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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

Category: Roderick Mann

What Next for Richard Chamberlain After 'Shogun?'

  Sept. 15, 1980, Shogun  

  Feb. 24, 1981, Richard Cmaberlain  

Feb. 24, 1981: Young persons…. There was once a sensationally popular TV miniseries called “Shogun,” based on James Clavell’s novel set in feudal Japan, that aired in September 1980 and starred Richard Chamberlain, the former heartthrob of the 1960s TV series “Dr. Kildare.”

The story of John Blackthorne and Lord Toranaga (Toshiro Mifune) quickly became a touchstone of popular culture. In writing about “Shogun,” Times TV critic Cecil Smith reported that "Nielsen numbers show that more than half the people in the country are caught up in it." 

Several months later, Times writer Roderick Mann catches up with Chamberlain, who says he’s interested in another miniseries: “The Thorn Birds.”

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Movieland Mystery Photo [Updated]

  Los Angeles Times file photo  

[Update: This is the filming of “The Domino Principle” in the mess hall at San Quentin in a photo stamped May 7, 1976. On the jump, Roderick Mann’s first-rate profile of “Domino” star Gene Hackman, in which he talks about taking some roles for the money and being disappointed that “The Conversation” failed. I suppose that in 1978 “The Conversation” did seem like a failure, but it’s a terrific movie.]

I apologize for the obvious seam in this oversized print but I wanted to run the full photo rather than only what my scanner can accommodate in one pass.

[Updated 7:07 a.m. A previous version of this post said the photo was stamped 1978. The stamp says 1976]

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Blake Edwards Loves (and Hates) Peter Sellers -- Updated

  March 9, 1978, Blake Edwards
  March 9, 1978, Blake Edwards  

March 9, 1978: Blake Edwards had a love-hate relationship with Peter Sellers. So why make another Pink Panther movie?  Because he got “the richest deal ever made for a director in Hollywood,” Roderick Mann says.

Update: Mann takes a look at 1984, a rough year for Edwards, with lawsuits involving MGM-UA, quitting as director of "City Heat" because he was unable to tailor the script to please both Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds, and Robert Preston saying he had no intention of doing the Broadway version of "Victor/Victoria."

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James Caan on Film Directing


  Nov. 2, 1980, James Caan  

Nov. 2, 1980: Roderick Mann interviews James Caan and asks when he will direct another film after “Hide in Plain Sight.”

Caan says: "A lot of people were very kind when my film opened. Michael Eisner of Paramount told me I could direct for them anytime. And Dustin Hoffman wrote me a long letter saying how much he liked the film.

"But the truth is it's just too hard for a creative person to go hat in hand to some of the people running this business and ask for things. If making that film taught me anything it's that some of the people in charge just don't deserve to be there."

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Penthouse and Bob Guccione


  July 23, 1984, Vanessa Williams  

July 23, 1984: Vanessa Williams resigns at the request of Miss America Pageant officials after nude photos of her are published in Penthouse.


  Sept. 29, 1971, Bob Guccione  

Sept. 29, 1971: The late David Shaw writes a nondupe (Column One) on the swift success of Bob Guccione’s Penthouse magazine.

Contrasting the long-established Playboy with the rapid growth of Penthouse, Shaw wrote:

“Playboy, a pioneer in the sexual revolution, was beginning to lag, and Penthouse was ready to leap into the breach -- much as Playboy had done originally against Esquire.

“Thus Penthouse girls conceal nothing -- in fact, seem to parade, to flaunt that which Playboy concealed. Moreover, unlike the virginal Playboy nudes, skin unblemished, always posed like models -- more to be admired than embraced -- the Penthouse girls are shown in highly erotic, sexually provocative poses, occasionally awkward poses, complete with moles, beauty marks and wrinkles.”

On the jump, Roderick Mann interviews Malcolm McDowell in 1978 about the Penthouse production of "Caligula," ("It's probably the most expensive amateur film ever made"), a 1982 libel case against Penthouse over a 1975 article linking a San Diego County resort and its owners to organized crime, and a 1986 article on the decline of Playboy, Penthouse and other men's magazines.
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John Hurt and the Elephant Man

Oct. 7, 1980, Elephant Man

Oct. 7, 1980: Roderick Mann interviews John Hurt about filming “The Elephant Man.” On the jump, Hurt says he turned down “Gandhi” but chose “Heaven’s Gate.”

… and female mud wrestling at Chippendales.

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Voices – Roderick Mann

July 6, 1975, Roderick Mann

March 7, 1976, John Wayne


Here are two of the hundreds of profiles done for The Times by Roderick Mann, who died Friday at the age of 87. His first byline in The Times was a 1975 interview with Ava Gardner (d.1990), in London. In a 1976 interview with John Wayne  (d. 1979) on the set of “The Shootist,” Wayne says he regrets turning down “Dirty Harry.”

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