When The Wind Blows

Filmed August 1965

In early sixties television there were no large writing staffs such as existed later. The producer and story editor of a dramatic series were the ones responsible for delivering scripts. They interviewed freelance writers who came in to pitch story ideas. The rules of the Writers Guild were that the pitch should be no more than a long sentence. (I was not a member of the Guild, so that was what I learned from writer friends and what I remember today of what I gleaned then.) If the pitch seemed potential, it was bought and the writer would be given the go-ahead to develop the idea into a full story. If the story proved satisfactory, the writer would be given the go-ahead to write the script. I bring all of this up because I think that is one of the reasons that stories on THE FUGITIVE could veer off into so many different and interesting directions. Sure there would be many of the usual variations on Les Miserables; but then occasionally someone would show up with an idea for an unusual relationship for Richard Kimble. I think that’s what happened to produce the script, WHEN THE WIND BLOWS.

When I completed photography on AN APPLE A DAY, I stayed on at the Goldwyn studio to direct my fourth (and final) THE FUGITIVE. Again I was disappointed (momentarily) when I read the script that was assigned to me. It was further off the dark beaten track of my first two Richard Kimble outings and even gentler, more introspective and with less action than AN APPLE A DAY. Kimble’s major involvement was with a nine-year old boy, considered by his teacher to be a problem child. This was not foreign ground for me. Many years earlier my friend, Max Hodge, had written for his thesis at the Pasadena Playhouse a lovely stage play, A STRIPED SACK FOR PENNY CANDY. It was the story of a six-year old  boy who wanted a magic set that his widowed mother couldn’t afford to buy for him and the almost tragic circumstances that ensued. I had directed a production of it the following year in Mason City, Iowa. What I didn’t know as I started breaking down my new script was that young Kenny was the first in what would be a long line of disturbed cinema children I would be dealing with in my future.

The previous week the hilly canyons at the west end of the San Fernando Valley had stood in for Colorado. For the new script, which was based in Wyoming, the location manager took me north of Los Angeles to the small town of Piru at the base of the mountain range. I thought it was perfect. It not only was a fine stand-in for the mountain state, the small village and surrounding area provided the barren background that would enhance the story I was about to tell.

In April, 2010, after my blog (RALPH’S TREK) published the first two THE FUGITIVES, I received the following e-mail:

Mr. Senensky,

Looking forward to your 1965 episodes. Passed thru Piru today with my wife.

Thought you’d like this photo comparison. Funny to note that a small film crew was toiling around the same intersection as you put Janssen thru his paces almost 45 years ago. The suspension bridge from the episode is still there but is now blocked off and detoured around.

THE FUGITIVE was really an anthology show, but with restrictions. It had a recurring character, but his identity was different each week, his name and occupation changing as he moved around the country. The one other recurring character who didn’t change was the pursuing Lt. Gerard, but he only appeared in five or six episodes during a season. In those episodes in which Lt. Gerard did not appear, the scriptwriter was required to provide another version of the original Javert of Les Miserables in order to continue the pursuit by the law of convicted wife killer, Dr. Richard Kimble. That was accomplished in the opening sequence in the diner of WHEN THE WIND BLOWS. And next Kimble, with a new name, needed to be employed in his location of the week.

And finally Kimble needed to meet the protagonist of the week, preferably in an unusual way. In WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS he hopped on a freight car and met a young blond girl with a baby; in DETOUR ON A ROAD GOING NOWHERE he had several interesting meetings with the various members of that week’s ensemble; and in AN APPLE A DAY, fleeing from the law, he woke up on a doctor’s examining table. I felt his meeting Kenny in WHEN THE WIND BLOWS was original and charming.

A little research has revealed that third season episode #75, WHEN THE WIND BLOWS, written by Betty Langdon, was only the third episode of THE FUGITIVE written by a woman. The first season was totally male-authored. The second season had an episode written by a husband and wife writing team and one co-authored by two women. Further research at the Internet Movie Data Base revealed that WHEN THE WIND BLOWS was the only screenplay written by Miss Langdon to be produced.

This was the second of many times I would work with Don Hanmer. He was the dog trainer in SHADOW OF A STARLESS NIGHT on BREAKING POINT. The deputy was Harry Townes, another fine actor whose filmography is almost a history of Classic Television — live and film.

