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Encore Presentation: Interview with Marlon Brando

Aired July 4, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, remembering a legend with an hour of music.


KING: Laughter.

MARLON BRANDO, ACTOR: If the dog hadn't stopped to pee, he might have caught the rabbit.


KING: Fashion.

BRANDO: Can't see my feet, can you? I forgot to put my shoes on.

KING: And romance.

BRANDO: Darling, good-bye.

KING: The late, great Marlon Brando is next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(on camera): Good evening. When the news broke Friday morning that Marlon Brando had died at aged 80, the whole world seemed to stop. For hours, it was the only news you heard, he was that big. What an actor. What a career. And off-screen what a character.

I found out first hand in October 1994. When we went up to Brando's house for the interview, I get asked about more than any I've ever done. He said he would do 1 interview for his autobiography. He chose this show.

It was incredible, unique, a classic. It was like Brando himself.

KING: Explain what you did -- don't put me on, Marlon. You put your own make-up on today.

BRANDO: I did. I wanted to look exactly like you.

KING: This was your goal?

BRANDO: This is my goal. I wore some red suspenders in your honor. KING: Oh, my god.

BRANDO: I did everything I could. And then I've received some criticism from these people.

KING: They wanted to do you themselves?

BRANDO: They wanted to do it themselves.

KING: Well, I'm honored. Do you see my eyebrows that dark, in that way, in that sort of dark look?

BRANDO: Yes, a little of the, what do you call it? Who was that guy, that famous Italian guy -- not Ramond Navarro, but the other guy. The big lover. What was his name? Fre de chic (ph)

KING: Oh, Valentino.


KING: That's the look you have.

BRANDO: Yes, that's right.

KING (on camera): Why -- let's -- well, I want to touch a lot of bases with you, and it's not easy to get -- why don't you like interviews?

BRANDO: Well, primarily because the interest is in money. That's the principle guiding feature of all interviews today is money.

KING: What do you mean?

BRANDO: You know perfectly well what I mean.


BRANDO: You know that a story has -- that one story is more valuable than another because of the readership, for instance. O.J. Simpson has taken over the airwaves -- you're sweating a little -- O.J. Simpson has taken over the air -- what are you smiling at?

KING: I'm smiling, because you just pointed out that I was sweating. I'm Jewish, I sweat. You're part Yiddish, you understand.

KING: OK, and that's money. So you say the cameras go...

BRANDO: No, it's been forced, because it's market forces that determine that. There are a lot of guys like Izzy Stone -- do you remember Izzy Stone?

KING: Wonderful, I.F. Stone's a giant.

BRANDO: Fred Friendly, who's still alive, who's still throwing punches, still going three rounds...

KING: The question was, why don't you like being interviewed?

BRANDO: Because I don't like the idea of selling yourself for money. I...

KING: So, you don't like selling a book, right? You don't like to go on to sell a book or sell a movie?

BRANDO: I don't. I've never sold a movie, and this is the first time I've ever been on beating the drum for some product. In this case it's Random House's book.

KING: Because you promised them you would do one?

BRANDO: It was -- unbeknownst to me it was part of the contract, and if I didn't I would be in breach of contract.

But aside from that, I've had pleasure talking to you. I'm fascinated with people, especially the kind of people -- I wouldn't lump you with others because you are exceptional, because there are many people who've asked me to be on programs and I've refused. But you -- without flattery, I mean, I have nothing to gain -- you have impressed, I think, all people, and certainly me, as being very forthright, sincere, and direct, and...

KING: Well, I thank you very much.

BRANDO: ...unexploitive.

KING: And now the subject is you. Why...

BRANDO: No, not necessarily...

KING: Yes, but in this...

BRANDO: ... because the audience really would like to know what it is that makes Larry King tick.

KING: OK, well one night we'll have "Marlon Brando Live," you'll host it, I will guest.

BRANDO: That's this night.

KING: No, this night you're the guest.

BRANDO: Somebody laughed over there.

KING: Why did you choose acting as a career? Why did you choose to be other people?

BRANDO: Let me -- I think it's useful to make an observation about that, that everybody here in this room is an actor -- you're an actor -- and the best performances that I've ever seen is when the director says "Cut," and the director says, "That was great. That was wonderful. That was good," he says, "But we had a little lighting problem, let's do it again." What he's thinking is, "Jesus Christ, that's so (EXPLETIVE DELETED) -- excuse me -- it's that -- it wasn't done well, so we've got to do it over."

But everybody tries to handle. When you say, "How do you do? How are you? You look fine," you're doing two things at once: you're reading the person's real intention, you're trying to feel who he is, and making an assessment, and trying to...

KING: So the director...

BRANDO: ... ignore the mythology.

KING: So that when director says, "Cut, but I didn't like the lighting," he's acting.

