Interviewed by Adam Hyman
Oral History Recorded: May 31, 2010
Stanton Kaye was born in New York in 1943 into a family involved in theater, vaudeville, and film. He grew up in Los Angeles, where he attended Hollywood High as well as classes at LA City College and UCLA. Kaye's independent feature films Georg (1964) and Brandy in the Wilderness (1968) were widely exhibited, including at Cannes Director's Fortnight and the Museum of Modern Art, and won prizes at festivals including Los Angeles Film Festival and Ann Arbor Film Festival. Kaye's innovative blending of documentary styles with fiction proved highly influential to independent filmmakers.
In 1969, Kaye was a fellow in the inaugural class of the American Film Institute Conservatory, where his colleagues included Terrence Malick and David Lynch. He founded the independent film studio Bouquet Media in 1994. In addition to his work in film, Kaye was Vice President of Marketing/ International at the software company Quarterdeck from 1983-1994 and is currently the president of Infratab, which develops RFID tags and software to monitor perishable product integrity. Brandy in the Wilderness was screened at the Telluride Film Festival in 2010 following a restoration by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
00:01:36 ADAM HYMAN
It's May 31st and we are with Stanton Kaye. And, actually just for the transcriber can you please say and spell your name?
00:01:48 STANTON KAYE
My name is spelled K-A-Y-E. My first name is spelled S-T-A-N-T-O-N. So, I was born to a father and mother who both were in the industry. My father actually was the nephew of Jake Fabian who founded Burbank Studios under the name of Stanley Fabian Theatres, I think. And, it became First National Pictures, which was sold to the Warner Brothers as First National Pictures. And, it was first-- the Stanley Fabian Theaters were a chain of theaters that my great uncle put together.
00:02:44 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I never met him. I never knew those people, but my father knew them when he came out here in 1919. And, said Uncle Jake I want to be in pictures and he said great we'll put you behind the camera. And, my father said no, Uncle Jake I want to act. I want to be in front of the camera you know. He said well, we can't just throw you in front of the camera. You have to wait for a movie, and so my father he was a young guy. He wasn't in their society, he wouldn't want to be in my Uncle Jake's society anyway it was all business people.
00:03:18 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I think Jake was a pants presser, or somebody who got into showing movies in little store fronts I think. He was probably one of the people Edison was chasing across the country for patent violations. I don't know that he was, but I assume he was …What the hell was he doing out here? Was it for the sun? He had a place, I think on Glendale Blvd. I think he had one of the small studios. Mack Sennett had one, there were a bunch of them around there.
00:03:53 ADAM HYMAN
00:03:54 STANTON KAYE
I was in one of them once doing a picture as a kid, you know with Roger Corman and some of kind of off-shoot or something with some people that were art directors. I don't remember.
00:04:04 ADAM HYMAN
Do you remember which film?
00:04:06 STANTON KAYE
No, but it was, I had a friend who was actually the head of the Theater Art Production Department at UCLA who did my missiles for GEORG. He was a brilliant guy who ended up being the right hand man to Robert Altman. Built the sets for MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER and lots of other things. Eventually, was a producer on a number of Altman's films-- he was that good and that clever. His name was Leon Ericson and he got neurasthenia of some sort. Probably from cocaine… I don't know. The last I heard he was he said he was really having trouble breathing and living, you know?
00:04:55 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, Leon was a great guy and he used to let me come onto the Corman sets and I was just a kid still. But, I knew him since I was 18. And, he had a friend named Al Leung I think who was also an art director. And, they were doing something for Corman on one of those little stages you don't even know were there behind the scenes here. And, then I realized Disney was down the street a whole nine yards, you know? So, in some ways I had a charmed life you might say that in that, my father was quitting motion pictures and going over into my grandfather's business.
00:05:40 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
My grandfather on my mother's side was a clothing designer, a very, very good one. Who did things for Neiman Marcus and the uniforms for TWA and designed the uniforms of that period in the 1930’s, 1940's and 1950's. Maybe single handedly designed the Eisenhower jacket-- I don't know…. he was a very good designer. And, he had been a fine tailor and worked his way up. Came over from Poland to Russia into Canada and then down into Pasadena. And, he ran this shop into a very big factory. I used to play around in it when I was a kid with swatches of clothing and stuff.
00:06:23 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I never knew quite what he did except that he loved me and he was this big man who was very warm with a Russian accent, or a Polish accent. I don't know what it was. He died when I was six, so I remember he had a gun in his desk because he had been robbed once. That was the first gun I ever saw and the last one too for many years.
00:06:48 ADAM HYMAN
What was his name?
00:06:49 STANTON KAYE
[Simon] Rosenbloom, he went under Rosenbloom, Scheps [SK: his real name. by the way] and Rosenbloom Suits, Fine Tailors or something. They had a line at Saks and had a line at the Hilton. They did the Hilton Uniforms. They also did the line at Neiman Marcus. They were good. Yeah, he died and my father was left without a designer in the time where the mills were closing. And, after that slowly my father lost the business. But, before he did and before I was born, or during the time I was born he was working with René Clair, he was René’s assistant on THE MAN WHO SAW TOMORROW, directed part of it even.
00:07:43 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he was good friends with René. They liked each other. René used to sleep and my father would direct. But...
00:07:53 ADAM HYMAN
How long was René Clair here?
00:07:56 STANTON KAYE
I don't know, but he made a couple of films and one American film. And, there was another film about an underground man that my father was working on when I was born. And, I saw it once on television. I also saw a couple of old films that my father was as an actor on early TV. But, not until I was about seven or eight. And, I had seen other movies by then because we didn't have a television. But, once we got a television there was a film called CHATEAU MADRID my father was in it. Quite interestingly in it.
00:08:32 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, another film called I don't know the name of it anymore. But, CHATEAU MADRID was one of them. He made these films for a guy named Danny Sunny, or actually a guy named Kendall I think and I'm not confused with Aben Kendall, but some other guy who produced these films. My father worked at Continental Pictures, Republic Studios and Universal. He also was picked up by Louis B. Mayer and told to come in and take over as a casting director, or something at a party. And, when he got in there some guy told him there was no job, who ended up with the job, of course and my father was too dumb to know he was being pushed out by somebody who was jealous of him and that Mayer… [SK: I had to tell him when he was telling me the story once casually.]
00:09:35 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, he might have worked at all those studios you might say. My father's name was-- sometimes he went by the name of Earl Tree, but he was Edward Earl Kaye. And, he had a little theater when he came back after 1919 [SK: The Spotlight]. He came back in the 30's. Because, for whatever reasons he had been on the stage with Ethel Barrymore in SIMOON at the Triangle Theater, Circle in the Square I think it was called then. And, he had been on the stage with Mae West and he had been a lot on the stage in the Yiddish Theater with just about everyone.
00:10:19 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
My uncle was a very great actor, [SK: Max Gabel…He had 7 wives and 33 children] and his understudy was Paul Muni. And, my uncle's wife was Jenny Goldstein which in the Jewish theater meant a lot. My uncle wrote over a hundred plays. He owned three theaters and my father was active in all three theaters, and on Broadway and on off Broadway. He was totally in love with theater. So, by the time he was coming to Hollywood, in New York things were drying up there for my Uncle Max because his audience was diasporizing across the United States and it was a depression on I guess around that time. [SK: Jews went walking, finally speaking English—and having reasons to join safely others off the coast of Canada. This diminished the effect of Yiddish Theatre—and movies didn’t help it either…Even Max was making movies—and lost a fortune doing it…So I had two great uncles who made films.]
00:10:55 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He had people hanging out in his theater. He worked with another guy named Paul Trebich who, and they managed the El Capitan. They managed it for awhile. The old El Capitan, which I think was near the old Ontra Cafeteria. And, they even managed the Pantages Theater at one time I think. Trebich was very good I saw him once. Met him once or twice at the Greek Theater where he was in charge. He was managing the Greek Theater. My father would introduce me to all these people. You know he was good friends with Freddie Glickman who wrote MULE TRAIN and a lot of [SK: others, too, from when he was active, so he’d take me to Schwabs for lunch occasionally and we’d meet with Victor Young]… the musician, composer-- Young his name was, he was a pretty famous composer and...
00:11:55 ADAM HYMAN
Do you know Johnny Mercer or something like that?
00:11:57 STANTON KAYE
No, none of those popular guys. Freddie Glickman was the only one I remember. [technical]
00:12:07 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, I wanted to make a point about all this, you know. [non interview dialogue]
00:13:01 ADAM HYMAN
Your father was introduced...
00:13:03 STANTON KAYE
So, you know I knew all of these guys, but I didn't know who I knew. He was friends with another director by the name of Edward Dean who was a minor director, did one film that I remember called SHACKOUT ON 101 with Frank Lovejoy. And, we had certain friends that hung at the house. People who were very famous, but they were vaudevillians. There was one named Edward Pardo. He was a constant friend of my father and a good friend of the Durants. And, the people who ran the Mocambo Club on the strip.
00:13:44 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He was very famous for doing a song and dance during which time his pants would fall down for which he got paid $2,000 a week back in the 20's [SK: at the Palace theater in New York]. Unfortunately he invested all of his money in Baltimore in the chic part of Baltimore which became the slums of Baltimore as timed passed. So, he wasn't all that well off. But, he was well enough off that he could live pretty well. And, I remember he was kind of a man about town with the ladies and he also was a would-be playwright.
00:14:19 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He was a constant advisor to me. I never liked him because he was so formal and theatrical and seemed so imposing. As I suppose adults to children. And, they, then my father had another friend who was the lady who held the torch in Columbia Pictures films named Claudia O'Dell. She was actually the niece of Claudia Coleman who was a very famous vaudevillian. My father was in vaudeville, so he had a number of vaudevillian partners who we would visit. Joe Rolo was one of them. I don't know what they did together, but people did vaudeville acts. That's how they survived.
00:15:00 ADAM HYMAN
What kind of acts did your father do?
00:15:02 STANTON KAYE
I don't know, he did one some kind of an act with-- he knew how to tap dance. So, God knows you know?
00:15:09 ADAM HYMAN
Do you know if there was a film [unintelligible] Biographs or Vitagraph shorts?
00:15:16 STANTON KAYE
Biographs, my father? [Ed: perhaps Vitagraphs of my father?]
00:15:17 ADAM HYMAN
00:15:21 STANTON KAYE
Not of my father.
00:15:22 ADAM HYMAN
00:15:23 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, I've seen those, but not my father. I never saw one, the only thing I saw was this CHATEAU MADRID which was owned by a guy Danny Sunny who ended up with all these things. But, it was made by a guy named Kendall I think. But, I don't want to say it's Aben Kendall because he couldn't-- there was a guy and he made a number of these movies and one of them he made was ESCORT GIRL which my father directed. It was the one film he directed, but I don't tell people that because he directed it in four days. And, it was shot you know back to back stats and you just sort of move from the camera from this side to that side.
00:16:03 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, there was another set over here and you change the costumes. All shot in one room. It had an interesting scopatone sequence with a very famous drunk actor. He used to do drunks in all the movies. And, it had Cyd Charisse. And, years later I knew Tony Martin's son and so, I remember sitting on the bed with Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin and something in their house. Or, at least looking at them from their bedroom. [laugh] I don't know why.
00:16:38 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I knew my father started her career from what I heard. He was also a friend of Constance Bennett. He also was an enamored desired lover of Simone Simon. I keep a picture of her to remind me that it could have been my mom. But, he turned her down and gave her her key back. [laugh]
00:17:14 ADAM HYMAN
Who turned out to be your mother?
00:17:16 STANTON KAYE
My mother's on the wall in the other room. My mother was a secretary at Republic who wanted to be a tennis, well she was a tennis player and wanted to be an opera star. And, my father directed her in the Christmas play at Republic that they presented at the Wilshire Ebell Theater. And, she very good in it. There was a picture of her that used to survive that was in my family for years. I don't know where it is now maybe it's in my movie BRANDY IN THE WILDERNESS for a minute.
00:17:47 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I don't remember that I did, or didn't put it in there. So, my father used to direct dialogue before I was born. He directed lots of actors in the Republic days and God knows what pictures and Universal I suppose. So, the first movies I saw were first of all as most people did 8 mm movies of cartoons and home movies from my father who had a home movie camera you know of the family. And, then the next movie I saw was BILL AND COO which I notice is still around. It's quite an interesting film made with birds.
00:18:32 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, that was a big film because Adohr presented it, or Arden Milk presented that film and gave tickets out to all the kids [laugh] on their milk route. And, we could go to that film for free and it was right at the Fox Wilshire right next door. You know we lived down on Tower Drive it was a block away from the Fox Wilshire Theater. A beautiful theater by the way.
00:18:58 ADAM HYMAN
Where was the Fox Wilshire?
00:19:00 STANTON KAYE
Between La Cienega and Tower Drive, the end of Beverly Hills there was Van de Kamps on the corner of the street we lived on. That Van de Kamps was built by a guy named Harry Oliver. And, it was built probably without blueprints and without nails and without a lot of things, because Harry Oliver was probably a genius, genius, genius set designer. And, Harry Oliver figured into my life from the time I was six years old. Although really before six because he had built that Van de Kamps until the time I was 20.
00:19:49 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I'll get into that later. But, anyway so the first film I saw was this BILL AND COO film which was about it was basically a melodrama about an evil crow and several parakeets or something; shot you know probably the way you would shoot anything with a bunch of birds that were trained. There were a number of animal films you know that were done like that, shorts even the silent days. And, the next film I saw was --I'm not sure which it was it was-- either THE WIZARD OF OZ, or THE RED SHOES Michael Powell's film. And, it didn't matter which one, I was terrified for the rest of my life by those two films.
00:20:44 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I think the more terrifying was THE RED SHOES. It was really disturbing.
00:20:51 ADAM HYMAN
That's not a film for a child.
00:20:55 STANTON KAYE
No nor was THE WIZARD OF OZ.
00:21:00 ADAM HYMAN
That's a whole...
00:21:01 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] [laugh] And, the strangest thing was at least THE RED SHOES I didn't know anybody I was just terrified by the man who built the shoes who was a bizarre witch like character. And, of course by her death which I never understood. But, I did understand that she died, killed herself. And, the other thing that bothered me about The WIZARD OF OZ was Margaret Hamilton was on my PTA Committee. And, she hung out at my grammar school. So, it wasn't bad enough that she was the most terrifying character you've ever seen she lived and breathed on my street. In my school since I was, from the time I was five on.
00:22:08 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I didn't completely realize it until I was about seven or eight. And, I spotted her.
00:22:16 ADAM HYMAN
What school did you go to? What was the name of it?
00:22:17 STANTON KAYE
00:22:18 ADAM HYMAN
Did you go to what high school did you go to?
00:22:21 STANTON KAYE
Beverly High. And, you know there was a whole lot of that going on. I didn't realize, people don't realize how much of it was going on and what a strange phenomenon it was to live in Hollywood with what was going on. But, I ran into Amos and Andy at the Farmer's Market because they were working next door at the CBS. I ran into I swear that famous guy from the Chaplin films and I thought he was serving, it may not have been him it just may have been a look alike was serving I don't know vegetables,--- butcher he was the butcher or something down at the corner.
00:23:03 ADAM HYMAN
The guy who played the bad guy?
00:23:04 STANTON KAYE
The bad guy, the big fat guy. I swear he was working down there at the corner. And, some cases it was and some cases it wasn't. It was just the nature of the movies and the nature of Hollywood. Because as time passed with time I ran into Eisenstein's assistant director his second assistant George Rony was running a stamp shop on the corner across from the Hollywood Highland Hotel which at that time was next to the Hollywood Theater. He had a stamp shop right near the Arcade there. Right next to the Hollywood Theater. Sort of near where RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! is now.
00:23:45 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he would tell me stories about-- I think he worked on OCTOBER and that's when he'd tell me stories [SK: about--] well, he might have worked on GENERAL LINE, too. I don't remember what stories he even told me, because he wasn't that important Tisse was probably more important. More important still was the fact that later, years later I ran in to Seymour Stern who was a bit of a lecher who hung out around L.A. City College where I went to school. And, Seymour knew D.W. Griffith and Eisenstein really well, both and he had taken Tisse and Eisenstein to the train from the Hollywood Highland Hotel which was a beautiful hotel on the corner of Highland and Hollywood Blvd.
00:24:40 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
With breeze thrus and old eccentrics rocking in the rocking chairs. My God knows who those people were I remember them when I was 16, [SK: near the bus stop..] By the time I was 20 they were gone. The first [SK: street] stars were going in on Hollywood Blvd. when I was 16. I was going to a special seminar for talented drama kids. And, I would come in on the bus I don't think I drove yet. Then, I went down the streets to the Hollywood High. There was a very good drama teacher by the name of John Engle who became, I think pretty famous as a director.
00:25:16 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he ran this thing for all of the city schools in the summer just one time as far as I know. Where I ran into that's where I started writing for cinema and that was years later. Because, Jackie Coogan's kid was there. Tony Coogan is still around and David Giler, too. His father wrote the TARZAN movies-- Berne Giler. It turned out that they were close friends with Stanley Roberts who wrote DEATH OF A SALESMAN into the movie version. Stanley Roberts knew my father from the days at Contin--I don't know where he worked Continental Pictures or something. I think it was Continental he worked, my father worked there.
00:26:03 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, they both were young guys in the writing department there or something.
00:26:11 ADAM HYMAN
When did you first try acting?
00:26:16 STANTON KAYE
I was six and my sister went to Nico Charisse's Ballet School. And, I hung out and sold balloons to them and stuff. You can get away with murder when you're a little six year old. I sold my whole box of balloons to Nico Charisse.
00:26:33 ADAM HYMAN
Where was that then? Was it on La Cienega or am I thinking of somewhere else? Where the Coronet Theater is?
00:26:39 STANTON KAYE
Right across from the Coronet, Nico Charisse it was right near [SK: the Giant Hot Dog stand] near the new Rexall Drug which had just gone up. I watched Rexall go up when I was three because we lived over by the Farmer's Market for a few years. My mother used to wheel me around. My first memories are of Rexall Drug going up with pile drivers and there was an oilfield in the middle of La Cienega Blvd. people don't realize that.
00:27:07 ADAM HYMAN
The one behind Beverly Center?
00:27:09 STANTON KAYE
That's the one, yeah it's right there. No, not behind in the middle of the street across from Rexall Drug do you remember that one?
00:27:19 ADAM HYMAN
I don't remember that one, but there is still an oil well like, you know in the hook of Beverly Center which probably is still capping the same...
00:27:26 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] Oh, yeah in the hook of Beverly I mean it's still...
00:27:29 ADAM HYMAN
San Vincente side, yeah, it’s still there as far as I know.
00:27:31 STANTON KAYE
But, it wasn’t on the San Vincente side, it was on the La Cienega Blvd. side
00:27:35 ADAM HYMAN
Probably tapping that same source. [overlapping]
00:27:40 STANTON KAYE
Oh, it could be, it could be indeed. There might have been several, but there was a kiddie park there.
00:27:45 ADAM HYMAN
00:27:46 STANTON KAYE
You remember the kiddie park there? Ok, if you’re looking toward Pico or toward Wilshire, the oil well was right between, actually you see it in some old movies, you see it in the middle of the fucking street…between and the cars are driving around it like it’s a tree. And they moved it over to one side or maybe they moved the road to one side. I don’t remember…who would remember it?
00:28:22 ADAM HYMAN
Is this all in the 1950's or...
00:28:24 STANTON KAYE
1940's. I grew up in 1943, I was born in 1943. That oil well was there when I was three or four. One of my first memories my mother would wheel in a double thing because my sister was 10 months older than I was. She would wheel me in a double stroller around the block from where she lived. You know go out for a walk. Maybe she'd go for a 10 block or something. And, I'd keep seeing those pile drivers and hearing them because they were awfully loud. And, they had steam coming out of them.
00:28:59 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
It was really an impressive thing. They're impressive now if you saw a foundation go in like that. And, they were building the Dart Center, the Rexall Center whatever it was called. Years later my mother worked there she was an executive secretary. So, it was double symbolic meaning for me. She went to work for Riker Labs which affected my reason because I used to steal a Ritalin off the counter at the laboratory. They would give me rats to play with because I was a would-be scientist. I had two white rats and a couple of needles.
