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GREFE INTERVIEW



WILLIAM GREFE “Stories From the Swamp” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

I’ve done a ton of interviews over the years for Wormwood and other publications and almost all of them turned out great. But this one stands out above almost all others. For the first time, the subject of the interview came looking for ME instead of the other way around.

If you follow my scribblings in the Philm Phreaks section, you have probably read my article about the films of Florida legend William Grefe. If not, you can catch up HERE. Well, not long ago, I was contacted by Mr. Grefe (or Bill, as he insisted I call him) himself. At first I thought oh boy, I’m going to have to rewrite something or take the whole thing down. Instead, I got the compliment of a life time from the veteran film-maker and things led to the interview you are now about to enjoy. To say this was a thrill for the Good Doctor would be a colossal understatement.

You’ll now get to hear straight from “The Outlaw of the Everglades” just a few of the many tales and ideas from his long career. I won’t spoil anything here and will leave you to find things out by reading the interview itself. Suffice to say, Bill was a “hands-on” film-maker in the truest sense of word, operating in the days before computers did all the heavy lifting. He was indeed a gentleman and there may be more coming yet from Mr. Grefe. For now, get ready to hear how things were done in Florida when almost nobody else was filming there...

WILLIAM GREFE: How ya doing, Mike?

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Hello, Mr. Grefe…

WG: Please, it’s Bill, Bill, Bill!

WC: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me!

WG: Well, let me tell you this. The reason I got in contact with you is, I read the article you wrote about me. Over the years, God knows how many interviews I’ve done, talked to critics, etc., etc.  You were the first guy that really understands grindhouse guerilla film-making. I’m serious! A lot of these assholes compare “Death Curse of Tartu” with a 300 million dollar Hollywood film. That just drives me nuts. You’re the first guy that I feel really understands what we poor bastards went through! (laughs)

WC: That’s a great compliment. Over the years, I’ve sought out a lot of film-makers that had to get their hands dirty and do things the old-fashioned way. To me, “Death Curse of Tartu” is more entertaining than most of the stuff at the multiplex.

WG:  The way you headlined your article was “Outlaw of the Everglades”. I’ve been called a lot of things. I’ve been called Wild Bill, I’ve been called “Swamp Man”, I’ve even been called “son of a bitch”.(laughs) I’ve been called a lot of names. Where I think the term “outlaw” fits is that I can really get into some of the stuff we stole. A lot times you have to ask for permits to film someplace. When you don’t have the money for permits, you gotta find ways to steal. Would you like to hear about some of the stuff we stole over the years?

WC:  Sure! Another guy I talked to a while back who’s no longer with us is H.G. Lewis. He also did this kind of guerilla film-making. He told me about some of the filming he did in Chicago where he had to avoid the unions...it was hit and run kind of filming where he sometimes had to hightail it as quick as he could.

WG: Herschell was a good friend of mine. I don’t know if you knew it, but when Herschel and Dave Friedman came down to do “Blood Feast”, they called me up...I’d never met them before...and said they were in town to do a film. Could you help us out with some equipment and maybe a few crew members that you could recommend? I went out to the set and Dave was smoking his big cigar. We became good friends. Herschell and I used to have lunch once a year when he was still around. I’ve got a funny story about Herschell if you want to hear it…

WC: Sure!

WG: First, I’m gonna tell you where I come from when it comes to budgets in film making. My daughter Melanie Grefe is a big time first assistant director. She’s done over a hundred big budget films and TV series, you can look her up on the internet. Whenever she does a movie, she invites me on the set. She did a movie with Harrison Ford where he was a pilot who crashed...I forgot the name of it, but it was shot in Hawaii.(It was "Six Days, Seven Nights"--Dr. M) She tells me they were doing 20 or 30 takes on the movie. Film was so damn expensive in my day, we were lucky if we could do two takes! We had to rehearse the actors the best we could so we could use the first take or two.

WC: People don’t realize that anymore.

WG: Right. But anyway, the funniest thing about Herschell is he hired some little college PA who wanted to be a film buff and he put this kid on doing the slate. When you do the slate, you have to run the camera ahead of time. Herschell kept yelling the whole film “Fast on the slate, fast on the slate! We’re burning film!” The poor kid had it up to here with Herschell yelling all the time. So they get to the last scene on the film, Herschell said “Slate it!” and the kid threw it through the scene and said “OK, you son of a bitch, is that fast enough for you?” (laughter) He’d had it up to his eyeballs with Herschell yelling at him because of the film they were burning on the slates.