BRANDO: I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about going to the office and saying "Good morning, Mr. Harrison."

KING: I know, we're all acting.

BRANDO: And we're all acting.

KING: But why did you choose it...

BRANDO: And it's a natural -- what?

KING: You chose it as profession.

BRANDO: Because there isn't anything that pays you as much money as acting while you are deciding what the hell you're going to do with yourself.

KING: So wait a minute, are you saying you're still deciding?

BRANDO: It took me a long time to decide. You know, people have never decided. I think most people, if they -- if you ask them what their dreams are -- give this guy Kleenex.

KING: I'll get a tissue in a while; go ahead. I sweat. We've got hot lights here.

BRANDO: No, we don't, I'm not sweating.

KING: Well, you're Marlon Brando, I'm Larry King. I sweat.

BRANDO: You're a darling man. I don't know. Why are you sweating?

KING: No, let's get -- I don't want to get off...

BRANDO: Why do you escape trying to make the one-on-one contact here?

KING: Because I am...

BRANDO: I am the product?

KING: Yes, you're the product, right. BRANDO: OK, then you answered my first -- you answered your first question.

KING: But this is about money, then?

BRANDO: This is about money.

KING: But it's also about interest and learning.

BRANDO: If I was Joe Schlep, I don't think I'd be sitting here. Even though you might like me, even though we went for a taxi ride, and I was a very interesting guy, I don't know if I would appear on your program.

KING: You are correct.

BRANDO: And, because...

KING: But you have attained something.

BRANDO: Because of market values.

KING: But you've attained something that people are interested in. That's why there's a market value. That's why they pay you the money to do the film.

BRANDO: Yes, that's precisely it.

KING: OK, so when Brando goes on the screen or on the marquee, people will come to see the movie; that's money and brings money to you?

BRANDO: It's market forces.


BRANDO: That's the way it works. If you don't carry them in, you don't get breakfast.

KING: Did it come easily to you? So, in other words, you could make money this way?

BRANDO: Acting comes easily to everybody. All I've done is just simply, through the extraordinary talents of Stella Adler, who was my teacher and mentor, learned how to be aware of a process. And some people are never, never aware of it, and...

KING: Professionally?

BRANDO: No, in life.

KING: Or she taught you how to, what, impersonate?

BRANDO: No, how to be aware of my own feelings, and how to access my own feelings. Many actors can do that. I'm sure you have seen, in pictures of actors -- I mean, you've seen a performance of an actor who really gave his all, and he was very effective, but he was ugly. He was ugly in the expression of his emotion. Or he was truly being himself, but what he was boring, or was dull, or was something else.

KING: All right, so she taught you to take that inner self of you and bring it to a "Waterfront," or a "Godfather," or a whatever.

BRANDO: I'm not sure what she taught me. I would -- we'd all like to be certain of what we know, but I think the most important question is to ask yourself, "Do you really know what you know?"

KING: OK, help me with something, because it's fascinating. Let's say you get a role, it's "The Godfather."


KING: You're not a Mafia kingpin.

BRANDO: Yes, I am, so are you.

KING: No, no, you're not a Mafia...

BRANDO: Yes, well, as a matter of fact, I'm not.


BRANDO: But, we all -- there isn't anything that you are, or that you feel, or that you have that I don't feel, or that I don't have, and so...

KING: But you can bring it into someone.

BRANDO: You can ask an actor -- they will hear this is what you get: you get hit with a crowbar in the head, and you get a brain concussion, you're lying there you're (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you're mumbling -- well, I mumble anyway, but...

KING: OK, this is -- so you're saying anyone can do that?

BRANDO: No. Nobody can die, so you have to pretend you're dying.

KING: OK, are you saying that when you are the Godfather, you're pretending?

BRANDO: Sure, I'm pretending.

KING: OK, but you're in...

BRANDO: I mean -- we're going to get lost in vocabulary very, very quickly.

KING: No, we're not; we're learning what you're doing. What do you do? Do you -- you read the script, you like it -- by the way, what's -- how do...

BRANDO: I usually read the script and hate it.

KING: You usually hate it. But you didn't hate "The Godfather," right?

BRANDO: No, I liked the -- and I wasn't sure that I could do it, and Francis, fortunately, asked me if I would do a...

KING: Test?

BRANDO: Yes, a test, which I wasn't sure -- I would never play a part that I couldn't do, and if somebody asked me to play Hamlet tomorrow with Jesus Christ playing Mary Magdalene, I wouldn't do it.

KING: Have you turned down anything you regretted?

BRANDO: That I regretted? No.

KING: Ever taken anything you regretted?

BRANDO: Oh, God, taken anything I -- you mean, swiped stuff?

KING: No, no, no, played a role you -- "God, I'm sorry I played."

