John Clark Pro Se Blog

Actor, Producer & Writer

Radio Times now searchable

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, Links to Media, Links to Showbiz sites

The BBC’s Radio Times, published from 1929 to the present, has been digitized as a database, and is now searchable up to 2009. Just remember to put titles and names in quotes, or it will come up with each word individually. You can copy-edit it, just like Wikipedia, or add information if you know it. The curators will first check out your edits before accepting them. (Genome=Genetic makeup of an organism. Thus says the BBC.)

http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/

 

How Will Hay began me

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, My resume

A friend in England named Steve, a begetter of all things Will Hay, sent me this movie clip which is quite fun to watch.

The Telegraph ran an obit today on classical pianist and composer Peter Katin. They ran a Pathe clip about “Three boys making a name for themselves” back in 1945. The third was jazz musician Victor Feldman, who died a few years ago. As I commented at the end of the piece “Two down and one to go – yikes, that’s me!”

Rasputin Lives

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Cases & Litigants, Links to legal, self-help sites, LYNN REDGRAVE

An extraordinary new book written by a devoted Lynn Redgrave fan, and boasting about how she effected the outcome of her divorce action against me, has just been published and is available on Amazon.

Letters to Lynn Redgrave: Martial Enlightenment for Modern Women (and Men) by Jeri Massi

Jeri Massi is a fourth degree black belt in Taekwon Do Chung Do Kwan, a Master. She holds belts in other martial arts, including Shotokan karate and Tang Soo Do. She writes

“I am a woman martial arts master. In 1999, When actress Lynn Redgrave’s then husband John Clark was harassing her, I asked her to let me instruct her in the principles of martial enlightenment. She consented. This book is our correspondence.

It is based on Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. It should be helpful to anybody in desperate circumstances. The lessons calmed and guided her. War begins in the mind, and an intelligent, calm fighter can defeat an opponent by exploiting the undisciplined fears and desires of his or her opponent.”

Wow!  I was so impressed, I just HAD to get this book. She focuses upon how she masterminded Lynn’s financially successful lawsuit for divorce against me. I was stunned. Not being an attorney or a medical doctor, I wonder how Lynn’s attorney Emily Edelman felt about that during the case? Or how Judge Gold would have felt about that while it was sub judice? Or the State Bar of California?  Or the office of the District Attorney (Statutes about UPL).  Or, come to think of it, my own team of attorneys for not asking the right questions. I bought 14 copies, enough for a jury and backup. As I read it, I saw how this woman had taken over Lynn’s mind and become her Svengali.

Check it out.

I gave it one star only on Amazon, because, as I said there in my comment,

“As the husband she physically threatens throughout this book, I am fascinated by her rendering of a non-existent person. I would have given it 5 stars if it was intended as satire, for here are the makings of a great Saturday Night Live sketch. But since there is no such disclaimer by the author, a non-lawyer religious fundamentalist black belt kickboxer, I have to conclude that she is serious. Hence one star.”

Since it was against my wife’s nature to live according to this Rasputin’s instructions which she readily obeyed, and served lawyer Edelman’s purposes, nature took its course. Karma lives, she didn’t!

My kids, who followed along because they’d benefit from the Living Trust she secretly created, explains why we are alienated. Shame on them. My feelings are bolstered by old Will through the cry of King Lear: How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child… Away, away!

Now I understand why I was evicted from the 1999 SAG Awards and she called the police on me to make sure I was not allowed to attend the 1999 Independent Spirit Awards to watch her success for Gods & Monsters and Shine, or the 1999 Oscars where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress – both of which I booked for her, and negotiated! (No agent.)

I read the L.A. Times report again. The article, under Ann O’Neill’s byline, demolished me the defendant, and was actually written by their journalist Louise Roug who daily attended the trial. If the media had known that Lynn’s animosity towards me, and adamant refusal to submit to mediation or interviews was being directed, not by her attorney, but illegally by this woman, the result would have been vastly different. Undoubtedly, the judge would have sanctioned Lynn and Emily Edelman, Esq. for contempt of court, and reviewed again my motion for him to recuse himself. He’d favored her throughout, and allowed her to leave the jurisdiction!

