In The Closing Of A Trunk

Filmed January 1963

Halfway through the month of January, 1963, I had been a member of the Directors Guild for fifteen months. During that time I directed six television shows. That might seem like an exciting accomplishment, but six shows in fifteen months amounted to about sixteen weeks of work for a gross income of $11,370, which is far from princely. And since it was January, and the television season was winding down, my prospects for additional work before the beginning of the new season looked lower than dim.

And then on a Tuesday I got a telephone call from one of my agents. He said that I had an interview the next day with producer Herbert Leonard about the possibility of directing an episode of ROUTE 66. The following day at the appointed time I went to Columbia Studio at Sunset and Vine and was ushered into the producer’s office. Mr. Leonard, a very short man sat behind a very large desk. I sat down and waited for him to finish his telephone call. In the room there was much activity, different meetings going on all over the place. I felt like I was in a scene from YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU. Mr. Leonard did NOT finish his telephone call. He would ask me a question, and while I was answering, he returned to his telephone. This went on for four or five minutes, after which I was summarily dismissed. I went home and soon was surprised when my agent phoned to tell me I’d gotten the job. I was to call the studio the next day to see about the script. So at the appointed time on Thursday I called and was told by the associate producer that the script hadn’t come in but the writer had. He had returned from the location; he said he had solved his plot problems and was going home to start writing the script. I was to report to the studio the next day at three o’clock, bringing my luggage because I would be leaving that night for Corpus Christi, Texas.

My agent called me again on Thursday. He told me he had worked for the Bert Leonard organization before he became an agent, and he wanted to give me some advice. He said go out there, do the best you can, keep your nose clean, and always remember that those guys on the crew, with their union scale, their overtime, their gold time — you may be the director, but you are going to be the lowest paid member of that group.

On Friday at the appointed time I reported to the studio. I was handed nineteen pages of a script by Stirling Silliphant. It was IN THE CLOSING OF A TRUNK, and, what little there was of it, I thought was exciting. Before I left that night, I was given an additional four pages. I was also told the starring roles in the show had been cast: Ed Begley, Ruth Roman and Don Dubbins. I was especially happy to hear about Don being cast, because he was the one actor I knew. I had directed him in a play at the Pasadena Playhouse and in an episode of CHECKMATE.

When I left that night, I realized what a challenge I was facing. The six television shows I had directed had all been filmed in the studios. One short sequence for a home-movie scene in a DR. KILDARE had been filmed on a local location at a residential swimming pool. I had also filmed some sequences on the MGM back lot. Distant location shooting was a whole new ballgame.

That night at eleven o’clock I boarded the plane and arrived in Corpus Christi, Texas, Saturday morning. I was picked up at the airport and taken to the production offices. I learned we were to begin shooting the episode Monday morning (the usual time frame for a director’s preparation was six days) so in the next two days our immediate chore was to find our locations. Based on the scant twenty-three pages of script we had, that meant a ferry boat and a large old house on stilts on a lonely stretch of beach, no houses to be visible in either direction. The ferry boat was easy. Stirling had been there and had literally written the show to fit the area. They took me to the ferry boat, I made my notes (oh, to have had the small digital cameras of today) so that I would be able to lay out the staging and filming for the long opening ferry boat sequence. Then began the search for the large dilapidated old house on stilts. We drove up and down the beach, and there was no such house. Sam Manners, the production manager, said, “It has to be here. If Stirling wrote it in the script, he saw it. It has to be here.” So we drove up and down the beach again, but there was no house like the one described in Silliphant’s script. Finally we found a one-room shack on stilts that was totally isolated, and since there was nothing else available, we knew that one would have to do.

We were also going to have to shoot our interiors in that house. In the twenty-three pages of script that we had, Alma at one point had to exit into another room. But there was no other room. However there was a small closet with a curtain over the opening. We decided that if we hung a door, she could just exit into the closet. That meant that there was going to be some time needed to prepare the room. That didn’t seem to be a problem; since exteriors were always shot first, we scheduled the ferry boat sequence for Monday morning.