BRANDO: Oh, yes, of course.

KING: A lot of them?

BRANDO: No. Regret it, no. I don't think -- I think this -- to regret is useless in life. I belongs to the past -- the only moment we have is right now, sitting here and talking with each other. You can't see my feet, can you? I forgot to put my shoes on.

KING: It's OK, that's all right.


KING: Coming up: one of the greatest method actors ever talks about his methods.


BRANDO: Because you don't know whether I'm feeling it or not. As long as I can convince you that I am, I've done my job.

KING: Willing suspension of disbelief, right? That's what a good actor makes me do.

BRANDO: No, a willing suspension to believe.




BRANDO: Only when I'm going around 47th Street about 80 miles an hour in a cab. And...

KING: You say you'd like to be inside there?

BRANDO: No, I passed by the Alvin and almost hit it, that's what I mean.

KING: You don't miss being on a stage?

BRANDO: No. God, no.

KING: Why not?

BRANDO: Because, it's three hours of blood, sweat, and tears every night. There's nothing to do but blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

KING: Oh, don't diminish that.


KING: Audience...

BRANDO: I don't diminish Shakespeare. I can recite Shakespeare from morning until night, until I put you to sleep. I love Shakespeare, but I don't like -- I'm not nuts about going to a theater. So often in the past I've gone to the theater and been so bored.

KING: How about working in it, though? I mean, first of all, you get applause.

BRANDO: What for?

KING: Applause.

BRANDO: Who cares about applause? If I get applause from my dog, if I get applause from my children, that's enough. God, do I have to turn into an applause junkie in order to feel good about myself?

KING: When you started...

BRANDO: How about you? Do you need applause? Larry, that was a great show.

KING: I need acceptance.

BRANDO: Oh, God, I've never seen you so stimulated, and so inspiring in asking the questions of this person. And you think, "Oh, God."

KING: This Yiddish thing; you've got a lot of that in New York, right? You're part Jewish?

BRANDO: I -- well, technically, I'm not a Jew, but culturally I am. I spent 10 years in New York, and New York -- that was when New York was New York. The daily forwards (ph) and Stella very kindly invited me into her home, and my -- all of my employers, my teachers -- I went to the New School of Social Research, which is an extraordinary institution of learning.

KING: Still there.

BRANDO: And it was at a time when all the people were coming out of this extraordinary academia of Germany, and -- like Hannah Errant (ph), and -- the list is endless.

KING: You read them all?

BRANDO: I never had a chance to take her class. She taught at the New School of Social Research -- it was sort of a clearing house until they went on to Princeton or Yale or...

KING: So, at this time did you realize, even at this young age, "I am doing acting because I can do it, but I want to..."

BRANDO: You were talking about Yiddish New York.

KING: "... but I want to do other things"?


KING: Well, did you realize it then, that, "I'm doing..."

BRANDO: I wanted to -- I studied for a while to be a dancer at Katherine Dunham's School of Dance, and I formerly had been a trap drummer -- a stick drummer, and I got -- I was encapsulated in Puerto Rican music.

KING: Would you rather have been a musician?

BRANDO: I don't know. If the dog hadn't stopped to pee, he might have caught the rabbit...

BRANDO: How could I possibly know?

KING: Well, because you know if you love it.

BRANDO: What? I'll do it right now.

KING: Oh, you're going to -- oh, Marlon has a way to stop sweating. BRANDO: I have a way...

KING: The Brando method.

BRANDO: ... that Larry doesn't know about of taking sweat off your brow.

KING: What do you do?

BRANDO: Just leave it there, and it will dry.

KING: But how's this look?

BRANDO: What? It looks like that.

KING: All right, a few more things on acting, and then I want to touch other bases, but on acting, selecting...

BRANDO: Acting is the most important thing in this world, because...

KING: We all do it.

BRANDO: ... we all do it, and we do it for a reason, for sociological purpose. And when you think of it, it's an absurd process, because I go and I pretend that I've got a hole in my leg, and because I'm limping on one side this girl won't fall in love with me, and her grandmother is trying to arrange a marriage -- some crazy thing -- and people go to a dark room, and pay money to see somebody pretend that they've got a hole in their leg.

KING: All right, now you're making light of it, but in pretending you've got the hole in the leg...

BRANDO: I'm not making light of it, because it is a fundamental process. It's older than whoring -- it's older than being a whore. Because if you examine the behavior of chimpanzees or other related ape groups, even -- well you see it in many different animal species, but especially amongst gorillas -- if you looked a gorilla right in the face -- a gray-back -- a silver-backed gorilla, he would most likely attack you, because -- and that's not very far from the drunk who's in a bar, when you look at him he says, "What the hell you think you're looking at?" And so either you take your -- legs off -- either you take...

