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Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer, Carl Rollyson

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Carl_Rollyson » December 8th, 2012, 1:41 pm

MissGoddess wrote:Thank you very much for your reply! I hope you do get to hear Linda's recording, I'm very curious about it and hope it can somehow be made available to more people. I've no idea what these "oral histories" are...if they are the histories of the subject or something broader, but they sound fascinating.


FILM HISTORIAN AND BIOGRAPHER RONALD DAVIS RECORDED MANY INTERVIEWS WITH HOLLYWOOD STARS. THEY ARE DEPOSITING AT SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY, BUT THERE ARE ALSO COPIES AT THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES.

I've listened to the Ryan/Andrews' daughters interview, that's where I learned about the friendship. I believe Mr. Ryan's daughter has participated here at the SSO from time to time. (I see Moira has posted the relevant links. Thanks, Moira!)

The movie of his I most want to see is Swamp Water. Did Dana enjoy working with Renoir?

ALONG WITH LEWIS MILESTONE AND JACQUER TOURNEUR, RENOIR WAS A DIRECTOR DANA GOT TO KNOW WELL AND CONSIDERED A FRIEND. HIS DAUGHTER KATHY REMEMBERED HER FATHER TAKING HER FOR A VISIT TO RENOIR. RENOIR WAS VERY HAPPY ABOUT USING DANA AND ANNE BAXTER AND CONSIDERED THEM TWO OF HIS "FINDS"

I'd love to see his Perry Como appearance.

THE PERRY COMO SHOW APPEARANCE IS FUN TO WATCH. DANA SINGS THE TITLE SONG FROM "SPRING REUNION" THE FILM HE DID WITH BETTY HUTTON. HE ALSO SINGS IN ONE OTHER SKIT WITH PERRY.

I respect anyone who "pays their dues" the way Dana did. His hard work in and out of his own field informs every role, makes them more believable, real men. You can't get that by just playing parts or in a class, you have to live. Thanks again for sharing some of his life with us. :D

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Carl_Rollyson » December 8th, 2012, 1:50 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Dear Mr. Rollyson,

A wonderful welcome to you as you visit us here at the Silver Screen Oasis! We appreciate your time and consideration.

One of Dana Andrews' onscreen performances includes "A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud" by Carson McCullers, and I have never seen this short film. Can you tell us a little about it? Was it simply a reading of the short story by Andrews in 1978? It seems the theme of the short story, spiritual isolation of the human condition, might even be a metaphor for Andrews' body of work in some of his more recognizable roles. What drew him to this project in the first place?

I THING "A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD" IS ABOUT THE DANA ANDREWS PERFORMANCE I HAVE NEVER SEEN. I JUST COULD NOT LOCATE A COPY OF IT, AND I NEVER FOUND OUT ANYTHING ABOUT THE BACKGROUND OF THIS PROJECT. SO THIS IS AN OPENING FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO DO SOME FRESH WORK ON DANA ANDREWS!

Also, I was lucky enough to be acquainted with Helen West in the 1970s-1980s, who was my father's secretary at a multimillion dollar petroleum transportation complex in the Houston area, and was a polite, lovely lady, who might be characterized as a "Steel Magnolia." She fondly recalled her connection to Dana Andrews, a cousin, but said that "he didn't go by the name Dana." Can you elaborate a bit on his years in Texas, and his experiences at Sam Houston State University, other than what you have said about his Protestant reticence at dealing with the Hollywood elite?


