The Fairy Diary Day 627 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

Gibley has declared himself over his seasickness. He has also learned “the ropes,” as it were. Captain Goff is pleased with his progress and is doubly pleased that he can pull his own weight about the ship. 

Since the goblin could fill in for me on the watch with Dunfallon, I was free to take Conjil up to reconnoiter the islands ahead. However, the pixie came to me and asked permission to go in my place. The voice from his ring was insistent about going up for a look around. 

I put him off by telling him he could go up tomorrow. Last night, I had a sighting from the seers stone that I felt I had to look for. There was a high tower-like rock atop a mountain that looked to be a perfect spot for the Crack of Doom. 

So, with the Captain’s blessing and another cautionary word from Merlin, I took the dragon up. 

It was a perfect day for flying. From the deck of the ship it had been beautiful, but from above it was glorious. Conjil soared with exhilaration, yet remained responsive to my touch. 

We maintained a high altitude. I thought it best, given Merlin’s instruction. The islands we came over first were numerous. And may prove a problem to navigate through. And none of them possessed anything like the mountain from the seers stone. I turned back in frustration. 

The Fairy Diary Day 626 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

I thought that Conjil was going to be the next victim of seasickness. She looked a little unsteady to me and had no appetite- even for some fresh fire plants. But Noralei thought she only needed to spread her wings. And after she got permission from the Captain, she took her up. (Gibley was still getting over his malady, so he gladly gave place to Noralei). 

Upon their return Conjil looked fine and folded herself back into her space on the deck. Noralei then met with Merlin and me to tell us that from above they could make out a string of islands about three days away, and an even larger landfall about triple that distance away. 

This was welcome news. And was an indication of a better use of the dragon’s abilities rather than towing the ship. It should prove helpful in locating our former queen as with the seers stone we only have a general direction. 

I want to go up on her tomorrow to see if I can recognize anything I have seen via the seers stone. Merlin has reservations about getting too close and will allow it only if I exercise extreme caution. 

The Fairy Diary Day 625 #TFDbyRWOz2

Meribabell writes:

It has been a good first day. Even though we did not make it out of harbor with the fishing fleet as Captain Goff had hoped. We held off for the return of Conjil carrying Gibley and Dunfallon. Thankfully we did not have to wait too long. 

However, it did take some time to settle the dragon into her position on the main deck amidships. (I think she would prefer to perch on the taffrail, but that would put us down by the stern).

We received our first message on my scroll from Emminie. The Sprites have expanded their exploration- so now besides connections with the pixies they have added contacts to the goblins in the great shaft and the trolls of the surrounding area. He is confident that if there is any activity from the Frost Fairies he will hear of it in short order. 

Noralei has inspected the harness apparatus and has pronounced it sound. We will hold off on using it until we can convince Captain Goff that it will be beneficial. 

Merlin monitors the seers stone and I back him up when I can. I am paired with Noralei for our watches, and Rumble with Dunfallon on theirs. We take turns introducing Gibley to the work of a sailor. And that work has introduced the goblin to the rigors of seasickness. 

The one surprise so far is the voice from Dunfallon’s ring complaining about being seasick too. Is it part of the Will’o’the Wisp that has been placed in the ring?

Going Fishing with Bill Conrad

Bill Conrad wrangled another 1.2 million budget from Warners for his next project – Chubasco – on which Howard Kazanjian would continue his DGA apprenticeship. Besides being the name of the lead character, the title refers to the heavy thunder storms at sea along the Pacific Coast during the rainy season, a fitting metaphor for the troubled, mercurial young rebel (portrayed by Christopher Jones) who becomes involved in a star-crossed relationship with Bunny (played by Susan Strasberg), the daughter of a Portuguese tuna fisherman (played by Richard Egan).

The director Allen H. Miner also wrote the script. It was a passion project for him. He had covered the lives of tuna fishermen before in a documentary for which he wore all the hats – producer, cameraman, director and editor – The Naked Sea, released in 1954 by RKO. Bill Conrad’s connection to Miner dates back to this film. He provided the narration for it, and a few years later he appeared in a western directed by Miner, entitled The Ride Back.

According to Howard “we had a very strong cast for the day, basically all names.” And many deemed Christopher Jones a rising star. He was being boosted as a successor to James Dean. Miner brought Jones with him as his choice for the lead, having directed him in a couple of episodes in the TV series, the Legend of Jesse James. At this time Jones was married to his co-star Susan Strasberg, and a lot was made of that fact in the ongoing promotion for the picture.  Articles appeared in the press asking the question could they be as successful together as Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. Sadly, they split the year that Chubasco was released. Strasberg remained in the acting profession, but Jones, after appearing in David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter, dropped out of sight for a myriad of personal reasons.

Originally Robert Burks was tapped to be DP. He was Hitchcock’s favorite cinematographer, teaming up with him beginning with Strangers on a Train through Marnie (only missing Psycho). Howard does not recall Burks on Chubasco at all. So for whatever reason, Burks must have left the production prior to Howard’s involvement with it. Two DPs are listed instead. Between Paul Ivano and Lew Jennings, I am not sure which was his replacement. Howard tells me that when you see two DPs, one of them is usually responsible for a specialized type of photography.  In the case  of Chubasco this was most likely for the underwater sequences.

The AD on the project, Fred Gammon, handed Howard the usual assignments. [Howard –  “Checking in actors into make-up in the morning, seeing that they get breakfast if needed.  Getting them to the set.   All paperwork, time cards, call sheets, production reports, etc. etc. etc.”] He also set the extras for the scenes on shore, notably the confrontation between Jones and the motorcycle gang that was crashing a party under a pier and Jones’ subsequent arrest. Howard placed extras for the bits when the fishermen brought their catches in.  [Howard – “I remember watching the tuna being unloaded and moving up a ramp bumping their heads on the wooden sides.  And then seeing huge piles of tuna in the warehouse.  I loved tuna sandwiches until I saw how they were handled”].

The first phase of the production was tough. The home port for the story was San Diego. So that is where principal photography commenced for the exteriors. [Howard – “I think we were down in SD only two weeks. I stayed at the El Rey Hotel, that was the place to stay at the time. While on location I got the crew and cast to the harbor and sent them out to sea.  I stayed back on shore doing whatever needed to be done. Shooting on water is always difficult.  Always the fewer at sea the better”]. There were more vessels than one involved. Besides fishing vessels upon which the cast performed, another was set apart as the crew vessel. It also acted as a camera platform for master shots focused on the fishing boats. The studio hired a huge yacht to act as courier between the ships at sea and the company base on the mainland.

Just because Howard was land bound by his responsibilities, didn’t mean that he didn’t get to go out on the water. [Howard – “I recall being taken to dinner by Joe Cramer at the Coronado Hotel on the weekend. Joe was one of the best and nicest guys I met in the business and he took me under his wing. He was the assistant to the head production manager at WB, Dutch Meyer, to whom we all reported]. (Aside – The following year Cramer was the unit manager on “Bullitt” and AD on “The Green Berets”).  Cramer arranged for Howard and a few others to have a short cruise and a meal that Sunday. On location the production was shuttered on Sunday, and this yacht sat idle (you can see it in the above video, beginning about the 10 sec mark). It was paid for, so why not use it. Prior to this Howard’s experiences on the water had all been less than pleasurable (even outings to Catalina with his dad when younger, or on fishing expeditions with his uncle). And so it proved again. He became sick immediately upon the yacht casting away from the dock and had to lie down. Someone suggested a meal. In the dining salon a gigantic table (20 foot long) had been set up. It was on gimbals, so it could move but stay level. The chef brought out the meal. The blood from the meat moved around on the plate ever so slightly, but it was enough to send Howard up on deck to the rail.

After the two weeks in San Diego, the production moved up to the studio in Burbank for interiors. [Howard – I was on the film exactly 30 days.   I don’t recall if I saw the wrap or not.   I know I went onto Cool Hand Luke the next day].