This revelation opens up a whole new avenue for me, and the clock starts running NOW (4 year SOL)

The L.A. Times article, combined with my itemized response to each point, is an important document, especially in the light of this book, which changes everything. Read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Refinance Your Mortgage – NOT!

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade

My readers know that what you get here is some insight on everyday matters as a result of my “being there, did it, and this is what happened.” Anecdotal evidence yes, but that’s often better and more instructive than expert advice from expensive professionals with a conflict of interest (they’re selling services or a book.) 

Having a mortgage on my house, a 30 year ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage), I decided to refinance into a fixed, and get enough cash to pay off my credit cards, which are kinda maxed out at the moment plus a bit of cash besides. The Obama administration seems to want us to do that if we can, and they have encouraged, indeed ordered, the banks to loan out the money they got when the government bailed them out under the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) of 2008, and of course radio thunders the ads at us constantly, and the phone assails me with calls from brokers to get my business. So let’s see how it worked out for me with these providers: 

1. First I tried Chase Bank, who hold my current mortgage. They would surely want to let me refinance, I’ve been a steady and never-late payer on my loan for 12 years now. This is what happened:

They checked my credit rating. Mid-range, ok. They looked at my paperwork, income, all that stuff. THEN they asked “Have you had your house on the market within the last 6 months?” Yes, I said, certainly. Withdrew it only last week. Sorry was their answer, cannot consider you for a refinance because of that. End of discussion. 

2. I then tried Quicken Loans, who declare they are the best, lowest rates, etc. etc. A guy in Michigan, Reed Wilkin, handled my request. Very enthusiastic and excitable fellow. if you owned a vacuum cleaner company, you’d want him as your frontline door-to-door salesman. Or bibles. He took my information. He checked my credit score. He said “no problem”. I told him what Chase said. He said Oh dear, we can’t do it then, and hung up. Then he called me back, said his boss cleared it so it didn’t bother him anymore. Then he said was I living elsewhere as I had a different mailing address? I said that I keep an office at Oakwood where I am the Notary Public. He said nevertheless, in his view my house was my second home, and he’d go to prison if he was caught lying. I persevered. Then he said that my wife had to commute too far to work. I said 5.3 miles is too far? He finally said sorry, you don’t fulfill our requirements, we cannot consider a loan. End of discussion. 

2. Then I tried LoanDepot. Very calm, business-like guy called David on the phone, and they had an office locally. I faxed over all the paperwork. This, I figured, is going to happen. We agreed on the terms. I expected a commitment. He sent an appraiser. Fine, nothing to worry about there, I have remodeled the house. The appraiser came, personable fellow named Sean Copeland. He took a few measurements and left. His report said that I had a single family residence, and the lower unit was breaking the zoning law, because there was a stove top cooker in it. He said to get a loan, I should cap off the gas, and relocate the steps now outside, to inside. What? I pointed out to LoanDepot that the lower space did not make it a duplex. One electric meter, one water meter, one entrance. He laughed at me, and said sorry, we cannot do a refinance for you. I checked the internet, and came up with this explanation of what is a duplex, and what is a single family residence. This is what an expert appraiser says, that there is such a thing as a smaller add-on unit, an ADU, often referred to as, among other things, an in-law, granny flat, and mother-in-law suite. With cooking facilities. Read about it here. And here. Sr. banker John Zimmerman ignored the proof. End of discussion. 

3. My accountant had a great suggestion. He said why don’t you go to your local Credit Union? The banks hate them, because they are faster and usually less expensive than the big banks. So I crossed over the road to First Entertainment Credit Union, very handy. Spoke to a welcoming agent in their loan department named Ken Nakanishi. He would be my friend, I could see. He suggested I get a line of credit on my house, much more simple than a refi, and would allow me to consolidate my credit card debt. Great I said, now I feel I’m getting somewhere. A couple of days later he called. Sorry, he said, but you have a negative amortization loan at present with Chase. We cannot grant you a line of credit. But, he said, if you take out a refi with a fixed payment with us, then you could even do both. Hooray was my answer. A few days later he called, and said that when I paid off my credit cards, I’d have to close my Gold American Express card, which I’ve had for 39 years. Are you nuts, I said? No way! 2 more days. Then he called again, and said they were denying me my loan, as I had 2 units in a house zoned for single family occupancy! Nice knowing you, I said, and printed out and sent them the article so they could read it and perhaps educate their lending and banking staff on the realities, or I prefer to believe that they knew already, and hoodwinked me. 