The fact that Dr. Richard Kimble had been a pediatrician I’m sure spurred the interest of producer Alan Armer in this off-the-beaten-track story for THE FUGITIVE.

According to the Internet Movie Data Base this was only Johnny Jensen’s fourth or fifth screen appearance. He worked as a child actor for a few more years and then disappeared from the profession.

If a location was within thirty miles of the studio (that’s the distance I remember, but I won’t swear to it), everyone reported to the location. If the distance was farther, everyone reported to the studio and then was bused to the location. I have the schedule but not the call sheets for this production, so I don’t remember where we reported. Since the fourth day of filming was to be split between the location and the studio, I think we must have reported to the studio and been bused.

When working with child actors I did the same thing I did with adult performers. In filming a closeup if the actor’s performance didn’t come alive emotionally until midway through the scene, rather than calling “cut” at the end and doing the next take, I would say, “Keep it rolling and go from the top.” That way the emotion the actor was feeling was preserved to build on. It worked for adults and it worked with the kids. One time on another production I did that while filming the closeup of a young boy. The adult man in the scene (who was playing off camera) questioned the necessity. He didn’t like the extended take. I told him I wasn’t doing it to accommodate him. It was the boy’s closeup and I was doing it for the boy’s performance. David never questioned that procedure.

When dealing with child actors, the goal is to keep them from acting. Just be yourself. Just say the words like YOU would say them. And LISTEN to the other actor. David’s overpowering charisma affected any performer playing opposite him and he deserves a lot of the credit for the believability in Johnny’s performance.

The fourth day of filming started at the Piru location, where we filmed two and an eighth pages. We moved back to the Goldwyn Studio where we filmed two and seven eighth pages in Lois’ living room. There was an additional short scene of deputy Russ on the phone that didn’t get filmed that day. We ran out of time. The next day was a heavy scheduled shoot — nine pages, which ended with a short night sequence off the lot. I remember I had Fred Ahern, the wonderful production manager, totally perplexed. The final sequence on stage, the longet scene of the day, was a scene in Kenny’s cave between Kimble and Lois. The problem was we finished too early, which meant there was too long a gap before it got dark, and Quinn refused to shoot day for night. I wrote before that I thought David, like Mickey Rooney, had a photographic memory. I remember before we started this sequence, David took the script and quickly looked it over. Then he and Georgann Johnson proceeded to do the master and the two closeups in one take each. Fred’s perplexity came from the fact the day before we couldn’t finish six and a half pages in a full twelve hours and this day we finished almost nine pages in about seven hours.

One of the invaluable tools in filming was the cue light. It was a long cord with a small light at one end and a switch in the hand of the director at the other end. It was used mainly to cue entrances, when the actor, waiting to come into the scene, couldn’t see the action and had to be cued to enter.

There was no way that nine-year old Johnny Jensen would be allowed to jump off a moving truck. But the necessity of finding an adult small enough to double for him did present a problem, but not an unsolvable problem.

The original script called for there to be a shack nearby that Kimble and Kenny would enter. When we scouted the location, there was no nearby shack, but I saw the abandoned gas station and realized that it was a better substitution for what the script requested. The interior of course was constructed back at the studio..

Filming for this episode began on a Friday at the motel in Piru. As I’ve written, night scenes were usually filmed on Fridays because of the turnaround clause in the actors’ contract. Since there were night scenes at the exterior of the motel, they were scheduled and shot the first day, that included the scene near the end of the script of Lois driving off followed by the deputy sheriff.

As Richard Kimble continued his flight down the highway (in a final shot of stock footage that  I didn’t film), I closed my chapter of THE FUGITIVE. I did not realize in 1965 that in 2011 I would be writing about it as I am doing. THE FUGITIVE is truly one of the most classic of those series that are now considered Classic Television. Who was responsible? Many people but mainly Alan Armer, for his amazing stewardship of the eighty-nine episodes he produced, all but the final season of the series. Quinn Martin, for the high standards he demanded in his productions at a time when many studios were settling for less to meet budgetary demands. And finally David Janssen, who I personally feel is most responsible for the lingering and eternal success of the series because of the magnetism and humanity that he provided that was the very heart of THE FUGITIVE.

