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The Classic Film and TV Cafe is a blog devoted to classic movies and television series, ranging from the silent film era to the s. Come into the Cafe and join in the conversation! Reflections from the Black Lagoon. Bend of the River. What was it like working with that all-star cast and director Anthony Mann?
Some of my fondest Hollywood memories came from acting in Bend of the River. Working with James Stewart was an incredible learning experience for me; he was such a fine screen actor. Arthur Kennedy was also a real pro. He had a great deal of stage experience and that brought a unique acting style to the ensemble.
Rock Hudson and I became pals and later co-starred in another one of my favorites, The Lawless Breed. I also became friends with Lori Nelson, a lovely young actress. Today, we share a bond through the Creature trilogy of films.
Lori played the Gill Man's object of desire in the second movie, Revenge of the Creature.
I also loved working with director Anthony Mann, who had great energy. It was an action picture, so his upbeat nature brought a good tempo.
We all enjoyed working with him. There was a sense of unity in trying to make the movie good. How did you come to be cast in that role?
The day I tested for the part with Jimmy, I brought into play my genuine friendship and admiration I had for him as a person. I think that came through on the screen; we had nice chemistry together. After the screen test, he gave me a little nod and as I walked back to my dressing room I thought: The show was not a success, and only lasted 24 episodes.
But, as I've often said: You're probably asked this a lot, but what do you remember most fondly about Creature from the Black Lagoon? One of the most famous stills in s science fiction cinema. I think it was all of the creative people who worked on the movie.
Jack Arnold did a magnificent job directing, making a fantastic story believable. Makeup artists Bud Westmore and Jack Kevan were great friends and so very talented.
The look of the Creature still captivates audiences today. I also became good friends with Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning, the men who portrayed the Creature on land and underwater. Of course, Richard Carlson and Richard Denning are compelling as two of the lead scientists on the expedition.
The astonishing afterlife of this film never ceases to amaze me. I'm proud that it has entertained so many movie fans for so long.
You began your career while there was still a "studio system" that groomed stars. Do you think the demise of the studio system was a good thing or a bad thing?
I know several actors who had varied experiences with the "studio system. I had virtually no contacts when I came to Hollywood, and having a home base at Universal was a wonderful thing for me.
I got to work with movie stars that I never would have even met were it not for the studio system. I'm not sure if its demise was a good or bad thing. Personally, I think it's harder for newcomers to establish themselves these days without the resources of a major studio behind them.
You starred opposite Elvis Presley in Tickle Meonce describing the plot as "the reverse of a boss chasing the secretary around the desk. Despite his status as a superstar singer and stage performer, Elvis took his acting very seriously.
He was always prepared, and did a good job in the roles he was given.
When he did his musical numbers in Tickle Me, sometimes walking from table to table in a nightclub set, he did them perfectly in one take! If you had to name one favorite, what would it be?The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum.
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