JOHN RICH INTERVIEW
THE FOLLOWING WAS A PHONE INTERVIEW WITH JOHN RICH ON JULY 6 2007.
JOE KREIN: sir can you tell me about where you grew up and what your parents did?
JOHN RICH : I GREW UP IN A PLACE CALLED ROCK AWAY BEACH, NEW YORK . IT WAS A PART OF LONG ISLAND ON THE SOUTH SHORE. IT WAS A GREAT PLACE TO GROW UP AS A KID , BECAUSE IT WAS OVERPOPULATED IN THE SUMMER , BUT It WAS GREAT FOR THE WINTERS.
joe krein : what did your parents do?
john rich : MY FATHER WAS A CARPENTER , THERE WAS NOBODY FROM SHOW BUSINESS AROUND ME.
DID YOU WANT TO BE A DIRECTOR WHEN YOU GREW UP? IS THAT WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO?
I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE A ENGLISH TEACHER . I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT , BUT I MADE THE MISTAKE OF TAKING A RADIO BROADCASTING COURSE. LOOKING BACK AT IT NOW I GUESS IT WASN'T A MISTAKE. THAT LEAD ME TO APPLYING FOR A JOB AT A RADIO STATION FOR A DOLLAR AN HOUR READING THE NEWS,
A DOLLAR AN HOUR?
THAT WAS BIG MONEY FOR ME , YES AT THE TIME I WAS WORKING AT THE MICHIGAN UNION FOR THIRTY FIVE CENTS AN HOUR AND HAPPY TO GET IT. WHEN I HEARD ABOUT THIS NEW RADIO STATION AND THEY WERE OFFERING A BUCK. I SAID HEY! I CAN DO THAT ,
SO HOW LONG DID YOU DO THAT?
WHAT HAPPENED WAS REALLY STRANGE , THE STATION WAS SO NEW . I HAD BEEN IN THE SERVICE , THIS WAS RIGHT AFTER THE WAR . WHEN I CAME BACK I HEARD ABOUT THIS STATION, THEY WERE ASSIGNED 1600 HUNDRED KILOCYCLES ON THE RADIO DIAL. IT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE MUCH TODAY , BUT IT WAS FOR THOSE DAYS. IN THOSE DAYS THE DIAL STOPPED AT SIXTEEN FIFTY , SO WHAT THEY WERE DOING WAS OPENING UP FORTY KILOCYCLES FOR A NEW STATION. IF YOU HAD A NEW RADIO YOU COULD GET THE NEW STATION , BUT FOR THOSE WHO HAD OLD RADIO'S , THEY WOULD SEND AN ENGINEER TO YOUR HOME TO ADJUST THE SET SO YOU CAN HEAR THE STATION. AS A RESULT OF THIS LIMITED AUDIENCE THE MANAGER CAME ONE DAY AND SAID HE NEEDED TO FILL SOME TIME , THERE WERE THREE OF US THERE THAT WERE STUDENTS WORKING ON WEEKENDS AND TWO REGULAR ANNOUNCERS DURING THE WEEK. HE SAID WHICH ONE OF YOU GUYS Knows ANYTHING ABOUT BASKETBALL? WELL I HAD WRITTEN A HIGH SCHOOL COLUMN IN HIGH SCHOOL. I SAID I KNEW ALL ABOUT BASKETBALL . BUT I HAD NEVER SEEN A BIG TEN GAME. SO HE ASKED ME TO Cover THE MICHIGAN GAME THIS WEEK? THAT WAS NO GREAT THRILL BECAUSE IN THOSE DAYS THEY WEREN'T A POWER HOUSE BASKETBALL TEAM. SO I WENT TO THIS FIELD HOUSE WHERE THEY PRACTICED AND IT WAS A FIVE THOUSAND SEAT ARENA. BUT THEY HAD NOTHING THERE FOR RADIO , SO I ASKED THEM TO BUILD ME A BOX IN THE RAFTERS , WHICH THEY DID. SUDDENLY THEY STARTED TO WIN! AS A RESULT OF WHICH I BECAME A MINOR CELEBRITY AND WHEN OTHER BIG TEN TEAMS CAME TO MICHIGAN THEY WERE ASKING WHERE THERE RADIO PEOPLE COULD SIT , BUT THERE WAS NO ROOM . SO I MADE A LIMITED NET WORK AND I WAS CHARGING TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS A GAME . I WAS RICH AND THEY WENT ALL THE WAY . SO I HAD TO GO TO MADISON SQUARE GARDEN TO BROADCAST . THE MANAGER DIDN'T WANT TO PAY ME TO DO IT , SO IT WAS UP TO ME. I HAD TO DO EVERYTHING MYSELF AND SETTING IT UP INTERESTED ME MORE THEN THE GAME IT SELF. THAT'S HOW I BECAME INTERESTED IN PRODUCTION.
