Currently, I write police procedural novels with the stories taking place in Hollywood during the early 1960s; a period when I was a street cop there. I've moved to Mexico to be closer to my hobby of studying Mexican history. My friend and fellow author, Professor Michael Hogan, is my mentor.
I am planning to write a three-part epic story that takes place in the mid-nineteenth century. What has inspired me was hearing about Los Ninos Heroes, martyrs of the Battle of Chapultepec. Also, my father was born in Concordia, Mexico and knowing his family history is an added incentive.
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Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat four times.
Congratulations. You’ve just calmed your nervous system.
Here are three basic breathing exercises to try on your own.
If you have the time to learn only one technique, this is the one to try. In coherent breathing, the goal is to breathe at a rate of five breaths per minute, which generally translates into inhaling and exhaling to the count of six. If you have never practiced breathing exercises before, you may have to work up to this practice slowly, starting with inhaling and exhaling to the count of three and working your way up to six.
Sitting upright or lying down, place your hands on your belly.
Slowly breathe in, expanding your belly, to the count of five.
Slowly breathe out to the count of six.
Work your way up to practicing this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes a day.
When your mind is racing or you feel keyed up, try Rock and Roll breathing, which has the added benefit of strengthening your core.
Sit up straight on the floor or the edge of a chair.
Place your hands on your belly.
As you inhale, lean forward and expand your belly.
As you exhale, squeeze the breath out and curl forward while leaning backward; exhale until you’re completely empty of breath.
Repeat 20 times.
When the mid-afternoon slump hits, stand up and do some quick breath-work to wake up your mind and body.
Stand up tall, elbows bent, palms facing up.
As you inhale, draw your elbows back behind you, palms continuing to face up.
Then exhale quickly, thrusting your palms forward and turning them downward, while saying “Ha” out loud.
It stars Kirk Douglas as cowboyJack Burns, Gena Rowlands as his best friend’s wife, and Walter Matthau as a sheriff who sympathizes with Burns but must do his job and chase him down. It also features an early score by composer Jerry Goldsmith. Douglas stated this was his favorite film.
John W. “Jack” Burns works as a roaming ranch hand, much as the cowboys of the old West did, refusing to join mainstream society, underscored by his lack of both a driver’s license and draft card. He has no permanent address — he simply sleeps wherever and whenever he chooses.
As Burns crosses a highway into a town in New Mexico to visit Jerry (Gena Rowlands) the wife of an old friend, his horse Whiskey has a difficult time crossing the road, confused and scared by the traffic. Jerry’s husband, Paul (Michael Kane) has been jailed for giving aid to illegal immigrants. In a conversation with Jerry, Jack expresses his disdain of a society that tells a man where he can or can’t go, what he can or can’t do.
Determined to break Bondi out of jail, Burns decides he needs to get himself arrested. After a violent barroom fight against a one-armed man (Bill Raisch) in which he is forced to use only one arm himself, Burns is arrested.
When the police decide to let him go, he deliberately punches a cop to get himself re-arrested. He is immediately sentenced to a year in jail, which allows him to see Bondi, with the intention of helping him escape. The jail is located in a sleepy border town, staffed by bored personnel, occasionally dealing with minor offenses. The Sheriff, Morey Johnson (Walter Matthau), has to compel them to pay attention to their duties at times. During the course of the narrative, the seemingly unrelated progress of a truck carrying toilets, driven by Carroll O’Connor, is inter-cut with the film’s principal events.
Joining Bondi in jail, Burns tries to persuade him to escape. He tells Bondi if he has to spend a year locked up, he’ll likely kill someone. Burns defends Bondi from the attention of sadistic Deputy Sheriff Gutierrez (George Kennedy), who then picks Burns as his next target. During the night the inmates saw through one of the jail’s bars using two hacksaw blades Burns had hidden in his boot. The deputy summons Burns in the middle of the night and beats him. Upon returning to his cell, Burns tries to persuade Bondi to join him in escaping, but Bondi, nearing the end of his sentence, with a family and too much at stake to become a fugitive, decides to remain. Burns breaks out by himself and returns to Bondi’s house, where he picks up his horse and some food from Bondi’s wife. After the jail break, the sheriff learns that Burns served in the military during the Korean War, including seven months in a disciplinary training center for striking a superior officer. He also received a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf clusters for his valor during battle.
Burns heads for the mountains on horseback with the goal of crossing the border into Mexico. The police mount an extensive search, with Sheriff Johnson and his Deputy Sheriff Harry (William Schallert) following him in a jeep. A military helicopter is brought in, and when the air crew locates Burns, they relay his location to the sheriff. Whiskey is repeatedly spooked by the helicopter, so Burns shoots the tail rotor, damaging it and causing the pilot to lose control and crash land.
Deputy Gutierrez is also involved in the chase. He comes upon Whiskey, and is preparing to shoot the horse when Burns sneaks up on him, knocking him unconscious with his rifle butt. Burns then leads his horse up impossibly difficult, rocky slopes to escape his pursuers, but the lawmen keep on his trail, forcing him to keep moving. Surrounded on three sides, Burns’ horse refuses at first to climb a steep slope. They finally surmount the crest of the Sandia Mountains and escape to the east, into a broad expanse of heavy timber, with the lawmen on his tail and shooting at him. The sheriff acknowledges Burns has evaded their attempts to capture him, unaware Burns was shot through the ankle during his dash into the forest.
Burns appears to have successfully escaped. Then, late that night as he attempts to cross Highway 66 in Tijeras Canyon during a heavy rainstorm, disaster strikes. Whiskey is spooked, confused by traffic noise and blinded by oncoming headlights. The truck driver hauling the load of toilets, his vision obscured by the rain, strikes Burns and his horse as they are attempting to cross the road. The sheriff arrives at the accident scene, and when asked by the state police if the injured Burns is the man he has been looking for, replies he can’t identify him, because he’s never seen the man he is looking for up close. The viewer is led to believe the sheriff suspects the man to be Burns, but has chosen to not take him into custody. Whiskey, who is seriously hurt, is euthanized. The sheriff and his deputy Harry head home as Burns is transported from the scene in an ambulance. It is left unclear whether he will survive his injuries. The film closes with a shot of Burns’ cowboy hat, swamped by rain in the middle of the highway.
Lonely Are the Brave was made after star Kirk Douglas read Edward Abbey’s novel The Brave Cowboy and insisted that Universal film it as a vehicle for him to star in. Douglas assembled the cast and crew through his production company, Joel Productions, recruiting ex-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, who had written Spartacus several years before, to write the screenplay.
The working title for the film was “The Last Hero,” but the release title of the film was a matter of contention between Douglas, who wanted to call it “The Brave Cowboy,” and the studio. Douglas wanted the film to open in art houses and build an audience, but Universal chose to market the film as a Western, titling it “Lonely Are the Brave” and opening it widely without any particular support. Despite this, the film developed a cult following, and is often listed as one of the best Westerns ever made.