So I got nowhere. I am convinced that this so-called lending spree is a farce, humbug,  and B/S, acted out by businessmen who don’t negotiate in good faith. Almost worse, they are time-wasters. Never mind money in the bank – at my age, I don’t have much time in the bank. And they caused me to use up about 4 weeks of it. So now I am just mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more.

What will I do now? Screw ’em, I’m just a short walk from the Hollywood Bowl, and I shall vacation-rent it out for a few days at a time, and sleep in my office at such times, and maybe say I have a duplex!

 

Sir David Attenborough, Guilty!

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Uncategorized

Members of the entertainment community have always marveled at the idiocy which brought about the downright willful destruction of much of the BBC’s television and radio history. It never made any sense that those old shows simply disappeared. Now we know part of the answer.

The Daily Telegraph last week reported on statements from Sir David Attenborough, who talked with Alan Yentob in front of an audience of the time he was the policy maker during the late sixties. This was the headline:

David Attenborough: my regrets over wiping Alan Bennett ‘dross’

Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster, admits one “scar on his conscience” from his early days in broadcasting: sanctioning the wiping of priceless Alan Bennett sketches. Sir David, who was controller of the fledgling BBC Two from 1965 to 1969, said he could not “dodge” the blame for the mistake, after making an executive decision to cut costs.

“One of the scars on my conscience is that the Alan Bennett programmes, which were wonderful, are not recorded and were lost,” Sir David said. “I mustn’t dodge it. I can remember perfectly well someone coming to me and saying ‘look, we have to build another set of vaults and it’s going to cost x million pounds.
“‘We will need that if we’re going to keep everything, so can’t you please find a way to keep the jewels and get rid of the dross? It means how many episodes of What’s My Line?’ or whatever quiz do you want?’
“And of course when you’re faced with that you have to decide whether to put the money into new products, new people, or cherishing the old. I took the decision that I did take, which was to say to every department, if you’ve got a long-running series select one out of six – or whatever it was – and save that. But be strong and get rid of the rest.
“That doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t have kept some of the Alan Bennetts; we should. Why we didn’t have some of them, I don’t know.”
[Former Director General] Alan Yentob added other programmes had suffered the same fate in different periods of BBC history.
“I think we can say the same about editions of Monty Python and others which have somehow disappeared,” he told an audience.

I had to comment at the end of the article with my 2 cent’s worth. I said

Vaults do not cost millions of pounds. Choosing between products, people, and intellectual property, the property of others, does not fly or make sense. This man has no integrity whatsoever. He should be sued to the limit, class actions, for these crass decisions which he admits. No mercy! And, this cost the corporation (meaning us and the government) many millions from future sales.
I am reminded that I appeared with Eric Porter in a BBC Play of the Month. It was “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 1968. It disappeared. We were told that a technician had pressed a delete button by mistake. Now we know the truth. Thanks, Mr Attenborough.

Delta Airlines – Mayday!

Posted in Uncategorized

As the father of a Delta Airlines captain, I have a travel pass that allows me to travel anywhere on their routes for nearly free. Or does it?

Used to be I could walk up to the counter, and check in. No more. Now I’m told I have to go through my son. Trouble is, he doesn’t want to talk to me, not since my wife Lynn Redgrave’s funeral. I think he’s upset that since his mother died, I remarried. Maybe there are other reasons too, but it’s his choice.

I called Delta’s corporate head office in Atlanta to ask where he was so I could contact him. No dice, I was told that all information on their employees is confidential. I pressed. I asked if he still worked for them. Silence. I asked if he was still alive. They hung up on me.

I have to be in London for this. I promised to be there. A tiny charity is London’s Cinema Museum. Celebrities go there to meet and chat with members, and there is no money involved whatsoever. Not even expenses.

I wish I had the money to make the donation of my costs to travel and stay a few days in London, but I don’t have it. Simple as that.

