I received a telephone call from a friend asking for help. She was moving from her duplex in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles and was afraid of her neighbors. She thought it would be prudent to have me around as she vacated the premises. Apparently, they had it in for her. She was a nurse who rose early to go to work. The neighbors were into all-night dance marathons in the upstairs part of the duplex and enjoyed the week night company of their many friends who were also into the frenzied S&M themed all-nighters hosted by the couple. They had taken to turning the garden hose on her as she went to and from work. They also adopted the practice of blocking her access to the driveway with their cars so she had to park up on the street affording them more 'hose' time with her as she walked rather than drove up the steep driveway. She did not have to ask me twice.
On the day in question, I arrived with my girlfriend to help with the move and saw that a Volkswagen Beetle was illegally parked in such a way as to block access to the lower duplex. It would mean having to walk up and down her steep driveway to load her possessions into our cars unless it was moved. My friend confirmed that the VW belonged to the vengeful neighbors and I left her to go ask that they move it. They didn't respond to the door bell or my polite knock at their door. Neither did they respond to my pounding on their door as I did my best impression of a felony warrant knock favored by enforcement agencies the world over. I could hear them moving about inside, however. I walked over to the VW and, seeing that it was unlocked, I got in and let the car roll eight feet down the street where I parked it legally at the curb. We now had access to my friend's driveway. My friend and I moved our cars to the lower level and began to load her things.
About fifteen minutes later, a fellow appeared at the open doorway. He was one of the neighbors and he was big--think in terms of an offensive lineman in the NFL. "Who moved my car?!" he asked angrily. "I did," I answered. Without further discussion, he reached behind him and pulled out a rather large Bowie knife--the kind used to subdue wild bears and skin them afterwards. Brandishing the knife, he took a step towards me. At that point, I thought he might enjoy seeing my pre-WWII Walther PPK. Made in 1939, it had a short barrel, fired 7.65 caliber rounds and was in brand new condition. I'm sure he was immediately aware of these attributes as I pointed the PPK at his chest so he could get a good look at it.
A number of things happened all at once. In order of importance: he stopped moving towards me; he seemed to lose six inches in height (a function of his knees buckling) and he said, "You're breaking the law". I took this to be a rhetorical statement and merely watched him to see what he would do next. He seemed not to know and stood there silently for a time. I had decided to do nothing unless he stepped across the threshold. However, I thumbed back the hammer, even though the Walther is a double-action piece, just to give him something more to think about. He thought quickly and left without further comment.
A short time later, two uniformed gentlemen from the Los Angeles Police Department arrived and wanted to hear my account of what had happened earlier. I gave them the blow-by-blow as written here, which was confirmed by the two women who had witnessed the scene. They asked if they could see the Walther, which I was happy to show them. They liked it. On their way out, the senior officer said, "I have one question for you, Mister Mitchell. Why didn't you shoot him?" I explained that had he stepped foot over the threshold I would have, but that I was happy that he had shown some sense by leaving. The policeman understood but said, "Anyone shows up at my door with a knife gets shot." On that note, they wished me well and departed.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...