SO WHEN DID YOU START IN THE MOVIE'S AND TELEVISION?
I DID A SHOW ON THE RADIO CALLED "WANTED". WE WOULD CATCH CRIMINALS BY PUTTING out INFORMATION ABOUT THEM. IT WAS A FORERUNNER TO WHAT THEY HAVE NOW. WE CAUGHT FORTY PEOPLE. THEY WANTED ME TO DO IT ON TELEVISION BUT I SAID NO. IT WAS TO DANGEROUS. BUT I WANTED TO TRY DIRECTING IN TELEVISION. THEY LAUGHED . THEY SAID YOU CAN'T DO THAT . THEY SAID YOU HAVE TO BE A STAGE MANAGER FIRST AND IT ONLY PAYS EIGHTY Bucks A WEEK. I SAID I WOULD DO THAT , I MIGHT AS WELL LEARN SOMETHING. I DID THAT FOR ABOUT A YEAR AND I WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE WEST COAST. SUPPOSEDLY FOR TWO WEEKS BUT IT TURNED INTO FIFTY FIVE YEARS. I MOVED UP THE CHAIN AT THAT POINT . YOU COULD MOVE UP VERY QUICKLY IN 1951. I BECAME An ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR . THEN ONE DAY MY DIRECTOR BECAME ILL , EVERYTHING WAS LIVE BACK THEN. THE PRODUCERS WERE PULLING THERE HAIR OUT WONDERING WHAT THEY WOULD DO. I SAID I CAN DO THAT , THEY LOOKED AT ME AND ASKED ME WHO I WAS? I SAID I KNOW WHERE THE DIRECTORS CUTS ARE , I CAN HANDLE IT. IT CAME OFF VERY WELL. SO HERE WAS MY CHANCE TO BE A DIRECTOR.
A LOT OF PEOPLE DIDN'T EXPECT TV TO LAST?
I CERTAINLY DIDN'T . I WAS SURPRISED .ACTUALLY SOME OF THE DRAMA'S WERE TERRIFIC. GRADUALLY I WAS BEING ASSIGNED TO DO COMEDY SHOWS IN THE ALL STAR REVIEWS WITH JIMMY DURANTE , ED WHYNN , and EDDIE CANTOR. ONE DAY MY AGENT SAID JOAN DAVIS IS LOOKING FOR A NEW DIRECTOR. I SAID ISN'T THAT FILM? I HAVE NEVER SEEN A FILM BEING MADE , I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT. THEY ASKED ME TO SEE HER ANYWAY , I DID AND SHE HIRED ME. I DID TWO SHOWS AND IT CAME OUT OK. I WAS HIRED TO DO TWO SHOWS , AND IT WAS THREE CAMERA FILM. THERE WAS NO AUDIENCE BUT IT WAS SORT OF LIVE. IT WAS A SHOW CALLED "I MARRIED JOAN" CO STARRING JIM BACKUS. I MADE IT THRU THE FIRST WEEK OK , IN THOSE DAYS THE LIGHTS WERE VERY HEAVY , THERE WAS THREE CAMERA'S , TWO BIG BOOMS ,HUGE SCOOP LIGHTS AND HUNDRED PEOPLE WORKING ON THE SET . SO MY ASSISTANT CALLED SILENCE , ROLL CAMERA AND ALL OF THAT , I WAS MESMERIZED . THIS WAS JUST GREAT . EVERYONE WAS VERY STILL , CAMERA WAS ROLLING , SOUND MAN SAID SPEED AND I JUST STOOD THERE. SOMEONE NUDGED ME AND SAID YOU HAVE TO SAY ACTION. (LAUGHING) OH EXCUSE ME , I SAID.