WC: He was an extremely smart cookie, very smart guy. I know another connection you to “Blood Feast” was Bill Kerwin. Didn’t he write “Sting of Death” for you?

WG: No, no, I can’t remember the guy’s name. (IMDB does show Bill Kerwin as the writer—Dr. M). Bill Kerwin, we called him “The Roadie”.  He was one of the best all-around film-makers I’ve ever met. The guy was an actor, that was his love, but he was the key grip and gaffer on at least 8 or 9 of my movies. I just loved the guy and we worked so good together. He could do camera, he could do sound, he could do make-up, he could do anything. I always used him as much as I could as an actor. I used him in “Ceasefire”, which I produced with Don Johnson. I used him in “Whiskey Mountain”, I used him in the Shatner movie “Impulse”. I just loved The Roadie, he was great.

WC: What was the moment when you knew you wanted to get into the movie business?

WG: Well, let me tell you my history. When I was a kid, about 12 years old, it was in World War 2. I was fascinated by the army and all that stuff. I wrote a little play when I was 12 years old and I directed it and we put it on at my school. When I got into high school, I was acting, I was in a lot of stuff. I thought I wanted to be an actor. We did a little one-act stage play called “Submerged” which was about six guys trapped in a submarine. I memorized the whole script and I played all six parts, I played all six characters. It won the Florida state dramatic contest. From there, I started doing summer stock up in Woodstock, New York. One of the guys with me in Woodstock became pretty famous. His name was Lee Marvin. So Lee Marvin and I were at the Maverick Theater in Woodstock, New York. Lee was a Marine in World War 2 and he got shot right in the ass. (laughs) That bullet went right through his wallet. 

Anyway, I guess I’d seen too many John Wayne movies, because I joined the Navy during the Korean War. After the war, I got married and thought, oh God, acting is not too secure a profession. So I joined the Miami fire department and became a fireman. My wife got pregnant and I had the responsibility of supporting a family. In the fire department, you have a lot of spare time, so I started writing scripts. Then I’d get a lot of rejection slips until finally I sold a script for “The Checkered Flag”.  That movie was shot at the old Sebring raceway in Florida and the guy who wanted to shoot it had never done a feature. He was also going to be the producer of the thing. I took a 30 day vacation from the fire department because they wanted me on the set to do rewrites. The first day, the guy collapsed from a nervous breakdown. (chuckles) The investors were all there to see the film and they panicked because there were no directors in Florida at that time and hardly any crew. The cameraman was this old Cuban guy that had come over after the Castro affair. We’re meeting in a hotel room at one in the morning and the investors are all panicked. They thought they had to get a director from New York or California. The Cuban said, look, by the time a director gets here, he can’t just step off the plane and start directing a movie he doesn’t even know what it’s about. Well, what the hell? The writer knows all about it. Make him the director! And they drafted me in a motel room at one in the morning to direct the movie! (laughs)

WC:  That’s trial by fire, right there.

WG: Yeah. I knew the script, naturally, because I’d written it and I knew something about actors because I had been one and directed some stage plays. But I didn’t know a 25 millimeter from a 50 millimeter lens. I knew nothing about the technical end. I knew right there I had to get a crash course, so I went to the school of hard knocks. I picked everybody’s brain that I could who knew anything about film-making. Fortunately, the film was released and it was top of the bill with a movie that I think was called “Trigger Happy”, with Steve Cochran in it. But it wound up making money and I thought, well, let’s see if I can direct some movies. I then did a movie called “Racing Fever” and there was a pretty interesting story on how that came about.

WC: You wonder if the original director had not had the nervous breakdown, how differently your career might have went.

WG: I would have been writing scripts and getting a lot of rejections slips because it’s so damn hard to sell a script. And in Hollywood, you gotta get an agent. In any event. I loved racing. They had this big hydroplane race in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area and there was an Italian boat driver named Enzio Silva who was 57 years old at the time. First of all, he had an Alfa-Romeo supercharged engine and there were only two of them ever made. Mussolini had custom made them for Grand Prix racing and one of them got destroyed during World War 2. Enzio Silva got a hold of the other one and he was beating every American racer. Enzio made a big speech saying I’m 57 years old, this is my last race and I’m going to turn the boat over to my son. He gets out on the water and pours the coal on. He went so fast that the boat actually flipped, it fell on him and killed him instantly. I looked around and saw a guy on top of a van and he was shooting a 16 millimeter movie of the race. I ran up to him and asked, did you get that shot? He said, yeah, I think I did! I said, please give me your address, I’d love to see the footage. Anyway, the guy got the shot perfectly and based on that, I bought the footage and that’s what you see in the movie “Racing Fever”, the actual shot of Enzio getting killed. In my movie, the shot was another character getting killed.

