Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Julie Adams: The Lady'Even Movie Monsters Fell For




Episode 36

LUCAS: I can tell you something about this place. The boys around here call it "The Black Lagoon;" a paradise. Only they say nobody has ever come back to prove it.
DR. DAVID REED: We didn't come here to fight monsters, we're not equipped for it.

Anybody who doesn't recognize those two bits of dialogue has been woefully deprived of good old American pop culture. The lines, of course, are right out of the script for the cult classic, The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

And the lovely actress who was the unwilling object of the Creature's obsession was sitting across from me and Chris, spinning a few tales of Hollywood misadventures of her own. Her name, known to several generations of young men, was Julie Adams.

"I made my debut in the third grade," Julie told us. "The play was Hansel And Gretel." She gave us a mischievous grin. "Guess which part I played."

$2.3 Million Legs
In her heyday, Julie was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. Legs insured for a quarter of a million dollars. (About $2.3 million in today's money.) Starring roles opposite all the great leading men of her time: Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Tony Curtis, Clark Gable, and many more.

And now, sitting before us, she was as just lovely and charming as ever. Julie, if you recall, was co-starring as Lorne Greene's wife in Code Red. She'd dropped by to see us to talk about the dreadful scripts they were getting, although she hadn't gotten around to that yet. Like Lorne, who'd shown up at our office doorstep a few days before, she was too polite and diplomatic to dive right into the mess that just might become Irwin (The Towering Toupee) Allen's last hurrah. (Or, Last fucking Ha-Ha, as Chris was wont to say.)

Although she'd guest starred on Quincy, we had never met her. But we had met her husband, Ray Danton, who had directed a couple of our Quincy episodes.

"Ray got started in Westerns, just like I did," Julie said when told about the Quincy connection. "He likes to joke that he spent his first few years in the business with an ear full of dirt."

We looked at her quizzically. Dirt? In his ear?

She laughed - a lovely sound. "He was always playing Indians in those days," she said. "A bit of typecasting that was hard to break... Although there's not a drop of Indian blood him. And he says that invariably, he'd be the Indian scout who puts his ear to the ground, then sagely announces: 'White man comes on iron horse.'"

Chuckles all around, and as our secretary, Genevieve, entered with more tea for Julie, we motioned for her to sit in and listen.

Julie said, "You know, I was just a girl from Iowa with stars in her eyes when I came out here to make my fortune." She shrugged. "It wasn't easy. I worked as a secretary part time for a couple of years, meanwhile taking all the classes I could in acting, dancing, fencing... you name it, I took a class in it."

"And horse riding?" I guessed.

Another melodious laugh. Julie's eyes sparkled with mirth. "No, I'd never ridden a horse in my life until I got my first job. And in a way, it was fortunate that I hadn't."

How so?

She said, "The director asked me if I could ride, so I said, absolutely... all my life. And then the big scene came up where the horse I was riding was supposed to run away with me so I could be rescued by the handsome hero.

"Well, they had me in this outfit - leather pants, leather everything - and the pants were so tight they had to sew me into them. I didn't touch a drop of water for hours, for fear that I'd have to use the Ladies, and they'd have to cut me out of the pants and then sew me back in them again."

We all laughed, Genevieve the heartiest.

Julie said, "Then came the big scene and the pants were so tight I couldn't bend my legs. So they lifted me on the horse. Mind you, this was the first time I was ever on such a beast. And it was huge, huge."

She raised a hand as high as she could to indicate just how huge. "Then, they led the horse out to the Mark, handed me the reins and said to wait for my cue.

"Shots were fired off camera for the big shootout, and the director shouts for me to go. I didn't know how to make a horse go... there wasn't a pedal anywhere that I could see. But the gunfire scared the horse and it took off. Going like crazy.

