Cliff Roberson Documentary + Competition to Name 60s Toys!

A very brief post this week because I am so busy writing the climax to Ordo Lupus III!

Honorary Cliff Robertson Documentary

If you haven’t made your donation yet to get a documentary made about the Academy Award Winner Cliff Robertson (Peter Parker’s Uncle in Spider Man) hop on over to the Facebook page and like it: https://www.facebook.com/cliffrobertsonhonorarydocumentary For as little as $5, you can get your name in the credits of the film!

In the meantime, here is something from Stephen Thompson, who is masterminding the project:

You know that Cliff had plenty of serious roles, but did you know that he had terrific comedic timing too? Check out this SNL commercial he did, on “The Car for Crazy People”
Cliff Robertson Spoof Advert

 

Competition to Name 1960s Toys and Win my eBooks!

toy 1

toy 1

 

If you name this toy, name four more to win any of my forthcoming eBooks!  Go here to enter.

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Daniel Keyes, author of Flowers for Algernon, has died.

New York Times – “Daniel Keyes, the author of “Flowers for Algernon,” the story of a man with an I.Q. of 68 who temporarily becomes a genius after surgery — a book that inspired the film “Charly,” starring Cliff Robertson — died on Sunday at his home in South Florida. He was 86.”

Read the full New York Times article.

I did a brief interview with Cliff, which you can read it on this blog. Stephen C Thompson, Cliff Robertson’s Press Agent, is making a documentary about the Academy Award winner’s life and the documentary will certainly discuss the film Charly. If you want to get involved in the film’s production hop over to the project ‘s Facebook page and give it a like!.

I reviewed both the novel Flowers for Algernon and the movie Charly on my blog in 2010.

Cliff Robertson Honorary Documentary

My all-time favourite film, set during wartime, is 633 Squadron (1964), starring Academy Award Winner Cliff Robertson. You may know him better as Peter Parker’s uncle in Spider Man.

633 Squadron is also one of my favourite movies of all time. The editing is tight and the action is the edge-of-your-seat stuff of legend. Here’s some trivia for you: did you know 633 Squadron was George Lucas’s inspiration for the Death Star attack in Star Wars IV – A New Hope? A great deal of the credit for the film’s taught style and human depth can be attributed to Cliff Robertson, who had enough influence in Hollywood at this time to ask for rewrites of film scripts. Cliff was at the very pinnacle of Hollywood’s acting elite and is still, to my knowledge the only actor to win a Grammy each for film, theatre and advertising. His Oscar for Charly was well-deserved and if you haven’t seen that, PT 109 (where Cliff played John F Kennedy) or 633 Squadron, see them.

Cliff was one of my childhood heroes and I was lucky enough to correspond with with Cliff at the end of his life. Along with many other fans, I always wondered what happened to his character, Roy Grant, at the end of the film. He is badly wounded but we can’t be sure whether he survives or not. After a heated discussion on youtube, I decided to try and contact Cliff to find out. With the help of Stephen Thompson, Cliff’s Press Agent, I was able to write a letter with a set of questions and get these to Cliff.

To my complete surprise, he replied! Not only that, but he was very forthcoming in his answers and asked me to go to America to interview him, in his words ‘mano a mano’. Unfortunately I was unable to do that before his death, to my lasting regret. Cliff left a lasting impression on me as a man of great warmth, generosity and genuine curiosity. Here is the question and his response:

10. It seems a question of debate as to whether Roy Grant survives at the end of 633 Squadron – we would like to have your personal opinion on this?
Cliff: I did not particularly like the ending and so stated because there was an ambiguity as to whether Roy Grant lived or died. However that’s just my opinion. Walter Marrish, the producer is a fine gentleman and a delight to work with. He happily is still with us and lives in Beverly Hills.

You can read the interview in full by clicking on Cliff Robertson Interview in the main menu.

Cliff was a towering figure in Hollywood, for reasons which I won’t go into here, but which you can find out about yourself if you take the time. Please don’t let this outstanding actor and personality be forgotten. I recently dedicated my novel Attack Hitler’s Bunker! to Cliff.

