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40 Years
January 1963
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10 Years
Kerry Von Erich
Previously on Five-O
Issue Two
Swingtime Strippers
Issue One
New World Evel
This is Malvin Wald speaking.

In October 1942, I was a sergeant in the Army Air Force located in Santa Ana, California. Because of a ruling by General Hap Arnold that all people with film experience were to be transferred to Culver City to a new unit called the First Motion Picture Unit of the Army Air Corps, I was transferred there.

When I presented my papers, the personnel officer to whom I presented them was Lt. Ronald Reagan.

He squinted at me and he said, haven't I seen you somewhere before? The truth was this. In 1939 I was the youngest writer at Warner Brothers and John Huston very politely invited me to join the writer's table in the commissary. The only actors admitted were Humphrey Bogart because Bogey carried on a good conversation, and Errol Flynn, because he told us all about the high school girls he was seducing.

Every day, Ronald Reagan would come by and look anxiously waiting to be invited, like a child in a candy store window.

And I asked Huston, why don't you invite Reagan to join us? He seems to be very eager.

And Huston says, come on, he's a small town boy. He goes around quoting Reader's Digest. He's a square. He doesn't have much to add to the conversation. Reagan is a nice boy but he should be back in high school.

That was 1939. So here I am in '42. I told Reagan, yes, you may have seen me around the lot. I didn't tell him the real truth.

I was one of the first writers there and he explained that I was going to write films, meanwhile there will be odd jobs. And the first odd job was to be in a film with him. They were making a training film in which a flyer is shot down and was burned near to death and he's wrapped up like a mummy. And I play the part of the mummy. So there I was in a hospital bed with only my eyes showing and then Reagan comes in in a pilot's uniform and says, how are you doing, soldier? And I mumbled something. And the director says fine, that's a take.

And Reagan says to me, see, Malvin, now you can put in your resumé that you co-starred with Ronald Reagan.

Anyway, I was stationed with him from 1942 to 1945. During that time, two things brought us together. I was writing a play about Theodore Roosevelt with a man named Walter Doniger. I would frequently tell Reagan about this. He was very much interested in my knowledge of American history. Later on when the war was over, Eleanor Roosevelt asked Ronnie to organize the Hollywood chapter of the American Veteran's Committee. This was to be a veteran's organization unlike the American Legion, which was run by the old guys, this would be for the young veterans. Ronnie was going to be chairman and he wanted me to be his right hand man because he felt I knew history.

And so in the summer of '46 we were having meetings and then one day I came to him and said, look, Ronnie, I can't go to meetings anymore. Paramount Pictures has optioned my Teddy Roosevelt play and they're going to put it on at a theater in Westwood and I have to go to rehearsals.

And Reagan said, who's playing the part of Teddy Roosevelt?

I said, Albert Dekker. He's short, squat and has a mustache.

Reagan said, if they make it as a movie, is there any chance of me playing the president?

I said, come on now, Ronnie, you're too good looking. You're 35, you look like a movie star, you don't look like a president!

He said, I could age.

I said, I don't think you're right for the part.

He said, gosh, it would be fun playing the part of the President of the United States.

I was in the army for six months and I was transferred in October 1942 to the old Hal Roach studios, which was now converted into an Army installation.

Another thing I had with Reagan — I was working on a highly secret project in Florida and a general read my script aloud to me and he said, this is exactly how I want the script done. How can we guarantee it? I said, write on the script with your signature that I am to be the director of the narration.

Two months later, the film is finished and I go on the sound stage and Reagan says, what are you doing here? I said, Lieutenant, I am here to direct you in the narration.

And he said, look son, I been around the block a few times. I was a radio sportscaster, for God's sakes and a movie star. You're going to tell me how to speak the English language?

I said, no. I'm not telling you, the general is. If you don't like it you can go over his head to the Pentagon.

And he said, come on now, let's not have Washington interfere — there's enough government interference. Let's compromise. We'll do it your way and my way and Robert Carson, head of production, will decide.

So the point is, the art of compromise stood him in good stead when he entered the political field.