"Fortunately, I was supposed to be screaming for help, because that's what I did anyway. I was terrified. And then... well... like a bit right out of Auntie Mame... my pants were so tight I got stuck in the saddle so I couldn't have fallen off if I wanted to. The horse ran on and on, then turned and raced back through the camp, scattering extras and crew members.

"Then came the big rescue. And when it was done, they lifted me out of the saddle, and I staggered back expecting to be bawled out by the director, or maybe even fired. Instead, he said, 'You were marvelous, darling! Marvelous! I wasn't told you were such a fabulous horsewoman!'"

Julie grinned at us. "After that, I very quickly started taking riding lessons up at Griffith Park," she said. "And it was a good thing, too, because I was in a whole string of Westerns after that. Word got out what a good rider I was. And..." she shrugged... "I suppose it helped that I looked good in tight leather pants."

"And white bathing suits, too," Chris opined.

The White Bathing Suit
"Oh, you meant the Black Lagoon movie," Julie said with a grin. "You know, I was in scads of films and many, many episodes of television, but the film everyone remembers most was me in that white bathing suit being terrorized by the Creature. He was played by two men, you know. One for the underwater scenes, the other for the land scenes."

"So, it was the land scene guy who got to carry you around while you were eeking," I said, wishing mightily that I had been that man.

Julie chuckled, then said, "I receive fan mail from young men all over the world - as far away as Australia. All wanting an autographed picture of me in that white bathing suit, with the Creature threatening in the background."

Another laugh. "What a treat to make so many conquests of young men at my age."

"Was it a difficult shoot?" I asked.

"Oh, was it ever," Julie said. "We shot some of it at the lake in the backlot, but then went all over to pick up the rest. We even had a second unit in Florida to shoot underwater scenes, because the water there was so clear.

It Was HOT In There
"It was hardest on Ben Chapman, though. The one who played the land-based Creature. The makeup took hours and hours, and then he couldn't sit down in the suit. He'd have to stand the whole time, sometimes ten hours a day.

"And it was so hot - he was being steamed to death in that thing. Ben spent a lot of time floating in the lake to cool down. And when we were shooting, he had a guy standing by to hose him off."

She sipped her tea, then added, "The other thing that was so horrible about his suit was that he could barely see. And whenever he lugged me into the Grotto, he scraped my head against the rocks.

"One time I got a really bad blow on the head and I was out cold for I don't know how long. And I felt dizzy after that for most of the day."

She shrugged. "But, as I'm sure you are aware," she continued, "they make mistakes by the dozen in films of all kinds. Why, when I was in Bend In The River - opposite Jimmy Stewart - at one point I'm shot with an arrow right here."

Julie indicated a place between one breast and her neck. "Then, later on, the arrow is in my shoulder." She showed us where.

"Of course, they had to move it, because when the wound was treated the censors would have gone crazy because too much of my breast might have been revealed. The thing is, it would have been too expensive to go back and shoot the scene of the arrow hitting me - this time in a more easily accessible place. We all just hoped no one would notice, and, of course, some people did."

Chris said, "Wasn't that the movie where you see a jet's com trail in one of the shots?"

Julie giggled. "The very same. But, we had Jimmy Stewart front and center and the script was great, so everything turned out for the best."

She paused, remembering. "Rock Hudson was in it, too. When the movie opened he got so many cheers from the audience that Jimmy got horribly jealous. He said Rock was just a big ham and then he swore that he'd never speak to him again."

With a shrug, she added: "And as far as I know, he never did."

Julie said, "Of course, there are some things you have no control over. Tragic things. Why, when I did Six Bridges To Cross with Tony Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr. was in a car accident and lost his eye. He was on the way to record the music for the film, so I was long gone and on to other projects. But Sammy is a dear, dear friend, and we all felt simply terrible about it."

With that somber note, there was a short silence, which was then filled when Julie got to the point of her visit. Besides just making nice to the writers, that is.

She said, "Lorne's told me how little control you have over the scripts we're receiving, but perhaps there is something you can help us with."

Chris, as smitten as I was, said, "Anything, Julie."

To which I added, "Whatever we can do."

Julie said, "The thing is I'm finding very little to do on this show. I'm supposed to play Lorne's wife and the mother of our two firemen sons, but rarely do we have a scene together. With either Lorne or the boys - or even the whole family."

We thought a moment, mentally reviewing the scripts that hadn't yet been produced, then ran into The Problem. The scripts had all been approved by many, vice presidents, including the all important Censor. To change anything at all - much less to add a scene - would require further approvals up and down the ladder. Plus, many of the approved scripts were hanging by a thread, and if the Suits had a second chance they'd put the kibosh on them for sure.

"There's a script coming up," Chris finally said, "where you and Lorne are together. It starts with a fight, then you two make up."

"That's good," Julie said. "I love working opposite Lorne. We can really strike sparks between us."

I remembered the script, thinking: Aw, shit!

But what I said to Chris was, "Uh... partner... maybe you forgot. That scene was Futtermaned.

I turned to Julie to explain: "She's the censor."

"I know who she is," Julie said, frosty. Then she laughed. "'Futtermaned. A new verb for my vocabulary."

I said, "Well... anyway, Futterman said the kiddies watching the show might get warped - she said, 'conflicted' - if they saw Mommy and Daddy figures kissing in their bedroom."

"What? We should do it in the kitchen?" Julie scoffed. "What foolishness!"

"Maybe that's a good idea," Chris put in. "The kitchen business, I mean."

We both turned to look at him. How so?

Chris said, "That script's still a little short, so we could put the scene back in. Except, we start the fight in the bedroom. Then move it to the kitchen, where they can settle the argument. Then kiss to make up. Except, just then, one of the boys comes in from work and they jump apart. Act a little embarrassed. But their son thinks it's sweet... Like that..."

"A charming little scene," Julie said. "That's the kind of thing I mean."

Then she added, "Anything else? Are there other scripts that offer opportunities to do a little acting?"

I thought frantically. We both really wanted to please her. She was so nice, so charming, and… I must confess… neither one of us could get that movie image of her in the white bathing suit out of our heads.

I said, "Well, there's a script coming up where a brush fire traps everybody in a substation, along with refugees from the fire. We could... uh..." I was thinking as fast as I could... "We could have you visiting Lorne on some errand and you get trapped with all the rest."

"That's good," Chris said. Julie nodded in agreement.

I was usually pretty good at winging things, but this time I blew it. I said, "Maybe we could put a pregnant woman at the station... and... and... she's starts to deliver the baby...and... and... it's all going wrong... and... and... at the height of the fire danger you save the day by helping the woman deliver the baby."

There was a dead silence. So silent, that I realized instantly what a foolish, sexist, and condescending thing I had said. I wanted to crawl under the desk and hide.

Then Julie batted her eyes, and said, in the sweetest Gone With The Wind drawl: "Why, Suh, I just know everythin' about birthin' babies."

You can imagine how small I felt. But Julie just laughed, patted my hand, and told another of her wonderful stories to relieve the tension.

When she left, we were all fast friends. Really. To this day I exchange Christmas cards with her every year.

And once we had a book signing on the Fourth Of July, and Julie showed up with a half-a-dozen celebrity friends and really put the signing over the top.

What a lady!



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Can't wait to read the blog each week to find out what happens next? No problem. Click the following link and buy the book. 

Tales Sometimes Tall, but always true, of Allan Cole's years in Hollywood with his late partner, Chris Bunch. How a naked lady almost became our first agent. How we survived La-La Land with only the loss of half our brain cells. How Bunch & Cole became the ultimate Fix-It 
Boys. How an alleged Mafia Don was very, very good to us. The guy who cornered the market on movie rocks. Andy Warhol's Fire Extinguisher. The Real Stars Of Hollywood. Why they don't make million dollar movies. See The Seven Pi$$ing Dwarfs. Learn: how to kill a "difficult" actor… And much, much more.

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Ever since my British publisher put all eight novels in the Sten series in three omnibus editions, American readers have been clamoring for equal treatment. 

Well, my American publisher – Wildside Books – was listening and has issued all three omnibus volumes on this side of the Atlantic. Here are the links to buy the books:

THE TIMURA TRILOGY: When The Gods Slept, Wolves Of The Gods and The Gods Awaken. This best selling fantasy series now available as trade paperbacks, e-books (in all varieties) and as audiobooks. Visit The Timura Trilogy page for links to all the editions. 

NEWLY REVISED KINDLE EDITIONS OF THE TIMURA TRILOGY NOW AVAILABLE. (1) When The Gods Slept;(2) Wolves Of The Gods; (3) The Gods Awaken.


A NATION AT WAR WITH ITSELF: In Book Three Of The Shannon Trilogy, young Patrick Shannon is the heir-apparent to the Shannon fortune, but murder and betrayal at a family gathering send him fleeing into the American frontier, with only the last words of a wise old woman to arm him against what would come. And when the outbreak of the Civil War comes he finds himself fighting on the opposite side of those he loves the most. In The Wars Of The Shannons we see the conflict, both on the battlefield and the homefront, through the eyes of Patrick and the members of his extended Irish-American family as they struggle to survive the conflict that ripped the new nation apart, and yet, offered a dim beacon of hope.



A True Story About A Boy,
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LUCKY IN CYPRUS is a coming-of-age story set in the Middle East during the height of the Cold War. An American teenager – son of a CIA operative – is inspired by grand events and a Greek Cypriot teacher. 

He witnesses earthquakes and riots and terrorist attacks, but in the end it is his teacher’s gentle lessons that keep him whole.

Here's where to get the paperback & Kindle editions worldwide: 

Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
  • "Bravo, Allan! When I finished Lucky In Cyprus I wept." - Julie Mitchell, Hot Springs, Texas
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What if the Cold War never ended -- but continued for a thousand years? Best-selling authors Allan Cole (an American) and Nick Perumov (a Russian) spin a mesmerizing "what if?" tale set a thousand years in the future, as an American and a Russian super-soldier -- together with a beautiful American detective working for the United Worlds Police -- must combine forces to defeat a secret cabal ... and prevent a galactic disaster! This is the first - and only - collaboration between American and Russian novelists. Narrated by John Hough. Click the title links below for the trade paperback and kindle editions. (Also available at iTunes.)


A novel by Allan and his daughter, Susan

After laboring as a Doctors Without Borders physician in the teaming refugee camps and minefields of South Asia, Dr. Ann Donovan thought she'd seen Hell as close up as you can get. And as a fifth generation CIA brat, she thought she knew all there was to know about corruption and betrayal. But then her father - a legendary spymaster - shows up, with a ten-year-old boy in tow. A brother she never knew existed. Then in a few violent hours, her whole world is shattered, her father killed and she and her kid brother are one the run with hell hounds on their heels. They finally corner her in a clinic in Hawaii and then all the lies and treachery are revealed on one terrible, bloody storm- ravaged night.

BASED ON THE CLASSIC STEN SERIES by Allan Cole & Chris Bunch: Fresh from their mission to pacify the Wolf Worlds, Sten and his Mantis Team encounter a mysterious ship that has been lost among the stars for thousands of years. At first, everyone aboard appears to be long dead. Then a strange Being beckons, pleading for help. More disturbing: the presence of AM2, a strategically vital fuel tightly controlled by their boss - The Eternal Emperor. They are ordered to retrieve the remaining AM2 "at all costs." But once Sten and his heavy worlder sidekick, Alex Kilgour, board the ship they must dare an out of control defense system that attacks without warning as they move through dark warrens filled with unimaginable horrors. When they reach their goal they find that in the midst of all that death are the "seeds" of a lost civilization. 



Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself.

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