Since “Checkered Flag” had made some money, I figured that was a good sign. “Racing Fever” wound up being the first film shot in Florida by anybody and it got a major distributor. Allied Artists distributed it. I got a wild story about how I got that distributed. You wanna hear that one?


WC: Sure!

WG: Back then, all the studios were in California and most of the distribution was done through New York. They had these big 35 millimeter cans which weighed about 60 pounds apiece that we had to haul around and show to all the distributors. I showed the movie to Allied Artists’ vice president and they said they liked the film. I learned right there that vice presidents never want to make a decision. If the film dies, their head’s on the chopping block. They kept BS-ing me for a couple of days. The President of Allied Artists was a guy named Steve Brody. Steve was back at the studio in LA. I called him and said, Mr. Brody, I’m sitting here in New York and the Vice-President says he likes the movie but won’t OK it. He said, come on, jump on a plane and get it out here, let me take a look and I’ll give you a yes or a no.

So I flew out to California and I’d never been to California before. I walked into his office and he had his whole big entourage there. We all looked at the movie in the screening room. He said, yeah, I like the movie, I think we can make a deal. Sounded pretty good, so I said, yes sir. Problem was, I only knew one person in LA, that was a a guy named Dan Magnum, who I’d done summer stock with back in Woodstock, New York. I called up Dan and said, Dan, I made this movie and Allied Artists is interested. Do you know any attorneys who know anything about movie-making? Well, he said, yeah, there’s a very good friend of mine who’s an entertainment attorney and he just opened his own office. I said, Dan, I don’t want some kid just out of college. Dan went, oh, no,no no! He opened his own office but for seven years, he was the head legal attorney for Allied Artists! Which was the company I was negotiating with! So I hired this guy and I walked into Allied’s office with him and I swear to God, their cigars fell right out of their mouths. They all knew him. He had written the contract Allied used and he knew every zinger in it. He didn’t have to read the contract. He just said we want a cash advance and here’s how it’s gonna go. So I made the best independent distribution deal in history!

WC: You can’t get by on just luck alone, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have it.

WG: You’re not kidding. It was pure luck, getting Allied Artists to distribute the film. You know, up until this damn virus, what I tried to do is stay active by working with young film-makers. I love working with them. Now film-making is a no-brainer when it comes to equipment. We use what’a called a Black Magic hi-def camera which weighs about three or four pounds. People don’t realize that back in my day we had 200 pound monsters we had to use! The sound was terrible to work with back then. The final mix would take months and months. And now you just go BEEP and it’s all done. The only thing that hasn’t changed has been dealing with actors and crews. A director has to be an amateur psychiatrist to deal with all these crazy people. Another thing I try to tell young film-makers is that distributors, if they like your film, will promise you the moon and you’re so anxious that you sign the deal and that’s the end of it. You will likely never see a nickel. You have to get the cash advances and bankable guarantees and all of that.

WC: You brought up using those old style cameras and you filmed in a lot of really difficult locations like the Everglades. That had to be a huge challenge at the time. Did you ever think at any point, to hell with it, I’m done?

WG: The worst thing that ever happened to me in the Everglades is when I did “Sting of Death”.The so-called producer had never produced a movie in his life, he was a building contractor who wanted to be a producer. He knew a guy who had a hunting camp deep in the Everglades. So we had to haul all our equipment out on the Tamiami Trail and take airboats out to the camp. It took us two and a half, three hours just to get out there. We get out there and the damn cord from the camera to the battery had fallen overboard and we found we couldn’t shoot any film. So we had to send somebody all the way back in an airboat to get another cord. We didn’t start shooting until 2 in the afternoon.

What I did, I asked Julio the cameraman to just follow me out in the swamp and we filmed the whole damn thing in three or four hours. We’d blown half the day just getting out there. There are parts of the Everglades where you don’t have to go ten miles deep to film, but because of the camp, we had to do it that way.