00:29:42 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
God knows what I was doing to those rats. One thing I did is I would use one in my hand and another with a needle in my other hand and chase my sister's girlfriends around the room. [laugh] I don't know what they thought I was threatening to do. [laugh]
00:30:07 ADAM HYMAN
It's like every fear though bottled up into one. [interviewer laughs]
00:30:12 STANTON KAYE
Some of those girlfriends became my girlfriends, yeah years later. Some of them still hate me I suppose.
00:30:25 ADAM HYMAN
A lifelong fear of…
00:30:29 STANTON KAYE
But, anyway so I was in Nico Charisse production at the Coronet Theater across the street. It was done for what reason I don't know. I remember I had some non-dancing part in it. I was just a cipher, a guy you know a boy because there was so few boys in the ballet class. They needed it for they needed several boys in the play and they would do it.
00:30:55 ADAM HYMAN
This is after the years that Norman Lloyd and John Houseman had that theater year of the Coronet where they did Brecht’s GALILEO
00:31:04 STANTON KAYE
I didn't know they did it. [laugh] I would have...
00:31:05 ADAM HYMAN
That was 1947.
00:31:07 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I would have loved to have been there. And, it was probably was around then that very year. I know that they did GALILEO there. I found that out years later.
00:31:18 ADAM HYMAN
It's kind of hard for you to [unintelligible]
00:31:21 STANTON KAYE
No kidding, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH.
00:31:23 ADAM HYMAN
That was the first. GALILEO was the American English premiere. THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH was the LA premiere
00:31:31 STANTON KAYE
I didn't know it was so close to when I was on the stage there. I was also in some other theater group that was years later I went to see Chang, who was a Chinese stranded human being in Hollywood, very interesting Chinese man. Performed a little theater I don't know if it was the Troopers. The Troopers is around the corner. It was some little theater, though it was active between the Christian Science Church on the corner of La Brea and Hollywood Blvd. And, one or two houses up there was a theater in there. And, I was a member of some theatrical school there.
00:32:20 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
My very first memories were somebody trying to teach me to tap dance. It's almost like one of the first memories I have. And, I hated it and I had to go a lot, you know to learn this stuff with tap. I couldn't understand why, you know and I quit. You know what I mean after awhile I quit. I never understand why we, I think they were playing the same stupid songs that all those schools that I went to that it was always the same stupid music trying to get kids to march to it or dance to it.
00:32:52 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, they played it grammar school, it was “Skip to my Lou” or something? [laugh] And, so let's see I didn't see the stage again until I was about nine or ten and I was picked for a musical because I had a really good voice. At El Rodeo summer school and Mrs. Flannigan, her husband was my coach for four years when I went to high school--- his wife picked me to direct me. And, a play by the school principal had a lead part for me. There were a lot of frustrated Hollywood people. [laugh] Everybody was crazy back then.
00:33:42 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, there was another teacher there who was an old vaudevillian. You see everybody was in show business somehow in Hollywood. And, lots of the kids that you knew you didn't know whom you knew. Like I grew up with this girl her name was Linda Hunt. Not the Linda Hunts you know, but she became the producer Lynn Harper. She was actually [laugh] the niece of Carmen Miranda. And, we had a constant banter throughout our lives. But, I never knew once knew that she was the niece of Carmen Miranda.
00:34:26 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Nor did I know that she liked me a great deal until a few years ago now. [laugh]
00:34:35 ADAM HYMAN
A missed opportunity.
00:34:36 STANTON KAYE
And, we were trying to do something with Carmen Miranda and a friend of mine for a couple or three years. So, that's how a lot of it came out. But, also she contacted me because I put myself down in the yearbook somehow after 40 years of remaining aloof from my fellow Beverly Hillians. And, there was a lot of that. She became an entertainer-- actually succeeded as a country western star. And, then she went on to be a producer and a liaison in the state of Iowa and a few other things.
00:35:20 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
She lives in San Diego now down that way. I'm trying to think who [SK: else] I was, you know, enamored of Jan Westrope, Jackie Westrope's daughter, Frankie Lane's stepdaughter. And, so I hung out with the Lane family for awhile when I was 12 or so, 13, 12, 11 [SK: Sometimes with Gene Litler, too –whom Frankie sponsored.]
00:35:47 ADAM HYMAN
So, would you say all this interaction of course with everybody from Hollywood made you like more...
00:35:53 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] My father wanted me, no, my mother [SK:…I’m not sure really---] they trained me in fencing and stuff? So, I was a fencer and my fencing partner was George Chaplin, George's father did the Chaplin submarine. So, that was an inspiration, yeah. He was also a kind of magician. But, I saw more magic when I was 11 I went to HOUDINI that film with Tony Curtis. And, I was really enamored of that film. I saw it 10 or 11 times. And, I went on to study magic with a guy named Benny Chavez who ran Chavez Magic School on the corner of sunset across from the D.W. Griffith Studios I think. Sunset and La Brea.
00:36:43 ADAM HYMAN
Sunset and La Brea.
00:36:44 STANTON KAYE
I think so. Right across from the D.W. Griffith Studios there was no supermarket there. And, it was a tennis court. There was a band in there. It was Chaplin's I'm sorry it was the Chaplin's Studios.
00:36:56 ADAM HYMAN
Chaplin’s Studios. On La Brea and…[overlapping]
00:36:57 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, I think and across from the Center Hotel was still there. The Hollywood Center Theater there. It's also a hotel/motel or something. Do you know that place? It's just half a block over. That place has a real interesting history. But, I met the guys who’d been kids there years later. Apparently, all these actors and actresses had a lot of trouble running marriages in the proper way. They were fucking around, right and left, having a good time I guess. And, it caught the eye besides the Hayes Group and all that of a number of journalists and stuff.
00:37:40 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Particularly, their P.R. Department who needed to keep them looking sober and upright in those movies. So, there was an orphanage in that Hollywood Center Hotel. That's what it was. That's what all those rooms were I guess. So, because there was an orphanage there, there were a couple of twin kids who were back in the 30's. I met them when they were quite older. I think their name was Walker. I met one of them and he was, he became a world renowned cactus guy. I bought a lot of cactus from him years ago.
00:38:20 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He may still be alive. He'd be 80 or 90, 80 something because he was born in the 1930's. I'm 67 he'd be at least 80 I think. And, all the actors would come down and pose with the kids and they would do publicity things. Well, for those actors that was not a small thing. Life is probably meant to be involved with kids and have another generation and to love children. And, children are meant to be loved. They are like dogs and cats they have faces that attract us you know? [laugh]
00:39:01 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, so these kids apparently, according to Walker, Mr. Walker had the greatest family anyone could have. They had all the famous actors and actresses as their parents who continued the tradition. They'd always go over there and bring them gifts, fawning over them ---and to have parties with [laugh] and take them out on their birthdays and everything. He said it was better than any family. I thought that was a great story. There's a great movie in that.
00:39:43 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, we're going to change tapes.
[END OF TAPE 1]
TAPE 2:STANTON KAYE
00:00:34 ADAM HYMAN
Let's go back to the Los Angeles Film-Makers Festival, 1964.
00:00:43 STANTON KAYE
Oh, yeah so that was an interesting night. I just finished the film. I came right out of Peter Bowker's lab machine; it was still wet and we were drying it. And, it was two hours, it was six hours to go to midnight when it was slated into the festival. And, the festival didn't start until around whatever. Maybe it started at 8:00 or 9:00. But, I guess I made arrangements to...
00:01:09 ADAM HYMAN
Was it one night of screening and they like picked...
00:01:11 STANTON KAYE
Like 12 hours of screenings and Louie and Beebe Barron were there. And, Monte Hellman-- I guess everybody was there. And, all I knew was my film wasn't quite finished yet and I never even got a chance to see it. I guess I saw in the rough cut, or in the fine cut. But, I never saw it with a negative all married. I don't know how I mixed it. I mixed it reel by reel for one. You know, so it was all put together. I was pulling it out of the machine I don't remember what date it was.
00:01:47 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, I think it was daylight savings time in the winter or something and, so Bowke -- who is the guy who committed suicide that MG got my film from--- was pulling it out of the machine for me. We were talking about carving the copyright into the negative because we didn't print it in there and stuff like that. And, I got the print in my hand and I took it over. I gave it to them and then I started watching the film. So, a lot of people were booing the films. And, a lot of things they were booing I thought were also sentiments in my film. They were ideas in my film which is...
00:02:37 ADAM HYMAN
What other films were shot that year do you remember?
00:02:39 STANTON KAYE
00:02:43 ADAM HYMAN
Was it all local films?
00:02:44 STANTON KAYE
There was a, there was one guy who was my friend for awhile by the name of Jet Klingbeil who had won the festival maybe the year before or something like that. And, he had a film maybe in it and others had films in it. I don't know who I think but there was a couple of hundred dollar prize or something. Maybe oh, it was a thousand dollars I think. A thousand dollars that was a lot of money. The whole film only costs two or three?
00:03:15 ADAM HYMAN
Because your film won the second Los Angeles Film-makers Festival and it's much more written about that.
00:03:19 STANTON KAYE
No, I won the...
00:03:20 ADAM HYMAN
00:03:23 STANTON KAYE
I won the first festival.
00:03:24 ADAM HYMAN
Oh, you won the first one?
00:03:25 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, I believe I did. I got the posters from the first festival. I won that Wally Berman poster have you seen it?
00:03:33 ADAM HYMAN
No, we'll go look at it right after...
00:03:35 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I won the first festival. But, there was maybe an earlier cinema festival, but it wasn't the L.A. Film Festival it was...[SK: Maybe it was the First Festival]
00:03:45 ADAM HYMAN
00:03:45 STANTON KAYE
Some other festival or something that Jet had won it or something. I don't know that he didn't, he may have won second prize at this one. I'm not sure. I can't remember, but we became friends for awhile.
00:04:01 ADAM HYMAN
What else can you remember about the night of the screening?
00:04:04 STANTON KAYE
So, I sat there a little bit like Luis Buñuel with rocks in my pockets, you know ready to fight back. And, when I saw these other films come on I thought that the sentiments and the ideas weren't too different than what I was going to be saying in my film. And, I thought holy shit they're booing, laughing, they're doing whatever. So, then my film came on and there was such a silence, it was such and you know the theater had been raucous in the Italian tradition for a long time. You know in Italy they throw things at the [laugh] screen and they scream and yell when they don't like.
00:04:44 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
The blacks do it too down in, downtown L.A. they used to have a tradition that I guess they don't anymore. So, there was a popular response going on in this theater. And, it was not among blacks or Italians. [laugh] I mean it was just not the people were real critical and having fun and drinking and everything. I thought oh, this is going to be a disaster. And, they just they paid attention right to the end. And, they just went crazy. And, I was a hero.
00:05:22 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I went to Canter’s I wasn't sure if I was going to win. They were having a big problem deciding. It was Jack Hirschman [Smith] and John [Fles] and Stan Brakhage and I think they were arguing with Stan Brakhage. Who thought that Larry Jordan who had one of the films in should win because he'd been making films longer that's why.
00:05:48 ADAM HYMAN
The opposite of the nature of your film and the nature of a Larry Jordan film are so drastically different. I mean, how do you pick one? [unintelligible]
00:05:58 STANTON KAYE
Right afterward I got out of town because everybody said what are we going to next now? And, I didn't have a clue what to do next, or what next meant. I only wanted to do that film because it was something I wrote. It was a written idea, you know I didn't even think of myself as a director. But, suddenly I was one. And, I went up to join my sister who lived in Berkeley she was going to school there. And, there was a guy living under the house. I mean he wasn't living he was working under the house on the foundation. An older guy maybe 20 years older than me.
00:06:36 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he lived upstairs in a nice little flat up there. There was like a balcony apartment with, in the attic you might say. And, I didn't have any work. I didn't know where to go. I was trying to get work as a filmmaker. There wasn't any. Walter Landour was one of the people. I think that was his name. He's a famous advertising agency there. There was a laboratory and there were few ad agencies or any places you could go. There was no Zoetrope. There was only one company Palmer Films I think. [technical]
00:07:53 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, Palmer Films it was called--- they had become very famous for how to coil a fire hose. And, they made a lot of money on it and sold it to a lot of fire departments.
There was another guy named Dorsey Alexander, who ran an ad agency in Berkeley. Eventually I found all these people. I found Chick Callenbach and the group Canyon Cinema. And, Chick Strand and Bruce Baillie and people I respected. I found Tom Luddy who was a young and exactly my age. He was born on June 4th, the same day, and the same year and everything.
00:08:34 ADAM HYMAN
Oh, Happy Birthday.
00:08:34 STANTON KAYE
And, yeah and...
00:08:37 MALE ONE
Your birthday's June 4th?
00:08:38 STANTON KAYE
00:08:39 MALE ONE
Well, mine's June 3rd.
00:08:40 STANTON KAYE
There you go you're a Gemini. [non-interview dialogue]
00:08:56 ADAM HYMAN
So, you just went up to the Bay Area for awhile.
00:08:57 STANTON KAYE
I went up there and this guy who was living on the top floor was by the name of Brant Sloan. And, Brant Sloan was good friends with a guy named Willard Morrison who ran Audio Film Center. Willard Morrison was a film affectionado. And, he had films by Gian Vittorio Baldi, Jean Vigo] and by Dovzhenko that were like rare like ZVENIGORA], a rare print. And, it was the first print in the United State even I think that showed that it had made the same mistakes as ORPHANS OF THE STORM, Griffith's film story wise.
00:09:43 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
You know it was a little too intellectual. Anyway, so INTOLERANCE has some of those aspects in it. But, anyway there's three or four stories told twice, you know or three times. [laugh] So, this guy building the house gave me a job. He said you want work? I said I could use some work. He said well, I need somebody to crawl under the house here and help me measure and help me put the foundation things in the wood, whatever we have to do. And, I said okay I can do that. He was bigger than I was. I was spry and young.
00:10:33 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, so we got to be talking and he asked me what I was interested in? So, when I said I'm a filmmaker, or I'm trying to be. I just made my first film. And, so he said well, let me see it. So, he arranged for us to see it. And, I think we showed it to Willard over in the Avenues of San Francisco which is the Sunset District, or Clement Street area. That's where Willard was, it's a Russian area. And, they decided it was an important film. He wanted to distribute it.
00:11:21 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, at the same time he showed me Gian Vittorio Baldi's films which were early Italian realism films. And, made with real people and the tradition of [Ed: Vittorio] De Sica’s BICYCLE THIEF, or LA TERRA TREMA [Luchino] Visconti, I didn't know those films yet, or maybe I did. I might have seen them [Raymond] Rohauer’s Coronet collection but, the important thing was that Brant Sloan was the single most American collector of foreign shorts. He had all the great foreign shorts under contract---- he had written deals for them. For LA CORRIDA INTERDITE; for DREAM OF WILD HORSES; for THE RED BALLOON even, You know, anything that was a short.
00:12:09 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
All these [Walerian] Borowczyk films, Chris Marker ---he knew all these people and he showed them to me. And, he wanted to distribute them. He wanted to come into Hollywood and start a road show using a package of these shorts which he did which involved somewhere along a line I think Burt Gershenson and others. It was called Pyramid Films. And, he founded Pyramid Films after first taking it over to MGM. And, he became my good friend. Introduced me to architecture and to artists all over San Francisco and the Bay area, in between us building the foundation of this house. [laugh] And, he died a few years back.
00:13:09 ADAM HYMAN
How long did you spend in the Bay Area at that point?
00:13:13 STANTON KAYE
A year I think maybe. I started dating Irene Bronston who's dead now, Samuel Bronston's daughter. You know that filmmaker? You know the film producer? Nick Ray's last producer. I liked Irene, she was cute. She became a bit sterner as time went on and she married some guy who was a sociologist and they hired me to make a film on immigrant workers and migratory workers who were Spanish illegals, Mexican illegals down in a town called Gonzalez. And, I had made a film down there. I shot for them. I don't know what they did with it. I just shot the footage for them.
00:14:05 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
My greatest shot the film ran out of the camera, but I kept filming anyway. I pretended [SK: I still had film and the Simon Legree guy--] that the guy came after me all the way to the end [laugh] all the immigrants came with me and they were frightened of him. And, they came at my camera and the guy came at my camera. My film ran out and I kept running backwards filming the whole thing. I knew I didn't have it. I knew it was too great a shot. [laugh] It was great yeah [SK: I could have had that shot...I still have it in my mind.]
00:14:39 ADAM HYMAN
00:14:42 STANTON KAYE
It's a great end. [laugh]
00:14:45 ADAM HYMAN
Did you re-take it?
00:14:46 STANTON KAYE
No way to because it was spontaneous you know?
00:14:50 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, so did you find like the equivalent theme in the San Francisco area?
00:14:58 STANTON KAYE
Sure like make...
00:14:58 ADAM HYMAN
00:14:59 STANTON KAYE
I sure like making love to Irene. I really enjoyed her.
00:15:06 ADAM HYMAN
And, you were like 21 at the time or something like that?
00:15:08 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, 20 maybe. I used to spend all my money and taking flights for $25 to come all the way up maybe round trip I can't remember.
00:15:24 ADAM HYMAN
Wow, that was a good rate. [non-interview dialogue]
00:15:40 STANTON KAYE
It [GEORG] won prize after prize after prize wherever it went. It won the first prize at Kent State. It won the second prize at Ann Arbor. It won first prizes at College of William & Mary which is an old American school. And...
00:15:59 ADAM HYMAN
Do you want to take a stab at guessing on what people were responding to most within it?
00:16:04 STANTON KAYE
Well, I showed it at Gettysburg College and they were responding the biblical nature of the fall of Adam. [makes noise] I said I don't think I even know what you're talking about. [laugh] So, far away from that religious idea the fall and then how it would incorporates into my film, but that's a religious college. And, I came there under the auspices of St. Mark's Church which I had just gotten a job at. And, when the...
00:16:40 ADAM HYMAN
St. Mark's Church where was that?
00:16:42 STANTON KAYE
On the Bowery, St. Mark's on the Bowery. It's Second Avenue and 10th. I was in charge of the film program along with Ken Jacobs. [SK:—say 1965]
00:16:51 ADAM HYMAN
Was this right after San Francisco?
00:16:56 STANTON KAYE
No later. Let me tell you when 1963 was when the festival was and the film was finished. I think it was finished in 1963 GEORG.
00:17:17 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, something, well one thing had as a date 1964.
00:17:21 STANTON KAYE
Might be 1964, but I think it was 1963 in December of 1963 or something like that. That's why.
00:17:29 ADAM HYMAN
Right after Kennedy was shot?
00:17:31 STANTON KAYE
Right after, we were sound mixing when Kennedy was shot. We were at the sound, we were at Ryder Sound the day he was shot.
00:17:49 ADAM HYMAN
So, you spent much of 1964 then in San Francisco?
00:17:54 STANTON KAYE
Whenever the festival was after that I started going up to San Francisco to get away from the crew and the people who helped me make the film because I didn't know what to do next. And, they all hung out Barney's Beanery. That's where I cast all the time and got my crew. I went...
00:18:15 ADAM HYMAN
What was Barney's Beanery like at that time?
00:18:19 STANTON KAYE
Ed Kienholz was there. Claes Oldenberg was there. Robert Breer was there sometimes. [laugh] [SK: Jack Nicholson was there…Wallace Berman, Billy Al Bengston...etc]
00:18:27 ADAM HYMAN
Breer, was Breer around [unintelligible]
00:18:29 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, he came to L.A. His films were good.
00:18:34 ADAM HYMAN
Why did everybody hang out at Barney's Beanery?
00:18:37 STANTON KAYE
Because the Ferus Gallery was nearby and the Ferus Gallery was lots happening there and across the street where Ed Kienholz showed. I think he showed across the street which just a couple of galleries that were really avant-garde [SK: less known] and developed. And, everybody hung out [SK: at Ferus] there. Billy Al Bengston, Larry Bell-- There was another gallery which was run by Virginia Dwan who was the heiress to the 3M scotch tape fortune.
00:19:28 ADAM HYMAN
Now, would those artists come to film screenings?
00:19:30 STANTON KAYE
That was in Westwood that gallery right near Flax.
00:19:34 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, and I know the name of it. I'm blanking out on it right now. I'm curious about the...