DANA WAS BORN CARVER DANA ANDREWS, AND EVERYONE CALLED HIM CARVER. HE DID NOT ADOPT THE NAME OF DANA UNTIL HE MOVED TO CALIFORNIA, AND EVEN THEN, FOR A WHILE, HE WAS STILL CARVER TO MOST PEOPLE. DANA GREW UP IN SEVERAL TEXAS TOWNS--ROCKDALE, UVALDE, WITH SHORTER PERIODS IN SAN ANTONIO, AND A FEW SMALL TOWNS IN MISSISSIPPI. HE WORKED FOR JOHN NANCE GARNER (FDR'S VICE-PRESIDENT) IN UVALDE. DANA AND THREE OF HIS BROTHERS ATTENDED COLLEGE AT WHAT WAS THEN SAM HOUSTON TEACHERS COLLEGE. DANA MAJORED IN ACCOUNTING BUT WAS ALWAYS MORE INTERESTED IN DRAMA. HIS COLLEGE TRANSCRIPT HAS A LOT OF INCOMPLETES ON IT. HE HAD A DRAMA TEACHER AT SAM HOUSTON WHO TOLD DANA HE SHOULD GO TO CALIFORNIA AND BECOME A MOVIE ACTOR. HE SAW THAT DANA HAD THE LOOKS AND TALENT TO SUCCEED. WHILE STILL IN HUNTSVILLE DANA WORKED IN A MOVIE THEATER--FIRST AS AN USHER AND LATER AS A PROJECTIONIST. HE HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY UNDERSTANDING THE TECHNOLOGY OF MOVIE MAKING.

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » December 8th, 2012, 2:54 pm

Thank you so much for your response. We here in Texas are always proud of all of our connections to greatness, and that reputation has preceded us for at least a century and a half. :lol:

I have also been thinking about one of his roles that reverberates in my memory.

Dana Andrews' portrayal of Admiral Broderick from In Harm's Way is such a believable, pin-headed blowhard of an administrator enjoying the largesse of the Peter Principle, and yet he does not overplay such a stereotypical role. He makes it authentic. I think that is one of Andrews' greatest contributions as an actor. He knew the foibles of the internal landscapes common to human nature, and could make us believe anything with his talent and attention to the detail of a character. Any comments about his experiences on this film or with Otto Preminger, his director?

And any comments about his work with John Nance Garner?
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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Carl_Rollyson » December 8th, 2012, 3:25 pm

Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Thank you so much for your response. We here in Texas are always proud of all of our connections to greatness, and that reputation has preceded us for at least a century and a half. :lol:


I CAN TELL YOU THAT DANA ANDREWS WAS PROUD TO BE A TEXAN. WHEN LBJ INVITED DANA TO THE WHITE HOUSE, DANA TOLD HIM THEY HAD DONE PRETTY WELL FOR TWO POOR BOYS FROM TEXAS. DANA VISITED TEXAS OFTEN, SPENDING TIME AT SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY TALKING TO FACULTY AND STUDENTS.

I have also been thinking about one of his roles that reverberates in my memory.

Dana Andrews' portrayal of Admiral Broderick from In Harm's Way is such a believable, pin-headed blowhard of an administrator enjoying the largesse of the Peter Principle, and yet he does not overplay such a stereotypical role. He makes it authentic. I think that is one of Andrews' greatest contributions as an actor. He knew the foibles of the internal landscapes common to human nature, and could make us believe anything with his talent and attention to the detail of a character. Any comments about his experiences on this film or with Otto Preminger, his director?


THE SCREENWRITER FOR IN HARM'S WAY MADE A SPECIAL POINT OF PRAISING DANA'S PERFORMANCE. HE THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST AUTHENTIC PORTRAYALS HE HAD SEEN ON SCREEN. DANA HAD BEEN GOING THROUGH A BAD PATCH AND WANTED TO PERFORM WELL FOR PREMINGER, WHO HAD NOT USED DANA IN A FILM IN YEARS. AND DANA DELIVERED!

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Carl_Rollyson » December 8th, 2012, 3:28 pm

Carl_Rollyson wrote:
Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Thank you so much for your response. We here in Texas are always proud of all of our connections to greatness, and that reputation has preceded us for at least a century and a half. :lol:

I CAN TELL YOU THAT DANA ANDREWS WAS PROUD TO BE A TEXAN. WHEN LBJ INVITED DANA TO THE WHITE HOUSE, DANA TOLD HIM THEY HAD DONE PRETTY WELL FOR TWO POOR BOYS FROM TEXAS. DANA VISITED TEXAS OFTEN, SPENDING TIME AT SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY TALKING TO FACULTY AND STUDENTS.