KING: But back to the point, though. If you can...

BRANDO: I answered -- this is precisely the point.

KING: ... make me understand the man with the hole in the leg, and what that feels like, the pain of the loss of the wife or the grandmother...

BRANDO: We all have related pain. For instance, if I'm sad, you don't know what I'm sad about, I -- and you can say in a play, "He's sad because his life is so full of emptiness, or he dreads getting cancer of the nose," or something like that. And all you have to do is think about something that reminds me of a sadness that I've had in my life.

KING: OK, and you'll bring that to -- whether it's a disappointment in "On The Waterfront," an anger in "The Godfather" -- right? -- or a scene in "Viva Zapata." You bring that emotion, that feeling to -- whether you're on horseback or on a gang plank.

BRANDO: Or, my dear -- or my dear friend, a reasonable facsimile thereof. Because you don't know whether I'm feeling it or not. As long as I can convince you that I am, I've done my job. KING: A willing suspension of disbelief, right? That's what a good actor makes me do.

BRANDO: No, a willing suspension to believe, to not to disbelieve.

KING: To believe?

BRANDO: A willing -- I shouldn't say willing to suspend...

KING: Well, it's a willing to disbelieve that that's Marlon Brando, but that is, in fact...

BRANDO: A willingness to believe.

KING: Yes, to believe you're not Brando, you're the godfather.

BRANDO: But you see, it's part of the process, because you pay hard cash; you have to pay the babysitters, you have to pay for popcorn, you pay for the tickets, you have to pay for a lot of things besides getting -- getting robbed on the way to the -- on the way to the movie, so...

KING: So you've got to willingly suspend and believe.


KING: When we come back, Marlon Brando on Marlon Brando.


BRANDO: I think that I was mostly an angry, you know, guy.

KING: Your childhood?

BRANDO: A quick temper, quick to fight and I had a bad -- bringing up.

KING: You had a tough childhood, right? You had a tough childhood?


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back on "Vintage King."

When a lot of people want to get away from it all, they go to a secluded island. Not many people own their own island. Brando does, in the South Pacific. I asked him why.


BRANDO: One thing that has been very problematic about being an actor and getting some measure of celebrity is the fact that you lose your identity, and everybody calls you instantly "Mr. Brando," instead of "Hey, you." And then people make up notions, they want your autograph. And I used to shovel manure from your horses and cows for a living, I milked cows. I have done some really -- and I've dug ditches, real ditches for Malcolm Ball's (ph) father in Libertyville, Illinois. And I put in -- I was an elevator boy, Best and Company, and I was a short-order cook for a while, and a sandwich man, a waiter.

KING: All right, and then you got famous, and rich?

BRANDO: And then your life changes. You don't change, but suddenly there is a lot more girls saying "Hi, Mar."

KING: And that's good, ain't it?

BRANDO: I used to think it was good until I -- it took me a while to realize that it was just part of the game. And I always wanted to be liked for myself, known to myself. So anyway, long story short...

KING: So why Tahiti?

BRANDO: I went to Tahiti, where they don't give a damn who you are. The Tahitians are marvelously free. First of all, it's a classless society. And if you put on airs they tease the life out of you. And...

KING: So ego don't work there?


KING: Ego don't work there?

BRANDO: Doesn't work there. Well, ego works, but not for long, because they tease you so much that you have to -- you get rid of it.

KING: What has fame done to you, if anything?

BRANDO: It's made me feel kind of isolated and -- and a little alone. It's -- the society I know and trust is the people that I have known for a long time and loved.

KING: Are you happier, now?

BRANDO: And I'm happy now. Most of the time I'm happy. I have a few blips now and then. But it took me a long time to hit my stride.

KING: Were you ever, what might be termed "depressed"?

BRANDO: No, I was never depressed.

KING: Were you ever...

BRANDO: I had trouble...

KING: Mood swings?


KING: Mood swings?

BRANDO: No, it wasn't mood swings I was -- I think that I was mostly -- I'm angry.

KING: At childhood?

BRANDO: A quick temper, quick to fight. And I had a bad bringing up.

KING: You had a tough childhood?


KING: You had a tough childhood?

BRANDO: Well, it's all relative. There are some guys -- one of my very closest friends was Jimmy Baldwin, who was a black kid brought up in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) corner. And I met him when I was 18, and we were instant friends. And...

KING: He had it tougher than you?

BRANDO: Well, first of all, he was black, which is tough to grow up in this country. Secondly, he was dominated by his father, who was not such a wonderful man according to what he told me. And he wanted to be a writer, which at that time was a very, very -- there weren't any black writers. He was one of the first black writers that we had that achieved popularity.

KING: So when you say it's relative, you can look at Baldwin and say "I had it better than he did"?

