Interview – Charles Pogue
Bruce Kimmel: Hello, Charles Pogue, Hollywood Motion Picture Screenwriter and lovable rogue which, by the way (BTW, in Internet lingo) rhymes with Pogue. Aren’t we in vogue?
Charles Pogue: Thanks for figuring out this simple trick: rhymes with vogue, rogue, brogue. For some reason, it is a last name that often befuddles people and they come out with the most tortured pronunciations of it. It’s actually Gaelic for “kiss”. I had this confirmed when a descendant of Dion Boucicault’s lectured to the theatre arts students (of which I was one) at my University. Seems Dion had written a play called “Arragh Na Pogue” which meant “Anna Will Not Kiss”. There is also an Irish rock group called the Pogue Ma Hones…which means Kiss my ass.
By the way (BTW, in internet speak),I love your gently mocking tone when you convert perfectly useful words into internet lingo for those who apparently require these abbreviations. It took me forever to figure out what LOL meant. Needless to say, I never use these short-cuts and, if you ever seeing me putting a smiley-face (“emoticons” I believe they’ve dubbed them) after anything, you have my permission to shoot me dead. If people can’t understand I’m being droll or sarcastic without the help of a visual aid, then I’ve failed in my attempt…or they’re stupid. But no iconic rimshots, please!
BK: Now, we normally do musical theater-related interviews, but I do believe there’s a big wide world out there, and I think it’s fun and informative to do all kinds of interviews with all kinds of people. Now, before we get into your career as a Hollywood Motion Picture Screenwriter, tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what your likes and dislikes were as a child.
CP: If it helps any in regards to a musical connection, in my previous incarnation as an actor, I did play Jud Fry once. Of course, they cut that lovely dark song he sings, A LONELY ROOM (which they cut from too many productions), and just about anybody can croak their way through “POOR JUD IS DEAD”, but I think I hit most of the notes most nights. I also played Angelo the Goldsmith in a college production of BOYS FROM SYRACUSE and acquitted myself adequately in such ensemble numbers as “Come With Me To Jail”, even had a solo in it, “You never have to fetch the milk or walk the dog at early dawn.”
And as McCann in Harold Pinter’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, I had to sing an Irish ditty. Not only sang it but had to make up the music for it, as no one could find the song anywhere. I later encountered it…and was surprised to find I wasn’t that far off from the original tune. My Lovely Wife, Julieanne, the professional singer, in the family tells me I have perfect pitch…How she figured this out and just what the Hell perfect pitch is, I have no idea. And I had four years of guitar lessons and I am, frankly, terrible. Rarely play the very rare 1957 electric Gibson guitar I have. It sits in the closet. Any latent music ability I do have, has probably been undermined by an inordinate amount of shyness in my youth and my inability to master the math of music. I was just never any good at that counting thing. As I’ve gotten older and don’t quite give a hoot what people think, I sing more freely…but it’s still strictly shower stuff, in the car, and only when my comfort level is very high and I’m among friends who I feel will not mock. But at least I come to my Unseemly Interview not as a musical virgin.
Now to my childhood. I was born in and, except for a few early excusions in Columbus, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, grew up in Greater Cincinnati, mostly on the Kentucky side of the Ohio river in a small town ( pop. 25,OOO) called Fort Thomas, Kentucky. A child of the fifties. All very Leave It To Beaver, bland and largely uneventful and, for the most part, pleasantly blissful. Any Sturm and Drang in my life was due to those Dark Celtic Muses in me. Like most children who end up pursuing creative careers in the Arts, I was shy, a loner (not the get a gun and go up in a tower and shoot people kind of loner) but not necessarily lonely. I quite enjoy my own company…and find myself a very entertaining fellow, and much of my play was within my own imagination. I had lots of playsets…the knight set, the Roy Rogers set, the Captain Gallant Foreign Legion Set, The Dinosaur set…give me a buck bag of plastic cowboys and Indians and I could entertain myself for hours. I was also given to finding the dramatic, if not the histrionic, in almost any situation.
I drew, wrote stories, and watched movies from a very early age. Later, it was reading. I never much cared for competitive sports, but was an excellent swimmer and an inveterate walker.
As for my likes and dislikes, gee, I feel just like a Playboy Playmate. Actually, my likes and dislikes have not changed all that much. I mean I’ve been parting and combing my hair the same way since I was twelve. I’m a great one for loyalty. My closest friends are still those that I made in High School and College. I also have an unswerving sense of justice. Being a Capricorn (and I’m told, a double Capricorn…if one believes in such stuff…I’m a sympathetic skeptic, only because I have every good and bad trait a Capricorn has), I also believe in revenge as a form of justice. Not that I’d ever go around gnawing my soul out for revenge against those who have wronged me, but merely seizing the opportunity when it arises. We Capricorns can forgive, but we NEVER forget…and if you break faith with us, we are very wary. But honour and loyalty and keeping one’s word mean much to me. I picked a fine business to be in, didn’t I?
Here’s a “like”! I’ve always been fond of voluptuous, exotic women. My pre-pubescent fantasy was Sophia Loren, my adolescent fantasy was Sophia Loren, my adult fantasy is Sophia Loren. I once stalked her all around the Century City Mall, dragging my agaped jaw behind me.
My Lovely Wife, Julieanne, tells me I was born forty-five and spent my life growing into it. This is probably true, although, alas that landmark has past, and I’ve grown beyond it and hopefully lightened up a little and mellowed a lot. I used to be the last of the Byronic Heroes, the Lord of the Dark and Somber Brow. Though I really didn’t mind all the seriousness, it kept me very focused on where I wanted to be headed. But though, oddly enough I remain a little kid in many ways, I couldn’t wait to become an adult and be on my own. As a kid watching movies, I never wanted to be that little kid sidekick they gave the hero. I always wanted to be the hero. Tarzan, not Boy. Red Ryder, not Little Beaver (and what an unfortunate name; you think some writer somewhere was having fun with that one?).
I’ve also always loved the past and the stories my elders told about it. I suppose that’s one of the reason I always gotten along with all the stars I later worked with in Dinner Theatre. I respected that they had gotten someplace I was striving to get and I loved listening to their stories about Hollywood. Martha Raye talking about Errol Flynn. Bob Denver telling how he and Dwayne Hickman would lock Warren Beatty in one of the lockers on the set of Dobie Gillis and he would proceed to sing opera until they let him out, just to shut him up. I’m much more used to looking back than forward. Give me black and white movies, Cole Porter, and literature written by dead guys any day. In Elaine May’s movie, A NEW LEAF, George Rose as the butler says to Walter Matthau, his boss: “Sir, you’ve been keeping alive traditions that were dead before you were born.” That’s me, in a nutshell.
