Thursday 28 July 2022

Joe Kidd Rare Greek poster

Joe Kidd Rare Greek poster

Here’s a poster that I stumbled upon on the internet, purely by accident. The poster is from Greece and an original from 1972. As this year celebrates Joe Kidd’s 50th Anniversary I thought I would give it a post of its own. It is described as being approx. 30” x 40” in size. It is very unusual to find any posters from Greece, I don’t know why exactly? The poster uses photographic images, which in itself is unusual, as most other posters for Joe Kidd use a form of artwork.  I have digitally cleaned up the image for illustrative purposes and to present it closer to how it may have looked some 50 years ago. 

Clint’s memories of being a lifeguard at Fort Ord pool

I recently discovered this great little interview on the internet. It's a nice piece as Clint rarely speaks about his time at Fort Ord. Clint was talking to his local paper, The Monterey Herald
Clint Eastwood’s memories of being a lifeguard at Fort Ord pool
By BRIAN PHAN, Monterey Herald
PUBLISHED: February 26, 2022 | UPDATED: March 2, 2022
MARINA – The abandoned, graffiti-covered swimming pool on the former Army base contains a history that many have forgotten. But not for one local who was a swim instructor and lifeguard at that pool – Clint Eastwood.

When the famous actor/director/producer read my story in the Herald about the pool in November, it brought back a flood of memories for him from his days in the military. He recently visited the Fort Ord pool with me and shared his experiences of being a lifeguard and swim instructor there in 1951-52.
“I actually lived down at that pool” Eastwood said.
After finishing basic training in Fort Ord, Eastwood and another soldier went to Division Faculty, where the military organises instruction and teaching for weapons, communications, and other training, to ask for a job. Eastwood remembered thinking at the time, “If we got a job, maybe we won’t get sent to Korea,”.
A Division Faculty captain took down their names and as they were leaving the building a man came in and said, “They need three or four guys down at the pool.”  Eastwood thought he was talking about the motor pool. The Fort Ord motor pool was where military vehicles were stored and worked on. “So we were thinking this will be good. We’ll go to the motor pool, we’ll drive some cars and keep our mouths shut,” he said. “That would be cool. We won’t be going to Korea but we will be in the motor pool.”
When the man clarified that he meant the swimming pool, Eastwood said he could feel his eyes light up. “Now we are talking,” said Eastwood. “I had to swim a lot when I was very young.”

Up his alley
Eastwood, 91, had been a competitive swimmer at Oakland Technical High School in the late 1940s. After high school, he had also been a lifeguard in Washington State. The possibility of being a lifeguard at the Fort Ord pool made his day.
The officials took the names of Eastwood and his friend and the next day they got a call from the captain. “They want you down at the pool.” Back then, the pool the 50-yard, 10-lane pool looked a lot different than today.
It was outdoors with a 6-foot high wooden fence surrounding it. It had three wooden diving boards all set at different heights. Along one side there was a wall that had a dressing room for men and one for women. At one end of the pool was a two-story building that contained a sand filter for the pool water.
The site has changed considerably since then. The drained pool now sits inside a building behind a chain-link fence. Marina city planners have plans for an aquatic complex and gym at the site and hopes to one day see the public enjoying the facilities much as the military and Eastwood did 70 years ago.
Teaching soldiers to swim
Soldiers would dive into the deepest part of the pool, which was 10 feet deep, to see if they could swim. As Eastwood got to the pool there were several older soldiers who had been teaching the enrolees and running them through calisthenics. Eastwood recalls he had to convince them, using his charm, to hire these two rookie soldiers who just finished basic training. Using their “bestselling voices” they got the assignment.

For a couple of weeks, Eastwood lived in the barracks. He remembers getting up in the foggy cold mornings in Marina and walking over to the pool, helping with swim classes. He would then leave in the afternoon.
After some time, the older soldiers who worked at the pool with him shipped out, moved out, or finished their service and went home. Eastwood and his friend, who were hired at the same time, started teaching the swim classes. They were there at the pool together for a couple of weeks when Eastwood’s friend was deployed to Korea. “All of a sudden he got shipped out,” said Eastwood. “You never know how they pick people that are shipped out in those days, it was classified.”
Eastwood told me he still wonders about it today. “My friend got sent out but I didn’t. I never could figure out why that was.” As the other soldiers got reassigned or deployed, the then 21-year-old Eastwood spent the remainder of his service running the pool, teaching and saving people from drowning.

