I got to meet Norman Lloyd!
The other night at American Cinematheque in Hollywood was a 98th birthday salute to Lloyd & his work on the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television show. Lloyd was one of the main producers of the show for most of its 10 year run, directed 25 episodes and also starred in several.
The menu the other night featured a bit of all three – they ran the Lloyd-directed episodes “The Jar,” “Man From The South,” and “Incident in a Small Jail,” all representing the best of the series, as well as two episodes he starred in, “The Little Man Who Was There” & “Design For Loving.” Before a halftime intermission, Lloyd answered some questions from critic Todd McCarthy on his career, Hitchcock, and the inner workings of the anthology series.
Still sharp & energetic, especially for 98, Lloyd told great stories, and unlike my grandfather when he reached his mid 90s, did not discuss how he could hear the electricity in the walls or accuse my Uncle of trying to poison him.
Well, at least not in the public interviews. What Lloyd discussed afterwards is anyone’s guess.
High points in the interview segment were Lloyd’s reaction to the recent films about Hitchcock, including HBO’s “The Girl” and the upcoming feature “Hitchcock” about the making of Psycho – both of which he called “Baloney!” Lloyd insisted Hitchcock was steady as a rock, never raised his voice, and was a true master of filmmaking. Everything else was pure BS, and “only there because that’s the way they make movies.” “The Girl” was largely based on material from a very good Donald Spoto bio of Hitchcock, but I have not heard great reviews from people. On the other hand, the trailer for “Hitchcock” looks pretty good, so I might forgive some fast & loose with history if it’s entertaining.
The most interesting parts of Lloyd’s talk dealt with the Alfred Hitchcock Presents show. He talked about how he & producer Joan Harrison chose the scripts & assigned the actors and directors. He talked a little about working with some of the actors in that evening’s episodes, like Collin Wilcox, Steve McQueen & Peter Lorre . (I was hoping for some down & dirty John Fiedler stories like how his insatiable fetish for hookers dressed as meter maids affected his line reading, but alas, there were none.) He talked about how all of Hitchcock’s intro bits in the show, written by James Allardice, helped to make Hitchcock himself an international celebrity.
At intermission, we went out to the lobby where they had birthday cake waiting. My friends who invited me had worked with Lloyd years ago and were friends, so I got introduced to him & got to meet him.
And I did NOT wake up to discover it was all the dream of an autistic kid staring into a snow globe.
That’s only my love life.
It was all great fun & great to see Lloyd so spry at such an advanced age. He said he’d be back on his 100th birthday for an all-night marathon of episodes. I hope I’m there for that as well!