Sunday as I was strolling with Sam Manners through the center of Corpus Christi, a small rundown, New England style fishing village, Sam suddenly stopped. There, right in the middle of the village was a huge house on stilts. Sam saw it and said, “That’s the house Stirling saw. That’s the house he described in his script.” And Sam chuckled and said, “Stirling saw the house he wanted, so he just moved it to the isolated spot on the beach that he needed for his story.” Unfortunately we couldn’t do that.

Early Monday morning, we gathered at the ferry boat to commence filming. It was a dull, overcast, drizzly day, and Jack Marta, our great director of photography, said he couldn’t film. This was the first day in the history of ROUTE 66 filming that they were weathered out. We spent the day at the end of a pier in a large enclosure, hoping there would be a break in the weather that never came. Under normal conditions like this, when a company is weathered out, they move inside to a cover set. We had no cover set. The only interior in our first twenty-three pages was Alma’s house, and that was being prepared. The bad news was the weather forecast for the next day was more of the same.

That evening our production office spoke to the producer’s office in Hollywood. They were told the script was finished, and that an associate producer would be flying to Texas to hand deliver it the next day — arriving AROUND NOON. That meant we still didn’t have anything to film the next morning. So someone in Hollywood dictated three scenes to a secretary in Texas. (Oh for the convenience of today’s e-mail!) Those scenes were typed up and distributed to cast members, crew and me. Mr. Leonard phoned me and told me the rest of the plot and the positions in the story where the new scenes occurred. Then while the location manager went out to find and make arrangements for our use of the needed locations, the involved cast studied their parts, having only read the first twenty-three pages of the script, and I planned my staging and camera coverage for my first ever location scenes, to be filmed in places I hadn’t scouted.

Tuesday morning we reported to a fish house for a scene with five people: Ed Begley, Don Dubbins, Guy Raymond, Harry Hickox and Jon Lormer, all flown in from Hollywood. By the time we broke for lunch, we had completed the six page sequence. I felt FINALLY we were on a roll. But then Jack Marta came to me and said, “I hate to tell you this, but there was a camera malfunction. We’re going to have to reshoot everything after lunch.” So now a day and a half into the shooting schedule I was still on square one. Immediately after lunch we very quickly reshot the fish house sequence.

That afternoon we completed the two other sequences, only one of which made it into the final cut. I will discuss that scene later. That evening I received a note from Ruth Roman. It was very funny. Two days had passed, and she had yet to work. She wondered if we thought we had lost her, and assured me she was still present and ready to work.

The story was told in flashback. I was faced with the task of filming a climactic scene in the interior of Alma’s house between Ruth and Martin, and at the same time filming the necessary extra coverage for an abbreviated prolog.

I remember the graciousness and kindness of Jack Marta to a very inexperienced director. When I staged that scene, Alma opened the door, and the trunk was on the porch. It was awkward for Todd to pull it into the room, as I directed him to do. Jack quietly suggested that I have it leaning against the door, so that it would fall into the room.

The ferry sequence was another big first for me. This was filming on a much larger scale than anything I had yet attempted. And I had never filmed such an extended sequence with so much to establish and with so little dialogue to do it.

The ferry was in movement for every shot. I very soon became aware of swarms of sea gulls, and I wanted to use them as flying extras. The good thing was they worked cheaper than members of the Screen Extras Guild. All it took was a couple of the crew who were stationed, out of camera range tossing bread crumbs onto the water.

If MGM was my film school, the five shows I directed for Leonard proved to be my graduate course. In Hollywood I had filmed scenes in moving cars in process (MAYBE LOVE WILL SAVE MY APARTMENT HOUSE on DR. KILDARE) and poor man’s process (PRINTER’S DEVIL on TWILIGHT ZONE). I was about to learn how to do it live, with the camera and lights mounted on the back of a camera car, filming the actors in the Corvette, which was being towed.