WC: When you saw the monster for that movie, what was your reaction at first?

WG: (laughs) People aren’t going to believe this shit. (laughs). When they came up with it, there were all sorts of crazy homemade monsters in film, they didn’t have the budgets they do today. But this one was wild even for back then.

WC:  I’m partial to monsters. The computer effects are a dime a dozen. I liked monsters that looked like real people worked on it, that had actual weight and mass. I have to say, the first time I saw a clip from “Sting of Death”, there’s not many times my jaw has dropped, but that was one of them. (laughs).

WG: The one thing I really liked about that movie was the monster’s underwater lair. You know Frank Henenlotter?

WC: Oh sure!

WG: Frank is a good friend of mine. He said, man, I sure wish I had that monster hideout as a den in my apartment.

WC: What would you say was the most dangerous shot you ever did?

WG: Several of them come to mind. “Checkered Flag”, back then we didn’t have sophisticated camera cars. I took what was called a handheld Ari, which you can’t record sound on, and they tied me to a rollbar on a Ferrari. That car went around the course at over 100 miles an hour with me tied to the rollbar. What’s funny is that my wife made me promise that I wouldn’t do anything dangerous. I came back to the hotel that night and she asked, were you in that car? I said no, but she said, take a look. I looked in the mirror and where the goggles were was all white and the rest of my face was almost all black. If that Ferrari had flipped, it would have been the end of me. 

What I never did is ask a crewmember or a cameraman to do something that I wouldn’t do. Like when I did “Stanley”. Remember the scene when the bad guys were stuck in the quicksand and Chris Robinson throws Stanley (Stanley being the pet rattlesnake of the title—Dr. M) in to kill them? The cameraman wouldn’t toss Stanley in. It was fake quicksand and I had to go in there to shoot the scene with a waterproof camera. If you watch the scene, you’ll see from the shot that I was going underwater. That’s an example of what I’d do on a movie that others wouldn’t do. On “Mako: Jaws of Death”, there’s one scene where you see three sharks take off at once. Well, one of them turned back and he came right at me. I kicked him right in the head. A shark’s skin is like sandpaper and it felt like it ripped my foot off. I bled a little bit from that. There’s so many crazy things I used to do...I’ll tell you another one.

This was pure luck. In “Hooked Generation”, there’s a scene where the bad guys are in the boat and bullets are ricocheting everywhere. You put squibs in the wall of the boat to make it look like a bullet went through it. The first time we shot that, there was a grip standing right next to me and he just went “UHHH!” and he dropped like he was paralyzed. What the hell happened? Well, what happened is one of those squibs had hit a little piece of metal and the piece of metal blew right into his arm. It messed the whole shot up.

WC: I can imagine! Did the guy get hurt really bad?

WG: Oh yeah, we had to take him to the hospital. For some reason, it paralyzed him when it hit him in the arm. I don’t know why that was, but it could have just as easily been me. We still had to get that shot so we resquibbed the thing. I said look, give me the handheld Ari and I’ll shoot it with that. I didn’t want to sacrifice the big 200 pounder because they cost too much.  Put some sound blankets over me and we’ll tape a “barn door” to my left eye. You know what a “barn door” is?


WC: It’s like a metal flap that goes over the eye you’re not using with the camera.

WG: Right. During the filming, everything went well and I heard this little “plink!” We don’t know what the hell that was. When we were editing, we found out what it was. John Davis Chandler was playing this drug addict character, he had a hypodermic needle with him. When the squib went off, it blew that damn hypodermic needle right into that “barn door”. We had to slow down the film to see this happening. If I hadn’t had that “barn door” taped over my left eye, that hypo would have went right into my eye.

WC: You worked with a lot of dangerous situations, including animals. Nowadays in a movie, they just have fake animals.

WG:  Oh yeah, that “Snakes On A Plane”, that was all CGI! It drove me nuts, because we used all real rattlesnakes on “Stanley”.

WC:  A year ago, Harrison Ford was in the latest version of “Call of the Wild” and they couldn’t even get a real dog! I wouldn’t go see that even if you paid me money to do it!

WG: No, the Clark Gable/Loretta Young version was a lot better than that one. They used a real dog in that one.

WC: You also worked with some very well known people as well. In your movie “The Naked Zoo”, you worked with Rita Hayworth. What kind of shape was she in at this time? Later, she became famous as one of the first people to publicize Alzheimer’s Disease.