BK: When did you first discover movies and what was the first movie you have a memory of seeing?
CP: The first movie that I have any real distinct memory of seeing in a theatre was probably, SNOW WHITE…not in its original release, of course. I also remember, when I was five, seeing KING KONG for the first time. My mother wouldn’t let us see it, so we snuck over to a neighbour’s house to watch it. It scared the bejeesus out of me. I was afraid to get up in that night to go to the bathroom because I was sure ole Kong was lurking in there, waiting for me. Don’t ask me how my five year old mind reconciled the spatial logistics of this. I was a kid, I was scared, I had to pee really bad, you’re expecting reason?
But I suppose I really got seduced by movies for real when I discovered the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies when I was about eight or nine. They’d show one on TV every Saturday afternoon. I’d watch it, enthralled. Then I’d usually hang around and watch whatever movie came on after that. After that, there was really no turning back.
BK: So, what were your favorite movies growing up – what were the ones that really influenced you and changed your life, and what were the ones that made you contemplate wanting to be a Motion Picture Screenwriter?
CP: ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938…Errol Flynn) and GUNGA DIN (that golden year 1939) are probably my two favourite movies of all time. I can quote dialogue verbatim. But they are just the tip of a very large iceberg. A few others… THE MALTESE FALCON, THE SEARCHERS, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, THE QUIET MAN (notice a lot of John Ford?), SINGING IN THE RAIN. Anything with Astaire in it. Anything by Billy Wilder or Preston Sturges, THE THIN MAN. THE LIGHT THAT FAILED with the velvet-voiced Ronald Colman was probably the first movie where I realized that no only could the hero die, but it was right and dramatically correct for the hero to die. A big maturing moment in my development as a future dramatist.
As you can see my tastes are wildly eclectic. But I was always a sucker for anything with a guy in a cape and tights and swinging a sword. And I can still watch almost any western…no matter how bad.
But I have to return to those Tarzan movies. They started a life-long dual habit. I’d see the movies, I’d read the books, Tarzan would lead me to other authors like Rider Haggard or Sax Rohmer or Rafael Sabatini, Sabatini would lead me to SCARAMOUCHE or CAPTAIN BLOOD which would lead me to Errol Flynn who would lead me to some other Warner Bros. star like Humphrey Bogart who would lead me to Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler and on and on it went…flaming both my literary and cinematic aspirations simultaneously.
From the time I was twelve till my mid-to-late twenties, I probably watched an average of a dozen to twenty movies a week. Sometimes pulling them in from far-away stations and watching them through so much static it was like watching them in a blizzard. I audio-taped movies just to listen to the dialogue over and over. If we had had video tape when I was growing up, I’d probably know all Fred Astaire’s dance routines.
BK: As a twig of a sprig of a tad of a lad of a youth, did you write? If so, what? And did you like comic books when you were growing up and if so, which?
CP: As a mere twig of a sprig of etc, etc, I did indeed write. I was famous in second grade for my rather florid book reports of the latest Dr. Seuss, accompanied by my own renderings of his fabulous critters (Florid is still a stylistic choice, as will be born out by this rather long-winded interview). Somewhere in my pre-school youth, I wrote and illustrated stories of a character called Petey Joe (don’t ask me why he was called this…I couldn’t tell you). All I remember of this character was his strange name (not as bad as Little Beaver, but still certainly odd)…for these childhood literary endeavours are not among the memorabilia in the memory box my mother keeps on all her children. They’ve gone the way of Thomas Kyd’s Hamlet, the library at Alexandra, the ancient Mayan writings burned by the Spanish Monks, and so many other literary treasures.
I was a modest collector of comics in my youth and became a better one in college for awhile. I still have several thousand comics, all carefully wrapped in plastic and preserved.
In my youth, I was a big Scrooge McDuck fan, later it was Archie comics. Because of the Tarzan connection, I collected Tarzan comics. And I was an avid MAD magazine reader from its earliest incarnations. I also collected James Warren’s CREEPY, EERIE, and VAMPIRELLA black and whites during my high school days. Alas, with 3 other siblings and various cousins…except for the Eeries and Creepies and Vamps, my personal stash out of my allowances, God only knows what happened to the rest of the comics…particularly the now-very-valuable Mads. We would also inherit super-hero comics from friends and neighbours. I remember when my mother threw out a trove of those, plus late forties-early fifties Westerns and War comics. Parents! But who knew they were going to become a gold mine (The comics, not the parents)?
BK: Okay, so in high school what were your interests? Were you still enamored of the movies, did you have an interest in theater, and were you a voracious reader. Hold nothing back.
CP: In high school my interests were old movies, a burgeoning interest in theatre, and, yes, I was a voracious reader (and let’s definitely insert girls somewhere in there as well…sweaters were filling out and this was before panty hose became the vogue. Garter belts! Hoo boy! I dropped my pencil in class and had to pick it up a lot.)
I had seriously started collecting books by this time…starting out with some of those dead guys I’ve already mentioned. I now have something like six thousand books. About a thousand or so are plays, theatre, and movie related. But the bulk of the collection is late nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century fantasy, adventure, mystery, historical…Burroughs, Haggard, Rohmer, Talbot Mundy, Sabatini, Fredric Brown, Conan Doyle, Chandler, P.C. Wren (who wrote Beau Geste…one of my favourite movies…the ’39 Cooper version), and lots of stuff from Harlan Ellison, who is a pal of mine. My favourite book in the whole world is SHE by Rider Haggard. I have something like thirty variant editions of it…including two firsts.
People proudly show me their libraries and I laugh…some little corner of a room with three bookcases. I’ve got the real thing…floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, the entire room, rolling library ladders, the whole bit…and sadly, it is filled up! I’m hard put to cram another book in there. Time to start reading and stop buying, but as you, Bruce Kimmel, and I share some of the same book dealers (Malcolm and Christine at Bookfellows in Glendale, Ca., and Nigel Williams of Cecil Court in London…let’s give the good ones plugs…as well as my pal, John Anthony Miller, of The Phantom Bookshop in Ventura), you know how impossible it is to stop buying books. I never have regretted buying a book; I only regret the book I didn’t buy.
I finally conquered my shyness to try out for the senior class play in High School, a non-musical version of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and I got the lead (No, not Loreli…the male lead) and acquitted myself well. “Oh,” I said to myself, “My, this is easy. And I seem to have some facility for it. I might seriously pursue this.”
BK: Where did you go to college and what was your major?
CP: I went to the University of Kentucky and, after several red herring majors, I ended up a Theatre Arts major. I started in journalism, moved to telecommunications my second semester, and, after snaring some respectable parts in plays, said, “Who am I kidding?” and switched to Theatre Arts. I also didn’t back it up with any minor in English or anything like that. I was going to succeed as an actor or end up in the gutter. I didn’t want to have anything like a teaching certificate to fall back on.
You went into theatre in those days because there were no real film schools back then. And I don’t regret it. Theatre is actually a greater love than movies. I’ve been trying to get back to the theatre for twenty years, but this damned success as a screenwriter keeps getting in the way.
I also developed a great love for classical theatre. I loved lyric, panache playing and theatricality. I’m sure it has a lot to do with my Errol Flynn fascination for guys in tights and capes, swinging swords. Hamlet, to me, is, after all, merely an intellectual swashbuckler. I graduated from Errol Flynn to guys like Olivier, Gielgud, Peter O’Toole. Two huge portraits of John Barrymore adorn our family room. Sadly, with the death of Gielgud, I fear lyric acting may be dying out.
I got to do a lot of good parts in college, including the first “nude as the law would allow” part in Kentucky…that of Claudio in Measure for Measure. Of course, that was in my young Greek god days…days forever gone, alas.
BK: All right, Charles Pogue, let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we, or, at the very least let’s get down to aluminum tacks. What was your first professional writing job? And how did it come to you?
CP: My first writing gig came to me because a director wanted to keep me employed as an actor. I was working my first professional gig in a summer Shakespeare Theatre, The Globe of the Great Southwest, in Odessa, Texas…a beautiful theatre built in the wrong place. Shakespeare for oil roughnecks, armadillos, and the tumbling tumbleweed. In one of the dressing-room bathrooms was carved: Suicide in Odessa is redundant.
It was reputed to be the most exact replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre at the time (this was 1973). How they could claim this, I have no idea, given that no one knew what Shakespeare’s Globe actually looked like (but Sam Wanamaker apparently made several trips to see it…before finally erecting his Globe on London’s South Bank). Ours also had roof on it. But it was one of those theatres where you could whisper and every nuance of your performance could be heard and seen. Beautiful stage.
Anyway, the director wanted to keep me on during his winter season, which was a core of paid professionals working with community actors. There had been this old woman who had had a daughter who had been a Shakespearean actress who had died young (the daughter, not the old woman). This old gal had donated money to the theatre in memory of her daughter and had also written this dreadful play about the life of Shakespeare based on the “seven ages of man” speech from AS YOU LIKE IT. Dreadful play! Rhymed couplets full of me, thee, be, see types of rhymes.
But…! She had left dough for the writing of a screenplay of this dreadful play. As I had actually written some musicals in college (unproduced ones), the artistic director hatched this plan that I would adapt this play into a screenplay and act and he would use the money from the screenplay fund to pay me.
And that’s what we did. I was paid the magnificent sum of fifty dollars a week and room. The room was in another old lady’s garage apartment behind her house…the lady who had actually nickelled and dimed everyone in town to get the theatre built. A very devout woman who would not allow me to entertain women in the privacy of these luxurious digs. But she would come up to me and say, “You know we have a lot of nice girls at church.” Ah, yes, here was the founder of the theatre, pimping for the Baptist church. Needless to say, I managed to slip a few female guests past her prying eyes during my sojourn there.
Anyway, I had a lovely time…and got to act all sorts of good parts. I’ve been very lucky in my career in that I never had to play too many bland boy ingenues. It was that”born 45years and growing into it” thing. I always either played angry young men or older men who exuded sexual irregularity…guys like DeGuiche in Cyrano or Manningham in Angel Street or Ferdinand in the Duchess of Malfi.
Oh…we actually filmed the dreadful Shakespeare play. I did the best I could adapting it. Threw out a lot of the bad rhyme, changed some of it, interlaced the whole thing with a narration that famed Shakespearean scholar, B. Iden Payne spoke. I played young Shakespeare. Still and all, one hopes this little effort has been lost in the ethers and never makes any kind of re-appearance. It’s sort of like having an embarrassing porno film lurking in your past.
After Odessa, I moved to Dallas, got all my acting Union cards, and worked regularly in the phenomenon known as Dinner Theatre. The dinner theatres I worked in were even more of a phenomenon, because they were “star” dinner theatres…which meant that some movie star or TV star headed the cast. The saying in star dinner theatre was: “You either get ’em on the way up or they way down.” I usually got them on the way down…Martha Raye, Nancy Culp, James Drury, Shelley Berman, Cyd Charisse, Rose Marie, Don Defore, Bob Denver, to name a few. I also often got stars who had a reputation for being difficult. But I never seemed to have any trouble with them, and worked with some of them more than once, because they liked me and respected my work. On the first day of rehearsal, I would size the star up and say: “Okay, am I going to be able to work with them or am I going to have to work around them?” Whatever the case, I wasn’t going to have my performance ruined by them. For the most part, I enjoyed them all and got along with them all.
Cyd Charisse was rather amazing. She was always the one who could bail someone out when they went up on their lines. But if you weren’t standing where you were supposed to be, she’d get lost. As a dancer, her whole orientation was based on movement and blocking. Shelley Berman was one of the brightest and funniest guys I’ve ever met. He could have me weeping with laughter one minute and then you could be having an intellectual discussion about Othello the next. I learned a lot about comedy from him, particularly about keeping the comedy clean, one joke at a time. I remember once the director had given an actor a big frantic, overwrought comedy bit, Shelley looked over at me and drily said, “I like my comedy subtle.”
But I digress…I digress…the writing…For the most part, except for a few nice ones like RAINMAKER, these plays were Broadway failures or stock dreck like NATALIE NEEDS A NIGHTY or MY DAUGHTER’S HOOTERS. So I started writing mystery-comedies and farces that I thought were at least as good as the stuff I was performing in.
