Monday, October 29, 2012

Selected Film Clips and Resume

Below are some film clips I've selected to illustrate my film performance range.  This list (as long as I am alive) is not yet a complete list.  Other clips appear at the end of some of my film experience stories.   These are not in any particular order.  Some are Youtube clips and others are mpegs and should be no problem UNLESS you're an Apple or Mac user.  I'm hoping to remedy that little shortoming soon.

We start with my role as Judge Altzo in the 1991 production of DOUBLE CROSSED starring Dennis Hopper.

In 1984 in HOT PURSUIT I was Charlie, Eric Pierpoint's attorney.

In 1997 I was the Governor of Louisiana  in the series ORLEANS starring Larry Hagman (Judge Luther Charbonne).  My scene was with  Colleen Flynn, who played the judge's daughter.

In the 1984 Cinemax mini-series, LOUISIANA, I was Margot Kidder's banker. 

In 2011 I was a very distressed father in TNT's movie of the week, HIDE 

In 1992 I was a police captain in the pilot of a new CBS series entitled DANGEROUS CURVES 

... then CBS brought me back several DANGEROUS CURVES episodes later in a guest lead role .... that of a wealthy and vengeful father bent on protecting his daughter from an undesirable relationship.  Here are two scenes.  You'll notice that they put me in a custom tailored wig which I still have, but dare not wear. 

Another scene from  DANGEROUS CURVES 

In 2001 I was Stephanie Zimbalist's law firm boss in MALPRACTICE directed by Micky Dolenz of The Monkeys fame.  Dolenz was an absolute delight to work with.

In 1967 the HALLMARK HALL OF FAME produced William Faulkner's novelette, OLD MAN (pertaining to the Mississippi River).  This was centered around the 1927 great flood.  I was the Warden of Mississippi's Parchment Penitentiary.  Here are four scenes.  At the end of my HALLMARK HALL OF FAME blog post which appears under the May selections there are two more clips.

 In 2010 I was cast as a geniune blind creep, Frank Waverly, the local blind loner who knew more about "Mothman" than anyone else in town in a Syfy movie entitled MOTHMAN.  

In 1989 I had the pleasure of being cast as a journalist in MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE starring
Farrah Fawcett.  She was an absolute delight to work with.  Please forgive the quality of this clip.
In 1977 a biographical film about Huey Long was produced entitled THE LIFE AND ASSASSINATION OF THE KINGFISH starring Ed Asner as Huey Long.  I played Senator Jack Williamson, a staunch opponent to Long.   Asner was delightful.  Forgive the film quality here.
My resume:

..... and more to come .....

Sunday, October 21, 2012

WBRZ and the Mike Boom Era

When WBRZ (Channel 2) first took to the air in 1955, I had the good fortune of gaining favor with some of the producers. In addition to my short-lived weekly assignment on the FOR KIDS ONLY show (see my “Shirley Temple” post - May 2012), I became a production assistant with the late Brooks Read.

Remember the name John Ferguson? Ferguson was a newscaster and shared sports-casting assignments with J.C.
Politz.   Ferguson didn’t like me.   I know, I know -- how can anyone possibly dislike such a lovable and charming little cherub as me? Well, it did happen and I will tell you why … if you really care to know.

Back then (the 50s) everything was “live.” Video tape had not yet come into existence. Recordings were made via kinescope (on film). Routine daily shows such as news and weather were generally not recorded.

On one particular occasion, Brooks and I had just concluded rehearsing an historical piece with a full cast that was to be kinescoped and aired following John Ferguson’s news. In 1955 lavalieres (wireless body mikes) had not yet been invented. Audio was produced almost exclusively with boom mikes. The broadcaster (in this case John Ferguson) would sit at his desk and the boom mike would be positioned above his head, just off camera.

For whatever reason on this particular occasion I was fidgety. Well actually I knew why I was fidgety. I’ll explain that a little later. Suffice it to say that that day had not been a good day for me. Anyhow during Ferguson’s newscast I stood with my hand near the top of the boom’s upright support. At that point there is a spring thumb lock, which, when pressed, releases the telescoping elevation support. On this occasion, the boom itself was fully extended both upward and outward with the mike above Ferguson’s head. I’m sure you’re way ahead of me by now.

Suddenly, right in the middle of a news item, the boom dropped and the horizontal mike support whipped and popped Ferguson in the head. There was a quick cut to a commercial while Ferguson’s bleeding forehead was tended to. Brooks and a floor tech rushed over to me saying “Jerry, keep your hands off the boom.” I had squeezed the thumb lock releasing the elevation support thus causing the drop and whipping action.  
About 2 minutes later we were live again and Ferguson started with “Sorry about the unsightly band aids, but we had a little mishap.” He then continued with his newscast. When it was over and the studio was no longer live, he said to me “What the hell were you doing with that boom?” To which my only reply was “Just goofing off. Sorry.” This drew laughs from everyone except Ferguson. He never spoke to me after that.

 My fidgeting that day had begun some several hours earlier. I had a regular daily radio show on the LSU campus’ 500 watt FM station, WLSU. My show ran from 11 AM to 2 PM each weekday. My format alternated between classical music and prose and poetry readings. I loved it. Nestled within my time slot was an hour of Campus-wide broadcasting when I would flip a switch and during the noon hour each day the WLSU broadcast would be piped over the speakers of the Campanile (LSU’s historic landmark tower). Everyone on campus would then be treated to lovely classical and semi-classical music. Vocals were not permitted during the noon hour. At the end of the noon hour at 1 PM the Campanile speakers would be shut off with WLSU programming continuing according to schedule. In my case there would be readings of selected poems and some occasional prose.

On this particular day I had decided to have some fun with some home-made limericks. You know the kind …”There once was a mason named Brick, who clearly was ….”, etc. Anyhow most of the limericks were fairly tame, some were slightly racy, but fell within acceptable FCC guidelines. Why I decided that day to cut loose with limericks, I just don’t know. I do remember that my late and dear friend, Dave Lewis, also a DJ on WLSU, would himself pull little stunts. Perhaps he had inspired me. Anyhow I was enjoying my final hour that day alternating between legitimate classical poetry and goofy limericks when suddenly the control room door slammed open and my boss, Lucile Ruby, charged in, dashed over to the console and flipped the Campanile switch to OFF. Oh sh*t! I had failed to turn off the Campanile speakers. She scratched on a sheet of paper for me to come see her when I sign off…. all this while I am reciting a William Wordsworth poem (thank God it was not a limerick at that point).

After signing off I dutifully went into her office and, to my great disappointment, got my walking papers. That’s when the fidgeting began. A few hours later … well you know the rest of the story. Ever have a bad day?

At least I didn’t lose my Channel 2 internship. And a few months later, producer Bob Reed launched a hit parade type of weekly show called HIT OR MISS and cast me and some 10 other locals as regulars.

 May I “name drop?” Among those in HIT OR MISS, besides myself, were future actresses Dot Bourgeois ( Donna Douglas of Beverly Hillbillies fame) and Elizabeth Cole (Elizabeth Ashley of Broadway and Film fame), future movie critic Rex Reed and composer Dick Holler (Abraham, Martin and John).


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kim Novak

In 1955 two movies were released which grabbed me and would not let go. They were PICNIC and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM. I was not so much impressed with the plot structures or the production values of these two films as I was with the female lead actress that appeared in both. Her name was Kim Novak. I fell immediately in love with Kim. This of course was 3 years before I met Gloria.

I was mesmerized and obsessed with Kim Novak. I thought she was the sexiest, most gorgeous woman I had ever laid eyes on. I was smitten.

I was in my third year with the Louisiana National Guard’s Anti-aircraft battalion. Each year we would embark by rail to Fort Bliss, Texas for 2 weeks of field training. The battalion comprised about 600 men.

In 1956 we were about 2 weeks out from our excursion once again to Fort Bliss for summer field training. I had shared my Kim Novak infatuation with some of my closest National Guard buddies. I was careful not to over-dramatize my obsession for fear of boring them to death.

Four days after our arrival at Ft. Bliss that year, my name was called out at mail-call. I got a letter. Because the envelop was pink and the embossed stationery lettering was gold, this drew the attention of many of my guard colleagues. “Hey, Leggio, that your girl friend?”, “Leggio got a love letter”, “Maybe it’s a dear John letter”, etc, etc. They crowded around me much like the sailors did when ENSIGN PULVER (Jack Lemon) opened a letter from MR. ROBERTS (Henry Fonda). I said “Hey, guys, this is personal.” 

The letter was from Kim. She told me of her upcoming film projects, wishing I could be there with her, etc., etc. One of the guys, unbeknownst to me, had been peeking over my shoulder. “Hey, guys, you won’t believe this. Leggio got a letter from Kim Novak!” Many said “No sh*t”, “I thought Leggio was bullsh****g us.” All hell broke loose. I have to admit that the attention and adulation I was getting was quite gratifying and ego-stroking. Within a matter of 30 minutes everyone in the battalion had heard about my letter from Kim Novak. I was overrun with masculine praise. I was “big man” on the post.

While I truly enjoyed the adulation, admiration and envy with which I was being showered, I began to have serious bouts of guilt.

My friend, Bill LaVallee, was now living in Hollywood and he was fast moving into the film and stage spot lights. I had shared with Bill my obsession with Kim and he too agreed that she was indeed a gorgeous woman; though he wasn’t smitten as was I. I suddenly had an idea. Since I had shared my Kim fantasy with members of the 769th Anti-aircraft Battalion, I fantasized with Bill about corresponding with Kim. Bill then offered a suggestion, which I jumped at. He said he could create Kim Novak personal stationery and write me a letter from Kim and send it to my Ft Bliss address. Man, that was tempting. After giving his suggestion some thought (about 2 seconds), I said OK. 

I never admitted to my National Guard buddies that they had been victims of a hoax. When 600 guys had formed this high opinion of me, phony as it was, how could I have shattered their collective vicarious Kim fantasies? This would have been cruel. Actually my real fear was having to run for my life.

To this day I occasionally have little pangs of guilt, but then I revive the memory and again relive the fantasy. It’s been just over 60 years now and sadly I have come to see more and more obituaries on many of these guys. But I appease myself with the reminder that I too was a victim of this hoax more so than the guys. Those still living can still enjoy reviving it. It was REAL to them. Maybe some may read this post. If so, I may have to deal with that. But my biggest regret is that I have no idea what I did with that letter.

My Kim obsession ended in late 1958 when I met my true love, Gloria. I was smitten again and have been ever since. The grainy picture of Gloria was taken some 3-4 months before we met.