Quote of the Day: “…plus fifteen cents.”


Robert Parrish lunches with John Ford ~

“After lunch, I got up to leave, and Ford muttered, ‘Stick around. I’ve got some information I’d like to give you.’

“When we were alone, Ford said, ‘How’s Kathy?’ I said, ‘Fine.’ He said, ‘Where are you living now?’ I said, ‘One a fifty-foot lot in the valley.’

“He smiled and lit his pipe (1 min. 40 secs.). Then he decided he wanted a cigar instead. He selected a butt from the ashtray and lit it (1 min. 10 secs.). ‘I hear you won an Academy Award,’ he said finally.

“‘Yes, I did.’

“He relit the cigar butt. ‘I’ve won seven.’

“There was nothing much I could say to that without sounding insolent or petty. In fact, at that time he had won three Oscars for direction […] He didn’t show up at the awards ceremony to collect any of these first three Oscars because, he explained, ‘Once I went fishing, another time there was a war on, and on another occasion, I was suddenly taken drunk.’

“[…] In any event, I wasn’t going to bicker about an Oscar or two. Ford deserved every award he received and some he didn’t receive.

“He went on, ‘There’s a place downtown on Hill Street between Fifth and Sixth where, if you take your Oscar in and give them fifteen cents, they’ll give you a cup of coffee.’

“I think I got his point, but there wasn’t much I could say. ‘Do you have the address?’ was the best I could do.

“‘No, but I’ve got the Oscars, and they don’t mean a thing. The only thing that’s important is to keep working. And even that’s only important when you’re actually doing it. OK?’

“I said, ‘Yes. That’s OK.’

“He said, ‘Congratulations,’ and I said ‘Thanks.’ He said, ‘Good luck,’ and I said ‘The same to you.’

“I didn’t have an occasion to talk to Ford again for twenty years.”

~ from Growing Up In Hollywood by Robert Parrish.

A shame Parrish’s modest reputation as a director isn’t enough to keep this book in print because his stories are really good. I love “suddenly taken drunk”.

Also the book makes me want to run ALL THE KING’S MEN (original version) to compare it to his account of editing it, which is fascinating. A colossally overlong bore turned into a hit by a sheer aggressive hack-and-slash job of cutting, to hear him tell it.

2 Responses to “Quote of the Day: “…plus fifteen cents.””

  1. Chris B Says:

    I should really get round to reading Searching For John Ford at some point. Do you have the Bogdanovich documentary, btw? (preferably the longer version).

  2. I think MAYBE I do. I’ll check.

    I find a lot of Ford anecdotes rather obnoxious, but this one strikes the right note — he’s himself (a surly weirdo) but still somewhat appealing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: