STAR WARS ARTIST GREG HILDEBRANDT: FILMFAX INTERVIEW

With the news Star Wars film saturating the media these days, I thought it a good time to post my own EXTREMELY slight connection to the franchise. In 2009 I was contacted by Filmfax magazine publisher Mike Stein about interviewing graphic artist, Greg Hildebrandt. Together with his identical twin brother, Tim, the two of them covered the landscape of iconic pop culture imagery.
I greatly appreciated the assignment but wondered to myself, ‘Why me?” My mainstay was film as I continued researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank in hopes of publication. I discovered that the fact that I had interviewed comic book artist and childhood hero Neal Adams for the magazine, proved to be the catalyst for Mike Stein’s decision. It didn’t change the fact that I knew close to nothing about the commercial art world, let alone the Brothers Hildebrandt. The closest I ever got to familiarity with that existence was having a best friend who graduated from the Califonia Institute of the Arts. Well, the gauntlet put before me, I grabbed at it with both hands and dove into researching the work and art of the men who gained fame in the 70s with their Lord of the Rings calendars, children’s book illustrations, pin-ups and, most famously of all, the original Star Wars poster — a story by the way that’s it the next issue, which is an amazing tale in its own right!
I met with Greg in Santa Monica’s now defunct gallery/store known as Every Picture Tells a Story, with co-owner Lee Cohen in attendance. I have no idea why it no longer exists but it’s a damn shame as it housed original artwork from everybody’s favorite childhood illustrators. Focusing on the interview was difficult at best surrounded by such visual splendor. Making it worse was the fact that in the midst of the interview, actor Elliot Gould ambled into the store. That’s right, quirky 70s film icon and the original Trapper John, himself! My professionalism was sorely tested as he is, was, and remains one of my personal favorite film stars. Lee  Cohen later told me that he comes in all the time looking for artwork for his grandson.
I gritted my teeth at a missed opportunity and proceeded to interview Mr. Hildebrandt. Glad I did, too, as it turned out to be a truly wonderful experience. He’s a good guy with a great story to tell. Read it for yourself and stay tuned for Part 2 when the Star Wars connection comes into full focus. In the mean time, have you ever wondered why the likeness to the Clash of the Titans poster and Star Wars poster is strong? Read below and find out why…

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1 cover

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1 cover.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 1.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 1.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 2

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 2.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 3.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 3.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 4.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 4.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 5.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 5.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 6.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 6.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 7.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 7.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 8.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 8.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 9.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 9.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 10.

Greg Hildebrandt Filmfax interview, part 1, page 10.

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STEVE ALLEN OUTRE INTERVIEW, PART 1

Steve Allen
Steve Allen being a personal hero of mine, I was over the moon when he agreed to be interviewed by yours truly for Outre’ Magazine back in 1997. I  met him and his wife Jayne Meadows at one of those Hollywood Collector’s Shows at the Beverly Garland Hotel in which Ms. Meadows worked the room and Mr. Allen was suprisingly subdued. I was there to collect as well, mostly interviews for my book, Lee Marvin Point Blank (which for the record proved a great source, such as Robert Vaughn, Clint Walker, John Dennis and Ms. Garland herself!)
Mr. Allen, I later was to discover, was subdued due to the fact that he didn’t want to be there. When I discussed the possibilty of my interviewing him, he lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree. We exchanged contact info and I checked in with Outre’s publisher Mike Stein, who loved the idea. The dilemma then became what the hell do I talk to him about? I need not have worried since Mr. Allen was a wealth of stories and anecdotes — from Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan to Lenny Bruce and Jack Kerouac — all of which provided me with a natural theme for the interview that practically wrote itself, title included. He even went so far as to give me an anecdote about Lee Marvin! The man was something else!

Steve Allen interview, page 1

Steve Allen interview, page 1

Steve Allen interview, page 2

Steve Allen interview, page 2

Steve Allen interview, page 3

Steve Allen interview, page 3

Steve Allen interview, page 4

Steve Allen interview, page 4

Steve Allen interview, page 5

Steve Allen interview, page 5

Steve Allen interview, page 6

Steve Allen interview, page 6

Steve Allen interview, page 7

Steve Allen interview, page 7

 

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MY INTERVIEW WITH ‘INVASION’S’ KEVIN McCARTHY

This being the birthday of the late, great Don Siegel (1912-1991), I thought it a perfect opportunity to post my interview with Kevin McCarthy (1914-2010), the star of his most famous film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Yes, Siegel did indeed direct Lee Marvin in The Killers, but that was pretty well covered in Lee Marvin Point Blank via my exclusive interviews wtih Norman Fell, Clu Gulager, Angie Dickinson and Bob Phillips. Siegel’s collaborations with Clint Eastwood may be popular, but to my mind, and many film geeks like me, Invasion was his best work. Besides, this time of the year, it certainly makes more sense to post about that film than say, Dirty Harry.
My 1999 Filmfax interview with McCarthy was no small coup as publisher Mike Stein said they had been trying to get him for years. I lucked out meeting MCarthy at a trade show in which he was hawking his new book at the time in tribute to Invasion (see inside cover below), aptly titled “They’re Here!”

McCarthy's inscription for my copy of his book reads, "To Dwayne Epstein - 'Sleep No More!' Like They're Coming! But they are skipping the fearful Epsteins!"

McCarthy’s inscription for my copy of his book reads, “To Dwayne Epstein – ‘Sleep No More!’ Like They’re Coming! But they are skipping the fearful Epsteins!”

The stars were aligned when he agreed to sit down with me a few weeks later at Musso & Franks. McCarthy was understandably wary of the interview at first, having been burned in the past. He was specific in citing writer Patricia Bosworth in her bio of McCarthy’s best friend, Montgomery Clift. According to McCarthy, she had misquoted him so badly, he vowed to never be interviewed again unless he could have approval of the content before publication. I rarely agree to such conditions but figured it was worth it. My one condition was that seeing how long and varied his career had been, no subject was off limits. The resulting article and accompanying rare photos proved so liked by the publisher, he commissioned artist Harley Brown to render the cover…my first cover article! Enjoy….

Artist Harley Brown's impressive cover image for my Kevin McCarthy interview.

Artist Harley Brown’s impressive cover image for my Kevin McCarthy interview.

Page 1 of McCarthy

Page 1 of McCarthy

 

Page 2 of McCarthy

Page 2 of McCarthy

 

Page 4 of McCarthy

Page 4 of McCarthy

 

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McCarthy page 6

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McCarthy 8

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