CONNIE MARTINSON AND ME

Connie Martinson, veteran host of the cable show Connie Martinson Talks Books, interviewed yours truly when Lee Marvin Point Blank first came out. It was arranged via the publicist my publisher contracted. The interview was taped in a room at the Santa Monica Library and Ms. Martinson could not have been more pleasant and accommodating. Having recently posted the interview I did with Sandra Mitchell on KCAL9 News, I thought why not post the interview I did with Ms. Martinson?

Connie and me from her show, CONNIE MARTINSON TALKS BOOKS.


 I was pleasantly surprised when I met her to discover she was married to Les Martinson, whom I had interviewed for my book. Naturally, she worked that little factoid into our discussion. Also, I must say, having done several such shows to promote the book, after the show was completed, I told her how impressed I was by the fact that she actually read my book and made copious notes via her visible Post-Its on the pages. 

Connie’s hand and ever present Post-It note in evidence as she holds my book to the camera.


She then asked, “Doesn’t everybody who interviews you read your book?” When I told her no, the look of shock was wonderful as she stated, “Then they shouldn’t have their job!” A terrific response, in my opinion.
I found out later what great company I was in to have been on her show as it’s been on the air locally since 1979 and has had such luminaries on as Ray Bradbury, Studs Turkel, Maya Angelou, Al Gore and a neophyte Illinois senator promoting his book named Barack Obama. 
Only other thing I’d add before viewing the video below is how jarring it is to see myself then. Since that interview back in 2013, I have lost over fifty pounds and man, does it make a difference! So, all that said, heeeeeeerrrrreee’s Connie!
– Dwayne Epstein

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THOUGHTS ON THE AERO THEATRE SCREENING LAST NIGHT

For the second time in as many years, I had a terrific time at the Aero Theatre last night signing copies of Lee Marvin: Point Blank for a Lee Marvin double feature, courtesy of the good graces of the American Cinematheque and Larry Edmunds Book Store. The event came out of the blue last month when programmer Grant Monniger contacted me and asked if I wanted to do it as part of their John Boorman retrospective.

The Aero Theatre Marquee in Santa Monica last night

The Aero Theatre Marquee in Santa Monica last night

Naurally, I jumped at the chance. When I asked what I had to do in terms of getting the books, how many, time to arrive, etc. I was told the time and the rest would be done through Jeff Mantor at Larry Edmunds Bookstore. I had no idea how right Grant was. Jeff did indeed do it all….

Flyer done up by Larry Edmunds' for last night's screening.

Flyer done up by Larry Edmunds’ for last night’s screening.

I arrived, schmoozed with Jeff a bit and watched the crowd shuffle in. Met some folks I knew, some I’ve been meaning to meet via Facebook, and heard a lot of people say nice things about Lee Marvin but they’d buy the book after the first film. Jeff told me “Yeah, let’s see about that.” I was asked to introduce Point Blank, which I dutifully did (I could kick myself for not remembering more interesting anecdotes…oh well). Then came the screening…..

Lobby card from Point Blank showing why it was called the first Arthouse action film.

Lobby card from Point Blank showing why it was called the first Arthouse action film.

True to their word, those who said they’d buy the book did indeed do so after the movie, which was quite a relief considering the schlep to get there from Long Beach during rush hour traffic on the 405. What was interesting were some of the comments made to me, en masse about Marvin:
“What was the year of his birth?”
He was wounded on Guadalcanal, right?”
Where did he do most of his drinking in Malibu?”
“Oh 1924. Yeah, but what was the date?”
“Didja ever see Prime Cut?”
When did he die?…No, the actual date.”
You know about him and Capt. Kanagroo, right?”
“Yeah,  I met him a few times….Real asshole.”
And on it went. In fairness, those were the choice ones that stuck out the most in my memory. Most of the other questions & comments were actually pretty encouraging in terms of both Marvin and several folks who read the book and went out of their way to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Then, Hell in the Pacific, which I really was looking forward to finally seeing on the big screen…..

Toshiro Mifune (left) and Lee Marvin in John Boorman's WWII allegory, Hell in the Pacific.

Toshiro Mifune (left) and Lee Marvin in John Boorman’s WWII allegory, Hell in the Pacific.

It was not as late as I thought it would be by the time the film ended so going home was a breeze. I’m only writing this to say such events are always a pleasure and a surprise when they occur and genuinely hope they keep happening.
Oh, and for the record: He was born 2/19/24, he drank at a bar called The Raft in Malibu (among others), he was wounded on Saipan not Guadalcanal, and Yes I’ve seen all of films which includes Prime Cut ….. oh, and for umpteenth time, Captain Kangaroo did NOTsave Lee Marvin’s life on Iwo Jima. Geez!

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RARE PHOTO OF RALPH O’HARA, LEE MARVIN & FRIEND

In researching Lee Marvin: Point Blank, some of the most intriguing stories about the man were related to me by individuals not necessarily know by the general public. Case in point: Ralph O’Hara. O’Hara was a legend around the bars of Malibu and Santa Monica and as such, he just had to have some good Lee Marvin stories to uncover. Anyone who’s read Lee Marvin: Point Blank knows how true that is. He was also willing to relate his poignant perspective to the end of Lee’s life (pp. 243-244). I can also say that after Christopher Marvin read my book he told me that the next time I see or hear from Ralph that Chirstopher has the $20 he owes him for lending him gas money from Tucson back to Calif after after his father’s funeral in 1987. Unfortunately, I long lost contact with Ralph, who apparently moved down South after he retired from bartending.

RALPH

Wallawa Whitman National Forest Baker Oregon on set of Paint Your Wagon, July 1968. Ralph J. O’Hara, Julie Ayers, Lee Marvin

During the time I was in contact with Ralph O’Hara I constantly badgered him  for a picture, especially for one with him and Lee. I haranged him for several months but he kept insisting his lawyer would not allow it. Go figure that one out. One day, in the mail, I received the image above. Too ragged to be used for the book, I present the photo here for your perusal. Ralph, if you’re out there and can see this, I thank you once again!

Ralph’s own caption: “Wallawa Whitman National Forest Baker Oregon on set of Paint Your Wagon, July 1968. Ralph J. O’Hara, Julie Ayers, Lee Marvin.”

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