Tuesday evening on the day the scripts arrived from Hollywood, Bert Leonard called me again. There was a scene in the newly received pages where Ed Begley and Martin Milner were surf fishing. Bert requested that when you do that scene, don’t put them in shallow water. Put them out in water up to their waist. So that’s what I did. It was a cold January in the Gulf of Mexico. I was out in the water with the actors and the crew, all of us in wet suits. Unfortunately my wet suit had a slit in it, and I was soon soaking wet. As the tide came in, the water kept getting higher and higher so that the waves would come up to our shoulders. As I watch the scene today, I marvel (considering the conditions under which the scene was shot) at the performances of Martin Milner and Ed Begley. I also am in awe of the work turned in by the sound crew. I was used to the very high standards set by the sound crews at MGM. Even on a quiet set, many was the time the mixer would demand another take because the quality was not acceptable. Here I had two actors out in roaring surf. I just knew all of what we were about to film would have to be looped later at the studio. How wrong I was. The mixer with his tape recording equipment was set up on the beach. Cable was stretched out to the mike boom far from shore. The cable of course had to be kept out of the water. The boom man straddled a tall ladder, arms outstretched above his head holding the long boom with the microphone at the end, suspended over the heads of the actors. And under those impossible conditions the sound crew delivered a track absolutely perfect, exciting because you see and hear the waves, and the performances are crystal clear. It is an incredible scene because of the actors’ performances and the technical achievement of both camera and sound.

Ed Begley made a career of playing characters like Kyle Hawkes. On Broadway he won a Tony for INHERIT THE WIND, and in Hollywood he won an Oscar for SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH. Off screen he was a pussy cat, a sweet, gentle man with a wonderful sense of humor.

Sam Manners told me that he was a friend of Joan Crawford, and this episode would have been a perfect vehicle for her. She wanted very much to do a ROUTE 66, but she needed advance notice, which of course, without a script, we couldn’t have given her. She finally guest starred in an episode the following year, the show’s fourth and last season on the air.

We battled the problem of the weather constantly. We would be filming inside the house, because the sky was overcast. Suddenly the sun would come out. We would finish the shot we were on and move outside immediately. The amazing thing was that the crowds from Corpus Christi would have come out to our location and would be lined up to watch us by the time we were ready to roll. One day a woman came rushing up to tell me, “Your filming here is the most exciting thing that has happened here since Hurricane Delilah.” (I’m not sure I’ve remembered the correct hurricane, but I do remember the woman.)

There was one shot I was going to need, shooting from inside the house out to the beach that would require good light. One day as we were working inside the house, the sun broke through. We hadn’t even staged the scene between Ruth and Martin, but I asked Ruth if she could do one shot for me out of context. Being the pro that she was, she of course agreed.

Then we blocked, rehearsed and filmed the full scene

The second of the telephone-dictated scenes that we filmed the second day was the climactic scene for Don Dubbins’ character of Mattie. Not only was he filming the scene on his first real day of work, he had received the scene the night before, and as of that time he still didn’t have the full script. It wouldn’t arrive until the following day.

The script called for Alma to be singing “Happy Birthday to you…” as she entered with the cake. Fortunately I filmed the scene through the window. It turned out the producers learned there would be a royalty payment necessary to use the ditty. Goodbye ditty. And because the scene was seen through the window, it was natural to play it in pantomime without sound.

Don Dubbins was another of that large horde of actors I speak of whose luck didn’t match their talent. He had starred with Deborah Kerr in the national company of  TEA AND SYMPATHY, playing the role John Kerr had played on Broadway. After some small roles in Hollywood films (FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, THE CAINE MUTINY) James Cagney took a shine to him and had him co-star in two of his movies, TRIBUTE TO A BAD MAN and THESE WILDER YEARS. The following year he appeared with Jack Webb in THE D.I., where he gave another fine performance. Don worked for another twenty-five years, mainly in television, before retiring to South Carolina where he succumbed to cancer at the age of 63. Another one of Hollywood’s eight million stories.