Life at the pool
Eastwood said he was at the pool 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On one side of the pool there was a little room that Eastwood convinced the company commander to allow him to move his bunk to so that he could “take care and watch over the pool.”
“While everybody else was getting up at five in the morning, in the cold air, I was sleeping,” said Eastwood. “I didn’t have classes until about 10 or 11 o’clock or whatever they were that day. It was a good life for me.”
Eastwood’s job at the pool was to make sure soldiers knew how to swim. To test this, he would line up a dozen or so soldiers in their swim trunks next to the diving boards and tell them to jump in. Many of the soldiers knew how to swim but decided to fake drowning. That was easily explained Eastwood said. The alternative to taking swim classes with Eastwood, he said, was running 10 miles with packs and rifles in the cold morning.
“It was kind of funny because everybody was trying to fake that they couldn’t swim,” said Eastwood. “They all wanted to stay there and have lessons then go out in the field and run with the other guys carrying rifles.”
Even after the swimming lessons, the pool was a swell place for people to enjoy. Eastwood remembers soldiers would come down and ask if they could have lunch next to the pool or sit for the afternoon. Members of the Women’s Army Corps “would come by a lot, stick their head over the fence and ask if they could come hang out,” Eastwood said.

A life changer
Eastwood told me he was lucky to have landed in that situation, “It saved me from going to Korea, which was important in those days.” His life probably would have been dramatically different had he been deployed.
“It was a great, great gig and a lot of fun. I actually became an actor because guys like Richard Long, Martin Milner and David Janssen were all drafted. These guys became my friends.”
These were the guys who convinced Eastwood to go to Los Angeles City College instead of going to college in Stockton. “I followed their careers,” Eastwood said, remembering. It “drew me down to LA and started off my career. It all started there at the pool.”

Friday 22 July 2022

Early Eastwood signed letter to a fan from March 1962

Early Eastwood signed letter to a fan from March 1962

One of the most common questions I’m asked is in relation to Clint’s autograph. 

To be honest, it’s a horrendous business with so many fakes flooding the market. In truth, I never felt 100% comfortable, although I had a couple previous from very trusted sources, I only ever felt truly content when I obtained a couple from him in person - and (for me) it’s pretty much the same in regards to anyone's autograph. Clint’s signature has changed and evolved over the decades - much like most people’s. 

I recently came across this example of an eledgidly hand written letter by Clint from March 22nd, 1962. Back in 1962, and predominantly as a TV star in Rawhide, time on the actor’s part was naturally a bit more affordable - especially as an up and coming star. Actors often engaged in answering fan mail which at the same time helped in promoting themselves, and who could blame them. Overall, it was much more of a one-to-one, social relationship between stars and their fans. Today of course, it’s usually more to do with the cash value that can be accumulated from obtaining a treasured signature, which usually means that genuine fans often miss out, and that’s the real travesty. 

However, I thought I’d post this here as it does bare all the characteristics of Clint’s signature from this particular period. It’s quite charming in its innocence really, a young kid who perhaps, formed a friendship club with other young Rawhide fans and wrote to Clint. This example looks to be a personal response from Clint himself. Or I at least would like to think of that being the case... As far as I can make out, the letter reads:

Dear David, Thank you for your letter. If you and your club wish any info - matters about the national fan club, write to: Roy St. John, 1741 N. Kingsley Drive, Hollywood, Calif. Sincerely Clint Eastwood

The letter measures approximately 7 x 4.5 inches in size, and has prior mounting holes in the corners and top center. The letter is written in Red ink. I have adjusted the lighting slightly in order to make everything more legible. 

Of course, I can’t authenticate if it is genuine or not, but I think it looks pretty good as far as examples go.

Rooftop dips

Rooftop dips

Here’s a nostalgic little item sent to m me by our U.S. correspondent (and San Francisco native) Kevin Walsh. A little pamphlet advertising the Holiday Inn situated at 750 Kearny Street in the financial district of San Francisco. If the rooftop pool looks familiar, it was of course the location of Scorpio’s first victim in the pre-credit sequence of Dirty Harry. The building is now owned by the Hilton chain and the pool is now a rooftop garden and an extension of their restaurant area. 

From the satellite image, Scorpio’s position on top of the building at 555 California Street is still distinctly visible due largely to its unique zigzag designed fascia seen clearly from above. Considering that this is some 3 blocks away, I have to say, that was still one helluva shot.