Very friendly, nice guy. In 1989 after he left the White House, a group of us decided to have a reunion. We formed a committee and we were told, you'll have to meet with a representative of the president. We thought it was Secret Service. We put on our ties and jackets, it turned out to be a very pretty girl. She was Nancy's social secretary. And she said, you must understand that President Reagan just had an operation on his brain and he can't go out much. Therefore your affair has to end at 6:30 so he can go home and get to bed early. So we agreed to that. But at the last minute we got Bob Hope to appear.

Have you ever heard of Bill Orr? He's an actor who is also Jack Warner's son-in-law. So I said to Bill, let's outfox Nancy and get Ronnie to stay later.

Bill got up and said, Mr. President, you never won an Academy Award but you should have. We have here a new book of the history of the Academy Awards. Will you come to dais and accept it?

And Reagan said, is there any press here? There were four Secret Servicemen watching him. He was told there's no press and he said oh, hell — and he went up there and he started to tell — not dirty jokes — but sort of raunchy jokes. And he had the time of his life. He stayed there for another hour. And when he left, Nancy gave us a dirty look.

The next day we got a phone call from Reagan's secretary saying, the President had the time of his life — will you guys please invite him again? He was back being that little boy wanting to join the writers' table.

The joke he told us — during the war, Norman Krasna, one of our director-writers, was sent to France and he noticed at the end of an airfield there was a cross. So he figured this must be a very holy, dedicated place. So he had it photographed in the evening, in the morning, in the sun, in the rain. And then finally he went over to the commanding officer of the field and he said, that cross you have there, it must have great significance. And the commanding officer says, yes indeed, it indicates the latrine.

He told those kind of jokes and enjoyed himself. They weren't dirty, but you don't expect to hear it from a President of the United States. That was '89. Four years later in '92, we had another reunion but he couldn't come because he promised George Bush Sr. that he would campaign with him against Clinton.

That's not the last time I saw him. A few years later, a contingent of Russians came to this country and they were going to visit the president at his office in Century City, so I met some Americans going with them and I said, I don't have a clearance, but can I go along?

We went to this Century City building. And the elevator was patrolled. The president was on the 30th floor. Nobody could stop at that floor unless there was a secret serviceman operating it. I got inside, went to the president's outer office and everyone was wearing name tags. I didn't have one. I figured I was in trouble, I'd be thrown out. So I went over to the secretary and said, I'm an old comrade of the president's, and she gave me a tag.

Then the president came out. It was interesting. Some of the Russians said, Mr. President, during the war I was a paratrooper, I dropped behind enemy lines. The war was a very great danger for me.

Reagan said, oh, I had an adventure also. I was in Air Force intelligence. Which he wasn't. He was just making films. But he felt he had to match these great Russian war heroes.

Another time I saw him, not up close. They were going to dedicate the Reagan library. There were going top be five Presidents there: Nixon, Reagan, Ford, Carter and Bush. The only people who were admitted were people from the Republican party who had given $5,000. I hadn't done that. A friend of mine was one of those rich donors. He gave me the name of Reagan's secretary so I sent him a letter care of her.

I said, Dear Mr. President, when Truman was President and had any affair, he always invited guys from the artillery. I know there's a lot of people served with you, but how about inviting me as a representative of your comrades?

Next day I got a personal letter from the President inviting me to come to the opening of the library. So when I got there, you can imagine the security with five presidents there. We were put in bleachers and told not to move — there was a Secret Service man at every area. The five presidents were in the library. There were 300 members of the press. I wanted to see what was going on.

I saw Hal Fishman of Channel 5. I went over to the secret serviceman and said, I'm a friend of Mr. Fishman's. He said, OK. I went down to Hal Fishman — I didn't know him. I said, what's going on? He says, here's what I'm stuck with. We have the great historical figures nearby and I'm interviewing Sonny Bono.

Sonny comes by and quotes some clichŽs and moves on. I go back to my seat and all these Republican people asked me, what's going on? I said, they just interviewed the next President of the United States — Sonny Bono.

They said, you're kidding. I said, no. Sonny is in show business, just like Ronnie. He's on his way up, he's mayor of Palm Springs. You lovely Republicans, you can look forward to Cher being the First Lady, doesn't that thrill you? But Sonny was elected to Congress. Now his widow is there — I had a point.