It finally came time to make that big LA/New York decision. The blizzard of 76/77 had just happened and if you think snow in the Northeast is bad, you ain’t seen nothing till you get it in Dallas, Texas. They don’t know how to handle it. So, never wanting to see snow on the ground again, and going out to LA in EVERYBODY LOVES OPAL with Martha Raye, I figured it was better to go working than with my hat in hand, begging.
My mistake. I’m a stage actor. I like the control of the stage, I like the feedback of an audience, I had no desire to have a career of saying things like “Freeze, you Turkey!” on an episode of Starsky and Hutch.
I also quickly found out I had no credits from anyplace anyone cared about, so it was like starting all over. So I looked around and figured what they really needed were writers. I sat down and wrote my first script. It immediately got optioned. Once again, I said to myself, “Oh…my, this is easy. And I seem to have some facility for it. Maybe I should seriously pursue this?” I lived off the option money for a year. The piece, a swashbuckling heroic fantasy, got me an agent who thought she was going to start a massive bidding war for the script. But this was before Conan had come out and everyone sort of had one in development, but no one knew what the genre was going to do. So mine sat. In the meantime, a dinner theatre mystery-comedy that I had written with an acting buddy of mine, Larry Drake (twice- Emmy Award winning actor for Benny on LA LAW), was getting done in some theatres around the country, bringing in a modest income. It was called WHODUNNIT, DARLING?, a Thin Man-style pastiche, lots of cocktails and clever conversation over corpses. A rather amusing piece of fluff.
So these were my first paying jobs as a writer.
BK: All right, tell us how it came about that you got the job to write two count them two classic Sherlock Holmes TV shows, The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles. How long did you have to write each show and were you happy with the result?
CP: I had just finished my swan-song as an actor in a play at the Ahmanson Theatre. Oddly enough, a Sherlock Holmes play, CRUCIFER OF BLOOD, starring Chuck Heston as Holmes and Jeremy Brett as Watson (and he was just as brilliant a Watson as he eventually was a Holmes). May I say here and now, that Jeremy Brett is one of the few true gentlemen I’ve ever met in this business. Anyway, I did not know this was my swan-song as an actor (I never officially retired as an actor, I just started making too much money as a writer). I had actually been cast through the open call. I was told it was the first time an actor had broken the open call at the Ahmanson. But the play closed, my script was not selling as expected, and I went back to Book City to work a real job for a while.
Then my agent called and told me to go meet Mr. Sy Weintraub at his house across the street from the Playboy Mansion to see about doing a quick re-write on a Frankenstein film he was producing. She also mentioned that he was getting ready to produce a series of Sherlock Holmes films, so this would be a good entree.
What she didn’t know, that having been a big Tarzan fan all my life, I was intimately acquainted with Sy Weintraub’s producing efforts on the ape-man’s behalf. He had produced all the Tarzan movies from the mid-fifties up through the Ron Ely TV show. Sy was impressed by my knowledge of his career, but what impressed him more, I think, was the way Timmy reacted to me.
Timmy was Sy’s giant German Shepherd, about the size of a Volkswagen bug. He had played the Bionic Dog in the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, but now he earned his Purina as Sy’s watch-dog. And he watched! You didn’t make any false moves around this critter. Anyway, Sy had been told by the trainer, don’t trust anyone the dog doesn’t cotton to, don’t do business with them. Well, what can I say? The big mutt loved me! We got along famously. I got the gig.
The Frankenstein script was an original by Bert I. Gordon and he would also be directing it. Never met him. Just wrote for Sy. I delivered a re-write in a week. After a few quickly executed notes, the script actually stated shooting but closed down after a week…for a reason I never really heard.
But I had impressed Sy with my writing and he threw some Sherlock Holmes assignments my way. He planned to do a series of twenty-two two hour films. He wasn’t happy with any of the scripts he was getting. The British writers gave him this languid, reverentially faithful Masterpiece Theatre things; the American writers gave him recycled Rockford Files in a deerstalker. With my SIGN OF FOUR script, I somehow found the proper balance of Holmes and action Sy was looking for. Though in truth, my scripts are very faithful to Doyle….though I had an excellent working knowledge of both Doyle and the Basil Rathbone films, before I was merely an aficionado. I now became an authority. The second script that Sy had expecting from London to film he hated. He came to me and said, I’m going to start shooting with SIGN, but I need another script in about two weeks, what can you do? I gave him HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES in twelve days. To this day, it remains my favourite of all my films, the only one I can watch without wincing.
Anyway, I became the unofficial story editor on the series and main script writer. Three months after writing these scripts I was in London with Sy, the only other American connected with the series, filming them. We had great British actors. Ian Richardson was our Holmes. David Healy and Donald Churchhill played our Watsons (we had a switch-over because Healy was under contract to the National and couldn’t go on location for HOUND), Denholm Elliott, Ron Lacey, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghie, Brian Blessed, Eleanor Bron, etc, etc.
I think Sy was also grooming me to become his point-man in London. He insisted I learn everything. Be in casting (try and keep me out). Go to rushes. Go to editing. I have never had as much power before or since those days. What a heady experience it was. I was in London, the only place I had ever wanted to visit, on somebody else’s dime…Sy bought breakfast and lunch, he would have bought my theatre tickets, but I refused to let him. He put me in a flat that overlooked St. James Park and Buckingham Palace. I was going to the theatre like people over here go to the movies. And buying books. I had to buy another suitcase to tote home all the books I bought. It was one of the best three months in my life.
I’m a guy who loves his scripts and hates most of the resultant films made from them. But these two I like, particularly HOUND. Both were award winners…SIGN took first place at the Cattolica Mystery Film Festival and Sy tells me Hound won some Moscow Film Festival where it was hailed as “the definitive Sherlock Holmes.” A sentiment echoed by many Holmesian scholars and fans.
We were gearing up to do a third film, an original I had written called THE NAPOLEAN OF CRIME with Moriarty…which Ian said was the best script of the lot. But unfortunately, Sy could not get a network TV deal for the series of films. They just couldn’t see wrapping sweeps week around Inverness capes and deductive reasoning. Sy and I later sold this wonderful script to CBS where they made a rather awful movie out of it called the HANDS OF A MURDERER, with Edward Woodward playing a rather barrel-chested Holmes and John Hillerman as an almost somnambulistic Watson. Someone did some tinkering on the script and the directing was putrid, in my humble opinion (imho, internet jargon). I had originally had a character who had gotten mutilated in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. This character remained in the script despite the fact that the director had inexplicably moved the action of the story from the late eighteen hundreds to 1911 and cast a forty-year-old actor in the part…you do the math.