WG: Let me tell you about that and this is also a lesson for young film-makers. I wanted an older woman and so I went to California. I thought Rita Hayworth would be perfect so I went to her agent. She read the script. Now my total budget was a big budget, probably the biggest budget I ever had. $250,000. Back then, the average Hollywood budget was about 2 million dollars. The agent wanted 250 just for Rita. I went back and forth with him, and couldn’t get him to budge. I said, look, all I’ve got for her is 50 thousand dollars, that’s the most I can afford. He wouldn’t budge. My investors were back in Florida so I call them up and tell them, you’ve got to trust me. Wire me $50,000. They went ahead and did that and I got a cashier’s check. I walked into the agent’s office and said, look, you and I have been fighting for a couple of days. Now here is a check of $50,000 for Rita. I will escrow that for any bank in the state of California. End of story, the guy said, you got a deal! So it’s the old story...money talks and bullshit walks. What I tell young film-makers is that when they go for some kind of name talent, the agents always ask for three or four times what they’re worth. You’ve got to have the money up front.

As far as shooting the movie goes, I knew Rita was from the old school. I’m used to using one ro two takes. But I built into the budget where I could use five or six takes for her scenes. We did it that way for three or four days until she got confidence in me. Eventually we got down to one or two takes. So that was a psychological thing I did with her. We found out later that Rita was developing dementia at that point, but it wasn’t full blown Alzheimer’s.  For three days, she didn’t show up. I thought she was an alcoholic. Nobody knew anything about Alzheimer’s at that time. So for 3 days I had to shoot around her, which was a nightmare. She was pretty good, though. She was a trooper. That was the only real problem I had, those 3 days she was gone.

WC: You’re lucky you had the budget to withstand that.

WG: Right. The way I got the budget from the producer of that is kind of interesting. You ever hear of Lum’s Restaurants?

WC: Oh sure!

WG: Lum’s was owned by a guy named Clifford Pearlman and he was an attorney in Miami. His office was in a tiny, little hole in the wall restaurant in Miami Beach. They had a specialty which was hot dogs steamed in beer and sauerkraut. He bought this little restaurant and he went public with Lum’s Restaurants. His stock was only a buck a share and he couldn’t pay a lot of the people working there, so he’d give them stock. Well, when it took off, that stock went to a hundred dollars a share. He became a multi-millionaire. When I saw he was worth millions and millions, I called him up and went to his office. This was when I was working on “Hooked Generation”. I walked into his office and gave him my pitch and he said, I like it, how much were you going to make it for? I said, about $100,000. He said, OK, come to my office in the morning and I’ll write a contract and give you a check. Just like that!

There were other deals that I worked months and months and sometimes years to pull off. Some of my scripts have never been made or got the backing for. But that’s the way these big heavyweights work. He got a taste of “Hooked Generation” and backed that, mostly because he wanted to get Rita in The Jockey Club, which was a big private club in the Miami area. Anyway, I never had any trouble with Rita except for those 3 days. And she must been blacked out for those 3 days.


WC: You worked with William Shatner on “Impulse”. What was he like to work with?

WG: Well, I get along great with Shatner. I’ve done a couple of projects with Shatner. I’ve had so many people ask me about him, because he’s such a pain in the ass to work with. For some reason, Shatner and I hit it off right from the start. You hit it right on the head in your article, when you said I turned the reins loose on him. (laughs) I couldn’t control him. He overacted in “Impulse” so much. Speaking of “Impulse”, are you familiar with Bob Makowski?

WC: Can’t say that I am.

WG: He’s a film editor, he won the Academy Award for “The Hurt Locker”. He loves grindhouse movies and he’s a student of them. He has his own little film company that, when he’s not editing, releases a few things. He’s working on “Impulse” for a Blu-Ray release.

WC: That’s going to be on Arrow Video? 

WG:  No, Arrow is releasing seven other of my movies. “Impulse” is going to be on Bob’s line, which he spells “GRNDHOUSE”.  He’s a real student of grindhouse and loves it. When Quentin Tarantino asked me out to his theater, they showed “Impulse” and “Hooked Generation” and then another time for “Stanley”. Bob Makowski came up to me at the theater after the show and asked me to autograph the one-sheet for “Impulse”. I signed it, I didn’t know who the hell he was. One of my friends said, do you know who that guy is? No, I said. Well, he just won the Academy Award. I went up to Bob and I apologized, I ‘m sorry I didn’t know who you were. We became good friends.

