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Share Your Favorite Personal Hollywood Movie/Movie Related Story "The Russians Are Coming"

thedutymonthedutymon Member Posts: 15 ✭ Mexican Lobby Carder
Afternoon,

So I've introduced myself over in the New Member thread and I'd like to share one of my favorite memories of growing up with a tie to Tinseltown. As you all know the Movie "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming". Well I have personal association with this Movie and would like to tell the story, but a little background will be required.

My Father was an Attorney in  private practice in Ft. Bragg, Ca. (Where I was born in the Hospital in Ft. Bragg, it is now a B & B called the Gray Whale Inn), and Gilroy, and Morgan Hill in northern  California from the mid 50's to the late 70's. I don't know how his affiliation with some Hollywood productions was initiated or what his exact relationship with each different Movie was, because he was killed when I was 17 by a drunk driver. I do know that sometime in the late 50's he started to be the Attorney for Personnel contracts on several Movie productions up to about 1969/70 when he became Senior Counsel for the Ca. Division of Real Estate where he was until killed in 1973. And I didn't care enough to ask any questions of my Mother until 30 years later, some of her memories were muddied by then.

As to what I do remember, was that the one spring/summer/fall when my whole world was turned upside down by a bunch of people from out of town. I was born in 1956, and in 1965 there were a lot of changes that summer & fall in the Duty household. I was 8-9 years old. The first was when my Father told us we were going to have to move out of the House on the bluff overlooking the Ocean we were renting, just for a couple of months. We moved to the House next door for what seemed like forever (But was probably 3-4 months?). Now as a neighborhood kid with free reign on our bikes, I and my best friend haunted the set almost daily and all day as well sometimes.

My Father was on Set almost every day as well (Don't know if he was needed, but maybe he just wanted to be there). When the Movie began shooting all of the principal actors would walk over to our house and and drink coffee around the Kitchen Table, while my Mother would make breakfast for a lot of them (She told me she was paid). I would then have an hour or so of intermittent horseplay with Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, John Law, the Russian Heartthrob, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Theodor Bickel, Paul Ford and a few of the other Actors (When they weren't rehearsing their scenes and accents). The kid in the Movie I didn't hang with much, I remember him being a Dick and a whiny voice! Usually not all of them each day, but some every day. I remember that my Mom had a schedule taped to the fridge that showed who would be there each day so she knew what to prepare for breakfast. The other two meals that ate on set (Which I did to, for a free lunch, A Lot lot) In a typical day we would ride over to the old house a couple hundred yards away and watch for a couple hours until we became bored.

When they filmed the Town scenes in Noyo Harbor (Doubling for Mass) I was in the crowd for a couple of weeks, so because of this I got paid for 10-12 days of be an Extra! Big deal for a 9 year old! 

My personal connection were many many ways during this filming.

1. The Dog in the Movie was our Family dog, Muffett
2. Our house was used
3. Our kitchen was used as multiple locations in buildings for several scenes
4. The Volkswagen used was my Mom's car
5. I was a paid Extra and if you pause the DVD I can be seen at most, barely, at least 3 different times :):)
6. Noyo Harbor was my stomping grounds, and most of the Houses pictured I was very familiar with, being my friends houses for exterior shots, etc.
7. The filming dominated the town during this period, that's all we talked about and in the Local Kid hierarchy I was the Kings Nuts, cause I was the closest to it and could come and go on the set at any time.
8. I'm sure now looking back, My Father made money off every connection to our Family!

In 1968 or so we moved to Alhambra Heights near LA, (No longer a City). During the next couple of years My Father would have BBQ's on Sat and Sundays and we would have over to our house numerous TV and Movie Cowboy/Western B grade stars. Strother Martin, Ben Davis, Michael J. Pollard, Ty Hardin, Chris jones, Stoney Burke, Dub Taylor, and many many more, but those are other stories!  

It was just a Fun Fun time and something I'll always treasure!

And that's My Story!

Have a Great Day

YeeHah!

Neil


Comments

  • rockabilly777rockabilly777 Member, The Framer Posts: 633 ✭✭✭ Daybiller
    My condolences for losing your father, and especially so early, Neil. It was, however, a great story. Thanks for taking the time to tell it.  :)
  • HONDOHONDO Member Posts: 8,899 ✭✭✭✭✭✭ Le Grande Collector


    Very interesting reading Neil and thanks for sharing.
    Lawrence
  • MattMatt Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 5,579 admin
    Great Story Neil!

    Was Jonathan Winters funny at the breakfast table?
  • thedutymonthedutymon Member Posts: 15 ✭ Mexican Lobby Carder
    Evening,

    Actually, although later in life I became a huge huge Jonathon Winters fan, at that time the Actors who I remember most fondly were Alan Arkin and Brian Keith, they would take the time to talk to us kids and were the most friendly when we were hanging out on the Set. But what would you expect for Brian Keith (Family Affair!) Not that Jonathon Winters didn't play with us and wasn't nice, and yes he would go out of his way to Fluster my Mom, singing and serenading her while she tried to cook especially when my Dad was around or for my and my brothers audience! But mostly he was out front of the house practicing his lines and scenes, we would watch sometimes. I still think about all the times over the years, that I got to tell my friends that he Jonathon Winters, performed in MY Living Room, Seriously MY LIVING ROOM!!! at the end of shoot party. I do remember at that party (At our House), he entertained the entire crew (He was Hilarious!). That night there were about 50-60 cast & crew members there I think, and I didn't have A Bed Time! Awesome for a 9 year old!

    Thanks

    YeeHah!

