It was there, I got my photograph training films until early 1948, when, joined the special effects unit at Eagle-Lion, a lively young company which had taken over the old Fine Arts Studio on Sunset Boulevard. I worked there for about six years.
In 1955, I started worked for The Westheimer Company, located on Seward Street in Hollywood;
I worked there for more than 30 years. This was one of the best equipped and most respected effects houses in the industry, providing a full range of visual effects for motion pictures and TV shows.
The company was especially noted for elegant optical titles with lettering superimposed over live backgrounds and matte shots in which painted or miniature elements were composited with previously photographed images. Several leading visual effects experts learned the business at The Westheimer Company, at were Richard Edlund, ASC, who was “my mentor. “I became a lifetime member of IATSE, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States.
The body of my still work, I captured with wonderful perception the most famous actors and directors of the time on and off the set, in unguarded moments of repose, vulnerability and high drama. He had a unique ability to capture what was essential to each film.
I was responsible for a number of technical innovations, including the silent blimp for 35mm still cameras, which became common on film sets. He was the only photographer working on films at the time to use radio-controlled cameras allowing him unprecedented coverage in otherwise impossible situations, and he had special brackets built to hold his still cameras on or over the Panavision cameras.
It was sometime in 1948 an agent called me. He introduced himself, said he represented Famous Artists Corporation, a medium-sized, but very exclusive, agency that was extremely particular about whom it represented. No featured players, only stars and big directors. The agency was owned by Charles K. Feldman, considered on a par with Lew Wasserman as a great agent and creative thinker. He also produced a few pictures now and then. Much of his power derived from lengthy and close friendships with Darryl Zanuck and Jack Warner.
The day I got a call was from Al Rocket, Feldman’s lieutenant and the one who kept the office running when Charlie was out of town. Feldman had seen some of my work. The agency was interested in me. Charlie Feldman, Rocket said, was in town by the end of the week and wanted to meet with me. One might have thought, on first meeting him that his eyes weren’t following you. On the contrary, they never missed a beat or a movement. He was more of a listener than a talker, very much in that respect like Wasserman. He expressed a keen interest in giving me a job! At that time I still worked for the Westheimer Company. Has the “Main Agency Photographer for the Famous Artists Corporation my “Motion Picture Stills Photographer”, had started to this day I still have all my work from this time, it was in my contract that I would get to keep what was my work.