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The Crimson Pirate (© Warner Bros.)

The Crimson Pirate

I was just a kid when I appeared in this movie.

Please visit Ischia.org for their extensive information about the making of "The Crimson Pirate" by clicking on the above photo.

They were shooting it in Ischia (the island right next to Procida, my ancestral home, located in the bay of Naples).

We were on an extended visit to Italy because my dad had fallen gravely ill.

While visiting some relatives on Ischia, I went down to look at the Spanish galleons they had built in the Ischia shipyards for use in this movie, and this guy (who I think was Terry Hunter, the production manager) came up to me and pointed at my Levi's and then pointed at his Levi's and said (with many, many hand gestures) "same...", boy, you should have seen the look on his face when I said, "yeah, Levi's".

The last thing he expected to find in this island was a very tanned Italian looking little kid that spoke perfect American English.

He took me down to where they were filming and introduced me around as being an American from San Pedro, California, and then invited me to have lunch with the cast and crew (I sat between the director, Robert Siodmak, and actor, Burt Lancaster).

Later, the director asked to talk to my mom, and after she said it was OK, they put me in the movie.

After they wrapped and went back to the US, both Siodmak and Lancaster sent me tons of American comic books and a case of hot dogs in dry ice (the only things I told them I really missed since coming to live in Italy).

Really nice people!

Both Siodmak and all the principals treated everyone on the production with courtesy and respect (even the lowly bit players like myself).

Lancaster went out of his way to greet everyone by name, and even ask about their families and how things were going. A real gentleman.

The funniest actor on the set was Nick Cravat (Ojo) who was always in a great mood and a real prankster. Just a really good natured person who was just a big kid himself.

 

Playbill (© Warner Bros.)

 

If I remember correctly, in the original theatrical release version, I am in about a half dozen scenes, and have a dialogue bit with Burt Lancaster (he tells me to do something and I run off saying "yes captain" or something close.

The last time I saw it on TV, all but one scene had been cut to make it fit into the network broadcast window time frame.

 

 

 

Because of this great first experience in the movies, I thought that being on a movie set was better than being on any other playground I had ever played in, until...

I visited the set of "The Sad Sack" (shooting on location at Ft. MacArthur, CA). Jerry Lewis (the eh..., "star", and one of my boyhood favs), was cruel, tyrannical, a buffoon, and far from funny. He treated the crew (especially one particular grip) like total merde.

I never watched another Jerry Lewis film after that experience, and also learned a valuable lesson: There can be bullies on any playground.


To be continued...

 

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