00:19:41 STANTON KAYE
Dwan it was called the Dwan Gallery. Her other name was Virginia Dwan she was, I guess she was married to Alan Dwan at one point. He was an interesting director. And, the only thing I can think of is KISSING BANDIT with Frank Sinatra. [Ed: THE KISSING BANDIT, 1948, actually directed by Laslo Benedek.] But, I know he made some other films I saw. [laugh]
00:20:04 ADAM HYMAN
Now, did the people...
00:20:04 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I knew Frank Sinatra around the time he made THE KISSING BANDIT. That's when I knew him. I never knew him again. But, I knew him when I was five or six.
00:20:14 ADAM HYMAN
When you were bouncing on his lap.
00:20:15 STANTON KAYE
00:20:17 ADAM HYMAN
Now, the people in that art community come to the film screenings as well? Was there interaction in that way?
00:20:28 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, very much oh yeah it crossed over. [SK: Laddie and Guy Dill] used to go there all the time. I didn't know that, but yes. And, Jack Nicholson, of course was there even though he was trying to be a Roger Corman star. Monte Hellman used to go. Bob Rafelson went assiduously. And, so did Toby, his wife, and Joseph Strick used to go. Dean Stockwell was there. Nicholas Ray’s kid was there--- Michael Ray-- occasionally. I spent time with Michael Ray he was interesting because the attributes of his life were in his car.
00:21:10 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
You know little toys that were left over from his family life. And, I didn't know at the time, but his family life was one hell of a kick in the face to Nick. I don't know if you knew that. Tony married Gloria [Grahame].
00:21:28 ADAM HYMAN
00:21:28 STANTON KAYE
00:21:31 ADAM HYMAN
What? Married his stepmother?
00:21:35 STANTON KAYE
Nick's wife, Nick's wife yeah.
00:21:36 MALE ONE
He was IN SHADOWS right?
00:21:40 STANTON KAYE
Yeah. Not Michael Ray, Tony. He drove a Cadillac, he worked at CBS. I was talking to him for awhile I didn't know at the time that Nick got his freedom from tradition. And, probably social, experimental freedom and it caused his son to marry his wife. It's a big story even as when you look at that one film. You look at who Nick Ray is there's two films ON DANGEROUS GROUND and the one where he's a writer.
00:22:40 ADAM HYMAN
IN A LONELY PLACE?
00:22:41 STANTON KAYE
IN A LONELY PLACE. You take those two films together and see a description of a man who's parting with tradition and great causes. That's what Nick did. It cost him dearly. I knew him later. I hung out with him. My sister knew him too. She knew him in New York through a girlfriend. We were different a whole different approach. But, I knew Nick, you know I was in the bungalows at Chateau Marmont with him talking about film. He was staying in the same room he stayed in with James Dean when they were making these, what was that? A REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
00:23:34 ADAM HYMAN
When was when were you there hanging out with him?
00:23:38 STANTON KAYE
1973, he was problematic then. He would act one way and I think toward the world, but he was as lucid as you could believe. And, when we were discussing [SK: nutssy crap one] minute, we started discussing a shot and he knew all the answers. I was shooting a film then. I was shooting HE WANTS HER BACK I was in the middle of it. But, I took time out…. I guess we were organizing a shot and I was hanging out with Nick that day with John Klein I think John Klein, maybe not John Klein. I certainly was there though. I don't know who else was there.
00:24:19 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
There was a girl I was trying to fuck upstairs. Who was the wife I don't want to say of a famous rock star.
00:24:32 ADAM HYMAN
Did Nicholas Ray give you advice on how t o shoot anything?
00:24:34 STANTON KAYE
00:24:36 ADAM HYMAN
Do you remember what?
00:24:39 STANTON KAYE
Something about the lighting. I can't remember, but I don't know if I took it or not, but it was interesting because I had made a very interesting shot out of my next setups that I think were around that time which was WOUNDED KNEE. And, I did something really interesting, I lit the rocks which were a mile or two away with a generator way in the back and then I lit a tiny model this big in the foreground. And, I ran my people around the model, so that it looked like the model was back at the hills a mile or two away. And, they were able to run in front of it and then I was able to pan with them and get a really interesting setup. It's in my film HE WANTS HER BACK.
00:25:37 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
We restaged WOUNDED KNEE that way with a tiny little model. I did a lot of little model work. And, I'm wondering and Nick said something it was something about the lights. He had some pointers on it. Really lucid pointers I don't remember what it was.
00:25:54 ADAM HYMAN
So, you really were also then incorporating the grand tradition of opticals and so forth, you know? [unintelligible]
00:26:03 STANTON KAYE
00:26:05 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, well it was the equivalent I mean it was with models without the glass. I did some I don't think I did a glass shot. But, in IN PURSUIT OF TREASURE I did some split field diopter shots that allowed you to keep something in the foreground and something in the background. And, I did some, I've always done filters of things. I did that in GEORG. Graduated in filters and things like that. They were a lot of fun. They're great when you can use them. I miss all that. There's a lot of things that you learn in cinema that you can't use anymore, were phased out.
00:26:46 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
You know like I know how to edit in really creative ways with film. And, I can still edit with video, but I can't use all my dexterous skills it took so fucking long to develop. And, I can throw a piece of film through the air and grab it just about where the shot I want is out of the bin. That's pretty amazing isn't it?
00:27:09 ADAM HYMAN
00:27:11 STANTON KAYE
I can read it in the air and grab it within a foot or so of where the shot is. What good is that? [laugh] You can't do that anymore.
00:27:20 ADAM HYMAN
Well, you can if you want.
00:27:20 STANTON KAYE
It's like fly fishing you know? [laugh] What are you going to do with that? And, I can cut fast, I can physically cut ---put tapes down, putting things together with my fingers. I don't know if I can anymore, but I used to be really fast doing that on those little straight splicers. And, even on the sound splicers I used to be able to do weird things with the soundtrack. And, shave it, cut all kinds of sound tricks.
00:27:55 ADAM HYMAN
00:27:57 STANTON KAYE
I could it's all useful, yeah it's all useless. And, knowing how to focus and parallax and all gone, all gone. There'd be little tricks to keep the camera gate clean [SK: polished and hair free] and [laugh] get the lenses, so you don't have problems. And, all kinds of-- a whole bag of gizmos that you keep with you. Because you had those problems before from inverters to oilers to other things, all worthless. What do you do? It's just like being really phased out. And I know people who are color timers who have eyes and sensitivities that are gem like [laugh] they're worthless. It's all worthless.
00:28:48 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Some of them are still in business in Italy I hear. But, they're about to go.
00:28:53 ADAM HYMAN
00:28:54 STANTON KAYE
00:28:54 ADAM HYMAN
They could transfer that skill to digital color correction.
00:28:59 STANTON KAYE
Maybe. [non-interview dialogue]
00:29:16 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Well and analog sound versus digital sound it's different. And, there are things that you would do that you don't do now, or you can try to get back. And, I have a couple of channels of Neve for use in the mix. I have a mix room over here. And, I don't-- it's not fully up yet because I have to switch from DigiBeta and Beta SP to the next stuff 24P and whatever it is HD. And, I'm...
00:29:51 ADAM HYMAN
And in a couple of years, it will change again.
00:29:54 STANTON KAYE
Well, my stuff's good because it's some pretty good equipment and you know I've good amplifiers and good playback. And some of them you want to keep some channels of Neve for you want some analog sounds. You want to be able to at least record analog and then play them back digitally, or whatever you're going to do.
00:30:20 ADAM HYMAN
I think there's going to be-- it’s like the vinyl growing slowly back because people like the analog sounds whereas I don't know it'll be like there'll be again a continuing small world of analog filmmakers. But, I don't know it'll be like growing.
00:30:37 STANTON KAYE
I wouldn't touch it. I wouldn't buy it. I wouldn't buy it. If you own it fine and if you, I've got some stuff that we could readapt if you have adept computer people. I bought some stuff that was a interim. It was sort of like Mark Twain's press between a liner type and whatever existed before, you know?
00:30:58 ADAM HYMAN
00:30:59 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, did you ever see it? I saw it.
00:31:01 ADAM HYMAN
No, where is it in Connecticut?
00:31:03 STANTON KAYE
It's in his house in Hartford. It's quite a house.
00:31:07 ADAM HYMAN
He, oh briefly what colleges did you attend or did you?
00:31:12 STANTON KAYE
I did. I attended L.A. City College.
00:31:19 ADAM HYMAN
When was that after GEORG?
00:31:22 STANTON KAYE
Before GEORG. And, my history teacher, Dr. Ewing I think, or Mr. Ewing told me to go make GEORG… I said they're going to drop the bomb. I think I should make an anti war film. But, I have it in my suitcase. And, he said you got to make the anti war film and then come back to school. I never did quite get back to school.
00:31:48 ADAM HYMAN
Do you remember anything...
00:31:48 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I went to UCLA as a special student. I had Renoir, Jean Renoir. I had Josef Von Sternberg. I had James Blue who was very interesting. And, I had Steve Larner as a camera teacher. But I also had Charles Clark who was a great cameraman and lighting teacher, he was president of the American Society of Cinema group and...
00:32:12 ADAM HYMAN
Tell us a bit more about this period at UCLA.
00:32:15 STANTON KAYE
Jean Renoir while I was making GEORG.
00:32:19 ADAM HYMAN
Was it like 1963ish you were...
00:32:21 STANTON KAYE
1962, 1961 somewhere in there.
00:32:24 ADAM HYMAN
As a student at UCLA what did...
00:32:25 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] No, I would just come in and go to his classes because he was a great filmmaker. And, I had a friend Mindaugus Bagdon who was a graduate of SC and told me what was going on over there. And, he had a friend Kent McKenzie who had made EXILES and I think we all used to go over there. I went less frequently than they did. And, I saw two things over there. I saw that he was adamant about a filmmaker knowing everything he could about the technology. Which was important because you wouldn't want to just do that normally.
00:33:06 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I find out why and with time it became very important that I had done that in time. The other was...
00:33:12 ADAM HYMAN
Why is it important?
00:33:14 STANTON KAYE
The other was the way he worked with actors seemed to be to relax them into what they were, so that you could almost say that a lot of directing was casting. And then relaxing people to be what they are.
00:33:28 ADAM HYMAN
00:33:29 STANTON KAYE
Not to let too much crap get in the way of what they think they should be. But, picked them the right place to begin with, at least as far as movie actors go. And, it's rare that you get somebody who can create a character, transform themselves on film. Now, on the stage yes it's a lot of things need to be magnified, amplified and projected. But, in film you want to go close to what they are. If you want to change them across time then you need wait some time, or do some pyro technical.
00:34:10 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Von Sternberg who was very much a pyro technician and a guy who wrote a kind of rigid scripts in some ways. He had a different approach than Jean Renoir. But, it still wasn't an approach that got to that human core. But he still understood that humanness. Every time I met Von Sternberg I never knew who he was. He might say no. I was in his class. I ran into him again in at the AFI. He's so distant. He's so removed. He's so seemingly distant. There was that in his films I would say. It's not a warm thing.
00:35:12 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I think he suffered a lot I don't know why. Maybe because he was arrogant and something happened to him I don't know. His last films weren't well received I guess. His early films were so pretty magnificent. And, DOCKS OF NEW YORK is not an arbitrary thing. It's not a contrived like some of his later films are more it's not that contrived. So, I don't know what I got from Von Sternberg you learn something about his lighting techniques from Marlene Dietrich that's for sure. He had some tricks in him. And, I think the most important thing I learned was that I could change for dramatic effect between the long shot and a close up and get a gesture like quality from it and nobody will know--- if I change my angle.
00:36:08 ADAM HYMAN
Change the light?
00:36:09 STANTON KAYE
Uh, huh and the angle. And, as long as it fits. It is the next emotional gesture. It was true of cutting too. You can cut in really remarkable ways as long as it carries the story forward and it propels it emotionally. And, in the crudest form it's why you can cut all over the place in a fight, or in a scene of confusion, because it's confusing, so it fits in there. That's all right.
00:36:39 ADAM HYMAN
Why did you think it’s important then that the director sort of master all the technology?
00:36:49 STANTON KAYE
Because I've been there and I've been there as a director even on BRANDY IN THE WILDERNESS because I had a friend on the roof who was the camera man, four stories up and I wanted a certain shot. And, I'm yelling to him and he said I can't get that. And, I said yes you can. He got it.
00:37:20 ADAM HYMAN
00:37:20 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] That's why [laugh] it happens a lot. It happened on GEORG. It happened to me on GEORG. I had and I insisted on certain things and I got them.
00:37:35 ADAM HYMAN
Were you technologically...
00:37:37 STANTON KAYE
Not as adept as I became.
00:37:42 ADAM HYMAN
So, at that point it was still more just like consistent...
00:37:43 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I went to UCLA. I studied with Charlie Clark I was trying to tell you and Steve Larner.
00:37:50 ADAM HYMAN
What did they teach you?
00:37:50 STANTON KAYE
Camera men, camera I studied lighting and traditional camera techniques from the big boys with Charlie Clark he was a big time guy. Did MOON TIDE. Did scenes in THE GOOD EARTH and shot a few films. And, he was largely a second unit guy, but he was a good lighting camera man. He knew a lot, he knew a lot about color. He knew a lot about black and white. He knew a lot about lights. And, he knew how to order them up and how to scrim and flag them and snoot them and get the results.
00:38:39 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Not everybody was good at it. I was in a class with Steve Wax and, a few other people. Steve Wax couldn't get the hang of it. I loved it. And, I was a camera man really. I shot some things too. I got an award-- split with James Wong Howe’s kid. At the Festival dei Populi in Italy for some documentary. I shot for a guy named -- he was a piece of work-- Yves de Laurot who was, I think he was a protégé of Orson Welles.
00:39:17 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, also one of the founders of FILM CULTURE and part of that original group.
00:39:24 ADAM HYMAN
What was the premise of that film?
00:39:28 STANTON KAYE
Boy, you never knew with this guy. But I got a lot in, you know I got to shoot 35mm for the first time with him. And, there we were shooting Vietnamese torture scenes with gasoline and burning tires. And, God knows what out in the Brooklyn swamps. And, the same day or the next day I was shooting on an apartment house up in 134th Street or somewhere up in Manhattan in the Spanish Harlem area.
00:40:04 ADAM HYMAN
Was this more or like 1968?
00:40:05 STANTON KAYE
Wait, wait yeah 1965, 1966. I was shooting gangs on a balcony [laugh] looking at the Bronx. And, then the next time he wanted me to go to a nudist camp. And, I had to be nude and carry the camera. And shoot for them, but nude. And, I said nah, [laugh] he got, they got caught and they strapped him to a tree with ropes and they left him there for a few hours. [laugh]
00:40:49 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, then I shot for him in Harlem on around 128th Street right in Harlem parade. I don't know what was in the parade. And, I shot it on my back on the ground. And, I shot it from the roofs. And, I did all that hustling and running around with an Arriflex 35 and for that I think I won the prizes because I apparently did some great stuff.
00:41:18 ADAM HYMAN
So, what was the film that it was in?
00:41:22 STANTON KAYE
I don't know look it up. The Festival Dei Populi ...
00:41:27 ADAM HYMAN
00:41:27 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] Florence or something.
00:41:29 ADAM HYMAN
Was it Yves de Laurot?
00:41:30 STANTON KAYE
You got Yves de Laurot?.
00:41:32 ADAM HYMAN
Yves De Laurot?
00:41:34 STANTON KAYE
Yeah. I don't know it was called something I don't remember it was called something. He jumped over, I was in a café on Fifth Avenue and 8th Street, and he jumped over the banister. You've won the prize blah, blah, blah, blah. And, I don't, I don't know whether to believe him, but I think he did. [technical]
[END OF TAPE 2]
TAPE 3: STANTON KAYE
00:00:27 STANTON KAYE
Really made it three times they didn't want to release it no matter how I made it.
00:00:33 ADAM HYMAN
When you say remade it three times what do you mean did you...
00:00:35 STANTON KAYE
Well, I made a mistake. I made a mistake I should have left it the way I could do it best. And, Howard Smith said that to me. And, I wouldn't listen to him because I was terrified they weren't going to show it at all. And, so I said I would try and change it. And, that was a mistake, a terrible mistake. Because, if I'd left it the way it was it would have been very interesting. When we started cutting it up, it was John Klein and I ---the guy doing the Carmen Miranda thing with me. [laugh] John and did TAKING OFF with Milos Forman and worked with Milos on ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST and with Milos on a few other films. He went to school with me at AFI.
00:01:25 ADAM HYMAN
00:01:28 STANTON KAYE
So, he was trying to help me save it. I rewrote the script. I went home and rewrote the script to make it more conventional. And, that was a terrible thing to do. I was really, everybody made me feel bad to be an experimental filmmaker. Because, it meant it sort of seemed like it meant you'd never make any money. And, that it wasn't important then. You ruined your career.
00:02:06 ADAM HYMAN
Well, it's still pretty much the same.
00:02:10 STANTON KAYE
Tell me about it, I just had a very successful showing at the [San Francisco] Cinematheque, we only had 90 people. I had a beautiful room it could hold 200, 300 it only had 90 people. That's 45 years later. My films held up beautifully, beautifully. I mean they were like modern films. I mean the viewer was just as interested today as maybe more than you were then. That's unusual.
00:02:39 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, people still don't often view films that deal with the issues and questions of perception and editing and everything else that experimental films do, so they it remains timeless.
00:02:52 STANTON KAYE
Well, boy they sure went crazy over them. That's why they invited BRANDY to Telluride [Ed. Film Festival in 2010]. But, they didn't invite the sequel to Telluride, which is called HE WANTS HER BACK. Do you even know there's a sequel?
00:03:03 ADAM HYMAN
I've only read about the title. I don't know anything about it.
00:03:06 STANTON KAYE
Didn't invite that, but they invited it to Pesaro and to Hamberg and a few other places in its time. They didn't want it because and it has stars in it and everything, you know why not? Because it's not as experimental that's why. It's more, it's more catering to PBS at the time and there was something else too. They wouldn't let me finish it 20 minutes shorter. They wanted it 30 minutes shorter. So, I made it. They wanted it 10 minutes shorter and I finished it 20 minutes longer, so it would be in even half hours. And, maybe I should have made it 10 minutes shorter. But, they were...
00:03:53 ADAM HYMAN
00:03:53 STANTON KAYE
00:03:53 ADAM HYMAN
It would have been a 20 minute film I don't understand how long is that film?
00:03:57 STANTON KAYE
It didn't matter how long it was what mattered was how fast paced it was.
00:04:01 ADAM HYMAN
How fast paced.
00:04:02 STANTON KAYE
It would have been better off 20 minutes shorter, but it couldn't, it had to be an even half hour. So, it either had to be 30 minutes shorter, or to really it was 10 minutes, or it had to be 20 minutes longer. So, I made it 20 minutes longer. [laugh]
00:04:24 ADAM HYMAN
That's usually the case. A lot of times films people think are too slow and want to cut them down and actually the answer is to make them a lot longer, so that the overall rhythm is different.
00:04:33 STANTON KAYE
Sometimes I think...
00:04:38 ADAM HYMAN
It depends on the nature of the...
00:04:38 STANTON KAYE
Well, there's certain shots that it meant cutting down because she didn't like the style of the shots. I don't know maybe that wasn't it and she really didn't need to, the producer needed to come in and in even half hours. That was just the charter the thing to do. And, I'm such an asshole I didn't want to do that. Maybe I should have. Would it have been maybe a better film maybe would it have been received better? It was received pretty well didn't win any prizes, but it got into some festivals. It was respected.
00:05:15 ADAM HYMAN
Let's go back to high school era as well. What is...
00:05:19 STANTON KAYE
Oh, high school okay, well that's then okay, so when I went to magic school and then I sort of my father was adamantly against my going into the film business. And, I wasn't doing well in Math. I wanted to go into Science and my eyes were crossing coefficients. Because, as it turned out I was left handed, but I was made right handed and it screwed me up in Algebra and I wasn't getting the results I needed to get. So, I switched. I began to take drama and I began writing plays when I was 14.
