STARTING THE NEW YEAR OFF W/ A GIG: CLINT WALKER!

Happy new year faithful Lee Marvin Point Blank blog readers, and for yours truly, there’s no better way to start the new year than with a a new gig interviewing TV and movie legend Clint Walker! It proved to be another example of my Lee Marvin research turning into something more fortuitous.
The background story is rather interesting. I had interviewed the big fella back in the early days of my work on the book as he costarred with Marvin in The Dirty Dozen. Unfortunately, not all that great stories he related made the book, but hey, that’s where blogs come in handy.  I had then gotten back in touch with him fairly recently in hopes of getting his thoughts on working with Charles Bronson in The Dirty Dozen and then later in Bronson’s strange western/fantasy film, White Buffalo. As for the Bronson project, as Johnny Carson used to say, more to come.
Anyway, having done those two interviews with him, it occurred to me that the good folks who run Filmfax Magazine might be interested in a career-spanning interview with Walker. I contacted publisher Mike Stein about it and it was a go. I then contacted 90-year-old Clint Walker about it and he was slightly less enthusiastic about. He was retired in Northern California with his wife and really didn’t want to have anything to do with the business any more, aside from the occasional memorabilia show. On top of that he had recently suffered a fall and health-wise, he just wasn’t up to it. Well, it took no small amount of convincing by yours truly (as well as several schedule rearrangements!) and more than a title help from Facebook friend Deb Elsie, but eventually……

Filmfax cover for issue #150.

My interview with Clint Walker even made the cover. Seriously.
What’s that?
Don’t see it?
Well, look a little a closer in the top left corner there. Here, let me help…..

Top banner of FIlmfax, Dec.-Feb. 2018.

There, that’s better. Anyway, the interview indeed went well as Walker eventually opened up to talk about his many decades in the industry. I got him to tell great tales on such luminaries as Jack Warner, Cecil B. DeMille, Doris Day, The Bowery Boys, Kim Novak, Frank Sinatra, Arnold Schwarzenegger even The Beatles! It’s the reason I love what I do.
I’m not going to post the article here, as it’s available in bookstores and newsstands everywhere. However, I can tease you a little to go out and buy a copy with this first page of the 8-page article….

Page 1 of my Filmfax interview with Clint Walker.

If  this teaser does want to make you go out and buy a copy of the magazine that publisher Mike Stein calls, “A five-ounce ton of intelligent fun,” then I humbly thank you.
By the way, if you like what you read, feel free to comment as the magazine really does print any and all letters to the editor. Honest! The contact info is:
FILMFAX MAGAZINE
Re: Edits 1320 Oakton St.
Evanston, IL 60202
Of course, if you didn’t care for the article, let’s just keep that to ourselves, shall we? I thank you and here’s to a happy and prosperous 2018!!
-Dwayne Epstein

Share

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: DENZEL WASHINGTON & THE OSCAR CONTROVERSY

The recent controversy surrounding this year’s Oscar nominations lack of color got me to thinking about another of my older writing assignments. I didn’t take to the assignment right away, but once I got into the research of the subject, I certainly did.
Denzel Washington’s career, in my opinion, is one of the most fascinating in film history. Successes and failures abound, like all leading actors, but the work itself is an amazing exploration of our changing times. His body of work recently earned The Golden Globes’ prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award (are you listening American FIlm Institute?) and in watching his highlight reel, I was once again struck by how impressive his films were and still are.
Beleive it or not, writing about his life and work for Lucent Books’ People in the News Series helped me immeasurably when it came to actually writing LEE MARVIN : POINT BLANK. How did it help? It made me more fully aware that one of the most important aspects of an actor’s work that lives on long after the actor, is a theme or themes that permeates the work for audiences decades to come. It was certainly true in Lee Marvin’s case as it is Denzel Washington’s. Long live the truly great actors!
As to the Oscar controversy, while I often agree with the concept of boycotts, I think boycotting such an award show is self-defeating. Do the organizers really think such a move will result in future nominations for people of color? Seems doubtful. Lots of heat with very little light. If they really want to see more Oscar diversity, they should take it upon themselves to make better films with actors of color in which the character’s color, really doesn’t matter. In other words, take a tip from the films of two-time Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington, especially in the section on how Spike Lee was able to complete Malcolm X. It’s called putting words into action…..

The cover of my 2010 People in the News young adult biography on Denzel Washington.

The cover of my 2010 People in the News young adult biography on Denzel Washington.

The book's Table of Contents, in which the need for clever titles and several bibliographies, also helped in my writing of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

The book’s Table of Contents, in which the need for clever titles and several bibliographies, also helped in my writing of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

The introduction taught me to write the intro last as you never know where the research will take you. Oh, and by the way, he did go back to school and the lady with the vision, was a church elder.

The introduction taught me to write the intro last, as you never know where the research will take you. Oh, and by the way, he did go back to school and the lady with the vision, was a church elder.

Two sidebars per chapter are a requirement for each title so it allowed me to delve into The Boys & Girls Club of America's interesting history. Opposite page shows Denzel in front of a photo of himself as a youngster as he himself is surrounded by current Club members.

Two sidebars per chapter are a requirement for each title so it allowed me to delve into The Boys & Girls Club of America’s interesting history. Opposite page shows Denzel in front of a photo of himself as a youngster as he himself is surrounded by current Club members.

Denzel Washingtons performance in MALCOLM X, alog with TRAINING DAY remain two of all time favorites and writing about them is one of the joys of what I do for a living.

Denzel Washington’s performance in MALCOLM X, along with TRAINING DAY, remain two of my all time favorites and writing about them is one of the joys of what I do for a living.

Share

MY INTERVIEW WITH THE LATE, GREAT WOODY STRODE

I have often said that the best part of my job is talking to people who’s work I have long admired about the work I’ve long admired. One of the best examples of this was the interview I did with Woody Strode for Lee Marvin Point Blank way back in 1994. He welcomed me into his Glendora home, spending the day remembering his friendship with Lee Marvin and telling wonderful anecdotes about his illustrious career. I knew he wasn’t feeling well that day as he was dying of cancer at the time. In fact he passed away a few months after our talk. He never let on about his obvious discomfort and was so informative, FilmFax agreed to publish my talk with him in their Feb. 1999 issue. It is below for your perusal.
As a side note, it doesn’t often happen that I can do a good thing for someone by pure happenstance, but I did for Woody. Shortly after our talk, I interviewed director Budd Boetticher. He asked me who I had spoken to so far and when I mentiond Woody, he lit up like a Roman candle, asking me to put him in touch with his old friend. With Woody’s permission I did just that and the two old friends were able to re-connect shortly before they both passed away.

strode1
strode2strode3strode4

Share