There were two major confrontations between Alma and Kyle. It bothered me that the first meeting had to be cut, because the original assemblage of film was long. I was afraid the second meeting wouldn’t work without that first one. But it did, and was really the more important of the two scenes because of Mattie’s presence.

Ruth did something as an actress that I have never seen anyone else do. As her method of emotionally preparing for a scene she carried an ammonia capsule (smelling salts) wrapped in a handkerchief. Before each take she would break a capsule and take a couple of quick whiffs. It gave her that throaty on the verge of tears feeling, and her performance took it from there.

Once I had the complete script, I had only one MAJOR complaint. After Alma’s breakdown scene there was a scene between Mattie and Kyle in the car when they pull up to the ferry. Mattie had a long, long speech explaining why he was going to leave with Alma. I felt there was no way an expository scene could top what I felt we would be achieving (and did achieve) with Alma’s breakdown. I told Bert that I thought I could do it more effectively visually without all those words. I felt a silence between Mattie and Kyle would be more revealing than any words. And then Mattie’s long walk past all of the villagers, acknowledging that he was what they had called him. Bert bought it.

Jack Marta had told me that one of their trucks had a hoist on the front. He said if we laid a board as flooring on the hoist, we could place a camera on it and create a camera boom. The only draw back was that it could only be used descending; when it ascended, it jerked. I planned to use the lighter Arriflex camera with its zoom lens. Since there was not going to be any dialogue (we would be shooting MOS — mit out sound) the noisy Arriflex would be usable.

We completed photography after the eighth day. That was two days over the unreal aspiration of completing such an episode in six days. However since I had lost a day because of inclement weather and a half a day because of camera malfunction, I actually had completed the film in six and a half days. I was told that both ROUTE 66 and NAKED CITY almost always went over at least a day; that in fact the only episodes shot in six days were directed by one of Hollywood’s legendary veterans, George Sherman.

On the plane back to Los Angeles I sat with director of photography, Jack Marta. I told him that since this had been my first location show, I felt I was going to have to be more careful in the future with what I planned, so that I could complete the work in the time scheduled. His reply was, “No, don’t you do that. You plan your show according to your vision. It is up to us, the crew, to deliver it.” Those were marvelous words of encouragement that I have tried to live up to.

When I returned to the studio I found the show had already been assembled. (I was later to learn the unusual and incredible way that Bert Leonard oversaw the editing process.) Jackie Gleason, not the comedian but one of the film editors, told me that the first assemblage had been 67 minutes. That was really a feature-length film. They had to cut it down to 52 minutes, which meant taking out the first confrontation of Ed Begley’s and Ruth Roman’s characters. I also learned I had been booked to do an additional four shows to finish up the season — two ROUTE 66 and two NAKED CITY. Until this time I had directed six shows in fifteen months. Now I was directing five shows in less than three months. Maybe I did have a future in film.

The journey continues

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22 Responses to In The Closing Of A Trunk

  1. detectivetom says:

    Looking forward, again, to your insight on Naked City.

  2. Robert says:

    Mr. Senensky:

    Thank you for providing your irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind information about what I’ve discovered to be one of the finest television dramas ever.

    I’ve watched the Trunk episode on You Tube four times and will probably return to it many more, because Silliphant/66 beats anything on TV today. Ruth Roman was tremendous as Alma, with her subtle expressions indicating she was “losing it.”

    Do you happen to recall if the fishing pier was located in Corpus Christi or Port Aransas?



  3. Ralph says:

    The fishing pier was in Corpus Christi and as I remember not far from the ferry.

  4. Ralph says:

    I might add, that was Silliphant/63!

