The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.

Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Past chats with our guests.

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3312
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » October 28th, 2014, 12:10 pm

Image
If you have ever wondered about the filming of Director Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter, you might want to read Preston Neal Jones’ Heaven and Hell to Play With: The Filming of Night of the Hunter if you haven’t already, or listen to the commentary on the Criterion DVD of the iconic 1955 film that is now being required viewing in some freshman college classes.

Image
If you are a Star Trek fan, you might enjoy Jones' latest book, Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek, TMP.

Author Preston Neal Jones, originally from Connecticut, calls himself a producer-writer-actor-director-teacher-artist-lyricist-poet-raconteur-bon vivant. "In New York, a producer is someone who has a show running. In Hollywood, a producer is anybody who knows a writer. I know myself, and that's why I call myself a producer."

In high school, Jones produced and directed Masters' Spoon River Anthology at the University of Bridgeport and acted onstage in Death of a Salesman as Willy Loman opposite future troubadour Loudon Wainwright III as his son Biff.

Jones has studied directing, writing, and acting at Carnegie Mellon University alongside future thespic luminaries including Judith Light, Francesca James, Sonya Monzano and William Atherton, and production notables including producer Paula Wagner, composer Stephen Schwartz and playwright John Michael Tebelak. He originally came to Hollywood after being an early winner on The 10,000 Pyramid, and calls his relocation funds, "a grant" courtesy of the game show. He also worked as a Columbia Pictures Television executive, a free-lance script analyzer, and a play doctor making minor contributions to Godspell.

As a production assistant in Connecticut, Jones worked on the films The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster and Man on a Swing with Cliff Robertson and Joel Grey.

Jones has also hosted and introduced screenings at UCLA and American Cinematheque, as well as lecturing on film music at UCLA in Society of Film Music events.

His brushes with greatness include encounters with baseball immortal Jackie Robinson, actors Fred Astaire, Peter Sellers, Joan Rivers, Hans Conried, Barney Miller cast members, composers David Raksin, Miklos Rozsa, Ernest Gold, Henry Mancini, John Barry and Elmer Bernstein, sci-fi authors Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, musician/comedían Victor Borge, and actor Hal Holbrook during his appearance as Mark Twain, as well as the muscial group, The Manhattan Transfer. His list of celebrity contacts also include the casts and crews of NIght of the Hunter and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Jones was also befriended by actor Raymond Massey and Hans J. Salter, composer of Universal Monsters fame, about whom he authored the Cinefantastique cover story, "The Ghost of Hans J. Salter."

In the 1970s, he served two years as a conscientious objector as noted in Sherry Gottlieb's oral history entitled Hell No, We Won't Go, which also includes comments from Actor Richard Dreyfuss, who was recently a guest at the Turner Classic Film Festival, and the TCM Cruise.

Jones' liner notes appear on soundtrack albums for classic film scores by Alfred Newman, Cyril J. Mockridge, and Hans J. Salter, and he has also corresponded with writer Ray Bradbury and director John Huston.

His current book projects include interviews with various movie crew members in Los Angeles and other áreas of the country.

Jones’ Interview with Dan Gunther of Trek Core on Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek, TMP: http://trekcore.com/blog/2014/08/interv ... -trek-tmp/

The Criterion Collection: Night of the Hunter: http://www.criterion.com/films/27525-th ... the-hunter

Image
To purchase Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek-TMP, follow the link: http://creaturefeatures.com/product-tag ... eal-jones/

Image
To purchase Heaven and Hell to Play With: The Filming of Night of the Hunter, follow the link: http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Hell-Play- ... 0879109742

Please welcome Preston Neal Jones, author of Heaven and Hell to Play With-The Making of NIght of the Hunter, and his current release, Return To Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek-The Motion Picture.
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2018
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor

User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3312
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 1st, 2014, 9:40 am

Preston, we are so happy to have you visit with us here!

One of our other SSO Administrators, Moira Finnie, is out of town this weekend, but she has two questions for you concerning the filming of NIght of the Hunter that she has been curious about for some time:

"1.) Is it true that Charles Laughton asked Mitchum to work with the children on their scenes since Laughton didn't feel as though he had the patience to do so?