I have also been thinking about one of his roles that reverberates in my memory.

Dana Andrews' portrayal of Admiral Broderick from In Harm's Way is such a believable, pin-headed blowhard of an administrator enjoying the largesse of the Peter Principle, and yet he does not overplay such a stereotypical role. He makes it authentic. I think that is one of Andrews' greatest contributions as an actor. He knew the foibles of the internal landscapes common to human nature, and could make us believe anything with his talent and attention to the detail of a character. Any comments about his experiences on this film or with Otto Preminger, his director?

THE SCREENWRITER FOR IN HARM'S WAY MADE A SPECIAL POINT OF PRAISING DANA'S PERFORMANCE. HE THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST AUTHENTIC PORTRAYALS HE HAD SEEN ON SCREEN. DANA HAD BEEN GOING THROUGH A BAD PATCH AND WANTED TO PERFORM WELL FOR PREMINGER, WHO HAD NOT USED DANA IN A FILM IN YEARS. AND DANA DELIVERED!
And any comments about his work with John Nance Garner?


DANA--JUST BEGINNING HIS TEENS-- DID ODD JOBS FOR GARNER. GARNER AND DANA'S FATHER HAD AN INTERESTING RELATIONSHIP. REVEREND ANDREWS WAS A STRONG SUPPORTER OF PROHIBITION AND GARNER WAS NOT. GARNER WAS OPPOSED TO THE KU KLUX KLAN. DANA'S FATHER WAS A MEMBER OF THE KLAN AND ACCEPTED MONEY FROM THE KLAN TO BUILD A NEW CHURCH.

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby JackFavell » December 8th, 2012, 3:36 pm

Was Dana's father alive when The Ox Bow Incident came out? As a Klan member, how did he feel about this depiction of violence? Was he proud of his son's work? On the reverse, was Dana proud of his father?

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby charliechaplinfan » December 8th, 2012, 3:45 pm

Thank you for joining us here. I'm a big fan of Dana Andrews but aside from his films and what I've read here I know virtually nothing. I haven't watched a Dana Andrews film I haven't liked, I would watch a move just because he was in it. From the questions and answers here what comes through is a man quite comfortable in his own skin. I read the imdb to find out more about Dana and it mentioned he'd been married before and his wife had died leaving him with a child to take care of, did this hamper his career at all? He was so young to be widowed.

Also did he have a contract with a major studio or was he freelance? His role in The Best Years of Our Lives is a great favourite but no Oscar, Fredric March got an Oscar for his role but how do you distinguish which performance desrved the honours when they were all great performances?
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » December 8th, 2012, 3:52 pm

Thank you so much, Mr. Rollyson, for these wonderfully detailed responses! :lol:
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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Carl_Rollyson » December 8th, 2012, 3:57 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:Thank you for joining us here. I'm a big fan of Dana Andrews but aside from his films and what I've read here I know virtually nothing. I haven't watched a Dana Andrews film I haven't liked, I would watch a move just because he was in it. From the questions and answers here what comes through is a man quite comfortable in his own skin. I read the imdb to find out more about Dana and it mentioned he'd been married before and his wife had died leaving him with a child to take care of, did this hamper his career at all? He was so young to be widowed.

Also did he have a contract with a major studio or was he freelance? His role in The Best Years of Our Lives is a great favourite but no Oscar, Fredric March got an Oscar for his role but how do you distinguish which performance desrved the honours when they were all great performances?
JackFavell wrote:Was Dana's father alive when The Ox Bow Incident came out? As a Klan member, how did he feel about this depiction of violence? Was he proud of his son's work? On the reverse, was Dana proud of his father?


