THE DAN BOYD CHRONICLES

The Dan Boyd Chronicles is a podcast geared for seniors and as such, Dan Boyd himself recently approached me to be a guest. At first I wasn’t quite sure how he found me but apparently he discovered my work via social media, LinkedIn to be specific. From there, he requested a connection, contacted me and tld me about his podcast via an applicable link. I checked it out, saw that it and he were legit (you never can tell in this digital day and age), and agreed to participate.

The Dan Boyd Chronicles logo.


I’ve done a few other podcasts as I’ve posted about here previously. The majority of them have included video as well as audio but Dan chose to go simply with an audio interview about my work, focusing on Lee Marvin Point Blank
 I’d like to add that having done such podcasts over the past few years, some of what I’ve said is repeated here, so I chose to do something I had not done before: for the Dan Boyd Chronicles I revealed the status of several upcoming projects for the first time. It may be worth a listen for that reason alone.
  Dan’s a nice guy as he asked me not only about Lee Marvin but a few other actors he said his audience have been curious about, such as the late, great Robert Mitchum and James Coburn. Not one to miss an opportunity to discuss such subjects, I pontificate appropriately. 
  His format is rather interesting in that he starts with some self-penned poetry, segues into our phone conversation (starts around the 11 minute mark) and then ends with a re-broadcast of an old radio drama called Johnny Dollar from 1950 starring the legendary Edmond O’Brien. I thought it pretty cool. So, without and further ado, I give you  Dan Boyd’s Chronicles. Enjoy! 
– Dwayne Epstein

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WRITER/DIRECTOR RICHARD BROOKS: THE NIGHT WE MET

Writer/director Richard Brooks has not been as historically lauded as many other directors but he’s always been a personal favorite of mine. I’ve been an admirer of many of his films long before I began researching Lee Marvin Point Blank and unfortunately, he passed away before I really started that research. A shame really as I would have liked to have gotten his take on working with Marvin on one of the best films either of them ever made: The Professionals (1966).

(L-R) Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Richard Brooks and Woody Strode discuss a scene for THE PROFESSIONALS.

As an aside, I recently found out that one of Brooks last and highly underrated films, Bite The Bullet (1975), was originally going to be a prequel of sorts to The Professionals, with Gene Hackman and James Coburn playing the characters Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster played in The Professionals. By the way, if you haven’t seen Bite The Bullet, I highly recommend it.

Writer/director Richard Brooks pictured in Maureen Lambray’s photo book, AMERICAN FILM DIRECTORS and as he looked at the time I met him.

One night, back in the early 1980s, a friend and I went to the Nuart in Santa Monica to see a Brooks double feature of Elmer Gantry (1960) and The Professionals, in which Brooks did a Q&A following both films. Knowing that the Oscar-winning writer/director had a penchant for adapting successful books and plays, I asked him about that, which allowed for the following exchange in the crowded theater:

Me: Knowing that in the stage version of Sweet Bird of Youth Paul Newman’s character is castrated, what did you think of the criticism the film got when you changed it to Newman getting beat up?
Brooks: What do I think of the castration of Paul Newman? Oh, I’m all for it!

The crowded theater roared with laughter followed by applause. It didn’t bother me that he avoided answering my query. I was glad to be able to feed him such a well used straight line. A group of us followed him out to the parking lot to continue the discussion when a little red sports car convertible came screeching in front of him. The female driver emphatically asked Brooks, “How can I get in touch with Burt Lancaster? HE IS SO HOT!” Everyone laughed and Brooks chuckled, “Sorry, dear. I haven’t seen or heard from Burt in years.”

The program from the double feature retrospective honoring writer/director Richard Brooks that he graciously signed for me.

….And then there was the time I got Robert Altman mad at me….oy!
– Dwayne Epstein

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THE URBAN LEGENDS OF LEE MARVIN

Urban legends have a way of never fading into permanent obscurity no matter how great the effort is to exterminate them. You all know the ones: The faked moon landing, the origins of AIDS, the scuba diver scooped up by the water helicopters and then burned when dumped in a wildfire. My personal favorite has to do with Neil Armstrong and what he may have actually said when he stepped on the moon’s surface, but that, as they say, is another story.
Believe it or not, there are actually several such urban legends with Lee Marvin as the central focus.  Google the following words or phrases and you’ll see what I mean:
– Lee Marvin’s life was saved in WWII by Bob “Captian Kangaroo” Keeshan.

Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo (L) and Lee Marvin probably never even met, despite urban legends to the contrary.

Magnificent Seven co-star James Coburn is Lee Marvin’s brother.
– Marvin had his sciatic nerve severed when wounded on Saipan which earned him the Navy Cross.

Within the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank, readers will not find any reference to these myths, for the simple reason that they are not true. Simply denying them is not enough for some folks, which I guess is the reason the website Snopes came into existence. One of the things that keep such rumors alive (or at least believable) is the amount of details they are given to make them seem true. I can’t tell you the amount of people I’ve heard say to me, “I know it’s true about Captain Kangaroo because I saw Marvin tell it on Johnny Carson.” As they say, the devil is in the details.
As for James Coburn, well there is indeed a certain resemblance, but that’s as far as it goes. Lee Marvin did have a brother, though, Robert, who bore no resemblance to James Coburn.

Lee Marvin & James Coburn looking brotherly on an episode of M SQUAD.

(L-R) Actors Lee Marvin, James Coburn, Katy Jurado and director Sam Peckinpah enjoying themselves in the late 70s.

  • I remember once many years ago being in the great memorabilia shop, Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee, when I overheard an argument about the very same subject. The owner walked over to me to settle it, calling me the resident Lee Marvin expert. A simple shake of my head may have lost somebody a very big bet. Of course, that won’t stop such popular badly written searches on the internet as “Lee Marvin’s brother, who played in Magnificent Seven.
    As to Marvin’s war wound, that’s harder to disprove as Wikipedia and elsewhere still repeat it. I have seen his service record which includes a medical report. His sciatic nerve was NOT severed and he did NOT win the Navy Cross. Purple Heart, yes, but not the Navy Cross.
    I’m sure such urban legends will continue no matter how great the effort is to squelch them. Instead of wondering whether they’re true or not, I have a better idea. Read Lee Marvin Point Blank. The real story of Lee Marvin is infinitely better than any urban legend.
    – Dwayne Epstein

Urban legends aside, in LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK yours truly DOES  write about these two miscreants and get the inside scoop on their “related” lineage to Lee Marvin.

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