Cliff Robertson, the actor who exposed corrupt movie industry practices in his one-man Hollywoodgate, has his lawyer talking with the Washington businessman who produced his latest film, "The Pilot."
"I'm not suing at this point, I'm waiting," Robertson said last week. "I'm owed a considerable amount of money."
"The Pilot," produced by Washington C. Greg Earls, is scheduled for a Thanksgiving release in Europe, his office said last week, and is expected to be released in the U.S. next Easter.
Earls said last week that the was under the impression all his difficulties with Robertson had been resolved. "We owed him another $100,000 after the film was finished and have been paying it off at $1,500 a week since April."
Robertson not only starred in "The Pilot" but also wrote part of the script and served as director. In addition to an undisclosed salary, which he says has not been paid yet, he also expects to share in the profits.
The story of a commercial airline pilot with a drinking problem, "The Pilot" was filmed mostly in Palm Beach and Maimi, with a production budget of $2 million. The papers down there have had several stories about the film's difficulities, with actors unpaid, checks bounced to extras and hotel bills only partially paid.
"I hate to sound too Calvinist," Robertson says. "But I believe in paying my bills and keeping my promises. When you don't pay the star, that's one thing. But when the little guy is not getting paid, that's repugnant. I and the Screen Actors Guild told [Earls] that he must pay them and that has been taken care of."
Earls, who runs an investment syndicate affiliated with K-B Theaters locally, is the son-in-law of businessman C. Wyatt Dickerson. Earls has produced a couple of "black exploitation" flicks in the past, including one called "Black Gestapo."
All bounced checks have been covered "as far as we know about them," Earls said, although an acting school which rounded up extras insisted last week that many pominent Palm Beach socialites are still owed $25 per day for services performed. One check didn't clear, Earls said, and that caused problems.The Screen Actors Guild complaint came, he said, as the result of payments made 30 days late when the film ran over budget by almost $1 million.
The Holiday Inn in Palm Beach still has a suit pending against them for $4000, Earls said, "and we have made an offer to pay a certain percentage over a period of time . . . So far they have not accepted.
He is expecting the movie to be a money maker. "We were turning people away at Cannes," he said.
"We just had a multimillion-dollar offer for the TV rights and Jack Valenti is having a special screening at the Motion Picture Association."
In addition, Earls said, he has three more properties in the works for what is Washington's first feature film production company.
It won't be any small group of his closest friends singing "Auld Lang Syne" with Woody Allen next New Year's Eve. He's planning an "I Love New York" thank-you party for 1,000 civic-minded Manhattanites. Society caterer Donald Bruce White, a status symbol with party-givers who know the difference between inexpensive fake truffles and the real thing, is reportedly huddling now with Allen on the menu.But White's lips are sealed. Once before something leaked out on one of Allen's parties and he almost called the whole thing off.
Historian Doris Kearns' publishers at Simon & Shuster are positively gloating.
She has been laboring away for the past three years on a three-generation history of the Kennedy family, with another two years to go.
Conceived as a social history of the times, and a comparison of child-rearing techniques of each generation, the book might have seemed a little dry and scholarly before Sen. Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy became a presidential front-runner. (Kearns is currently researching "mother's advice" manuals of the 1870s, when it's a wonder any Kennedys or Fitzgeralds or any other children survived with chloroform commonly presribed for restlessness and turpentine for dyptheria.)
Now the book could become the most important Kennedy dynasty chronicle ever published if another Kennedy is the White House when it is printed.
And Ted Kennedy's name hardly appears, although he gave the project his blessing and eased Kearns' way by arranging for her to spend a week with his mother in Palm Beach for an indepth interview.
As planned presently, the book ends during JFK's presidency.
California Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to join his entire family for Christmas in Tahiti, where they will feast, not on poi and suckling pig, but traditional turkey. Brown's father, Pat Brown, who traditionally takes a couple of dozen children and grandchildren to an island somewhere for the holidays every year, always checks the biggest frozen turkey he can find through with the luggage . . .
You don't have to smoke to work at the Tobacco Institute, but if you do, one of the perks is free cigarettes. One cigarette manufacturer -- only one, and for some reason, that one's identity is kept secret -- gives away freebie cartons each month . . .
Sitting at the Polo Club with a group of very good-looking women, plastic surgeon Clyde Litton told a passer-by: "These are my 'afters.' I'm never seen in public with my 'befores.'"