So, I am asking if there are any Delta pilots or crew out there who will contact me, and tell me if they know 1. if Benjy still works for Delta, and 2. if he does, give him a message that I need his approval of my passage to London and back. You can contact me in complete confidence (I’m a Notary Public, and know what that means) at my email john@johnclarkprose.com, or at my Facebook page.

And I’d thank you much, and over and out.

British Pathé Opens Its Vaults

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, A SPACE FOR REFLECTION

I appeared in a few of Pathé Pictorial’s onscreen newsreels, seen before the feature in the old days (with perhaps a cartoon), or to pass the time while waiting for a train. Now we can watch many of these old clips again.

This is great news! With funds from the National Lottery, they have digitized their inventory.

I’m writing a play which includes my childhood actor days back in the forties (I’ve been accused of being Britain’s Justin Bieber back then!)   There’s going to be a reunion in London, and I hope to be at the Cinema Museum to join them. You can skip what follows if you wish, otherwise you might find it of interest:

Three of us young kids were chosen for this newsreel, because we were “making a name for ourselves“.

It’s fun to see, and then go fast forward to our adulthood, and see how it panned out. First there was me, no secrets here. Then there was Peter Katin, a still living and busy concert pianist.

Finally, Victor Feldman, and if you are a jazz enthusiast, you know who he is, or was. Sadly, he died a few years ago. I ran into him at a club in North Hollywood one evening, asked him if he remembered when we last met, and he said he couldn’t remember anything that far back! He was considered the young Gene Krupa on the British scene, but then went on to other instruments. An all around musician.

Here are some others:

This is the only remnant of the radio Will Hay Programme that I can find. That the BBC didn’t preserve those shows for the record is shocking.
My transition from Will Hay to Just William.
Here were the actors of yesterday, now living at Denville Hall, London, followed by the promising stars of tomorrow.

My play will be attempt at an autobiography as told from the stage, hopefully entertaining. I plan to use some frames as stage projections.

And if you got this far, thanks for indulging me.

Just William Society Magazine interview

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, A SPACE FOR REFLECTION, ACTORS' & DIRECTORS' CORNER, Links to Media, My Family and Me

John, I see you were born in London in 1932 and attended Watford Grammar School. Given that you started working for the BBC in 1944 you must have planned to be an actor from a very early age. Was that always your ambition? Did you have early training?

Three nos. I had no plan to be an actor, no ambition, and no training. When I went to Kings Langley’s Rudolph Steiner school (locally known as the “do as you like” school), at the age of ten, I was cast in the annual school play, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed outdoors in the garden. But that was it, and I hated doing it, it seemed kind of gay; I was not turned on to acting, and had no thoughts along those lines. 

Your first show on BBC radio was The Will Hay Programme in 1944 where you acted as D’Arcy Minor, the swot of St. Michael’s. How did that come about? And was it fun working with Will Hay?

My family lived in Chipperfield, Herts, in those days, and I was coming home on the bus after school one day in August, when a man came up to me who I recognized, for he lived down the road. His name was Alick Hayes, and he asked me if I was a good reader. I told him yes, and he said could I come over later, meet his wife Zillah, have a cup of tea, and read him something out of the Evening Standard, so after supper I did. He tested me for fluency, to see if I could read without stumbling, and he was pleased that I could. He then explained that he was a BBC producer, and was about to start a new BBC radio comedy series, but the young actor he was going to use had just got sick, and he had an emergency, and maybe I could help out.

The show was The Will Hay Programme (The Diary of a Schoolmaster) and the part was that of a very clever young swot who said very long multi-syllabic words instead of shorter ones whenever he answered the schoolmaster’s questions. Mr Hayes wanted me to play it, just the first show, and he said it would save him from having to find another actor quickly from an acting academy. It was going out live in front of an audience from the Paris Cinema, a basement BBC studio off Piccadilly Circus, in just three days’ time.

I raced home, told my parents, said please let me do it, it sounds like fun, and it pays money. So my mother took me up to London next day, and that is where I met Will Hay and the rest of the cast – one schoolmaster and three students, so-called. Smart was the cheeky one (played by the very professional actor Charles Hawtrey), Beckett the dumb one (Billy Nicholls, on his day off from the RAF), and D’Arcy Minor, the studious swot (me). The joke was that I was the only real schoolboy (eleven years old). Will Hay was repeating the same schoolmaster act he had done in several of his films (Good Morning Boys, 1937, etc). It will be remembered that the comedy came out of the fact that he was a hopeless teacher, and the students took over.