DANA'S FATHER DIED IN 1940 AND SO DID NOT SEE THE OX-BOW INCIDENT. ALTHOUGH HE HAD BEEN OPPOSED TO HIS SON'S WORK IN THE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY, CHARLES FORREST ANDREWS GRADUALLY BECAME RECONCILED TO THE IDEA OF HIS SON AS AN ACTOR. HE DID NOT LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO SEE DANA BECOME A STAR, BUT HE DID KNOW THAT HIS SON WAS WELL ON HIS WAY. DANA'S FATHER SUPPORTED THE KLAN BECAUSE IT WAS SO STRONGLY AGAINST ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AND BECAUSE HE DISTRUSTED CATHOLICS AND IMMIGRANTS, ALTHOUGH I FOUND REMARKABLY LITTLE INTOLERANCE OF OTHERS IN HIS MANY LETTERS TO DANA. I SAW NO EVIDENCE OF RACISM IN THE LETTERS EITHER. I NEVER FOUND ANY EVIDENCE OF HOW DANA FELT ABOUT HIS FATHER'S MEMBERSHIP IN THE KLAN. DANA WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PROUD OF IT, THAT'S FOR SURE. DANA WAS QUITE LIBERAL IN HIS POLITICS AND A GREAT SUPPORTER OF LIBERAL CAUSES. DANA'S DIARY SHOWS THAT HE CARED DEEPLY ABOUT HAVING HIS FATHER'S RESPECT EVEN IF HE COULD NOT ABIDE BY HIS FATHER'S RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL PRINCIPLES. IN MANY WAYS, THOUGH, DANA'S MOTHER, A DEVOUT BAPTIST, WAS THE GREATER INFLUENCE ON DANA. HE WAS PROFOUNDLY IMPRESSED BY THE WAY SHE KEPT HER FAMILY TOGETHER AND TOOK CARE OF EVERYONE, AND DANA'S CHILDREN WERE VERY FOND OF HER.

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Carl_Rollyson » December 8th, 2012, 4:03 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:Thank you for joining us here. I'm a big fan of Dana Andrews but aside from his films and what I've read here I know virtually nothing. I haven't watched a Dana Andrews film I haven't liked, I would watch a move just because he was in it. From the questions and answers here what comes through is a man quite comfortable in his own skin. I read the imdb to find out more about Dana and it mentioned he'd been married before and his wife had died leaving him with a child to take care of, did this hamper his career at all? He was so young to be widowed.


DANA'S FIRST WIFE, JANET MURRAY, DIED IN CHILD BIRTH. THEY WERE MARRIED LESS THAN TWO YEARS. HE HAD A SON BY HER, DAVID, WHO DIED WHEN HE WAS 29 (A BRAIN TUMOR). JANET'S PARENTS, ESPECIALLY HER MOTHER, TOOK CARE OF DAVID WHILE DANA PURSUED HIS CAREER. DANA SPENT AS MUCH TIME WITH HIS SON AS HE COULD, BUT INEVITABLY THERE WERE TENSIONS BECAUSE HE COULDN'T ALWAYS BE AROUND THE MURRAY HOME TO LOOK AFTER HIS SON.

Also did he have a contract with a major studio or was he freelance? His role in The Best Years of Our Lives is a great favourite but no Oscar, Fredric March got an Oscar for his role but how do you distinguish which performance desrved the honours when they were all great performances?


DANA HAD A CONTRACT WITH SAMUEL GOLDWYN, WHO SOMETIMES LENT DANA OUT TO OTHER STUDIOS. GOLDWYN ALSO SPLIT HIS CONTRACT WITH DANA WITH 20TH CENTURY FOX. THIS TURNED OUT TO BE A GREAT DEAL FOR DANA. GOLDWYN ONLY MADE A FEW PICTURES A YEAR BUT FOX PRODUCED DOZENS, AND SO MANY OF DANA'S SUCCESSES WERE IN FOX PICTURES LIKE LAURA AND DAISY KENYON, FOR EXAMPLE.

DANA GAVE A MUCH GREATER PERFORMANCE THAN FREDRIC MARCH. MARCH WAS A FINE ACTOR, BUT HE TENDED TO OVERDO IT. OFTEN AFTER A TAKE, DIRCTOR WILLIAM WYLER WOULD SAY, "FREDDIE, THAT WAS GREAT. NOW CAN YOU GIVE ME ABOUT A TENTH OF THAT?" IN OTHER WORDS, MARCH TENDED TO HAM IT UP. DANA WAS JUST THE OPPOSITE. HE WAS SO UNDERSTATED THAT HE WAS OVERLOOKED BY THE ACADEMY AND WAS NOT EVEN NOMIINATED FOR AN OSCAR. IT IS ONE OF THE GREAT INJUSTICES OF MOVIE HISTORY.

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby charliechaplinfan » December 8th, 2012, 4:12 pm

Thank you Carl, I'm so surprised that Dana didn't get nominated for an Oscar, I was sure he would have done. Did he ever receive a nomination or does he belong to the group of great actors who made it look that easy that he never got a nod by the Academy. I love Fredric March and he deserved his Oscar but usually in a film like that the guys would cancel each other out and the Oscar would go to someone in a different movie. I'm flabbergasted that he didn't even get a nomination.

It's so sad about Dana's first wife, he was so young and just making his way in the movie world. He sounds very much a family man, I like that about him.
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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Carl_Rollyson » December 8th, 2012, 5:02 pm

charliechaplinfan wrote:Thank you Carl, I'm so surprised that Dana didn't get nominated for an Oscar, I was sure he would have done. Did he ever receive a nomination or does he belong to the group of great actors who made it look that easy that he never got a nod by the Academy. I love Fredric March and he deserved his Oscar but usually in a film like that the guys would cancel each other out and the Oscar would go to someone in a different movie. I'm flabbergasted that he didn't even get a nomination.


DANA WAS NEVER NOMINATED FOR AN ACADEMY AWARD. QUITE AMAZING, BUT TRUE.

It's so sad about Dana's first wife, he was so young and just making his way in the movie world. He sounds very much a family man, I like that about him.


DANA WAS A FAMILY MAN, AND HIS FAMILY'S COOPERATION MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE FOR ME AS A BIOGRAPHY. THEY WERE HELPFUL BUT NEVER TRIED TO CONTROL WHAT I WROTE.

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » December 8th, 2012, 5:20 pm

And how wonderful is that as a biographer? I am so glad you have been able to create this lovely testament to such a talented and underappreciated artist. Thank you!
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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby clore » December 8th, 2012, 5:45 pm

Mr. Rollyson, thank you for your earlier response.

I noted with interest your comment that Dana Andrews would have loved to have gotten just about any role at Fox that had gone to Gregory Peck. I guess that despite his track record, with Peck's emergence and Tyrone Power and Victor Mature back from the war, Fox was a bit top-heavy with leading men. Dana, along with John Payne seemed to get the second-rung parts.

But it was the bit about "12 O'Clock High" that prompts this question - did Dana Andrews ever make any comment about how many times he portrayed a pilot, did he have any interest in aviation off the set? The role of Frank Savage would have cast him once again in the cockpit.

In Best Years of Our Lives, Zero Hour, The Crowded Sky, Airport '75 he plays a pilot, with the latter two having Dana and Efrem Zimbalist taking turns at crashing into each other. He's probably played a pilot as often as Gable played a reporter. He's even in a film with Cliff Robertson, The Pilot, where Cliff plays an alcoholic pilot, a film that I've never managed to see. It played in NYC for about a week.

Again, thank you for your time.

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Re: Q & A for Dana Andrews' Biographer

Postby Moraldo Rubini » December 8th, 2012, 5:46 pm

Thank you for spending time with us, Mr. Rollyson!

Although it's not my favorite genre, I've found myself fascinated with Curse/Night of the Demon and have always been interested in how Dana Andrews became involved with this project. I now assume it was through his friendship with Jacques Tourneur. Do you know if Mr. Andrews had an affinity for this movie? Have you any interesting background on his work in this compelling flick?


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