cab one day and I asked the cab driver if he had ever had Marilyn Monroe in his cab, and he slammed the brakes on and said, "I grew up next door to Arthur Miller!" Then, after about a year in New York I finally got to Broadway. I was cast in a play and Jack Lemmon was in the play as well. So I would talk to Jack Lemmon about working with Marilyn. I was just always gathering, gathering, gathering information about her. After the play was over, Jack Lemmon had told me that if I wanted to continue climbing the ladder that I should move out to Los Angeles. I didn't want to though.
I wanted to stay in New York and climb the ladder on Broadway. Then I got a call from my agent and they wanted me to go out to Los Angeles and audition for a television series, in which Jack Warden was a part of. So I went out to do that, and I got the part. I went back to New York to start packing up my apartment and I heard about a casting call in which a producer was looking for someone to play Marilyn Monroe. The project hadn't been announced yet though. So I moved out to Los Angeles, and I was living alone at the time in the Hollywood Hills. This was the late '70s at the time and it wasn't totally developed out, so I can remember just walking alone at night through the hills and just thinking about how spooky it was, and about a chorus of all the dead blondes that Hollywood had devoured. Then I thought about how Marilyn Monroe grew up in Hollywood.
Then the project was announced, and I just knew that I had to get that role. I didn't think that anyone could play Marilyn but me. I just felt as if I knew her so well because of all my research and because of After The Fall. Arthur Miller had exposed so much about her in that play. I went in to audition, and there were two hundred blondes waiting to be seen. I went across the hall and sat alone for hours in a business office and I waited until all of them had gone home. Then I went in and saw John Flynn and Larry Schiller (Directors: MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY), and I knew it was mine to get. I went in and read and I had my Frederick's of Hollywood bra on that day too...laughing I just felt it in my core that I knew who she was.
TV STORE ONLINE: Larry Schiller was a photographer who knew Marilyn Monroe, and of course, Schiller worked closely with writer Norman Mailer, and they collaborated on two books on Monroe, one of which was used as the basis for the screenplay for MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY...Did you read those books prior or after getting cast as Marilyn?
HICKS: I did. I had read them, but I'm not sure if it was when I was still living with my parents in Arizona or after I had left home. My parents had moved there from the East Coast originally for health reasons. And Norman's coffee table book with all of those pictures inside...I just internalized them all. Growing up in Arizona was very lonely for me. We moved there and we lived out in the middle of nowhere. I remember when I was a little girl in Arizona, my grandmother came to visit us and there was a parade. It was this little western parade and Marilyn was in it. Because she was there at the time shooting BUS STOP (1956), and I can clearly remember the day she died, I can remember seeing RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954) for the first time. I just knew who she was, but I never played her as a sex bomb, I played her as a lonely little girl, because that is what she was, and that's what I was too..
Arizona was very lonely for me growing up there, and even when I first moved out to Los Angeles and was living alone as I mentioned, that was a lonely time in my life too. Hollywood can be a lonely place. We both had that loneliness in common.
TV STORE ONLINE: Those Mailer/Schiller books on Marilyn Monroe are my favorite volumes about her...There is that saying, "Men wanted her, and Women wanted to be her..." But it seems to go beyond that, doesn't it? There's something organic about it, something metaphysical? What do you think it is about her all of these years later that still has us so fascinated and captivated by that Marilyn Monroe mystique?
HICKS: I think it's that little lonely seven-year-old girl. She was abandoned and she was alone. Her mother was taken off to an insane asylum. She was frozen in time at age seven. That's why she always had that little girls voice. Women want to help her and women want to protect her. Men wanted her, and yes, she was sexy. Vulnerability is sexy. I think men also wanted to protect her too.
TV STORE ONLINE: Seeing all of her films....Do you think that she truly was a great dramatic actress? Many wouldn't consider her such...
HICKS: Well, I think she's a great comedienne. I love BUS STOP and I love THE MISFITS (1960). THE MISFITS...is really the brilliance of Arthur Miller. He was around those three actors, and what he was really writing for them wasn't a film, but their eulogies. Those three actors were all wounded birds and they would all pass away not long after they shot that film. It was a pre-death gathering, and they were all doomed and they were all dying. It's an amazing film for that reason. She did method work as an actress...Yet she was naive enough to be just who she was. She had the courage to be simple and herself. She also, sort of perfected a persona that she created. All of those Marilyn-isms....I think a lot of actors do those types of things today. In order for someone to be a movie star, the audience needs to be addicted to that movie stars mannerisms and want more. Most movie stars do about five things, and we all love those five things. Underneath that all, you could see a glimpse of her loneliness in every role she played.
TV STORE ONLINE: That's interesting...In my notes here...I've written about your performance in MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY, "Catherine Hicks as Marilyn is extremely naive and she radiates this incredible energy within the frame..." How did you find that naive aspect of her? Is that stuff just all part of working in sense memory?
HICKS: Not really...You just go to your inner child. You remember how to look at the world magically. That's Marilyn.
TV STORE ONLINE: What's your process in creating her visually? Does the costume or the haircut assist you a great deal in bringing her to life?
HICKS: I think so. I remember at the time that I was going to addition for Marilyn, I had a friend who said, "Oh Catherine. You're not doughy enough." I thought to myself, "Well, I was a fat little girl. I can gain weight in five days." So I gained some weight. I always thought that there was a special liquid-ness to Marilyn. I liked playing Marilyn because it allowed me to turn my head off.
TV STORE ONLINE: MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY had three directors that worked on the film. There was Larry Schiller and then Director Jack Arnold of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) fame....