2.) Did Laughton and cinematographer Stanley Cortez work together to achieve the striking visual effects in the movie? Or was Cortez largely responsible for the film's look?"

This is obviously a film that you have an extremely high regard for considering the lengthy research and interviews you conducted while writing Heaven and Hell to Play With: The Filming of NIght of the Hunter. Please feel free to share with us as many details as you'd like!
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2018
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor

User avatar
Preston Neal Jones
Posts: 11
Joined: October 4th, 2014, 2:40 pm

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Preston Neal Jones » November 1st, 2014, 1:47 pm

Good morning, Moira, Hi, Christy, and hello, Silver Screeners everywhere!

First things first. Thanks for the use of the hall! Your gracious invitation was a delightful surprise for which I'm most grateful, and I'll try to rise to the occasion. I feel I'd better warn you folks that I am The Luddite Cyberpunk, and I'm a little nervous, hoping I'll not mess up the technology of this live forum -- my first -- simple though it may be. Please bear with me as I hunt and peck my way through this first post. (I'm also experiencing some pre-coffee grogginess after little sleep. I've had to pull a few almost-all-nighters this week in preparation for a coast-to-coast train trip which will take me out of town for most of this month. It's a journey to my New England homeland, my annual "pilgrimage to the foliage" (and family and friends) which this year I'm taking now instead of in October so that I can share a rare Thanksgiving with my brother.) Finally, please forgive my inevitable typos. So, here goes:

Moira, permit me to invoke the spirit of Rufus T. Firefly, who upon greeting Freedonia's leading dowager said, "Is your husband dead? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first." I'm answering your second question first because, well before the actors went before their cameras, Laughton and Cortez worked very closely in pre-production. They had known each other for years, ever since meeting in Paris when Cortez had been called in to replace the original d.p. on THE MAN ON THE EIFFEL TOWER. To quote very briefly from my book, Cortez told me: "When I was introduced to Charles, the first words out of his mouth were, 'So you're taking the picture over. Well, I'm very happy to meet you, you big b******.' So I said, 'I'm very happy to meet you, you fat son of a b****.' And from that moment on, we became the dearest of friends."

And, the closest of collaborators. The two men had many meetings in which Cortez showed the first-time director his lenses, discussing what each piece of equipment was capable of achieving. Once shooting commenced, as Cortez put it, "Charles became the teacher, and I became the pupil." The cinematographer always felt that of all the directors he'd known, the two who most understood the d.p.'s contributions to visual storytelling were Orson Welles and Laughton. With the equally close collaboration of art director Hilyard Brown, Laughton and Cortez devised together the look Laughton envisioned of HUNTER as "a nightmarish sort of Mother Goose tale," seen from a child's unique perspective. Music-lover Cortez even inspired Laughton to ask composer Walter Schumann -- who, like editor Robert Golden, was on-set through the entire production -- to create a waltz a la Sibelius' "Valse Triste" as the theme for Shelley Winters' Willa character. Laughton, thrilled with the look of the nocturnal river journey sequences, asked Cortez how he had done it, to which Cortez answered simply, "Because you asked me for 'fairy tale.'"

As for Mr. Mitchum, always a great storyteller, rarely a completely truthful one, his recollections of Charles and the children, which are the source of the legend you mention, must be taken with a saline grain. Laughton loved children, and he worked as closely with them as with any of the other thespians in HUNTER. Mitchum was able to pitch in from time to time, especially with little Sally Jane Bruce, (as I relate in detail in my book), but there can be no denial of Laughton's working with the kids, and of course the proof can be seen and heard in Robert Gitt's fantastic documentary, based on the out-takes, called "Charles Laughton Directs THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER," on the Criterion Collection DVD/Bluray. For those who don't know, HUNTER is miraculously unique in that not only do some ten hours' of out-takes survive, but in them, because Laughton actually kept the camera rolling between takes, he can be heard directing the actors -- kids included.

