While working on my biography last night late, I discovered a long lost list of the movies that I had produced over the last 55 years. The list did not begin until six years after I began producing my feature length films. That year the title of the film was “Have Skis Will Travel” and it would be eight more years before I hired my first cameraman to help me. The powder snow was good at a lot of places but I could only be in one place at a time.
It was getting more and more confusing in the office. Remember I never took a business course in high school or college because I thought I would never own a business.
When the decision was made to assign production numbers we decided that we did not want to start with production No. 1 because we wanted to appear to be an old production house so our first production number was arbitrarily assigned No. 325. The film was my first commercial movie and I did it for Anderson and Thompson Ski Company in Seattle.
The list of different productions is now 21 pages long, which adds up to 589 different movies. If I added up all of the sailing films that I produced, distributed and financed myself that would be another 11.
“From Grape to Glass” is a wine making film that I made for Simi winery to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Unfortunately, the film was only available in 16mm.
“Racing Rhythms” was about thoroughbred racing at Hollywood Park. I garnered a silver medal for it at an Italian film festival. We introduced high-speed ski action type photography to horse racing for the first time by hiding under the inside railing on the turn for home and taking close-up pictures of horses hooves. It had never been done before.
The last promotional film we produced was for Vail in the mid 1980s. It was supposed to be the first in an agreement for 12 more films but I guess a handshake doesn’t mean as much anymore. I composed the title, “Vail There’s No Comparison.” I noticed in a brochure last winter they are still using that title as a copyrighted slogan in their advertising. That’s fine with me because they say the sincerest form of flattery is to be copied.
We got started in the TV bartering business when there was none. We would produce a 23-minute promo film for a client in the late 1970s and then offer it to a TV station for free. We would keep two of the one-minute commercials that we would sell and they would have five to sell. With no production expenses for the program they made money on the five spots and we made production money as well as selling the two spots. One winter we had 13 shows and Hamm’s Beer sponsored it in 17 cities for a tremendous deal for us.
As the film business grew, whenever we filmed a ski resort that we knew wanted a promotional film, we would shoot more than enough footage for the lecture feature film and then sell them their 23-minute promo film later when we were rehearsing and viewing of the raw footage with them.
When I discovered the 21-page list of the movies we produced over the years, they were so full of memories. I could write an entire book about things that happened while I had a camera in my hand, skis on my boots and a free lift ticket on my belt.
Maybe if we sell enough copies of my biography I will embark down the memory lane of chairlift rides with a follow up batch of stories. In the meantime, after working hard for the last three and a half years on the biography, I think I just might spend a month or two fishing, boating, and playing golf.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.