BRANDO: I can look at him and say "Maybe he had something to -- he had a capacity to deal with life." I know people who have it worse than I had...

KING: But does that make it easier for you because they had it worse?


KING: Does that make it easier for you because they had it worse?

BRANDO: It's all relative. It's very, very difficult to say when somebody is brave, or when somebody is, say -- let's say, cowardly. Because what might be a brave choice for you, for another person it's just -- they just simply don't experience fear, so it doesn't do anything.

KING: OK, the anger -- did you use that anger, ever, on a pro- sense? In other words, anger's not a very good thing to have. Did you ever use it, say, in your career to your benefit?

BRANDO: Well, I suppose, when you're acting, you have to be angry at something. You think of something that makes you angry.

KING: What changed you? What diminished the anger?

BRANDO: Pain -- I knew I had to deal with it, and I had to find out why I was angry, as we all do. And as opposed to you, from what we've said before, I believe that unless we look inwards we will not ever be able to clearly see outwards.

KING: We were talking before we went on air, that I have a difficult time looking inwards, and Marlon was kind of analyzing this. You can look inward, right?

BRANDO: I have the sense that I can.

KING: Most people can't.

BRANDO: In any event, the total result is that I have felt much calmer, and I've had moments of real tranquility since I just put a brake on everything, and I just -- I've done a lot of meditation.

KING: Professional help, too?

BRANDO: I was uselessly psychoanalyzed and exploited by a psychoanalyst, or maybe sometimes sincerely. I don't want to degrade their intentions, but they make a lot of money getting you five days a week to lie down and say, "I understand that your mother used to like to pinch your blackheads. What does that mean to you?" But...

KING: So what did you use beyond...

BRANDO: The one man who I do want to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)


BRANDO: ... was named G.L. Harrington, like my father. My father, Christ, we were going to end up in fisticuffs because he was really a tough guy and he spoke like that and he had a lot of male hormones and he shook your hand and he crushed it. And I thought, "Wait a minute, buddy."

Well, in any event, he was wonderful. He laughed me out of a lot of trouble. What are you looking at your watch for? KING: I just want to check because I don't have a clock here, so I'm checking time. There's a lot of base I want to cover. Time goes so fast with you. For somebody who doesn't do interviews, you're a great interview subject. I just thought I would pass that along to you.



KING: Coming up on "Vintage King," meet Marlon Brando's dog.


KING: Look at this.

BRANDO: Now sit down like a good boy. Now shake hands with Larry. Shake hands. Atta boy.

KING: Way to go, Tim.



KING: Welcome back to "Vintage King." It's a new series where we show you some of our favorite shows from the years past by.

Tonight, Marlon Brando. We did this interview from his Los Angeles hilltop home. While I was there I noticed something was missing.


KING: There's nothing in this house, this wonderful house, that says you're an actor. There is no -- there's no theater billboards, there's no movie cutouts, there's no -- where's your Oscar?

BRANDO: I don't know.

KING: You don't know where your Oscar is?

BRANDO: I think my secretary has it.

KING: George C. Scott...

BRANDO: I know one guy that has a...

KING: George C. Scott said that he doesn't ever want to compete because he thinks competition among actors is wrong unless all of them play the same part.

BRANDO: Originally, I think that the Academy Awards was determined because of -- rather it was put together by some very cogent businessmen, who thought they would improve their product if they gave -- they had a gala and all that stuff. And that was when Hedda Hopper and -- what's the other...

KING: Louella Parsons.

BRANDO: Louella Parsons were running the show. And it came out of that, and now people take it very seriously

KING: Do you?

BRANDO: No. I don't believe in any kind of award, no matter what it is.

KING: Because?

BRANDO: And I don't believe in any kind of censure.

KING: No censure, no awards?


KING: No awards, why?

BRANDO: Because I don't think that I'm any better than the camera operator, the boom man, I don't think that I'm any better than you are.

KING: But in your profession...

BRANDO: And I don't think that they're better than I am. They all have their personal, intimate...

KING: So in a Brando world, there would be no Emmys or Tonys or award shows?

BRANDO: In a Brando world

KING: A Brando...

BRANDO: I don't know. It's hard to envision that. Oh, I suppose if I were king of the world -- I mean...

KING: OK. Do you want -- by the way, did you want good reviews?

BRANDO: I never read reviews.

KING: You know, people say that. That's really true? You never read -- you wouldn't say -- if I said to you, "Marlon..."

BRANDO: I have read reviews. Yes, I've read reviews.

KING: "... `The Washington Post' tomorrow gives you a rave."

BRANDO: Generally I don't and I don't see the movie. Anybody can tell you that I didn't see "The Russian." And I haven't seen this movie. But I did, and... KING: When a movie comes on of yours, like tonight, if it's playing on television, would you watch it?