Miller crafted the picture with an eloquent reverence for the stunning Southwestern landscape, complementing the story’s depiction of a lone and principled individual, tested by tragedy and driven by his fiercely independent conscience.
Lonely Are the Brave premiered in Houston on 24 May 1962. President John F. Kennedy watched the movie in the White House in November, 1962. In his memoir Conversations with Kennedy,Ben Bradlee wrote, “Jackie read off the list of what was available, and the President selected the one [film] we had all unanimously voted against, a brutal, sadistic little Western called Lonely Are the Brave.”
The score to Lonely Are the Brave was composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Goldsmith’s involvement in the picture was the result of a recommendation by veteran composer Alfred Newman who had been impressed with Goldsmith’s score for the television show Thriller, and took it upon himself to recommend Goldsmith to the head of Universal Pictures’ music department, despite having never met him.
Bill Bixby has a small role as an airman in a helicopter, his first film appearance. It was also one of Carroll O’Connor’s first film appearances.
Jerry Bondi (Gena Rowlands): “Believe you me, if it didn’t take men to make babies I wouldn’t have anything to do with any of you!”
Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas): “Know what a loner is? He’s a born cripple. He’s a cripple because the only person he can live with is himself. It’s his life, the way he wants to live. It’s all for him. A guy like that, he’d kill a woman like you. Because he couldn’t love you, not the way you are loved.”
Jack Burns:“A westerner likes open country. That means he’s got to hate fences. And the more fences there are, the more he hates them.” Jerry Bondi: “I’ve never heard such nonsense in my life.” Jack Burns: “It’s true, though. Have you ever noticed how many fences there’re getting to be? And the signs they got on them: no hunting, no hiking, no admission, no trespassing, private property, closed area, start moving, go away, get lost, drop dead! Do you know what I mean?”
Jack Burns: “I don’t need [identification] cards to figure out who I am, I already know.” This line was used by the fugitive sailor in The Death Ship, the 1926 novel by Traven.
The Manchurian Candidate (1959), by Richard Condon, is a political thriller about the son of a prominent U.S. political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for a Communist conspiracy.
The novel has been adapted twice into a feature film by the same title, in 1962 and again in 2004.
Major Bennett Marco, Sergeant Raymond Shaw, and the rest of their infantry platoon are kidnapped during the Korean War in 1952. They are taken to Manchuria, and are brainwashed to believe that Shaw saved their lives in combat – for which Congress awards him the Medal of Honor.
Years after the war, Marco, now back in the United States working as an intelligence officer, begins suffering the recurring nightmare of Shaw murdering two of his comrades, all while clinically observed by Chinese and Soviet intelligence officials. When Marco learns that another soldier from the platoon also has been suffering the same nightmare, he sets to uncovering the mystery and its meaning.
It is revealed that the Communists have been using Shaw as a sleeper agent, a guiltless assassin subconsciously activated by seeing the “Queen of Diamonds” playing card while playing solitaire. Provoked by the appearance of the card, he obeys orders which he then forgets. Shaw’s KGB handler is his domineering mother, Eleanor, a ruthless power broker working with the Communists to execute a “palace coup d’état” to quietly overthrow the U.S. government, with her husband, McCarthy-esque Senator Johnny Iselin, as a puppet dictator.
Marco discovers the trigger of the “Queen of Diamonds” and meets with Shaw at the Central Park Zoo shortly before Iselin’s party’s national convention. He uses the card to interrogate Shaw as to his final plan; Shaw is to shoot the presidential candidate during the convention in order to win overwhelming support for Senator Iselin, the vice-presidential candidate, and trigger the dictatorial powers he’ll request following the assassination. Marco reprograms Shaw, although the reader is unsure until the final pages if it worked. At the convention, Shaw instead shoots his mother and Senator Iselin. Marco is the first of the authorities to reach Shaw’s sniper’s nest just after Shaw kills himself.
In 1998, software developer C.J. Silverio noted that several long passages of the novel seemed to be adapted from Robert Graves‘ 1934 novel, I, Claudius. Forensic linguist John Olsson judged that, “There can be no disputing that Richard Condon plagiarized from Robert Graves.” Olsson went on to state that, “As plagiarists go, Condon is quite creative, he does not confine himself to one source and is prepared to throw other ingredients into the pot.” Jonathan Lethem, in his influential essay, The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism, has identified The Manchurian Candidate as one of a number of “cherished texts that become troubling to their admirers after the discovery of their ‘plagiarized’ elements,” which make it “apparent that appropriation, mimicry, quotation, allusion, and sublimated collaboration consist of a kind of sine qua non of the creative act, cutting across all forms and genres in the realm of cultural production.”
The second film, released in 2004, was directed by Jonathan Demme, and starred Liev Schreiber as Shaw, Denzel Washington as Marco, and Meryl Streep as Eleanor. It was generally well received by critics, and moderately successful at the box office. The film updated the conflict (and brainwashing) to the Persian Gulf War in 1991, emphasized the science fiction aspects of the story by setting the action in a dystopian near-future (implied to be 2008), had a U.S. corporation (called “Manchurian Global”) as the perpetrator of the brainwashing and conspiracy instead of foreign Communist groups, and dropped the Johnny Iselin character in favor of making both Shaw and his mother elected politicians. The movie adaptations also omit the novel’s portrayal of incest between Raymond and his mother, only hinting at it with a mouth-to-mouth kiss.
Both adaptations discard several elements of the book. The book spends more time describing the brain-washers and the facility in Manchuria where the Americans were held. The head of the project grants Raymond a “gift”; after his brainwashing, he becomes quite sexually active, in contrast to his reserved nature beforehand, where he hadn’t even kissed his love interest, Jocelyn Jordan.
In the novel, Mrs. Iselin and her son travel abroad, where she uses him to kill various political figures and possibly Jocelyn Jordan’s first husband. Rosie, Marco’s love interest, is also the ex-fiance of one of his associates handling the Shaw case for Army Intelligence, making things between them tense.
As a child, Mrs. Iselin was sexually abused by her father but fell in love with him and idolized him after his early death. Toward the end of the book, as Raymond is hypnotized by the Queen of Diamonds, he reminds her of her father and she sleeps with him.
The 1962 version does not state outright the political affiliation of Senators Iselin and Jordan, although in the 2004 film the equivalent characters are Democrats. According to David Willis McCullough, Senator Iselin is modelled on Republican senator Joseph McCarthy and, according to Condon, Shaw’s mother is based on McCarthy’s counsel, Roy Cohn.
I recently had an opportunity to quiz author Jess Waid on his latest work, Kona Gold, sixth volume in his Mike Montego series.
MORSE: Kona Gold marks the first time in a series that now spans six books that you’ve taken your main character, LAPD cop Mike Montego, out of California (and Vegas). Why Hawaii?