That first day I remember well. Continue Reading

WOODY ALLEN – SHE SAYS, HE SAYS (Source, NY Times)

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Cases & Litigants, Links to Courts & Judges

DYLAN FARROW SAYS:

That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.

That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face — on a poster, on a T-shirt, on television — I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

This time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me — to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories — have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.

But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.

 

WOODY ALLEN SAYS

TWENTY-ONE years ago, when I first heard Mia Farrow had accused me of child molestation, I found the idea so ludicrous I didn’t give it a second thought. We were involved in a terribly acrimonious breakup, with great enmity between us and a custody battle slowly gathering energy. The self-serving transparency of her malevolence seemed so obvious I didn’t even hire a lawyer to defend myself. It was my show business attorney who told me she was bringing the accusation to the police and I would need a criminal lawyer.

I naïvely thought the accusation would be dismissed out of hand because of course, I hadn’t molested Dylan and any rational person would see the ploy for what it was. Common sense would prevail. After all, I was a 56-year-old man who had never before (or after) been accused of child molestation. I had been going out with Mia for 12 years and never in that time did she ever suggest to me anything resembling misconduct. Now, suddenly, when I had driven up to her house in Connecticut one afternoon to visit the kids for a few hours, when I would be on my raging adversary’s home turf, with half a dozen people present, when I was in the blissful early stages of a happy new relationship with the woman I’d go on to marry — that I would pick this moment in time to embark on a career as a child molester should seem to the most skeptical mind highly unlikely. The sheer illogic of such a crazy scenario seemed to me dispositive.

Notwithstanding, Mia insisted that I had abused Dylan and took her immediately to a doctor to be examined. Dylan told the doctor she had not been molested. Mia then took Dylan out for ice cream, and when she came back with her the child had changed her story. The police began their investigation; a possible indictment hung in the balance. I very willingly took a lie-detector test and of course passed because I had nothing to hide. I asked Mia to take one and she wouldn’t. Last week a woman named Stacey Nelkin, whom I had dated many years ago, came forward to the press to tell them that when Mia and I first had our custody battle 21 years ago, Mia had wanted her to testify that she had been underage when I was dating her, despite the fact this was untrue. Stacey refused. I include this anecdote so we all know what kind of character we are dealing with here. One can imagine in learning this why she wouldn’t take a lie-detector test.

Meanwhile the Connecticut police turned for help to a special investigative unit they relied on in such cases, the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. This group of impartial, experienced men and women whom the district attorney looked to for guidance as to whether to prosecute, spent months doing a meticulous investigation, interviewing everyone concerned, and checking every piece of evidence. Finally they wrote their conclusion which I quote here: “It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen. Further, we believe that Dylan’s statements on videotape and her statements to us during our evaluation do not refer to actual events that occurred to her on August 4th, 1992… In developing our opinion we considered three hypotheses to explain Dylan’s statements. First, that Dylan’s statements were true and that Mr. Allen had sexually abused her; second, that Dylan’s statements were not true but were made up by an emotionally vulnerable child who was caught up in a disturbed family and who was responding to the stresses in the family; and third, that Dylan was coached or influenced by her mother, Ms. Farrow. While we can conclude that Dylan was not sexually abused, we can not be definite about whether the second formulation by itself or the third formulation by itself is true. We believe that it is more likely that a combination of these two formulations best explains Dylan’s allegations of sexual abuse.”

Could it be any clearer? Mr. Allen did not abuse Dylan; most likely a vulnerable, stressed-out 7-year-old was coached by Mia Farrow. This conclusion disappointed a number of people. The district attorney was champing at the bit to prosecute a celebrity case, and Justice Elliott Wilk, the custody judge, wrote a very irresponsible opinion saying when it came to the molestation, “we will probably never know what occurred.”