SO NOTHING STARTS UNTIL YOU SAY ACTION?
THAT'S RIGHT , SO I GOT THRU THE FIRST WEEK AND THE SECOND WEEK THE SCRIPT WAS NOT AS GOOD. IT WAS DIFFICULT SHOOTING . JOAN DAVIS DID ALL HER OWN STUNTS . I FELT WE HAD to SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS. ITS NOW SATURDAY MORNING . ITS THE DAY WE START THE SHOOT , AND EVERYTHING IS READY. SILENCE WAS CALLED , JOAN DAVIS LOOKED UP AND SAID JOHN WHERE ARE YOU? I DON'T THINK THIS BIT WE ARE ABOUT TO DO IS FUNNY. CAN YOU COME DOWN HERE AND SHOW ME HOW TO MAKE THIS FUNNY? THIS IS A REAL HAND GRENADE , ALL THESE PEOPLE STANDING AROUND . I SAID IT WAS FUNNY ALL WEEK DURING REHEARSAL. NO SHE SAID . I DON'T THINK it IS WORKING. COME DOWN HERE AND SHOW ME HOW TO DO IT. THIS IS A TERRIBLE THING TO DO TO A YOUNG DIRECTOR. WELL GOD WAS ON MY SIDE . I SAID SHOW YOU! IF I COULD SHOW YOU I WOULD BE WHERE YOU ARE MAKING FIFTY THOUSAND A WEEK. YOU SHOW ME , AND I WILL TELL YOU IF ITS FUNNY. IT TURNS OUT THAT IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO SAY. BECAUSE THIS WAS A SET UP , SHE DID THIS TO ALL HER NEW DIRECTORS. ALL OF A SUDDEN EVERYONE STARTED TO APPLAUD BECAUSE I GOT IT RIGHT.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WOULD BE DOING AN ELVIS MOVIE?
I HAD BEEN DOING THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW FOR THREE YEARS . MY AGENT CALLED ME AND SAID WE HAVE A CHANCE TO GET YOU TO DO A PICTURE AT PARAMOUNT WITH HAL WALLIS. HAL WALLIS WAS LEGENDARY , I WAS INTRIGUED. I WAS SENT TO MEET HIM AND HE HIRED ME. HE PUT ME ON CONTRACT AND I SAID THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEGINNING OF SOMETHING GREAT . I FIRST DID A MOVIE CALLED WIVES AND LOVERS. IT CAME OUT WELL. SHELLY WINTERS WAS IN IT. SHE WAS THE ONLY ACTRESS I HAD A PROBLEM WITH . SHE WAS DIFFICULT and SHE WOULD NOT LEARN HER LINES. THE NEXT JOB I WAS OFFERED WAS with ELVIS PRESLEY , ON A SHOW CALLED ROuSTABOUT . I DIDN'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ELVIS PRESLEY.
YOU DIDN'T KNOW WHO HE WAS?