WC: It’s good to have somebody with those connections.

WG: It sure is. And here’s another story you’re not going to believe. “Death Curse of Tartu” played on Turner Classic Movies. It was 1:30 in the afternoon out in LA. The phone rings and it’s Bob Makowski. He said, “Hey, Bill, I’m editing a movie at Paramount and we’re in the lounge. I flipped on the TV and see “Death Curse of Tartu” playing on Turner Classic Movies. I’m sitting here with Peter Bogdanovich and with Frank Marshall.”  Frank’s one of the biggest producers in Hollywood. So we’ve got Bob Makowski, Peter Bogdanovich and Frank Marshall all sitting around watching “Death Curse of Tartu”. As far as Frank Marshall goes, the budget I have for my next movie is what he spends on coffee and donuts.(laughs)

WC: That’s a good way to spend an afternoon.

WG: One thing I wanted to mention to is this. Before the virus started, I was working a lot with young kids. On the internet you can find something called “Consider Us Even”, a little ten minute thing I did for some kids. Then I wrote and directed a little seven or eight minute thing called “Thumbs”. That’s on Youtube. I wasn’t making any money working with these kids, but it kept me out of mischief. I just love doing that stuff.

WC: That’s one of the things I was going to ask, if you were still directing or just acting as a producer or consultant. Sounds like you’re still getting behind the camera.

WG: Oh yeah, yeah! It’s a no brainer with the cameras and the editing they’ve got today. Another thing I did on the internet that’s either on Netflix or Amazon Prime, I forget which, is called “Underwood”. That’s named after the Underwood typewriter. Some young film-makers in Daytona Beach drafted me to go back into acting and I play the murderer.(laughs) For the ending, we did 2 night shoots and there was this damn lake up in Ocala we used that was full of alligators. I had to be in the damn water for 2 nights.

WC: Brought back some memories, I bet.

WG: Oh yeah. As far as “Underwood” went, I couldn’t really tell the kid what to do, He made so many mistakes. He believed in really developing characters. That’s great, but the first 30 or 40 minutes of that show is boring, boring, boring with all these characters when this is supposed to be a horror or suspense film. The last 15 or 20 minutes is pretty good. In any event, they got me back to acting, which I hadn’t done in a long time.

WC: I’m sure I could spend days picking your brain for all the amazing things you’ve seen and done over the years. You’ve provided a lot of enjoyment for a lot of people.

WG: Well, thank you. Let me tell you some of the crazy stuff I’ve done with guerilla film-making. When I first started, the film was so slow, you’d have to pour a lot of bright light into it to get the right shot. Wherever we filmed, they wanted us to pay to the electric bill if we hooked right into their box. We usually didn’t have the money to pay, so we’d climb the power line and we’d tie directly into the main power line, which was like a hundred million volts or whatever the hell it was.(laughs) We’d do that to beat paying for power. 

The best thievery I ever did was for “Ceasefire”, which I produced. For the flashback sequences, we needed a Huey helicopter and there were none in Florida. I went to Washington and tried to get permission, but they wouldn’t give us permission. So I went out to the resort base and asked if there were any Vietnam veterans here. Well, yeah, there’s Major So-and-so, he was in combat in Vietnam. I went over to him and said, do me a favor and read this script. He read the script and said, “what do you want? I like it, it has a lot to do with what’s happening today with veterans”. I said, I got to know where you fly on the weekends. Well, he said, we fly out over the Everglades, over an abandoned airport out by Hwy. 27. Can you meet me out there? Well, I’ve got a handheld camera and two guys with me and we went out there and basically stole all the helicopter footage from the army. (laughs) We stole everything.

And then, we go back to Washington, because at the end of the movie, we show the Wall, with all the names of Vietnam casualties on it. They wouldn’t give me a permit to film the Wall. We ended up using a World War 2 camera called an “Eye-mo” that’s handheld and only holds a hundred feet of film. So we went to the Wall and we stole all the footage of the Wall, because Washington wouldn’t give us a permit. That was some of the best thievery I ever did.

WC: I think that was the most acclaimed film you were ever associated with.

WG: It was the only film in history that was shown to the U.S Congress and written up in the Congressional Record. That’s quite an accomplishment.