HICKS: Right, and John Flynn too. When I went in for my first audition I met with John Flynn. He had seen that television series I had done with Jack Warden. When I went in for him, I did that sort of Marilyn lip quiver that she does at times. I think Flynn left the project not longer after that, and that's when Larry Schiller brought on Jack Arnold to work on the film. He was a great director. Larry Schiller was the producer and he was really at the helm of the project. I had to audition three times to get the role, and it was with Larry on my third audition that I got the part, because I had gone in to see him and I was playing a scene and I was on the floor acting because I felt comfortable there, and he gave me the role then because he said that that was something that Marilyn always did too.
TV STORE ONLINE: Considering that MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY is based on Schiller and Mailer's book Marilyn...Did Norman Mailer ever visit the set to watch you as Marilyn Monroe?
HICKS: No, he didn't. I did hear from Larry that Norman liked my Marilyn. His only criticism was that I didn't make her "smelly" enough. He said, that we made her an angel and that she could also be smelly and stay in bed for days, and she was the kind of girl who would eat spaghetti in bed and stain the sheets...laughing
TV STORE ONLINE: Being the massive admirer of Marilyn Monroe that you were and still are today...Did it ever feel surreal recreating some of those important moments in her life and some of those scenes from her films? What about recreating the famous dress scene in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955) in the film? I feel like I read somewhere that Schiller and crew actually had that massive Marilyn billboard recreated and put up in New York City....
HICKS: Yes, they did! It was great, but again, I really felt as if I was playing her Defense Attorney in a way...Throughout the entire shoot...I was committed to getting people to understand her lonely and misjudged and overlooked path. I was really on a mission. Her story is really a tragedy. That's the one thing I learned from being in After The Fall. She didn't have to die. She could've stopped acting. When she married Joe DiMaggio, he wanted her to stop acting. Arthur Miller abandoned her. She was abandoned her entire life. These men were threatened by her rising star.
TV STORE ONLINE: What about shooting the portion of the sequence where her dress is being blow up into the air?
HICKS: DiMaggio really told her during that to, "Put your dress down!" We shot it, and then Larry brought in a body double to do some more risque shots for that for the European release of the movie. I think that both Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller really could've tried harder to make their relationships with Marilyn work. I think they were jealous of her fame and how much she was loved by her public. It really takes an infinite amount of love to fill an empty heart and that is why she just couldn't give any of it up.
TV STORE ONLINE: Marilyn was never taken seriously by most in Hollywood, and then there are actresses today that get type cast based on a previous role of because of how they look. It seems as if Hollywood hasn't changed since Marilyn's time....As a young up-and-coming actress yourself at the time of MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY did you ever experience any of that bias or typecasting in your own career after you played Marilyn?
HICKS: I didn't really. When I started out I was always given smart roles. I was given to playing doctors or lawyers. I was well trained, and I wasn't given sex bomb roles. I was never asked to sleep with anyone to get a role. Feminism had happened, so it was a different world in a way. With Marilyn, I'm sure there was some of that going on. She was an abandoned child and that's why people wanted her. Yet, there was probably a trade off too. I'm sure she slept with people and in turn got a role out of it, but I don't think she saw it that way wholly either. I'm sure she did it because she felt loved too. She needed that. I don't think she worked her way up the ladder in an icky way, I think she did in a lonely way.
TV STORE ONLINE: In all of your MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY research you did....In the process of playing her in the film...Do you think that you learned anything about Marilyn that you hadn't known or understood before about her?
HICKS: Well, Alan "Whitey" Snyder was my make-up artist on the film, and he was Marilyn's make-up man and friend for many many years. I tried not to ask him any questions about her, but I'd ask little things that I thought would help me get through a particular days work. He'd hint at things though, I learned through him that Joe DiMaggio was threatened by her success because his own career was over in baseball. I heard many stories about how Arthur Miller would leave her alone often. People would come out of the woodwork and tell me things about her too. I learned a lot about her from just being in the Hollywood Hills and being alone and lonely. When I played Marilyn in After The Fall I didn't know Hollywood, and when I moved out to Hollywood I was very lonely. I didn't have any friends for the first couple years after I had moved out here. I remember, I took my driver to the MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY wrap party. I even befriended a story owner and I'd go in and see him at night and talk with him for hours just so that I didn't have to go home and be alone at night. I think I really learned profound loneliness from being out here and in playing her.
TV STORE ONLINE: One of the great scenes in MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY is that sequence where Marilyn is placed in the insane asylum and she's just covered in sweat...
HICKS: Right. I think we shot that on a sound stage. That's all a part of After The Fall too. It was all about her channeling her mother. I think at that point the character had taken over and I was just allowing her to come through. I think that scene had its own life, and I'm not sure how much of that was even me. That's when acting becomes something truly wonderful but frightening.
TV STORE ONLINE: What about that incredible moment with Marilyn down in the subway in New York City where she befriends that police officer? Marilyn looks at him and says, "Will you just talk to me?"
HICKS: Wow, I had forgotten about that scene. That was just me being lonely. It's funny...Growing up in Arizona, I felt so alone because we were in the middle of nowhere and there was no social community or anything like that. I would say that line to people back then! Even today, and I have a husband and a daughter, I'll say that. I'm always looking for a good friend...laughing
TV STORE ONLINE: Then what about that scene where Marilyn is drinking out on the rooftop in New York City and has that imaginary argument with Joe DiMaggio where she says, "I don't know how to be a wife for you!" That's just some incredible work...
HICKS: Thanks. I don't know where that came from. That same friend of mine who told me originally that I wasn't "doughy" enough to play Marilyn...I've never forget something she said, "It's in your heart Cath..Don't worry." In a way, I didn't do anything. I just let myself go and let it fly.
Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung
Watch MARILYN: THE UNTOLD STORY (1980) on YouTube HERE:
by: TV Store Online 0 Comments