Associate Producer

“An associate producer,” explained Billy Wilder, “is anyone who will associate with a producer.”

Val Lewton, upon reaching the rank of associate producer, was delighted to find himself listed in the studio directory under the abbreviation “ass. prod.”

All of which makes Mack Davidson’s picturesque title card in OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR! especially apt.

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8 Responses to “Associate Producer”

  1. Joan Littlewood’s original stage show “Oh What a Lovely War” which I saw on Broadway with Victor Spinetti in a featured role was a savage aniti-war satire. Richard Attenborough’s film was a war recruitment poster — the polar opposite of the show it was presumed to be based on. Ugly stuff from the man who went on to create “Gandhi On Ice”

  2. Yes! Longer piece on this tomorrow. Dickie sleepwalked into making the world’s biggest Join the Army ad.

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    Not having seen the original play but the film version, I feel that the Attenborough production was diluted on all levels. It needed a much grimmer visual representation. Peter Jackson’s recent documentary has received praise for doing this.

  4. Charles W. Callahan Says:

    It was comedian Fred Allen who made the associate producer crack. He says it in the opening credits of his film IT’s IN THE BAG.

  5. Ahah. And Wilder later originated it. I think the Zolotov biography is fond of attributing lines, like the “give the people what they want” Harry Coen funeral crack, that he may not have said.

    Jackson’s film is a different kettle of bully beef, but it has also been attacked for butchering the archive material it purports to restore.

  6. Another favorite is “Executive Producer”, the definition of which now includes “Old guy attached to this old property”

    W.C. Fields had a radio gag about a producer: “He’s got twelve kids. Biggest producer at Paramount.”

  7. Actually it’s (of all people) Red Skelton who said “Give the people what they want and they’ll come out for it” re Harry Cohen’s funeral.

  8. I think I also heard it ascribed to Bert Lahr. As Mrs. Wilberforce says, “It’s such a charming thought, I do hope someone expressed it.”

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