FROM ADAM SANDLER TO LEE MARVIN IN LESS THAN 10 YEARS

People In The News: Adam Sandler (2004) published by Lucent Books, and then Lee Marvin Point Blank in paperback format as published by Schaffner Press in 2014.

Adam Sandler’s impressive comeback via his Netflix projects proves that talent will win out, especially following his recent disastrous, high-profile and expensive flops. Although not a huge fan of his output, I could have predicted his comeback, even though his core audience has grown up. How do I know? Bear with me…
A possible connection between Sandler and Lee Marvin is of course anything but obvious. However, with yours truly at the helm of this blog, there becomes one. To put it another way, there would never have been 2013’s Lee Marvin Point Blank had there not been 2004’s People in the News: Adam Sandler. Hardly clarifies, now does it? Heh, heh. I shall elaborate.
I came in contact with the good folks at Lucent (alternately known as Gale, Greenhaven and god knows what all) by good fortune and discovered their People in the News series. They promptly offered me either George Bush Jr, Eminem or Adam Sandler. The choice became obvious. Thank god Sandler made Punch-Drunk Love or I never would have survived!
They also informed me of certain writing requirements for each title in the series. Chief among them was to not only write each chapter chronologically (duh!), but more importantly, emphasize an important theme within each chapter. THAT dear reader proved to be the best lesson and ongoing exercise I ever got in biographical research and writing. Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank may hopefully see the chapter themes as well as the overall theme of Marvin’s life and work. It was a direct result of my writing about Sandler and later other prominent contemporary figures. I actually wish those books were still being published but alas, the likes of Wikipedia’s popularity put an end to the series. Ahh, well. Such is life.
I came up with the chapter titles based on those themes I came up with in researching Sandler’s life and work, as shown below….

Copyright page and table of contents for Adam Sandler People in the News.

I also discovered no matter how easy you might think writing the introduction might be, ALWAYS write it last. It may seem obvious but it took me some frustrating rewrites to discover that the intro is the end game, since you never know what the main theme is until the project is written. Good lesson. It also created a new respect for Sandler’s output and his resiliency. I did the same with Lee Marvin Point Blank which proved to be the theme AND title of the book. My Sandler intro below, bears this out…

Introduction to Adam Sandler People in the News and the theme therein.

It must have worked since the the editors liked it and I did write several more as a hired gun. I never received royalties so I never knew if it was selling well or was well-received. Imagine my surprise when I saw this review on Amazon on April 29, 2015: “Delivered promptly and in excellent condition. My 11-year old son wants to be a comedian, and this was the perfect book for him and he even received school credit for reading it.”
Cool, huh? I guess discovering the theme of Sandler’s work, no matter how corny or distasteful it may be to some, proved successful, after all. Yeah, Sandler’s going to be around for a while, Hopefully, I will, too.

Here’s proof that I had nothing to do with the choice of photos used or the captions that were written. I would not have chosen this photo and if I did, I surely would have mentioned that looks on Dana Carvey and especially Phil Hartman’s faces.

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LIBERTY VALANCE PREMIERES APRIL 13, 1962

On this date in 1962, John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance premiered and it’s production, reception and legacy is fully covered in Lee Marvin Point Blank. Readers will discover how the cast REALLY got along during the filming, what John Ford thought of his new but late-in-the-game stock company member, Lee Marvin, why Lee Marvin’s son considers it his favorite film, what he said when introduced to John Wayne and infinitely more! Most exclusive of all was an interview with the late, great Woody Strode and his personal take on what happened on set and why he loved Lee Marvin.
However, to honor the occasion, here a few strange tidbits from the past to pay tribute to the last great John Wayne/John Ford western that were not included in the book.

Pre-release movie magazine teaser ad for LIBERTY VALANCE.