Stephen Thompson is now working on producing an honorary documentary about Cliff, both as an actor, and his aviation accomplishments. Below is a video of Cliff talking about some of his concerns about modern Hollywood films and below that an extract from Stephen’s project page to raise seed money to get the project made. He has contacted John Travolta, Harrison Ford and many other people who knew Cliff. Brian Gillogly (Accidental Icon: The Real Gidget Story) has agreed to direct the documentary. The project is gaining pace but the project needs your support. I have known Stephen for a few years now and I have found him to be utterly dedicated to Cliff’s legacy and reliable. Anything you can spare will be greatly appreciated and you can have your name on the Honour Roll at the end of the documentary. See further down for more details.


Video Courtesy of Jason Wissinger — Storm Maker Productions

From Stephen Thompson’s project page:

In order to produce the project at the quality level I envision, developing the project will take a substantial amount of time on our parts, so I am raising $9500 to cover the development expenses, minus the $410.00 I raised earlier this year through our IndieGoGo campaign.

Development is the business foundation of our project. Without proper development, our project will never progress beyond the discussion stage.

I feel fortunate to have found the video shown above, and obtain permission to use it, because this particular video shows Cliff as I knew him.

So please like the project on Facebook then learn more about the project, and consider making a donation in order to help make the project happen.

Check out our Honour Roll, where any donation earns you a listing, regardless of the amount!

Please consider making a $50 donation, and receiving a listing on our Supporters page.

As always, thanks for your consideration and assistance!

Cliff Robertson Biography film

Just a quick post:

I had a very short correspondence with Cliff at the end of his life because I was a huge fan of his since I was a child and I wanted to ask him some questions about my favourite film 633 Squadron. He was mad about aircraft himself. I found Cliff to be incredibly warm and friendly and he tried to answer most of my questions. He even asked me over to do a ‘mano a mano’ interview. I would have loved to have gone but I couldn’t really find the time. I regret this now because I didn’t know how ill he was. Please help raise some money so we can honour this outstanding and inspirational man. Click on the link below and find out more:

http://www.thomcomm.com/cliffrobertsondocumentary.php

You can also like the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/cliffrobertsonhonorarydocumentary

and comment on the blog:

http://cliffrobertsonhonorarydocumentary.blogspot.com/

I have asked Steve Thompson  who is guiding this project to post about this project on this blog in the next few weeks.

Cliff Robertson

Cliff Robertson has died. I don’t know how at the moment. His website is down but I am going to send our little group’s condolences to him via his Press Agent – when I can find his address. It will probably be swamped in the welter of messages from other people but it’s the best I can do.

I only had the briefest of correspondences with him but I was struck by how open, warm and friendly he was. He asked me to go to his house to conduct an interview ‘Mano a Mano’ but it wasn’t the right time for me. I did feel also that he was possibly not well by some of the things he said. It’s sad I won’t now have the chance to talk to him but at least we have some answers to questions about 633 Squadron.

Cliff, if you are watching or listening, you will be missed.

Cliff Robertson R.I.P.

Steve Thompson has given me this address if anybody wants to leave a message about Cliff.
http://cinemanewswire.blogspot.com/2011/09/charles-thompson-phil-lansdale-cliff.html

If you haven’t already read it, you can find Cliff Robertson’s answers to a questionnaire I I sent him on the film 633 Squadron a year before he died here.

Questionnaire for Cliff Robertson – Cliff’s Response

Well I did get an answer from Cliff – direct by mail. What a generous guy. I can hardly believe he fitted this in to what must be a very busy life: he is involved in a movie at the moment. His letter is quite chatty and I am not sure if all of it is for public consumption so I have typed-up the bits of the letter that are answers, and placed them against the relevant questions below. So here it is:

Dear Mr Robertson,

633 Squadron is the film in which I first saw you and made me a fan of yours. Ever since then I have sought out any film with you in it and recently, at last, I managed to see Charly (which I have never seen scheduled in England on TV).

633 Squadron has always been a very popular movie in England: it was regularly shown on TV during my childhood and is my favourite film. Today I think the film has entered the national psyche and is even the subject of contemporary adverts. The theme music is one of the best-loved pieces of music here and for myself, I never tire of watching your performance as the laconic Roy Grant. I think, more than any other film (certainly on flying or war), it has come to represent best, something fundamental about the British character. Many fans would love to know more about the film and about your part: you only have to look at the posts on youtube alongside excerpts (illegal I am sure) of the movie to see how popular it is, and yet you have been almost silent on it. Please Cliff, would you be so kind as to try and find time to answer the following questions for your fans in England (I cannot speak for Wales, Ireland and Scotland but I am sure they feel the same).
A movie and aviation buff.

Cliff’s Response:
It was a joy to film the picture, although we were limited as to budget and time. I think under the circumstances that everyone connected. The picture did well with these limitations.

1. Did you get to fly in any of the Mosquitos during the filming (which incidentally was at Bovingdon, only 2 miles from my house at the time) and if so, did you manage to take the controls?
Cliff: My one great regret was not getting to fly the Mosquitos. The producers knew I was a pilot and were careful to keep me away from the controls for insurance reasons. All sadly understood.

2. What was it like working with the director, Walter Grauman? I understand he is a big fan of aeroplanes too.
Cliff: I enjoyed working with Walter Grauman. We shared a mutual appreciation and love for aviation – I being an active pilot and “Wally” Grauman having been a bombardier in World War II. My piloting has all been post World War II, although I have had a long love affair with aviation all my life.

3. I think only a real pilot could pull off the scenes of dialogue by your character in the cockpit because of the understated movement which seems so realistic. Do you think your passion for flying and dedication to the part helped to lift the film from a B-movie to a classic?

4. I know you are a modest guy and might not find the last question so easy to answer so what are your memories of the other actors in the movie?
Cliff: As for the cast I think they were all first rate. A very congenial group of actors. All in all it was a good film to work on. Good cast, fine crew and happy memories.

5. Did you ever meet Steve McQueen, another actor and pilot?

6. Incidentally he filmed The War Lover at Bovingdon too. Would you have like to fly a B-17 or are you more interested in lighter aircraft?

7. I have seen 633 squadron at least ten times as I cannot resist watching both you and the Mosquitos. I have heard that it was filmed very briskly, that the English actors were paid by the day, and the higher-paid ones, for instance, were the ones who crashed during the raid (although I have never been able to make the number of shot-down planes add up during the attack on the fjord). Do you remember it being filmed quickly (if you remember the filming at all)?
Cliff: As to (the cast’s) payment which you enquired of, I know not any details.

8. Somehow the tension is as tight as any film I can think of, and watching it is like being on a rack: the tension just builds and builds. Is this down to taught direction, the subject, constraints of filming on a tight budget or something else?
Cliff: I agree with you the editing was excellent, tight and dramatic.

9. Having listened to your long (2 1/2 hours?) Archive interview on youtube, there were many questions left, hence this questionnaire. Another interviewee was Bill Shatner who, like you appeared in the The Twilight Zone, Outlaws and The United States Steel Hour. Have you ever worked with him and if not, are there any actors or parts you would love to have played with/played?

10. It seems a question of debate as to whether Roy Grant survives at the end of 633 Squadron – we would like to have your personal opinion on this?
Cliff: I did not particularly like the ending and so stated because there was an ambiguity as to whether Roy Grant lived or died. However that’s just my opinion. Walter Marrish, the producer is a fine gentleman and a delight to work with. He happily is still with us and lives in Beverly Hills.

11. One of my favourite scenes is the one where George Chakiris’ character, Erik is about to leave for Norway on the B-25 and is saying goodbye to both his sister (Maria Perschy) and Roy. He asks if Roy likes fishing and will he come with them when the war is over and Roy answers, “Yeah, I like to fish.” He sounds slightly lost, like a child which reveals Roy’s vulnerability (not that different to something in Charly). Was this something you consciously aimed for?
Cliff: As for Roy Grant, the role I played, I wanted to make him above all believable, if somewhat understood. But hopefully realistic.

12. Do you remember any of the local landmarks at Bovingdon? For instance did you visit The Swan pub at Ley Hill, which Clark Gable James Stewart and Glen Miller used to cycle out to while based at Bovingdon?

Thanks very much to Cliff for this. His letter seems to suggest that a telephone interview might allow him to give fuller answers so that is a possibility for the future.

Cliff’s website can be found here: http://www.cliffrobertson.info where he regularly posts about flying.

Thanks also to Stephen C Thompson, of Thompson Communications who put me in touch with Cliff and can be contacted here: http://www.thomcomm.net/contact.html