User avatar
Lucky Vassall
Posts: 290
Joined: January 27th, 2014, 2:40 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Lucky Vassall » November 1st, 2014, 3:22 pm

Let me add my welcome. I'm especially pleased to see that you've also become a member of our little group, and I look forward to your comments on the various threads, as your busy schedule allows.

I greatly enjoyed your two answers to Moira's questions. Night of the Hunter has always been a special favorite of mine, and I wish the reception had been greater so that we could have enjoyed more directing from that so-talented thespian. (Of course, that might also have caused us to miss some of his great acting roles.)

I'm fascinated by your current project. I think the contribution of the under-the-line participants too often goes unappreciated, and I'm a prime example, as I shall demonstrate. It was Jerry Ziesmer's autobiography, "Ready When You Are, Mr. Coppola, Mr. Speilberg, Mr. Crowe" that taught me that the First Assistant Director is not a glorified gofer!

I wonder if Mr. Ziesmer is one of the people you're interviewing for this project and what other positions you hope to cover.

Again, welcome, Mr. Jones, I know we shall all benefit by your presence.
AVATAR: Billy DeWolfe as Mrs. Murgatroid, “Blue Skies” (1946)

“My ancestors came over on the Mayflower.”
“You’re lucky. Now they have immigration laws."

Mae West, The Heat’s On” (1943)

:–)—
Pinoc-U-no(se)

User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3312
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 1st, 2014, 4:08 pm

Thanks so much for such an in-depth reply to Moira's questions, Preston. Great question, Lucky Vassall!
Image
The difficulties Shelley Winters experienced on the set of Night of the Hunter have been broached before in several arenas, but I was hoping you could illuminate some of the struggles she might have encountered working with Mitchum, Laughton, or the children.

Image
Peter Graves, Director Charles Laughton, and Billy Chapin....

Also, any comments about Billy Chapin? Any updates on what he has been doing?
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2018
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor

User avatar
Preston Neal Jones
Posts: 11
Joined: October 4th, 2014, 2:40 pm

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Preston Neal Jones » November 1st, 2014, 5:29 pm

Thank you, Lucky, for your own warm welcome. I'm very happy indeed to have begun what I hope will be an ongoing avenue of communication with you and all the other Silver Screeners. From now on, it's nothing but blue skies -- but then, you already knew that, judging from your icon.

Thanks especially for the encouraging words about my movie crew book project. It's one of many works in progress which are dear to my heart and which, after letting them lie fallow for far too long, I'm hoping to revive and ultimately bring into fruition, (and maybe even the limelight, if I'm lucky). First of these out of the starting gate is the new book about STAR TREK, and I'm striving to ensure that more will now follow. As to "THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CAMERA: The Movie Crew," this particular effort, in fact, was one of the first things I tackled when I came to Hollywood, having already begun with interviews among some of the great people I had met on THE SWIMMER and MAN ON A SWING. One of my favorite New York interviewees was a still man, Muki by professional name, whose career had actually begun here in L.A. during the golden years of Warner Brothers, so his memories straddle two coasts and two eras. Some of the people I've interviewed out here are extremely well known from their work on classic films, including costumer Walter Plunkett, cinematographer Milton Krasner, special effects master Linwood Dunn, and composer Hans J. Salter. But I also want to make the book, for better or worse, a mixture of classical film-making and more modern work, or at least work that was modern back in the 70's when I began the project. As a matter of fact, if all goes well I hope to bring the whole thing a little more up-to-date by revisiting an interviewee whom I first talked to when she was an up-and-comer who'd been recommended to my attention, and who since then has certainly proved herself to have lived up to those expectations, having by now edited a number of all-time box office blockbusters.

I'm very grateful to you for mentioning Mr. Ziesner, as I had not heard about him or his book. Obviously a lot of my favorite reading is you-are-there/horse's mouth movie history, and I will now run out (to Amazon) and get a copy.

Thanks again for your encouragement and support. I need it, so please keep those candles lit!

