David Bruce: The Funniest People in Movies — Problem-Solving, Screenplays, Sex


• Early in his career, filmmaker John Waters and the actors in his films lived in cheap lodgings. However, they had no trouble getting repairs made. For example, when the heater conked out, Mr. Waters would simply telephone the landlord and say, “We know where you live, and since we don’t have any heat, we’ll be there tonight to stay with your family.”

• Movie crews sometimes have interesting assignments. When Fred Astaire’s Top Hat was ready to film, Benito Mussolini controlled Italy, and the movie’s producers knew that they could not get permission to film in Venice; therefore, they ordered the movie crew, “Build us Venice.” They got what they wanted.

• Action star Jackie Chan was injured during the filming of his action movie Rumble in the Bronx, so he had to wear a cast over his foot. No problem. Over the cast, Mr. Chan wore a sock that had been painted to resemble a tennis shoe and continued filming.

• While filming the movie The Flame of the Desert in Egypt, opera singer Geraldine Farrar was so annoyed by the stink of a camel that each day she drenched it with perfume. This solved the problem, but at great expense.


• Filmmaker George Lucas finds writing difficult. Early in his career, he wrote the script for his first feature, THX 1138, which was about a future dystopia. At one point, he looked at the draft and decided it was terrible. He showed it to a friend, Francis Ford Coppola, who read it and agreed that it was terrible: “It is. You’re absolutely right.” Nevertheless, he learned to write, and he created the screenplays (with some help from friends) for American Graffiti and Star Wars.

• W.C. Fields used to take great delight in ripping off movie studios. He would write a script, then sell it to his movie studio for $25,000. The movie studio then would give the script back to him. However, because Mr. Fields had story approval, he would reject the script, then write another script and sell it to the studio for an additional $25,000.

• Fred Astaire was very complimentary to the writers of his movies. Betty Comden and Adolph Green once read one of their scripts to him, and he said, “You can’t ever top that. Nothing could ever be as good as that.”


• Marco Perella, a Texan actor, worked with Renée Zellweger before she made it big. One day, she wanted to play cards with Marco and three other men in a trailer during a break and because it was cold, she wanted to close the door of the trailer. Marco explained to sweet, innocent Renée that closing the door wasn’t a good idea because of the gossip that was sure to be aroused. When Renée understood what Marco was saying, she went to the door of the trailer and shouted, “ATTENTION, EVERYBODY! I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT I’M CLOSING THIS DOOR SO WE CAN GET WARM, AND THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE’RE HAVING SEX! WE’RE PLAYING CARDS! WE’RE NOT SCREWING! NO HANKY-PANKY HERE! EVERYBODY, RELAX! NO SEX! NO SEX! NO SEX!” She then closed the door and said, “Deal.”

• Marilyn Monroe went to the Beverly Hills Hotel one morning to have breakfast with a friend, Nunnally Johnson. When the doorman rang Mr. Johnson’s room to announce Ms. Monroe’s presence, Mr. Johnson said, “Send her up.” However, the doorman explained that it was hotel policy not to allow young ladies to visit gentlemen in their rooms. Mr. Johnson replied, “She isn’t a young lady — she’s a call girl. Send her up.” The doorman sent her up.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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