Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lorne Green Never Shouts! Got That?




Episode 35
The MisAdventures Continue After
Being Sidelined By Injuries 

We heard a deep familiar voice rumble in the outer office: "Good morning, young lady. Are my writers in?"

It was none other than our hero, Lorne Greene, friend-in-misery at Galactica 1980, and now star of the unfortunate Code Red.

We jumped to our feet, beaming as he entered our office, ducking to avoid bumping his head. Our secretary, Genevieve, was a small, star-struck presence behind him as she ushered Lorne in.

Extending his hand, Lorne said, "Ah, my fellow Galactica survivors."

There were shakes and warm greeting of friends rejoined all around. Then we got Lorne seated, while Genevieve fetched him a cold bottle of Perrier.

Finally, he steered to the point of his visit. "You know, in my long years in this business, I've dealt with just about everything that can befall a production. From inclement weather to unprofessional conduct by cast members, directors, and producers, to balky horses whose saddles kept slipping off."

He ran a hand through his thick, silvery hair, his bushy brows coming together in one of his patented Lorne Greene frowns. Chris and I felt fortunate that the frown wasn't directed at us.

"But this show," he said. "This show..." He let it trail off. Little imagination was required to fill in the blanks.

The bitter chaos that was Code Dead had spread into every nook and cranny of the show until even the studio gate guards gave us pitying looks when we came to work. A couple of the old timers told us some you-think-this-is-bad, anecdotes about Irwin (The Towering Toupee ) Allen when he was younger and healthier and could really lay about with his mean stick.

What's worse, the series kept shifting under us. First, we were an eight o'clock show, then a 7 o'clock Children's Hour show. And then - well, I whined about all that before. But to add one more whine, the writing quality (ha!) was all over the place.

Irwin had demoralized the free lancers assigned to write the majority of the scripts so much that many of them had abandoned the offices on the lot that he had given them gratis and fled to their homes, where they may or may not have been working on various drafts of Code Red scripts. I know what Chris and I would have done if we weren't under contract and could flee. In a word, FuckAll.

"Don't get me wrong," Lorne continued. "Although this is... well... I don't think it would be too strong to call it an unhappy production."

"We call it a fucking mess," Chris put in.

Lorne laughed, then nodded agreement. He said, "Thank goodness that our little cast of regulars gets along famously. Andy and Sam are wonderful, and Julie, well, she's just magnificent. As always."

We noticed he hadn't mention Adam (The Beach Ball) Rich, but didn't comment.

Instead, I said, "Must be a lot different than your experience on shows like Bonanza. The scripts were usually superior. And everyone looked so pleased to work with one another."

"Oh, it was a joyous experience," Lorne said. "And it was a pleasure to work with Pernell, Dan, and Michael." (Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon and Dan Blocker were his costars.)

Bonanza: The Boot Wars
He chuckled, saying, "Of course, we did have our disagreements. And sometimes they became outright silly." Another laugh. "The craziest of all was the war of the boots," he said. "Or, should I say the war of the bootheels."

We looked at him expectantly - what the hell was a boot war?

He said, "On a show like Bonanza, you could really get your macho going. I forget who... maybe it was Michael... started looking at Pernell as a rival. In the show, they were brothers, so I suppose it was only was natural to carry the sibling rivalry over to real life.

"Anyway, Michael cozened Wardrobe into providing him with boot heels that made him as tall as Pernell. Or, almost so. Michael - God love him - was always, well... undertall. Pernell started noticing the height difference during dailies. He was possibly thinking that Michael was trying to steal the scenes they had together. So, Pernell had Wardrobe provide him with heels that put him above Michael again.

"Then Dan got into the action because both boys were nearing his height. He started wearing boots with bigger heels so he could be taller and go back to towering over his brothers."

Lorne threw back his head and laughed that deep laugh of his. Wiped his eyes. Then: "Well, foolish old ham that I was, I noticed that Dan and the others were getting close to my height. And so, I must confess, I joined the chase. It was like the Arms Race, but with feet involved.

"That went back and forth for a bit - each fellow getting boots with higher heels, and the rest of us retaliating. Until one day, we're shooting a scene where the four of us are walking downhill on a dirt road. We get maybe twenty, thirty feet when the director shouts: Cut! We turn around, wondering what on Earth could be wrong. We were just walking along a predetermined path - nothing difficult about that.

"And then, boy did that director put us straight. He said, 'You guys are staggering and mincing down that hill like you were four John Wayne 's who just took some Nancy pills. Now, knock it off and go get Wardrobe to supply you with some proper boots.'"

"We didn't quarrel with him and did as we were told. And, brother were we glad we did when we saw the dailies the following day. The director purposely showed the scene he had cut with the four of us knuckleheads staggering down that damned hill! We looked like four homely women in men's Western wear and out-of-control high heels. It was a wonder we didn't collide with one another and topple over."

After we got through laughing, Lorne became serious. "And now the true reason for my visit today, boys," he said. Then smiling, "Not that I'm not always pleased to spend time in your company."

Lorne drew a script out of a battered soft leather briefcase and we both braced for the worse as he flipped pages.

He said, "I have no illusions on what kind of control you have over the scripts we're getting. But I think you two could be of immensely important assistance on matters of script directions."

Lorne indicated a page and then a line in a script. "Here's a prime example. The situation in the scene is that I have just discovered that Danny, Adam's character, has committed some transgression. I'm furious about it. And my line is: 'I'm going to talk to that boy.'"

He looked up at us. "But the direction on the line is that I'm supposed to shout!"

As if wounded, Lorne pressed a palm against his chest. "That's not like me, boys. I don't mean just my character. I mean my style. I don't shout and I never have in my entire career. In fact, the angrier I'm supposed to get, the deeper I make my voice."

He demonstrated, making the windows rattle with the low rumble of: "I'm going to talk to that boy."

It was the voice of the ultimate Father Figure. Mentally, I shrunk in my seat. As did Chris. That voice made you feel like a naughty child again. Waiting for the punishment sure to come. It was a voice that said you were going to be grounded for, oh... how about the rest of your life?

Lorne said, "Do you see what I mean?"

Oh, boy, did we.

"Death to all shouting references, sir," Chris said, snapping a salute. "At least when it refers to you."

"Thank you, Chris," Lorne said. "But I have a larger point and it deals with directions involving my character in so many other ways. It strips away what I do best, and that's to speak and react with dignity."

"Your complaint about that line says it all," I put in. "In other words, when it comes to your character, less is more."

"Exactly," Lorne said.

And then, once again in that low, glass rattling voice: "Less is more."

NEXT: Julie Adams: The Lady Even Movie Monsters Fell For

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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. 

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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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Some Terrorists And The CIA

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.

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Here's what readers say about Lucky In Cyprus:
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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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