Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Son Jeff Buchanan on Father Larry Buchanan's Marilyn Monroe late period films

 Son of cult filmmaker Larry Buchanan, Jeff Buchanan, talks with TV STORE ONLINE about Larry Buchanan's late period films about Marilyn Monroe...

TV STORE ONLINE:  Where did the idea come from for Larry to do a remake of his own GOODBYE NORMA JEAN (1976) as GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN (1989)?

JEFF BUCHANAN:  Well, he had a bunch of outtakes in his possession from NORMA JEAN.  My dad was a big conspiracy theorist.  He was always reading about conspiracy theories associated with Marilyn Monroe to Jimi Hendrix to John F. Kennedy.   That's how DOWN ON US (1989) came about more or less as well...  Someone actually wrote an article about the possibility of Marilyn Monroe being killed via a suppository and how it couldn't be picked up via an autopsy.  This was after GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN.  I thought that it was just one of my Dad's wild ideas at the time that we were making the film....  My dad had a loose connection with a guy named Mark Felt at one time.  Mark Felt was very high up in the F.B.I...  My dad came to me once and said, "I have a funny feeling that Mark Felt was Deep Throat...."   Yet again, I thought that it was just another one of my dad's funny ideas, but then my dad passed away and not long after that--Mark Felt went public and told everyone that he was in fact "Deep Throat" during the Watergate scandal.  

When my dad made DOWN ON US aka BEYOND THE DOORS (1989), he theorized that it was Richard Nixon who had Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin silenced.   Nixon called them "The Pied-Pipers Of Rock-N-Roll"...  My dad theorized that Nixon had them silenced out of fear that Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin could have influenced the vote because they had just lowered the voting age to eighteen-years-old.   

Again, I thought that this was just one of my dad's wild ideas.  Then they released the Nixon files to the public and inside his papers were something like eighteen-thousand pages dedicated to Hendrix alone.    

My dad had always been fascinated with Marilyn Monroe; her stardom, her celebrity,  and her death-- years prior when he was in Texas he had met a guy who he referred to as "Mesquite".  I don't know what the gentleman's real name was, but it's my understanding--and it's the way that it happens in dad's film--the death of Marilyn was a mercy killing.  Marilyn was afraid of going nuts as her mother had.  My dad--in typical Larry Buchanan fashion--thought, "Okay, I have these outtakes..Let's do a wrap-around."  Basically he scripted out the contemporary scenes and we shot for a few weeks with Paula Lane, and then he went to work and edited in his outtakes from GOODBYE NORMA JEAN.   

TV STORE ONLINE:   Do you think that Larry considered the "Mesquite" character in GOODBYE NORMA JEAN as a metaphor for death itself?   It's interesting...During  the final season of the NBC television series Quantum Leap--they did a very similar story line with their take on the Marilyn Monroe/Mesquite relationship....Suggesting a relationship that Marilyn had with her supposed bodyguard/close confident in the final days of her life....

BUCHANAN:   Well dad had actually met this "Mesquite" guy in person.  My dad was always really great about not revealing his sources.  He didn't even tell me who the guy was.   But he had gotten enough information from this guy--where he went and started doing a lot of his own research on Monroe's death.  He looked at the autopsy results.  He read everything that he could get his hands on.   My dad was never up front with me regarding whether he actually believed the possibilities of the story for the film.  The same thing goes with my dad about his research and ideas into the Kennedy assassination.   I'm not sure that he saw the "Mesquite" character as a metaphor--as a sort of grim reaper, but again, he's not here-- but if he was--maybe he'd confer with you.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Going back to the Misty Rowe footage from GOODBYE NORMA JEAN (1976)...There's that line where Misty Rowe as Marilyn says, "Is it possible for a girl to want something so much that she'll die for it?"  Do you think that Larry supported that notion?  That Marilyn had this sort of unconscious desire for immortality?

BUCHANAN:  That's a tough question.   I think that my dad felt for Marilyn Monroe.  I think he understood her.   The ironic thing about Marilyn Monroe is that she struggled for so long with the notion that she wanted to be taken seriously as an actress in Hollywood.  Then, THE MISFITS (1960) comes along for her and after that---she was considered a serious actress.   It doesn't seem like she knew what to do with that once she had obtained it.     My dad was always fascinated with the last few photo shoots that Marilyn Monroe did as well.  He used to say that he thought that by looking at those photos of yourself -- she understood that she was getting older.  My dad was so obsessed with making films, but at the same time he did it with such a light air.   He took a very Don Quixote approach to filmmaking.  He took the film medium very seriously, but when things didn't work out he'd just sort of laugh it off.    I think that he had an empathy for Marilyn.

TV STORE ONLINE:  How did you find Paula Lane for the film?

BUCHANAN:  Well, we were in Monterey at the time prepping the film, and someone told him about her.  He had been looking for look-a-likes.  He flew out to Las Vegas to see a show with her at a casino, because she did have a background as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator.  He came back and said, "We've found her!  We've found our Marilyn."   We brought her here and we shot with her for two weeks.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I've seen the photos that have been published over the years...The macabre photos of her bedroom where her body was found...The bedroom is impressively re-created in the film....

BUCHANAN:  The Art Director definitely studied those photos.   Her name was C. Cracko.   She took it all very seriously.  She found all the right curtains and that lamp.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I love the opening sequence in the film...Of Paula Lane singing into the camera wearing that white SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1952) Marilyn Monroe dress...The film has a dream like quality...Did Larry ever talk with you about visual approach to cinema?

BUCHANAN:   Not really.  On the films that I worked with him on I would try to push him to get more from his Director Of Photography or Art Director.   My dad knew about every aspect of film production.   It never ceased to amaze me.  Because my dad worked so fast.  He would take a Director Of Photography aside and said,"Look, I'm not trying to step on any toes..But we don't need this, or this, or this.  We just need to shoot at this f/stop from this angle."   And it always turned out exactly the way he had planned it.   

TV STORE ONLINE:   One of the more artistic choices in GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN is how the film is set across the 1950's and '60s, yet there is a use of '70s and '80s rock music throughout...

BUCHANAN:   He had funny instincts about his work.  I remember once there was a funeral scene that he was shooting in one of his earlier films and he put a rock-n-roll song in the background of the scene and a French critic saw it and said it was brilliant.   He never waxed philosophical about his films.  He went by instinct.  He did have very clear ideas on the nature of film editing.  He went into the editing of his films with very clear ideas.  He'd say, "Look, this isn't a film that we have to worry about box office receipts on..We can do whatever we want here..."  The music he used often times came out of his budget on his films.   The music that he used might not have been what he had really wanted to use per say, but he used certain music (s) because it was all he could afford on the budget.
My dad always had a list of ideas or films that he wanted to make--films that he could never get off the ground.   At the end of his life--his promise to me was that he was going to open up his shooting schedule and take some time to really work with the actors like he hadn't been able to prior.  I was asking him to take his time and set up a dolly shot that he had wanted to do but never really attempted before out of time restraints and budget.   I mean, almost all of his films were shot in two-three week periods.  Most of his films...They would shoot six pages a day on them!

TV STORE ONLINE:  The end sequence in GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN....There's that candid conversation and sex scene with Paula Lane as Marilyn and the masseuse....Lane as Marilyn says, "I'm the greatest sex symbol of all time...but no one has seen me on the screen in any of my films this intimately..."   Do you think that Larry approached his films with the understanding that there needed to be a mix of melodrama and exploitation?

BUCHANAN:  One thing that my dad was a fan of was the old movies from the '40s and the power of the screen kiss...He used to talk at times about some of the sex symbols of the '40s and '50s and how they had such an incredible sex appeal that it wasn't necessary for them to do any nude scenes. I think that he understood that the times that had changed but he approached it all with a certain class.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Do you think that Larry's first Marilyn film--GOODBYE NORMA JEAN--just came to fruition out of his fascination with her?

BUCHANAN:   Yes, I think so.  He talked about how he had met her a couple times during his early days in Hollywood.  He had met her when she wasn't yet the star that she became.   I got mad at my dad while he was shooting that film because I was in high school at the time and I was begging him to allow me to come and visit.  I  wanted to be a part of it and he wouldn't let me.  I don't have any stories about the production because I wasn't there for the shooting, but I remember that when it was finished my dad took the film to the Cannes Film Festival and screened it. It did very well there and Misty Rowe, who played Marilyn in the film, went with him and she walked up and down the Croisette dressed as Marilyn Monroe.   My mom went too that year, and she's told me since that the paparazzi was so enamored with Misty as Marilyn that they weren't paying attention to the big Hollywood stars that were there.

When GOODBYE NORMA JEAN came out...Playboy Magazine listed it as one of the worst films of 1976 and someone sent a copy of the issue to my dad.  He flipped to the mention and then threw it onto a coffee table.  I picked it up, read it and said, "Dad?  Doesn't this make you upset?"  He said, "Why would it make me upset?" I responded with, "Because they're saying that GOODBYE NORMA JEAN is one of the Ten Worst Films of the Year..."   He said, "Jeff, take a look at the other nine films in that list.  Each of those films were big Hollywood productions with major stars.  If they knew what we spent on our film--they would be embarrassed that they even looked at it..."    He always said that he made films for the budgets of the catering on any of those major Hollywood movies.   He thought that it was great that they were just talking about his film.
When Elton John released his song 'Goodbye Norma Jean'--it really helped the film.   But, interestingly, my dad had never picked the title for the film because of that song.   It was an interesting coincidence.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I love that "Wammo Ammo" musical montage that we see in variations in both GOODBYE NORMA JEAN and GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN...

BUCHANAN:  I know.  I believe that was shot by Nick von Sternberg, who was the son of Joseph von Sternberg...He shot a few films for my dad.

TV STORE ONLINE:    One of the things that I admire about both of Larry's Marilyn films...And maybe it's my sole observation...But when you watch either of the films--it seems like all of the actors with the exception of Misty Rowe as Marilyn look like one another.  It's as if Larry did that so the audience would get a unconscious message that Marilyn was so much of a beauty that she eclipsed all others around her...

BUCHANAN:  It's a interesting observation..If my dad was here--he'd tell you if he intended that or not.   He was so sly about those types of things...  You never knew if he was pulling your leg or not.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What was Larry's approach to casting?   He seemed to have a stable of actors that he liked to work with...

BUCHANAN:  Certainly.  He liked to work with Stuart Lancaster and Garth Pillsbury of Russ Meyer infamy...He would go out to see actors in plays hoping to find new talent.   With GOODBYE NORMA JEAN--the hunt for Marilyn was long.  My dad agonized over it.  I think they even held a beauty pageant in a attempt to find someone to play Marilyn.  I can't remember exactly how Misty Rowe came to my dad's attention---but I do remember that he was at the same time--talking to another actress as well.    My dad used to joke that if you walked through the front door you were pretty much cast in one of his movies... He just had that sensibility about him.

I remember, I helped my dad edit STRAWBERRIES NEED RAIN (1970) together.   He came back from shooting the film in Texas and we blacked out all of the windows in the house and we put a Movieola in the living room and we started cutting the film together.   We always worked that way.  

Growing up, I thought that this was how you made movies.  I didn't know as a kid that there were editing facilities. I didn't know that there were places you could go to record Foley effects.  My dad and I would just go out into the garage with a list of sounds that we needed to re-produce and record.   They didn't always sound the best but they worked. Sometimes they worked better than any of the Foley effects you'd hear in big budget films.  Someone once said of my dad's films, "Larry Buchanan's films are so bad that a kind of grandeur seeps into them..."  It's kind of true.  People would be alarmed if they knew some of the budgets that my dad had to work with.   

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung

Thursday, September 25, 2014

INTERVIEW: Hargus 'Pig' Robbins on Bob Dylan and Blonde On Blonde

Country Western Hall Of Fame musician Hargus 'Pig' Robbins talks with TV STORE ONLINE about recording with Patsy Cline, Charlie Rich and playing piano on Bob Dylan's 1966 masterpiece Blonde On Blonde.