WAID: Mike has a lot of my characteristics, and likewise “relives” some of my past. I had occasion to be in Hawaii in the early Sixties and still have vivid memories of my time there. Several of my experiences on Oahu were fairly close to what Mike experiences in Kona Gold. The one difference — I was between marriages. I’ve visited Hawaii several times since then, and it has changed greatly, as have Los Angeles and Vegas.
MORSE: How long had the plot for KG been percolating in your head before you began writing? Or are you an author who simply sits down at your computer and lets the creative juices flow?
WAID: There was very little “percolating” for Kona Gold. But having written stories that took place in Las Vegas and also northern Idaho, I saw another of my “past lives,” this time in Hawaii, fitting rather neatly into a new story. Also, recently divorced back then, I saw a parallel with Mike’s situation.
MORSE: What’s your writing routine? Are you disciplined, writing for a set period every day? Or do you write in feverish spurts? Is writing work or play?
WAID: When I’m into a story, I pound on the keys for hours regardless of the time of day, seven days a week. I find it to be enjoyable as I often am reliving past experiences, only modifying them to make for a more enjoyable read.
MORSE: Why is it that so many former cops end up writing books? Have you ever chatted with former colleagues about that?
WAID: I’ve been writing since ’92, ten years after having spent 22 years with the LAPD. My writing started when I sought an outlet to express myself; sort of like needing to justify my life. I was living in northern Idaho, in an area enjoyed by a number of retired LAPD types. Several were employed, most not. I worked with the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department for one year, thanks to a federal grant written by my wife, Barbara. The subject matter was domestic violence. That experience, incidentally, partly triggered my later novel Circle of Yellow. That’s why part of that story originated in the Idaho/Montana area. Back to your question. I recognize that many retired law enforcement officers have experienced events that the “average Joe” has only dreamed about. Officers with a proclivity toward writing will put their experiences to print for personal reasons, as I’ve mentioned, often to relive their past. For me, it’s like getting a shot of adrenaline. I’ve often found my heart rate speeding during the course of writing a scene, usually a tense one, to the point I have to take a break after the scene is written to calm myself!
MORSE: Music often pops up in your books. Of course that was front and center in He Blew Blue Jazz. Hawaii has an amazingly rich musical tradition — any of that showing up in KG? And BTW, I understand you’re off for Vegas soon for some sort of reunion, and that your old pal, Art Imbach, will be there. Is Art still making the musical magic happen?
WAID: I was taken by the slack string guitar, so that comes up in Kona Gold if only briefly, along with a scene involving the hula or hula-hula. And I’ve loved jazz since I can remember. My pal since I was six years old, Alan Imbach, is a brilliant writer of big band scores. As you know he resides in Vegas where I will be attending an LAPD class reunion soon. Al often conducts a large band of retired musicians who all played during the big band era. They perform every Tuesday at a private venue, but it’s also is accessible to the public as I understand it. Barbara and I will be attending along with several friends next Tuesday. By the way, Al hand-writes the charts for each instrument as fast as the new computer programs allow one to do so. He no longer plays the trombone, but he was an excellent player of the instrument. Al is giving me a new compact disc of the band playing his charts. I’m excited about the gift. I truly hope he can get the CD published. The public deserves to hear the great music played by the “old timers.”
MORSE: Finally, the inevitable question: what’s next? Another Montego? Or are you finally going to tackle that Mexican historical epic you’ve been scratching at the edges of for years now?
WAID: Ah yes. Barbara rides me about writing the “great epic” taking place south of the border, the land of my natural father. However, the germ of one more novel is gestating in my mind. It, too, will take place in Hawaii. Kona Gold left Mike sort of hanging, with some drug and human trafficking issues unanswered. Besides, there are still some “bad guys” running around the islands. I only have a working title so far: Kona Black.
The Longest Day is a 1962 epic war film based on Cornelius Ryan’s book, The Longest Day (1959), about the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944, during World War II. The film was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, who paid author Ryan $175,000 for the film rights. The screenplay was by Ryan, with additional material written by Romain Gary, James Jones, David Pursall, and Jack Seddon. It was directed by Ken Annakin (British and French exteriors), Andrew Marton (American exteriors), and Bernhard Wicki (German scenes).
The Longest Day, which was made in black and white, features a large ensemble cast including John Wayne, Kenneth More, Richard Todd, Robert Mitchum, Richard Burton, Steve Forrest, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Red Buttons, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Hunter, Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Rod Steiger, Leo Genn, Gert Fröbe, Irina Demick, Bourvil, Curt Jürgens, George Segal, Robert Wagner, Paul Anka and Arletty. Many of these actors played roles that were essentially cameo appearances. In addition, several cast members — including Fonda, Genn, More, Steiger and Todd — saw action as servicemen during the war, with Todd actually being among the first British officers to land in Normandy in Operation Overlord — in fact he participated in the assault on Pegasus Bridge.
The film employed several Axis and Allied military consultants who had been actual participants on D-Day. Many had their roles re-enacted in the film. These included Günther Blumentritt (a former German general), James M. Gavin (an American general), Frederick Morgan (Deputy Chief of Staff at SHAEF), John Howard (who led the airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge), Lord Lovat (who commanded the 1st Special Service Brigade), Philippe Kieffer (who led his men in the assault on Ouistreham), Pierre Koenig (who commanded the Free French Forces in the invasion), Max Pemsel (a German general), Werner Pluskat (the major who was the first German officer to see the invasion fleet), Josef “Pips” Priller (the hot-headed pilot), and Lucie Rommel (widow of German Gen. Erwin Rommel).
The movie is filmed in the style of a docudrama. Beginning in the days leading up to D-Day, it concentrates on events on both sides of the Channel, such as the Allies waiting for the break in the poor weather and anticipating the reaction of the Axis forces defending northern France. The film pays particular attention to the decision by Gen. Eisenhower, supreme commander of SHAEF, to go after reviewing the initial bad-weather reports as well as reports about the divisions within the German High Command as to where an invasion might happen or what the response to it should be.
Numerous scenes document the early hours of June 6, when Allied airborne troops were sent to take key locations inland from the beaches. The French resistance is also shown reacting to the news that an invasion has started. The Longest Day chronicles most of the important events surrounding D-Day, from the British glider missions to secure Pegasus Bridge, the counterattacks launched by American paratroopers scattered around Sainte-Mère-Église, the infiltration and sabotage work conducted by the French resistance and SOE agents, to the response by the Wehrmacht to the invasion and the uncertainty of German commanders as to whether it was a feint in preparation for crossings at the Pas de Calais (see Operation Fortitude), where the senior German staff had always assumed it would occur.
Set-piece scenes include the parachute drop into Sainte-Mère-Église, the advance inshore from the Normandy beaches, the US Ranger Assault Group’s assault on the Pointe du Hoc, the attack on Ouistreham by Free French Forces and the strafing of the beaches by two lone Luftwaffe pilots.