BRANDO: It all depends on the movie. Some have bored the hell out of me.

KING: What movie would you definitely watch? What would you say this is...

BRANDO: Ah, There he is.

KING: The dog. What movie would you say, "This is good work"?

BRANDO: Bring him in. KING: He's got a dog you wouldn't believe.


KING: What movie would you say, "Yes, this is good work"?

BRANDO: I have tried hard in a movie called "Burn."

KING: "Burn."

BRANDO: "Burn." It was a movie about slavery and a slave rebellion -- Come here, Tim.

I want you to meet my friend, Tim. Tim. Come here. Tim, over here, right here. Here, this is Tim.

KING: Look at this.

BRANDO: Now sit down like a good boy. Now shake hands with Larry. Shake hands. Atta boy.

KING: Way to go, Tim.

BRANDO: Now, good. Isn't that good?

KING: This is what kind of breed?

BRANDO: This is a mastiff.

KING: How heavy is Tim?

BRANDO: Tim is 180 -- here, Tim.

KING: I'm not going to eat Tim's food.

BRANDO: I don't want you to eat it, I want you just...

KING: Oh, feed him?

BRANDO: Put it in your mouth like this.


KING: Coming up, snacks with Brando. The cookies were good, but there's a story behind them.

Stay tuned, we'll explain.


BRANDO: I want you to try one of these cookies.

KING: Are they fattening?

BRANDO: It's not going to make you fat. It's not going to do anything. Just give me a reading of what it is. KING: Delicious -- what it is?


KING: This is "Vintage King."

Tonight, one of our favorite interviews, Marlon Brando. And now to the phones.


KING: Louisville, Kentucky, with Marlon Brando, hello.

CALLER: Hello, gentlemen.


BRANDO: Hello.

CALLER: Two quick questions to Mr. Brando.


CALLER: What is your opinion of Martin Scorcese and his work? I think he's the greatest. And my brother wanted me to ask you about "One Eyed Jacks." He says it's the greatest Western of all time...

KING: I love "One Eyed Jacks." You directed that movie.

BRANDO: I did.

KING: Was that fun doing?

BRANDO: I directed it because I couldn't get anybody else to do it.

KING: You worked with your friend Karl Malden?

BRANDO: Oh, I love Karl. We go back from (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But in answer to your question, Martin Scorcese is an inordinately talented person, and he has extraordinary instincts. He's dynamic, he's vibrant, vibrant, he's real. He's taken film and put it in a much higher and -- noticeably a higher dimension -- with Bobby DeNiro...

KING: Your friend Mr. Pacino.


KING: Al Pacino?

BRANDO: Well, Al is certainly an accomplished person and a highly developed actor. I forgot his name.

KING: You mean who works with Scorsese?

BRANDO: He played a taxi driver. How could I forget his name?

KING: DeNiro.

BRANDO: No -- yes, DeNiro but then that guy who played the pimp.

KING: Harvey Keitel.

BRANDO: Harvey Keitel -- sorry, Harvey.

KING: How good an actor is Harvey Keitel?

BRANDO: Harvey Keitel is an excellent actor, and he's an actor like Jack Nicholson, who dares -- and Bobby Duval is another actor who gets out there, and let's say we all fall on our face, but he's willing to try and he's very good and the more he goes on, the better he gets.

KING: Atlanta -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, thanks for taking my call.

Mr. Brando, I hope this is not -- isn't a frivolous question, but I understand you're a ham radio operator, or you were, and I wonder if you'd mind talking about that? And I appreciate it.

BRANDO: I am a ham radio operator. And the thing I enjoyed about it is anonymity, because When you call up and you say, "This is Marlon Brando calling," they give you the routine -- any famous person.

KING: So what did you call as? What -- take a name, you mean?

BRANDO: Oh, I don't know. You call the store, and they say, "What's your name?" "Marlon Brando," and they say, "Yes, I'm Greta Garbo," and they hang up. And, so...

KING: It's fun, though?


KING: It was fun? BRANDO: I still am a ham radio operator. As a matter of fact, I'm updating my license, and I think it's wonderful. And with the new international highway of communications, it is now very quickly falling upon us. It's going to be tied up with computers. As a matter fact, I'm on Online America.

KING: You're on Online America?

BRANDO: Yes, I speak. Not as myself.

KING: But not as Brando?


KING: What is this here, that you wanted to show us? BRANDO: Oh, I want to show you -- first of all I want you to try one of these cookies.

KING: Are they fattening?

BRANDO: It's not going to make you fat. It's not going to do anything. Just give me a reading of what it is.

KING: Delicious -- what it is?

BRANDO: Yes -- you don't have to say it's delicious if it's not.

KING: It's delicious -- chewy and delicious...