BK: Very well then, now we get to Psycho III, which I think was your first major screenwriting credit. First of all, how did you get the gig? Second, were you in any way daunted by the prospect of following in Mr. Joseph Stefano’s footsteps (who, of course, followed in Mr. Robert Bloch’s footsteps)? Third, did you create the story or did they have something in mind?
CP: When PSYCHO III came about, I had already done the Holmes stuff and the script for THE FLY was peppering offices all over town, getting laudatory reviews. So I was having “flavour of the month” meetings at every studio. I was approached to do PSYCHO III; my first reaction was, Christ!, what do you do with PSYCHO III? But I watched the movie again. I had known it was a good movie, but re-watching it made me realize it was a great movie and made trying to exploit it in a third film, even more daunting. I read Joe Stefano’s original script. Everything you see on the screen is in that script. Terrific script.
But I was young, hungry, ambitious. I took the meeting. Heard their miniscule thoughts…basically they wanted me to come up with a take. I had none. But when I left the meeting…I was suddenly overwhelmed with ideas. By the time, I got home, I had my take. I pitched it to my execs. I pitched it to Frank Price. I got the gig and went off and wrote it.
Of course, everything was dependent on Tony Perkins. If he didn’t like it, it wouldn’t get done. He liked it. He liked it so well, he wanted to direct it.
BK: Now, Psycho III is a lot of fun – and it was directed by Mr. Norman Bates himself, Mr. Anthony Perkins. I believe it was his only directing credit. How closely did you work with him. Did you write your draft first and then work with him, or was he like Hitch – did he work with you very closely laying out the story and the mechanics of the plot?
CP: Working with Tony kept my string of good luck going. Another true gentleman in a business of so few gentlemen. We both came from the theatre and so we both spoke the same language. It was also just fun to go up to his house to have a script meeting. You’d enter and there would be his wife Berry’s sister, Marissa Berenson, eating cornflakes at the kitchen counter (or maybe it was granola or museli).
But he loved the script and he works like I do. You go page by page, line by line, word by word, if necessary…he never gets bored dissecting detail like so many directors do. He is also one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met. He so smart, he’s scary. But for the most part, the script stayed absolutely intact with very few changes before filming. We had only one disagreement. In a certain scene near the climax, I had Norman kill somebody as Norman. Tony said: Norman never kills, only Mother kills. I tried to explain to him that through the progression of the story, it had now gotten to the point that Norman couldn’t tell the difference anymore. Tony held to his guns. We found a compromise that pleased us both. You couldn’t even call it a disagreement; it was more an intellectual debate of dramatic exploration. We were like two characters in a Noel Coward play. Very civil and deferential to each other. And occasionally just as witty.
BK: Did they pretty much film what you wrote, or were other hands involved (as is so often the case in the Motion Picture Industry)? Were you happy with the picture?
CP: I think the film has some first time director problems. Like in one scene you see someone spurting blood from their slashed wrists; in the next, little regulation-sized band-aids are covering these gaping wounds. But for the most part, I enjoy the film. As well as a rather clever and smart horror film, it is also a very, very black comedy.
Tony and I had originally wanted to suggest all the violence ala Hitchcock. You never saw a knife go in anywhere. You might see blood splat against a wall, shuffling feet of a victim, etc, but everything was implied. Unfortunately, in the wake of the dead teenager craze of horror, Universal wanted us to be more obvious. So at times I think it is more graphic than it need be.
Also toward the end of shooting, I got a call from Tony: “They want a Brian DePalma twist at the end of the movie…some little shocking beat at the end.” He started mentioning we could kill this person or that person and I was envisioning this bloodbath, that would ruin the whole thrust of the movie…which, to me at least, had been Norman’s journey to light. Even though he was going to be locked up for the rest of his life, he had exorcised his demons. The last line of the movie was: “I’ll finally be free.” and you looked up in the window of mother’s room and the empty rocker is blowing back and forth in the wind. So I suggested a much more contained moment in the police car at the end, which still negated Norman’s journey to light, but at least didn’t produce more corpses. It’s very like the original ending of Psycho in a way. I did it with the hope that they would see it didn’t really fit and go back to the original, but that last beat is in there.
I’m happy with the picture. Universal was also happy with it. So much so, they paid Tony and me to do a treatment for a PSYCHO IV. It is not the PSYCHO IV that was eventually made. But I wish ours had been…talk about a black comedy. An entrepreneur has bought the Bates Motel and is staging a Murder Weekend there, the scenario based loosely on the events of the Psycho. He’s got a full motel of eccentric guests when one of his actors quits. Meantime, Norman escapes from the looney bin with another inmate…a young girl…and he returns home incognito and gets hired by the entrepreneur to basically play himself in this wacky murder weekend event. It was very funny and spooky. But when PSYCHO III didn’t make the dough they were hoping, the idea was jettisoned.
BK: Now we get to talk about one of my favorite motion picture entertainments, the David Cronenberg remake of The Fly. What a great movie! I’m a big fan of Mr. Cronenberg and it’s my second favorite film of his (the first is The Dead Zone). Again, how did you get the gig? Was Mr. Cronenberg on the film when you were hired? Did you work with him on the story (it’s considerably different than the original The Fly film), or did you just go off and do your thing?
CP: I got this gig, because I had fans over at Fox who owned the original movie…primarily, Mr. David Madden, who was head of development at the time, I believe…another true gent…I’ve been lucky to work with a few. My manager gave me the original story to read…I had never seen the movie. I liked the Jekyll/Hyde aspects of it. I came up with essentially the structure of the story you presently see on the screen. The mutating of the genes rather than this Big Fly Head/Little Fly head stuff you see in the original (just how does that work, science-wise?). Because you really needed a protagonist who could emote and have facial expressions and not play his big scenes by writing everything out on a chalk board.
I was on the film/ then off the film/ then back on the film/ then finally when Cronenberg became attached to direct, I was off again. My producer, Stuart Cornfeld sent me a bottle of Glenlivet scotch and a package of razor blades. He wrote: Drink the Scotch before you use the razor blades.