The film concludes with a montage showing various Allied units consolidating their beachheads before the advance inland.
Eddie Albert Colonel Thompson, 29th Infantry Division
Paul Anka Private, 2nd Ranger Battalion
Richard Beymer Private Arthur ‘Dutch’ Schultz, 82nd Airborne Division
Red Buttons Private John Steele, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Gary Collins Officer on destroyer bridge (uncredited)
John Crawford Colonel Eugene Caffey, Commander, 1st Engineer Special Brigade
Mark Damon Private Harris (uncredited)
Ray Danton Captain Frank, 29th Infantry Division
Fred Dur Major, 2nd Ranger Battalion
Fabian Private, 2nd Ranger Battalion
Mel Ferrer Major General Robert Haines, (SHAEF)
Henry Fonda Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Steve Forrest Captain Harding, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Henry Grace General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, SHAEF
Peter Helm Young private, 29th Infantry Division
Jeffrey Hunter Sergeant John H. Fuller, combat engineer, 29th Infantry Division
Alexander Knox Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith, Chief of Staff, SHAEF
Michael Hinz Manfred Rommel, Rommel’s son (uncredited)
Werner Hinz Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel, Commander, Army Group B
Karl John Generalleutnant Wolfgang Häger, Luftwaffe Kommando West
Curt Jürgens General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt, Chief of Staff, OB West
Til Kiwe Hauptmann Helmuth Lang, ADC to Rommel (uncredited)
Wolfgang Lukschy Generaloberst Alfred Jodl
Kurt Meisel Hauptmann Ernst Düring (uncredited)
Richard Münch General der Artillerie Erich Marcks, Commander, LXXXIV Army Corps
Rainer Penkert Leutnant Fritz Theen, 352nd Artillery Regiment
Wolfgang Preiss Generalleutnant Max Pemsel, Chief of Staff, 7th Army
Hartmut Reck Oberfeldwebel Bernhard Bergsdorf, pilot, Jagdgeschwader 26
Heinz Reincke Oberstleutnant Josef Priller, Kommodore, Jagdgeschwader 26
Paul Edwin Roth Oberst Schiller (uncredited)
Dietmar Schönherr Häger’s aide (uncredited)
Ernst Schröder Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth, Commander, 15th Army
Hans Söhnker Pemsel’s staff officer (uncredited)
Heinz Spitzner Oberstleutnant Helmuth Meyer, Chief of Intelligence, 15th Army (uncredited)
Peter van Eyck Oberstleutnant Ocker, 352nd Artillery Regiment
Vicco von Bülow Pemsel’s adjutant (uncredited)
French producer Raoul Lévy signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to purchase the filming rights to Cornelius Ryan’s novel The Longest Day: 6 June 1944 D-Day, on March 23, 1960.
After finishing The Truth, Lévy set up a deal with the Associated British Picture Corporation and got director Michael Anderson attached. Ryan would receive $100,000, plus $35,000 to write the adaptation’s screenplay.
Lévy intended to start production in March 1961, filming at Elstree Studios and the English and French coasts. But the project went into a halt once ABPC could not get the $6 million budget Lévy expected. Eventually former 20th Century Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck learned about the book while producing The Big Gamble, and in December purchased Lévy’s option for $175,000. Zanuck’s editor friend Elmo Williams wrote a film treatment, which piqued the producer’s interest and made him attach Williams to The Longest Day aa associate producer and coordinator of battle episodes. Ryan was brought in to write the script, but had conflicts with Zanuck as soon as the two met. Williams was forced to act as a mediator; he would deliver Ryan’s script pages to Zanuck, then return them with the latter’s annotations.
While Ryan developed the script, Zanuck also brought in other writers for cleanups, including James Jones and Romain Gary. As their contributions to the finished screenplay were relatively minor, Ryan managed to get the screenplay credit after an appeal to the Writers Guild arbitration, but the four other writers are credited for “additional scenes” in the closing credits.
During pre-production, producer Frank McCarthy, who had worked for the United States Department of War during World War II, arranged for military collaboration with the governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Zanuck also realized that with eight battle scenes, shooting would be accomplished more expediently if multiple directors and units worked simultaneously. He contacted with German directors Gerd Oswald and Bernhard Wicki, the British Ken Annakin, and the American Andrew Marton. Zanuck’s son Richard D. Zanuck was reluctant about the project, particularly the high budget.
The film was shot at several French locations including the Île de Ré, Saleccia beach in Saint-Florent, Haute-Corse, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain filling in for Ouistreham, Les Studios de Boulogne in Boulogne-Billancourt and the actual locations of Pegasus Bridge near Bénouville, Calvados, Sainte-Mère-Église and Pointe du Hoc.
During the filming of the landings at Omaha Beach, the extras appearing as American soldiers did not want to jump off the landing craft into the water because they thought it would be too cold. Robert Mitchum, who played Gen. Norman Cota, became disgusted with their trepidation. He jumped in first, at which point the extras followed his example.
The Rupert paradummies used in the film were far more elaborate and lifelike than those actually used in the decoy parachute drop (Operation Titanic), which were simply canvas or burlap sacks filled with sand. In the real operation, six Special Air Service soldiers jumped with the dummies and played recordings of loud battle noises to distract the Germans.
With a budget of $10,000,000, this was the most expensive black-and-white film made until 1993, when Schindler’s List was released. In the scenes where the paratroopers land, the background noise of frogs croaking “ribbit ribbit” was incorrect for northern French frog species and showed that the film probably used an American recording of background night noises.
Darryl Zanuck hired several former military personnel to aid in direction. The director of American exteriors was Andrew Martin, director of British exteriors was Ken Annakin, director of German exteriors was Gerd Oswald. This was to ensure the most authentic military procedures.
The film stayed on Sight and Sound’s “A Guide to Current Films” for almost two years after being released. The Guide is a list of films of special interest to the journal and usually suggest that readers should view the film because of its high quality.
Colin Maud loaned Kenneth More the shillelagh he carried ashore in the actual invasion (More had served as an officer in the Royal Navy during WWII, albeit not as a Beachmaster); similarly, Richard Todd wore the D-Day helmet worn by his character, Maj. John Howard. In the film, three Free French Special Air Service paratroopers jump into France before British and American airborne landings. This is accurate. Thirty-six Free French SAS (4 sticks) jumped into Brittany (Plumelec and Duault) on June 5 at 23:30, (operation Dingson). The first Allied soldiers killed in action were Lt. Den Brotheridge of the 2nd Ox & Bucks Light Infantry as he crossed Pegasus Bridge at 00:22 on June 6 and Corporal Emile Bouétard of the 4th Free French SAS battalion, at the same time in Plumelec, Brittany.