Right now a captain from the Air Force is coming to interview me about Reagan for a book about our unit. Then the Reagan Library has invited a group of us October 31st, a reunion committee, they want to get us on film with memories of Reagan. And then Warner Brothers is giving us $10,000 to have a reunion, October 30th in the executive dining room. I have a feeling all this activity is because when Reagan dies, there will be a national day of mourning. We were in the Army together 60 years ago. I guess before we pass on they want to get all of us on film talking about Reagan.

There's a man who's going to be at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum named Lawrence Suid. He is talking about a secret thing during the war. He's a historian who has a new book out called "Guts and Glory." And he claims that Eisenhower in 1943 asked the Hollywood studios not to make any atrocity stories. And then two years Eisenhower explained that the studios were not to speak unkindly about the Germans because they were no longer our enemies, they are our allies in our coming war against Russia.

Apparently, Harry Cohn, Jack Warner, Sol Lesser and seven other people were brought to the concentration camps by Eisenhower, and he said, gentlemen, you're the most important people in America. You tell people how to think. And we don't want stories about the atrocities because we want Germany to be our allies. A gentleman's agreement not to bring up the Holocaust. In WWII there's not been a single major film about the Holocaust. And that's at Eisenhower's request.

The only one who is really doing something is Spielberg, has probably spent a million dollars. He's given people $50,000 each to go interview the survivors. "Shoah."

All this activity from Washington, all this haste.

Jack Warner was a colonel and Ronnie was a star. They had three people out photographing them atWarner Brothers. Here's a flag pole and at the base of the flag pole now there's a plaque honoring those of us who had worked for Warner Brothers then went into this film unit. After all this silence, suddenly all this activity is going on.

I may have told you why I think Reagan had Alzheimer's while he was president. During his presidency they took him on a tour of the concentration camps. He said to the press and his staff, "I know I 've been here before." What I knew is he never left Culver City. But Ronnie then recited shot by shot what he had seen on film. He was in a state of shock and he never recovered. Can you imagine how embarrassed how the press was and his staff? They couldn't tell the public, listen, your sitting president is hallucinating.

What happened was — as the war drew to a close, General Hap Arnold, head of the Army Air Force wanted the American people to have a record of the liberation of the concentration camps. So he sent his chief officer, Owen Crump, with a camera crew to all the concentration camps as they liberated and he photographed them.

General Arnold wanted it in color. Because it was color, the film could only be processed at the Technicolor labs in North Hollywood. When it was finished it was sent over the hill to our post. There was a Colonel Jones from West Point, our new commander, but Reagan was now his executive officer.

So he said, Captain Reagan, do you realize that we are going to be the first ones in the history of the West to see the concentration camps? Don't you think we should share it with someone else?

Reagan said, all right, just those people on this post cleared by the FBI for secret work.

I was one of a dozen of those people. So we go to see these films. You see these corpses walking, defecating as they walk. You see bodies being put in wheelbarrows by the natives and thrown in a ditch. You see the lampshades made by the Nazi commandant's wife out of human skin — she loved to display the nipples, she loved the tattoos on their wrists.

When it was over, even though it was summertime, Reagan said nothing. He was chilled.

We went outside and I said, look, Ronnie, let me tell you a story because you like to hear stories. In 1849 there was a young Pole named Josef Danglowitz. He was afraid of wars and pogroms and revolutions, so he left Poland, came to America, was an itinerant peddler in the South, went north to Brooklyn, NY, became a very successful hat shop owner. He had 10 children, one of whom was my mother.

I said, if my grandfather hadn't left Krakow, Poland, I would have been one of those corpses you just saw on the screen.

He just shuddered. And then later on he got a copy of that film and his son Michael and his son Ron Jr. said when they reached 14 or 15, their father said, boys, you must see this.

Many years later when he was President he was taken on a tour of the concentration camps. As he saw them, he said to the press and his staff, I've been here before.

And he then proceeded to describe in great detail everything we had seen on the film.