BRANDO: I'm going to have one right now.

KING: ... it's got sugar?


KING: It's a very tasty cookie.

BRANDO: Abyssal sugar.

KING: Abyssal sugar -- but why -- what is the point to -- is there something...

BRANDO: It comes from this plant.

KING: It comes from that plant?

BRANDO: Yes, this plant is called "sallicornia," and this plant -- they make paper out of this plant.

KING: They cookie's fantastic.

BRANDO: Here's the paper. This is a letter you can write on. Makes very interesting wallpaper. As a matter of fact, I'm going to have it all over my house. This is a picture -- can you get a closeup of this? KING: Right there.

BRANDO: Right here.

KING: That one.

BRANDO: This plant is grown in seawater. It is irrigated in seawater. This -- all this area here, you see, is desert. Now, where's that other picture? I don't have it. Oh, yes -- this is the way -- this is the way it looked before -- before, it was nothing but sand on the desert. Because, as we know, Saudi Arabia, in the great desert, is sand. This is the way it looked after it was plant -- sallicornia was planted.


BRANDO: And it is -- here it is -- you can get a better -- a better sense of it. This is the watering mechanism through which seawater is pumped, and the plant grows. Now...

KING: May I ask...


KING: ... what got you interested in this?

BRANDO: Co2 -- that's Co2 is carbon dioxide which is wrecking our atmosphere; which is, by some scientific estimation, going to turn the world into a kind of heat trap that is going to melt the poles, which means New York goes under water, London goes underwater, all the lowlands will be flooded and the Mississippi valley.

KING: How do you react to those people who that's, like, whack-o environmental poppycock?

BRANDO: Yes, that's what they used to say about tuberculosis and Pasteur. They say, "He's a nut, get him out of here. He doesn't know what he's talking about." And everybody, now, has injections against...

KING: So you are very into the environment. Is this new, or has this...

BRANDO: No, it's not that. It's your kids. And if my kids -- I'm going to live through it, but by the year 250 -- if we don't reverse the -- burning down the forests in Brazil has reduced the amount of oxygen that goes into the air. The use -- the use of -- this is driving me nuts because I'm hearing something. I'll take it out just for a second.

The use of burning fossil fuels, which we have to do for industry -- nobody's going to stop that, nobody's going to stop driving their car -- is producing carbon dioxide, which is filling the Earth's atmosphere. If you want to know what the effect is, you get inside your car, you roll up the windows on a hot summer day and you sit there. You'll be dead in about 48 minutes from -- what do they call that -- hyper...

KING: Well, whatever...

BRANDO: Yes...

KING: ... you will be dead.

BRANDO: You'll be boiled.

KING: Yes.

BRANDO: And that's what's going to happen because the ultraviolet -- rather, the rays that come through the atmosphere...

KING: The ozone.

BRANDO: No, it's through -- it's through the atmosphere.

KING: You're saying this is by the year 2050?

BRANDO: I'm not saying -- I'm not putting a date on anything. These are assumptions. Everybody knows that the Malthusian -- Malthus was a man who said population is going to increase at this rate. He's right. We are now five-billion people. By the year 2020, according to the way things are progressing, we are going to be -- we're going to be 10,000 -- 10 billion people in this world, 50 percent of which, if not more, are going to live on the sea-coast. Now -- I want to make this all fast, and I can't. But these cookies are made from this plant, and this plant is raised and made -- well...

KING: So, in other words, we could live off this plant?

BRANDO: You can live off this plant -- not only this plant, but this plant can grow in any desert. There are 40,000 kilometers...

KING: Let me tell you another thing...


KING: ... this is one delicious cookie.

BRANDO: It is a good cookie. Here...

KING: I'll have another one.

BRANDO: ... have another one.

KING: And we'll tell you want we do with this, right after we come back.

BRANDO: And Planetary Design Corporation is the one that made it, and this is a lamp that burns the oil that is contained in the seed of sallicornia, off of which we can drive our cars. And -- what were going to say? What -- you interrupting me with something?

KING: I'm going to take a break and come back. BRANDO: Oh, OK.

KING: We'll be back with Marlon Brando and our science class.

This is like they used to do -- remember, science on television: "Look at this, and I'll light this, and it'll blow this, and I got...

BRANDO: That's right, that's right. You got a cookie.

KING: We'll be right back with Marlon Brando.

Don't go away.



KING AND BRANDO (singing): I've flown around the world in a plane, I've designed the latest new shoes in Spain.


KING: Fame -- with wings...

BRANDO (singing): And the North Pole...

KING AND BRANDO (singing): ... I have charted, but still I can't get started



KING: Now we're going to show you a side of Brando you may not know since "Guys and Dolls."


KING: We're going to do a tune, right? What tune do you want to do?