The United States Sixth Fleet extensively supported the filming and made available many amphibious landing ships and craft for scenes filmed in Corsica, though many of the ships were of (then) modern vintage. The Springfield and Little Rock, both World War II light cruisers (though extensively reconfigured into guided missile cruisers) were used in the shore bombardment scenes, though it was easy to tell they did not resemble their wartime configurations.
Gerd Oswald was the uncredited director of the parachute drop scenes into Sainte-Mère-Église. Darryl F. Zanuck said that he himself directed some uncredited pick-ups with American and British interiors. Elmo Williams was credited as associate producer and coordinator of battle episodes. He later produced another historical WWII film, Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), for Zanuck. Like The Longest Day, it used a docudrama style, although it was in color. It depicted the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Charlton Heston actively sought the role of Lt. Col. Benjamin H. Vandervoort, but the last-minute decision of John Wayne to take the role prevented Heston’s participation. At 55 Wayne was 28 years older than Vandervoort at the time of action (and 10 years older in real life). While everyone else accepted $25,000 as payment, Wayne insisted on $250,000 to punish producer Zanuck for referring to him as “poor John Wayne,” regarding Wayne’s problems with his lavish movie The Alamo.
Zanuck hired more than 2,000 legitimate soldiers for the film as extras.
Kaffeekanne (played by Gert Fröbe)’s name is German for “coffee pot”, which he always carries.
Richard Todd, who played Maj. John Howard, leader of the British airborne assault on the Pegasus Bridge, took part in the real bridge assault on D-Day. He was offered the chance to play himself but took the part of Maj. Howard instead. In the film, shortly after the British have captured the Orne bridge (later renamed Horsa Bridge), one of the soldiers tells Todd, playing Howard, that all they have to do now is sit tight and await the arrival of the 7th Parachute Battalion, to which Todd’s character replies dismissively: “the Paras are always late”. This was a private joke, as Todd had been the adjutant of the 7th Parachute Battalion on D-Day.
Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was considered for the role of himself in the film, and he indicated his willingness. However, it was decided that makeup artists couldn’t make him appear young enough to play his World War II self. The role of Gen. Eisenhower went to Henry Grace, a set decorator with no acting experience but who had been in the film industry since the mid-1930s. He was a dead ringer for the younger Eisenhower, though his voice differed.
Mel Ferrer was originally signed to play the role of Gen. James M. Gavin but withdrew from the role due to a scheduling conflict.
According to the 2001 documentary Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood, Richard Burton and Roddy McDowall were so bored having not been used for several weeks while filming in Rome that they phoned Zanuck begging to do “anything” on his film. They flew themselves to the location and each did a day’s filming for their cameo-performances for free.
The film premièred in France on 25 September 1962, followed by the United States on 4 October and 23 October for the United Kingdom. Given Fox was suffering with the financial losses from Cleopatra, the studio was intending for The Longest Day to have a wide release to reap quick profits. Zanuck forced them to do a proper Roadshow theatrical release, even threatening to sell distribution to Warner Bros. if Fox refused to do so. The Longest Day eventually became the box office hit Fox needed, with $30 million in worldwide rentals on a $7.5 million budget.
There were special-release showings of the film in several United States cities. Participants in D-Day were invited to see the film with their fellow soldiers—in Cleveland, Ohio, this took place at the Hippodrome Theater.
Unique for British- and American-produced World War II films of the time, all French and German characters speak in their own languages with subtitles in English. Another version, which was shot simultaneously, has all the actors speaking their lines in English (this version was used for the film’s trailer, as all the Germans deliver their lines in English). However, this version saw limited use during the initial release. It was used more extensively during a late 1960s re-release of the film. The English-only version has been featured as an extra on older single disc DVD releases.
The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan, published in 1959, tells the story of the main D-Day invasion as well as details of Operation Deadstick, the coup de main operation by glider-borne troops to capture both Pegasus Bridge and Horse Bridge before the main assault on the Normandy beaches. It sold tens of millions of copies in eighteen different languages.
The book is not a dry military history, but rather a story about people, and reads at times like a novel. It is based on interviews with a cross-section of participants, including U.S., Canadian, British, French and German officers and civilians.
The book begins and ends in the village of La Roche-Guyon. The book refers to the village as being the most occupied village in occupied France and states that for each of the 543 inhabitants of La Roche-Guyon there were more than three German soldiers in the village and surrounding area. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel commander-in-chief of Army Group B had his headquarters in the castle of the village which was the seat of the Duc de La Rochefoucauld.
Ryan’s book is divided into three parts: the first part is titled The Wait, the second The Night , and the third The Day. The book includes a section on the casualties of D-Day and also lists the contributors including their service details on the day of the invasion and their occupations at the time the book was first published.
Researchers spent almost three years locating survivors of D-Day and over 3,000 interviews were undertaken in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and Germany. 383 accounts of D Day were used in the text of the book.
Senior Allied officers who assisted the author included General Maxwell D. Taylor, Lieutenant General James Gavin, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick E. Morga,n and General Sir Richard Nelson Gale. German officers who assisted with the book included Generaloberst Franz Halder, Hauptmann Hellmuth Lang, and General der Infanterie Günther Blumentritt. The author also used Allied and German post action reports, war diaries, histories and official records.
Cornelius Ryan dedicated his book to all the men of D Day.
The book takes its name from a comment made by Erwin Rommel to his aide Hauptmann Helmuth Lang on April 22, 1944: “…the first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive… the fate of Germany depends on the outcome… for the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day.”
San Francisco public relations man Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) meets and falls in love with Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick), a secretary. Kirsten is a teetotaler until Joe introduces her to social drinking. Reluctant at first, after her first few Brandy Alexanders, she admits that having a drink “made me feel good.” (She had previously disdained alcohol but admitted that she loved chocolate.) Despite the misgivings of Kirsten’s father (Charles Bickford), who runs a San Mateo landscaping business, they marry and have a daughter named Debbie.
Joe slowly goes from the “two-martini lunch” to full-blown alcoholism. It affects his work and, in due time, he and Kirsten both succumb to the pleasures and pain of addiction. Joe is demoted due to poor performance brought on by too much booze. He is sent out of town on business. Kirsten finds the best way to pass the time is to drink, and she drinks a lot. While drunk one afternoon, she causes a fire in their apartment and almost kills herself and their child. Joe eventually gets fired from the public relations firm and goes from job to job over the next several years.
One day, Joe walks by a bar and looks at his reflection in the window. He goes home and says to his wife: “I walked by Union Square Bar. I was going to go in. Then I saw myself, my reflection in the window, and I thought, ‘I wonder who that bum is.’ And then I saw it was me. Now look at me. I’m a bum. Look at me! Look at you. You’re a bum. Look at you. And look at us. Look at us. C’mon, look at us! See? A couple of bums.”