This strange ad above is the kind of thing you just don’t see any more, and maybe that’s a good thing. What’s with the nursery rhyming scheme? Did the publicity dept, think anxious  film fans would put it to music and sing these little ditties to help promote word-of-mouth? Bizarre. Did these folks even seen the film? Andy Devine’s character of Sheriff Link Appleyard hardly lived to help ‘the ones in need.’ The one for Valance isn’t even accurate. He didn’t spread shame. He spread pain!
Then there’s this ‘Behnd-the-scenes’ article from the June, 1962 issue of Screen Stories.

Screen Stories 1962 article on the making of LIBERTY VALANCE.

You can already tell from the opening that a good portion of it was a result more of p.r. than it was actual onset reporting. That’s fine in the long run, I guess, but it also has some interesting trivia, such as the fact that the entire male cast were each 6-foot tall or taller!
Also has one of my favorite John Ford quotes: “We have a very fine cast of actors in this film, and John Wayne.”

Behind the scenes article, page 2.

And there’s this review, which explains why the movie took a while to get an audience. Not only does the reviewer spell Jimmy Stewart’s name wrong, he commits the ultimate sin of a reviewer by giving away the ending…and then rates the film a C-!

Movie rag…er…mag review of LIBERTY VALANCE.

Is it any wonder I dislike most critics? Ahh well. Never mind the critics. Just enjoy the great film for what it is: One of Lee Marvin’s best performances and a lasting testament to what John Ford contributed to the American Western: When the truth becomes the legend, print the legend.

Smack dab in the center is Lee Marvin in the March, 1962 issue of PARAMOUNT WORLD, promoting the release of Liberty Valance.

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POCKET MONEY: MARVIN & NEWMAN’S MISMATCHED BUDDY MOVIE

Lee Marvin’s 1972 film, Pocket Money, has been largely dismissed almost since the day it was released. Rather unfortunate, I think, as the film really isn’t all that bad and actually has some things to recommend it.

Lee Marvin as Leonard in 1972’s POCKET MONEY.

The botched production is covered exclusively in Lee Marvin Point Blank via a rare interview with the novel’s original author, JPS Brown. Not mentioned, however, is how Marvin and his famous costar, Paul Newman, got along during and after production. According to Marvin’s son, Christopher, who was on set for the film’s production, there was simply no chemistry between the two men. As he related to me in 1995: “When I was living with my dad later on Pocket Money, Paul Newman came over one day. He had a coffee can full of red wine that he was holding. He was like [drunk voice] ‘You’re old man here?’ I said, ‘Yeah, man.’ He came in and they were just talking AT each other drunk for like two hours [bangs fists together]. Oh god, no repore whatsoever. It was funny.”

After it was completed and Marvin was asked what the film was about, He’d snarkily, respond, “Paul Newman.” If pressed, he would add, “It never worked out. It was Paul Newman’s production company. By the time they cut the footage, Newman was the star. I dunno. I guess the old ego got the best of him. What can you do?”

Terry O’Neill’s iconci photo used for the poster of POCKET MONEY.

Later, when Paul Newman was told that Marvin claimed he was ‘finessed’ out of the picture, he told Rolling Stone: “I finessed him? I never even looked at the picture. Well, no, now I made some recommendations about the ending — two voice-overs that the two of us — but that was the only comment I made. Did he really say that? Well, it’s absolutely not true. I mean, Redford and I have got operational egos, but you never see that in terms of performance. Pocket Money didn’t make it, for sure, but I was delighted to play the character, the adolescent. I think the picture was too repetitious in terms of the humor, and it didn’t really know where it was going. It was fey and artificial.”
To his credit, Marvin made every effort to keep the sad production watchable. He used every trick in the book, while Newman spent the film looking bewildered and dumbfounded. Playing two not-too-bright cattlemen, in a script by novice filmmaker Terence Malick, just never seemed to jell, other than watching Marvin’s hijinks. Carole King contributed a catchy tune and the first half the film is interesting but it just rambles into incoherence. Well, the saving grace may just be something entirely incidental. Terry O’Neill photographed Marvin in what consider the best picture of the actor I’ve ever seen. I’d have made it the cover of my book if the rights were not so cost prohibitive. What do you think?

Terry O’Neill’s iconic photo of Lee Marvin onset during POCKET MONEY.

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