You've heard 'Pig' Robbins play the piano.  There is no question about it.   As a Hall of Fame musician, Robbins has played with the likes of George Jones, Ween, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Neil Young, The Everly Brothers, Ray Charles and Kenny Rogers.   In addition, Robbins had his own music career too, recording music in the late '50s under the name 'Mel Robbins' before releasing a handful of studio albums in the '60s and '70s.  Having had a highly prolific career since starting out on the piano at age seven-learning to play by ear-one must forgive Robbin's memory of the day-by-day events during the recording of Dylan's Blonde On Blonde.

Columbia Music Row Studios in Nashville, TN (2013) where Dylan
and a assembly of studio musicians recorded 
Blonde On Blonde in Feb. of 1966
TV STORE ONLINE:  Before we start talking about Bob Dylan I was hoping that I could get you to talk about your 1959 single 'Save it' that you recorded under the name "Mel Robbins" for Argo Records?

ROBBINS:   Well, that quite a long time ago and I was very hungry.  It was a rockabilly record I did that ended up at Argo which was owned in some way by Leonard Chess of Chess Records fame.   I wrote the song with Mary Biggs, and Mary and I and her husband had been writing songs together.   I don't think that the record ever did anything in the States but it was a fairly big hit over in England at the time it was released.

TV STORE ONLINE:   No doubt you've heard the cover of Save It was done in the early '80s by the band The Cramps?

No, I haven't actually.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Why did you decide to record the song under the name Mel Robbins and not under your given name?

ROBBINS:  I wish I could tell you...(Laughing)    Probably because no-one would remember the name Hargus...(Laughing)

TV STORE ONLINE:  I'm such a huge admirer of another record you played on-one that was recorded in the mid '70s- Charlie Rich's Behind Closed Doors...

ROBBINS:  Right, well, Charlie was a hell of a piano player himself.   Getting the opportunity for me to play with Charlie really gave me a pucker.  If you catch my drift.    I was nervous as hell.   He was standing right behind me at the microphone while I was there playing the piano on that title song.  It was something else.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Did you only play on Behind Closed Doors or did you play on some of the other cuts on that LP?  Did you play on 'The Most Beautiful Girl" or "Peace On You"?

  I played on The Most Beautiful Girl and 'Very Special Love Song' on another one of his albums.   I played on 'On My Knees', and 'Rollin' With The Flow' as well...I did a whole bunch of sessions with Charlie.

TV STORE ONLINE:  You worked with Patsy Cline as well as a session player...What did you record with her?

ROBBINS: I played piano on 'I Fall To Pieces' with Patsy.   I was also on 'If You Got Leavin' On Your Mind.'  

TV STORE ONLINE:   So what can you tell me about working with Bob Dylan on Blonde On Blonde (Columbia; 1965)?   I'm dying to hear your stories....

  Well, it was so long ago that I don't remember everything that happened there.  What sticks out in my mind...I'm primarily a country player.  Back in the mid '60s, country songs were 2 minutes and 30 seconds long, if you had a song that was over 3 minutes-that was a long song.  When Dylan came into the studio with a 7 or 12 minute song-it completely blew my mind.

TV STORE ONLINE:  You were a seasoned studio musician in Nashville by the mid '60s...
[Producer] Jerry Kennedy at a point exclaimed you as the "backbone of Nashville'....

ROBBINS:  I'd been around a while...I had been working for about 8 years by then.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Where you familiar with Dylan's music by that time?  Had you met him prior to working with him on Blonde on Blonde?

ROBBINS:  A little.  There had been some Country & Western artists that had covered a few of his songs.  Flatt & Scruggs had covered him.   I had heard his name around but I hadn't met him prior to him coming into the studio.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What was your first impressions of Dylan when you met him?

ROBBINS:  I thought he was an oddity.   The studio would book sessions for him for 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. at night.  Back then, there were four studio sessions that you would work on any day.  Usually you'd go in at 10 a.m. and work till 1 p.m., then take a break, then go from 2 p.m.-5 p.m., 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and then 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.   We were all used to being there on time and you'd show up and you'd get started.    Any of the country boys that would come in would be ready to start recording, but with Dylan...he would come in at 10 p.m., and say, "Alright boys...I need to finish this song, or I need to start writing this song tonight..."   So, instead of playing we'd end up walking around the hallway of the studio or we'd play a game of cards until Dylan was ready to record.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  You were the only piano player on the Nashville sessions for Blonde On Blonde correct?

ROBBINS:  That's right, but Al Kooper was there in Nashville to play the organ with us.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I've read that [Blonde On Blonde Producer] Bob Johnson made a decision to remove the studio baffles during the sessions for Blonde On Blonde so that specific instruments would leak into the recording of others, which, in turn, produced the sound that the record has today?

You know I have a vague memory of that know.   I don't recall specifically at what point that would have been done, and I can only tell you that I played on "Rainy Day Women" and a few others on Blonde On Blonde...

TV STORE ONLINE:  What can you tell me about the recording of Rainy Day Women 12 & 35?

ROBBINS:  That's the only song I can remember recording in detail with Dylan! (Laughing)   I remember it because it was a commercial hit on the radio.  Dylan had wanted the sound to be similar to that of a Salvation Army Band on that.   I can't even remember all of the musicians that played on that with us now.   Dylan had instructed us to start to hooting and hollering during the recording as well..

TV STORE ONLINE:  There is a genuine feeling of that on the record...Especially when Dylan starts to laugh in the middle of his vocal...It doesn't sound produced or rehearsed...

ROBBINS:  It wasn't.  Everyone was cutting up on that.   None of us on that were used to doing that sort of thing in the studio.   It was really fun.

TV STORE ONLINE:  And certain substances were traveling around the studio that night during the recording of Rainy Day Women 12 & 35?

ROBBINS:  (Laughing)  Well....I would say so, yes.

TV STORE ONLINE:   So everybody was getting stoned!

ROBBINS:  Well, let's just say that everybody was feelin' good! (Laughing)

TV STORE ONLINE:  Do you think that by recording Blonde On Blonde in Nashville, Dylan helped to change how the music business looked at Nashville as a hub?