Seeking escape from their addiction, Joe and Kirsten work together in Mr. Arnesen’s business and succeed in staying sober for two months. However, the urges are too strong, and after a late-night drinking binge, Joe destroys his father-in-law’s greenhouse and plants while looking for a stashed bottle of liquor.
After commitment to a sanitarium wearing a straitjacket, Joe finally gets sober for a while, with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, a dedicated sponsor named Jim Hungerford (Jack Klugman) and regular AA meetings. When Joe tries to help Kirsten, he instead ends up drinking again, and goes to a liquor store that’s closed for the night. Joe breaks into the store and steals a bottle, resulting in another trip to the sanitarium stripped down and tied to a treatment table.
Hungerford warns him that he must keep sober no matter what, even if that means staying away from Kirsten. He explains to Joe how alcoholics often demonstrate obsessive behavior, pointing out that Kirsten’s previous love of chocolate may have been the first sign of an addictive personality, and counsels him that most drinkers hate to drink alone in the company of sober people.
Joe eventually becomes sober for close to a year and a responsible father to his child while holding down a steady job. He tries to make amends with his father-in-law by offering him a payment for past debts and wrongs, but Mr. Arnesen lashes out at him for indirectly getting Kirsten involved in the alcoholic lifestyle. After calming down, Arnesen says that Kirsten has been disappearing for long stretches of time and picking up strangers in bars.
One night, after Debbie is asleep, Kirsten, shakily sober for two days, comes to Joe’s apartment to attempt a reconciliation. Joe sees that if he were to return to her, it could lead to more of his previous self-destructive behavior.
Kirsten longs for going back to “the way it was,” but as Joe explains to her, “You remember how it really was? You and me and booze — a threesome. You and I were a couple of drunks on the sea of booze, and the boat sank. I got hold of something that kept me from going under, and I’m not going to let go of it. Not for you. Not for anyone. If you want to grab on, grab on. But there’s just room for you and me — no threesome.”
Kirsten refuses to admit she’s an alcoholic, but does acknowledge that without alcohol, she “can’t get over how dirty everything looks.” “You better give up on me,” she says. When Kirsten leaves, Joe fights the urge to go after her. He looks down the street as Kirsten walks away. (She walks past a bar without entering, perhaps offering a faint note of hope). When Debbie asks, “Daddy, will Mommy ever get well?” he replies gently, “I did, didn’t I?” Again Joe looks down the street, the bar’s flashing sign reflecting in his window.
JP Miller found his title in the 1896 poem, “Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos.” Some critics observed that the movie lacked the impact of the original television production, which starred Cliff Robertson as Joe and Piper Laurie as Kirsten. In an article written for DVD Journal, critic D.K. Holm noted numerous changes that altered the original considerably when the material was filmed. He cites as an example the hiring of Jack Lemmon. With his participation, “little remained of the Vetat Incohare Longam” by the English writer Ernest Dowson (1867–1900). It also inspired the title song devised by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer:
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.
(Coincidentally, Johnny Mercer, who wrote the lyrics for the title tune, had also written the lyrics for the theme from “Laura”, a 1944 classic film in which Dowson’s poem was quoted in its entirety. Dowson also wrote the poem Cynara which gave Margaret Mitchell the title for her novel Gone With the Wind).
Miller’s teleplay for Playhouse 90, also titled Days of Wine and Roses, had received favorable critical attention and was nominated for an Emmy in the category “Best Writing of a Single Dramatic Program – One Hour or Longer.” Manulis, a Playhouse 90 producer, decided the material was ideal founding teleplay, except for actor Charles Bickford reprising his role.”
Director Blake Edwards became a non-drinker a year after completing the film and went into substance recovery. He said that he and Jack Lemmon were heavy drinkers while making the film. Edwards used the theme of alcohol abuse often in his films, including: 10 (1979), Blind Date (1987) and Skin Deep (1989). Both Lemmon and Remick sought help from Alcoholics Anonymous long after they had completed the film. Lemmon revealed to James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio his past drinking problems and his recovery. The film had a lasting effect in helping alcoholics deal with their problem. Today, Days of Wine and Roses is required viewing in many alcoholic and drug rehabilitationclinics across America.
In the same Inside the Actors Studio interview, Lemmon stated that there was pressure by the studio to change the ending. To preserve the integrity of the movie, scenes were filmed in the same order as they appeared in the script, with the last scene filmed last. This is in contrast with the standard practice of filming different scenes together that take place in the same location, which reduces expenses, shortens the schedule and aids with scheduling the actors’ time on set. Immediately following the completion of filming, Lemmon left for Europe and remained out of communication so that the studio would be forced to release the movie without changing the storyline.
Box office and release
The producers used the following ironic tagline to market the film:
The film became one of Blake Edwards’ best-regarded films, opening to praise from the critics and audiences alike. New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther wrote, “[It] is a commanding picture, and it is extremely well played by Mr. Lemmon and Miss Remick, who spare themselves none of the shameful, painful scenes. But for all their brilliant performing and the taut direction of Blake Edwards, they do not bring two pitiful characters to complete and overpowering life.”
The staff at Variety magazine liked the film, especially the acting, writing, “Miller’s gruelling drama illustrates how the unquenchable lure of alcohol can supersede even love, and how marital communication cannot exist in a house divided by one-sided boozing… Lemmon gives a dynamic and chilling performance. Scenes of his collapse, particularly in the violent ward, are brutally realistic and terrifying. Remick, too, is effective, and there is solid featured work from Charles Bickford and Jack Klugman in fine supporting performances.”
In a review of the DVD, critic Gary W. Tooze lauded Edwards’ direction and the acting, writing, “Blake Edwards’s powerful adaptation of J.P. Miller’s Playhouse 90 story, starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in career performances, remains a variation in his body of work largely devoted to comedy… Lemmon is at his best and ditto for Remick in this harrowing tale of people consumed by their mutual addiction. This turns to an honest and heartbreaking portrayal of alcoholism as deftly done as any film I can remember.”
Margaret Parsons, film curator at the National Gallery of Art, said, “[The film] remains one of the most gut-wrenching dramas of alcohol-related ruin and recovery ever captured on film…and it’s also one of the pioneering films of the genre.”
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on seven reviews.
Kirsten: Thanks for the compliment, but I know how I look. This is the way I look when I’m sober. It’s enough to make a person drink, wouldn’t you say? You see, the world looks so dirty to me when I’m not drinking. Joe, remember Fisherman’s Wharf? The water when you looked too close? That’s the way the world looks to me when I’m not drinking.
I thought it might be fun to switch the focus of these monthly blogposts, from actors to films — the sorts of movies the main character in my Mike Montego series of novels might have watched as a kid or young man. They quite literally “don’t make ’em like this” anymore!
On the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Southwestern Colorado, Kemp meets a grizzled old prospector, Jesse Tate (Millard Mitchell), and offers him twenty dollars to help out. Tate assumes that Kemp is a sheriff and Kemp does nothing to disillusion him.