But we did know because it had been determined and there was no equivocation about the fact that no abuse had taken place. Justice Wilk was quite rough on me and never approved of my relationship with Soon-Yi, Mia’s adopted daughter, who was then in her early 20s. He thought of me as an older man exploiting a much younger woman, which outraged Mia as improper despite the fact she had dated a much older Frank Sinatra when she was 19. In fairness to Justice Wilk, the public felt the same dismay over Soon-Yi and myself, but despite what it looked like our feelings were authentic and we’ve been happily married for 16 years with two great kids, both adopted. (Incidentally, coming on the heels of the media circus and false accusations, Soon-Yi and I were extra carefully scrutinized by both the adoption agency and adoption courts, and everyone blessed our adoptions.)

Mia took custody of the children and we went our separate ways.

I was heartbroken. Moses was angry with me. Ronan I didn’t know well because Mia would never let me get close to him from the moment he was born and Dylan, whom I adored and was very close to and about whom Mia called my sister in a rage and said, “He took my daughter, now I’ll take his.” I never saw her again nor was I able to speak with her no matter how hard I tried. I still loved her deeply, and felt guilty that by falling in love with Soon-Yi I had put her in the position of being used as a pawn for revenge. Soon-Yi and I made countless attempts to see Dylan but Mia blocked them all, spitefully knowing how much we both loved her but totally indifferent to the pain and damage she was causing the little girl merely to appease her own vindictiveness.

Here I quote Moses Farrow, 14 at the time: “My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister.” Moses is now 36 years old and a family therapist by profession. “Of course Woody did not molest my sister,” he said. “She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him.” Dylan was 7, Ronan 4, and this was, according to Moses, the steady narrative year after year.

I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra’s? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.

NOW it’s 21 years later and Dylan has come forward with the accusations that the Yale experts investigated and found false. Plus a few little added creative flourishes that seem to have magically appeared during our 21-year relationship.

Not that I doubt Dylan hasn’t come to believe she’s been molested, but if from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root? Is it any wonder the experts at Yale had picked up the maternal coaching aspect 21 years ago? Even the venue where the fabricated molestation was supposed to have taken place was poorly chosen but interesting. Mia chose the attic of her country house, a place she should have realized I’d never go to because it is a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up and I’m a major claustrophobe. The one or two times she asked me to come in there to look at something, I did, but quickly had to run out. Undoubtedly the attic idea came to her from the Dory Previn song, “With My Daddy in the Attic.” It was on the same record as the song Dory Previn had written about Mia’s betraying their friendship by insidiously stealing her husband, André, “Beware of Young Girls.” One must ask, did Dylan even write the letter or was it at least guided by her mother? Does the letter really benefit Dylan or does it simply advance her mother’s shabby agenda? That is to hurt me with a smear. There is even a lame attempt to do professional damage by trying to involve movie stars, which smells a lot more like Mia than Dylan.

After all, if speaking out was really a necessity for Dylan, she had already spoken out months earlier in Vanity Fair. Here I quote Moses Farrow again: “Knowing that my mother often used us as pawns, I cannot trust anything that is said or written from anyone in the family.” Finally, does Mia herself really even believe I molested her daughter? Common sense must ask: Would a mother who thought her 7-year-old daughter was sexually abused by a molester (a pretty horrific crime), give consent for a film clip of her to be used to honor the molester at the Golden Globes?

Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us, as Moses has, in a loving, productive way. No one wants to discourage abuse victims from speaking out, but one must bear in mind that sometimes there are people who are falsely accused and that is also a terribly destructive thing. (This piece will be my final word on this entire matter and no one will be responding on my behalf to any further comments on it by any party. Enough people have been hurt.)

 

33 Years. A Review and a Complaint

Posted in A SPACE FOR REFLECTION, ACTORS' & DIRECTORS' CORNER, LYNN REDGRAVE, My Family and Me

June 1st. 2013

I see that my late ex will be having an Off-Broadway theatre named for her at a June 3rd 2013 ceremony in New York. The 45 Bleecker Street Theatre will thereafter be called the Lynn Redgrave Theatre. I am pleased for her. I plan to be there, and to become re-acquainted with my children and old family members and friends.

This has given me occasion to reflect on our life together.

Lynn and I, over the course of a little under 33 years, made a change in the landscape for the life of actors, for the better, I do believe. We never went looking for trouble. It came to us, and instead of burying it, we fought back.