He couldn't separate fact from fantasy. The film that he saw became reality. He looked at them, his staff and the press in awe. He said, I've been here. He had never left Culver City during the war.

His staff didn't realize that he was traumatized. The stuff was so shocking — especially that we were the first persons in the West to see this. No one had ever seen this film before. And so he went into a state of shock when he saw it. And subconsciously, when they took him to the camp, the film started to unreel. He spoke like a narrator describing what he had seen. But he didn't say, I saw it in a projection room with Wald and Jones. He said, I was actually in this spot.

When I saw it on the news, I said, poor guy, he's lost it. Two people told me they interviewed him when he was President and they had the feeling he had early Alzheimer's. One was a woman named Ann Sperber. She was doing a book on Bogey and she went to interview Reagan.

She said, Mr. President, do you remember when you and Bogey worked together? He said, we used to play golf all the time. He couldn't remember the fact that in 1939, he was in a film called "Dark Victory" with Bette Davis and Bogart. And he kept being very evasive.

Later Edmund Morris, doing the official biography, said that when he asked him about the war year from '42 to '46, he was very evasive. He said, did I ever tell you about the time when John Wayne and I played golf? He just couldn't remember but he had to ad lib to cover up — this is while he was President.

We were friends from '42 to '46. He went onto be governor of California. I never saw him then. After the Presidency I saw him in '89, then when the Russians came I saw him again.

Malvin: Right after "Al Capone," Allied Artists hired me to write a script about the life of Einstein. Steiger wanted to do it. In my research I located Einstein's son Hans Albert, a professor at Berkeley. He came down, we went to the Luau for lunch. All the women came over to Steiger for his autograph. He laughed and said, if they knew this was Einstein's son, they'd be asking him.

Unfortunately when my screenplay was finished, the head of Allied Artists said, we don't think a boy is going to say to a girl, let's go to the Bijou to see "The Life of Einstein." He didn't think that was commercial. So Steiger was very disappointed.

Steiger was furious about one thing. Playboy had interviewed people and asked what's the best film Rod Steiger made? And they said, "Al Capone." And he was furious. He said, no — it was "The Pawnbroker"!

In 1958 I wrote a show for CBS Climax called "Albert Anastasia's Life & Death." We were hoping Rod Steiger would do it. But through his agent he said he would never do a cheap gangster film, that's beneath him.

We said all right. Eli Wallach did a marvelous job and we got the highest rating of the year. Albert Anastasia was the head of Murder Inc. They were people who kill people on contract.

Two young guys, producers at Allied Artists, wanted to a film about Al Capone. They had a script which was thrown out. They saw my show with Eli Wallach and they sent for me and pitched me to do Al Capone. I said, yes. Al Capone was from Brooklyn, a crummy area. I was raised in a similar area, in fact the area I was raised in had a higher crime rate. I know how those people talk because many of my friends ended up getting arrested.

They said, who would you like? I said, we tried to get Rod Steiger. They contacted Steiger and he said he didn't want to do it. So they went to Lew Wasserman, who was perhaps the smartest man in Hollywood. He owned MCA Inc. Lew called Rod in his office, and said look, Rod. I am interested in your career. You've done great films, like "On The Waterfront." But the last three or four films you've done have been bums, and you picked them yourself.

Lew said, I have read the script and I think it's great for you. I guarantee you if you want to do the part, they want you so much you'll get ten percent of the gross.

So Steiger mumbled. But he did it. But it was very successful and he made a lot of money out of it.

A few weeks before he died, a producer for AMC named Danny Anker wanted to do a film about Hollywood & The Holocaust. He came to see me and I suggested he go out to see Steiger. He went out to see Steiger's house and said, remember Malvin Wald? Steiger said certainly. He pointed to a wall poster and said, there I am and there's Malvin's name. They filmed him and two weeks later he died. That will be on the air on AMC.

Remember the "The Long Good Friday" with Bob Hoskins? All the critics said, that was an imitation of "Al Capone," or a tribute. "The Untouchables" movie, Robert DeNiro was playing the part of Al Capone. He got a copy of our film. Whether he knew it or not, he subconsciously stole some of the dialogue. He probably told them, I'm just improvising something. He got wonderful reviews for it.

