For a time, the Universal Studios lot was a playground of sorts for me. Paul Stanley was directing episodes of The Road West and I took advantage of his gracious standing invitation to come onto the set whenever he was directing. My first day on the set of that show wasn't on the lot but on location out in the hills north of the 101 and west of Malibu Canyon. I arrived in the early afternoon and found some of the actors sitting around in the shade of the dressing room trailers waiting for their scenes to be shot. Off in the distance, I could see a tribe of Indians making their trek across the countryside for the benefit of the camera and I decided not to join them. "How do you do?" called a voice from behind me. I turned to see the man who addressed me. He was sitting in a "director's" chair dressed in western attire. He rose and extended his hand saying, "My name is Barry Sullivan."
Barry Sullivan was an actor who fit in with the likes of Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster and Robert Ryan. At that time, I was too young to know who he was but I soon found out that he was one of the series leads that included Glenn Ford, Glenn Corbett, Andrew Prine and Brenda Scott. I was very impressed that he made an effort to welcome an unknown to the set. He showed himself to be a gentleman and, today, I remember him as much for that as for his excellent performance in The Bad and the Beautiful with Kirk Douglas.
There were times when I would pick up the stage phone and call the Universal transportation department and order a limousine. It would arrive at the Road West stage and take me out to the back lot where I would watch Ben Gazzara shooting Run For Your Life. Then I'd have the driver take me to the Laredo set where I would see what was happening there. Life was good.
I came to think of that film studio as a school with each sound stage being a classroom of sorts where you were isolated from the students in the other classrooms. But, just as it happens in any school, when something extraordinary is going on in another classroom, word gets around. One day there was a buzz circulating amongst the grips, carpenters and gaffers--the real tough guys of the movie business--about something going on over on the set of The Virginian. An actor there was impressing the crew--which is really saying something--and word was circulating to the other sound stages. I called my limo--yes, I did--and had the driver take me to where they were shooting. I made it in before the red light came on and watched an older man doing a scene sitting at a campfire. In between takes, I could hear whispers from the crew: "He hits the same beats every time"; "He's amazing!"; "He couldn't blow a line if he tried." The actor had impressed the unimpressable. His name was Lloyd Nolan and I would become a fan of his over the years.
All this was brought to mind when I watched Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters again recently, which featured a fine performance by Lloyd Nolan. As I watched him in the upscale New York setting, all I could think of was that fireside performance at Universal that had crews from other shows abandoning their posts just to catch a glimpse of him. That's an actor.
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...