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Interview With Joe Garner

Aired January 4, 2004 - 09:48   ET


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, from memorable TV moments to very memorable movie moments. We've got a psycho cross dresser who kills a woman in a shower. And then there were some wild college kids partying in the frat house. My parents didn't let me see that one when we were growing up, by the way. We're talking about memorable movie moments.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN ANCHOR: My parents encouraged me to see that movie. Those are two of the many found in the book "Now Showing: Unforgettable Moments From The Movies." The author, Joe Garner, is live in Los Angeles to tell us more.

Joe, thanks very much for being here today.

JOE GARNER, AUTHOR, "NOW SHOWING": It's nice to be with you this morning. Good morning.

We were talking about this throughout the morning. Everybody has these lines and these images from movies that they go over and over and over. What is it that makes it so special to all of us?

GARNER: I think if I really had the answer to that question I'd be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week here in Hollywood making movies. It's for a variety of reasons. It's a perfectly delivered line, like "Here's looking at you, kid," or "I'll have what she's having." Or it's a scene that took us out of our seat from fright or from laughter. It's a variety of reasons. For whatever the reason, we love reliving these moments, and that was my goal in compiling them into this book.

KOPPEL: One that I love, it wasn't the line from "Psycho," but it was the music which, again, according to your book you say that Hitchcock just kind of brought in some violins; he didn't want to score the movie. But it turns out to have been one of the most memorable moments.

GARNER: That's right. In fact, sound was what was most important to Hitchcock. You hear the sound of that water rushing in the shower right now. The other sound that was important to him was the sound of stabbing flesh. Because there is no knife wound scene, here is the sound of the violins, of course, but because there was no actual stabbing, you don't see any actual stabbing, what he wanted to hear is the sound of what could possibly be the sound of stabbing flesh. So he had his prop man bring in an assortment of melons, and they just sort of stabbed different melons until Hitchcock heard what he thought was the sound of flesh. It happened to be a casaba melon if you want to try it.

But he didn't want to spend money on this movie. He only spent about $800,000 on the film. It was Bernard Herrmann, the composer who worked with him on other films, that came up with the idea of bringing in those violins. Of course after Hitchcock heard it, it was perfect for it. It's become one of the most iconic scores in movie history.

CALLEBS: All right, Joe, we have a little bit of time. Let's move through some of these. "The Graduate," too, that famous line. You've got to love that one.


CALLEBS: And, Joe, this is one that lives on and on. Plus the line, "I got one word for you."

GARNER: What is that?

CALLEBS: "Plastics."

GARNER: Well, this is the line of course that -- I'll tell you what, try to imagine this line being delivered by Robert Redford. Because that's who they originally had in mind to play the role of Benjamin Braddock. Because if you read the Charles Webb novel, Buck Henry, who wrote the screenplay, said they were all described as a bunch of surfboards, blond haired and blue eyed. But when Dustin walked in, they knew he was the guy.

KOPPEL: And I love the fact that Anne Bancroft was actually seven years older than Dustin Hoffman. But the other movie that I was alluding to was "Animal House." Really, I'm not kidding you, when it came out, my parents didn't let me see it. So to this day I have not seen that movie.

CALLEBS: I lived it.

GARNER: There you see John Belushi. What made it resonate for so many millions of us is, first of all, it's the ultimate coming of age film. And second of all, it was the archetypal characters. We all knew a Bluto Blutarski. In this scene, watch not only John's eyebrows, but watch the sly look on Tim Matheson's face when John does what he's about to do.

CALLEBS: Classic moment.

KOPPEL: Was this -- oh. You have to love this one.

GARNER: Andrea, this is probably why your parents didn't want you to see this.

KOPPEL: Probably one of many reasons.

CALLEBS: We have to talk about "Raiders of the Lost Ark" as well, because the opening scene of that just set the tone and made that a huge success. GARNER: It was the boulder-rolling scene. Now keep in mind, the boulder you are about to see is not created by computer generated imagery. It's an actual 300-pound prop made of wood, fiberglass, and it's about 12 feet in diameter. And Harrison Ford had to outrun that prop 10 times. They shot it five different times, two different angles, each of those five times. And He had to outrun it each and every time. I think Spielberg would probably rethink that if he had to do it again today.

KOPPEL: And another bit of trivia, it wasn't supposed to be Harrison Ford but Tom Selleck, which, I can't really see him in that role.

GARNER: Tom Selleck was their first choice, but he had just signed to do "Magnum P.I." and CBS didn't want to let him out of the deal. So that's why they wound up bringing in Harrison Ford.

Also, I want to clarify, we're just seeing little tiny snippets here. The book comes with a full length DVD. And it's the first time the studios have allowed a book like this to exist. I'm very proud they allowed me to do this. Every scene that I write about in the book, you can then put the DVD on and watch it again in its entirety. We mentioned Dustin before. Dustin actually hosts the DVD. He puts each of the scenes in context.

CALLEBS: Sounds like a great book. Get out and take a look at it very quickly. Joe Garner, thanks very much for joining us from Los Angeles.

GARNER: Thank you, guys. Nice to be with you this morning.

KOPPEL: Take care.


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