The truth about Eliot Ness was that he accomplished very little. He raided a few warehouses with liquor but he didn't overthrow Capone. Capone was overthrown by the fact that President Herbert Hoover was in Florida. He went to a hotel and people applauded him.

He said to his staff, see I really am popular. And they said, no Mr. President, it's the man behind you — Al Capone. A gentleman who killed two hundred people. The head gangster of America.

The President said, why isn't he in prison?

The staff said, Mr. President, murder is a local crime. It's not prosecuted by the United States government, but by the Chicago police force. Al Capone OWNS the Chicago Police Force. He OWNS the Governor of Illinois. There's nothing we can do.

Then in his cabinet meeting, the President says, this is a disgrace. This gangster is walking around free and he's killed innocent people. What can we do about it?

The Secretary of the Treasury said, Mr. President, in 1912 a law was passed, a very obscure law that no one has ever prosecuted. It's called "Income Tax Evasion." We looked up Capone's income tax returns. Since 1926 he's made $100 million but he only reported $50,000. So we'd like to take this obscure law and try to get him on income tax evasion.

So they sent four accountants to Chicago and they dug up this information and he ended up getting 13 years in prison.

When Capone got to prison in Atlanta first, there were many people inside whose brothers or cousins were killed by Capone, and they tried to kill him. So the governor said, we better protect him. They took him to Alcatraz where he'd be safe. While he was in Alcatraz he developed syphilis so they let him out. He went to Florida and lived on an island and died.

Steiger was fascinated by the character. Once he got into it, he moved into the studio a month in advance. He had a very fine man named Joe Sargent, now a top director, as a dialogue coach. Every day he would come to me and say, what about this line? What do you mean about this? He would question every line.

The director, Dick Wilson, said to Rod, look, you've got all your friends to be in this thing. You'd think they'd be willing to ignore the SAG rules and have two weeks rehearsal like a stage play. And he said, sure, they'll do it. So we rehearsed like a Broadway play, improvised, rewrote many lines of the script. So when they went to work on the sound stage, they had it down pat. They were able to do the thing for $500,000, the picture grossed around $20 million.

Malvin: In 1948 I was trying to go to Washington to work with Drew Pearson. Drew Pearson was the most important political columnist in America. I said, I'd like to have lunch with you every day. He said, I go around to cabinet ministers giving secrets, so you can't be there. We'll meet for lunch at the Mayflower.

I was waiting there and along came J. Edgar Hoover. The two of them talked and Pearson pointed to me and I waved to him and pretty soon Hoover left. I sat down and Pearson said, look — this is 1948 — let me tell you what's going to happen to Hollywood. There's going to be a bloodbath. When you go back, do not sign any petitions.

I said, why? He said because the man who is handing out the petitions is an FBI man. They've infiltrated the Communist Party, all the left wing organizations. If you were to sign a petition and they call you before Congress and you say I didn't sign that petition, the FBI man says, wrong, I was there.

Five-O: Did Pearson consider you a liberal or left-winger?

Malvin: No, he was a Quaker, a liberal. When I came back everybody was signing petitions right and left and I wouldn't do it. Pearson said, don't tell anybody because if it gets back to J. Edgar Hoover that I tipped you off he wouldn't like it. So he says, I'm trusting you.

People say, why don't you sign the petition. I said I prefer not to. You can't imagine how many of my friends were blacklisted, signing these petitions that the FBI had. Some of my friends that were blacklisted, didn't work for years.

That's how I escaped the blacklist, because I had been warned in advance.

Malvin: When I was in school, Brooklyn College 1934, my Spanish teacher said go to an art gallery called American Place, on Madison Avenue and write a criticism of the works of someone named Georgia O'Keefe. While there, I was looking at a work called "Two Blue Lines," which I couldn't figure out.

There was a man I thought was the janitor, and I asked him what it meant.

He said, well, what do you feel?

I said, nothing.

He says, you really are stupid, come with me. He took me to the office and showed me some beautiful black and white photographs of Central Park in a snowstorm, immigrants at Ellis Island.

