Outre Interview with 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 2
Steve Allen interview, page 3
Steve Allen interview, page 4
Steve Allen interview, page 5
Steve Allen interview, page 6
Steve Allen interview, page 7
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 with 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!”
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.
Page 1 of McCarthy
Page 2 of McCarthy
Page 4 of McCarthy
McCarthy page 6
Shelley Berman, interviewed by yours truly back ’05 for Filmfax magazine, was part of an idea I had while trying to get Lee Marvin Point Blank published. I figured I’d keep my writing chops up by interviewing subjects within a given theme, in this case it was pioneering comedians. It started with the rare opportunity afforded me to interview both Sid Caesar and Steve Allen. From there the plan was to write about the holy trinity of Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl and Shelley Berman. Well, I met Berman at a Hollywood Collector’s Show and he agreed on a day and time to be interviewed. When I found out he was good friends with Sahl, I thought the next step would be a breeze. It wasn’t. As for Bruce, I wanted to interview his daughter, Kitty, who was amenable over the phone but constant scheduling conflicts made the proposed piece prohibitive. Ahh well, maybe some day…
As for Berman, he remains one of the strangest interviews I have ever conducted. He invited me to his home and was very cordial but as our talk went on, he kept pressing me to ask him about certain subjects he wanted to expound on. I’m sure he wanted some specific comments on the record, but that was not why I was there. I maintained control of the interview and asked about subjects I knew the good folks at Filmfax wanted me to ask him about.
Then, at one point, a certain subject was brought up that so angered him, he said that I should turn off the tape recorder as the interview was officially over. I did turn off the recorder but it was to convince him to go back on the record. I won’t say what (or who) the subject was that angered him as I agreed not to go public with it. He calmed down and the interviewed continued to its conclusion. Later, when I told publisher Mike Stein about it, he laughed and said how cool he thought the whole thing was. That eased my worries a bit as I then turned in the article that you see below. Suffice to say, the subject that angered him is still present but only slightly altered. Can you tell what it is???
Oh, and one more thing. After the article, I posted the letter Berman wrote that stated a few of his objections and no, the subject that angered him was NOT in the letter. Go figure….
Shelley Berman’s letter to the editor after the interview was published. No, the angry subject is NOT in the letter.