00:06:13 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I had written some little things in school, but nothing important. And, done some magic shows on the stage for various carnival things. They weren't very good I don't think. Some of my magic shows were good, sometimes they weren't. At least you could get away with it, you know I was only a kid. So, I started writing my plays. My father was really extraordinary when it came to things like [Ed: playright] Pirandello, or his early experiences with [Ed: theater director David] Belasco and things he lived through. And, he lived through the real presentation of THE GIRL IN THE GOLDEN WEST with a galloping horse going across the stage and that was what hooked him among other things. [laugh]
00:07:12 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, then of course he was immersed in theater since he was a child. Before he could walk he was on the stage being used as a baby or something, or used to ring a bell in the back room, or whatever and build sets. And, his older brother built the sets and they grew up doing these plays. They knew [SK: everything they needed to know][laugh] I was thinking about them the other day not for you, but just I was thinking about the idea of an underlying pattern to theater. And, when you look at classical theater and what these kids grew up with to where on the stage and all these plays that were had a certain repetitive nature in the way TV has a repetitive nature.
00:07:58 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
They learned the rudiments of drama as a certain pattern. And, you could almost say they learned what kept the drama interesting. And, I was thinking about what kept the drama interesting rather than what they learned about the people that were in the drama. They learned how to make the drama interesting and they could recite it. I remember my uncle he had about an 8th grade education and he could recite the structure of how to make a play work.
00:08:34 ADAM HYMAN
Do you remember any of the...
00:08:34 STANTON KAYE
Well, I ignored it you know, but I heard it several times. Then you do this in the third act and you do this in the second act and you do this in the first act. And, I was thinking about it how, perhaps as a phenomenology, or a pattern structure to what makes an audience stay in its seat and come back? And, that you can think about that in a different way then what I was trying to think about in drama. And, what most people hear when people lecture them on the various ways in which a drama is structured.
00:09:19 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
You know I spoke to some instructor who runs a class at Bergamot Station [Santa Monica] or something. He's some guy who runs a class in playwriting, Joseph something do you know him?
00:09:32 ADAM HYMAN
00:09:33 STANTON KAYE
And, screen writing and we had a brief exchange a couple of weeks ago. I was at an art opening and I was sitting in a car having a hamburger or something. And, this guy was introduced to me through the window of the car. Everybody was standing around drinking and eating and stuff. And, we were parked right in the middle of it all. So, I had this exchange with him and it was a fairly sophisticated exchange between people who understood some of the theories of drama, and, how you might do a movie.
00:10:09 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I said I'm more intuitive about it I never start out with any kind of definitive structure in mind. And, he said I think you know a whole lot more than even I do because you know what choices to make emotionally. Well, maybe, maybe not. I said I want to come to your classes and see and hear what you have to say. Especially, in light of all those theorists that have been writing books over these last years. I was there in the days of Archer and Baker and Tennessee Williams, the theorist and playwriting and then I had John [Howard Lawson for a teacher for awhile.
00:11:00 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, in theater and a little bit in cinema, but the challenges were in playmaking not in screen writing. He was also an expert screen writer. He had written ACTION IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC and SAHARA. Don't know what else he disguised in and got you know pushed into television under another name.
00:11:30 ADAM HYMAN
In what way did [unintelligible] how would you even meet with him or...
00:11:35 STANTON KAYE
I used to go to the Wilshire Ebell Theater where he was having a class that across the street at a place called the Ruskin Society. And, he taught the basics of drama from Chikamatsu, the Chinese Chalk Circle, and Shakuntala by Kalidassa which was an Indian play and playwright--- to I can't remember anybody else. And, then I'd go to his house because I had a friend who was a would be playwright and was a reporter who I met in Pershing Square along with this group of intellectuals that hung out in the days when Pershing Square was like Hyde Park. And, it was a place where you could have ideas.
00:12:26 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I met these guys that started I was about 15. I'd go down there by bus or something and I met these guys and I would go to dinner and lunch with them and stuff, you know. I was hanging out in Pershing Square because there were ideas being spoken openly. In particularly, in the Left wing and also there was bizarre stuff going on. Religious things like right out of ---the only equivalent I had for that was--- AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY. I saw there was a family that hung out in that park that was all dressed up in their best church clothes. White dresses and black suits and all the way down to a little three or four year old. I mean a whole family.
00:13:17 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
The only equivalent is AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY I think, a true story. And, then there were maniacs [SK: perverts.] I recognized some of them because they would show up at premieres. And, sometimes I'd go to a premiere, a Hollywood premiere and you'd see some guy with a flashlight down underneath the girls' skirts, you know looking around. I'd see him out there too, you know I'd see…. you start to recognize people. [laugh] There weren't that many strange people. So, I stayed friends with Lawson over the years and he had a house in Highland Park and a big library. I have a big library too now.
00:14:10 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he sat in his library it was very beautiful with a view across the hills to Echo Park or whatever those mountains were. And, we'd talk ---it was really quite wonderful for him to spend time with me.
00:14:30 ADAM HYMAN
Well, what do you...
00:14:30 STANTON KAYE
We argued about things. We argued about what he called the emotional theater. When he called the emotional theater was Anontin Artaud and Jean Genet and Eugène Ionesco and those people. [SK: the greater needs of the people. I’m guessing it was the same as Eisenstein describes as entertainment…not serving a higher good.]
00:14:48 ADAM HYMAN
Really, you'd call that the emotional theater?
00:14:49 STANTON KAYE
[SK:…He was referring to Artaud, Ionesco, and Genet—maybe Beckett….The real Lawson was much less rigid but the propagandist in him was a burden I think he shouldered out of some greater social hope than simple theater…]
00:14:52 ADAM HYMAN
Well, yeah obviously that's constructed an idea that's obviously thought conventionally the opposite.
00:14:57 STANTON KAYE
Not for him. For him ideas were dialectal materialism…. I think, some were at least [SK: he required more meaningful objective] Hegelian construction of some sort I think. He was really rigid, this guy was not rigid. You know the reason I was really with Lawson was because I had read his plays. Have you ever?
00:15:17 ADAM HYMAN
No, I haven't.
00:15:18 STANTON KAYE
They're some of the greatest American literature and still are. One is ROGER BLOOMER which is kind of surrealistic social indictment. Another one's called LOUD SPEAKER another surrealist again social argument and PROCESSIONAL is about the 1920's rise of the Klan. And, all of them are done with masterful technology that's very inventive and new and original. And, only found its place from there [SK: in Lawson’s plays] stolen from cinema I might say as silent cinema just as Brecht did. It would be transposed into musical theater and into modern opera. Because, of course there were techniques that were arising to tell a story better, quicker than they could be [SK: in the past century,] they were poetic.
00:16:18 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
They were coming out of the manipulation of images against ideas the way Eisenstein showed you. If you read [Sergei] Eisenstein's FILM FORM or FILM SENSE. I think it was FILM SENSE that had that. The film, which is the second book?
00:16:40 ADAM HYMAN
Oh, I don't remember the order. [unintelligible]
00:16:42 STANTON KAYE
Well, the one that's all about how to structure titles into significant dynamics. And...
00:16:56 ADAM HYMAN
It’s been too long since I’ve read that.
00:16:58 STANTON KAYE
00:16:58 ADAM HYMAN
It's been too long since I've read that.
00:17:01 STANTON KAYE
Oh, I think it's FILM SENSE I think it was FILM FORM that becomes the one that's questionable where he thinks he can make a formula out of everything and show you how [Sergei] Prokofiev [SK: music] fits into Alexander Nevsky…It doesn't quite work which Lawson, by the way was the one who pointed that out to me. He just didn't believe it worked.
00:17:30 ADAM HYMAN
When did you finally...
00:17:31 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I'm not so sure. What?
00:17:34 ADAM HYMAN
First like when?
00:17:35 STANTON KAYE
I had a friend named Timmy Hartman. Timmy Hartman was Don Hartman's son. Don Hartman was the president of Paramount for awhile. And, Timmy Hartman was in drama school with me at Beverly High. About the same time, I started writing WRITERS THE SEA for David Giler and a couple of people who were also in class with me that Hollywood summer. David became the producer of --I don't know-- some remake of the MALTESE FALCON and MYRA BRECKENRIDGE. I don't know what else he produced that was very important [SK: I don’t think much but I don’t know.]
00:18:12 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, David and I were close friends when we were in school because that drama school. Remember I said I went to in Hollywood High he was there and he was fucking this beautiful blonde little thing that was unbelievable who was a nymphomaniac or something. And, it was just sad, but beautiful story. And, I was only 16 or 15 ½ or something. And, I thought David was fantastic that he was doing that. I was looking to do that myself. I didn't realize I might have been able to do that right there and then.
00:18:53 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, you know youth is wasted on the young. David and I became really good friends. [laugh] I looked up to him. I used to stay over at his house. And, his father knew my parents because he worked somehow those TARZAN movies dovetailed into my parents' life and he knew my mother even I think. A great guy his father and his mother, great people a lot like my parents, but more successful, because my father had lost his money and was floundering around doing some of the things you see in BRANDY IN THE WILDERNESS trying to make a living.
00:19:38 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, not doing too well. Anyway, so what did I do, so Timmy turned me on to Eisenstein and then he told me that they showed Eisenstein's films over at the Coronet. Introduced me to Raymond Rohauer's collection which was unbelievable.
00:19:58 ADAM HYMAN
What was it like?
00:20:00 STANTON KAYE
What was it like don't you know what was in there?
00:20:01 ADAM HYMAN
I know what it is...
00:20:01 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] Kenneth Anger's films were in there. I mean there was, well that's something else too. I was interested in sex when I was 15 or 14. And, I started wandering on Santa Monica Blvd. and I discovered these really sexy movies. I want to tell you what they were. They were filled with sex. SUMMER WITH MONIKA, THE VIRGIN SPRING, NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, ORPHÉE, filled with sex. Beautifully done too, very different then the prurient dirty stuff that you thought you were going to get into. You came away very spiritualized from those things.
00:20:46 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, sometimes they would show Flora Mock’s films, maybe Maya Deren’s films. Strange little shorts that had all these strange, strange films. That were not like anything that I'd seen in the cinema. [laugh]
00:21:04 ADAM HYMAN
What theaters were these?
00:21:06 STANTON KAYE
Santa Monica, there was one right where right on the corner of Crescent Heights on the north side where the, is there a P.J.'s or something there now. There's a Russian I don't know what it is there. Right there there was a theater that's I don't know there at all now where the deli is now was part of a theater. It was kind of in that lot in the complex. And, that's where I saw ORPHÉE and NIGHTS OF CABIRIA. And, it's all part of the sex scene on Santa Monica Blvd. There's still one.
00:21:42 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
The other place where I saw THE VIRGIN SPRING and SUMMER WITH MONIKA before Bergman was even known in this country. It was a year or two before they started talking about him. Was the one that's the Pussycat or something now on the right side, down toward Goldwyn Studios. And, then there were supposed sex book stores along the way where I found such great sexual classics as Anaïs Nin’s books and things like that. [laugh] Little excerpts and paper bindings. [laugh] I mean my sex education was an art. [laugh]
00:22:31 ADAM HYMAN
On the street.
00:22:31 STANTON KAYE
And, so yeah and then because I got onto those movies I had one of the greatest film experiences of my life. I went down to the Vagabond that was showing foreign films. They also showed foreign films on Fairfax Avenue. I remember not seeing LA STRADA, but seeing LA STRADA play on Fairfax right next to…where Canter's is I think it was the movie theater. That marquee that says Canter's is actually I think a movie marquee.
00:23:06 ADAM HYMAN
Wow, I did not know that.
00:23:07 STANTON KAYE
00:23:09 ADAM HYMAN
The Vagabond is historic.
00:23:11 STANTON KAYE
The Vagabond was down towards West Lake Park which is now called MacArthur Park. And, I walked into that theater to see a film by Carl Dryer who I had discovered at the Coronet. And, it was an experience I've never had since. The theater was wet. I didn't know what was wrong. It was…---- I hadn't been in New York yet, so I maybe I don't think I'd been down to Brawley, Blythe, or San Felipe where it's really wet like that, humid. --- And, I walked into the theater there was something wrong, terribly wrong. And, of course I saw the end before I saw the whole movie. [SK: But the whole audience was crying for maybe a half hour straight,] And, it was ORDET. [SK: wet with tears] and, there was no experience like that ever….except sometime later I had when I was in that same period and maybe a year or two later to my 20's I started to see Japanese films.
00:24:26 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, some the equivalent, but for different reasons were [Yasujirō] Ozu’s films. Because, there you would sit there and you would suddenly you would take off. And, you would take off and were truly transcendental way that that's a cliché to say transcendental. It was like taking off on sometimes think was I on drugs and were they just catching up to me while I was watching those things? But, I don't think so I think it was the films because I can remember the sequences and what they did. They were, there were things in Ozu’s films that are in them and you don't see them in anything else.
00:25:10 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
There's one favorite of mine I think it's in FLAVOR OF GREEN TEA OVER RICE where the father is going away. And, it's usually always the same story and he's a widower or something. And, I want to know where he's going? But, everybody's come to say goodbye. And, you know the film TWO TARS by with Laurel and Hardy?
00:25:39 ADAM HYMAN
00:25:40 STANTON KAYE
Where they try to say goodbye in the car and they're in the car? And, they try and they try and they try to say goodbye, but the car won't start and won't and so they keep starting it and they keep redoing the goodbyes you know? [laugh] Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye and then the car stops. And, then they wait a little bit and they talk to [laugh] and then they start the car again and oh, it's now chugging away goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, bye and they go. [laugh] And, finally they have this three or four times [laugh] and finally they go away, right?
00:26:19 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Chug down the street I forget what happens next, but it's milking a gag, right? Howard Lloyd showed us how to milk a gag when we were at AFI-- we were lucky. And, yes that's what they're doing except in Ozu they're trying to say goodbye to this guy, but it's imitable in Ozu. He understood the problems of alienation and biggest and the strangest of the world modernity as against the frailty of mankind. And, here he gets into a plane and they're trying to say goodbye to the plane, but the plane is taxiing down the field and it's oblivious to their goodbyes and they're trying to synchronize what would be fair by way of goodbye in a human level with the unbelievable modernity of an airplane taking off [SK:…And it is so much bigger like Nature’s subjection of man.]
00:27:26 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, when they finally cut the airplane taking off against their humanity it's devastating. Same thing only it's not a joke. It's a really great moment. And, he's done that a lot, you know sometimes you see scenes on a balcony with just the modernity of what they've involved themselves with from the British markets hanging out on the balcony and he just holds on. You know with the blankets or something in the wind. He's great. Did you ever see I WAS BORN, BUT…?
00:28:18 ADAM HYMAN
00:28:19 STANTON KAYE
Great one it's a really early Ozu and it's so human, so wonderful. Now, I knew [Akira] Kurosawa years later because I was at Zoetrope and I got to eat dinner with them and stuff. So, I was curious because I think he did, or tried to do a wonderful thing for me. He tried to pick me up I was depressed because I hadn't done a feature in years. And, he must have told me, told him about me because I was going along with him and Tom Luddy and Francis [Ford Coppola]. And, Francis was showing him all of these things and I was, I felt Francis in some ways was insulting of, but he didn't understand some of Kurosawa's films and the things he was showing him were child’s play compared to [laugh] Kurosawa had done them 20 years ago, or had done them a different way.
00:29:21 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, I tried to soften the blow a little bit here and there. So, he must have asked somebody who I was and they must have told him. And, we ended at Ernie's, you know site of the VERTIGO movie? Where they go out to dinner and it's their restaurant? [laugh] So, Ernie's was our restaurant. We went with an interpreter and Kurosawa and Tom Luddy and I had seen a [Toshirō] Mifune film that Kurosawa had made, that was little shown here called I LIVE IN FEAR and it was not shown here because it was so antagonistic to the atom bomb. And...
00:30:03 ADAM HYMAN
They just showed it, they’re doing a Kurosawa retrospective in town and they just showed it at the Cinematheque and I wasn’t able to make it, but that’s one of the ones I haven’t seen that I’ve heard about through the years.
00:30:12 STANTON KAYE
So, I asked him about because Mifune plays much older in that than he had ever played. And, it was a theatrical kind of performance. Mifune was probably a great actor certainly a great actor for Kurosawa. And, so I asked him, you know about that, how did that go down? What was that like? He bypassed all that and he started to tell me how he tricked the producers to make RASHOMON because GATES OF HELL had cost so much money which was I guess a [Kenji] Mizoguchi film.
00:31:01 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Who made that GATES OF HELL? It's very famous because it won the Cannes Film Festival prize. But, more importantly it cost so much money, it was such a big budget. It was way outside the ideas of how you make films in Japan. And, I'm not sure if it made its money back though it got a prize. Maybe it did I don't know maybe it got good response. But, in some ways it made it difficult Kurosawa to get a film off the ground because they thought everybody was getting out of hand because of it or something.
00:31:43 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, he told him my film only has one set. We only have to build one set. [laugh] He tricked them because that set cost I think six times the budget or something [laugh] of most of the films. But, you know as he was telling it to me there were two things going down. He wanted to show me it was okay to be at odds with producers. He wanted me to know that because he probably heard that I had had trouble with my producers. And, that you know how otherwise does such a thing happen that your film doesn't get made.
00:32:32 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He had had that experience with Joe Levine on a film as well. At the point we were talking it was years past then. But, I knew about that. And, so I was curious that he was spending all this time telling me, but the other thing I was curious about was his ignorance of how he could have built that set for no money. And, it's the same ignorance that Francis had. I thought that they could have done much better had they had a better command of the kinds of things I tried to get into here digital and cinema tricks.
00:33:12 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Because I had been a student of Linwood Dunn and I knew Lynn real well.
00:33:20 ADAM HYMAN
When was that?
00:33:22 STANTON KAYE
Well, I ran into Lynn when I thought he was the janitor sweeping the floor in Film Effects. And, I went and I told him, I asked him if he thought it was possible to do some opticals here for a few dollars.
00:33:41 ADAM HYMAN
So, is this in the 1960s? At RKO? [Unintelligble]
00:33:44 STANTON KAYE
Uh, huh and he said of course it is because he was the boss. And, he gave me my opticals for two or three dollars a piece.
00:33:57 ADAM HYMAN
So, what sort of things did...
00:33:58 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] That's the kind of guy he was. We were friends for years after that. Even when I failed he said Stanton don't you worry he says as long as they're talking about you that's what matters.
00:34:17 ADAM HYMAN
So, what else was Linwood Dunn like then? Or what else did you learn from him?
00:34:21 STANTON KAYE
Spencer Bennett he's a good friend of Spencer Bennett. Do you know who Spencer Bennett was?
00:34:26 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, I know him.
00:34:27 STANTON KAYE
Spencer Bennett used to make SUPERMAN films without any optical effects. He would do them in the camera, you know the car would go by the camera [laugh] and then they'd pan the camera and you'd see a car wrapped around a tree. [laugh] And, it wasn't that car. [laugh] That was Spencer Bennett. Spencer Bennett, a lot of these guys used to play handball at the YMCA, Hollywood Y because they lived, everybody lived around Hollywood. You could see all these old actors like that guy from the guy from played Perry whatever the editor in the George Reeves SUPERMAN.
00:35:13 ADAM HYMAN
00:35:15 STANTON KAYE
Perry White, okay that guy was a famous Mercury player. He used to walk around with dark glasses and a cane and a black suit on Hollywood Blvd. I'd see him, you know coming from the library around Pantages Theater there, Cinerama Dome it's somewhere like that, I saw him occasionally. There were other people I ran into -- the director, [SK: Edmond Goulding] a wonderful guy. There's two they both have the same name. But, this one directed Laurel & Hardy. He was friends with them and he was in the Lilliputians Group, circa 1905, with Stan Laurel the one that many, many years ago with Laurel that toured China.
00:36:02 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
It was a group of little people who were all children who sang, popular too. And, they toured China and they toured all over the Asian Complex probably mostly to Britishers. And, Edmund Goulding was his name. And, there were two Edmund Goulding. He was the one that did CHUMPS AT OXFORD. And, I ran into him through his wife who was--- remember I said I had trouble with my hands and eyes. They gave me some special Swiss training that was meant to change my brain around. God Almighty it hurt, you know even though I was just watching things, it was doing eye muscles things and stuff. Putting imaginary into my brain.
00:36:53 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I went through that for about six months or a year. And, she was the nurse in the office and I liked her and she was older than she looked. I was only 16 or 15. And, I found out she was an actress and I started talking to her about something I was interested in which was the [Georg] Kaiser Trilogy, GAS which was an expressionist set of three plays. And, also Nikolai Evreinov and [Bertholt] Brecht of course but particularly GAS and stuff because she was an older actress. Years later I met Douglas Sirk who'd directed these plays at the [unintelligible].