I CERTAINLY kNEW WHO HE WAS, BUT I WAS NOT A BIG MUSIC FAN. I GREW TO APPRECIATE HIS TALENT. PLUS HE WAS A TERRIFIC GUY TO WORK WITH. HE WAS VERY GENTLE AND VERY POLITE. IT ALMOST UNNERVED ME BECAUSE HE WOULDN'T CALL ME JOHN. HE WOULD ONLY CALL ME MR. RICH. IT USED TO EMBARRASS ME A LITTLE. I SAID ELVIS CALL ME JOHN. OH I CAN'T DO THAT MR. RICH.
HOW DO YOU THINK HE WAS AS AN ACTOR?
I HAD RUN SOME OF HIS OTHER FILMS. I THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE NOT THAT GOOD. I SAID TO HAL WALLIS , I DON'T THINK HE IS THAT MUCH OF AN ACTOR. BUT HE CERTAINLY IS A GREAT SINGER. BUT I CAN DO A FEW THINGS . WE HAD CAST THE TERRIFIC BARBARA STANWYCK. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE SHOW ROuSTABOUT?
OH YES , ITS ONE OF MY FAVORITES.
OH SO YOU KNOW SHE PLAYED THE OWNER OF THE CARNIVAL. SHE WAS SO MAGNIFICENT .I WOULD TAKE ELVIS TO THE SIDE AFTER A COUPLE OF DAYS REHEARSAL . I SAID I WANT TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING , THIS LADY IS SO BRILLIANT ,ELVIS YOUR GOING TO HAVE TO GET YOUR ACTING UP A NOTCH. BECAUSE THESE PEOPLE WILL MOP THE FLOOR WITH YOU IF YOU DON'T. YOU CAN DO THIS BECAUSE ITS LIKE PLAYING TENNIS WITH A BETTER PLAYER. SHE WILL MAKE YOU STRONGER , AND BYE GEORGE HE WAS TERRIFIC! His ACTING REALLY CAME UP , BUT I WAS PUSHING HIM. I SAID YOU CAN DO THIS . LETS THINK ABOUT THESE SCENE'S BEFORE YOU GO IN AND JUST MOUTH THE WORDS.
YOU LOOKED BACK AT SOME OF HIS FILMS , I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT SOME OF HIS EARLIER MOVIES HE WAS A BETTER ACTOR.
YOUR ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. YOUR CORRECT . BUT HE GOT INTO LAZY HABITS IN SOME OF THE SHOWS . BUT I PUSHED HIM, I MuST SAY HE RESPONDED BRILLIANTLY. I REALLY ENJOYED WORKING WITH HIM.
YOU NEVER HAD PROBLEMS WITH ELVIS ON THE SET?
THE ONLY PROBLEM I HAD WAS , WELL THERE WERE TWO. HE WAS ALWAYS PRETTY MUCH ON TIME , BUT ONE DAY . BARBARA WHO IS THE ULTIMATE PROFESSIONAL ACTOR . WHEN YOU GAVE HER A CALL AT NINE O'CLOCK . SHE WOULD BE STANDING AT HER MARKS , HAIR AND MAKE UP DONE. CLOTHING CORRECT ALL HER LINES WELL IN HAND. SO SHE IS STANDING THERE ON THE SET . THE CREW WAS MILLING ABOUT AND ELVIS IS NOT THERE. HE SHOWED UP THAT DAY ABOUT THIRTY MINUTES LATE. I TOOK HIM ASIDE AND I SAID ELVIS , I HAVE TO TELL YOU . THAT LADY OUT THERE WAS A STAR LONG BEFORE YOU WERE BORN. SHE IS A MAGNIFICENT PROFESSIONAL . YOU MUST NEVER EVER DO THAT TO HER OR ANY ACTOR FOR THAT MATTER. NEVER BE LATE AGAIN PLEASE. HE SAID OK MR. RICH , I'M SORRY AND HE WAS NEVER LATE AGAIN. THE OTHER PROBLEM WAS , ONE DAY THERE WAS A SCENE CALLED FOR , HE WAS APPEARING AS A SINGER IN THE SCRIPT AT A ROAD HOUSE. IN THE NUMBER THAT HE DOES THERE IS SOME COLLAGE BOYS TOOK EXCEPTION TO SOME OF THE WORDS HE WAS SINGING. HE WAS MAKING FUN OF THEM. SO THEY PICK A FIGHT WITH HIM IN THE PARKING LOT. WHEN WE STAGED THE FIGHT ELVIS CAME OVER TO ME AND SAID. MR. RICH CAN I DO MY OWN STUNT? I LAUGHED I SAID NO OF COURSE YOU CAN'T. HE SAID WHY? WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHY? WHY DO YOU THINK WE HAVE STUNT PEOPLE? IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU , THE PICTURE SHUTS DOWN. BUT I'M A BLACK BELT IN KARATE , I KNOW ALL ABOUT THIS. I SAID I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT YOU ARE TERRIFIC IN KARATE , BUT THIS IS A STAGED FIGHT. BUT I CAN HANDLE MYSELF SAID ELVIS. I SAID I DON'T WORRY ABOUT YOU SO MUCH , BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE'S A MIS STEP AND THE GUY PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE? WE WILL BE DEAD! OH HE PLEADED AND PLEADED! FINALLY HE SAID I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS MR. RICH. SO I HAD A LOT OF WITNESS AROUND . HE SAID I WILL TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY. AGAINST MY BETTER JUDGMENT BECAUSE HE REALLY WAS ANXIOUS TO DO THIS. I SAID WELL OK. SO THEY DID THE FIGHT AND HE GETS CLIPPED IN THE HEAD. HE OPENED UP A BIG CUT IN HIS FOREHEAD WE SHUT DOWN AND THEY TOOK HIM TO THE HOSPITAL. THANK GOD HAL Wallis's ASSOCIATE PRODUCER WAS ON THE SET WHEN HE HEARD ELVIS TAKING RESPONSIBILITY. BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE BEEN OUT ON MY REAR END. WALLIS HAD A MOMENT TO CALM DOWN BEFORE I TALKED TO HIM. ELVIS TOOK ONE DAY , THEY BANDAGED HIM UP , AND HAL WALLIS THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE TO SHUT DOWN. I SAID TO HAL WALLIS. I KNOW WHAT WE CAN DO. IN THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM ELVIS HAS A WRECK WITH HIS MOTOR CYCLE. IT WAS a VERY GOOD STUNT, WE USED A STUNT RIDER FOR THAT ONE. SO I SAID WHY DON'T WE JUST PUT A BANDAGE ON HIM AND PLAY THAT SCÈNE AS IF HE WAS HURT? SO WE PUT A LARGE BANDAGE THERE , WE TRIED TO MINIMIZE IT WITH MAKE UP AND WE CONTINUED TO SHOOT. HE WORE IT FOR QUITE AWHILE IN THE SHOW.
I DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS ACTUALLY HURT?
HE WAS A TROOPER . HE CAME THRU. I SAID TO HIM NO MORE DOING YOUR OWN STUNTS PLEASE. i was not much of a music fan , but here are a couple of interesting things that happened with the movie. there is a scene before the motor cycle crash . elvis is singing a song while driving the bike. they wanted to shoot it in the studio with rear projection , there is nothing staged to me then that. it just looks phony , i asked elvis if he drove motorcycles . he said he did. i asked him how would he like to do the scene on the road? i told him i needed to check something first , so i called the sound department , is there any problem if i did this on the road? no you can't do that , its a record the needle would skip. how about we use tape? no we can't do that . i said lets do a test. we could do that and elvis was delighted. i have two camera's one a long shot and another up close. we had an insert car with all the lights , but elvis you need to be perfect with your lip sync. i told him i didn't want to do it to often , it was dangerous going up and down the roads. we shot it that way , if you look at the film that's real. elvis was perfect with his lip sync and the shot was perfect. hal wallis was pleased because i saved three days of shooting that's a lot of money on a big picture. so that worked well.
