Remember My Forgotten Director
Buzz’s 1963 Director’s Guild dues form showed earnings of $16,000 (Jumbo money and little else). As before, Buzz couldn’t venture a guess to the coming year’s financial potential, so he left the “future earnings” field blank.
In March, Buzz took another job at MGM. He was again credited as the second unit director, but this time the title was more appropriate than it was in Jumbo. He was assigned the stunt work for the tentatively titled “Moonwatch.” Buzz directed helicopters and navy craft and supervised a colossal automobile wreck on a California freeway. “I had the time of my life cracking up 12 cars,” he said. His work was appreciated, but by the time the renamed A Ticklish Affair was released, Buzz’s contribution went without credit.
Around this time there was talk of a lavish stage musical in the works based on George du Maurier’s novel Tr ilby. The story, featuring the irresistible character Svengali the hypnotist, revolves around the tone-deaf Trilby O’Ferrall. In her sessions with Svengali, she’s made into a grand diva. When the hypnotist falls ill, Trilby loses her talent and caterwauls her way through an important performance. Buzz was approached to stage the whole thing, and of his plans he boasted, “I’m going to combine stage and film technique with some wild things that have never been seen before.” Screen actor Paul Henreid was signed as Svengali, but he never played the role. One can’t help but wonder about the “wild” combination of techniques Buzz devised for the ultimately aborted project. Expressionistic lighting, chorus girls, mirrors, dancing, and unique celluloid effects might have revived Buzz’s career. Now in his late sixties, he was not idle by choice. Although it appeared he would take any project that crossed his desk (no matter how dubious the prospects), he remained optimistic, answering personal and fan letters,