User avatar
Preston Neal Jones
Posts: 11
Joined: October 4th, 2014, 2:40 pm

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Preston Neal Jones » November 1st, 2014, 6:32 pm

Hi, Christy --

Like Lucky, you too have a memorable icon. What a beautiful picture! It's like two Breck girls, or even two Gibson girls. You know, just a few weeks ago, a bunch of us out here who have a monthly movie party were screening the other film where Ginger's mom played Ginger's mom, ROXY HART -- did you know that this was one of Stanley Kubrick's favorite moves? I didn't! -- and as always, I loved her one brief gag scene. Love the whole picture, in fact.

I really don't have much to add to what's in my book about Shelley's experience on HUNTER, but yes, she did have her problems. For openers, although she no doubt felt very pleased to be under the care of her one-time teacher Mr. Laughton, it probably didn't help that Mitchum was never happy with her being cast as Willa. How much of this he may have let on to her, overtly or indirectly, (he certainly made no secret of it in our interview), is a subject for speculation; Mitch, by all accounts a total professional, could according to his whims be either a gentleman or a scamp, to put it mildly. Even if he never tipped his hand to Shelley, actors are very sensitive people -- again, to put it mildly -- and I shouldn't be surprised if she somehow sensed his displeasure with her. (FWIW, a candid illustration in my book shows Mitchum and Winters chatting cozily over the script, a big smile on her face). Like Laughton himself, Winters was filled with insecurities, ("a stadium of nerves," as producer Paul Gregory called his director/business partner), and she clearly could be a handful, as some of the out-takes, (and some of the tales in my book), attest. Laughton lost patience with her more than once; I suspect she may have been the sort of person who subconsciously felt she needed to generate that rough treatment to help keep her on track. (That'll be 25 cents, please.) Whatever their travails on this picture, however, apparently she still treasured Laughton and her association with him. A long time ago she wrote a brief tribute to Laughton in a film magazine, and her final line resonates with me still: "When Charles asks, 'How are you?', he really wants to know."

If there's anything else I can tell you which is not in my book, it is simply that I, too, found her to be a handful. Although to my face she initially agreed to an interview, (and here I'll spare you the long story), after several frustrating years of second thoughts and outright refusals, she never did talk to me for the book. (Even when she was directly asked by a mutual friend go-between, "You don't want Mitchum to have the last word, do you?"

Although Billy Chapin's documented memories of working on HUNTER, from a previous Elsa Lanchester research project, are happily made public for the first time in my book, I never got to meet him in person -- we had corresponded briefly -- until the gala evening at the UCLA Film Preservation Festival where I launched my book and helped present the film with on-the-spot interviews. Bill was too shy to speak, but his brother Michael (who plays a bit part in HUNTER) and I arranged to have him stand and accept the audience's warm and vociferous applause. I'd like to think it did him good to see on the screen how good his performance was, and to realize how much the crowd loved him. Not long after that, I'm sad to report, his health started suffering, and although I've kept in touch off and on with Michael, I've never again been able to have any direct communication with Bill.

User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3312
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 1st, 2014, 11:41 pm

I am so happy to know that Billy Chapin had some recognition of his stellar performance. Thanks for sharing that lovely story about him, and I'm glad you like my avatar. I think I remember reading that Roxie Hart was one of Kubrick's favorite films, and it is kind of amazing he would choose a Ginger Rogers movie. I never would have imagined it was one of his favorites.

During our short phone conversation the other day, I remember us chatting a bit about Shelley, and I think what you said about her having a much more difficult story arc than any of the other characters is accurate. I didn't realize she had been such a "handful" to deal with off the set as well. Great to know one of your friends tried to convince her to share her opinions and experiences on the set. It's a testament to your tenacity and research skills.

Image
Any comments about Evelyn Varden or Don Beddoe? I thought they made a cute screen couple. Beddoe was adorable as a hen-pecked husband and Varden was so funny bragging about her fudge.
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2018
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor

User avatar
Preston Neal Jones
Posts: 11
Joined: October 4th, 2014, 2:40 pm

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Preston Neal Jones » November 2nd, 2014, 1:25 am

Oops! I misspelled "Roxie"! You can find online the complete list of Kubrick's Top Ten, though it dates from the Sixties, I think, and it's possible he revised/updated it in later years.