  5. Mel Brown says:

    Dear Mr. S; it is a delight that you are sharing these wonderful memories with us from so long ago regarding your time spent with the traveling circus known as Lancer-Edling/CBS productions for the making of Route 66. For a fan of that brilliant series learning about it thru the recollections of someone so closely associated is a wish come true so thank you very much. For those not familiar with the geography of that region, you should know that Corpus Christi was/is actually a medium sized city and not “a small rundown, New England style fishing village,”. Lancer production offices were in CC but “Closing of a Trunk was filmed in Port Aransas about 20 miles away from CC and it was indeed the fishing village as described. Btw, an earlier episode titled “Somehow it Gets To Be Tomorrow” was filmed in Corpus Christi with Martin Balsam as Mr. Milner’s costar. Alas, Port Aransas has turned into a booming, bustling tourist trap that still also casters to fishermen of all calibers but looks very little like it did in 1963. And the ferries are still running night and day but are now larger than the one Tod worked on. Thank you again Mr. Senensky for sharing the insider info with us as this is as good as it gets until Martin Milner or George Maharis chimes in.

  6. Ralph says:

    Forty-eight and a half years later it is suddenly so clear to me. I was told I was flying to Corpus Christi so that’s where I thought I was. The ferry boat said Corpus Christi, Texas, and I believed that’s where I was. Who had time to explore. I was busy looking for that isolated house on the beach. Now I realize that Corpus Christi may have been at the other end of the ferry and maybe I was in Port Aransas. I wonder if I would have filmed the show differently had I known.

  7. Robert says:

    Mr. Senensky:

    I’m amazed Stirling Silliphant visited the location and didn’t bother to give an address of the locations he’d spotted for the story. He left you and the location manager to figure it out! If I hadn’t heard it from the director himself I wouldn’t believe it. Priceless.


  8. Ralph says:

    Don’t be too hard on Stirling. He was still too busy trying to solve his plot problems. Fortunately he did and if the job of the production manager and me turned into something resembling Russian roulette — well, that’s show biz!

  9. Mel Brown says:

    Sir, you could not have done a finer job of directing in my opinion especially considering the circumstances you’ve already shared as to how that Route 66 job came about and transpired for you. Actually the small town of Aransas Pass is on the mainland side of where those ferries began/begin their back and forth trips to Port Aransas which sits across the channel on Mustang Island. But from Aransas Pass you first must drive across a causeway to reach the ferry landings so this causes many native Texans a bit of confusion as to which one is where, etc. Plus the ferries do indeed say Corpus Christi on them to this day because it’s the official Port city of that region.
    Meanwhile, the ferries you filmed for the Closing Trunk episode were the original modern, 1940 era boats used first by a private company before the operation was taken over by the County in 1951 and the State of Texas in 1968. This fact makes your fine directorial efforts a true artifact of that time and place as is true of most of the Route 66 film locations, towns and cities.
    It also may interest you to know that an amateur home movie was made by a local Galveston man during your efforts to create “Narcissus on an Old Red Fire Engine”. We found it last year and it can be viewed on at TAMI aka Texas Archive of Moving Images website here;
    This Super 8 footage has no audio naturally but I’ll bet you’ll get a kick out of seeing yourself and others as y’all went about the week long process of producing another solid Route 66 script. You’ll see Anne Helm and Glenn Corbett going thru their paces as directed by you in an unusual story as already noted here on your wonderful website. Many thanks once again Mr. Senensky and all the best from deep in the hear of you know where. Mel

  10. Rick says:

    Mr. Senensky,

    Thank you for the e-mail correspondence off-blog. I will continue our discussion here for the benefit of Route 66 fans interested in this particular episode and George Maharis. Of course, George Maharis did not appear in “In the Closing of a Trunk,” but there was a very real possibility that he could have had executive producer Bert Leonard had his way. Maharis had left the series in late October, 1962 due to a “physical breakdown” on the set of an episode being filmed in St. Louis. As filming got under way in the Corpus Christi area in late January, 1963, Maharis was still under contract to Leonard’s Lancer Productions but he was under suspension for disability due to illness.

    Maharis was at home in New York during November and December, 1962 and was examined on many occasions both by his own doctor and one hired by Lancer Productions and Screen Gems. The terms of his contract required that he recuperate at home during any suspension for illness. Further, he was required to submit to weekly medical examinations by Lancer’s doctor. By the middle of January, both of these doctors considered Maharis healthy and fit enough to return to work. As a result, on January 23, 1963, just two days before you left for Corpus Christi, Bert Leonard sent a telegram (part of which I provided to you) to Maharis stating that in light of the medical advice received from the doctors he was being ordered to report to Corpus Christi to begin production of “In the Closing of a Trunk” on Monday, January 28, 1963.

