Andy Griffith in the book A Lifetime of Homework!!

You just HAVE to check this article!! You will not regret it!!

I can remember staying at the Mammoth Inn at Mammoth Lake, a ski resort, 9,000 feet high in the California mountains … one summer … watching “Nevada Smith” being shot with Brian Keith, Karl Malden and Steve McQueen. Even as a “writer” I had a hard time getting out on some of their location shots, away from the Inn. Hathaway, the director, wouldn’t let anyone in on his sets. But eventually I was able to get passes. And of course my wife and I met some of the stars at the Inn. “Logan’s Run”, the science fiction TV series, was fun to watch being shot above Big Bear one summer. Hying saucers, rocket cars, etc. And I remember, with a smile, the time I got into Sea World here in Mission Bay (an amusement park built around fish, seals, huge whales, porpoises, etc.). Jerry Lewis was using Sea World for a few days, just before Christmas. It was the last movie I believe he made in this country. He was running the show, producing, directing and starring in it. People who were in Sea World were being kept back a block or so from the action by ropes and studio police. And here I was sitting in a canvas chair, next to the script girl, with a studio cop bringing me cups of hot coffee. All because I told them, with authority, that I was a “writer.” Actually I did usually weave some of my experiences, on these locations, into my newsletters. This was easy to do because I found many electricians, carpenters, grips, bit players, featured players, technicians and cameramen interested and involved in coin investing. I have a newsletter covering this field called “Coin Investing Communique,” which has been around for many years. Bob Sweeney, the producer and director of the Andy Griffith “Mayberry” TV series and also producer of “Hawaii Five-O,” was a subscriber to this letter for several years. This was one way of getting an introduction to Andy when he was shooting “Eagle Lake” at Big Bear. “Eagle Lake” was a modern day version of “Mayberry.” Andy was still a Sheriff, but driving around in a Jeep at Big Bear, solving all kinds of murders at the resort. They really took over Big Bear for part of one winter, for the initial TV movie “Winter Kill” and then coming back later for a whole summer of “Eagle Lake” episodes for TV. You’ve seen all of these on TV and they have even had reruns a couple of times. Later the company came back (the following year) and tried to better the idea. They changed the name to “Jasper Lake” and picked a new cast. These have been shown on TV, too. When Andy knew I had a relationship with Bob Sweeney, even though only by mail, he was quite friendly and we talked about gold coins one time.

Bob Sweeney gave him his start in the “Mayberry” series and the “Andy Griffith Show.” It followed that my wife and I were invited to have lunch at the Cedar Lake location. The catering wagon was there. It was all outdoors with tables and folding chairs, under the trees. Boy, do those location people eat well! I went back down the hill and missed the last in the series. Months later when I saw it on TV I was amused to see that the plot was about some buried $20 gold pieces at the lake and some resulting murders. It seemed to be the best of the lot. Maybe I gave him an idea because he did say that he thought the writers were writing his scripts during their coffee breaks. None of this worked out to a long running series, but he sure tried and I had a lot of fun watching them shoot. I had an 8 mm movie camera and I have thousands of feet of color film, covering many of the locations I have been on. It is fun to shoot the same scenes while they are shooting and then later, when you see the movie or see it on TV, to compare your shots with theirs. In Palm Springs, before the war, as a bachelor, I lived in a house trailer, parked outside of Palm Springs. In the summer I would move the trailer up to Big Bear.

This entry was posted in A Lifetime of Homework and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>