ROBBINS:  I sure do.  It changed everything because after Dylan came there others followed.  Simon & Garfunkel came to record. Leonard Cohen.  Peter, Paul & Mary came.  There were so many others that followed.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Do you think that Nashville had an influence on Dylan and Blonde and Blonde?

ROBBINS:  I think so.  I'd say that our mark is certainly on that album.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Is it surprising to you that after 50 years people are still asking you about your work on Blonde On Blonde with Bob Dylan?

ROBBINS:  I am.  I don't know why it's so captivating to people like yourself, I don't know if its because of how people grew up in that era and listened to the music, but I'm certainly pleased to have been a part of it.

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY INTERVIEW SERIES: Andrew Birkin (Part One)

Screenwriter Andrew Birkin (The Name Of The Rose, Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer) talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his start working with Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, NAPOLEON as well as with The Beatles.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I know that we'll get into great depths talking about your experiences working on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) eventually, but I wanted to start this by talking with you about working with Stanley on NAPOLEON, but also about working with The Beatles on their telefilm MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (1967).    A rumor has been floating around for years that the 'Flying' sequence in MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR was created out of outtakes from the Stargate sequence from 2001...

BIRKIN: Oh, that is certainly not true.   The method that was used to create the Stargate wasn't by then a secret by any means. It wasn't like MGM could've copyrighted the process.   MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR...Half of that film-believe it or not-was shot on 16mm reversal film.  When we would look at rushes in the hotel in the evening I would load up the 16mm projector.  One evening, I noticed that the film that they gave me was the actual negative!   I said, "This isn't a print?"  We shot the film with a very amateur crew.   Ringo [Starr] said, "No, that is the film that went through the camera. Why?  Does it matter?"  I said, "Ringo, if we put this through the projector it will scratch it."   That footage that was shot for 'Flying' wasn't even done in the same process that was used in 2001.    I'm in MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR by the way...I did the stunt driving in George Harrison's car!

TV STORE ONLINE:  Were you around on MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR when they shot that fantasy sequence where John Lennon is shoveling the spaghetti on the table in the restaurant?

BIRKIN:  I was!  I was around for the entire shoot.     The only reason why I was working on the film was because it was only supposed to be a home movie.  Paul [McCartney] had the idea that they could shoot it and then put it on the BBC.  In those days, if you had something that aired on national television it had to be shot by a union crew.   But, they didn't want to spend the money to bring in an actual professional crew.  So they found people like me, and by that time I had just gotten my union ticket and I was rather laughably given the title of Assistant Director.   I, myself, along with the others that worked on the film were more or less paid amateurs.  And my name is spelled wrong in the credits of MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR! (Laughing)

I say that I was rather laughably the Assistant Director because there were four directors on MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR.   You couldn't get anything decided on because you'd have to confer with Paul, and in turn, he'd defer to John.   To talk to John you'd have to get in a car and drive across an airfield where he was in his psychedelic Rolls Royce.  You'd open the door and you'd be knocked backward by the smoke that would come bellowing out.  You'd get in the car and he's say, "Let's have a toke."  I'd say, "We'd like to know what you'd like to do next.  We have people waiting."  He said, "Oh, I don't know.  What do you think?  What does Paul think?  What does George think?"   So then you'd go out to find George and he'd be off somewhere in deep meditation.   It was actually Ringo who took the most interest in the project.  He had, by that time developed an interest in 16mm film and he was shooting his own home movies of it all, and when it came down to it, you'd have to confer with him.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So did you finish work on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and then go directly onto work with Stanley on NAPOLEON?

BIRKIN:  No, there was a bit of a gap in between.   After I had finished working on 2001 I went off to Almeria, Spain to do a picture with Michael Caine.   When I got back was about the time that 2001 had hit theaters.   Just shortly after that Stanley called me and he said, "Can you come out to the studio? I'd like to speak with you about working on my next project."  I said, "What's the next project Stanley?"  He said, "Well, I'd rather not say over the telephone." Stanley liked the idea of having bugs on people and so he thought that if he could bug people then they could certainly bug him, so he insisted that I come out to see him at the studio.  So there I was, in my car and driving a road that I had driven so many times prior.   He was in the same old building and in the same old office at MGM that I had left him at many months prior.   It was a Saturday afternoon, I remember going up to his office and he was all alone there.  I went in and he was sitting there reading all of these letters that children had written him about 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.  These were his favorite letters too.   Stanley felt that children had a better handle on the movie than most adults did.  

The greatest cut in cinema history is in 2001.  It's where the bone goes up in the air and then there is a cut to a bomb.   So many adults didn't get that about the film.  There was a narration that was recorded that was intended to open the film originally but it was cut before the film was released.   It explained a great many things and one of which was how all of these different countries had bombs up in orbit at the same time.  

Stanley told me that children had picked up on this, and that many of adults hadn't actually.

I had told Stanley about how I had just come back from Almeria, and that I had gone to see 2001 and he said, "Oh, you saw it?   Let me apologize to you for not having a credit for you in the film..."  He then went on to tell me about how he was only allowed to give a credit for those that had it in their contracts.  I truthfully had never expected a credit on the film in the first place because I had been a sort of jack of all trades during the production.    He then borrowed one of my cigarettes and said, "You want to know what my next project is?   What do you know about Napoleon?"

I knew a bit about the French Revolution.   I knew a bit about Napoleon.  He said, "I think this is my one chance to make this.  I've always been fascinated by him.   I don't have a script or anything yet, but I want to make this film."   I said, "Okay, what do you want me to do?"    He said, "Well, the front projection system that we used on 2001 worked really well so I'd like to do pretty much the same thing for NAPOLEON. "  He wanted to build foreground sets and he wanted me to go to every place where Napoleon had gone and photograph it just as I had done for him in Africa for the Dawn Of Man sequence in 2001.    He wanted me to visit all of the palaces and battlefields of Napoleon and that would be the beginning of it.  He said, "If you come across anything interesting or if you come across any manuscripts or rare books on him-buy them up on MGM's account and send them to me." 