The journey continues

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27 Responses to When The Wind Blows

  1. Kathy Tasich says:

    The scene where the boy said “I would believe you.” to Kimble’s innocence was very memorable. Janssen’s reaction in a flash just proved he was a marvelous actor without saying a word. Wonderful episode. Classic series. The ending with the boy and Mr. Jackson was suprisingly short and poignant.
    It’s too bad Ms. Langdon didn’t write more. The making of this episode was fascinating. Keep those memories coming, Ralph!

  2. Phil says:

    In watching your ‘Fugitive’ episodes, I saved the best one for last…it is crazy good. I’ll never forget Kenny saying, “He promised me with his eyes.”

    The 10th video doesn’t work, so I went over to Youtube and found the episode. But, it was dubbed in Spanish! I don’t know the language, but I know enough words (fish, mouth, river, water, breathing) to get the drift of Kenny describing the fishing trip. I was thinking, “Wow, look at him go…this scene just keeps going and going.” It was amazing performance in any language (I later remembered your old blog and re-watched it in English). By the way, the dubbing did not include Jackson’s comment about Kenny being no Huckleberry Finn. I guess this Mark Twain reference doesn’t work in Latin America.

    Piru was used to film the ’74 TV movie “The California Kid”, which is on Youtube. The bridge was still in use back then.

    Regarding Georgann Johnson, I looked her up and it says she was born in Decorah, Iowa, about 90 miles east of Mason City. Did you know about her before this show? Did you work with her before?

    Harry Townes is one of those guys who usually brought gravitas to his character roles. That’s why I wasn’t crazy to see him play a Deputy. He should be the Sheriff! Plus, I don’t want to see him taking guff from that greasy spoon rent-a-cop.

    I’ve seen Johnny Jensen in a couple of other shows. In ‘Branded’, he plays the son of an Army officer who was killed during an Indian attack (which Chuck Connors took the blame for). After Connors meets the widow and starts walking off her property, Johnny finds out who he is and runs after him to punch him in the back of the leg and say, “you killed my daddy.” He did this show before ‘The Fugitive’.

    In 1967, Johnny had a cameo on ‘The Wild Wild West’ (“The Night of the Amnesiac”). He snuck down an alley to witness Mr. West take on four gunmen. Afterward, Johnny described the scene to a small crowd of town folk (“…and then he shot ‘em. Pow! Pow! Pow!”).

    If Johnny is still around, I hope someone forwards this blog to him.

    • Ralph says:

      Regarding the missing clip: I spent last week checking and found 62 errors. Guess I missed this one. That was part of the transferring that was part of the renovation. I’ve notified the web designer. It should be fixed soon, and as I told him once I learn to navigate through the new setup I will be able to repair any future mishaps. And finally I filmed scenes from THE FAMILY NOBODY WANTED, also in 1974, in Piru. The bridge was shot at the opening of the show.

  3. Mike Sasser says:

    Mr. Senensky,

    This question doesn’t specifically apply to this episode of THE FUGITIVE but I’m wondering why so many shows from this era depict travel on unpaved roadways? Shows like THE FUGITIVE, OUTER LIMITS, HIGHWAY PATROL, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, TWILIGHT ZONE, etc. all seem to depict heavy traffic and long trips on unpaved roadways.

    Is it because the roads were less traveled and therefore easier to use for shooting? Or were these roads located on studio lots? Or, were there just that many miles of unpaved roadways in the years between say 1955 and 1965? (I’m in my mid-50s and don’t remember a lot of trips over unpaved roadways during that era. Some, but not many.) Was this issue ever discussed as a disconnect from reality? If so, was it simply accepted that “it’s as good as we can do given the constraints we’re facing?”

    • Ralph says:

      The locations with unpaved roadways were NOT chosen because they were easier to shoot, and in the case of THE FUGITIVE they were not on back lots, because the Goldwyn Studio where that series was filmed did not have a back lot. And when filming for Quinn Martin, NEVER was it simply accepted that (in your words) “it’s as good as we can do given the constraints we’re facing.” Filming of the THE FUGITIVE was done totally in the Los Angeles area, although the stories being told occurred all over the United States. Your last option was the correct one. Our nation at that time still had that many miles of unpaved roadways.

