Sometimes I`ll wake up in the middle of the night and I`ll hear a voice that sounds familiar...my wife has fallen asleep with the tube on, and I`ll finally start recognizing the dialogue, look up, and Jesus Christ, it`s me at 14, or 12, or 9, or whatever. Sometimes I`ll sit there and watch it and I can tell myself what`s coming next...I remember the dialogue, the scene and the set very well, and then there`ll be a part of the picture I never remembered at all. Because there were times as a kid, as a teenager especially, when I`d be terribly occupied with what I was doing -- with my boat, or on a circuit of rodeos and horseshoes, or with my car -- very often on some of this stuff when I`d have to go to work. I`d just give the script a cursory glance. I had no training, and I was a quick study, so nobody knew how involved or not involved I was. But I look at that stuff now and I can see I wasn`t involved, and I wasn`t very good."
People like Spencer Tracy held up because they had the background originally, but to this day they never have changed Mr. Gable`s role, or most of them.
So whatever I might have started to learn at that age was all undone by the next director and next crew in the next cheap picture, because I was allowed to get away with murder.
There was never any effort made out there to improve the artist.
To me, the series was the end of the actor, when the series ended.
They had to start shaving my chin when I was 12 years old because light started to pick it up.
So then you have to say to yourself: Do I want to be rich, or do I want to do good work?
I just knew how to do the one thing I did, and whether I did it well or not depended on who the director was.
A lot of people like to run in plays because it`s a nice, steady job.
But I want to do good work, after this series.
So I`m in that half-hour business where the most money is, so that eventually I feel like the people that put on the Dupont show, like maybe my artistic effort is going to be a little different.
There was only so much television you could do.
I never say too much about that in public interviews, because it disappoints the public to tell them you`re not that crazy about a property you did that possibly they liked.
If it`s boring, then it`s tiring.
They thought in terms of: whatever you had that started you at the box office, this was it.
But the working I would always want to do.
They kept me in short pants as long as they could, until they were shaving the hair on my legs because it was beginning to photograph.
I remember Mr. Mayer very well. He sort of liked to be the father - no, he liked to be treated like you thought he was Daddy, but he didn`t treat you like Daddy at all.
The studio didn`t ask them to learn their trade, they just worked them, and when that personality or that gimmick or whatever they had ran dry at the box office, they were dropped and out.
I need a steady job like running in this new series, because we own the negative to every show that goes on the air, my partner and I.
I would also like to act, once in a while, but not get up every morning at 5:30 or six o`clock and pound into the studio and get home at 7:30 or eight o`clock at night, or act over and over and over every night on Broadway, either.
For the child actor, it was difficult.
So if I keep making mistakes on Broadway or tape or film, producing, directing or acting, I can go along and do it - so long as I`m not investing too much capital in these things.
In those days, even as a boy, I watched some people that I knew were living way beyond their means.
Well, they just don`t know anything else except that one form of their business, acting, and they don`t really want to learn any other part of it, or they would. Directing and producing and putting a show together is very creative, for me.
From that, I became very anxious to produce something of my own.
A nice, steady job I don`t need that bad. I`m not that satisfied with it.
So I felt, well, I`ll make the money and, with the money, do what I want to do.
I hope this series is good work, but it is in the half-hour medium, which is limited to a kind of mediocrity that sponsors are just dying to have right now, and the public, for some reason, is unconsciously demanding.
No amount of rationalization, no excuses, can make up for what a kid loses -- what I lost -- when a normal childhood is abandoned for a movie career.
The Face. I don`t like anything pasty, but I don`t like this pancake of make-up everybody`s wearing. Across the room it may look all right, but not when you get close. The main thing is I don`t like the way it smells.