And I said, that I can really feel emotion in. In fact the photographer of these pictures I think is a greater artist than Ms. O'Keefe.

I said, my name is Malvin.

He said, my name is Alfred.

And I said, for my report, can I say you're the caretaker? He says, you might as well say that. I then go back to school and I write my report in Spanish.

The teacher calls me after class: "You're really a wise guy aren't you? The man you said is the janitor happens to be Alfred Stieglitz, the Socrates of the 20th Century, the world's greatest photographer, the man who's bringing impressionist art to America, and you really are stupid."

So I said, if I'm stupid how come he invited me back for some art lessons?

So I went back to see Alfred again and he told me about Ms. O'Keefe, how she was a student at Columbia University. And a friend of hers took one of her paintings and gave it to him and he put it on exhibit, and she came and said, how dare you do that? And he said, just shut up. You're a great talent. And then later he divorced his wife and married Ms. O'Keefe. He was about 20 years older.

And then he told me how the Rockefellers would send their art buyers down. He threw them out. He said let the Rockefellers come down themselves. I'm not helping interior decorators.

Then he suddenly remembered and asked me, why are you writing a report in Spanish?

And I said I'm majoring in Spanish and I want to be a Spanish teacher.

He said, why?

I said, this is 1934. There's a Depression on, I want security.

He said, you want to spend the rest of your life locked up in a classroom with a bunch of teenagers saying "e" changes to "i" in the subjunctive? What a waste of a life! Have you thought of the arts?

I said, well, I have no talent. I tried photography. I tried painting. I'm not very good.

He said, have you had any remote success?

I said, I happened to write some jokes which I sent in to Walter Winchell and Mark Hellinger, and they printed it.

He said, why don't you pursue writing and try and see what happens?

Malvin: When I went to do "Naked City" I recalled the photography of Stieglitz and I told Mark Hellinger that. This was 1946. But oddly enough, Mr. Hellinger knew very little about Stieglitz. It's amazing. People in Hollywood are uneducated. He knew nothing about documentaries. He'd never seen one in his life.

Later a friend of mine named Ruth Orkin showed me a book of photographs called "Weegee's Naked City." The man's name was Arthur Fellig. He was a news photographer. He used to sit in his car all night with a police radio. As soon as he heard there was a murder he'd get there first, photograph the corpse before the cops arrived. And the cops said, Hey, Arthur, you got some kind of Ouija board there?

He put these photographs in a book called "Weegee's Naked City." No one ever heard of it but my friend Ruth Orkin, who went on to become a very famous filmmaker, her best friend was Stanley Kubrick. She said, Stanley and I just think his stuff is great. Why don't you get the book?

I got the book and I called Mr. Hellinger in New York and I said, I want you to buy the book for the title alone. He says, why? I said, the words "Naked City," it's so poetic!

So he bought the book, that was the title, and when I came back to New York having done all my research, I had a whole book full of stories. He said, do you have a story for me? I said, frankly speaking there's probably around 8 million stories in the Naked City. He said don't give me the 8 million, give me one! So I gave him one story, which we developed into a film.

Hellinger was thrilled because this was a case where a woman was drowned in a bathtub. He said, Oh my god. Winchell and I were driving around and we heard about it. We came and we saw the corpse. He said I know all about the case. But it never was solved.

I said, I solved it.

He said, what did you solve it?

I saw the secret files, the police were paid off.

What do you mean?

I said, this model was being kept by a man named Stoatsbury of Philadelphia. They found his pajamas there and other evidence. Not that he was involved in the murder but that he was keeping her. And therefore it's obvious that Stoatsbury bribed the police to bury the case for the sake of his reputation and that was the end of the investigation. That's why it's an unsolved crime.

Hellinger was thrilled.

The point is, we never would have made the picture if we'd shown the corruption like in "Serpico," we wouldn't have had the picture made. First of all, I wouldn't have had a chance to do all this research. The New York Police opened their files to me. Unsolved cases.

What happened was this. I heard about the police academy and I wanted to go. The Deputy Chief of police said, come on now, civilians are not allowed at the Police Academy. It's a street in Brooklyn and I can't even find it. A street called Cranberry Place.