      • Mike Sasser says:

        Thank you for your response. It’s difficult for me to comprehend vehicles such as semi-tractor trailer trucks and cross-country buses traveling on unpaved roadways. But, like everyone else, I’m something of a prisoner to personal experiences are recollections.

        My question about it being “as good as we can do given the constraints,” was not intended as criticism. The production values reflected from this era are tremendous as demonstrated by the fact I’m still watching and discussing these shows a half-century later.

        Though I’m nothing other than a novice I love television and motion picture production and I’m learning so much from this website. Thank you for taking time to share your experiences.

        • Ralph says:

          And my referral to “as good as we can do given the constraints” was not a criticism of you. There were some production companies where that indeed was the modus operandi.

  4. John B. says:

    Yet another fine episode of The Fugitive. Janssen and the boy who played the troubled-gifted child were fine. It was yet another ep in which Kimble had to confront himself through others: the boy was a fugitive, too, in a manner of speaking; and like Kimble he too was frequently misunderstood by others. Their bonding was inevitable and quite touching. I found the resolution satisfying.

    Some of the supporting players came off as a bit odd. The greasy spoon guy was like shorter, more sequat Denver Pyle, or looked that way to me. I found actress who played the boy’s mother credible but not given enough to do. She had little dialogue and only one really big scene with Kimble. Harry Townes, a favorite actor of mine, stuck me as a tad too refined and gentlemanly for a western lawman type, but no matter. None of these issues hurt the episode, which was more low key (as in the running man aspect of Kimble), and gentler in tone from most Fugitives.

    First rate work as usual from Mr. S in the director’s chair.

  5. Dave Blandford says:

    Hi Ralph,

    I was just wondering how much input you had in the editing of shows in general. Did it change from studio to studio? Or did you just shoot the pages and then you were done? Fugitive is my all time favorite TV show and this is one of my favorite episodes. Thank you for some excellent television!

    • Ralph says:

      Interesting question Dave. From the beginning of my film career at MGM in 1961 on DR. KILDARE I made it a point to work with the film editor on my shows. I did not have the power of final cut, but there were very few times when I disagreed with what was done after I left. When I worked for Quinn Martin in 1964 on THE FUGITIVE I found a different situation. I did 2 THE FUGITIVES that season and then they had me direct an episode of 12 O’CLOCK HIGH. On all three of those shows I was not allowed in the editing room. Arthur Fellows, the executive in charge of post production did not allow directors in the editing rooms. After I finished the 12 O’CLOCK HIGH my agent called with an offer from QM Productions to direct 3 more episodes of 12 O’CLOCK HIGH. I told the agent to turn down the offer. I said I preferred to work where I would be allowed to work with the film editors on the shows I directed. The agent called back the next day. He said he had talked to Quinn and Quinn told him Ralph can work with the film editors here. Arthur Fellows became a good and very supportive friend. He would tease me and say I was the only director he allowed in his editing rooms. That through the years did change as the Directors Guild, led by director Elliot Silverstein launched what they called the Directors Bill Of Rights which among other demands, not only gave the director the right to work on the editing of his films, it required that he do that.

  6. Dave Blandford says:

    Thank you for the prompt response Ralph,

    I am kind of a geek for the intricacies of filmmaking. I was wondering how many stages Fugitive occupied at Goldwyn, and how long it would take to construct the sets for next weeks show. How much lead time did you have? It amazes me the detail of sets in general. How many people worked on the construction of a typical set? I am a filmmaker myself, so I have some idea how much work goes into making just a short film. You had to really be moving to shoot 60 pages in 5 or 6 days. There must have been a lot of pressure when you got your first assignment.

    Dave

    • Ralph says:

      I don’t remember how many stages we had on the Goldwyn lot. There were no standing sets as on most series, and we did a lot of location filming — usually 4 days out and 3 days at the studio. I prepped for 6 or 7 days. There was an art director, a set dresser and the construction crew followed by the painters at the studio. And QM productions took 7 days to film an episode, so that there was really less pressure there than at the other studios where the shows were filmed in 6 days. I too am amazed today when I see the quality that was achieved on those short schedules.

