Memories

I had been interested in art director Anton Grot’s work for a while. He worked on many films with Curtiz, and is credited on numerous other Warner features in the thirties and forties. It’s been really hard to find information on Grot, but I did come across a blog which features several of his drawings. As far as I can tell, most of them were done for Captain Blood, but it looks like at least one was for Mildred Pierce, and the last one is probably for Elizabeth and Essex or The Sea Hawk (the two films share a number of sets). One of my first job’s was with Anton Grot’s it was on the film set of Mildred Pierce, as a set stills photographer,

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I would take still shots of the film set construction as it went up, built on the film set at the old Warner Bros. Studio backlot on Sunset Boulevard. I still had a job working as a darkroom accent on Sunset Boulevard for, Consolidated Film Industries, where I worked for the next four years. After the four years working for Consolidated Film Industries, I was hired by Byron Haskin, ASC, and head of the Warner Bros. Special Effects Department on Stage 5 in Burbank. Since this was the largest such department in the movie business, I was able to work with some of the top cinematographers in the effects field, such as ASC fellows Edwin DuPar, Hans Koenekamp and Warren Lynch.

I first made the acquaintance of Ann Blyth on the film set of Mildred Pierce, (1945). Warner Bros had borrowed Ann for this film. It was Anton Grot’s that called Ann over and introduces me to her. What was so special about Ann? Well, she was just a nice person who always had a warm smile and a pleasant word for she exuded maternal compassion and was ever willing to listen to anyone’s tales of woe (including mine). Also you must remember as members of the film crew, you do not fratnise with the acting fraternity that was the golden rule for the film crew. 

It was later that year filming Danger Signal, (1945). But burring filming, Ann Blyth suffered a broken back whiles sledding, this all happed while she was on a briefly vacationing in Snow Valley 14 miles from Lake Arrowhead.

It was Joan Crawford that let Ann swim in her pool. Ann and I would go there all the time swimming, exercising. She said Crawford was always gracious, generous, a supportive actress who understood that this was a big change for Ann Blyth, a big opportunity for her, and she wanted the film to work and she wanted Ann to do well. I would push her around in that wheelchair day after day I would take Ann over in my car. It was also at that time I made the acquaintance of Charlie Marie Gordon we also have been friends for a very long time.

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I have been taking still pictures alongside working making motion picture I believe that making a good movie and taking a good photograph go together. What good is travelling when you are making the movie going to all the drifter countries I would like to share my experiences with others and what better way  than to share them than to let you see with their own eyes my pictures and text my captured memories.

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