BRANDO: Let's see. What about "Lime House Blues"?

KING: No, I don't know "Lime House Blues." You could sing. You want to do "Lime House Blues"? Do it.

BRANDO: Well, what song do you know?

KING: Well what song were you just doing? "I've flown around the world in a plane."

All right.

KING AND BRANDO (singing): I've flown around the world...

BRANDO: I've got to get my brushes out, my wire brushes out. KING AND BRANDO (singing): I've flown around the world in a plane, I've designed the latest shoes in Spain.


KING: Fame -- with wings...

BRANDO (singing): And the North Pole...

KING AND BRANDO (singing): ... I have charted, but still I can't get started, with you.

KING: Oh, you're jazzy. Go on. Go, go.

BRANDO (singing): On the golf course...

KING (singing): ... I'm under par.

BRANDO: That's right.

(singing): Metro Goldwyn has asked me to star. I've got a house.

KING (singing): A showplace.

BRANDO (singing): A showplace...

KING (singing): but I can't get...

KING AND BRANDO (singing): ... but still I can't get no place with you.

BRANDO: That's because you ask too many questions. You don't give me a chance to answer.

KING: Let me take another call. Zurich, Switzerland, hello.

CALLER: This is Sammy from Zurich. It's fascinating to talk to two legends at the same time.

KING: Two legends at the same time, Sammy from Zurich.

BRANDO: Bon soir, monsieur. Parlez vous Francais?

CALLER: Larry, I'm sure that all the free thinkers in the world will agree with me that you deserve a Nobel Prize of your own.

BRANDO: For what?

CALLER: Let's give one. I'm sorry, I could -- I'm not sure when I could be there again, so I had to say that.

KING: Do you have a question for Mr. B?

CALLER: Yes. Mr. Brando, you had a political and social agenda sometimes. You defended the American Indians, for example. BRANDO: Yes.

CALLER: You were an inspiration for us when we in the were in the best boarding school (ph) at times, too.

KING: Very strong on racism, no question.

CALLER: Have you ever considered a political career in your life like (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Ever want to run for office? Thank you, sir.

BRANDO: Yes, Larry has cut you off.

KING: No, he got down to his point, and I'm moving it along.


KING: I didn't cut him off. I did cut him off. BRANDO: Yes, I was -- I have been in support of the Jews who came out of the concentration camp to try to find a home for them, I was in support of the Indians in America, who, I think America has reduced. Four hundred treaties, read them, 400 treaties have been broken by the United States government. If one time Cuba said "I'm sorry, we don't recognize a treaty of Guantanamo," they'd have the Marines in there in eight seconds.

KING: Fast.

BRANDO: They'd bomb Havana flat. They'd make a parking lot out of it. Why is it that we cannot give? One-third of America is owned by the U.S. government. The blacks in this country have struggled, have fought, have died of misery and broken hearts, perfectly and wonderfully documented in the best writer of the world in my estimation, Toni Morrison, in her books. And I think they should be read everywhere in the world, to have a sense -- Don't look at your watch.

KING: I know. I've got to break. I -- hey, we're going to do more of this. We just touched the surface here.

BRANDO: Anyway, so...

KING: But have you ever wanted to run for office?

BRANDO: I want to run from office, but never for office. Thank you.

KING: We'll be back with more moments with Marlon Brando. Where doth, a little Shakespeare, the time go?

KING: Not a chair is moving.

Don't go away.



BRANDO: Goodbye, goodbye.



KING: We're almost done with our first "Vintage King," but don't go anywhere yet. Brando saved his best for last.


KING: We're going to do "Got a Date With an Angel."

BRANDO: OK, let's get together.

KING: All right, which one we do? KING AND BRANDO (singing): Got a date with an angel.

BRANDO: You're off-key.

KING AND BRANDO (singing): Going to be there at 7:00. Got a date with an angel, and I'm on my way to heaven. Got an angel beside me, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to guide me. Got a date with an angel, and I'm on my way to heaven.

BRANDO (singing): When the chapel bells ring out...

KING (singing): Going to make him an offer he can't refuse.

BRANDO: Darling, goodbye.

KING: Goodbye.

Marlon Brando. See you tomorrow night with Cid Ceasar, Carl Reing, Mel Brooks.

BRANDO: Oh, wish I was there.

KING: Allan Dershowitz Monday. Lauren Bacall next week.

Thanks for joining us. Say good night, Marlon.

BRANDO: Good night. Don't forget (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the rest.

KING: Al revederch (ph).


KING: We hope you enjoyed this hour with the late, great Marlon Brando. He was a true original. Rest in peace, Marlon. There will never be another one like you.

And coming up this week, a very rare interview with another great actor, Gene Hackman.

Stay tuned for more news on CNN, your most trusted name in news.


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