  7. Dave Blandford says:

    Just a few more questions Ralph,

    Did you guys shoot with Mitchell BNCs at the studio and on location? Those are monster size cameras. How many people did it take to maneuver them around? What did you shoot with when you were shooting MOS, Arriflex? Also, you dont see a lot of dolly shots, except for an occasional opening shot that starts on something close up and then pulls back to reveal a couple of characters talking, etc. Was this because of time restraints?

    Thank you very much for sharing with us, this is really fascinating stuff for me.

    Dave

  8. Ralph says:

    We shot with the Mitchell BNC always. The Arriflex was used only for MOS and when convenient; for instance if I wanted the cameraman to “walk” the camera. I”m not sure I agree with your not seeing a lot of dolly shots. When I was filming with the camera mounted on the crab dolly the camera moved a lot. Maybe they were subtle moves that weren’t noticeable, which is what all camera work should be. Camera work (at least for me) was never affected by time restraints.

  9. Dave Blandford says:

    Hi again Ralph,

    I was wondering if you had any input as to music placement. It adds so much atmosphere, especially in this show. I have always felt that the music in the fugitive is 50 percent of the enjoyment I get from this show. Was this strictly Ken Wilhoit’s and John Elizalde’s department, or could you make suggestions for particular cues to use in certain scenes?

    Dave

    • Ralph says:

      The music on THE FUGITIVE was all done after I left. As I remember the only time I was able to be involved with the music was on DR. KILDARE. I learned so much from working with composer Harry Sukman about the placement of the music cues. And I guess, because until I entered the army in 1943 I was a music major, I did have some leaning in that direction. I agree, music when done effectively can have an immense impact. On DR. KILDARE all of the scores for the films I did were original. Series were allowed to track some shows with previously recorded scores. That too is an art. And I think from what you have said, on THE FUGITIVE the guys in charge did a fine job.

  10. Phil says:

    Regarding cameras, I assume there was a transition towards equipment supplied by Panavision for TV shows in the ‘70s. I noticed that Ralph’s 1976 pilot, ‘Jeremiah of Jacob’s Neck’, said “Lenses and Panaflex camera by PANAVISION” in the closing credits. Similar credits were in Ralph’s later work on ‘How the West Was Won’ and ‘Dynasty’.

    I don’t know the cause of this change, but I have a guess. From the Panavision entry in Wikipedia:

    After four years of development, the Panaflex debuted in 1972. A revolutionary camera that operated quietly, the Panaflex eliminated the need for a cumbersome sound blimp, and could synchronize handheld work.

    FYI – There’s a cool video on Youtube of an extended trailer (5 min. & 51 sec.) from the 1963 feature film, ‘The Cardinal’. It includes many behind-the-scenes shots of vintage film gear in action. It all looked BIG!

  11. Ron says:

    Mr. Senensky,

    I’ve been watching the episodes of The Fugitive both on MeTV, where there is an ongoing rebroadcast of the series, and also on Youtube. I was a bit young to watch it when the series was originally broadcast, but watched reruns in my teen years.

    I find When the Wind Blows to be an exceptional episode in a number of ways. One way I connect with it is the child actor Johnny Jensen. I’m in my late 50s, so I would be just about the same age as this actor if he is still with us. The other reason I like the series is that it is a window on our culture of 50 years ago. It was such a different time, and the values expressed therein are quite different from those of today. It’s fascinating to study what happens in the episodes just from this point of view alone.

    As an adult, I have an entirely different perspective watching these shows than when a teenager. The culture of that time seems so much more innocent, which leads me to a question I’d like to ask you. In the story, the mother of the boy Kenny doesn’t seem at all reticent at having a total stranger (Janssen/Kimble) spend time with her son. This just isn’t how we think today. I think today this mom would be considered reckless in her conduct. Can you explain whether this was a common attitude of the time and why things are so different then from now? Or perhaps this was only a lame plot device to get the older and younger actors together? I kind of reject this latter idea, since the plot and writing seem to have such a high level of integrity and coherence.