I said I know exactly where it is, next to Raspberry Place, Peach Place and so on.

He said you're really pulling my leg.

So I said, Chief, let's send for a map of Brooklyn. Sure enough there were four tiny little streets about 100 yards long named for the names of fruit.

He said how did you know that?

I said, I happen to know more than you do about the city, and you're the Deputy Chief of Police.

He said, all right you can go down to the school. So I took the classes in homicide, ingerprinting. What's interesting, there were many young detectives there my age. They had never seen a murder because murder only takes place in the city. If someone's out in Queens or quiet parts of Brooklyn, they had never seen a corpse in their life.

So the instructor says to the students, all right you're on the scene of the crime, you see a gun, what do you do with it? It's a murder weapon. One guy raises his hand, says, I put it in my pocket, take it back to the lab. Wrong! What you've done is smear all the fingerprints.

Someone else said, what you do is, you take a pencil and put it in the barrel of the revolver, right?

Instructor says, I'm glad you asked that. Because you put a pencil in, you destroyed all the ballistics markings.

I said, how do you do it?

He said, what you do is you take two wooden boards, and you put the revolver between like a sandwich and you nail it down, and you hand that weapon without any fingerprints or smudges to the police lab.

So I said, where do you get the hammer and board and nails?

He said, in your homicide kit — what kind of a detective are you? — right in the back of your car!

I never told him I wasn't a detective.

When I came back I wrote an article for the Writer's Guild magazine called "Cops 'n' Writers" about all the things I learned. And the studios started calling me and they said you know more than our research department. So I had to advise studios on correct police procedure.

When the film was finished, Hellinger said, you know, I like the film so much I'm going to personally narrate it. And you know how it ends? I said, how? He said, you know the expression there are 8 million stories in the Naked City. I'm gonna say, "There are 8 million stories in the Naked City and this has been one of them." How do you like that? I said, it's great. And now that's part of our lexicon.

Like Frasier said on TV the other night: "There are 8 million naked bodies in the naked city and I haven't seen one of them."

So that picture really started two things. The semi-documentary feature and the police genre.

When I went to England I discovered that "Naked City" had tied with Olivier's "Hamlet" and "The Bicycle Thief" as the best film of the year (1948) anywhere. This was 1952. When I was in London, I ended up working with the head of Scotland Yard, a man named Fabian of the Yard. Because he loved the movie. I actually was the head writer and technical adviser on a series about Scotland Yard.

You remember when the sheep was cloned? In the L.A Times they said there are two original sheep. Crime films. "Naked City," from that came Hill Street Blues. They all were clones of that. In the comedy field, "I Love Lucy." "Naked City" and "I Love Lucy" were the two original series in television and everybody just copied them and did variations.

Five-O: Were you close with "Naked City" director Jules Dassin?

Malvin: I belonged to something called the Actors' Lab, he was one of the directors there. One of his actors was a fellow named Howard Duff, who was doing Sam Spade on radio. In answer to your question, I wasn't close to him, but Hellinger was afraid of my screenplay, he said it's so revolutionary, so different, I'm afraid to do it. Then I asked him if he would give it to Jules Dassin. Dassin says, this is great, we're going to make history. I was very grateful to him.

Dassin started out doing shorts at MGM. Then I think he went over to Hellinger, he did "Brute Force." It was revolutionary, they had to change it because it portrays the Warden character played by Hume Cronyn as a homosexual.

By the way, Hemingway hated all films from his books except "The Killers." So he partnered with Mark Hellinger. I was set to write and get sole credit on "The Snows Of Kilamanjaro." My deal with Hellinger for the Hemingway credit was to make up for the misappropriation of the screenplay credit for "Naked City," which should have been:

Screenplay by:
Malvin Wald
Additional dialogue:
Albert Maltz

Instead it was released in the reverse order. Hellinger said, Maltz is a big name, critics love him. If you appealed the credit with the Writers' Guild you'd win, but I'm keeping it. I'll make it up to you on the Hemingway project.

But Hellinger died after a preview of "Naked City." "Naked City" was Hellinger's last picture.

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