BK: I always find it fascinating to know how involved the director is in shaping the shooting script – since Mr. Cronenberg has written several of his own scripts, did he do a pass after you were through, or did you do all the rewrites? Were you on the set when the film was shot, and if so, how much freedom did Mr. Cronenberg give to Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis? They’re performances are really wonderful in the film, and I’m just curious how much they were allowed to bring to the table.
CP: Cronenberg re-wrote alone, though again, the script echoes my own in many ways. It’s the same only different. It’s different only the same. He has said elsewhere that he couldn’t have got to his script without mine. One always mourns the movie that is lost, but this is a wonderful movie and I got no complaints and am proud to have siginficantly contributed to it. It’s a transcendent movie. Cronenberg brought a lot of good stuff to it.
I think it’s interesting you like THE DEAD ZONE. So do I. I actually think other writers help to focus Cronenberg’s work more than when he writes by himself. As to how much freedom he gave the actors I can’t say, as I didn’t meet Cronenberg until the movie was out. Cornfeld called me up and said: “Would you like to meet Cronenberg.” I replied: “Maybe we should, given that we’ve got a hit movie.” Very smart, nice guy he was too.
BK: Frankly, I thought you should have been up for an Oscar – do you find that the Academy is biased against horror films?
CP: Well, we did make every major critic’s top ten list, the National Board of Review, numerous Saturn nominations and awards, and an Oscar for Make-up. I do still have the full-page ad from Variety, touting us for a screenplay nomination. Just didn’t happen. Missed the old brass ring. My favourite review of the summer of ’86 was by one, Michael Ventura, of the now-expired LA READER, who called PSYCHO III and THE FLY the two best love stories of the summer. He neglected to note, however, the one connection to the two films…me!
BK: Okay, The Fly was a huge hit – were offers pouring in after that? And if they weren’t, why not?
CP: Offers were pouring in. I signed an overall deal with Disney, lured by A THIEF OF BAGHDAD project that never happened. Great script though. And then A PRINCESS OF MARS project that also never happened. Another great script that has something of a cult following among Edgar Rice Burroughs fans. The president of the LA chapter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles calls it the most “Burroughsian script ever.” I also had a deal with Tri-star for a film that got written and never saw the light of day. I was writing, getting paid obscenely lovely money, just nothing was getting made.
BK: You then are credited with the story for the remake of D.O.A. Did you actually do a script or did you really just create the story? For example, on The Faculty, my friend David Wechter and I receive only story credit even though we did the original draft. What did you think of D.O.A?
CP: Actually, I am not credited with just story, but I also have sole screenplay credit on this movie. This was a script that Mike Eisner called at the time the best script he had read in over a year…that came straight from Jeff Katzenberg’s mouth to me.
But somehow, they ended up with a husband-wife directing team that did everything with a camera except tell a coherent story with it. I initially thought: Oh, we’ll marry this very visceral visual style with a well-made play and it should be interesting. Well, the well-made play went the way of the world for the visual stylistics…so did common sense, all the red herrings, and subtly laid-in mystery clues.
Other hands also tinkered with it. Now, with the exception of THE FLY where re-writing actually improved my script, I have always gone for sole credit in the Writers Guild credit arbitrations, because as you know , Bruce Kimmel, shared credit means less back-end money and video/DVD monies. And my philosophy is: If I ain’t going to get any artistic satisfaction from the experience, I’m damned well going to get financial satisfaction. Particularly in a case, where the other writers have not really brought anything worthwile to the script but merely diminished and taken away.
So sometimes you’re fighting for sole credit on a film that actually embarrasses you. But they’ve stolen your vision; don’t let them steal your money too. Anyway, that was the case with this jumbled, maimed epic. And oddly enough, the arbiters of the case not only awarded me sole screen credit, they also felt that I had altered the story of the original film enough that they also gave me a shared story credit with the writers of the original 1949 film. Something I wasn’t even asking for! But it was fair and I’ll take it.
Anyway, I’m always bitching about how this carefully-crafted whodunnit was destroyed and there are inexplicably vast groups of people who always come up and tell me how much they like it. My Lovely Wife, Julieanne, tells me I must be civil, shut up, and just say “thank you.” So that’s what I do now. Sometimes. Occasionally. Every once and awhile.
BK: Then we have your two count them two fantasy films, Dragonheart and Kull the Conqueror, both of which have a nice following. Tell us about each and tell us some good stories about the making of the films. Hold nothing back.
CP: These are two heartbreakers. DRAGONHEART was easily the best script I ever wrote. It should have been a transcendent movie, instead of the flawed disappointment that it is. My stock soared in this town when that script was floating around town. People I didn’t know would approach me in the halls of Universal and tell me how much they loved it or were moved by it. How they had laughed and wept.
From the time I wrote it to the time it finally got made, 1990 to 1996, hardly a word of that script changed. It was championed by my producer Raffaella DeLaurentiis. She and I immediately went to work on another script…a Conan script, because I felt Conan had never been done right (even though she had done the two movies. That should have been a sign). The Conan script eventually evolved into another Robert E. Howard character KULL. We also, at my suggestion, started work on another project, THE UNINVITED, an old Ray Milland ghost story that Universal owned. We went back to the book source. We also became great pals. My Lovely Wife, Julieanne, and I would go there for holiday dinner. Raffaella and her family would come to the Sunday afternoon salons we used to hold once a month.
But…and isn’t there always a “but” in these Hollywood stories (or is it just a “butt”?)…a director was finally chosen. A director who in my opinion had neither the poetry in his soul nor the panache to bring Dragonheart to the screen. I could say a lot of other things about him, but, despite your exhortation to hold nothing back, I will.
Let’s just say in Hollywood that there are loathsome and self-loathing people whose insecurities manifest themselves into intellectual bullying and if they can’t usurp your talent or take credit for it, they will try to destroy it.
It wasn’t massive script changes (though those came about here and there, many in post), dialogue banalized (my director couldn’t find a bon mot if it was riding on a float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade), certain miscastings, it was a combination of things…things like a whole herd of pigs in a supposedly starving village…and a truculent fear that certain people were trying to make another person look stupid when in fact they were trying to make that person not look stupid.
Also fantasy is the most delicate of genres, it needs a careful delicate touch, not ham-fisted thundering.
Ms. DeLaurentiis told me confidentially over dinner one night that the director: “pisses on your script because he is afraid of your talent and he is jealous of you.” Small comfort when she did nothing to stop the pissing, but rather would shrug her shoulders in that, oh,so, continental, European ambivalent ennui and murmur, “It’s the process”.
Gee, if the process is wrong, shouldn’t it change? I did try to explain that if you do not protect a great script over a mediocre director, it’s going to turn out bad for the script. In fact, even if you protect it, it’s probably going to turn out bad for the script. My exec at Universal considers DRAGONHEART his greatest failure and told me that even if the director had followed the script word-for-word, he doubted he would have been able to bring out all its nuances.
But one cannot blame mediocrities for their inability to rise above their mediocrity. One can blame people of intelligence and talent however for abandoning their passion to willingly wallow in mediocrity.
There were good times connected with Dragonheart before it all fell apart. I met many interesting people and hung out every night with the British actors…Pete Posthlethwaite, David Thewliss, Jason Isaacs…usually with them bitching about the director. The funniest breakfast I ever had was with Pete and David going on about the director one morning. Pete’s comment: “Just figure out where to put the camera, mate, let us do the thinking.” I also had great admiration for Dennis Quaid. A hard-working actor, whose attitude was: I’ll do anything to get us out of here for the day. Stand in rain. Talk to nothing that’s supposed to be a character….about which he said he had had actresses give him less. A real trouper.
Needless to say the disaster of Dragonheart not being protected after having been protected for four long years in pre-production caused a huge breach in both my professional dealings and My Lovely Wife, Julieanne’s, and my friendship with Ms. DeLaurentiis (now known as Madam Borgia around our house), even though one of our best friends remains her step-son, the redoubtable Matthew Feitshans, another true gent in the biz.
Nor did it bode well for KULL THE CONQUEROR…which I have subtitled Raffaella’s Revenge. For she could never forgive me for being absolute right about what was happening to DRAGONHEART. She kept thinking it was going to be a huge hit. Everything I predicted about it was echoed in all the major reviews. A very sad end for a very special script.
KULL was intended to capture all that moody, visceral prose of Robert E. Howard’s original stories. It was intended to take heroic fantasy seriously…think the tone of LORD OF THE RINGS. I was thrown off, Kevin Sorbo came aboard, the core audience of fantasy fans was forgot, Mr. Sorbo’s twelve year old Hercules fans were embraced. The script became eviscerated. What had once been a glossy-hided beast, now became a maggot-ridden carcass. It became a cartoon. A rolling juggernaut of illogic. It died at the box-office.
But blah, blah…the usual writer’s lament…and I have written extensively on these films and what went wrong with them elsewhere. I also kept a four hundred thousand word journal during the making of both of them…the longest thing I’ve ever written…that someday may see the light of day and tell where all the bodies are buried. There was also a big PR flap about it at the time. In the LA TIMES and all the genre movie mags. I came away the winner of that, I suppose. It also got me elected to the WGA board of directors as the pit bull of writers’ creative rights. But let’s face it, it was a pyrrhic victory. It didn’t save two very good scripts from becoming less than what they should have been…one a disappointment and one a disaster.
The best thing that came out of it was that I wrote the novel of DRAGONHEART. Technically, a novelization, but it is not one of these 150-page-doubled-spaced-we-put-the-script-in-past-tense things. It’s a real 262-page novel, full of my florid prose, with all the crap that ended up in the movie taken out and all the good stuff that never made into the movie put back in as well as several new inspirations that weren’t in any of the various drafts. It was published in several languages, went into five editions here in the states, and made me a ton of money. My real novelist friends faint when they hear what I made off it.
But more importantly, it was the most joyous, liberating writing experience I’ve ever had and I want to do more of that!
BK: Hollywood is a very strange place for writers these days. Most studio executives are in their twenties and know nothing of film history. How hard is it to deal with these people? They seem to have no interest in creativity – just what they perceive will be the next blockbuster. In the last great decade for films, the seventies, directors and writers could still make wonderfully off-beat studio films – not everything had to be a blockbuster and make sixty million in the first weekend. Just tell us what you think of the state of the movie industry today. And hold nothing back. Take your time, it’s a long multi-part question.
CP: I would hate to be a writer just starting out today. And it’s not merely the youth-fixation (movies for twelve-year-old boys made by people with the mentality of twelve year old boys) or the age of the executives. It is what I call the ARROGANCE OF IGNORANCE. They know nothing except the immediate popular culture of their own limited generation and don’t care that they know nothing else.
They have no knowledge of our cinematic legacy or dramatic legacy or literary legacy. The two most evoked movies in meetings are still Indiana Jones and Star Wars and they are revered as venerable classics as though this was the beginning of movies and nothing was ever made before them. Forget mentioning Aristotle’s Poetics in a meeting…these people don’t know who Gary Cooper was or Preston Sturges or George Bernard Shaw or Tennessee Williams.
Every time I go into a meeting, I feel like I’m teaching Drama 101. They’ve all taken a seminar by the latest script-writing guru who, of course, has never written a script and they come back with these guidelines and suggestions for amateurs as though they are decrees come down from the Mount scorched on tablets of stone. They all worship these arcane formulas and “rules” like demented acolytes worshipping at the shrine of a god whose meaning and purpose they’ve long forgotten. They just say arbitrary things like: all first acts must end one page 42. And if you ask them why, they just stare at you blankly…they don’t know why, that’s just what they latest hot screenwriting guru said. When you tell them that all scripts are different and sometimes act one ends on page 40 or 30 or 50, it frightens the Hell out of them. When you tell them you don’t even write to act breaks, it paralyzes them with terror.
True story. A few years back, I was writing a Viking script for a producer. We went into a meeting with the producer and his three college-educated development girls. I had an exchange of dialogue that went: “I think you are an impudent lover.” “I am an imprudent one.” The producer looked at his three D-girls, college-educated, mind you, D-girls…I had dubbed them his Three Muses…and he asked them: “Do you know what impudent means?” They all shook their heads, “no”. “Do you know what imprudent means?” Again, the Muses shook their heads in the negative. So forget the slight play on words, they didn’t even understand the words! Now I probably knew these words when I was ten. I probably learned them watching movies and TV…which used to illuminate and educate as well as entertain. Later, in the same script, some character talks about how the blood of Charlemagne flowed in his veins. Again, the producer turned his Muses. Do you know who Charlemagne is? Again, none knew. I winced and said: “Oh, surely, you must have encountered Charlegmagne in eighth grade world history or in Bulfinch’s Mythology?” They all said in unison: “What’s Bulfinch Mythology?” There was a big debate as to whether anyone would know what the word “cur” meant and wouldn’t it be better to use just dog. How can you do a Viking movie if someone doesn’t call someone else a “cur?” By this time, I was banging my head on the table in despairing disbelief and thanking God for my wonderful public-school education. College-educated, these girls? It’s frightening!
I always say, I wish I could fight battles of artistic differences. But I’m always fighting against a rudimentary lack of common sense and intelligence.
I’m rather famous for writing memos in this town: Here’s an excerpt from one I wrote to Jeff Katzenberg asking to be let out of my contract after Thief of Baghdad died aborning, Princess of Mars was shelved, and DOA was ruined:
“Ever since I fell under the spell of movies, they’ve not only entertained me with wonderful dreams, but they’ve been the springboard to my education. They led me to history and geography, literature and language and humour and music…and countless life lessons — from simple social graces to a vast kaleidoscope of human emotions and conditions.
“I would see a film as seemingly frivolous as GUNGA DIN and, while being thoroughly wrapped up in the yarn it was spinning, I’d also learn about courage and honour and loyalty and racism. Afterwards, it’d send me rushing to the encyclopedia where I’d spend another couple of hours not only reading up on British India and Kali and Kipling, but anything else I happened to thumb by.
“Movies, for me, were magic carpets that propelled me into enchanted voyages of discovery and expanded my imagination and my knowledge. They taught me ideals and ideas, to see the world not only as it it was, but also as it had been, or could be, or might be, or should be…they opened so many doors.
“That’s what I want my movies to do…open doors. Not close them. Make people participate, think, grasp, reach, dream. not become deadened, lowest common denominator lumps allowing safe, sanitized, shallow pap to wash over them.”
I’m not sure movies are making us dream quite they way they used to.
BK: I believe you also like musicals, do you not Charles Pogue? Tell us which are your favorites, and what your favorite scores are.
CP: Oh, thank god! Something light and fun, after all that heavy stuff about the dreary movie biz.
I do indeed love musicals, with a particular emphasis on strong book shows from the fifties and sixties. and, of course, all the great show tunes from the thirties and forties, even if the books were dubious. There used to be a place out here…perhaps, Bruce Kimmel, you knew of it…called Michael’s Music and Memories, The Vinyl Resting Place. I used to buy there out-of-print musicals like 110 in the Shade and Hazel Flagg and Donnybrook, spending sometimes 30-40 bucks a pop for these things…then suddenly, they all start coming out on CD. But I have acquired quite a collection over the years, both vinyl and CD.
I think my favourite musical of all time maybe SWEENEY TODD, it’s just so thrillingly dark and wonderful. I mean a song where a guy is flagellating himself? How bizarre. I am generally a big Sondheim fan…not quite the addict My Lovely Wife, Julieanne, is, but he usually does it for me.
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for MAN OF LA MANCHA. I first discovered this…as I did so many other great musicals…on a radio show on a Cincinnati station where every night they would play a musical and read the plot off the back of the album cover. When it played the Schubert Theatre in Cincy, I was there in the front row of the balcony to see it and was transported.
I’ve also loved KISMET, not just because of the lush romantic music, but because of the magnificent Alfred Drake. I’m quite fond of the rather obscure KEAN, also in no small part because of Drake, the greatest actor-singer of our time. Pity, he didn’t do more!
I’m also right fond of 110 In The Shade and Li’l Abner…a think Li’l Abner is ripe for a revival. It’s satire has never been more trenchant and on the money!
I prefer Rodgers and Hart to Rodgers and Hammerstein, though as I get older I appreciate Hammerstein more and more. Though I’m not sure there was ever a finer lyricist than Hart.
To the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Noel Coward I also kowtow.
One of my favourite show tunes…which I first heard in a version by the magnificent Johnny Hartman (which remains my favourite version)…comes from the rather obscure show, THE NERVOUS SET and is called “The Ballad of the Sad Young Men”. For a guy skidding into his fifties, this song can be a killer.
BK: Same question as above but for film music.
CP: This is easy. Rozsa, Rozsa, Rozsa. For me, there is Miklos Rozsa and then comes everybody else…the everybody else includes Bernard Herrman, Erich Korngold, Jerry Goldsmith, Alfred Newman, Elmer Bernstein, Mario Nascimbene (the Vikings), Franz Waxman (the Ride of the Cossack from Taras Bulba, wow!), John Barry (Zulu, Robin and Marian, the Last Valley). I love lush, romantic, sweeping, stirring movie music…no rock scores for me, please!
And the most lush, romantic, sweeping, and stirring for me is Rozsa. I adore his score for THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, based on his violin concerto, and his score for PROVIDENCE, based on another symphonic piece of his, Valse Crepusculaire,…and then, of course, there are so many others: El Cid, Ben-hur, Sodom and Gommorah, Moonfleet, Lust for Life, Knights of the round Table.
I write to film scores all the time.
My best day in Hollywood…Ever…was attending the memorial service for Miklos Rozsa. When he passed away ( and what a sad day that was), I called my pal, Rudy Behlmer, famed film historian, and told him I wanted to attend the service. He told me his pal Tony Thomas, equally famed film historian, and chronic writer of Rozsa album liner notes, was handling the affair and he’d get me in. I was cleared to attend by Mr. Thomas, I was told it would be a certain date at the Bel-Air hotel. I was told eleven o’clock. It was a one o’clock. I and the Lovely Wife were two hours early. What the Hell. We availed ourselves of the lovely champagne brunch at the Bel-Air. By then, in the best of spirits, we toddled over to the remembrance for Dr. Rozsa. More wine. Great company. I met David Raskin. Jerry Goldsmith (who I knew slightly because he had wanted to score DRAGONHEART…and I wish he had) introduced me to John Mauceri and other noted composers. And between eulogies, noted artists played his exquisite music. What a day!
BK: Well, Charles Pogue, you have been a delightful guest and we at haineshisway.com thank you for your Unseemly Interview. You may now have a Diet Coke and some cheese slices and ham chunks, and you may dance the Hora, if you’re of a mind to. Do you have any final parting words for our dear readers?
CP: I think I’ll forgo the Hora, as I far too exhausted. I hope I haven’t bored your readers to tears with my long-windedness, but thank you for your generosity of time and may I say, Bruce Kimmel, that you too are one of those true gentlemen in a business with far too few of them.