May 8th, 2013:



Warner Bros. Studios is about fifteen minutes from my home in the San Fernando Valley.   That area in Burbank is filled with entertainment industry icons:  Disney Animation, and NBC where the Tonight Show is filmed. Adjacent to the various studios is Forest Lawn Hollywood cemetery and the huge Griffith Park. If you’re hungry for a hamburger, there’s the famous Bob’s Big Boy, open in Burbank since 1949.   Over the years, for a variety of reasons, I’ve made several visits to Warner Bros. Studios.  I would venture to guess that a large percentage of Southern Californians know someone who is in, as they call it here, The Industry.  Be it an Accountant on a film set, a Grip, a Best Boy, a First Assistant Director, or a Second Assistant Director, a Unit Production Manager, or even one of the actors in television or movies.

During the years of “Designing Women” on TV, I became friends with Carolisa, one of the assistant producers. I had written a screenplay about English pirate hero Sir Francis Drake (It was titled El Dragon at that time, after Drake’s Spanish nickname). Carolisa gave the script to Meshack Taylor, one of the stars of the popular series, because there was a possible part for him. I attended one of the show’s tapings at Warner Bros. and got to meet Meshack in person. He told me he loved my script and commented enthusiastically: “It is beautiful.”  Who knows, some day that script may find its way to the screen.

Another friend, Max, worked on many films on that lot, like Barbara Streisand’s “Nuts,” which, apparently, drove many of the cast and crew nuts. During one of my low cash flow times, she tried to get me a secretarial type job on one of the many projects there, and I remember working at a typewriter for a day. One of the advantages of being on the lot was observing all the permanent sets, the office of Clint Eastwood, some of the filming action and meeting a few people. She introduced me to producer Paul Monash (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”) in the parking garage and William Shatner during a break in his TV series at the time, “T.J. Hooker.” (I’ve written about that episode previously). Leading me around the streets and back lots, Max and I sneaked into the very private set of Steven Speilberg’s “Goonies”—the pirate ship in a cove!

A few years later I went to Warner Bros. to do an interview with TV and stage actor Lane Davies  (soaps such as “Santa Barbara,”  “Days of Our Lives” and various series). He asked me to come to the lot so I could watch him play Tempus, a psychopathic time-traveler, on the Superman series “Lois & Clark.” While they were filming a scene, I sat watching it with star Dean Cain’s stunt double. He was a friendly fellow and curious who I was. He asked if I had been in Arnold Swarzenegger’s “Terminator” films! Since I was not a Terminator fan and hadn’t seen them, I couldn’t even think of a plausible lie!

                                                                                                                                                                    Warner Bros. Studios
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