00:37:39 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I knew everything about Sirk before Sirk even talked to me. I knew it because I was of that era. I had studied Toller, Ernst Toller, MASSES MAN. I'd studied Kaiser. I had read Evreinov. I had read the lot of Brecht and I have even read, or knew of [Erwin] Piscator. But, I did not know that I was going to miss Piscator who performed right up the street from me at the Roxbury Playhouse he came into town and, somebody you know Harry Gardino was a student of Piscator at The New School.
00:38:30 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, somebody from this Actor's Guild put him into the Roxbury Playhouse which is just a little theater inside the Roxbury Park with a production. And, I found out about it two or three weeks late. I was just I was only 15 at the time. I went nuts, you know, but so I knew all this stuff. And, I knew this lady and they were doing these eye exercises with me. And, so I liked her and I was thinking of fucking her or something, I don't know what I was thinking.
00:39:04 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, she was the wife of this Edmund Goulding and maybe it was Alfred Goulding his name. But, he was a different guy than the one as I said the one who did CHUMPS AT OXFORD. He was such a nice man and they were living in a small apartment off Hollywood Blvd. And, I went to their house and I had, probably didn't drink with them. I probably had a coke or coffee or something. And, we had a wonderful time. He had just hurt his neck probably died a little after that, but not because of the hurt neck. But, he'd fallen off of a crane or something where he was observing or something with some friend.
00:39:48 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, so he had a cast on. We had a wonderful evening. Then I stayed away from her because I respected him too much, you know well she had a boyfriend didn't she? [technical]
end of tape 3
TAPE: 4 STANTON KAYE
00:00:35 STANTON KAYE
Oh, all the old film books what's the name of those? [Rudolph] Arnheim and Adrian Brunel was a favorite. He was a documentarian I liked his work a lot. It was just-- he was very sincere. I wanted to point out though when I told you years later I knew [Akira] Kurosawa. I also read his biography, which is called something, SOME KIND OF BIOGRAPHY, or SOME KIND OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY I think it's called. [Ed: SOMETHING LIKE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY]
00:01:08 ADAM HYMAN
00:01:10 STANTON KAYE
And, I thought it's so human and I share that with my impressions of [Yasujirō] Ozu how very gifted they were they never lost their proper aesthetic distance in relation to human beings. They had bold, bold ideas about human history and what humans should be in a community. And so they told sort of moral tales, and, unlike the American underground, which was so shattered and drugged out and so homosexual that it had to be-- talk about sexuality, it needed it was so crying out for freedom from being discarded--disregarded and cast off and alienated. And, maybe in these other cultures that just wasn't the deal.
00:02:10 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I know in Japan there's far more permission for homosexuality and for sexuality in general. All kinds of-- whatever your sexuality is. Beyond [Nagisa] Oshima that's still extant, and I think whatever happens to these wounded creatures who became the cry of the forlorn in these, it entered the aesthetics and the aesthetics were ripped apart from mankind. Freedom from became rather than freedom within, which exemplifies itself in a general cultural way in our society. Even our bankers think of themselves as freedom from and George Bush's idea of freedom, yeah I want to see that freedom executed now in reverse. I want them all to be gathered up in the public free to get their way with them.
00:03:14 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Because, that's the kind of freedom they talk about [SK: in America], freedom beyond the law. And, you can't have that and have a society that's going to endure. Forgive me for being a little Jewish here, but you know I suppose we have moral roots. I'm not that much of a moralist, but I am. I believe that [SK: about aesthetics, too]. I suppose that's my legacy from Karl Marx [SK: and Lawson] [laugh] That aesthetics are very much tied to the community certainly in the public arts. [background noise] And...
00:03:52 ADAM HYMAN
Both include the public arts.
00:03:54 STANTON KAYE
I don't know where you stop them at this point:
[Bernard] Bosanquet and [Benedetto] Croce gave freedom to the ascetic imagination by sort of asserting that there was a kind of Kantian principle that allowed almost anything that came into the mind to be regarded as art. And, there is another fellow who I admire more than either one of those [laugh] more human, [SK:….Ernst Cassirer …] Of course…… I'm not…. I wasn't saddled with oppression and maybe they were. But, another fellow at the same time around the time of the theory of relativity and quantum theory and Niels Bohr was thinking about the faculty of judgment in [SK: Immanuel] Kant which asserts itself as good principles, so that there's some-- It's continuously mentioned as the categorical imperative…. that [SK: art] be within the confines of culture. [SK: (How can it not be?)]
00:05:03 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, so it's freedom within that there be good judgment in the execution of an object and that it has some history maybe not a priori, but it has a history in some kind of cultural context. --- And, that man was Ernst Cassirer, probably one of the most brilliant theorists of the 20th Century-- overlooked.
00:05:26 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, I've read.
00:05:27 STANTON KAYE
And ignored, [with] an encyclopedic [mind] and the only student [SK: that is obviously birthed from him that we know of is] in [history] is Susan K. Langer, who’s probably ignored.
00:05:42 ADAM HYMAN
But, who is that followed Cassirer?
00:05:45 STANTON KAYE
Susan K. Langer… PHILOSOPHY IN A NEW KEY was her book. But, Cassirer was an encyclopedic mind who won or at least came to a draw-- with Hannah Arendt’s [Martin] Heidegger [SK: in a debate years ago]. I say Hannah Arendt’s Heidegger. [laugh] You know I made the last film of Marcuse commenting on Heidegger, who was his teacher. [Herbert] Marcuse didn't particularly like me because I was too young. But, I knew more than he thought I knew. I cut that film.
00:06:34 ADAM HYMAN
00:06:35 STANTON KAYE
00:06:36 ADAM HYMAN
Where's that film now?
00:06:38 STANTON KAYE
It's at the University of California, San Diego I think. I've never seen it. I only cut it on the fly. And, some of the first cuts were not so good, but afterwards I got it. I think I caught in its juicy richness and he didn't know I understood as much as I did, I think. [SK:….It was done in the Medical School film dept for the Philosophy Dept.]
00:06:57 ADAM HYMAN
Who was, when was this? When was that?
00:07:00 STANTON KAYE
1973 or '74.
00:07:11 ADAM HYMAN
00:07:11 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I was there [SK: teaching] from '72 to '74.
00:07:16 ADAM HYMAN
[SK: But there are others too…Many of the worst members of Bush’s team were descendents of Leo Strauss—who got his PhD from Ernst Cassirer in Germany before Hitler…Another one was my Teacher, through his wife and his books,---Hans Reichenbach----SCIENTIFIC PHILOSOPHY]
00:07:16 STANTON KAYE
And while I was at UCSD I had the same reservation as I do now about these things. I didn't think that some of the so-called new cinema of Germany was that hot. And, some of it although it’s exploited through technology, or aesthetics was not that significant from [SK: its past--] Remember, I was a narrative guy? It wasn't that revelatory, it wasn't that meaningful. Meanings probably more important than character, but character's probably the best way to express meaning without getting over burdening and dry and academic. Unless, you are a poet. If you're a poet maybe you can get away with something great.
00:08:14 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Like APROPOS DE NICE, I think that Milos Forman's latest film, GOYA’S GHOST is a brilliant, brilliant most brilliant film. And, the fact that it's ignored just floors me. Worse than ignored, shunned, refused to be reviewed because it was awful, so our critics think. That tells me something about my own taste and my own problems.
00:08:52 ADAM HYMAN
Essentially, critics like things that can be pigeon holed one way or the other.
00:08:57 STANTON KAYE
So, let's go back so I'm 15 year old and hanging out with all these things in my head and sexuality is driving me crazy. I finally found a Swedish girlfriend was pretty neat. She was five years older than me, or something. I lied to her. I wasn't necessarily getting off, I was scared as hell with her. But, I was getting closer.
00:09:25 ADAM HYMAN
And, your parents were fine, or encouraging of your...
00:09:28 STANTON KAYE
My parents were, my poor parents. I'm sure they were improving, but not approving, but they were beside themselves with their problems economically. My father was very open to some of the characters I brought into the house. Well, my father was a bit of a character himself. He once brought a blind man home with a guitar, you know that he had picked up God knows where. He would bring Okies home from his journeys into the farm lands there where he sold torn clothes. A lot like in my movie.
00:10:17 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, you know, but my father's much weirder than anything in my movie. He'd bring these people home, so that we had a continuous parade of characters coming through the house. Like any good director or artist he was interested in, more interested in them than the middle class that surrounded him everywhere. And, one time he brought me a young girl who I had sex with, who with along with her nun who was keeping her in an orphanage. But, it wasn't too much longer that she got out of that orphanage and I got her.
00:10:51 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, that was and I knew I was going to get her because I was alone with her with my bedroom while she was there with the nun. And, I could see there was a lot of potential. [laugh] My father was considered by my friends in Beverly Hills as an incredible guy. Because, they'd come over to my house at 3:00 a.m. in the morning and they'd find me up writing my plays. I wrote a big Christian epic. I wrote a play about the atom bomb. I wrote all these crazy plays.
00:11:29 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, they'd find me up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning writing my plays. And, my father would be serving breakfast. And, maybe we might go out for a walk with my friends and I at 4:00 in the morning. And, my father would say goodnight to us as we went out the door. We were only 14, 15, I don't know. [laugh] [SK: Guy Sandler remembers that!] That's one of my best friends, he's in the hospital right now. But, that's what we used to do. He was amazed and then, apparently my father was like that even when I was a child.
00:12:07 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Because people recall him when we were quite young, and I don't, as being really fun to be with and-- I wrote a short story about my father. And, I guess it's my plight. I made up a lot of stuff in that short story. And, I showed it to my sister and my mother thinking they would enjoy it. And, they said well, what's going on here? What's this? This is just the way it was!-- I made up half of it. They said what's the art here? This is just the way it was. [laugh]
00:12:50 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I know I made up half of it. So, I don't know what to say about my father. I'll show you that short story some time. It's nice, I don't think it makes a movie. Some people do.
00:13:05 ADAM HYMAN
Do you think your plays are any good? Any of those?
00:13:08 STANTON KAYE
I'm going to rewrite one of them. I don't think the others are too important. But, I have one that rewritten, even as it is, could have been interesting. But, it wasn't well written enough. But, I think rewritten it's quite interesting. Drawing on Karl Barth's concept of Adam and Eve and Jesus Christ and a few things. It was an interesting play about the destruction of theater-- kind of a bit self involved I'd say. But, I don't like plays about art, although I, my best stuff is about art and artists. But, I don't like them. [laugh]
00:13:50 ADAM HYMAN
So, how did you list the point...
00:13:51 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] So, okay somewhere in here my father we're talking about my father and my mother and my sister we went out to eat. And, there was a paperback revelation--revolution going on. I was already reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s EXISTENTIALISM or something, some book by him that was very popular. There was a whole new thing going on in the stores, you get that stuff had been on the racks as part of mentor books and other, there were some early, there's a history of intellectual pamphlets in the United States.
00:14:36 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I had a bunch of them, I lost them and just they got old and I just didn't want to keep carrying them around. But, they were these little blue books you run into them every so often. Some of them were great authors. Havelock Ellis wrote in these little books. William James wrote in these little books. Lots of people, intellectuals wrote in them. I remember reading [Ed: Leonid] Andreyev not, HE WHO GETS SLAPPED, but the last-- THE RED LAUGH. The story that was made into the so-called wonderful scenes in Arsenal, you know where there is laughing gas and all that was in THE RED LAUGH, I believe.
00:15:20 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
It was actually stolen from that story by [Alexandr] Dovzhenko. His wife found that out years later [SK: when] she showed me her print of EARTH. And, EARTH was an important film for me that I saw at the [SK: Rohauer’s Coronet] Theater-- It really took me over the edge. I wanted to be a filmmaker after I saw EARTH, not the [Ed: Sergei] Eisenstein films, but EARTH, EARTH was killer in my time.
00:15:45 ADAM HYMAN
Were there any other seedy films that made you say you wanted to be a filmmaker?
00:15:48 STANTON KAYE
ORPHÉE was pretty good. NIGHTS OF CABIRIA was astounding, THE VIRGIN SPRING was extraordinary, THE SEVENTH SEAL-- I saw as a sex film. I'm telling you I saw these films one or two years before they opened in New York. You know I was quite interested. It was the only place [Ed: Ingmar] Bergman got them shown I guess.
00:16:11 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, because I haven't heard like that. I guess Rohauer was showing those as well.
00:16:17 STANTON KAYE
The years later Rohauer was showing those, years later.
00:16:19 ADAM HYMAN
Oh, previously, but in those other Santa Monica Blvd. theaters.
00:16:28 STANTON KAYE
He wasn't showing those.
00:16:29 ADAM HYMAN
Not Rohauer, but when you were filming.
00:16:31 STANTON KAYE
Yeah. When I was, Rohauer was showing films, but only at the Coronet. He didn't have the second theater yet, or he had two little theaters I think up on— Where Peter Mays was the projectionist at one point on Beverly Blvd. Did you know Peter Mays was the projectionist?
00:16:49 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah. Peter Mays still has a few of those calendars. Those are the only times I've seen yet any of the Rohauer calendars.
00:16:55 STANTON KAYE
I may have some somewhere. God knows where.
00:16:59 ADAM HYMAN
But, so did you go to experimental film shows that Rohauer was screening as well?
00:17:05 STANTON KAYE
Oh, yeah I did. Yes, I saw BERLIN, SYMPHONY OF A CITY. I saw some film I can't recall who made it where the guy, oh I don't know. I saw what's his name The Life of the Hollywood Extra [Ed: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 9413, A HOLLYWOOD EXTRA] by Flaherty.
00:17:33 ADAM HYMAN
00:17:33 STANTON KAYE
Robert Florey yeah, I saw. At some point I saw Len Lye’s films, which were quite interesting. I think it may have been in those theaters. I was-- Okay, so one of these nights while I was 15 years old and still going out to dinner with my parents and my sister and my mom we stopped at these things were starting to arise, coffee houses they called them. And, we stopped at there was a little theater behind the [Ivar Gower] Theater that was called The Casbah or something at one time.
00:18:24 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, it became maybe it became the Cabaret Café or something. And, it was run by Mutt Cohen who also ran--and Herbie Cohen--who also ran The Unicorn and right across from its entrance was a small store front probably still there up the alley behind the The [Ivar] Theater and in that was John Fles selling his books, selling these paperbacks. John had been an editor at CHICAGO REVIEW and I came into that shop--John probably remembers--it with my father and my mother and my sister. And, John sold us something.
00:19:11 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I don't know what it was, it might have been [Ed: Rainer Maria] Rilke's poems it could have been. I think Rilke was later in my history with John, but nonetheless and-- He became somewhere I wanted to be again because he was knowledgeable and patient and good with me. And, we became friends. We should still be friends, but we're not. And, for lots of reasons that are wrong we should be friends as I think about it still. I'll give him a call. But, John became my liaison to intellectual life beyond the university and beyond the conventional. And, he was a kind of beatnik. [laugh] He was a renegade from the Chicago University, or wherever he was. [Ed: The University of Chicago]
00:20:14 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He had been in London for years. And, he was sophisticated in the America that I knew. And, he actually was Dutch. His father, his mother was a lovely lady worked in the UCLA whatever they call it-- extension, arranging a lot of those wonderful programs. And, his father was a Dutch journalist that had been killed by Stalin and exiled. And, he had a child. He had a wonderful ex-wife who I like. I can't remember her name. He was a cool guy and he lived on a hilltop eventually in [SK: Beverly Glen] Topanga Canyon.
00:20:59 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I used to go and visit him and he started a cinema society. And, in that cinema society, because he was out of that world, were the films of Bruce Baillie of Larry Jordan, Paul Beattie--- Bruce Baillie's work stands out. I don't recall anybody else, as-- Paul Beattie, his work stands out. Larry Jordan's a little later, I think. But, it may have been at the same time. There must have been other stuff.
00:21:52 ADAM HYMAN
This was in the early '60s right?
00:21:54 STANTON KAYE
Real early '60's. I'm only 15 at the time I'm looking at this 16 maybe, 17. I knew John all the way up to the time I was 21, 22 really closely.
00:22:15 ADAM HYMAN
What led you to start shooting GEORG?
00:22:18 STANTON KAYE
Okay, so I started going to The Unicorn, which was Herbie's other place which was closer to my house. It was on Sunset Blvd. right next to The Whiskey. And, at The Unicorn there was a guy named Fred Engleberg who was a folk singer and there was some waitresses. And, I became friends with all these people. I was under age, but somehow they let me in there. I wasn't drinking, so maybe that was okay. John had a book shop there too. And, I'd meet people in the book shop and around it.
00:22:49 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I met Rosie Haynes and her husband, who was a psychologist who disappeared. Who was also a sort of poet, or attempted poet, a kind of doggerel poet. And, I met a guy named Maurice-- I don't know his last name. He was an albino negro, hung out with Eric Nord down in Venice. I started going down to Venice and hung out with Taylor Mead and some of those people and other people-- not gay people. Taylor was an eccentric, yeah crazy person.
00:23:32 ADAM HYMAN
Was Venice West around?
00:23:33 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, Venice West, it became Venice West I hung out there with John Haig and those people. And, I knew I was still not driving, I think.
00:23:47 ADAM HYMAN
How did you get to all of them?
00:23:49 STANTON KAYE
I'd get rides down there, or I'd steal a car, or I don't know what. I'd get down there somehow. Yeah, with people I knew in Pershing Square. That's how I got around. Because I wrecked my car. I wrecked my car because they were going to do one of my plays. That was another play that was a good play I wrote called THE ONE BEHIND YOU. They were all very metaphorical, or metalanguage, [laugh] linguist or something. They were metaphorical.
00:24:22 ADAM HYMAN
Let's go back to The Unicorn...
00:24:22 STANTON KAYE
So, let me tell you there was a scene going on out at the Caffé Positano on the top of the cliffs in Malibu. It was a theatrical scene and it was around that time I started driving and they picked my play out of everybody's plays up there in that theater group to do. I was stoned out over that idea and I turned my car over. And, then I lost my car. So, then I had-- people had to drive me around in order for me to get anywhere. Nobody would let me drive after that because it was bizarre I was listening to DEATH AND TRANSFIGURATIONS and suddenly my car went over.
00:25:05 ADAM HYMAN
On Sunset Blvd.?
00:25:07 STANTON KAYE
On Pacific Coast Highway, it went down the embankment into the sand. Three times rolled over, hurt the guy who was next to me. He didn't get hurt badly enough that I was guilty. But, he cracked some ribs, hurt his head. I wasn't guilty. I had a friend who's David-- I can't think of his last name, but he founded Greenpeace. He hurt somebody bad he killed her. It's his girlfriend. Bankrupted his family and he was forever guilty. I don't know if he's still alive. But, he's the guy that founded Greenpeace and RAINBOW WARRIOR. He told me the whole story.
00:25:53 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He did everything he could to put his parents whole again because he bankrupted them. And, took their house away, everything and killed his girlfriend. He couldn't recover her. I don't know if there wasn't more to it, but David had to tell me that story. Anyway, so I didn't have that, but I couldn't drive. Anyway, so I hung out and I saw some Kinetic art during that time done with oil and water and objects and optical projectors, you know where you did it all on top of the projectors. We'd call those optical anyways they became very big things with Jazz music played to them in the '50's and this was the '50's. It wasn't the '60's yet.
00:26:59 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah the early versions of that, we’ve been talking to people who were doing Single Wing Turquoise Bird in the late ‘60s, but I guess the oil productions started in Los Angeles, San Francisco.
00:27:09 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, these guys brought it down, it was Eric Nord from San Francisco brought it down. And, was living in the sort of the in part of the set that Orson Welles used. [laugh] But, they had I forget what they called it. Out of that I found [SK: some] friends through Rosie and Grover. Rosie and Grover Haynes who took care of me once or twice when I ran away from home they lived right behind those sex theaters in a normal apartment. Maybe it wasn't so normal? I thought it was normal.
00:27:57 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Then they introduced me to a guy who was a would-be writer by the name of James Sherwood who had a friend and himself. And, he was a friend of another person who was a poet who was published in EVERGREEN and that was a big deal. Even though she'd just a poem or two--her name was Judy something. You know that was a big published poet. And, Jimmy Sherwood had a hobby and his hobby was making 16 millimeter films that were Chaplin-esque very Chaplin-esque. And, I became an assistant cameraman for Jimmy learning the business.