    Neil
  • thedutymonthedutymon Member Posts: 15 ✭ Mexican Lobby Carder
    Morning,

    Not trying to be Political, as I'm sure its taboo here, but now the Ft. Bragg Ca. City Council is talking about changing the name of the City where "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!" was filmed, WOW WOW WOW! What do I do, mail my Birth certificate back to Mendoceno County to have my City of Birth Whited Out! :(  :D:D:* ): ):
  • JohnJohn Member, Dealer Posts: 1,246 ✭✭✭✭ Three-Sheeter
    Great story and wonderful memories for you Neil
    John

  • theartofmovieposterstheartofmovieposters Member Posts: 4,516 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    edited June 19
    The Russians are Coming is one of my all time favourite films!  Lucky you to be so close to all the action.
    Gets a rewatch a couple times a year at least.
    Almost time to introduce the girls to it too...though still a little young so I think alot of it will go over their heads!

    I need details on which scenes we can see you, so I can try and spot you! :)
  • thedutymonthedutymon Member Posts: 15 ✭ Mexican Lobby Carder
    The Russians are Coming is one of my all time favourite films!  Lucky you to be so close to all the action.
    Gets a rewatch a couple times a year at least.
    Almost time to introduce the girls to it too...though still a little young so I think alot of it will go over their heads!

    I need details on which scenes we can see you, so I can try and spot you! :)
    Morning,

    I'll try and watch it again this weekend and see if I can find the spots I can almost be seen!  :D:D:smiley:

    Thanks

    YeeHah!

    Neil
  • thedutymonthedutymon Member Posts: 15 ✭ Mexican Lobby Carder
    Afternoon,

    So I finally sat down and watched the Movie (Been 10 years I think!) and found two instances where I'm sure it was me and one or two others that might have been me. In the first scene of the Russian Boat Captain threatening the town, I am in the left of the scene wearing the checkered shirt, I know for sure as my Mom made me wear that shirt to stand out that day, and those sequence of scenes were filmed over 3-4 days and we were instructed to dress the same, so there would be no continuity problems.

    In the scene right after the Russians break into the Dry Cleaners, Alan Arkin and another Russian are crouched behind a fence, and peak over and the two boys on the side of the tree are me and my BFF, twice. I clearly remember that scene as it took what seemed like forever! We stood there, for a 5-10 second scene, I swear it was 3-4 hours! There are a couple other scenes where I am pretty sure it was me, but who knows after 55+ years.

    So that and one other stint as an Extra on a James Cobern film, "The Carey Treatment" filmed in Freeport Ca., right outside of Sacramento a little later when we had moved to Sacramento is my Claim to Hollywood Fame!  :D:D:D

    One interesting tidbit I didn't remember or had forgotten, was the Director Norman Jewison telling about the Daily's being shown to the Town each evening at some Hall, which I didn't get to attend, as my Parents were entertaining some of the same stars most evenings and I was too young to bike into town at night (Or at least come home that late). But I remember getting all the Deets from my BFF the next day each time!

    Thanks

    YeeHah!

    Neil
  • HONDOHONDO Member Posts: 8,899 ✭✭✭✭✭✭ Le Grande Collector

    Loving your memories being recounted and shared here with us. Great stuff indeed Neil. :):)
    Lawrence
  • CharlieCharlie Member, Administrator, Moderator, Game Master Posts: 6,835 admin
    Good stuff!
    That second mouse in the bowl of cream we call life...
  • theartofmovieposterstheartofmovieposters Member Posts: 4,516 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    I know what I am watching tonight!
  • MattMatt Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 5,579 admin
    Thanks for sharing that Neil! I'll see if I can track down a copy of the movie.
  • theartofmovieposterstheartofmovieposters Member Posts: 4,516 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    Finally!
    After two stalled attempts to watch it uninterrupted finally succeeded.

    Ok, so based on the information you provided above Neil, I think I found you! 
    you will have to excuse the shaky blurry photos!

    There you be between the car and the tree!


    And towards the end where we have the initial stand off.
    I spy two kids off on the far left.  Your comment about the checkered shirt stuck in my head and below is a closer shot



    So I am assuming that is you there on the left in the red checkered shirt?



    Still such a wonderful movie.
    Arkin is fantastic!
    Thanks for giving me another excuse to rewatch!
  • thedutymonthedutymon Member Posts: 15 ✭ Mexican Lobby Carder
    Good Day,

    Yes those are both me, 100% on both of those with my BFF at the time! Funny thing is we tried to find me when the Movie came out and didn't have much luck, cause they happen so fast. It was only later when I had access to the DVD that I could stop to see what I could remember and if it matched the movie. I did always remember us standing next to the tree, that kinda sucked it took so long. We had our coats on because it was probably morning still. In Ft. Bragg it was never super hot even in Summer. Being right on the Ocean in Northern California it was fairly windy a lot, and cold in the mornings! 80 degrees in August was considered Blistering! And since the two scenes were not connected in the Movie, the guy who told us where to be (Asst. Director?) didn't notice or care. But they were both filmed in that same 3-4 day window.

    Well, thanks for letting me share I'll always remember that time when it was shot there in Ft. Bragg as a special time in my growing up there. As with all of us it was a magical time in our youth, so many memories of that area and growing up. It was all about the Ocean or the Forest, which is what it was from the east of Hwy 1, east all the way to central California, nothing but Forrests. Ft. Bragg was a Large Timber Mill area.

    Later after serving in the Army I went back there for a Summer and Fall just bumming around, lived at my BFF's Parents house and joined the Northern California Polar Bear Club and dived for Abalone to sell to the local Sea Food Restaurants up and down the Coast of Mendicino County! Was good money and no limits and they were everywhere!

    Thanks

    YeeHah!

    Neil


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