    As we all know, Maharis did not show up in Corpus Christi and shortly afterward–in early February, 1963–the suspension for illness was lifted and superseded by a suspension for default. For the next several months, Leonard and Maharis fought it out in court and the matter was finally resolved in October, 1963 with Maharis being released from his contract.

    Maharis told me that the reason he did not show up in Corpus Christi is that the advice given to him by the doctors was based on the condition that he was not to work more than three or four hours per day (this is true, I have those doctors’ reports too!). Bert Leonard did promise Maharis that his workload would be reduced per the doctors’ orders, but Maharis was not willing to accept this reassurance. As the director, could you imagine what would have happened if Maharis had been there and after three hours’ work he said, “That’s it! I’m done!”?

    You told me that you wondered if the situation with Maharis may have had something to do with the script not being available as filming was ready to begin. I strongly believe that this is a distinct possibility. Stirling Silliphant may have been working on an alternate script (possibly even spending more time on it than the script that was eventually filmed) assuming that Maharis was going to report to the set as ordered.

    I am currently writing a very in-depth article on Maharis’ career with Route 66 with extensive input from Maharis himself. Hopefully, soon, I will have it posted on my own web site.

    Thank you for producing some great television, and thank you for letting me rant on your blog.


    • Jon H. says:

      It’s interesting that all this filming occurred beginning January 28, 1963, with preproduction beginning Saturday, January 26. If you had gone to any newsstand that week, you would’ve seen for sale the TV Guide issue dated January 26, with Maharis & Milner on the cover. The cover article was titled “A Knock Develops on Route 66”, and it was related to the show’s production problems with Maharis. A link to the TV Guide cover and the article text is here:

      I’ve seen Don Dubbins in “The Twilight Zone” 1st season episode “Elegy”, as well as the “I Dream of Jeannie” pilot, where he played a Navy officer against Tony Nelson’s Air Force officer and Roger Healey’s Army officer, and a much later “Little House on the Prairie” Christmas show appearance. He was a good actor who unforutnately never did hit it big, but he was memorable where he did appear.

  11. John B says:

    In The Closing Of A Trunk was a fine episode. Silliphant’s offbeat storytelling, in which he showed consequences first, the reasons why, later on, made it compelling. Ruth Roman’s performance surprised me in its quality. I’d never thought of her as a good actress. Wrong! She WAS good. Ed Begley was as good as he always was.

    Don Dubbins was a decent actor who missed the big time. He didn’t make it even as the more or less generic type of a Richard Jaeckal. With luck, he might have had Martin Milner’s career. There were maybe too many like him then. Young, boyish looking actors, I mean.

    One thing that really struck me about this episode was its setting. Early on, I could have sworn it was New England. There were no Texas accents, not yet anyway, and this is where Roman and Begley came from (and me, too), so I just figured it was some forgotten little fishing village on the coat somewhere. Boy, was I wrong!


    • Ralph says:

      You are so right about Don Dubbins; he was poised for the big time and it didn’t happen. But then that was so true of so many performers. A lot of it was luck — the luck of the draw. I had directed Don three years earlier in a play, and he was good. And then your comment about the setting. Funny you should mention New England, because to me the story WAS New England. I wasn’t doing Silliphant, I was doing Eugene O”Neill.

  12. John B. says:

    Thanks for the resply, Mr. Senensky (I feel funny calling you Ralph, since I don’t really know you,–LOL!):

    I remember Don Dubbins in a very tense Suspense Theater episode, Operation Greif, in which he played a tough GI whose machismo and moral apathy was such as to make it appear that he could have been a Nazi infiltrator of a small group of soldiers. He was surprisingly strong in the part.