May of 1968 in Paris, France.
That's what I did.   I took a brief two week holiday and at the end of May 1968 I went to Paris. I landed right in the middle of the student uprisings that were occurring.    At night, I was not marching with the students, but I would position myself halfway between the police and the students.   I became a sort of war correspondent.  I told Stanley about the uprising in Paris and he sent me a memo back that said: "Don't forget, you're there to take photographs of things from two-hundred years ago, not of things that are happening today."  (Laughing)

TV STORE ONLINE:  What were some of the palaces that you took photographs of?

BIRKIN:   Well, I had to make a rubber MGM stamp first.  Because I was trying to get into places like Versailles and Fontainebleau when they weren't open to the public.   There I was this twenty-two year old kid, who was asking to photograph these places and I'd get the door shut in my face.  So I designed a rubber stamp that read "MGM NAPOLEON" while I was in Paris. No one was taking any of my requests seriously, but these were pretty audacious inquires after all.   I had to go into these palaces and roll back the carpets and take down the signs there to try to make it look like it had when Napoleon had been there years before.    The French are suckers for rubber stamps, so I made that and it really helped me to get my foot into the door to get the photographs that Stanley had wanted. 

Napoleon's throne room at Versailles today
Another job I did for Stanley while I was in Paris was to organize the Paris premiere of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.  The film had come out in America by that time of course, and in England, but it hadn't yet made its way to other European countries.    I was tasked to invite the right people to the premiere.  I had to make sure the print was alright.  I had to check over the projector at the theater.  

When I went to do that, I discovered that the projector wasn't working correctly.  It was shuddering a bit, there was something wrong with the gate.   So I fired off a note to Stanley and he had a Cinerama expert come to Paris to correct it.  The local MGM representative in Paris was outraged.  He said, "No one will ever notice it!"  I said, "Stanley would notice, and I'm here as his eyes and ears."  I was so fuckin' precocious back then...(Laughing)

I've estimated that I saw 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY almost a hundred times theatrically in that year.  I saw it as an admirer of the film. I took friends to it.  I saw it at the test screenings at MGM.  I saw it at the Paris premiere. I saw it on LSD and mushrooms even...(Laughing)  I haven't even seen the films that I've made myself as a director that many times! (Laughing)  The first time I saw 2001 when it was released, I was in tears.   I was aware of how the film was to end on paper when we were working on it, but I had no idea that it would turn out the way it did.  When I was working on the film I had a notion that 2001 was going to be the greatest film ever made, and it turned out that I was right about that.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Did you photograph the bathrooms of the palaces for Stanley?

BIRKIN: (Laughing)  After I finished at Fontainebleau and sent all of the photographs aoff to Stanley he sent me a note that read: where's the bathroom?    So I went back to Fontainebleu to take some more photographs and when I arrived I asked the curator where the bath was and he said, "I don't know.  I supposed it was taken out in Napoleon III's day?"   I said, "Well, where is the pipe-work?"  He went on to show me some of the pipe-work out in a tool shed.  We followed the pipes from the tool shed back into the house and it seemed to lead into the flooring and you could see that something was underneath.  The curator said, "Leave it with me. I have to get permission."  About a week later, they pulled up some of the floorboards and underneath was a bathroom which had apparently sunken down.  No one would know where that was today had it not been for Stanley's inquisitiveness. 
I was smoking back then and when I would take a photograph of something I would use a cigarette pack and hold it up as a comparison to show Stanley the size of whatever I was photographing.  I did that often, and when I photographed Napoleon's wedding ring I was allowed to put it on my own finger to photograph it.     

TV STORE ONLINE:  What type of cameras did you take with you to shoot the photos for Stanley?

BIRKIN:   I was sent off with three Pentax cameras, a typewriter, a compass, some maps,  and Stanley's own copy of Felix Markham's biography of Napoleon which he lent me and it contained all of his personal notes in it.   

TV STORE ONLINE:  Markham's book on Napoleon was THE book for him wasn't it concerning Napoleon?

BIRKIN:  Well, he bought the rights to it.   When one is doing a historical drama you need to have the rights to at least one book on your subject even if you don't use it.    He had written notes all throughout the margin of his copy.   I gave him his copy back later on, but I remember there was a scene in the book with Napoleon and Josephine.   It was to take place the night before Napoleon's coronation-where he crowned himself Emperor?    It was a sham.  Napoleon didn't want to crown himself Emperor. But he was advised to do such because if he had not, no one would have taken him as seriously.   With that in mind, they were asked to be left with the orb and scepter on the night before.    In the margin, Stanley wrote: "great scene."  I got the general idea from this because you couldn't help but to imagine a nude Napoleon and Josephine cavorting around with the crown jewels...(laughing)

When Stanley first asked me about Napoleon he had also asked, "Do you know about Betsy Balcombe?"  I said, "No, I do not."   He gave me this entire back story about how Napoleon had first come to stay with her and how she had fallen in love with him, and their relationship. The way that he told it almost brought tears to my eyes.    He was greatly interested in that relationship that she had with Napoleon, but it's not in the script for the film as we know it today.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Taschen Books put out a book about NAPOLEON a few years ago...

BIRKIN:  Right, yes, I have both copies of it.

TV STORE ONLINE:   So, do you think that Stanley's NAPOLEON is truly the greatest movie never made?

BIRKIN:  No, I do not.  I think that the scope of Napoleon would have been impossible even for Stanley.  I think that his script for NAPOLEON is wonderful, but there are certain elements in the life of Napoleon that one finds in relationship to themselves.   What Stanley's script essentially is is a microcosm of a macrocosm.   Napoleon was so multifaceted and charismatic and you see things in him that you see in yourself.   I think his script for Napoleon is every bit as much about Napoleon as it is about Stanley Kubrick himself.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Did you visit Italy for research for NAPOLEON?

BIRKIN:  I did.   I spent a lot of time in France then I went off to Italy.  I went basically everywhere he had gone and in particular I was instructed to go to places where everything was still in tact from the First Empire.   Meaning, that the furniture that Napoleon may have sat on would still be where it had been two-hundred years prior.   I went to Austria.  I went briefly to Romania, because Stanley had thought about going there to shoot the military stuff there.  When I was in Venice, I got a message to return back to England.   I decided to drive it and on the way back I drove through Belgium. I did that so I could stop and get some photos of the battlefield at Waterloo.   Plus Stanley liked for me to get him soil samples from the battlefields.  I had gotten him a sample of the soil at the battlefields in Italy.  