00:28:55 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, his friend, [SK: Manny] was a fanatical fan of Charlie Chaplin and spent all of his time at the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax. Right next to where you could buy these fantastic blintzes that aren't there anymore. Boy, were they great. Right across from Fairfax High.
00:29:22 ADAM HYMAN
That's where I went.
00:29:24 STANTON KAYE
So, you know the Silent Movie Theater and that was run by John Hampton and his wife. And, I used to go there and Manny would show up, because later on he would show up years later with his wife and child. I didn't think they let people have children like him. He was kind of a half wit, but I don't think he was that stupid. He was just very kind and a little too available as a human being, just happy person. But, his main thing was he was just obsessed with the music of Chaplin as well as with the movies.
00:30:02 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, I got this emphasis I had to see all the Chaplin films. So, then I discovered Chaplin. My father knew Chaplin. Chaplin was on the Board of Directors of his theater. So, it wasn't foreign for me to go in that direction. He used to say that Charlie used to do his own music. So, I don't think my father knew him well. My father thought he knew John Barrymore well, I don't know if he did. He used to cry about John Barrymore when he would get drunk. He didn't get drunk too often, so we didn't have to see that too often. But, when he did get drunk he would lament that the days in his theater days, you know and stuff.
00:30:51 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He was very much a broken human being because he wasn't doing what he wanted to. At the end of his life he took up art and he did some good pictures. I have one in the other-- They're not bad. He won some prizes. Only did it for a year or two. Anyway, so...
00:31:13 ADAM HYMAN
So, you were doing some assistance...
00:31:15 STANTON KAYE
So, yeah I worked with Jimmy Sherwood we made some films were strange. Jimmy would-- turned out was the heir to the General Mills fortune. But, the bad sheep heir or something. I don't know he was the direct son of one of the chief executives, or chief heiress of General Mills. There were a couple of brothers. And, his father never did anything to earn any money. But, he wanted Jimmy to not be spoiled. So, he, I tell you, I kid you not, I saw Jimmy about 20 years ago. He was living in the Chelsea Hotel.
00:31:57 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he was still waiting to get some money. He was in his 50's and he had his children. And, they were almost grown up and he was driving a cab. He wrote one great novel that was picked up by Olympia Press called STRADELLA and I don't know what was great about it, but it was sexy and it had Cadillacs in it and fancy girls from California and stuff like that. I don't think I read it. I think I might have it. You don't hear about it too much do you?
00:32:31 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, Jimmy wrote novel after novel after novel. He was a very persistent kind of guy. We walked for Carl Chessman, so that sets the year, it was the year Chessman was being executed and we walked and we were going to walk all the way to Sacramento. We made it about 20 miles outside of L.A. and my feet were blisters. I couldn't walk any further. I think his were too, so we turned around. Did what we could to walk back, it was so painful. We walked back I think til we got to a bus or a car or something.
00:33:08 ADAM HYMAN
00:33:11 STANTON KAYE
So, that dates it for you. I was 17 maybe then. And, so from Jimmy I got familiar enough to handle a camera and a little bit familiar with filmmaking. I don't know if I’d made GEORG yet or not. But, when Jack Smith and Gregory Markopoulos came Los Angeles courtesy of Cinema Theater years later. They came to Rosie Haynes house and Grover wasn't here anymore. Some other poet or some one she was living with. Rosie was the daughter of some pharmacy family, had a couple of pharmacies. Probably still running one of them or both of them.
00:34:05 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, she lived in Echo Park and I drove up to the house with somebody, walked into Rosie's front room and said well, where are they? They're out in the garden. So, I walked out in the garden and Jack Smith was looking at himself walking around the garden in a hand mirror. It was most beautiful because you could see what he was into. But, he was studying himself in the [SK: mirror in the garden]-- The gardens were very beautiful if you know New York and you ever come from New York to L.A. you know how bereft of beauty New York is so that's what he immediately had in this mirror. He didn't know and he had grew up in Pasadena or something. He knew about it, but so did I know about it years later.
00:35:04 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, I well, after I lived four or five years in New York I thought that they should charge for the rose bushes when I came and got an apartment here. I thought Jesus Christ the rose bushes are free. Are they out of their minds? [laugh] Because that's what it’s like. He was walking around just watching himself in this mirror. And, he's, he truly indulged himself in an narcissistic kind of universe. Half of him did, the other half-- Jack was smart. [laugh]
00:35:41 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Anyway, we became friends that night we played in a mortuary with a friend of mine who, by the way worked for Lynwood Dunn. I met him with Lynwood Dunn who was an optical printer guy that worked the optical printer. And, who was an eccentric and he was a friend of Llyn Foulkes who I don't know if you know.
00:36:02 ADAM HYMAN
00:36:03 STANTON KAYE
Llyn Foulkes was his close friend. They grew up in Yakima, Washington together. And, he was married to the daughter of one of the head guys at Disney Studios. Shit I don't remember...
00:36:21 ADAM HYMAN
Your friend? The opti guy, the one that worked the optical printer? [SK: Bob …Bob, Spring,,.]
00:36:24 STANTON KAYE
Llyn Foulkes was married to the daughter at Disney. So, we had an in to Disney you might say. See she married to this guy was a real important member of the Disney, five or ten people who were the original group. I can't think of her name now. I think she divorced Llyn, but we used to hang out at their house in Eagle Rock. And, Bob and I, I guess that shows you how crazy I was. Once I discovered he had this old Packard from 1940's or '30's or whatever it was. It sure looked like one of those, you know gangster cars from LITTLE CAESAR something like that. Or, William Wellman's film-- What's the name of that one? What? PUBLIC ENEMY-- It looked like one of those cars because he shot those cars really cool in PUBLIC ENEMY.
00:37:22 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Well, I had I don't know what I had whether I had an old Chevy, or old Pontiac. I don't know what I had, but -- You won't believe this but we used to go on gun chases you might say where I would chase him around Hollywood and he, and we would ride over people's lawns. [laugh] And, do everything you did in the movies. We were dangerous. So, I mean he was a truly crazy guy. And, I was half crazy too. And...
00:37:53 ADAM HYMAN
And, what was his name again now?
00:37:55 STANTON KAYE
Bob Spring, he made a few films. He was a good friend of, I can't think of his name now-- The nature photographer, who also worked for Lyn Dunn, these were the young guys working for Lyn. It was all Lyn hung out with Spencer Bennett.
00:38:13 ADAM HYMAN
But, they all a few years older than you, right?
00:38:15 STANTON KAYE
Oh, yeah that's right I was a kid. So, but they liked me because I was nuts. I guess.
00:38:30 ADAM HYMAN
What happened to returning to the film?
00:38:35 STANTON KAYE
I filmed a girlfriend I had to who was turning into a lesbian and her friends and I liked her a great deal. And I-- that was my first film. When I took it to the laboratory and they told me how much it was, I left it there. It was so expensive. It was like $10 a roll to develop or something. That was way back when '50 something. It was a lot of money. I bought my film for a couple of dollars a roll from a guy who he-- I didn't know it was a guy named Don Erkl. He was an important guy in the history of L.A. Cinema, but you don't know it.
00:39:22 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He's the guy who did all the buying for Freestyle Sales. Freestyle Sales was a little hole in the wall on Western Avenue where you could buy film from Ansco even with development if it was reversal for nothing. So, you could shoot something and-- But, I had it developed negatively in making a mistake, but I wanted you know something in the archive results. Yeah, I think you could go either way on that film negative or positive. So, I had it developed negatively and that's what cost me all the money. So, I never saw that film.
00:40:04 ADAM HYMAN
00:40:06 STANTON KAYE
It would have been interesting. But, anyway Don Erkl is about to die. He's got metastatisized cancer, but you can still talk to him. He's still alive and he was not in anybody's mind anything to do with experimental film. But, in my mind he was everything and there's nobody I knew that I know that was back there when struggling to make films who didn't know Freestyle Films, even if they didn't know Don Erkl.
00:40:37 ADAM HYMAN
Can you spell his last name?
00:40:38 STANTON KAYE
E-R-K-L I'll give you his phone number. He writes me every day about three or four times. He's a lovely man, yeah.
[END OF TAPE 4]
TAPE 5: STANTON KAYE
00:00:17 STANTON KAYE
[SK: It was Beat Nite at Roxbury Park—off campus] And, so I regarded that my turf because I was in with John and I knew people and I was a real authority of beat life more. So, I don't know whatever, so Guy and I, --I'm not that at that point I don't think I was much of a beat anything. But, I sort of thought it was a little phony on everybody's part [SK: --like the junior class at Roxbury Park--] and maybe I was a little arrogant about it. But, I went down and volunteered to do a poem on the stage. It was a poem by Ted Jones and it was legitimate beat poem that had been done in Boston. But, the-- It was a very sexy poem. And, it was not a time for that kind of thing.
00:01:01 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, I started out right I didn't just do the poem I stuck with them all and then told it was a group participation poem by Ted Jones and it required that they chant between each verse. And, I said so let me hear you chant, you know and so I said I want you to go [makes noise] between each verse that's what you have to do. So, let me hear it from you. And, I got them to do [makes noise] and there were about 200 people, 300 people in the room right? And, then I started in “Dark” [makes noise] “Staccato” [makes noise] “Fuck” [laugh] The whole room rose up and I never had a sensation like that in my life. I was physically lifted across the audience and [laugh] and I'm trying to-- [laugh]
00:02:13 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Well, I ruined my career because I wasn't allowed on the stage. They thought I did something [SK: terrible…but it was] in context, that it was beat night. They were supposed to be ready for that, I would think.
00:02:26 ADAM HYMAN
Not quite yet.
00:02:26 STANTON KAYE
But, not quite yet. And, so they regarded it as aberrant and that I couldn't be trusted. And, so they wouldn't let me on the stage anymore. Maybe it was aberrant and I couldn't be trusted.
00:02:43 ADAM HYMAN
Well, Beverly Hills High?
00:02:46 STANTON KAYE
No, I never did outbursts like that ever. It wasn't an outburst it was an event. And, it was outside of school. It wasn't in the school, but it was regarded as in the school context even though it wasn't in the school. So, I was it bled over.
00:03:07 ADAM HYMAN
So, talk to me about GEORG then how did it...
00:03:11 STANTON KAYE
00:03:11 ADAM HYMAN
...come to be?
00:03:11 STANTON KAYE
That set me truly apart and further alienated me in a special way. So, what happened to GEORG? Well, oh so I wanted to tell you mean when I got successful when well, first of all Tosh, Tosh Berman was in it. Dean Stockwell and a bunch of people in Beverly Glen all helped, you know set up the missile. I told you the guy at UCLA designed the missiles for me. I bought him some sonotubes and then we all painted them up and put them on launches and rented a truck. Did you ever see GEORG with...
00:03:49 ADAM HYMAN
Still have not had a chance to see GEORG.
00:03:51 STANTON KAYE
I may have a copy. So, we were able to do these fabulous missile scenes. A guy named Louie Moonfire [Louie Marvin, III], who was the direct heir of the S&H Green Stamps fortune, lent me his mountain top which was complete for a perfect set for my character running away from society. And, also lent me a nearby mountain where we put the missile base and the guards, the army and that's how we shot it. We shot it without permits and when we did a few explosions we had to get out of there fast because we didn't pay $500 for the firemen.
00:04:37 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
We didn't set anything on fire. A guy from Monte Hellman's, one of the Monte Hellman's films CREATURES OF THE BLACK LAGOON, I had played a part in it as a Cuban revolutionary or something and I met this guy and he was a special effects guy. He did it for me for no money and without the permit of the Fire Department. And, we all jumped in our cars right after we got the shot. We jammed the camera in and left the missile base standing and peeled out of there.
00:05:09 ADAM HYMAN
Was the last shot the missile base set?
00:05:13 STANTON KAYE
It might have been. [laugh] It's one of them. I had several events like that. Everything was done with shoestring mentality. And, I'll tell you, there's a bit of a ruthlessness about raising the money for the film. I got most of the money from my grandmother who had died. No, she hadn't died yet. I got most of the money from my grand--here's the history of my family. My father who used to eat corned beef sandwiches on 8th Street down in Los Angeles. You know in Los Angeles on 8th Street garment district when he started working for my grandfather.
00:05:56 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
A bunch of the guys, whoever that is, were putting together a bank that would do garment factory financing called California Bank or Union Bank of California. It was brand new. And, they asked my father if he wanted to invest. And, my father didn't have any money. But, he asked my grandfather, my mother's father, if he would be interested in investing. So, he gave him a check for $5,000 or something. And, my father took the stock certificates and put it in the Union Bank rather than any other bank I guess in a safety deposit box.
00:06:32 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Well, there was no other safety deposit box in the family. I mean there's nothing else in that safety deposit box. Everybody forgot about them. My grandfather died a year later. And, they looked at everything. They and they didn't notice it. They didn't notice it for 10 or 20 years and then it showed up. And, by that time it was worth over a million dollars. And, the Union Bank had split and split and split and split. I'm sure they would have liquidated at $20,000 had they known. But, they ended up with a lot of money.
00:07:05 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, so everybody in the family got money. I got $3,000 that's what paid for GEORG. And, a few hundred dollars I got from outside people who I never even knew that you know different people gave me a few hundred dollars. I don't think I ever paid them back. I don't think I even knew they were there. I don't even--
00:07:28 ADAM HYMAN
What camera did you use?
00:07:31 STANTON KAYE
I used an Arri. Detlev Wiede, he was the camera man on it. It wasn't me and we used an Arri S.
00:07:43 ADAM HYMAN
Whose camera was it?
00:07:45 STANTON KAYE
Probably either UCLA's or Armitage’s [SK: (rental)] might have been Burns & Sawyer even. Sometimes it was I can't remember because here as time went on I borrowed moviolas for one day and kept them for three. I borrowed cameras for one day and kept them for three. That's how I made the film. I edited by throwing my cans through the window of the UCLA Film Department [SK: school] jumping in afterward having pried it open with a screwdriver. I did the same thing at Northridge for Ted Carpenter who was a very interesting guy.
00:08:30 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Ted Carpenter was a very interesting anthropologist who was involved with the [Morton] Subotnick's in music. But, was also an anthropologist interested in film. And, he wrote a book on the anthropological uses of film, maybe in the same timeframe as Morin, or Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. And, he had a very unique perspective on it. And, he was very good friends with Bo Cannon and ran an experimental program with Bo Cannon on a moviola in a single room that he had control of. God knows how he got it. And, it was one other person using that moviola and that was me.
00:09:17 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he gave it to me for a couple of days as a favor to somebody I don't know who it was. They asked him to let me use it. And, I was editing on that for several months until he found me one day. He said what are you still here? [interviewer laughs] I said what I never left? [laugh] I was jimmying open the door. I kept-- I had it rigged, so it wasn't lockable. And, I was that's how I finished my film. He was a bit in shock. But, that was the only-- And then I would borrow the moviola from Burns & Sawyer on a Friday night, not pay for Friday and had it all night and had it Saturday and had it Saturday night and had it and sometimes have somebody takeover and do soundtracks, my girlfriend to fill in footsteps or soundtracks.
00:10:14 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
We learned how to do that from somebody. Because I didn't ever learn it anywhere else. And, you know what I thought the whole time? I thought since I was a bit spoiled, this is one fucking hard job, you know this is really a fucking hard job. I never took on anything so arduous and onerous. The truth is most directors never do. But, I had to do all my tracks. I had to do the whole film. And, I thought it was just really hard and that I was just a baby if I couldn't do it. But, I was making a feature film on no money with lots of soundtracks. And, it was hard to do.
00:11:04 ADAM HYMAN
What was the first iteration that had John Fles starting in it?
00:11:09 STANTON KAYE
That didn't work out.
00:11:12 ADAM HYMAN
How did that, then why did you, why did you start there?
00:11:15 STANTON KAYE
[laugh] John Fles discovered my script. I was a writer. I was not a director, never thought I'd be a director. John Fles-- I told him about a script I wrote. I think he was suggesting something with KRAPP'S LAST TAPE, or something. I said I wrote a script. Maybe before KRAPP'S LAST TAPE, but drawn from other influences. And, I said you know influenced by [Ed: Luigi] Pirandello, that's interesting. So, I gave it to him. And, before I got home, or when I got home I dropped it off at his place up the hill.
00:12:02 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
You had to go up these wooden stairs. Today it would take me-- I would drop dead going up those stairs. There were like 40 stairs up to John's place. John was a real-- He was into Teddy Roosevelt. [laugh] Anyway, and he was light on his feet. And, he could do that kind of thing even his groceries he pulled up by funicular. It was not easy to go up those stairs. But, you could be drug free up there, or drug, you could use drugs or you could enjoy whatever you needed to do in private and be pretty sure nobody was going to come up the stairs. And, you weren't going to know about it.
00:12:49 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I think that was important back then because everyone was under siege if you wanted to smoke dope. You were under siege by the police. And...
00:13:02 ADAM HYMAN
But, where was that house? Where was that residence?
00:13:03 STANTON KAYE
In [Beverly Glen] Topanga Canyon. It's still there, I think.
00:13:07 ADAM HYMAN
Where were you living at that time?
00:13:09 STANTON KAYE
I lived down the Canyon eventually, but at that time I might have been living at my parents' house.
00:13:15 ADAM HYMAN
Did you meet Dean Stockwell?
00:13:16 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, in the Glen.
00:13:18 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah and Wallace?
00:13:20 STANTON KAYE
Wallace [Berman] and I were close, yeah through John.
00:13:23 ADAM HYMAN
Let's talk about that in a minute, but [unintelligible] the script.
00:13:29 STANTON KAYE
Oh, so I had this script I had mailed to myself when I was about 17 or 18. I wrote it real young. And, I had given one copy of it that's why I mailed it to myself I guess. I gave one copy to some guy I met in Barney's Beanery prior to John. And, he was a nice guy and he was an actor or something. And, he took it to England. And, he dropped me a postcard a month, months later maybe even a year later. Saying there he had found some interest in my script and hadn't forgotten about it.
00:14:13 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I believe that interest was Leo Marks, a guy who wrote something called PEEPING TOM. And, the reason I believe that is because there are lines in PEEPING TOM that don't belong in PEEPING TOM. I asked Michael Powell about it and he went silent on me and didn't talk to me for the rest of the trip. We were riding up to Francis' [Ford Coppola] during the time he worked at Zoetrope. I liked Michael a great deal, but he wouldn't talk any further when I said that. Because he must know something about what happened there. But, it's so different than my film. I could hardly claim any kind of real plagiarism.
00:14:59 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, when some people compare GEORG to PEEPING TOM, I laugh. And, they're very different. Anyway, so...
00:15:17 ADAM HYMAN
So, John had the script.
00:15:18 STANTON KAYE
John had the script and before I even got down the stairs and drove back to my home which was 30 minutes away so through the traffic. By the time I got home he was on the phone to me and he said this is good. He said this shouldn't be in this envelope. He said it's better than good, it's great, Stanton we're going to do this. When my father saw the finished film he was so disappointed, so upset that I had wasted my time on it. He was so embarrassed by it.
00:16:09 ADAM HYMAN
Why, why did it not?
00:16:10 STANTON KAYE
It took John and somebody else to tell him why it was important. John was truly an advocate of it. And, had he not stabbed me in the back over that Kenneth Anger thing which I felt used. I really felt abused and we would be very close friends today. But, I didn't trust John after that. It was a management thing he did and Mike was part of it too. They did something to get that showing and something they had some legal obligation or something. But, they shouldn't have used me in the middle.
00:17:01 ADAM HYMAN
That's, yeah I mean that particular screening it seemed like such a bizarre...
00:17:05 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] It was the end of my relationships with Cinema Theater really.
00:17:11 ADAM HYMAN
Had you been going regularly to the Cinema Theater?
00:17:12 STANTON KAYE
Oh yeah I was a fixture there. I was close to Mike and John. They didn't know what they were doing I guess. But, they did it to me. I'm sure John apologized, but it wasn't good enough. It was really wrong and however crazy Kenneth was then they shouldn't have agreed, or let me agree to whatever it was going to be because I gave my word to Kenneth. He's not that big a friend, John was a better friend. But, it was wrong what they did. That sometimes happens and you can't, you make one mistake and you can't ever get back where you want to go.
00:17:59 ADAM HYMAN
So, you started making GEORG with John then, yeah that was right?
00:18:04 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, and he got a cameraman, his first cameraman was a guy who was a good friend of Bob Rafelson. In fact, we were using Bob Rafelson's kid at one point in it. Bob and Toby had a friend who was a photographer from the Metropolitan Opera and other important things. He was a heavy doper. He had been a heroin user or something. And, his brain was kind of gone, but he still had skills. He just said great to everything. It was hard to know what was going on, but he was he was an older guy. I was 20, he was 45.
00:18:56 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, we started shooting it with John in an oasis area that belonged to a guy named Paul Wilheim who sold it eventually to Dart Industries. Remember the pumping? He sold it to Dart Industries and there was an oasis in the middle, in-- Thousand Palms it was an area called Edam I think it was called. People don't even know it existed. But, it was once a pony express stop in the middle of the desert and it had water. And, Paul's father traded it for a buck board and a mule. He traded all the land and the water.
00:19:59 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, it maybe the reason why Palm Springs, in the southern side Palm Springs out toward La Quinta is now flowing with water. It was all coming from there. It was a gusher out of the spring maybe out of a fissure in the vault. But, anyway I used to [SK: live] nearby, 10 miles away from Palm Springs I guess it's called Edam--- there was a bunch of crooks that got involved in it and opened a suburban development it was further 10 miles to Palm Springs and 10 miles to anywhere in either direction. It was 10 miles to Indio, 10 miles to nowhere.
00:20:50 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
It was mostly they grew peanuts, grapefruit and alfalfa around the area. But, there were some itinerant workers, some people who settled down --they were poor people in this area. It had one bar and it had a Baptist preacher who founded a grocery store. Built it, hand built it out of stones from the river beds. And, his name was Dewey Wallace and he took over. They started having church ceremonies in box cars on the train tracks. This whole town was about a mile from the train tracks called Shangri-La Palms when they got done with it, formerly Edam became Shangri-La Palms and A Thousand Palms. And, it had a lot of rednecks and poor people in it that made it out. Some oakies and some renegades from the past experiences nobody knew who they were.
00:21:53 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
There was a guy named Shorty he lived in a trailer had a beard and long hair. There was another guy named Harry Oliver, the guy I told you about. Harry Oliver built a giant horned toad and an adobe fort. And, he had a hand press and he used to publish something like POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC and pop it onto the counters of all the restauranteurs and places he knew all over the desert all the way down to Death Valley. He was friends with those people. All the way up to Joshua Tree he was friends with those people all the way over to San Diego into the Juneau area whatever it's called over there the something desert.
00:22:51 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Harry even built a house over in that desert. Harry was an aficionado of the desert. He had the first campaign for cleaning it up with something like Sparky or something, a kangaroo versus the bear. You know the bear and it turns out-- So, I met Harry when I was six years old following my sister. We got into his yard—the old Fort Oliver we saw the horned toad we went through the door -we got into the press. Nobody was around I mean it's maybe he's out in the back where he had an outhouse or something. And, he came in and surprised us and started teaching us about the press and all those things.
00:23:32 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, then I went back to the motel where my parents were… down there because my aunt was an alcoholic and my grandmother thought that if she had a place down in the desert she could dry out and she would come to her senses and she wouldn't be as much as a problem as she was. She was schizophrenic, she was weird. She was a genius, but she could do anything she wanted, but very eccentric. And, there were a lot of eccentrics like her. They all gathered in a bar right next to Harry Oliver's domain which was right between the Date Shop which was the hand built grocery store as well.
00:24:16 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, the bar which Harry Olivier's fort [laugh] from Fort Olivier it was called with and the giant horned toad made out of paper mache sitting there. Horned toads were less rare then they are now. They're very rare now I think. Do you see them? I don't see them. I used to catch them all the time, you know when I was a kid. I used to catch rattlesnakes too out there. But, anyway so when we started going out to the desert as kids to use the house to visit my aunt to drag my grandmother out there, so she could see her. To go to Palm Springs and back then there were the Chi Chi and [SK: the Doll House, and the Dunes….] I used to sit on Frank Sinatra's knee at the Dunes.
00:25:07 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, he'd bounce me and he'd buy me a Shirley Temple which was cherries and a ginger ale or something-- maraschino cherries and ginger ale. And, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello walking around and my father would bump into people he knew from when. But, most of the time we as kids were stuck out in that desert along with a closest friend of mine who was the son of a worker who was a steel worker he was a tractor driver. And, his wife who was a notary, they were Catholics, we were Jews. We became really good friends. They were German Catholics from Pennsylvania. And, our families became [SK: unusually close] friends.
00:26:02 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, my family had four sisters. My mother had four sisters. The different sisters would come down, of course to visit Lee and bring the mother and largely it was just it became just my family and my mother's older sister's family would come down to bring my grandmother into proximity to my aunt. And, this guy Paul Wilheim okay and these crooks, you know sold this land to everybody and it had green grass and free water. Until they moved out and sold the water rights out from everybody. And, nobody could afford what the new water rates were and these people were all poor. And, even we, we had a little more money, but we were poor too. Couldn't afford to not couldn't afford what they wanted to do with water.
00:26:55 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
We did more with water than most of the people in the village did. They were much poorer than we were. And, so we ended up having to go swim, we couldn't swim even in the community pool. We didn't want to pay, or they stopped doing the community pool. I don't remember but the water rates were in question and there was a court case over it. So, this woman across the street, the notary public, who was close with my family knew of a guy who was part of the church. His name was Paul Wilheim, his father had traded the buck board and the mule.
00:27:33 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, so they knew that he had an oasis hidden behind the trees there. So, we used to swim in an oasis in a beautiful pool with a waterfall. Because, we didn't have any money. And, that's how I grew up.
00:27:52 ADAM HYMAN
It's not bad. How often did you go out to the desert for that?
00:27:55 STANTON KAYE
All the time, we lived there a lot. I worked in alfalfa fields. I worked in the peanut fields. I worked in the grape fields, you know just to do something. And, I caught rattlesnakes and it was kind of special California. There was some older people in there. And, with time it became apparent that Harry Oliver was somebody. He wasn't just a desert rat writing that thing. But, he had some relationship to Charlie Farrell and the Racquet Club, which was the whole foundation of Palm Springs. Everybody from the studios went to the Racquet Club.
00:28:39 ADAM HYMAN
Was that Norman Mailler's second novel? Have you read that?
00:28:41 STANTON KAYE
No, was it about that?
00:28:45 ADAM HYMAN
It all has a different name on it, but it's all basically about Hollywood retreat of Palm Springs.
00:28:51 STANTON KAYE
Oh, what's that called DEER PARK or something? DEER PARK. [THE DEER PARK]
00:28:55 ADAM HYMAN
What's the name of it? Park-- I just read it last year [interviewer laughs] and I'm blanking on the title. It'll come to me when I'm thinking of something else.
00:29:04 STANTON KAYE
All right I'd be interested in that book. I'd like to look at it. Most people wouldn't appreciate it the way I would. Okay, so years passed I used to see Harry hanging out with Paul Wilheim. I knew his grandkids they came to live in the village where we were, so we grew up with them. And, we learned more about him from them. He had some movie career or something. And, it turned out, this is after, when I was 18, 19. I made a movie down there. I made the first movie with John Fles down there.
00:29:37 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
But, it didn't work because the sun it was about having to have a garden, which was green at first and later became, dry and from drought. It was no problem getting the drought, but it was a hell of a problem getting the garden to be green for very long. It was a real lesson in perish-ability and what I'm doing now. [laugh] And, John was impossible as an actor I thought. I thought this is just so far away from what I want.
00:30:15 ADAM HYMAN
What did you do with all that footage?
00:30:16 STANTON KAYE
And, Gillian, who I liked a lot, was the waitress at The Unicorn. And, she was one of the waitresses I liked her a lot. She wasn't-- She was all right she was I was filming it wrong. I became the director I think. I was the director, or was John director. I was director.
00:30:42 ADAM HYMAN
On the first version?
00:30:44 STANTON KAYE
I became the director and I became more and more maybe it was my nature directive is the word I was pissed. Pissed at what we were getting, pissed at what was happening. At one point I locked my keys in the car. I don't know if I did, or John did or somebody and I had to call on friendships in the village to get us, get the trunk open so we could even get out of there. We got stuck in sand dunes and problems and the whole time this guy was the cameraman was saying great, great you know and great.
00:31:43 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
The plants were dying. Production was under funded. I don't think I was funding it I don't know who was funding it maybe I don't think I was funding it. I would certainly hope I wasn't funding it. And, so I cancelled it and that was okay. Everybody, John had a friend who was supposed to be in it and he commit suicide on the set we were using for the film in one scene. There was dope being smoked. I was not doper. Stuff like that but that normal in their world.
00:32:35 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, so I changed the production. I kept the cameraman I think for awhile and then I didn't like that. So, I changed that production I cast Hans Gudegast who became [SK: Eric Braeden], you see him all the time [SK: on daytime television.] Do you know who he is?
00:32:53 ADAM HYMAN
00:32:53 STANTON KAYE
He's the strange doctor on one of those soap operas for the last 20 years, Eric something or other. You know who that is Eric something or other? [Ed: Eric Braeden who played Victor Newman on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS]
00:33:04 ADAM HYMAN
00:33:06 STANTON KAYE
He's in a number of movies. He's been in movies a lot of science fiction films. I saw there's one he's in all the time. Oh, I keep it around I've seen it a few times, oh yeah AMBULANCE. He's the mad doctor in AMBULANCE. Do you remember that movie? Oh, that's a good movie. You haven't seen that movie?
00:33:30 ADAM HYMAN
No, it doesn't ring a bell no.
00:33:32 STANTON KAYE
With Eric Roberts [SK: as well.] Well, Hans Gudegast now with a different name Eric something or other he was in one of the FORBIDDEN, the PLANET OF THE APES movies too. He plays a mad doctor or something in that. Anyway, so I didn't like that production either. And, so I reorganized with another cameraman I got out of UCLA who was a good guy. He was a German cameraman and my story was about a German and I felt comfort in that. But, more importantly he was a good camera--he was the best cameraman around. And, he knew more than I knew. Although I had now had some familiarity with a few productions.
00:34:30 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He shot the bulk of it and then he stole my girlfriend and got married to her. I had a detective I knew from City College, I sent him down to Mexico to get the license back. And, I annulled the marriage. Pretty good, huh? [laugh]
00:34:56 ADAM HYMAN
I didn't know somebody else could do that.
00:34:57 STANTON KAYE
By the time, yeah, well hook a crook, you could back then, you could do it. You could bribe somebody to get that license.
00:35:08 ADAM HYMAN
[unintelligible] woman, girlfriend.
00:35:10 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, that was her. We ended up I had [SK: a disagreement with] the actor, [SK: Mark Chekka] at one point and that created such a problem for me. He then thought I was trying to destroy his vision and his career as an artist. He was a painter. So, he didn't want to come back on the set. She didn't want to come back on the set because she thought I'd kill her because she'd gone off with this cameraman, [SK: Detlev Wiede. Detlev,] of course didn't want to come back on the set. And, there was me and a few friends I organized to help me get through this somehow. Talk to these people I can't talk to them anymore. Got them to come back for the last shot. We just needed to do one shot and it's over. Yeah, and we did, or two shots it was. We did two shots and it was over.
00:36:11 ADAM HYMAN
So, where were you shooting at? Was it '62, '63?
00:36:15 STANTON KAYE
I made that film when I was 19. I had shot between 18, 19 and 20 or something like that. I was just 20 when I finished it. I had gone through three productions. There were reasons to, you see you couldn't shoot it in a normal way. Some of those early productions were shot normally like, you know you could cut. You couldn't cut if it was real. You weren't allowed to cut. It would be a jump cut if you cut.
00:36:44 ADAM HYMAN
00:36:45 STANTON KAYE
Because he was supposed to be filming there. Yeah, and it was found so I had this huge problem that I can't, I couldn't, use the grammar I had been studying or looking at. I had to think like the cameraman thought. You know and have things happen like happen to the cameraman. So, if you wanted to make a cut in lens you'd turn to the turret during the action [laugh] right where you made some kind of cut. I did put some freeze frames in there, which I really technically didn't want to do, but I had to cut down some of the tape. I had different tapes and I didn't know how else to do it. There was probably a better way. But, dissolved it, it would have made more sense than those, but I maybe it-- the freeze frames didn't fit.
00:37:35 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
The few I used were wrong. They were just wrong. I just used them as if he could have done an optical or something that…
00:37:47 ADAM HYMAN
What happened to the footage from the first two productions?
00:37:51 STANTON KAYE
Freddie Engelberg has some of that. Freddie Engelberg may still be alive. He lives down in [mumbles] let's see lives down there in San Clemente. He doesn't know I know he lives down there. But, Freddie was in the middle of all of this all along. He was John Fles' friend. He worked at The Unicorn. He was a mentor to me. He was an acting teacher to me. And, he kept tabs on what I was doing. He was more influential on BRANDY AND THE WILDERNESS than he was on GEORG. But, he was very influential on my life.
00:38:33 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He was my good friend until we had a falling out as well. And, he had a falling out with John. He didn't like John. I don't think John was ever that bad a guy. He just he had that problem and obligation that night and it hurt me. John in many ways was responsible for the film getting done. He tried everything and I got Wallace Berman's kid in the film. Wally helped. Wally was one of the soldiers on the hilltop. And, you know all kinds of stuff.
00:39:20 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
Kirby Doyle was one of the characters in it. A Beat Poet from the San Francisco, friend of Wallace's [Wallace Berman] friend of John-- Is that flashing?
00:39:29 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah it's just about [technical]
[END OF TAPE 5]
TAPE 6: STANTON KAYE
00:00:38 STANTON KAYE
And, we came out the exit here and we're suppose to, it was on Port Hueneme Road. So, we came out the exit here and saw this. And, how much was it? Well, how much was it? Well, it was 5.5 million marked down to $850,000. It wasn't marked down yet. It was 5.5 million we had that money, but it would have taken probably all our cash or something and God knows, at the time I don't even know if we had that money.
00:01:08 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, we went down to see the other little building, the meat locker. We didn't like it and we came back and we decided to bid on this, put ourselves on the list. There were three others ahead of us. And, we were the only ones that qualified for the use purpose. And, that was 15 years ago. So, what do you want to know now?
00:01:43 ADAM HYMAN
So, shall we...
00:01:45 STANTON KAYE
00:01:47 ADAM HYMAN
Probably talk more about The Unicorn…
00:01:48 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] Yeah, so The Unicorn showed those films and so I had that exposure. In the process of going to Movies ‘Round Midnight which John started from The Unicorn Society he went to two other places. He had a film society at the old Garden of Allah-- It was run by a guy named Bart Litton--Litton Center it was called. It's now a big shopping center or something there. I don't even know if Litton Savings is there-- It's probably owned by somebody else. But, it was on the corner of Crescent Heights across from the Frascati [Restaurant] where I sat next to Bette Davis one night—she was with two gigolos.
00:02:28 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
I just sat right next to her and she was just carrying on and carrying on. And, one time I ever did that I couldn't leave it was fantastic. Better than anything she ever did, she was such a great actress. So, right across the street was a place called the Garden of Allah and next part of Garden of Allah-- Let's see what happened Bart Litton built his building at the expense of the Garden of Allah I think. Maybe not a 100 percent at first I can't remember. Maybe he took it out entirely and there was a small model he would keep there. It was about this big.
00:03:09 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
That was supposed to replace the Garden of Allah, which was this winding set of bungalows where everybody got fucked and drunk forever. And, Alla Nazimova ran it. It was right down the street from Schwab’s [SK: Drugstore, now Virgin Center] where my father would kibbitz. You know I'd go up there and hang out with The Three Stooges or something like that. Moe whatever his name was, was the main guy. He was my father's friend.
00:03:36 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, Garden of Allah and that Virgin and that McDonald's and mall there on the other side of Sunset now, right?
00:03:43 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, yeah. And, so, but for awhile when he ran that, I guess he wanted to do cinema. He was trying to have a museum in the basement to [SK: commemorate] cinema doing a lot [SK: of atonement] because he was so under accusation for a couple of things [SK:—like destroying the Garden.] One thing also, I think he named names way back when and two he was fucking up Hollywood history there. The Garden was a place Clark Gable used to drink and take his girls back to his house around the corner and stuff like that. So, it meant a lot [SK: sub-rosa] to a lot of people even though it may not have been historical or important or productive economically.
00:04:29 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
For various reasons Monte Hellman, I think Jack Nicholson, Louis and BeBe Barron from FORBIDDEN PLANET the music [SK: people. It mattered to them to have a film society they could show key works at.]
00:04:42 ADAM HYMAN
They did the music for a Shirley Clarke short film. [Ed: BRIDGES-GO-ROUND]
00:04:44 STANTON KAYE
Anaïs Nin, too I don't know if she was there for certain you have to ask Monte Hellman and everybody that was in that film society. I wasn't, but I was an observer of it because it cost money to go to see the films. I had nothing. I had no money. And, it cost a couple of dollars, three dollars or something a film or something, it was probably wasn't much. It was just cooperatively necessary.
00:05:13 ADAM HYMAN
And, what was the name of that one?
00:05:14 STANTON KAYE
Cinema Society. It's a new American Cinema Society maybe. John Fles would know because John was on the board of that I think. He was part of it. And, they were showing Gavin Lambert's films, unusual maybe BROKEN BLOSSOMS or you know some unusual Griffith films. They were showing...
00:05:38 ADAM HYMAN
00:05:42 STANTON KAYE
No, it was called New American Cinema or something like that. Monte Hellman will know-- he ran it. And, I forget who else, but so through Monte I met Louis and BeBe Barron and whoever I said was there. And, that was interesting Joseph Strick I think was involved with that. Fred Haynes may have been involved with it who lent me the KPFK Studio to use for my soundtracks for GEORG along with Ruth Hirschman. Jack Hirschman may have been part of that, probably was a part of that film society. He, John Fles and Stan Brakhage eventually gave me my first award, started me off.
00:06:35 ADAM HYMAN
Hirschman was the third judge at the L.A. Filmmaker’s Festival?
00:06:37 STANTON KAYE
00:06:37 ADAM HYMAN
00:06:39 STANTON KAYE
Did you know him? How do you know him?
00:06:43 ADAM HYMAN
No, just from the name. I read about the Filmmaker's Festival...
00:06:47 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] He said he's...
00:06:48 ADAM HYMAN
I toured the judges [unintelligible]
00:06:49 STANTON KAYE
He's the editor of early books on Antonin Artaud— a brilliant translator. He's very brilliant--- he spoke a lot of languages. He was no slouch. His problem was he was unhappy in some ways. I don't know ….But his kid died. What's it like when a child you've been raising suddenly starts getting bone cancer and you see him slowly being chopped up and then finally he dies-- I think. What's that like? I know what my sister's [SK: dying is] doing to me. Anyway, so Ruth still runs a radio station here.
00:07:40 ADAM HYMAN
Ruth, yeah later Ruth Seymour well she just stepped down. I was talking to somebody who was I doing the oral history with, who was telling me that he had met Ruth and Jack at a screening and at that time she was just like the most gorgeous-- they were very much just like would be the center of attention when they enter the room.
00:08:03 STANTON KAYE
He less, although a lot of women liked his looks.
00:08:05 ADAM HYMAN
00:08:06 STANTON KAYE
She was fantastic. She was Jeanne Moreau or Lauren Bacall. And, he was a fellow like Humphrey Bogart he used to get into fights if he thought it was important enough. He drank a little not much. Not too much I never thought he drank too much. He was trying to make ends meet. He was trying to [SK: do something new, so] he was resented by the academic, more academic professors of UCLA. But, he was a strong academic in his own right.
00:08:53 ADAM HYMAN
And, what film was he in? What's that called?
00:08:57 STANTON KAYE
What film was he in?
00:08:57 ADAM HYMAN
00:09:00 STANTON KAYE
He was a poet, he was an English professor.
00:09:07 ADAM HYMAN
So, did you ever go to any of those screenings that were New American Cinema screening...
00:09:12 STANTON KAYE
I might have gone to one.
