Pam and I are suited up for the
Emmy Awards, for which I had been
one of the judges.
Another view of the crane
The crane could be configured in many different ways.
Here, as the van drives forward, I am dollying backward
above this long, long table at the wedding feast.
Here, the camera is mounted on top of the van for a trucking shot
along the Venice boardwalk. I had to hire the policeman for crowd
From a dream sequence shot in the studio.
Sometimes we were able to borrow a Panovision
camera for a few days at a time when shooting
Public Service Announcements. We won an
Emmy for one of our PSAs. Many of our PSAs
were actually aired on local stations in LA. One
of them even made the network.
In 1979 I directed the only feature length drama
ever made at LAVC -- an adapted version of
Ibsen's "Ghosts," which I called "Ghosts Never
Die." I updated it from the coast of Norway in
the 1870s to the Texas Gulf Coast in the
1970s. I'm wetting down this actor before a
scene in which he comes in from the rain.
Another PSA required the construction of a hospital set.
I had enjoyed my teaching career very much, but after
almost 30 years of marching down the aisle I was eager to
do other things.
When I approached the lectern to give a farewell
speech at my retirement party, I was surprised to
see all the students in the audience hold a
cut-out of this image in front of their face, as
though they were clones of old "Doc."
As soon as I retired I became assistant producer of the
Atheist United TV show. Here, I'm taping a speech at
one of our meetings with some of the equipment that we
obtained from a $120,000 grant.
And this is the rest of the equipment, an AVID
computerized editing system -- set up here at
Lee Baker's house.
This is the logo that I created for Atheists United. For
the TV show, it was part of a computerized animated
George Jammal had been inspired to join Atheists United after hearing me on KPFK. Some time later, he
became so incensed by a fundamentalist propaganda program about Noah's Ark that he decided to do
something about it. He wrote a letter to the Creation Research Society, claiming that he had seen Noah's Ark
on an expedition up Mt. Ararat and had brought home a piece of wood from it. We both had a good laugh
about it when the creationists swallowed his absurd story with no questions asked. In 1993 he was surprised to
hear from the original producers of the Noah program, saying that they wanted to update the show with
additional footage. Would he be willing to tell his story on camera? He decided to do it, then later expose the
entire film as a hoax. He conferred with me about what he should say, and I introduced him to Dr. Gerald Larue,
a biblical archaeologist at USC. Dr. Larue was also furious with the same production company because of the
way they had distorted his views in another one of their programs, so he agreed to help George any way he
could. After the expanded program aired in the summer of 1993, George and Dr. Larue appeared together on
our Atheists United program and explained how they had "hoaxed the hoaxers." We scooped the nation with
our exclusive interview.
Not long after the Noah's Ark kerfuffle I
began doing investigations with the IIG
at CFI. One of our earliest cases was
of "Sparky, the Mind Reading Wonder
Dog." This story in the New Times
magazine explained the way we found
out how the trick was done.
Celebrating my 72nd birthday with girlfriend Linda
If no student submitted a script to direct for the
semester, then I would write and direct a sync-sound
project for the students to work on. This happened
in 1976, so I shot a 23 minute "music video," before
the term had ever been invented. It was called "Love
Song" -- all singing, all dancing. I built this
homemade camera crane and mounted it in my van,
which I had modified into a "camera car." Here, we
are shooting a wedding scene in a park. My wife was
one of the dancers in the scene.
This is the canopy required for a Jewish wedding.
This is a wide-angle shot of the crane standing alone in the
studio. This time, there is a platform hanging from the end,
with a cameraman lying flat as he hand-holds the camera for
a complicated boom shot of a bedroom set.
Some friends organized a big party for my 75th birthday.
Blowing out the candles
Two guests discussing my book table
Others gathered around
a video monitor to watch
some of my films
Here, I'm being interviewed on
camera for a clip to be posted on
I got to know Bart Aikens and
Andrea Winkler on a film they were
making. They also produced this
party for me.
Phillip Dye, Will Falconer, and Eric Andersen, three of my
most successful film students were there.
And a great time was had by all!
My special thanks to Andrea for
organizing the party, and for helping
me with my latest book.