that would have been awful if they did that on a sound stage.
yes it would have been. then i had another idea . there is a scene of him and his love interest was walking by a ferris wheel and the operator was testing it. elvis asked if he minded if they took a ride. so they get into the seats , and again it was planned to do that on a sound stage . so i went and took a ride on the ferris wheel as soon as it was down low it was very colorful. then when it rose it was beautiful fields. i asked how high did our crane go and he showed me. why what are you thinking of? i said i would like to do this live. i want to record elvis singing to the girl and stay with them on the ferris wheel so there faces fill the screen. then when it comes down you see the other seats. i was also able to sync the song he was singing to the turns of the ferris wheel. so i knew this would be great but is it possible. they said it would be tough on the crew because when the camera is high they have to reach the top and not bump. they did all this by a rope. when it got to the high position they would then pull it down , then five guys catch the camera platform at the bottom so it comes to an easy touch. then it rises again. so we have an up and down motion on the camera and a rotating movement on the ferris wheel .they said we could only do it once because it was so tough on the crew. it took about six revolutions to finish the song. i said to elvis , i asked you before to be perfect on your lip syncing and you did it. you have to be perfect because i can't keep doing it. elvis was intrigued by all of this. so elvis practiced and practiced , we did the number and it was brilliant! when hal wallis saw the dailies , he said how did you do this? that's a great shot , and then again it saved several days of shooting. so when we cut the film together , i said to the editor there is one scene you don't have to touch. just paste the two ends together. that's the way i delivered it to hal wallis. then he made his cut , he then invited me in to see his cuts. to my astonishment and pain , he cuts to the guy running the machinery . i said why did you do that? he said you have to see who is running the ride. i said no you don't! i said elvis and the girl gets in , elvis sings . you know who's doing it. no no no i like it this way. but all you have done is prove that i didn't do it in one take. by cutting to the operator you have ruined the effect. it just killed me , but that's the way you see it today. so after what he did to my gut , went to my attorney and had something added to my will. i really did this . i came in to see hal wallis in his office and i said . i want to tell you something. i just named you in my will , he was a very hard guy . but very soft he said did you really? i said yeah your in my will . he said no kidding. i asked him if he wanted to see it? he said yeah. i took out this legal paper and i read the following. if i should die before hal wallis which is probable because i'm working for the son of a bitch. he looked up! i direct that my body be cremated and the ashes blown into Wallis's eye's . he said you didn't do that? i said yeah its right here! but he died before me. (laughing)
how did you set up the carnival?
i asked people who set carnivals up , how do you decide where to put things in the carnival? they said you walk out in a field and you put down a stake and you build around it. one ride goes this way and this leads you to the games and that leads you to the food. so we went out to the aberton ranch , it was a cattle ranch. today its a big city. so i went out to the ranch , the problem was you could see ventura , it was loud. plus when the Ferris wheel was in the high shot you could see ventura. so i told then where to put down the first stake in a place where ventura was just a spec. then we had to fence off the field so fans could not just walk in. we built a road so we could get to our carnival , and i had about a thousand extras. people that could just come and enjoy the day with there children. they would be in the back ground riding the rides and eating the pop corn. it was a very convincing carnival .
i wanted to ask you , there was a very young rachel welch in that movie.
in the scene where the fight went on , one of the students in the road house. it called for beautiful girls , i gave the line to a blonde , when it was time for her line she froze up. we did four or five takes , and i said to her . we really can't continue like this. so i am going to have to take your line away. and i gave it to a red head. she did it perfect on one take. i took her aside and thanked her , she said this is my first film . but I'm going to be a big star one day. i said yeah sure and good luck. that was rachel welch! (laughing)
elvis was always with a bunch of men ,
oh they were a pain in the butt!