00:09:13 ADAM HYMAN
All right, so I was going to ask you if you...
00:09:14 STANTON KAYE
I have a feeling I saw BROKEN BLOSSOMS-- well, like I say I think it was downstairs and it was in the basement and I remember going to an art show down there. I'll tell you what I do remember. There was a guy who was a friend of Bart Litton who was filming some of the museum stuff down there for what reasons I don't know. It may have been the origins of the Hollywood Museum, if there's such a thing there used to be one over on La Brea and that may have been the origins in Bart Litton's place.
00:09:48 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
It had a number of cinema--cinematic, early cinematic devices and like the zoetrope and the practicsiscope and things like that. And, interesting, peep show type stuff. There were, they have their origins. Cinema has its origins in the amusement park devices and these were amusement park devices or toys. And, cinema was originally meant to tie into an amusement devices that's what Edison wanted to do. He wanted to, in fact his first films I think were sound films. He had a cable driven which you can do like sort of a dentist drill, it's cable driven.
00:10:34 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
He had them linked by cable to a phonograph. He wanted people to hear and see at the same time. I think Edison was very connected to death and the death of his mother for all the reasons we're talking about. And, I think this is my theory of Edison that he wanted to be able to preserve what he loved and he couldn't. And, that was his id--that's why he was obsessed with phonograph. Because his mother died around that time she was the biggest thing in his life ever.
00:11:30 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
So, in any case, so...
00:11:35 ADAM HYMAN
Can we back up slightly to the Coronet Theater as well as [unintelligible] Can you describe what it was like to see shows there? Like what was the room like, how was...
00:11:44 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] Well, the Coronet Theater, of course where I did my debut when I was six years old. So, I was well familiar with it, you know that's where Nico Charisse put on his play. More familiar with the back stage than maybe the front. And, it was a small theater maybe 200 seats. I don't think it was more than 200 seats. Maybe it was 300.
00:12:09 ADAM HYMAN
Were the film screenings in the same space as the live theater performances?
00:12:16 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, it was...
00:12:17 ADAM HYMAN
I did a walk around there with the people who run it now and there was another space upstairs and they were like I think it might have been in this space.
00:12:25 STANTON KAYE
It was downstairs, no it was down...
00:12:27 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, because there was a booth there. It was old projectors and they still had in the attic.
00:12:32 STANTON KAYE
Oh, yeah. Oh, really? Well, it was downstairs and it wasn't always full. When they put on sexually purient stuff or odd stuff like Kenneth Anger's films the gay community would show up-- same for Curtis Harrington. And, out of that somehow I made a connection not as a gay person, as a regular straight person into a group of intellectuals who gathered around the old L.A. area: Hoover, Crenshaw, Adams area. And, in it was a man named Samson De Brier. And, Samson De Brier was a fixture. That once you identified him would move in and out of many social functions.
00:13:34 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
What he was, was an old gay who used to bring beautiful women on his arm and try to attract young men into conversation. But, that was not obvious, it just was with time you saw it. He's always a central figure in INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME.
00:13:57 ADAM HYMAN
We intend to film Kenneth Anger's oral history in Samson De Brier apartment where he shot INAUGURATION.
00:14:04 STANTON KAYE
How are you going to do that?
00:14:05 ADAM HYMAN
We have connections with people from the apartment.
00:14:08 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] Is Samson, oh Samson De Brier is gone. He died when did he die?
00:14:14 ADAM HYMAN
Not long ago I hear.
00:14:20 STANTON KAYE
It would turn out that around Samson was also Cameron Parsons. And, she has a history that goes deep into the vein of Pasadena and J. P. L. and all of that.
00:14:36 ADAM HYMAN
Yeah, Jack Parsons.
00:14:36 STANTON KAYE
You know about that, huh?
00:14:37 ADAM HYMAN
We trying to research the documents to do a documentary on Jack Parsons and then another, of course...
00:14:40 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] And, L. Ron Hubbard..
00:14:42 ADAM HYMAN
[overlapping] who stole Cameron from Jack and yeah, and I know somebody else working on another project on Cameron. There's a gallery now on Sunset called Khastoo Gallery and she's doing a show. She has three of her paintings, that are going to be in that.
00:14:56 STANTON KAYE
I wonder what her paintings sell for now. They're very strange, you know they're connected to witchcraft ideas and stuff. She had this image people say that she could turn herself into a deer. Maybe a buck not a fawn.
00:15:18 ADAM HYMAN
Did you know her at all or Kenneth [Ed: Anger] at that stage or?
00:15:23 STANTON KAYE
The only person I met and through Cameron rather than through Kenneth was the extraordinary designer for INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME Paul something was it?
00:15:36 ADAM HYMAN
I’m blanking on it right now.
00:15:41 STANTON KAYE
And, I knew Ken.
00:15:42 ADAM HYMAN
I always thought-- no, I always thought Kenneth did those films.
00:15:48 STANTON KAYE
No, there was a great, great costume designer. He might have done some of them, but I think maybe there was some, somebody really great doing those things. Kenneth was not ungifted, but I don't think this guy's name was Paul something. [Ed: Paul Mathison] I mean he gets a credit on the film. I think he's in the film. He's one of the characters in there. Kenneth stayed with me once came down and Cameron lived across the street. And, I said Cameron lives right across the street and I'm friendly with her. And, I can take you over there.
00:16:35 ADAM HYMAN
When was this?
00:16:41 STANTON KAYE
1964 or '65. We met around the time Brakhage was in town either before I got the award or afterward. And, I remember I was with Kenneth and maybe Cameron was there then—in Silverlake then in maybe ‘62 or ’63. And, I think John Fles might have been.--- Stan Brakhage was there. We were all smoking dope. I must have been 18, 19, 20.
00:17:20 ADAM HYMAN
00:17:22 STANTON KAYE
No, I was 19 or 20 years old. Kenneth was I guess…. Kenneth was talking about his struggles that things hadn't changed that much since he had been so solely censored and it was not easy, easily forgiving society. And, you know I remember him being angry. [laugh] Although I didn't view it with the same kind of psychic potential that I later would view it as a psychoanalyst.
00:18:02 ADAM HYMAN
What happens when the time that he stayed with you and Cameron was across the street?
00:18:07 STANTON KAYE
He didn't want to go see her. [SK: For] Kenneth, the one lady in his life that he ever loved was Cameron Parsons. And, I got involved in a complex situation. In fact, that's part of the reason I don't talk to John. I came back from New York on one of my trips and I parked my car behind the Cinema Theater and was walking around the corner and I saw Kenneth. And, he had a giant dagger in his brief case. It was sticking out or sticking through it out the bottom, I don't know I saw the blade or the handle. But, I thought holy shit.
00:18:55 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, Kenneth was crazed and I said Kenneth what's going on? And, I took him over to a coffee shop and we sat and he was telling me what was happening. There was a copy of his film that Curtis [Harrington] had or something and I forgot what it was. But, I volunteered to step into the middle, jerk that I was and try to help okay solve it for Kenneth. So, I went to John and John used me in a situation to placate Kenneth and to stand as witness, or trustee. And, I found myself being betrayed. I felt by the trust I gave to Kenneth and this situation with the bus locker and the film being transferred and all this crappy intrigue.
00:19:57 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I ended up one night in the film booth protecting the film. Curtis' guys came in tuxedos, but they were thugs. Kenneth's guys came from motorcycle-[SK: gangs] and they had chains, but don't I can't tell you that they were less or more thugs then Curtis' guys they just were dressed up on Curtis' side. Cameron was downstairs. Kenneth was doing Tarot cards and cursing and setting up curses on the table upstairs in the projection room. And, throwing beer bottles down into the audience down below filled with beer. God knows when it hit anybody he would have killed someone.
00:20:45 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, screaming and yelling. And, Curtis Harrington's [film] WORMWOOD STAR was showing on the screen and then I guess INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME I guess, whatever. Anyway, when the film was over there was a rough and tumble fight on the staircase between the thugs and the motorcyclists and Kenneth. And, it was like out of a dream, you know I've only been in one other fight like that and that was in Ireland. I used to see it in a bar. I got trapped one night and it was a scene beyond the imagination of John Ford. And, it was for real and there was no breakaway glass and breakaway chairs. And, that was a real battle.
00:21:30 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, this was like that. And, you can't tell with homosexuals whether they're faking or not. I don't know if you know that, but I had a friend who was a brilliant psychiatrist who was gay and I went bar hopping with him and a girlfriend who was his friend who introduced me to him. And, the things that went down I couldn't tell whether the drama was real or not because they're all play acting. Some of them are accountants, but they act like thugs with, you know knives and chains and stuff. But, they're accountants playing at night.
00:22:17 ADAM HYMAN
Is this the, so that's the same episode where Kenneth was like picketing the Cinema Theater?
00:22:22 STANTON KAYE
Yeah, afterward [laugh] I'm sure he was picketing because John-- somehow the film got loose on the steps. And, John took it and, of course I was a steward involved in it and he said don't worry about it now Stanton, I'll take care of it.
00:22:39 ADAM HYMAN
But, I never understand and even we did the interview with John...
00:22:41 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] Well, after that I felt so used that I never wanted to talk to John again because he used me in that equation.
00:22:54 ADAM HYMAN
Well, what was the original problem? Do you know? What was the view that Kenneth had originally...
00:23:00 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] It had to do with who owned the print. I think it was Paul whatever his name's print or something. Kenneth said it was his or something. I forget, but in order to show it, certain rules had to be followed, and I went out on a limb for Kenneth's interests and I gave my word and John betrayed whatever I said whatever [SK: , I promised Kenneth nothing would happen to the print afterward…And instead John shortstopped it and betrayed me and Kenneth…..]
00:23:24 ADAM HYMAN
00:23:24 STANTON KAYE
[overlapping] I gave my word.
00:23:25 ADAM HYMAN
You gave your word that you would be able to get the film back?
00:23:25 STANTON KAYE
I gave my word based on John giving me his word and John broke it.
00:23:35 ADAM HYMAN
And, did you also interact with Kenneth beyond that much?
00:23:51 STANTON KAYE
I knew Kenneth in San Francisco. I think Kenneth and I consider ourselves friends, but I don't see him. I know how much he loved Cameron. I was not-- I was alone with Cameron in her room once and maybe it was just sex, she quite a bit older than I was. But, I felt uncomfortable and I had to leave, so nothing happened. I just felt uncomfortable. I saw her years later and several times saw her many years she was friends with Anita and Bob. Who were big friends of John and kept a sort of something called the Temple of Man collection, which has to do with all of us of a certain period in history.
00:25:00 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
In that Temple of Man collection there's Bob Knotcoff who overdosed. He was the first violinist at the L.A. Philharmonic I guess it is. And...
00:25:17 ADAM HYMAN
And, Anita and Bob who?
00:25:20 STANTON KAYE
Anita and Bob Alexander
00:25:22 ADAM HYMAN
00:25:25 STANTON KAYE
Anita and Bob and the person who knows is his name, his code name was Basha. They used to call him Basha. He was a printer who used to be on heroin at one time in his life. He was very big, very big inside, very broad minded and a very good guy. He printed a lot of things. He probably printed Wallace's poster that's on the wall. I have a poster from Wallace [Ed: Berman]. And, Anita married him and Anita worked in a shop with a very famous homosexual queen, so to speak, who was a very good guy who backed up the L.A. Symphony for a long time.
00:26:17 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
The Second L.A. Group, the one that used to perform at the Pilgrimage Theater around the hill across from the Hollywood Bowl. He was because I was a supporter of that too with my Quarterdeck I used to give them money as well. And, he was one of the founders on that group. He had an antique shop right in the middle of Santa Monica Blvd. there between San Vicente and Robertson. He was, I knew him for years, but then I lost track of him for about 10 or 20 years. I found him again, but I didn't say anything because he didn't recognize me I don't think.
00:26:55 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, Anita worked for him. But, Bob [Basha] kept this sort of plaque or gravestone that they would put new plaques up on as each person died. Ben Talbot is on there who was an important surrealist artist. Wallace Berman's on there. Maybe Kirby Doyle if he's dead, probably Lou Welch I don't know if he knew Lou Welch. But, I knew Lou Welch, but I would imagine if Kirby's dead Kirby's up there. Whoever died is up on that on there.
00:27:38 ADAM HYMAN
Where is this plaque?
00:27:40 STANTON KAYE
It used to be kept in Venice at his and Anita's house. But, it's moved now to [SK: Yoram Getzler's] wife's house. What's her name? [SK: Marsha Getzler]
00:27:56 ADAM HYMAN
I don't know.
00:27:56 STANTON KAYE
I want to say Sharon Getzler [SK: Marsha Getzler] it might be, but she has another code name too. And, I can look it up. And, I can call her for you and you can go see it. It's up in a house that used to belong to Katherine Hepburn. That [SK: Katherine] used to keep her girlfriend or something up in Benedict Canyon--- it's in Beverly Hills. But, it was just a shack and Marsha bought it from her-- from whoever. All the people that I know lived in that house at one time or another. It was like a secret shack that you could get away from everything and it cost nothing to live there. Now, it's worth probably a fortune because it entails several pieces of land they're pushed together and the water rights and everything.
00:28:51 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
It's now it's for her. It's a retirement and...
00:28:56 ADAM HYMAN
It’s on Benedict Canyon?
00:28:57 STANTON KAYE
It's in there yeah.
00:28:58 ADAM HYMAN
Oh, let's go back just do you have anything more that you want to say about Samson De Brier?
00:29:07 STANTON KAYE
Just that you would run into him everywhere and he was a fixture part of L.A. early arts as was Jack Nicholson as was Carol Eastman as was Charlie Eastman as was Jill Eastman who worked closely with my company, Quarterdeck, she was one of the founders with Terry, my wife. And, Charlie just recently died and he worked for me for a while at Bouquet Digital Studios which was my other facility in the [SK: Pacific] Palisades. And, Jill was one of the greatest actresses I ever saw. I mean not Jill, Carol. I saw her in a play that Charlie wrote that came out of their life history when I was about 16 that Barding Dahl put on…Bard Dahl… do you know about the Dahl Brothers? They put on WAITING FOR GODOT.
00:30:05 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
They had, they used to have the Coronet Theater, not the Coronet, but the one on Beverly where Peter Mays was the projector. That was their theater and they did legitimate theater there. They had a couple of theaters and they had another one on Sunset or Hollywood Blvd. I guess it was.
00:30:26 ADAM HYMAN
00:30:26 STANTON KAYE
D-A-H-L yeah. They were great guys, a great guy. Like I say he did the first production of WAITING FOR GODOT, but he also did a production I believe of Charlie's, Charlie's play with Carol Eastman acting in it. I saw it because I used to go around to the little theaters. It was in a hole in the wall sort of like Mariposa and Norman--Normandie and Hollywood Blvd. or something.
00:31:02 ADAM HYMAN
Sir, are we at a point where it's to starting on the filming of GEORG?
00:31:08 STANTON KAYE
Well, yeah and my father I told you was a [Ed: Luigi] Pirandello aficionado-- He's a good deal older than I was maybe 45 years older. And, the early and at the time of [SK: Quantum Theory and Einstein] set up all those problems and, when relativity was expressing itself. Philosophy was undergoing the changes and it became very much personalized matter of belief almost. It was that random, there was no center of the universe. And, soon [Samuel] Beckett would be writing so in some way or another. [Friedrich] Nietzsche was already proposing that it was happening.
00:31:55 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, in that period my father-- there was one playwright who was playing with psychology and the principles of values and that was Pirandello who saw in it the problems of personality and psychology. A differential enough so that he could write titles like RIGHT YOU ARE IF YOU THINK YOU ARE and TONIGHT WE IMPROVISE. [laugh] And, SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR and he had the perfect conditions because he had some kind of a social collapse in Italy. And, then Italy itself was a social collapse. It just was a social collapse. It was a lot of like now in the United States, it was like a lot of infighting people weren't when I was in Italy I was in Venice and I found this beautiful girl sitting by the ocean or the river or whatever it is the lake whatever Venice is. [laugh]
00:33:12 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, I said are you from Venice? No, I'm a Siciliano. Are you from Italy? or something like ? Oh, no I am a Siciliano, you know whatever. And, that's where he was from. And, the Sicilians in particularly interest me I guess. And, I think Luigi Chiarelli came from there too. There was some roots to Pirandello's confusion uncertainty. Some of it was his family itself—there was uncertainty, there were problems with money like mine. And, so out of this came this great insecurity, but a wonderful sense of language and understanding of principle, but not having one.
00:34:05 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, my father must have felt some affinity and so did most of the rest of the world because he eventually won the Nobel Prize before he turned into a fascist. I don't believe he was ever a fascist it just went with the turf and the times and the confusion. But, anyway maybe he was a fascist, but he wrote all these beautiful plays and one's better than the next. One is called WHEN SOMEBODY IS SOMEBODY and his last play is called THE MOUNTAIN GIANTS. And...
00:34:42 ADAM HYMAN
I haven’t read that one yet, but I’ve always really been fond of HENRY IV.
00:34:48 STANTON KAYE
It's one of the better ones yeah. So, THE MOUNTAIN GIANTS was never finished and a couple of people tried to do things with it. It's philosophical set of problems and maybe expressing some of his problems with politics too. He became a speaker that was his biggest problem. He found radio and he maybe shouldn't have then he could have kept his mouth shut, but he didn't. So...
00:35:23 ADAM HYMAN
How was that passed on to you, or what elements here were being...
00:35:27 STANTON KAYE
Well, I was being passed the baton of the drama and I was being shown Pirandello after I was shown [Ferenc] Molnár and I found my own way into [Henrick] Ibsen, but my father put me into [August] Strindberg. And, made a long list of discovery for me, [Gerhart] Hauptman was a discovery for me. My father was into Franz Werfel,too
00:36:03 ADAM HYMAN
How about [Ed: Frank] Wedekind?
00:36:05 STANTON KAYE
And, Wedekind, yeah. So, somewhere in there, you know it came out I got to read more Pirandello than anything to please my father probably. Because I was trying to understand what he found that was so great in it.
00:36:32 ADAM HYMAN
Did you find that, or did you find your own thing that was so great?
00:36:35 STANTON KAYE
Well, I found my own thing and that became GEORG. There were reasons for GEORG. I was going to commit suicide. I was going to do GEORG and I was going to play the part and kill myself at the end surprise everybody for what they were watching. It's an odd film.
00:37:07 ADAM HYMAN
What led you to not kill yourself?
00:37:10 STANTON KAYE
I had so much trouble producing that film. I went through three versions and using other people. I must, there must have been a woman or something I fell in love with maybe the actress, [SK: Lynn Averill] in GEORG who I met --she was a few older than me. She was an astronaut. She was the trainer of most astronauts. She was the lady who ran the rocket navigation and the satellite orbitation program for NASA. You know she taught everybody under a guy named Robert Baker and another named Robert Herick I think it was, Richard or Robert Herick that had invented Astrodynamics. They were the American authorities. She was Herick's direct assistant and Robert Baker's assistant indirectly who was an appointee from the Air Force I think.
00:38:06 STANTON KAYE (CONTINUED)
And, [SK: Lynn Averill and her roommate from Sweden, Gunn Ohlson] taught all those guys how to run all those PCs and you know whatever ---they were mainframes during the shot. And, her specialty was running the big Univac computer and then, [SK: programming it…I met her through…..] through Jimmy Sherwood. There was a party or something and I met her and I was about 17 or 18. I'm not sure I wasn't underage and she was a former Stanford beauty queen. She's the star of GEORG. She became my girlfriend. I loved her a great deal.
00:38:45 ADAM HYMAN
00:38:46 STANTON KAYE
She's still alive she's in, she lives in Joshua Tree because I think she believes the earthquake is going to take us all out. And, that was cheap land for her. She's not nearly as pretty as she once was. And, her bones are drying out or something. [SK: Osteoporosis, I think…]
00:39:10 ADAM HYMAN
That happens with age.
00:39:12 STANTON KAYE
A little more so in her case, and she had four sisters and I'm friendly with some of the sisters. And, most of them are dead now. And, her brother who was a right wing guy who I never cared for. And, before she became very old, she had a daughter. The daughter I'm in touch with ---and she has a sister who I talk with all the time. She and I don't talk very well, because we always misunderstand each other for one reason or another. But, we talk…. I send her things. [technical]
[END OF TAPE 6]