Stanley had thousands of books on Napoleon.  I know, because I bought many of them for him.   I took about 16,000 photographs for Stanley during the research for Napoleon.  Almost all of the photographs in the Taschen book on NAPOLEON were taken by me except for those with the actors in costume.

The night that I was in Waterloo...I went to an inn, a tavern, near the battlefield to stay the night.  I fell into talking with someone there at the bar.  He said, "Would you be interested in buying a copy of Napoleon's death mask?"  I said, "Do you really have one?"  He said, "Yes. It's a copy, but it's a very old one. It was made in the 1880's."   I bought it from him with my living allowance.   When I got back to England, I drove over to the studio.   I grabbed up everything and went inside and put everything down in a conference room.   Stanley came in and I said to him,"I've brought you a Christmas present."   I handed him a box with the death mask in it.  He opened it and the blood drained from his face.  He turned white.  He looked at me and said, "How did you know?"   I said, "What?"  He looked at me and said, "MGM has pulled the plug on NAPOLEON."  I hadn't known!  I knew that something was up because I had been asked to return to England, but I had no clue that that was the reason why!   Not long after, WATERLOO (1970) came, and that was pretty much that.

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Interview with Chris Welles Feder

 Daughter of the legendary filmmaker Orson Welles, Christopher Welles Feder talks with TV STORE ONLINE about her portrait of her father in her 2009 book In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles...

 TV STORE ONLINE:   You worked on your book In My Father's Shadow: A Daughter Remembers Orson Welles [Algonquin Books] for quite a few years before it was published...I was wondering if you ever experienced any disconnect as the writer of the book even though Orson was your father?

WELLES FEDER:   Well, I think I had to step back in a sense.  I couldn't have written this book when I was younger because I needed that time to gain some perspective on our relationship as well as his death.   It took me six years to write the book.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What is your first memory of Orson from when you were a kid?

WELLES FEDER:   I talk a bit about it in the very beginning of the book, and it's when my father put on a magic show in Hollywood for the troops.  At his own expense he put on a magic show to entertain some troops who were on their way over to the Pacific during World War II.  I was mesmerized by all of his magic tricks as a kid.

TV STORE ONLINE:  In your book you talk about the strong connection you felt between yourself and your father, yet there are a couple insinuations that are made by your mother and I think one of your childhood schoolteachers that your relationship with him was similar to that shared between two lovers...

WELLES FEDER:  (Laughing)  Before I talk about that, I was want to remind people that my book is about how I came out from my father's shadow and about the journey I took to come to terms with having such a famous parent and how I made a life and name for myself in my own right.  When I was a teenager, I just had this tremendous crush on my dad.  It wasn't like I actually grew up with him.  I only got to see him on  school vacations.   At that point, he was a very glamorous figure to me and I saw him for that through very romantic glasses.  He was just a romantic figure that dropped in and out of my life as I was growing up.  He wasn't around to take me to the dentist or to help me with my homework.  That was what people were picking up on about that.

TV STORE ONLINE:  One of the things that I like about the book is the inner dialogue you present the reader with...It's heartbreaking to read about the situation where you wanted desperately to be invited to live with your father full-time, yet you never spoke up to ask him if you could live with him...I was wondering if you never spoke up because of the possibility of being disappointed in his answer?

WELLES FEDER:   Yes, you're absolutely right.  Of course I wanted to ask him if I could, but it would have been impossible because he was living hand-to-mouth by then and he was living in hotels traveling around Europe trying to get his films made.  It would have been impossible for him to support me or anyone else at that time in his life.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Can you imagine living that way?

WELLES FEDER:  Well, his whole life was making movies.   That was his passion, that was what he lived for. I think he liked living in hotels.  He didn't have attachments to one place or to any people.   That's the way may creative people are.  They are focused only on their art.

TV STORE ONLINE:  The most heartbreaking and moving moment in the book is in the chapter where you reconnect with Orson for the first time after many years of not seeing him in Hong Kong...

WELLES FEDER:  I think that he had become even in private-Orson Welles by then.  There was Orson Welles-the man you saw on television-and then there was my father, the man in private.  We stopped talking to each other because there was a point where that Orson Welles, who you would see talking to a journalist on television, became the man who you saw in private.   I  think that period in his life was a very difficult time for him to maintain personal relationships.   It was difficult for me at the time to understand, but I've since come to terms with it all.

Actress Rita Hayworth (L) Chris Welles (C) Orson Welles (R)
TV STORE ONLINE:   The way your Mother acts...You try to explain it throughout the book,  but I was curious to see what aspects of your personality today do you think stem from her or from your father?

WELLES FEDER:  Well, I think I've modeled myself on my father much more. I've been told that I share some of his personality traits.  He was always upbeat.  He was always optimistic.  I've chosen to be a writer and to live a creative life.  He was my model and my inspiration.

TV STORE ONLINE:  If your parents were alive today....How do you think that they would've responded to your book?

WELLES FEDER:  I don't think either of them would be very pleased.  I was honest about who my mother was in the book.  She wasn't very kind to me.  I think she would have been offended by my honesty.  My father loved to re-invent himself, and how Dorothy pulled back the curtain on the Wizard in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), I think he would have been disconcerted because I show him the way he really was, when he liked to present himself as if he was his own invention.

TV STORE ONLINE:  In the book you mention how you discovered certain aspects of father through his work...I was wondering if you could talk a bit about that?

WELLES FEDER:  I think that when I began to discover his films, and discover the artistry in them...It helped me to make my peace with it all.    A kid, when they're growing up doesn't want a genius.  They want a father, and by discovering his films it really gave me peace, in that, while he couldn't be the father that I wanted him to be-he left these amazing treasures for the world.  It's very consoling.   I am very proud to be his daughter for that reason.

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung
In My Father's Shadow can be purchased via Amazon HERE.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


 Cinematographer Bryan Loftus (The Company Of Wolves, Siesta) talks with TV STORE ONLINE about getting his start with Stanley Kubrick on Dr. Strangelove (1964) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

TV STORE ONLINE:   Before we get into 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, I wanted to ask you quickly about your involvement in the 1970 documentary film THE BODY, which Pink Floyd's Roger Waters scored the music for...

LOFTUS:  Yes, right.   Well,  that was quite a long time ago.  I did all of the optics for the film.  It's part of post-production now, but back then it was a bunch of opticals and mattes for the camera.

TV STORE ONLINE:   So how did you come to work on 2001 with Kubrick?

LOFTUS:  Well, the basic reason was that...The first real work that I ever did in the film industry was on matte paintings.  Stuff like a painting of a landscape that you would put in around a castle and then re-photograph.    I had acquired experience working that way but with separation masters, which was when color film was broken down into three different layers of colors.  It was a good way of reproducing imagery because effectively you were working with black and white film as a result, and it would produce a very fine grain image.  Because of all of the special effects shots in 2001, Stanley had decided that he wanted to do the entire film via the separation process.  This detailed, taking a shot of the spaceship in 2001, and then adding a matte of the stars in behind it and then re-photographing it and adding other elements in as well and then re-photographing the entire thing all together.   He wanted to use the separation process because when you worked that way you could instantly be able to see in the shot if anything had gone wrong in the re-photographing when you put the YCM (Yellow, Cyan, Magenta) colors of the film back together again off of the negative. 

Geoffrey Unsworth (C) and Stanley Kubrick (R)
Stanley also liked working with younger people as well because they were more flexible than other more experienced technicians.  He used to like the fact that younger people wouldn't tell him if something couldn't be done because they effectively didn't know it couldn't be done because they had never tried it. 

Every shot in 2001 that required process work went through the YCM process, and at the end of it we had something like 250,000 feet of film that we had worked on.  The film was shot on 65mm, and there was only one optical printer in the world that could accommodate that.  It was owned by Linwood Dunn in Hollywood, and Stanley had it flown over to England and I was the person who was put to the task of running it.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  This process also applied to the Stargate Sequence is it appears today in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY?

LOFTUS:  Yes, but with the Stargate, the YCM process was done incorrectly, therefore, when we would combine the colors back together from the separation process the colors would be put back together out of order.   We called it "Purple Hearts", because there was an amphetamine drug at the time going around that had the same name.   The combination of colors that were used on the landscapes for the Stargate, ultimately, we went through all of the combinations that we could think of.   You had three color strips, and you took those and made three high contrast versions off of the negative, and then three low contrast versions.  Effectively you would be creating twelve different stripes of film for every shot in the Stargate off of the positive and negative film.  So by effectively combining those the wrong way you would end up getting lots and lots of different colors on the film.  You couldn't predict the color combination and how it would come out.  So we just had to keep going and going through all of the combinations.  Stanley finally said, "Well, I think I've seen everything that we can do.  Can we get other combinations?"   So,  I came up with the idea of random combinations.   

Bryan Loftus behind the camera in 2010
We had three cardboard lids that came off of the filmbacks that Kodak used to give out. I made up three spinning rotors that were effectively like roulette wheels.   And on the cardboard we wrote various settings down - different apertures for the printer, color filters, ect., and then spun it and what came out is what we tried.  There was no human thought that went into it really.   Once you tried all of the combinations, the human mind sorta shuts down unconsciously, so this was the only way that we could get over being stuck on that particular ideology for the Purple Hearts. 

Stanley really wanted color combinations that had never been seen before.  That was his thing.   His approach was that if you were doing something that you knew or something that you had experience in, then you weren't going to be able to achieve something that had never been done before.  He was always pushing us into that area, and because of that we found color combinations that had never been seen before.   It was a wonderful way to work. It was like having the keys to the kingdom. It was fantastic fun.  He used to say, "I want you to do what you don't know what you can do."   (Laughing)

TV STORE ONLINE:  Was it ever frustrating trying to achieve that Kubrick level of perfection?

LOFTUS:  I never got frustrated, but some did.  I could see that it got to some people.  Stanley would come in and say, "Try it again. Do it again."  We did lots of experiments that never made it into 2001.  I remember he came in one day with this new type of microscope that allowed you to take pictures, for example you could throw dust up into the air and allow it to land, and then you could take whatever it landed on and put it under this microscope and get these amazing photographs.    He brought in photographs of crystalline structures in metal.  The imagery in these were amazing.  It looked like temples of an alien civilization. The Stargate stuff was shot by Doug Trumbull on this giant camera system.   From there, that footage was taken and put into separation masters and we would change the colors in that footage.

TV STORE ONLINE:  You worked with Geoffrey Unsworth a great deal on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY as well?

LOFTUS: I did.  Stanley had this habit of collecting people for the future.   He would employ you knowing that he would need you later on.   When I first came on 2001 I was brought on as Unsworth's Camera Assistant.   

My credit on IMDb for 2001 is that of a "Focus Puller", which is quite silly because I was a SFX Supervisor on the photographic side.  I believe my credit on the film is the same, and there are six of us on the title card.    After a few months of working on the film I went up to Stanley one day and said, "Stanley, I'm bored. I'm here but I'm not really doing anything."  So he put me up in the front office with Con Pederson and my new job was to keep track of the progress of the special effects shots down in what we called the "Brain Room".   The film had something like 700 special effects shots in it.   It was a tremendous task to keep track of those. 

Each of those shots had to be individually created.  I handled the technical organization of that, and Con Pederson handled the artistic side.  Ivor Powell was there with us as well, and he handled the scheduling of the crews that were working on the shots because they were running twenty-four hours a day.   It was a fantastic operation really.  I don't think any film before it had run in quite that manner.

TV STORE ONLINE:  With everything that has been said about Stanley over the years...Was he a good collaborator?

LOFTUS:  I thought so.  He had a fantastic sense of humor and memory.  He remembered everything, and keep in mind we were on the film working for two years.  He would come up to you and remind you of something that you had told him six months prior.  You would give him an answer, and he would say, "No, No.  You told me this six months ago...."   He didn't like to be lied to.  He would say, "If you don't know the answer, tell me that you don't know the answer."   He was a great chess player and he always had a twinkle in his eye.  Organizing 2001 was a wonderful chess-like construction.   