a little bit yes. as long as they were having fun they were terrific. one day elvis walked by my cutting room ,and he said can i watch? i said of course you can. he was very interested in the process of editing. elvis anytime i would be delighted to show you what I'm doing. he was fascinated , but about five minutes later the guys came by and they say come on elvis that's boring! lets get out of here! they took him away , i always regretted that because he had a real interest in what i was doing. its one of those things, they were ok ,as long as everyone was making jokes and carrying on . they were alright but i found they took his attention away .
but did they ever get in the way of Elvis's work or yours?
no not really , i don't think they cared for me. i was sticking to the task. i needed to get the film done and do it well. so i don't think i was popular with them. but elvis and i got along.
well it was one of my favorites.
good I'm glad to hear it.
now didn't you do another elvis movie?
i did a thing at the end of Elvis's contract with hal wallis. they did a thing that i can only tell you was a throw away. because it was called "easy come easy go" . because the contract was at an end , hal wanted to spend no money on it. it was done with very little music which drove me crazy. by that time what was selling was his music so why are we cutting all the songs? elvis played a navy diver. are you familiar with the movie?
yes , but its not one of my favorites.
me too. because again all i liked in that show was the sailors coming to the shore. i wanted to shoot it live. it was boat to boat. people thought i was nuts.
do you think that movie could have been saved if they put more money into it?
of course , yeah why not. it was corny but so what. his plot was the same in all his films. but he made them come alive. sure it could have been saved. he looked good
do you think if elvis had gotten better films he would had become a better actor?
oh no question , i think he came up very high for roustabout. i would tease him into being better. buy the time we got to "easy come easy go" elvis was annoyed at wallis .
he just wanted it to be over.
yes your right ,
i think he got tired of the cookie cutter movies.
it was the same thing every time.
your exactly right , but this was even worse because the songs that were in it were pretty bad.
so he wasn't the same in that movie to you?
he was annoyed at hal wallis and he wanted to get it over with. of course i could see it . we shot it on Catalina island. we did some dining out . it was a hard show to do because it was on the ocean. he was as cooperative again as before . but there was really silly music , silly things happening in the script. but hey what can you do.
when was the last time you saw elvis? did you ever see him after the movies?
i think i ran into him a couple of times , but i don't really recall. but i liked him . i felt sorry for him , i thought he was tortured . by his celebrity. having to live up to some kind of code that colonel parker dictated.
how was colonel parker on the set?
he was fine , he gave me a lot of interesting stuff for the carnival. he was an old Carney man . one thing he taught me (laughing) you know the balloon toss when you throw a dart . he said never throw it straight , people make a mistake throwing it at the balloon. i said to what do you mean? you have to throw it in an arch so the point of the dart comes down.
so he helped with other Carney things?
he would teach me a language that i could use , Carney talk . yeah he was ok . he didn't interfere much i must say.
you know its to bad you weren't doing gi blues , like when you set up your shot for the ferris wheel. in gi blues there is this shot where elvis is singing to his love in the movie. there inside a ride that goes up over the mountain , its done in a film studio. its awful!
joe its the most boring kind of film making i can think of. i don't like it , that's why i will always go for a live shot.
why do they do it the other way?
because its easy and some times the actor doesn't want to put himself out . it is a little difficult for the actor to do some of these things.
sometimes these shots could be dangerous.
well i wouldn't do anything that would get the actor hurt.
he didn't ever ride the motor cycle inside the barrel thing.
oh no . oh my goodness no.
did he offer?
elvis don't even think of it! (laughing)
i think its a shame that elvis didn't have better quality movies.
it is a shame , if they had allowed him to stay in the cutting room and learned enough to see what i was driving at . he was about to be truly educated , and they took him away.
could had taken him in a completely different field.
he could have been a director. i was willing to teach him and he was willing to learn. the look on his face was reluctant but the mob was over powering. the mob wanted to play.
how did you hear that elvis had passed away?
you know i don't remember that , it was such a shock!. i was probably working some place. the word came down on the set and i said my god how is that possible. he was forty two .
thank you mr rich
your welcome joe.