When Robert Culp walked into the recording studio he was carrying his marked up script for Rock Star Rising and a whole lot of TV and film history. I always make it a point to not immediately go into the work at hand, but to welcome the actor and mention my favorite parts of films they did. I also try to have something of one of their films to give them. And not as a conversation piece, but as coming from a true fan. Since Mr. Culp was in three Outer Limits shows, I gave him the DVD box set.
I mentioned to him that I had heard that the The Outer Limits episode Demon with a Glass Hand was the number one watched hour program in the history of television. He said, "That's right and also the highest cost to profit ratio in the history of television." After looking over the episodes on the back of the box, Mr. Culp got right into questions about the character he would record for my Rock Star Rising multi-voice audio-book. His character was that of a shady agent for the rock star Shane. He had made notes in his script and we went through them. As Mr. Culp is a writer as well as actor, I knew I'd better have good answers to his questions. Robert Culp started off in Broadway, and then jumped to starring in the TV western, Trackdown for two years where her began writing scripts which he wrote from Gunsmoke and The Rifleman, as well.
His big break came with I SPY on TV and then for movies with Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice. He started directing in the second season of I Spy as well as for other TV programs, and the feature film Hickey and Boggs appearing with Bill Cosby again. He appeared on countless TV shows including costarring on the series The Greatest American Hero, while still appearing in features such as The Pelican Brief as the president.
After going over his script notes for Hard Rock Lovers, he got into the recording booth for his first scene with a actress playing a reporter. Then most of the rest of his scenes were with James Darren playing Shane. However, I told the to actors that when Kevin McCarthy showed up, that we would jump to the scene between him and Mr. Culp. At one point, Mr. Culp's character had to make a long speech, selling a new concert. He asked for me to wait a few moments.
So outside the booth, me and the mixer waited for what seemed to be a long time, maybe 5 minutes only, as Mr. Culp, made notes, changes, additional lines, as he stood with his script in front of him. "All right. I'm ready", he said. And then went on to give a brilliant speech, better than I had written or imagined. Following the script in front of me while recording, I would sometimes quickly look into the glass door and see Culp standing by the mike, waving his arms, and doing other physicality to keep him in character and deliver a superb performance in every scene. He seemed to really be enjoying himself. At the end of the day, he confirmed it by saying to James Darren, "This is the first one of these I've done and it was really fun." After James Darren left the booth for a break, Mr. Culp motioned me inside the booth with him.
I wondered what this was going to be. He said, "Paul, I feel I now know you well enough to say........." Now I'm really thinking, what favor is he going to ask me?" Mr. Culp continued, "If you for any reason need any of these lines redone, let me know and I'll come back with no charge." Wow ! I thought. "Thanks Robert", I said. "It's good to know because I often worry about what happens if I missed something." When Kevin McCarthy arrived, he adjusted his quick rhythm that he had with James Darren, to the more thoughtful, methodical, and also effective rhythm that Mr. McCarthy had.
He really gave to Mr. McCarthy, allowing him to warm up and get up to speed. Then the two of them performed a brilliant cat and mouse negotiating scene. I had chosen Mr. McCarthy, not only because I'm a big fan, but who else could intimidate I SPY's Robert Culp, but the man that save us all from the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
When Mr. Culp finished with both actors, it was time to say good-by. I told him, "The next time you see "Hannie Caulder" listen to the way you say my favorite one word line, 'Winchester' when your are surrounded by bandits and want Hannie to throw you your rifle without them knowing it." He said, "Okay, I will. And thanks for the DVDs.", waved and headed out the door.
Copyright 2006 - 2009 Paul Kyriazi. All Rights Reserved.