A nice piece Kevin, thank you. 

Below: The building above Merchant St with its sloped lower levels clearly reveals the rooftop pool area. At the bottom, the distinct zigzag design reveals Scorpio's shooting position.

Yours Retro Magazine July 2022

A brief announcement for UK based fans -

The current issue of Yours Retro magazine (July 2022) features a cover article on Clint. The publishers state:

'The next issue of Yours Retro is a must-have for any Clint Eastwood fan as we celebrate the career of the iconic actor and director, looking at his journey from TV’s Rawhide, through his outstanding catalogue of films'

A friend has informed me that there isn't really anything new to be learnt from this feature - but nevertheless an enjoyable read.

This mag is available in most Newsagents and all of the major Supermarkets

My kind thanks to Dave Turner for the notification.

Dirty Harry: Funky Italian Style

Dirty Harry: Funky Italian Style
I love these wonderful Italian Photobustas (and their huge 17.75" X 25.5" format). Whilst they are featured on the dedicated Dirty Harry page, I thought they also deserved to be in their own spotlight and examine them a little more closely. Nine of them are included here, but I’m not 100% sure about how many of these were originally issued in a full set? I also have to say - I don’t own a single one of them - but I can dream… Aesthetically, I think they’re great, they’re so funky with their bold and bullsy use of colour (check out that luminous pink!). Yet, technically they are all over the place! One image contains a shot of Charlton Heston from The Omega Man (another Kinney production also from 1971), in another image John Larch seems to be in the foreground of the Charlie Russell murder scene counting out money and a closer look at the famous ‘6 shots or only 5?’ scene outside of the bank of San Francisco reveals that this is actually a production shot or a rehearsal - as director Don Siegel can clearly be seen standing next to Clint! And rather strangely, there now seems to be a mysterious Mercedes at the quarry during Harry's climactic showdown with Scorpio - all of which is very bizarre? The hand tinted colour process is a bit dated for sure - but I think it still adds to their overall charm… 
Regardless of their technical errors, I can’t deny it, I still absolutely love ‘em.

Sunday 10 July 2022

The Passing of L.Q. Jones

The Passing of L.Q. Jones
It’s been an incredibly sad last few days with the unexpected passing of James Caan just last week. 
There are a great deal of Eastwood fans who are also huge admirers of Caan and his movies, especially from that great Sliver age period of the 60’s and 70’s.  Whist Caan never starred alongside Clint, we will be making an exception and posting our own small tribute to the much loved actor within the next week or so. 

Meanwhile, the sad news continues as I received word this morning that L.Q. Jones - the versatile character actor whose career dated back to the 1950s - has died.  He was 94.

Jones appeared alongside Clint in his first U.S. western, Hang ‘em high. He appeared as Loomis one of the 9 mob members that unjustly hung Clint’s character Jed Cooper. 
His death was confirmed by his family, who says he passed of natural causes in the Hollywood Hills surrounded by loved ones ... this according to Variety.
Jones had over 160 acting credits to his name, with his first several coming in the year 1955 -- when he starred in military-inspired flicks like "An Annapolis Story," "Battle Cry" and "Target Zero." He also appeared in a few episodes of the western-themed TV show "Cheyenne."
From there, LQJ was on a roll ... with acting in a number of films and TV series like "Annie Oakley," "Gunsight Ridge," "Operation Mad Ball," "Buchanan Rides Alone," "The Naked and the Dead," "Jefferson Drum," "Men of Annapolis," "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" and more.
Switching between war and westerns, Jones stayed busy in the '60s. Some of the more popular titles he was in ... "Lassie," "Klondike," "Laramie," "Perry Mason," "Route 66," "Wagon Train," "The Virginian," "Gunsmoke", "The Big Valley" and Rawhide -  as George Cornelius in the 1963 episode Incident at El Crucero
Other hit shows in which he had guest-starring roles included, "Hawaii Five-O," "Charlie's Angels," "Ironside," "Kung Fu," "CHiPs," "Columbo," "Cannon," "The Runaways," "The Dukes of Hazzard" and lots of others. He even starred in "The Incredible Hulk," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "The A-Team," "Renegade," "The Yellow Rose" and more throughout the '80s/'90s.
He'll also be remembered for his work with Sam Peckinpah on "The Wild Bunch," "Major Dundee," "Ride the High Country", “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”. 
Jones also had a memorable scene in Martin Scorsese's "Casino." An actor who will be much missed.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family,