They trap someone on top of a rocky hill who Kemp is convinced must be his wanted man. Rockslides force a retreat. Looking for a way around the hill, Kemp and Tate meet up with a Union soldier, Lieutenant Roy Anderson (Ralph Meeker). He has been discharged from the 6th Cavalry at Fort Ellis in Bozeman and is heading east. Tate questions why Anderson isn’t on the Bozeman Trail. Anderson’s story is that there are some “bad tempered Indians” whose chief’s daughter fell in with a handsome young army lieutenant. Kemp has a chance to see Anderson’s discharge order in which he is described as “morally unstable,” and given a dishonorable discharge.
Tate tells Anderson that Kemp is a sheriff. With the aid of Anderson, who scales a sheer cliff face, Vandergroat is caught, along with his companion, Lina Patch (Janet Leigh), the daughter of Vandergroat’s friend, Frank Patch, who was shot dead trying to rob a bank in Abilene.
Vandergroat sets Tate and Anderson straight on two facts: that Kemp is no lawman, and that a reward is offered to bring him in— $5000, dead or alive. Tate and Anderson want their shares, to aid Kemp in getting Vandergroat back to Kansas. Lina is convinced that her father’s friend is innocent.
On the trail to Abilene, Vandergroat attempts to turn his captors against each other, using greed as his weapon. He also encourages Lina to use her beauty to divide Kemp and Anderson. When scouting a way through a mountain pass, Kemp and Tate spot a dozen Blackfeet, a normally friendly tribe, far from their normal hunting grounds. They tell the others and Anderson confesses that the Indians are after him. Kemp tells Anderson to hightail it out of there to avoid being captured by the Blackfeet. Anderson thinks Kemp just wants a bigger share of the reward money. He rides ahead, and from his position hidden behind a fallen tree trunk, with his rifle he elects to pick off a chief of the Blackfeet, at the moment Kemp’s group have confronted the Indians and are about to engage them in talk.
During the ensuing battle, Kemp saves Lina from the Blackfeet and she, in turn, helps him when he is shot in the leg. Later, Kemp passes out on the trail and awakes from a delirious nightmare. He thinks Lina is Mary, his ex-fiancée. Vandergroat tells the others that Mary sold Kemp’s ranch, which he left in her safekeeping, while he was serving in the army during the Civil War, and then went off with another man. Vandergroat further reveals that Kemp is determined to buy his ranch back, and that it can’t happen if he splits the reward money with Anderson and Tate.
Lina’s feelings of loyalty to her father’s friend, combined with an attraction to Kemp, confuses her. She has never seen Vandergroat hurt anyone unless it was in a fair fight, but after he loosens Kemp’s saddle cinch and tries to push him off a high mountain pass, Lina’s sympathies for Kemp grow.
Taking refuge from a storm in a cave, Vandergroat manipulates Lina into distracting Kemp. She tells the rancher of her dream to go to California, where no one knows her and she can make a fresh start. He tells her of his wish to repurchase his ranch. They kiss and this gives Ben a chance to escape. Kemp catches Vandergroat, and Anderson suggests that since the reward is for a “dead or alive” criminal, they should just kill the troublemaker. Tate stops Anderson but, caught up in the anger of the moment and hurt by what he sees as Lina’s treachery, Kemp challenges Vandergroat to a shoot out. The wanted man declines to take part.
Next day, the group comes to a high-running river. They argue about whether to cross or go downstream. Anderson grabs a rope and throws it around Vandergroat’s neck and says he’ll drag him across the river. A fight ensues between Kemp and Anderson, as Vandergroat watches with malicious enjoyment. Kemp finally manages to kick Anderson unconscious. While Kemp and Anderson recover from the fight and Lina searches for firewood, Vandergroat convinces Tate to sneak off with him to find a gold mine, the whereabouts of which Vandergroat has been tempting the old man with. When they depart during the night, he convinces Tate to take Lina along.
Vandergroat and Lina ride double; Tate follows, holding a rifle on them. Ben suddenly yells, “Snake!” and in the confusion grabs Tate’s rifle from him and kills him. He fires two more shots in order to lure Kemp and Anderson to a spot where he intends to kill them. Lina finally sees Vandergroat for what he is.
Kemp and Anderson discover Tate’s body where Vandergroat has positioned it for an ambush from the high cliff face. Preparing to shoot Kemp, Vandergroat is caught off guard when Lina grabs the rifle barrel, saving Kemp’s life. While Anderson exchanges gunfire with Vandergroat, Kemp removes one of his spurs to aid in climbing up the back of the cliff to outflank Vandergroat. He uses the spur as a combination climbing tool and makeshift piton.
Vandergroat, hearing Kemp, gets the drop on the rancher. However, before he can pull the trigger, Kemp throws his spur into the killer’s left cheek. As Ben reels from the pain of the spur, he is shot by Anderson and his body falls into the nearby river, becoming entangled in the roots of a tree. Anderson lassos a branch on the other side of the river and crosses using the rope. He then wraps it around Ben’s body but is crushed by a large tree stump barrelling down the river.
Kemp grabs the rope and drags Vandergroat’s body across the river and, in a rage, vows that he will take him back to reclaim his land. Lina pleads with him not to take blood money for bringing Vandergroat in. She says she will go with him, no matter what, marry him, and live with him on the ranch. Kemp realizes what he is doing and his love for Lina makes him stop. He begins digging a grave to bury Vandergroat and they decide to make for California, leaving their pasts behind.
The Naked Spur was the third of five Western collaborations between James Stewart and Anthony Mann and also, third of the eight collaborations they did overall. Two previous Westerns included Winchester ’73 (1950) and Bend of the River (1952). The film is notable for having only five actors.
Millard Mitchell, who played Jesse Tate, a grizzled old prospector, died at fifty years of age from lung cancer shortly after this picture. This was his next-to-last movie, followed by Here Come the Girls (released October 1953), starring Bob Hope.
The film was filmed on location in Durango and the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, and Lone Pine, California. According to writer and historian Frederic B. Wildfang, during filming, Stewart dedicated a monument in town, marking the area as the “Hollywood of the Rockies.” Production started in late May and ended in June 1952.
The film premiered in the first day of February 1953. That same year, two other films directed by Mann and starring Stewart were also released: Thunder Bay and The Glenn Miller Story.
According to MGM records the film earned $2,423,000 in the US and Canada and $1,427,000 overseas, resulting in a profit to the studio of $1,081,000. This success ensured three more Stewart-Mann collaborations, including two more westerns. Screenwriters Sam Rolfe and Harold Jack Bloom were nominated for the 1953 Best ScreenplayAcademy Award. In the years since its release, the film has achieved continued success, gaining more critical acclaim now than upon first release. Leonard Maltin has lauded The Naked Spur as “one of the best westerns ever made.”