REVIEW

First was a lawsuit against the Gate Theatre in Dublin. We put on a play starring Lynn and Dan O’Herlihy, my first directing job actually. We ran for 3 sold-out weeks (the longest they’d book us), the best box office in their history. Our deal was to split profits, which were excellent. Instead, they took half of our gross receipts. Discovery revealed that the Irish government, the owners, had years before ordered the management to make the theatre available to outside Irish companies for free. We lived locally, hired Irish actors, financed the show, and of course paid all the costs of our production. A 4-wall deal. We lost the case because their manager got me to initial a contract clause over my shoulder while I was directing a scene. The judge held me to it. We left Dublin soon after, leaving an Irish Equity with a smile on its face, for we had broken the Gate’s hold on their previous minimal actor’s salaries. It’s worth mentioning that despite (or because of) using an Irish attorney, brother of a prominent Irish actor, we lost and didn’t get our money back.

Then we headed West, back to my home town of New York, where we were soon greeted with a lawsuit filed against us by U.S. Equity who extorted 5% of my wife’s self-paid salary as dues, from a year’s tour we took across America with our own show, financed by us and directed by me. We had posted Equity bonds at each date, and they refused to return them. Again, we lost. Because of Vanessa’s political views, Lynn was under watch, and the release of her green card was held up. Equity rules defined a green card holder as actually holding it in her hand! The judge said this was a stupid lawsuit, but was forced to rule in their favor.  They returned the bonds less 5%. But, in a form of revenge you might say, we made a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, who summoned the leaders of all of the performing unions, and found that Equity alone had been breaking the law for years, penalizing foreign stage performers for daring to peddle their art in America. They had constructed a punitive discriminatory dues structure, in order to discourage them. This time we won because they won. Now foreign actors are treated equally, and have a smile on their faces too, because it has led to a relatively free exchange of actors between America and England and elsewhere. Certainly audiences have applauded this development. We however, were deprived of financial satisfaction because we were outside the Statute of Limitations (3 year rule.) Yul Brynner received hundreds of thousands of dollars which nearly broke the union, but he was very nice, he invited me to lunch with him at the Bel Air, and gave me a bunch of daffodils for her, by way of his thanks.

Next came our famous lawsuit against Lew Wasserman and MCA/Universal, when Lynn was fired for wishing to breastfeed our daughter Annabel at work. Our thoroughly compromised WMA agent didn’t help, nor did our attorneys, and UTV’s press department went to work. Our suit was quietly dismissed by a corrupted judge headed for retirement. I wrote about it in the “Housecalls, what really happened” topic on the left. Expensive yeah, and actor mothers and fathers were eternally grateful for causing all Film and TV companies to provide facilities for employees who were new mothers and their babies. That was the only positive to come out of that case. In the event, they were ordered to reimburse our attorneys’ fees. They didn’t. They’d faxed notice of a hearing to our locked office while we were performing Love Letters up in San Francisco, and avoided payment due to our non-appearance, thanks to their famed “I always win” attorney Gale Title. No transcript was made of the proceedings, so Lew kept all of our attorney fees, and we never knew how he managed to make that happen.

Next, Lynn and I were asked to lead the Players, Edwin Booth’s 1888 gift to actors on Gramercy Park, by our close friends Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon. I’d been a member for many years. The club was in dire straits. No proper books, so we gave them 20 grand to construct a proper set. Then our tough love for them proved to be too much, and we were summarily ejected. They’re still floundering. I see that steps are being taken by insiders for a clean sweep to improve its chances of survival. For my trouble, I’ve been called John Sleeper Clarke.

This gives me pause. The comparisons are striking! Booths = Redgraves! Consider: Separated by about one hundred years, it produces quite startling results. Junius Brutus cf. Sir Michael = Shakespearean actors, patriarchs and family founders, both. John Wilkes cf. Corin and Vanessa = fiery political trouble-makers, both. Asia cf. Lynn = good writers, recorders of their family stories, both. John Clarke cf. John Clark (me), married to those same sisters. We are the link by our same name. We are both lawyerly, both wicked comedians, both into management, and as Asia wrote to her brother Edwin “He lives a free going bachelor life and does what he likes.”  Sorry, no comment from me there, and he’s dead! Enough already.

