Follow-Up Report on the 50th Anniversary Screening
and Celebration of STANLEY KRAMER’S FILM,
Follow-Up Report on the 50th Anniversary Screening and Celebration of Stanley Kramer’s Film, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” at the Cinerama Dome on Sunday, October 27, 2013:
Hollywood, CA (October 30, 2013) – On the evening of Sunday, October 27, 2013 in the bustling city of Hollywood, amid the ambient sounds of distant fire engines and planes flying overhead, four 1960s classic police cars made their dramatic entrance onto Sunset Boulevard as stunned pedestrians and gawking motorists passing by witnessed the arrivals of original cast members of Stanley Kramer’s madcap epic comic caper film, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” including Mickey Rooney, Barrie Chase and Marvin Kaplan, who were returning to the Cinerama Dome for the 50th Anniversary Screening and Celebration of the movie which received its World Premiere there on November 7, 1963. Intended as an homage to the penultimate scene of the movie, in close tow behind the cast members in another vintage police car were Stanley Kramer’s wife and daughter, Karen Sharpe Kramer and Katharine “Kat” Kramer, who were armed with memorabilia from the film, including the original hubcap from Jimmy Durante’s character’s car in the movie, the original program and photos from the World Premiere of the film.
Karen Sharpe Kramer, the widow of the late Stanley Kramer’s wife, and Tait Forman, Marketing Coordinator for The Decurion Corporation, which currently owns the Cinerama Dome, and also the great-grandson of William R. Forman, who served as President of the Pacific Theatres Corporation 50 years ago, were on hand to receive accolades from The City of Los Angeles in observance of the historic occasion.
Kimberly Rodriguez, Central Area Representative of the External Affairs Department attended the event on behalf of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to present certificates of congratulations proclaiming October 27, 2013 as “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Day in Los Angeles.” Steven Whiddon, Hollywood Field Deputy for Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell of District 13 presented certificates of congratulations to both the Kramer and Forman families, and Councilmember Tom LaBonge of District 4 stopped by to offer best wishes to all.
Actor and comedian, Jeff Garlin, star of the current television show, “The Goldbergs,” served as Moderator of a Q&A with the original cast members of the film in attendance and Karen Sharpe Kramer. A special new permanent exhibit in the lobby of the Cinerama Dome was unveiled, commemorating the building of the venue 50-years ago and the first film presented there, Stanley Kramer’s “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Actress Barrie Chase also brought along to the event her Manuel Pertegaz designer ball gown and I. Magnis coat, which she wore to World Premiere of “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” at the Pacific’s Cinerama Theatre on November 7, 1963.
Also in attendance at the event were: Lisa Hackett, the daughter of the late Buddy Hackett, who starred in the film; Barry Maiten, owner of the four classic police cars he provided for the VIP arrivals; Karen Stetler, Producer for The Criterion Collection, which will soon be releasing a new 50th Anniversary DVD and BluRay version of Stanley Kramer’s film, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World;” and Mad World fans, who provided some never been seen before footage of the original World Premiere 50 years ago.
Also in attendance were four of the original dummies for the characters in the movie played by actors Mickey Rooney, Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters and Peter Falk. The dummies were on loan for the day, courtesy of Donelle Dadigan and Hollywood Museum. Artist Dave Woodman, who created the 50th Anniversary logo for the film, and filmmaker Gary Takasian, also attended. Original movie cast members, including Stan Freberg and Sid Caesar, who were unable to be in attendance at the event, sent along the following comments:
A Note From Stan Freberg (Deputy Sheriff):
“Stanley Kramer was my friend. He was a sweet man. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. I was very proud that he selected me to create all the advertising for his wonderful film ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.’
“When I remember my work on the film, a couple of things come to mind. During the shooting of one of the commercials, I had the entire cast together on the set. After numerous takes, Buddy Hackett suddenly dropped his pants, ruining the shot. I said to Buddy, ‘You ruined the take.’ Buddy said: ‘It doesn’t matter.’ I said, ‘Of course it does. It’s a master shot, so we have to do the whole things over.’ Kramer was standing next to me and said, ‘If you killed Hackett now, there wouldn’t be a jury in the world who would convict you.’
“Another afternoon, Kramer asked me ‘What size shirt do you wear?’ I said, ‘Seventeen, thirty-five but why do you ask?’ He said, ‘I’m putting you in the film.’ He then cast me as a Sheriff’s Deputy sitting next to Andy Devine. In the first cut of the film he gave me actual lines, but Universal said, ‘Nobody will sit still for a four hour movie.’ Kramer then was forced to cut my lines. My wife Hunter said, ‘To have Stan Freberg not say a word would be like Marcel Marceau (the famous mime artist) suddenly speaking!