    What saddens me about some of those more or less TV specific guys (and I wonder about why a TV series in those days seemed to practically literally bar an actor from good, big screen roles) and I think of actors like Robert Lansing and Michael Ansara, both of whom had genuine charisma. They could hold the screen. Yet they never got the breaks. Even the more successful David Janssen, who did, saw his career largely limited to TV work.

    I hadn’t thought about the Eugene O’Neill connection. Great call. The story of In The Closing Of A Trunk was like Desire Under The Piers (whatever). Silliphant could channel major authors without seeming to plagarize or “imitate” them. He went the Faulkner route in some of the stories set in the South. One episode that wasn’t, Only By Cunning Glimpses (set in Cleveland, about a woman psychic) had the weird undercurrents of a Flannery O’Connor story. That series is, when good, a treasure trove of short plays that just happen to be episodes of a TV series. It’s a pleasure to watch.


  13. Phil says:

    I don’t how the audience of fifty years ago with no VCRs or Internet figured out this episode in ONE viewing. The flashback threw me off, and when it was replayed later, it had some elements added in and others taken out, leaving me further confused. However, after repeated examination, I now see that this was a really good episode…just took me a while to get there!

    What more can be said about Ed Begley? He’s the boss is most scenes and it works…never gets stale or dated. After reading his credits from 1957-‘70, it seems I’ve seen only a fraction of what he did…definitely a missed opportunity.

    Ralph, I’m curious about how Herbert Leonard produced ‘Route 66’ and ‘Naked City’ simultaneously, while neither was filmed near his Columbia Studios office. Did he delegate everything and wait for the film and recordings to be brought back for editing at Columbia? Or, did he ever go on the road to oversee them, bouncing back and forth between both shows?

    • Ralph says:

      As far as I know, Leonard did not go to the locations and ran everything from his base at the old Columbia studio in Hollywood. He had a great staff. Sam Manners was the production manager traveling with ROUTE 66 and Stanley Neufield oversaw NAKED CITY in New York. Film was all shipped to Hollywood where he oversaw its editing in a most unusual way that I described in my post of NO NAKED LADES IN FRONT OF GIOVANNI’S HOUSE. And furthermore his casting director, Marion Dougherty was in New York. There is a new documentary on Marion that will be shown on HBO this summer.

  14. Al Frakes says:

    As a film director, I can understand some of the problems you had to overcome filming on the beach in Port Aransas for this episode. I was directing a “Say No to Drugs” campaign not too far from where the house you filmed in stood so I know what the waves can do. As I was about ready to call “Action”, my Director of Photography grabbed the sticks and lifted the camera straight up in the air. We suddenly found ourselves standing in waist-high water and my grip truck totally surrounded by a freak wave. Fortunately for us, the water receded as quickly as it engulfed us and the beach was dry within the hour and we were able to resume filming. Thanks for sharing your experiences from this episode with us.

  15. 63kraft says:

    Ralph – I saw only the second half of this episode recently. I tuned in during the fishing scene in the water. I did not know that you were the director, but I remembered your comments about outdoor location filming from Kraft Suspense Theatre. It occurred to me that (given your comments re: KST) this scene must have been tremendously difficult to film and record. I was convinced that the dialogue had been dubbed in later. I am glad to get the full story here.

  16. Bob Withrow says:

    I think the backstage elements of creation are just as captivating as the finished article. The stories! It is true in my line of work (airplanes) as it is in yours.

  17. Joe says:

    The beach & the house on stilts looks amazing. I can only imagine what that area looks,like now. That was a great shot of the car driving up from under the house. You could have continued with the wide shot of the car driving on the beach but under the house provided a different perspective which obviously you were going for. Great job!

    • Tina says:

      I live on this small island, which is where port aransas is located.
      We just got hit by hurrican Harvey August 25th. Yes this place has grown but it is the same fishing village. The city is struggling to get through the total distruction and the people are still trying to recover. This hurricane took us all out. If anyone wants to look us up and help the recovery you will find the best place full of great people. Terrific fishing and awesome beaches.
      Thanks Tina

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