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.