“Hunter and I are always thrilled to have opportunities to share memories about Stanley (we love the name Stanley) with his beautiful, talented widow, Karen Kramer. Audiences around the world have loved this film for 50 years and we are sure they will for at least the next 50!” – Comments from Stan Freberg, October 27, 2013
A Note From Sid Caesar (Melvin Crump):
“Mad, Mad World might have been the first successful big-budget Hollywood comedy. Imagine sitting around with 18 of the top comedians and comedic actors in the world every morning waiting for the sun to come up to start shooting. Every comedian in Hollywood wanted to be a part of the picture.
“There’s a big scene in the beginning of the picture where we all pull our cars over to the side of the road to discuss how we’re going to split the money that Jimmy Durante’s character told us about before he died. I tell the group, ‘Let’s divide up the treasure mathematically. Everyone with one car gets one point…
“Screenwriter Bill Rose had to turn out two scripts: one for dialogue and one for physical business. Each one was the size of a telephone book. I had the long speech in that scene; everyone else’s dialogue consisted of interruptions. Director Stanley Kramer insisted that we do the entire scene in one master take, so that he could cut in and out whenever he wanted. It was a very intricate scene, with interruptions everywhere. Everything had to be done at exactly the right moment.
“We finished the day’s shooting and Stanley said, ‘Don’t print anything.’ When a director says don’t print anything, that’s not a good sign. It can only mean one thing: It didn’t go well. I suggested that the group get together that night in the hotel dining room to work through the scene. We discussed the scene, and though I never acted as the leader, I did give the group the benefit of sketch comedy experience.
“The next morning we were out on location at 8:00 a.m. We did the entire scene in one take. Stanley was ecstatic. ‘What are we going to do for the rest of the day?’ he asked, tongue in cheek. Not that he was really worried.
“Happy 50th Anniversary to the Kramer family, my fellow cast and crew members and to the Cinerama Dome on this momentous occasion in film history!” – All the best, Sid Caesar, October 27, 2013
The film, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” was produced and directed by the late award-winning filmmaker, Stanley Kramer. This is event was also in celebration of Stanley Kramer’s current Centennial Celebration (www.stanleykramer100.com), as well as part of a celebration marking the 50th Anniversary of the Cinerama Dome.
In the movie, Spencer Tracy leads an all-star cast as Captain T.G. Culpepper in a madcap pursuit of $350,000 in stolen cash pursued by colorful group of strangers, including: Jonathan Winters as Lennie Pike; Buddy Hackett as “Benjy” Benjamin; Mickey Rooney as Dingy Bell; Edie Adams as Monica Crump; Sid Caesar as Melville Crump; Milton Berle as J. Russell Finch; Ethel Merman as Mrs. Marcus; Dorothy Provine as Emmeline Marcus; Phil Silvers as Otto Meyer; Dick Shawn as Sylvester Marcus; Terry-Thomas as Lt. Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne; Jimmy Durante as “Smiler” Grogan, Peter Falk as a Third Cab Driver; Barrie Chase as Sylvester Marcus’ girlfriend, and cameo appearances by Stan Freberg as Deputy Sheriff; Marvin Kaplan as Irwin; Andy Levine as the Sheriff of Crockett County; Jack Benny as man driving a Maxwell offering help in the desert; Joe E. Brown as the union official giving a speech at a construction site; Leo Gorcey as First Cab Driver; Zazu Pitts as Gertie the Switchboard Operator; Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson as Second Cab Driver; Jim Backus as Tyler Fitzgerald; Buster Keaton as Jimmy the Crook – Culpeper’s boatman crony; Don Knotts as the nervous motorist; Carl Reiner as the Rancho Conejo airport tower controller; Jerry Lewis as the motorist who runs over Culpeper’s hat; The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Joe DeRita) as Rancho Conejo Airport firemen and The Shirelles singing “31 Flavors” in Sylvester’s home scene (voices only).
The original World Premiere of the movie was held on November 7, 1963 was attended by bevy of notables including Senator Edward Kennedy and his wife at the time, Joan Kennedy, as well as by Senator Robert Kennedy and Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevensen II. President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy were also slated to attend as well, but didn’t make it, as they had plans to be in Dallas, TX later that month.
To learn more about other upcoming Stanley Kramer Centennial Celebrations, please visit the website, www.stanleykramer100.com. To learn more about other upcoming films screening in the Cinerama Dome’s 50 Anniversary, please visit the website www.arclightcinermas.com.
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