Thank you for reminding me of my thought about Miss Winters' portrayal of Willa, because I think it's worth repeating. In a sense, Shelley had a harder row to hoe than Mitchum, because unlike Preacher, who is the same mad devil first, last and aways, Willa undergoes a tremendous arc of character transition from slattern to would-be-saint/martyr, and she has very few actual scenes in which to accomplish it. The film, at 93 minutes, is very faithful to the book but telescopes it ruthlessly, forcing Miss Winters practically to be a different person from one scene to the next.

Beddoe & Varden, that great team, were certainly appreciated by the film's creators. Producer Paul Gregory enthuses in my book about their casting, adding, "You'd think they'd been married always." Davis Grubb, author of the original novel, felt that "they (the production company) should have paid her extra" for her contribution as Icey Spoon. As it happened, she and Grubb viewed the HUNTER answer print together at United Artists' Manhattan screening room. She was so anxious that he like it, Grubb recalled, that she kept a tight squeeze on his hand the whole time. I'll tell you a touching anecdote about Don Beddoe, which I don't think I put in the book. One of the great joys, you know, of meeting and conversing with these wonderful character actors is the opportunity it affords to learn about not just the subject at hand but many other films as well. (Mr. Mitchum had a lot to say, for instance, about CAPE FEAR.) One of the famous movies in which Mr. Beddoe appeared was THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, in which he portrayed, if memory serves, the father of the bride,Teresa Wright. In any case, BEST YEARS was as we all know a rather long picture, and it necessitated a suitably long (and therefor expensive) shooting schedule. As the final film stands, Beddoe's character really isn't seen very much, but he originally had one important father/daughter scene containing a significant speech. He worked hard to prepare his monologue, only to be crestfallen when he went to the set and learned that the scene had been dropped. William Wyler explained to the disappointed actor that they had already shot a lot of footage, and the director had agreed with the budget-conscious Sam Goldwyn that the film could get along without that scene. Poor Don Beddoe asked Mr. Wyler if he could at least do the speech for him, so he could show how he would have done it if it had been filmed, but the busy director turned him down.

User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3312
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 2nd, 2014, 4:36 pm

Thanks for such a wonderful response, Preston. I really enjoyed those comments about Evelyn Varden and Don Beddoe.
I would love to hear more about what Mitchum discussed concerning Cape Fear. Please share! :-)

Can you tell us how you were able to visit the set of Star Trek: The Motion PIcture (1979) and have access to so many cast and crew in your latest book, Return To Tomorrow: The FIlming of Star Trek, The Motion Picture?

Who was one of your most interesting interviews for this epic undertaking? How do you think the film still manages to attract so many fans?
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2018
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor

User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby mongoII » November 2nd, 2014, 5:24 pm

Hi Preston and welcome to the Silver Screen Oasis. It's nice having you with us.
Is it true that Mitchum said that Laughton was one of the best directors he ever worked with?
How did Lillian Gish get along with those on the set. Did she cater to anyone in particular?
Did Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester manage to visit the set?
I thank you.
Joe
Joseph Goodheart

User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3312
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 2nd, 2014, 7:32 pm

Preston has stepped out for awhile, but will return later tonight and tomorrow to answer more questions.
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2018
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor

User avatar
Preston Neal Jones
Posts: 11
Joined: October 4th, 2014, 2:40 pm

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Preston Neal Jones » November 2nd, 2014, 9:36 pm

I have just a second, because I'm running out to a show, and folks, I'm sorry I was called away by a crisis (with my Macbook!), and I'll try to make up for lost time by tomorrow at the latest. Permit me to tackle at least one of the unanswered questions for now. The Star Trek project was originally going to be a special double issue of the late, lamented Cinefantastique magazine, to follow the pattern they'd set with previous double-issue specials on STAR WARS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. Those issues consisted of around twenty discrete interviews with cast & behind-the-scenes people. But --

Oops! My ride's here!

TO BE CONTINUED...

User avatar
Lucky Vassall
Posts: 290
Joined: January 27th, 2014, 2:40 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Lucky Vassall » November 3rd, 2014, 12:46 am

Good morning, Preston,

Greatly enjoying your comments and glad you’ll be able to give us another day of your time.

I’ll definitely be reading Return to Tomorrow, but not before Heaven and Hell to Play With. (What a great title!)

The inside stories of Laughton, Mitchum and Winters were really fascinating. I agree that she had the hardest job with the least to work with. Certainly not a problem for Mitchum, but when is playing the meanie a problem. He didn’t happen to tell you how he perfected that scream of frustration as the boat slips away from his grasp did he?

I was sorry to hear that Billy Chapin has not been available for an interview and has stayed out of the limelight since the Festival. He certainly did a fine job in this and the other roles he played as a child, and it would be nice to learn more about how he felt the experience affected his later life. I have a hunch he was another victim of the late-adolescence Catch-22. We’ve lost so many talented youngsters because of Coogan’s Law; they have no problem while they’re still young, but as soon as they reach 16 or so, they cannot find work anywhere and become forgotten by the casting agents. You can’t blame the agents or the producers; who would hire someone of 16 with the baggage of an adult “handler”, schooling, and very limited shooting time when a bevy of young-looking 18-year-olds are available without all the hassle. I think the age should be lowered to 16, or at least the restrictions should be eased at that age. Wonder if you have any thoughts on this subject based on your Night of the Hunter research.

Just read an article today that Haley Joel Osmond is working on a comeback. He’s grown a beard, bulked up, and gotten several pictures playing the heavy. Hope he makes it; he certainly deserves to for his fine performance as a boy who sees ghosts.

And then, of course, there's the King of Comebacks: Mickey Rooney!

Come to think of it, that might make a good future subject for you: the experiences, good and bad, of child stars once they grow up and have to compete with a batch of would-be's. I’m sure Paul Peterson would have a lot to say on the subject if you could get an interview.

In any case, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

Lucky
AVATAR: Billy DeWolfe as Mrs. Murgatroid, “Blue Skies” (1946)

“My ancestors came over on the Mayflower.”
“You’re lucky. Now they have immigration laws."

Mae West, The Heat’s On” (1943)

:–)—
Pinoc-U-no(se)

User avatar
Preston Neal Jones
Posts: 11
Joined: October 4th, 2014, 2:40 pm

Re: Author Preston Neal Jones Q & A November 1 & 2

Postby Preston Neal Jones » November 3rd, 2014, 2:37 am

AS I WAS SAYING --

But I ended up interviewing three times that number of people, and I didn't simply report the Q & A, I concentrated on the A's, eliminated most of my Q's, and edited the resulting text the same way I had edited the NIGHT OF THE HUNTER book, in what I like to call a montage of memories. I obtained many interviews through the enthusiastic cooperation if the Paramkunt publicity department, whose responsibility it was of course to promote the upcoming movie. My editor at CFQ, the late Fred Clarke, kept urging me to do ever more interviews, and often certain interviewees would take it upon themselves to connect me with co-workers to talk to. Perhaps the most significant example of this last gambit was when special effects artist Richard Yuricich arranged for me to interview the young, up-and-coming Executive in Charge of Production, by name of Jeffrey Katzenberg. ST-TMP was his first major responsibility. Just before accompanying me into Katzenberg's office, Yuricich confided to me, "Pay attention to whatever this guy tells you, Preston -- one day he's gonna be head of the studio…" Many interviewees were memorable to me for different reasons, but I can tell you that Mr. Katzenberg was singular in one respect. He was the only one of the sixty -- in fact, the only interviewee I've ever talked to about any subject -- who didn't want me to record our conversation. I had to take copious notes and then rush home to jot down everything I could possibly recall of what he had said in our conversation.

I'm starting to fade. I'd better quit and get a fresh start tomorrow….
Last edited by Preston Neal Jones on November 3rd, 2014, 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.


Return to “Archived Guest Stars”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest