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Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

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rerun
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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby rerun » October 6th, 2013, 2:50 pm

Professional Tourist wrote:Hi rerun :P and thanks for your visit to the SSO this weekend.

My question is a long shot, but here goes. Did you ever work with or meet Agnes Moorehead, and if so, could you share whatever you remember about her? She did make some westerns, such as The True Story of Jesse James (1957) with Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter, so it seems like a possibility. :) Thank you.
Professional Tourist wrote:Hi rerun :P and thanks for your visit to the SSO this weekend.



My question is a long shot, but here goes. Did you ever work with or meet Agnes Moorehead, and if so, could you share whatever you remember about her? She did make some westerns, such as The True Story of Jesse James (1957) with Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter, so it seems like a possibility. :) Thank you.
Sue Sue Applegate wrote:Thank you so much for your visit here! I am enjoying all of your responses.
Hope I pushed the right button! I never had the privilege of working with AM. However, my horse Jim (cover of my book) did work on that picture! He jumped out of the saloon window (made of candy of course). Agnes was a fine actress but our paths never crossed.

Martha, I also had some more questions, and hope you don't mind.
I've always been interested in the difference between the Western saddle and the English saddle. Which one do you prefer? Is it harder to do a stunt with an English saddle or a Western saddle? How do they compare as far as injuries might be considered?

I would love to know about your favorite saddle. Who made it? Does it have any special features that might have been customized for you?

Thank you again. :-)


I am a firm believer in an English saddle. A horse is so sensitive that you can sit on your horse and tilt your head in one direction or the other and your horse will move his ears. On an English saddle you are closer to your horse and have more feel. If you learn to ride English well you can always ride western. Don't get me wrong. I love to ride western. But if there comes a time you want to do some advanced horsemanship and need that extra 'feel' you will want an English saddle. I prefer to ride the older type jumping saddles ie a Pariani with a small knee roll. I am not interested at all in the new fangled dressage saddles. That terrible fall I had over the wagon on the cover of my book was in trying to jump a big jump in sand without a ground line and with a western saddle. We got into it wrong and with the saddle horn in the way I was unable to help correct the mistake. I think had I had an English jumping saddle it would have been far better. I only like western saddles for the laid back simple things. You do not have many choices while working as you must ride what the star has been riding.
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.

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rerun
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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby rerun » October 6th, 2013, 2:58 pm

Jezebel38 wrote:
rerun wrote:I think my very favorite thing I did was the fire scene in Interrupted Melody. Although a fake fire, it was hugely real looking and the most expensive indoor scene ever at that time. So, it was a wonderful interaction with the horse I used. We rehearsed it for three weeks. His name was Ski and what a real pro he was. I learned from working with him that horses can take a cue from music which I had never given thought to before. It was my favorite and I have read that the film itself was Eleanor Parker's favorite film.


Martha - thanks for visiting us here on SSO!

As I am an Opera buff as well as a Classic film buff I've seen INTERRUPTED MELODY several times, and I've always been so impressed with this scene! 3 weeks of rehearsal? Wow! I am not an accomplished rider, but just to see you break into a canter from a standstill, rear up and then into the flames, and this is done bareback is most impressive.
This is not a great quality Youtube clip, but here is the scene:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBW7OI4jSzg[/youtube]

Did you get to know Glenn Ford at all while making this film?


I still get chills up my spine when ever I hear any of the music in IM. It was a beautiful film. I only met Glenn Ford one time on the set. He came up to me an complimented me on my work. That was so nice. Though we rehearsed and rehearsed till we had every thing perfect -- yep! They said it was too professional looking. So they brought in those big rocks to make a step for Eleanor to get on the horse for the split second before the cut to me. I have a color picture of the first rear that may have been cut out showing Ski's head up above mine. It is an amazing picture. And if you look in the black and white picture you will see he is balancing on one foot and one foot toe only on the ground. That is a true rearing horse. They would only let us rear him 8 times a day and brought his bit in cellophane every day sterilized. (Overkill)
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby moira finnie » October 6th, 2013, 3:13 pm

Thanks so much for your detailed answers to my questions, Martha. I would also like to thank each of our members who have brought up so many interesting topics here during Martha's visit. I really appreciate your sharing your experiences with us, M.C.C., and hope that you will continue to visit with us whenever you like in the future.

If anyone has yet to peruse Martha's great book, found here--you have a treat ahead of you. The story of her life on and off horseback features inside stories on so much related to classic Hollywood--but is greatly enhanced by the author's vivid and tender descriptions of her interactions with other animals, particularly horses. It made me look at these noble creatures with new appreciation. Here's the picture Martha referred to earlier in this thread showing her presenting actor and horseman Jack Holt with an equestrian award in the 1930s:

Image
[Reproduced with permission of Martha Crawford Cantarini]
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Re: Welcome Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby rerun » October 6th, 2013, 3:20 pm

TikiSoo wrote:Hi Martha!
My horse loves learning "tricks" and people are amazed at what she will do for a piece of candy. I had read the classic stuntman's book about his "falling" horse Cocaine, but just can't believe that. Do you know how to convince a horse to fall while in motion with a rider on command?
Would you ever take a fall like that?

I love watching stars riding horses in film-it's so obvious who knows what they're doing vs those who ride with "chicken wings" flapping. Who was the most timid actor you ever came across in regard to horses and who was the most "natural"?

It's disturbing to see actors jerk the reins and the horse raises his head to avoid the long curb bits often used in westerns. How did you handle seeing your well trained horses react to heavy handling and heavy riding?

Please tell me you're still in the saddle....
Thanks!


I taught my horse Frosty to untie knots. Mistake. One night he not only let himself out of the barn (he could open the smallest chrome double ended snaps) but let out six other horses. They proceeded to parade through the neighbor loving the newly planted lawns. Frosty and the midnight marauders. I have not read Chuck Roberson's book but it probably is like he tells it. He trained a lot of falling horses. They start a horse in a big sand pile from the ground with a rope harness of sorts on them. They can bring their head towards them on the right side and left up a left fore foot at the same time and ease them down to the sand. Then later they do the same cues from on the saddle standing still. It is really quite something. But, let me assure you of one thing. If ever a horse gets hurt doing this type of fall . . . King Kong would never be strong enough to make him do it again. Once learned, they do it willingly or they will never do it again. Some of them are really amazing. Most stuntmen train their own and own their own and do not loan them out. And, no, I would never be interested in doing that. Ever! Yikes! I liked doing the pretty stuff. Funny about you mentioning 'chicken wings'. Oh how my father hated that. But, it was really funny how often I got corrected for looking too professional. I too had to acquire some of that goofy way of riding to look more like the time frame it was in. The good thing was that seldom, only a few times, did I ever let another use my horse in a film. And, never and actor. Donna Hall used him once doubling Debbie Reynolds and stuntman Clint Sharp used him to jump out the saloon window. It is heartbreaking to see some of the actors try to look so tough by snatching a horses head with those long shank bits they wore on occasion. So sad. I remember the day Chuck Connors broke a horses jaw like that. It didn't bother him a bit! No dear. I love the memories but I do not ride anymore. There comes a time in your life you have to go into a different direction and when my husband had his car accident it made that choice for us. I love to look at the memories and have just finished a book about my horse Frosty which I am trying to get published. It would make a great movie. Sigh . . . .
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby mongoII » October 6th, 2013, 4:12 pm

Hi Martha...again.
I've noticed in you credits that you stunted in films that starred Elvis Presley, Joseph Cotten and Claudette Colbert. Do you have any recollections of these stars?
Thanks again
Joe aka Mongo
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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » October 6th, 2013, 4:39 pm

Thank you so much for your wonderful responses, Martha. And please come back and visit us from time to time. :-)
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!

Postby JackFavell » October 6th, 2013, 7:06 pm

Martha, I have just loved your visit here, you are a champ, a great writer and a very down to earth person. Your stories are priceless!

I hope I'm not too late to ask whether you knew Leslie Howard? I imagine you were a child if you ever met him, but I'd be curious if you had any impressions?

I am curious if you ever met Spencer Tracy. His kids were in classes with you, I believe?

I also was wondering about your work on The Tin Star.

Thanks for visiting. Don't be a stranger... we've enjoyed chatting so much!

Wendy

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby rerun » October 6th, 2013, 8:28 pm

mongoII wrote:Hi Martha...again.
I've noticed in you credits that you stunted in films that starred Elvis Presley, Joseph Cotten and Claudette Colbert. Do you have any recollections of these stars?
Thanks again
Joe aka Mongo


Hi! I worked with Elvis on his first film. He was a sweetheart. He was very shy at that time and quite in awe of the fuss he was causing. We used to sit on ladders to have a good view of what was going on and talk about horses, horses, horses. He was a great horse lover. I was training my horse Frosty at that time and he got a running report every day. Before I got to know him I found it was he that was shooting me with the water pistol every day. He did a singing number at a county fair setting and I pleaded and conned my way into being there in the audience of extras. He winked at me and I have never been the same since!.
I worked with Joseph Cotton for several days and I was so surprised to find what a great sense of humor he has. He was an absolute delight and a fun filled person to be with. I worked with Claudette on her last film. And . . . let me see how I can say this, perhaps because she felt the film was beneath her she was taking herself a little to seriously for me. She was perhaps a little out of sorts because it was not a picture up to her reputation but it was a film for her to star in and when a career is waning I guess you really do not have too much choice. I never saw her smile one time.
Last edited by rerun on October 7th, 2013, 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
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Re: !

Postby rerun » October 6th, 2013, 8:48 pm

JackFavell wrote:Martha, I have just loved your visit here, you are a champ, a great writer and a very down to earth person. Your stories are priceless!

I hope I'm not too late to ask whether you knew Leslie Howard? I imagine you were a child if you ever met him, but I'd be curious if you had any impressions?

I am curious if you ever met Spencer Tracy. His kids were in classes with you, I believe?

I also was wondering about your work on The Tin Star.

Thanks for visiting. Don't be a stranger... we've enjoyed chatting so much!

Wendy


Wendy - I was about 7 years old when my father was under contract to Leslie Howard to captain his polo team. He was very into polo. His daughter 'little Leslie' and I were together quite a bit but she was several years older than I. My mother and father were quite fond of Leslie. They often went for 'shore' dinners on Long Island. He was quite a ladies man and I think was a little smitten with my mother. I have great memories of being there when they loaded the polo ponies on the ship and the family sailed back to England. They build stalls on the main deck for them and with their heads sticking out of the doors with white suede halters on it was a sight I will not forget. His wife was perhaps the last person in the world you would have paired up with him. She was a huge lady and, well, commander of the ship shall I say. All in all good vibes.
I was around Spencer Tracy a lot. He was absolutely wonderful to me and I can never say enough about how fond I was of him as a child. I rode a lot with both Johnny and Susie Tracy. They were great kids. Louise, Spencer's wife was a remarkable woman with the work she did for the deaf children of the world. She was almost frail looking but was an excellent polo player in a day that women really didn't play polo! They were wonderful, totally natural people that everyone loved to be around.
My work on the Tin Star is forgettable. It was good news bad news. I was to come racing into the western street driving a buckboard as fast as I could drive the team. I did. I 'brodied' the turn (slid around it) and let huge dust clouds - perfection. Then - then I was in trouble. I had driven buckboards a lot but never had to tie one up at a hitching rail. I didn't see the tie and panicked at the last minute and wrapped the only thing I could find around the rail - the driving line. It was terrible. They never called me again. Win some lose some I guess. It is funny now but not then!
It has been such fun being here. Thanks for all your kind words.
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby rerun » October 6th, 2013, 9:31 pm

rerun wrote:
Jezebel38 wrote:
rerun wrote:I think my very favorite thing I did was the fire scene in Interrupted Melody. Although a fake fire, it was hugely real looking and the most expensive indoor scene ever at that time. So, it was a wonderful interaction with the horse I used. We rehearsed it for three weeks. His name was Ski and what a real pro he was. I learned from working with him that horses can take a cue from music which I had never given thought to before. It was my favorite and I have read that the film itself was Eleanor Parker's favorite film.


Martha - thanks for visiting us here on SSO!

As I am an Opera buff as well as a Classic film buff I've seen INTERRUPTED MELODY several times, and I've always been so impressed with this scene! 3 weeks of rehearsal? Wow! I am not an accomplished rider, but just to see you break into a canter from a standstill, rear up and then into the flames, and this is done bareback is most impressive.
This is not a great quality Youtube clip, but here is the scene:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBW7OI4jSzg[/youtube]

Did you get to know Glenn Ford at all while making this film?


I still get chills up my spine when ever I hear any of the music in IM. It was a beautiful film. I only met Glenn Ford one time on the set. He came up to me an complimented me on my work. That was so nice. Though we rehearsed and rehearsed till we had every thing perfect -- yep! They said it was too professional looking. So they brought in those big rocks to make a step for Eleanor to get on the horse for the split second before the cut to me. I have a color picture of the first rear that may have been cut out showing Ski's head up above mine. It is an amazing picture. And if you look in the black and white picture you will see he is balancing on one foot and one foot toe only on the ground. That is a true rearing horse. They would only let us rear him 8 times a day and brought his bit in cellophane every day sterilized. (Overkill)

P.S. I just watched the clip and it is amazing. I can tell when it is me with Ski in the long shot and when it is Eleanor with the other horse. I never noticed that before. They made me take German lessons, and a whole bunch of training just to do the long shot. Thanks for sharing this.
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby rerun » October 6th, 2013, 11:08 pm

moirafinnie wrote:Hey, Martha, before I forget to ask: please tell us a bit about your "non-stunt" appearances on film, could you?

I think I spotted you in one of crowd scenes in The Unsuspected (1947), directed by Michael Curtiz as a dancing lady in the background around 3:12 in this clip. Do you know where I should look for you in this movie?

Also, was your participation in this movie after your 20th Century Fox screen test? Could you please talk about how you came to have that screen test, your feelings about it, and the young lady who also tested that day?

Any comments you may have about working with Curtiz in this film and his ongoing interest in horses and friendship with your father? Did you meet Claude Rains while appearing in The Unsuspected?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EawLJUxLk4U[/youtube]


Could you please explain why in heck you never worked on any of directors Budd Boetticher's great Westerns--but you did appear (briefly and impressively) in The Killer Is Loose (1956) as Wendell Corey's wife, Doris. Martha's memorable on-screen moments in this movie begin about 10:50 in this movie. How cool that you played a character whose shadow stretched across the whole movie!:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YhGzH-KMiM[/youtube]

thanks again!!

I am amazed at the movie. I had never seen it! One funny thing was though - Wendell Cory had to pick me up and he had on a blue Italian silk suit and it was really slippery. I thought he was going to drop me and I put my hand around his neck. In the stills of the movie posted outside the theater they had that one! Here I am dead and holding onto his neck. So funny. I guess no one noticed. Thanks so for posting the film. What fun!
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby stuart.uk » October 7th, 2013, 6:22 am

Hi Martha

I was impressed by Anne Baxter in Yellow Sky, but up until now thought she did most of her own stunts in the film. I assume however, Jean Simmon's was doubled for the scene where she gallops up an incline and jumps of her horse.

I liked action heroines, but thought they were far between in the classic eras. Actresses like Jean Arthur in The Plainsman and Arizona. Maureen O'Hara in Camanche Territory and McLintock and Barbara Stanwyck in all her 50s westerns and The Big Valley and Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar. I did feel soory for Maureen in paticular as she played several damsel in distress movies, when she was just as capable as the male action heros.

I think it's more acceptable to have action heroines in the modern cinema with westerns like The Quick And The Dead and Bad Girls

Stuart from Scotland

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby moira finnie » October 7th, 2013, 6:55 am

Please note:

Martha has confirmed that she will return to answer a few more questions so we will be leaving this thread open a little longer as we await her replies before she scampers away. Thanks again, Martha!
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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby JackFavell » October 7th, 2013, 7:20 am

fantastic! I'll put my thinking cap on and come up with another question or two.

Did you become friends with Gregory Peck on the set of Yellow Sky? or was it later?

Can you tell us some more about your mom and dad?

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Re: Welcome to Martha Crawford Cantarini

Postby rerun » October 7th, 2013, 7:42 am

JackFavell wrote:fantastic! I'll put my thinking cap on and come up with another question or two.

Did you become friends with Gregory Peck on the set of Yellow Sky? or was it later?

Can you tell us some more about your mom and dad?


Greg lived very close to the Riviera Country Club. As many stars did at that time, they came to the club and asked for help with their riding for a coming movie. My father met Greg that way. The polo ponies are so
wonderfully trained and my father had several he would mount the stars on. He and Greg rode together a lot and of course I met him there on a casual basis. Then when I did Yellow Sky we became better acquainted. Most every night in Lone Pine the one and only theater would show a new film for the cast and crew to see. Every night with out fail, I was invited to go with them ie Greg, Richard Widmark, Harry Morgan mostly. Then Greg moved to Mandeville Canyon and had a nice small stable with three of his own horses. The polo was kind of falling apart by then and the groom my father had had for 30 years went to work for Greg taking care of his horses at his house. He was a wonderful, wonderful person. And, another with zero ego. My father would take us to breakfast every Sunday morning at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Always, someone would think my mother was 'somebody' and my father looked so like Richard Dix that people would get angry at him when he told them he was not, especially in a ready made star setting like the Beverly Hills Hotel. My father died at only 55 years old and it was a great loss to me as it is all who have been close to a parent. As polo waned away, my mother became a personal representative for Elizabeth Arden. If they wanted EA to speak or appear somewhere they would send my mother instead. She was so beautiful and of course all thought it was EA cosmetics that did that but alas, she came that way!
Thinking back to the days of stars riding at the club. They were mostly all very nice. However, Burt Lancaster ask my father for a horse to ride on day. He gave him a wonderfully trained, beautiful little mare. He rode her to death. She died within minutes of his bringing her back to the barn. He ran her to death! I can never forget or forgive.
Avatar: John Cantarini (Martha's husband) on future world record holder Crazy Kid. He won six in a row
on him.


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