Posted by Herbert Drake/Jack Moss on July 25, 2001 at 08:56:43:
In Reply to: Re: It's All True posted by Antonio Ferrera on July 23, 2001 at 12:39:51:
As George Schaefer's position as head of RKO studio (as well as the Mercury's chief protector) becomes extremely precarious, Herbert Drake, general representative for Mercury productions, sends this desperation plan to Welles to save the Mercury from further press abuse-
June 1, 1942 - Herbert Drake to Orson Welles (excerpt)
You have got to come home right away - hugely - and not sneak in on a plane. You must return with trumpets and banners because the campaign really needs a good hot fillup of the old Welles personality. I have been planting pretty solid stuff locally and nationally and I think we have made par for the course. There have been two other Welles pictures to keep alive, and the RKO anti-Welles battle to fight. It has never been so virulent. The juggling act done by your press office here has been nothing short of extraordinary. I'm as nervous as a cat, and being without information all the time has made things really tough. But a real bang-up arrival can take the newspapers' attention off Kirkoff and Ann Sheridan and focus the limelight on you.
There is a widespread, nurtured campaign to prove you have been spending too much time and wasting too much money in Brazil; that "Ambersons" is no good, and "Fear", ditto.This has gone so far as a personal visit by Keorner to the Hollywood Reporter. As I wrote Wilson, Billy Wilkerson informed his staff that he was quoting Schaefer when he said "Keorner told Wilkerson that RKO would on no condition ever allow you to work in the studio again".
I have shown Ambersons on two occasions to the picture papers, once when it was two hours twenty minutes long and once at one hour thirty three minutes - the final version. They liked it both times, from "Beautiful" (Life) to "Better then Kane" (UP). So, you need a splash arrival.
It will be tough to get Nelson Rockefeller's cooperation, since the whole intent of the Coordinator's office is to avoid anything that looks like publicity. Nothing you can say and nothing I can say can impress anyone with the importance of the expedition, as opposed to the film itself. I can always sell them the idea that your pictures will be magnificent, but they have been hearing about neighborly expeditions for some years now, and Disney's Saludos Amigos took the cream off the idea.
However, if someone in Washington will come out with a Thank You statement to you, you will return a conquering hero.
Two days later, Jack Moss, manager of the Mercury, tries in vain to get through to George Schaefer, not realizing that Schaefer has just been ousted as RKO head-
June 3rd 1942 Jack Moss to George Schaefer-
With Ambersons, including last changes, going into final printing tommorrow, this becomes my last attempt to contact you. I have been unable to reach you by phone, and have had no reply to two telegrams respectfully requesting your final consideration, and a chance to discuss with you the most important points concerning Ambersons. I must say that, in view of every move to prove sincerity, and the great amount of untiring effort expended by all in editing Ambersons, that I am entitled to better consideration and certainly a reply.
I'll put it this way: I beg you to consider my comments regarding the changes in Ambersons. Please let me hear from you.
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