    Thanks,
    Ron

    • Ralph says:

      What an intelligent question! As I ‘m sure you’re aware, I date back a long, long time. Can you realize that there was a time when it was not necessary to LOCK your front door — in fact to lock all of the doors to your house? There was not such a thing back than as security systems for households. Can you realize there was a time that when driving, if you saw a hitchhiker, it was the normal, accepted thing to do, to stop and give him a lift? The mother’s response when seeing Kimble applying for the job would base her decision on her perception of him. She felt he was an honest and honorable man. We were not as cynical back then. We were not as fearful back then. Our evolving sophistication has been necessary, but haven’t we lost something?

  12. Phil says:

    Did some random viewing of ‘The Fugitive’ last night and saw Piru again in a 2nd-season episode called “Devil’s Carnival”.

  13. Phil says:

    Thanks to Google Maps, you can get a street-level view of Jake’s Place café, which was a Laundromat as of April, 2012.

    Dr. Kimble must have hopped freights that went in circles. He showed up again in Piru during Season Four (“Joshua’s Kingdom”), where Jake’s Place turned into Feeney’s Drug Store. Wikipedia lists numerous film productions that used Piru exteriors…the earliest was ‘Ramona’ (1910), starring Mary Pickford.

  14. Phil says:

    Last comment on locations: Someone created a fan website called davidjanssen.net. Click on “more stuff”, then click “locations then-and-now”. From there, click on “SEE THE GOOGLE MAP” – someone has pinpointed most of the location spots from each episode. It seems I undercounted the visits to Piru.

    • Ralph says:

      WOW!Somebody went to a lot of work. I love that the location stuff was dedicated to Bud Brill. A great guy. Lots of fun.

  15. Linda Cowls says:

    Ralph,
    This wonderful episode ran last Sunday on MeToo, MeTV’s sister channel, and I too was enchanted with it. I couldn’t help but marvel at the relationship between Kimble and little Kenny, and the amazing vulnerability of Johnny Jensen’s performance.
    Today, a child like Kenny, rather than be appreciated for his visionary and artistic temperament, would likely be diagnosed with ADD, put on psychotropic prescription drugs, and told to sit in the corner and shut up. It really made me think. Thank you for this blog and for the opportunity to dialog with you. I wish you had directed more episodes.

  16. Peter Collins says:

    Hi Ralph. I’m watching The Fugitive in order in a fairly slapdash way – I might go a few days or a few months between episodes – and got to this episode today. I like to google the actors and see who they are and what they did subsequently or beforehand, and in doing so alighted on your page. It’s a fantastic series in general, and you did great work on this low-key one in particular. As people have been talking about a different era, it’s always fascinated me that it was then considered possible to move around anonymously like Kimble does; how much more difficult that would be today, even in a large country such as the US, what with all the paraphernalia you need to survive these days. There wouldn’t be so many money over the counter, no questions asked jobs to be had these days. While respecting Linda Cowls’s points about Kenny, above, I tend to think the opposite – now we know more about ADD and autism (it struck me that Kenny was more the latter), we tend have stopped treating them as mentally subnormal, more as people with an equal right to life and happiness. I think things have got better for them, personally. Maybe things are a bit different in the US? (I’m in the UK)

  17. Mark Lemon says:

    Hi Mr.Senensky.
    After viewing your great posts here and seeing how many Quinn Martin shows you directed, I was wondering whether you were ever asked to direct some of his others such as The Invaders, The Streets of San Francisco, Canon and The Manhunter?
    I always enjoyed most of The QM series as they did seem to have a quality to them that some other shows didn’t. On the shows that you directed, were the budgets for an hour long episode superior to others of that era?
    Thanks for creating this site, it really is very informative and entertaining.

    • Ralph says:

      Hi Mark: The only shows I directed for Quinn Martin were THE FUGITIVE, THE FBI, BANYON, DAN AUGUST, TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH and BARNABY JONES. As for the shows you mention, I don’t know if a request was made to my agents for my services at a time I was not available or not. As to the budgets for the shows, Quinn’s shows were filmed in 7 days as compared to the 6-day schedules of most other series and he paid his directors a bit more than was being paid around town, but I was never aware of the actual final budget.

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