COMPLAINT

To bring us up to date, I am here to say that the tradition is still alive, even though Lynn isn’t. I still choose to live dangerously, sui juris, out of some kind of personality defect, contrariness, orneriness, or just some kind of survival instinct from bad ad litem experiences – it’s not for me to say. But today I filed a Complaint with the Los Angeles Better Business Bureau, and the Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs against The Breakdown Services, Ltd. This is only a start, but hopefully it will lead to a satisfactory finish. Their stranglehold on the casting process is a scandal. Read it here:

I am a British born professional actor age 80, and have been a union member in England, Canada and America since 1944 (SAG/AFTRA, US Equity, ACTRA, Canadian Equity, British Equity). I am and have been a U.S. citizen since 1965. I do not use a “manager” or an “agent” because of past conflict of interest problems with them, and the experience of a major lawsuit against the William Morris Agency. I get my own acting jobs, but am effectively prevented from doing so.

I need to avail myself of full casting information from the Breakdowns, aka “Breakdown Services” (hereinafter “BS”), which is a monopoly service employed by all big and small movie and TV production and theatre companies. Scripts and story lines are received by BS from these companies, and from them, BS creates a breakdown of story plots and characters. This information is supplied EXCLUSIVELY to agents and/or managers electronically for money and profit, which is their business practice.

Actors, the subject of these notices, are shut out from seeing all, I said all, of them!

The owner/founder of BS, Gary Marsh, told his audience at a seminar he gave the evening of March 20, 2013 at the premises where I live at Oakwood, Barham Blvd. Hollywood, to a group of child actors and their mothers that he has criminal lawsuits pending against actors who have bootlegged his information. I have done this in the past. He told me that I could not buy their services at any price, only managers and agents, and between them they set the rules. I asked him if I could receive this information if I became a manager, and he said I could not qualify because I am an actor, and if I “wear 2 hats”, I would still be denied. There were at least 20 witnesses.

If you think that Mr. Marsh is not serious, look what he did to Mr. Brian Burke. He got himself a judgment of $1.3 million, and put Burke behind bars for 20 days for not obeying his court order! That’s an abuse of power, Mr. Marsh, a terrible abuse of actors who are trying to find available  work which you keep secret except for your paying privileged customers, aka agents and managers. You claim that it is the production companies and casting directors who make your rules. That, Mr. Marsh, is BS! The best of BS!

I believe that all actors are protected from this kind of discriminatory anti-competitive practice by government law, such as The Sherman Act, of July 2, 1890, ch. 647, 26 S 209, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1–7. Permit yourself to read it, Mr. Marsh, assuming you respect the laws of the United States.

Breakdown Services operates and reaches across state lines from coast to coast, and abroad. There is no competitive service anywhere. 

As settlement, I DEMAND

That the Breakdown Services provides this information ONLINE, so that ALL ACTORS across the world have access to it, at NO CHARGE. Any cost or expense should be born by the Breakdown Services, and passed on to the production companies. It is their joint problem. Together, they created it.

This complaint will soon appear online for the inspection and I hope support of actors. No, not their managers, and not their agents, and not the production companies. They’ll hate it. Actors don’t wish to be “protected from themselves” (see Gary Marsh’s Q&A link above) and will care, and, I’m pretty sure, SAG/Aftra and Equity will care too. I hope the brave ones will flock to support the request. This is not to denigrate Breakdown Services, for they do a fine job. We just want them to open up to us, the central sine qua non of their business, and stop insulting our intelligence.

Follow along and let me know you support this complaint, so that regulators are assured that we actors and directors WANT to know what jobs are available, 100% of them, not just for our enablers (managers and agents) to know, if you employ them at all, but ALL of us. Actors have voices off camera too, in our free society. Let them be heard loud and clear.

My Twitter handle is John Clark@johnclarknew. Click on it. I need feedback!

I hope it will not be necessary to file a lawsuit against Breakdown Services, because I don’t like lawyers either. And this would need one. I’m also too old to see it through the byways of the U.S. legal system. Here’s another example of what I’m talking about.