TV STORE ONLINE:   Did you work on any aspect of the Centrifuge set?

LOFTUS: I didn't, but I did watch a bit of it.  I still remember the first time they turned it on after they had finished putting it together.  It started to turn around and all you could hear were hundreds and hundreds of nails dropping.    They had to run the Centrifuge for about a week before they could shoot on it to clear all that out.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Do you remember seeing any of the variational ideas for the Monolith as it was being conceived for the film?   I've read about it being all sorts of different shapes and glass with televisions inside of it....Or how about the different attempts at sanding it down and painting it because the light would reflect off of it and not be consumed by it which I believe was what Stanley had wanted it to do....

LOFTUS:  Right,  he wanted it to be a sort of Black Hole.  He didn't want the light to come back from it once it had hit it.  I wasn't involved in any of that but I know that those people that made it spent ages and ages on it trying to get it just right.

Kubrick's black comedy originally was to end in a pie fight.
TV STORE ONLINE:   Going back to something I forgot to ask you at the start...I read somewhere that you actually got your start with Stanley on DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)?

LOFTUS:  That's correct, yes.   I worked on the effects that come at the end of the film with the bomb going down with Slim Pickens.   That was the first time I met Stanley.    The whole process for the bomb went the hard way.  We shot Slim on the bomb in front of a blue screen, and then we shot the background, which was the base slightly spinning.  It was a bit crude really, but we got away with it because the film is a comedy.   We combined the base spinning with the blue matte, and because it was shot in black and white, it made it quiet easy.   

TV STORE ONLINE: Were you around the set of STRANGELOVE when they did the infamous cut pie fight scene that was to occur in the war room?

LOFTUS: I didn't actually see them shoot that but I remember going to lunch at Shepperton Studios and everyone was standing around covered in custard pie!   I said, "What's this all about, then?"  Someone said, "They're shooting the pie fight today."    The War Room set was one of the most incredible film sets I've ever worked on.  Ken Adams did an amazing job on that set. You walked in there and your jaw dropped.  It was stunning.  Stanley had the floor polished over and over so the lights would reflect off of it. 

TV STORE ONLINE:  So you started with Stanley on STRANGELOVE, worked with him for two years on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY...Was there an invite for you to follow along and work on NAPOLEON with him?

LOFTUS:  Well, he was researching NAPOLEON while we were shooting 2001.    He had a huge collection of books.  The joke was, "Who is going to play Napoleon?  Who do you think? Stanley!" (Laughing)  He was very Napoleonic.  It was a tragedy that WATERLOO (1970) got made before and ruined his chances to make that film.  Stanley had First Editions of almost every book on Napoleon.  You would walk down the front office and you could drop in on Stanley in his office and he would be reading about Napoleon.   He was a great guy, and I was very sad when he passed away. Ivor Powell and I had been talking for quite some time about organizing a 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY reunion and we wanted that to happen in 2001, but of course that never was to happen.

TV STORE ONLINE:   The film was marketed at a certain point as "The Ultimate Trip".   I have to wonder, considering you were a younger man at the time the film came out, if you didn't partake in psychedelics when you went to see it on its release?

LOFTUS: (Laughing) I didn't, but I knew quite a few people that did at that time.  It was the sort of thing to do then, wasn't it?   I did go to see the film when it was released and I was completely blown away at the sheer scope of it.   It's one of those films that shouldn't be allowed to be seen on home video.   It's such a big film, and when I was working on I had no idea that it would've turned out like it did.  I had only seen a few of the scenes when I was working on 2001.   The studio backers came to visit and ask Stanley, "What's going on? You've spending a great deal of money  for two years on this!"  Stanley had put together this reel of some of the scenes that equaled about fifteen minutes.   It was all spectacular stuff.   I was just walking by the preview theater one day and Stanley saw me and he said, "Brian! Brian! C'mon on here, and take a look at this."    He dragged me in and it was just him and I.  The thing that impressed me the most was the music he had put to it.  I said, "My God Stanley, what is that music?"  He said, "It's Mahler's Third."   I've never seen that footage again with that particular music to this day, but when the backers saw it, they said, "How much more do you need?"    It was powerful stuff.   

I spent a lot of time with Stanley in the cutting room.  We would go through all of the process shots and he would approve some and tell me to cut out the others, and while I was in there with him I was privy to him asking me questions about whatever he was interested in.  He had no sense of true hierarchy.  If you worked on the film you were involved with everything.   I was in there the day that Ray Lovejoy put on this LP of music called 'Classical Hits', and while they were cutting it together 'The Blue Danube' came on!  Someone said, "That's it!"  I remember that distinctly.   The Ligetti music that Stanley used in 2001 was suggested to him by his wife Christiane.  She had been at home listening to it on the radio because there had been some sort of concert on the air and when she heard it -- she rung him up and told him about it and he put out a memo that read something like: In case it is as extraordinary as Christiane says, we should be prepared to contact the composer..."  (Laughing)

Stanley would say to people, "Do this. Do that."   Then they would either do it or they would forget to do it.  If you forgot to do it, then he would get annoyed.  So he developed this memo system where if he needed you to do something he would send you a memo.  Then if you forgot to do something he woulds say, "Didn't you get the memo?"  People started telling him, "I'm sorry Stanley, I did not receive that memo."  So Stanley created a new system where if he had sent you a memo you had to write a memo back to him confirming that you received his first memo!  It was extraordinary.  Everyone was typing memos.  It got out of hand to a certain extent.  He was so wonderful at devising systems like that on the spot.  He employed three girls to type memos for him while we were shooting 2001.  

When handheld tape recorders first came out, Stanley got a hold of two of them while we were shooting the movie.  I remember one day while we were in the rushes theater, he had one recorder in his left hand, and the other in his right.  He would speak into one recorder, and then play it back while recording it with the other.  I saw him doing this and I said, "What the hell is he up to now?"   What he wanted to know what how many times he could record backwards and forwards before the audio became unintelligible.   That was typical Stanley. He always had to push technology to realize its limitations.

Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung