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Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Past chats with our guests.

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Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby moira finnie » March 11th, 2014, 7:07 pm

Here's the spot where we can start asking Michael Hoey questions beginning on Sat., March 15th & Sun. March 16th.

This thread is now open and questions can be posted. All are welcome.

Roll out the red carpet with us as The Silver Screen Oasis welcomes Michael Hoey, the son of the classic character actor, Dennis Hoey, and an accomplished writer, editor, and producer in his own right. Our forthcoming guest has generously consented to join us on the weekend of Sat., March 15th & Sun., March 16th.

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Above: Michael Hoey (center) surrounded by some of the people and films that have shaped his life and career.

Mr. Hoey grew up in Hollywood while his father was pursuing a very busy career as an actor in the studio era, memorably portraying Inspector Lestrade in the Basil Rathbone series of Sherlock Holmes films at Universal, as well as appearing in many other roles. Michael himself has worked in almost every aspect of show business as an actor, editor, writer, director and producer, gaining professional experience with legends such as John Ford on Sgt. Rutledge, George Cukor on The Chapman Report, & Martin Ritt on Sounder.

As a film editor and writer he has been recognized by the American Cinema Editors, the Writers' Guild of America, and received primetime Emmy nominations for his work on the noted television series, Fame, which Mr. Hoey wrote about in his book, Inside Fame on Television: A Behind-the-Scenes History (McFarland). In recent years, our guest author has proven himself a gifted raconteur in several other books, chronicling his own life adventures in and out of the entertainment industry in his autobiographical memoir, Elvis, Sherlock & Me: How I Survived Growing Up in Hollywood (BearManor), as well as relating an appreciation for character actors in general through his account of Sherlock Holmes & the Fabulous Faces - The Universal Pictures Repertory Company (BearManor).

Michael's most recent book, Elvis' Favorite Director: The Amazing 52-Year Career of Norman Taurog (BearManor) traces the remarkable and largely unsung story of the youngest individual to win an Academy Award (for 1931's Skippy with Jackie Cooper in the title role). Taurog, who also directed Spencer Tracy in his Oscar-winning role as Father Flanagan in Boys' Town (1938), wound up his career helming nine of Elvis Presley's films. The author's background as the screenwriter of Stay Away, Joe (1968) and Live A Little, Love A Little (1968), and as a contributing writer to four other Elvis films gave Michael a unique perspective on the star and a greater appreciation for the achievements of filmmaker Norman Taurog (1898-1981), which began decades before Elvis Presley was born.

Please click on the image below to view more about Michael Hoey's books:
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Please accept this invitation to participate in our March Guest Author's visit. All are welcome!

Below are links to Online References to Our Guest's Background

Michael Hoey on IMDb

Michael Hoey Website

Upcoming Dennis Hoey Films on TCM

Dennis Hoey: A Son's Remembrance by Michael A. Hoey as told to Tom Weaver @Films of the Golden Age

Elvis, Sherlock & Me: Memoir

Elvis' Favorite Director: The Amazing 52-Year Career of Norman Taurog: A Biography

Sherlock Holmes & the Fabulous Faces - The Universal Pictures Repertory Company

Inside Fame on Television: A Behind-the-Scenes History

~Our Thanks to Scott Allen Nollen for Helping Arrange Michael Hoey's Visit to the SSO.~
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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby moira finnie » March 15th, 2014, 7:55 am

Thank you so much for joining us today and tomorrow, Michael. I have a couple of questions to kick things off about you, your father, Dennis Hoey, and the subject of your most recent book, Norman Taurog.

1.) Your professional career as an editor kicked into gear just as the studio system was winding down. Working on the films Sergeant Rutledge (1960) and The Chapman Report (1962), which were made under the respective direction of John Ford and George Cukor, what did you learn about their techniques and styles of filmmaking? Was the experience of working on these late career productions of these very different legends at all intimidating?

2.) I noted that A Thousand and One Nights (1945) was your favorite film featuring your father, Dennis Hoey. Since this movie is being shown on TCM on May 8th, could you please talk a bit about why you think this gem brought out the mischievous side of your father's talent? Could you please touch on how his extensive theatrical background may have been a factor in the obvious relish he brought to the screen along with his co-stars?

3.) What drew you to the story of director Norman Taurog? What do you regard as Taurog's essential movies that should be seen to understand the scope of his career?

Thanks in advance for your answers!
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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby ChiO » March 15th, 2014, 9:02 am

We're very glad you are able to join us. My question is about another director: Roy William Neill.

In spite of directing the popular "Sherlock Holmes" series and some other outstanding films such as FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN and BLACK ANGEL, and having a consistently interesting visual style, Neill seems to be, if not ignored, under-appreciated. What do you see as the likely reasons for this? Working on the "wrong" kind of movies?
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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Brian McFadden » March 15th, 2014, 9:21 am

I started out reading your books because I was such a fan of your father's. Very early on, however, I realized I had become a fan of yours as well! Of course, I hope you realize that you've made many of us extremely jealous by your stories about being on the set of Pearl of Death, meeting Nigel Bruce, etc. You lucky Kid!

Roy William Neil was one of my favorite directors. His work at Universal with your father was outstanding, and he also brought a special touch to earlier efforts at Columbia like The Menace and The Black Room. I loved your take on him in "S.H. and the Fabulous Faces." Any additional comments?

Also, since my own area of expertise is Republic, did your dad ever mention any differences when he'd move from a studio like Universal to one like Republic where he appeared in Wake of the Red Witch with John Wayne?

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your insights with us,

Brian

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 10:59 am

Moira, John Ford and George Cukor had very different directing styles. Ford liked to "get in and get it done." He'd rehearse once or twice, shoot, and print takes one or two. He was looking for a feeling of improvisation. Cukor would shoot dozens of takes and print most of them, looking for nuances in performances. I found them both to be intimidating in their own ways, but I learned valuable technique from both of them.

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 11:07 am

I just loved the idea of seeing two Dennis Hoeys on the screen at the same time. Also, I thought Phil Silvers was very funny and the film had excellent production values. Remember, I was only ten when this film was released and not terribly sophisticated.

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Scott_Nollen » March 15th, 2014, 11:17 am

Hi, Mike! I'll be checking in all weekend, but I wanted to make sure and let you know that I was here early on during the proceedings. I'm so pleased that Moira was able to schedule your visit so soon. Since you and I have spent lots of time discussing films, I'll throw in a "light" question, since you'll be so busy writing extensive answers to others' much more serious and in-depth queries. Even though we watched that "experimental masterpiece" STAY AWAY, JOE together and have had fun discussing it, I always forget to ask you what Joan Blondell was like on the set. At that stage of her career, did she take the work seriously, or did she just add to the chaos that makes the film so much fun to watch? I really enjoy Joan's early films (especially the ones with Cagney and my dear Glenda Farrell) and occasionally catch one of her later film or TV efforts. I'm so glad you're here this weekend, and I hope it's a smashing experience!

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 11:29 am

Moira, I realized that I didn't properly answer your 2nd question. I think that my father's earlier career in musicals probably helped him to find the key to the two brothers in the film. He had performed in several productions in England which were costume epics. He even once played in blackface. In actuality, my father was a true character actor, able to play a wide variety of roles throughout his lengthy career.

I'll answer your third question while I'm here as well.
My admiration for Norman Taurog and the fact that nobody had ever written about him was what led me to write the book I knew a lot about his early career because he used to speak about his days in silent films as both a prop man and a director. I even wrote and directed a short film based on his stories. A lot of research went into the book, as well as my experiences working on the Elvis films.

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 11:37 am

I would have to say that Roy William Neil failed to get the full recognition he deserved because he was trapped making 'B' movies. The tragedy was that he was about to get the opportunity to make more important films, when he died.

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 11:48 am

I'm taking a break, I'll be back.

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby mongoII » March 15th, 2014, 12:11 pm

Hi Mr. Hoey and welcome to the Silver Screen Oasis. It's nice having you here.

Were you ever invited to one of Basil Rathbone's lavish parties (and his wife Oona)? If so, what was it like?
Did you get to know any of Universal's stable of horror stars? If so, who impressed you the most and who didn't?
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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » March 15th, 2014, 1:14 pm

The well-versed and delightful Mongo has beat me to the punch. I also would like to know something of the legendary Basil Rathbone soirees, Mr. Hoey!

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Costumed partygoers at a Rathbone respite....

And I've enjoyed Nigel Bruce in so many performances.
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Here' is a quote from Bruce I found on IMDB:
"I am in no way a distinguished man, but if I died tomorrow, I can honestly claim to have been what few men can call themselves - a really happy one. For 26 years I have been blessed with the love and friendship of a very wonderful woman. I have two attractive and splendid daughters of whom I am very proud, and my two sons-in-law I respect and like enormously. Except for a groggy leg I have been given excellent health, and all through my life I have had the friendship of many attractive and worthwhile people, for all this I am very grateful. I have made a few enemies and for their opinions I care not a fig. I may be broke or ill again, but as long as I have Bunny beside me I shall be happy, and I can only hope that our two daughters will enjoy their lives as much as their father has enjoyed every minute of his. (1947)"
Any comments about Nigel Bruce that might reveal more of his character than this lovely quote?
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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 2:05 pm

Dear Brian, Thank you for your kind comment about my books. In regard to Your question about Roy William Neil, please see my previous post. As far as Universal vs. Republic, they were both low budget studios. However, a John Wayne film like "Wake of the Red Witch" was one of the studios major productions and had a much larger budget and shooting schedule. I went on the set with my father and met Wayne, which was quite a thrill.

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 2:08 pm

No, Joe, I was never invited to any of Rathbone's parties, I was too young. I never met any of the other horror stars, sorry.

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Re: Welcome to Michael Hoey, Our Guest Author for 3/15 & 3/16

Postby Michael_A_Hoey » March 15th, 2014, 2:16 pm

Hi Scott,
Thanks for checking in. Joan Blondell was a real pro and seemed to enjoy vamping Elvis. Her sequences were much closer to what I had written, since the director didn't go off script as much as he did with Elvis and his gang. While we were on location in Sedona she cooked a fabulous dinner for a group of us.


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