In 1997, The Naked Spur was added to the United States National Film Registry, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Barbara Hale was born in DeKalb, Illinois, to Luther Ezra Hale, a landscape gardener, and his wife, Wilma Colvin. She is of Scots-Irish ancestry. Hale graduated in 1940 from Rockford High School in Rockford, Illinois, then attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, planning to become an artist. Her performing career began in Chicago when she started modelling to pay for her education. Hale’s family included a sister, Juanita, for whom Hale’s younger daughter was named.
Hale’s flourishing movie career more or less ended when Hale accepted her best known role as legal secretary Della Street in the television series Perry Mason starring Raymond Burr as the titular character. The show ran from 1957 to 1966, and she reprised the role in 30 Perry Mason television films (1985–95). For more on the Della Street character, see below.
She co-starred with Joel McCrea in a 1957 western, The Oklahoman, but there were few leading roles thereafter. Hale did have a featured role in the 1970 ensemble film Airport, playing the wife of a jetliner pilot (Dean Martin).
Hale’s career became inextricably linked with that of Perry Mason co-star Burr, including her 1971 guest-starring role on his next series, Ironside, in an episode titled “Murder Impromptu,” followed by their 1980s and early ’90s TV movies together.
Her last on-screen appearance to date came in a TV biographical documentary about Burr that aired in 2000.
Hale’s activity in radio was more limited than in film or television. She appeared in five episodes of Family Theater (1950-1954) and in one episode each of Lux Radio Theatre (1950), Voice of the Army (1947), and Proudly We Hail (syndicated).
Barbara Hale also is remembered as a spokesperson for Amana, makers of Radarange microwave ovens, memorably intoning, “If it doesn’t say Amana, it’s not a Radarange.”
In 1945 during the filming of West of the Pecos, Hale met actor Bill Williams (for more on Williams, see below). They married June 22, 1946, and became the parents of two daughters, Jodi and Juanita, and a son, actor William Katt. Katt played detective Paul Drake, Jr., with her in several made-for-television Perry Mason movies. She also guest-starred as the mother of Ralph Hinkley (played by Katt) in a 1982 episode of The Greatest American Hero (Episode 29, “Who’s Woo in America”), and appeared as his mother in the movieBig Wednesday (1978).
Bill Williams (See below) died of cancer in 1992, after 46 years of marriage. Hale herself is a cancer survivor, and a grandmother. She is a follower of the Bahá’í Faith.
Hale was recognized as a Star of Television (with a marker at 1628 Vine Street) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. She won the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic Series in 1959 and was nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Series in 1961.
She was presented one of the Golden Boot Awards in 2001 for her contributions to western cinema.
Della Street is the fictional secretary of Perry Mason in the long-running series of novels, short stories, films, and radio and television programs featuring the fictional defense attorney created by Erle Stanley Gardner.
In the first Perry Mason novel, The Case of the Velvet Claws, written in the early days of the Great Depression, it is revealed that Della Street came from a wealthy, or at least well-to-do, family that was wiped out by the stock market crash of 1929. Della was forced to get a job as a secretary. By the time of the TV series in the 1950s and 1960s, this would have not fit well with the age of the characters as then portrayed. According to The Case of The Caretaker’s Cat, she is approximately 15 years younger than Perry Mason.
A character named Della Street first appeared in Gardner’s unpublished novel Reasonable Doubt, where she was a secretary, but not the secretary of the lawyer, Ed Stark. Gardner described her this way: “Della Street … Secretary, twenty-seven, quiet, fast as hell on her feet, had been places. Worked in a carnival or side show, knows all the lines, hard-boiled exterior, quietly efficient, puzzled over the lawyer, chestnut hair, trim figure, some lines on her face, a hint of weariness at the corners of her eyes.”
When Gardner submitted Reasonable Doubt to William Morrow, an editor suggested that “Della Street is a better character than the secretary.” Gardner took this suggestion when he rewrote Reasonable Doubt as The Case of the Velvet Claws and made Della Street Perry Mason’s secretary. In the published novel, the carnival or side show was jettisoned, and Street came from a more respectable background. This is a good example of the difference between the pulp writing and slick writing of the 1930s.
In 1950 Gardner published the short story “The Case of the Suspect Sweethearts” under the pseudonym Della Street.
There are several instances of sexual tension between Mason and Street in the Gardner novels; multiple glances, kisses and so on. There were also several proposals of marriage, all of which Della turned down because she wanted to be a part of Mason’s life and she knew that meant being a part of his work.
In “The case of the Weary Watchdog,” Della is pulled over and introduces herself to the officer as “Mrs. BRANDON Street, Della Street.”
Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason in a series of novels, was a prolific author, who employed three secretaries simultaneously, all sisters, to keep up with his output. One of them he eventually married, after his first wife—from whom he was separated for 30 years—died. This was Jean Gardner, born Agnes Helene Walter. People who knew her believed she was the inspiration for Della Street, though neither she nor Erle Stanley Gardner himself admitted it. Mrs. Gardner said she thought he put several women together to create the character.
Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrant parents. He attended Pratt Institute, calling himself William H. Katt, and became a professional swimmer, performing in underwater shows. He landed a walk-on role as a theatre usher inKing Kong (1933). He enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, but was discharged before the end of the conflict and became an actor. He made his credited debut in The Blue Room in 1944, using the professional name Bill Williams. His first starring role opposite Susan Hayward in Deadline at Dawn (1946) made him a star.
Williams had appeared in ten films before he landed the lead role in The Adventures of Kit Carson, which ran for 104 episodes. After the series ended, Williams’ star power quickly fizzled out. It was briefly revived in 1957 when he co-starred with Betty White in television’s Date with the Angels. Williams played Federal agent Martin Flaherty in The Scarface Mob (1959), the pilot for ABC‘s The Untouchables. In the series, however, the role went to Jerry Paris. In 1958, Williams turned down the lead in Sea Hunt because he believed that an underwater show would not work well on television. Lloyd Bridges accepted the part and turned it into a hit. Williams then starred as a former Navy frogman in Assignment: Underwater, which ran for just one season. He played a variety of roles on Perry Mason, in which his wife Barbara Hale co-starred with Raymond Burr as his secretaryDella Street. In the 1962 episode, “The Case of the Crippled Cougar,” he played defendant Mike Preston. In 1963 he played murder victim Floyd Grant in “The Case of the Bluffing Blast.” In 1965 he played murderer Charles Shaw in “The Case of the Murderous Mermaid,” and murderer Burt Payne in “The Case of the 12th Wildcat”. Williams appeared in a final season episode of Ironside along with his son, bringing him together again with Raymond Burr. He also made guest appearances on television and worked in low-budget science fiction films until his retirement.
Williams married Hale June 22, 1946. They had met during the filming of West of the Pecos and would have two daughters, Jodi and Juanita, and a son, actor William Katt.