Camp David


By • Mar 1st, 2005 •

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As the year begins to unwind, we witness the departure of Kenneth Anger for Paris as he begins a new chapter in this surreal saga we have come to know as “Babylon in Progress”. Long a critic of all things “Hollywood”, Kenneth made his plans known on Halloween night 2004. Camp David wishes him “bon chance” as France plays host to the elder statesman of the avant-garde


One of the films on my must-see list has always been Sam Fuller’s revisionist western FORTY GUNS with Barbara “The Whip” Stanwyck. A brand new print surfaced a few weeks ago at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, the second Cinema used to run prints for the American Cinematheque this season.

The stud as it were

FORTY GUNS was presented by director Guy Maddin, who cited the western as a major influence on him as a youth living in Canada. Also present at the screening was actor Gene Barry and his noisy wife. Barry had a secondary role in the film and, as it turned out, had not seen it since it was made! Camp David’s editor was seated in front of the pair during the screening and has this to report: GB’s wife kept a running commentary of the film in spite of several patrons telling her to please respect the fact that others were trying to watch the film and reminding her that they were not at home in front of their own ‘Big Screen’. Mrs. Barry could have cared less and made sure her hubby was aware just how sexy she thought he was in FORTY GUNS at every opportunity, saying out loud “Oh, Gene you are such a stud!… Oh Gene you are really so handsome!” Bear in mind that Mr. Barry is now in his 70’s,with his basic animal husbandry well behind him. She had to keep Gene abreast of the action as his attention span ended when he wasn’t on screen.

Gene Barry today

At one point early in the proceedings Barry asked how much his wife paid for the junior mints and when she replied $3.50 Gene yelled “Don’t they know who I am?” Never did he comment on any of the other actors except one, whom he reminded his wife he put in the film and kept him working as the years wore on. Midway through the film his character dies, and at that point Mrs. Barry exclaimed, “Oh Gene, there goes the film!” I had always been told Gene Barry was a Prima Donna and he did not disappoint, nor did his number one fan, the ever-present Mrs. B!

Fortunately the same can also be said for FORTY GUNS, which contains the scene in which Barry Sullivan offers his gun to Stanwyck as she asks, “Can I hold it?” Without missing a beat Sullivan replies “Careful it might go off in your face!” Now that’s a western if you ask me!!!

Barbara La Timide


Cult Queen Barbara Steele honored Camp David recently with an exclusive bit of gossip regarding her old friend Stuart Whitman concerning the impending marriage of one of his four sons. It seems that Justin Whitman has asked one of Dallas, Texas’s richest young ladies, Kimberly Schlegel, to be his wife. (Stuart is Godfather to Barbara’s only son by the late screenwriter James Poe.) Justin had spent some of his youth in Switzerland learning hotel management, only to relocate to Big D and try his hand at investments, as it were… Stuart’s-ex, Carolina, has long resided in Paris in great style! Barbara is a favorite houseguest when in the City of Lights, and with real Horror-Queen aplomb exclaims, “Carolina’s phone nevah evah stops ringing! She is connected to ALL that is important in the Vanity Fair orbit she inhabits!”

Barbara was simply beside herself as she related the upcoming event to be held in Dallas, as literally thousands of bridesmaids, grooms and choirboys make their way to Big D! “It will be bigger than any wedding this year; even the President may attend!” “Anyone I know would kill to be there!!” “Who knows I might just meet a millionaire or two myself!” Barbara will be seated next to former neighbor Nick Dunne, that’s Dominick to those of you not in the social register these days. Stuart himself is no stranger to wealth, as his personal fortune is well over $100 million. Barbara had a laugh as she noted that the only person Stuart had invited was his accountant! “He used to be my accountant but I fired him in a weak moment over some minor detail!” Justin will have his pick of locations to operate his new investments, as the new Mrs. Whitman is also well connected.

Steele asks advice for wedding trip


The passing of Sandra Dee was a sad occasion that marked the end of an era and on a rather personal note for me as our paths crossed a year ago. I found myself at Cedars-Sinai emergency waiting with several other people to see a doctor. Sitting in a wheelchair DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM ME was a very frail woman with a coiffed hairdo who looked very confused and rather tired. The nurse called out the name” Dee” twice and then this time “Dee… Sandra Dee?… No one seemed to make the connection except me, of course. I watched as she was wheeled past me and a dozen images went with her….moments with Lana Turner and Bobby Darin as well as the last film I remembered, THE DUNWICH HORROR, with a very stoned-looking Dean Stockwell. It was a moment I will always think of as she past me on her way to yet another appointment all of which came to a very premature end a few weeks ago with her death at age 62. I was happy to know that Sandra Dee lived to see a film made about her life with Bobby Darin and that she knew how loved she was by her fans. Farewell to a beautiful and talented lady.

As March goes out like a lion, yours truly will take stage center to introduce two very entertaining films at the Egyptian on the 26th. The American Cinematheque honors the late Vincent Price with new 35mm prints of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and THE TINGLER. Price enjoyed his association with William Castle, whose gimmicks made him the talk of the day in Horrorwood. Camp David’s own saw both films first-run and will recount the effect it caused on the monster kids of the time. The rest of you go out and rent Joe Dante’s wonderful MATINEE to get the picture.

Camp David extends a warm get well to director Curtis Harrington who is now at home recovering from a hospital stay from a stroke. Feel better Curtis!!

Until next time, may all your nightmares be in 70mm.

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