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The Golem

By: Dale C. Uhlmann

Why must all these damn potboilers be so predictable?," wondered Emanuel Myering, as he, along with studio head George Lowell, " the Louis B. Mayer of Poverty Row," sat screening the completed footage of Amalgamated Releasing Corporation's newest horror opus, Valley of the Undead." "I think," Emanuel afterwards insisted, while adjusting his eyes to the brilliant afternoon California sun after having spent the last four hours previewing the studio's latest slate of cheap Westerns, musicals, and horror films in the dark environs of what he called the "Bunker," "that Valley could use a more imaginative ending."

"What's wrong with it?," Lowell asked, as the two hurried past the trio of swim-fin extras rushing toward soundstage C, where the "Daughters of Neptune" number for Meremaids of 1938 , a lavish production, at least by ARC's standards, was ready to be shot.

"Professor Van Zalen driving the stake through Countess Zorba's heart and emerging from the crypt, bathed in bright sunlight, as that sappy music swells-it's been done before. Hell, we've done it before!

"He's a vampire hunter, for Christ's sake!," Lowell answered.

"Yeah, but, why not, for once, have a twist ending? Look…get this…," the now animated Emanuel tried to explain, motioning with his hands frantically. "Let's have Van Zalen leave the tomb and be immediately apprehended by two armed security guards, and end the film with an explosion of newspaper headlines, cued by thundering music, announcing, "College Professor Insane! Lunatic Drives Stake Through Innocent Woman's Heart!-Cuts Off Head and Stuffs Mouth with Garlic!" State Will Seek Chair!" "That way, the audience will wonder if the vampires they'd seen in the movie were real or not. Maybe they were just a figment of the character's deranged mind."

"For one thing," the Studio Head informed his Chief Executive Producer, "the Breen Office censors will not allow us to cut off a woman's head on screen, let alone stuff garlic in her mouth. And even if they did, the audience expects to see good triumphing over evil in a horror movie. It's a winning formula; why change it? Besides, this type of picture is only to gross so much anyway, no matter how imaginative or creative we try to be, so why spend the extra time and money?"

The bottom line was the only line as far was as Lowell was concerned. Still, Emanuel couldn't criticize this philosophy too much. After all, hadn't Lowell successfully renovated silent screen comic Larry Semon's old studio in downtown L.A., spent the extra money needed to soundproofed the rotting old edifice, and turned it into a thriving B-picture enterprise? True, ARC's cinematic fare was about as fresh and as new as a month-old banana browned by the mid-July sun, but the junk was turning a profit. Still, Emanuel did not want the epitaph "King of the Cheapies" on his tombstone, and was always trying to bring, despite budget restrictions, some creativity and respectability to ARC's product.

So it would be, he had decided, with the studio's next horror project, which Manuel had planned to sandwich between two other planned winter releases, the outdoors oater Song of the West and the air force drama King of the Skies. He knew, though, that if ARC were going to compete with Universal's star-studded, big-budget horror opus Son of Frankenstein, which would also be released after the first of the new year, they would have to expand their horizons somewhat. The first order of business was to find a truly colorful and compelling monster, in order to sell the picture. Universal, however, held exclusive right to all of Hollywood's "name" menaces: the Frankenstein Monster, Count Dracula, the Mummy, and the Invisible Man. Therefore, Emanuel knew that the title creature had to be a character that moviegoers would recognize, but still be in the public domain, so that the studio wouldn't have to pay copyright fees. "I can think of only one choice, Mr. Lowell," Emanuel announced the next day, "the Golem."

Ever since childhood, when his grandmother would entertain him with stories from Jewish folklore, Emanuel had been fascinated by the sixteenth-century legend of the Golem of Prague, a giant of a man that Rabbi Judah Lowe ben Bezabel (Loeb) had fashioned out of clay, in order to protect his Jewish brethren from persecution by the city's religious authorities. The creature had been brought to life by placing a piece of parchment with the words Shem Hameforash (God's true name) in its mouth. The Golem did its job, but eventually went berserk, and had to be returned to lifeless clay by removing the table. According to other tales, a golem could also be brought to life by marking the word Emet, meaning Truth , on its forehead. If the first letter were removed, the resulting word would be "met, " meaning deat , thus similarly destroying the creature. Emanuel was convinced that he had found the right monster, but Lowell, as usual, disagreed with his young protégé.

"Too Jewish, Manny, too Jewish," replied Lowell, as the attractive young manicurist who had been monopolizing his attention during their entire production conference, finished the two-bit mogul's nails, neatly placed her file in the top pocket of her neatly starched white uniform blouse, and excused herself, leaving Emanuel alone to once again defend his artistic aspirations, which always conflicted with his boss's determination to cater purely to mainstream audience tastes. But Lowell's disapproval of Jewish characters and themes indicated a latent disapproval of a heritage that, unlike Emanuel, he had grown ashamed of, for, in the name of quick assimilation and acceptance, Lowell had become a yiddishe yankee, to the point of having virtually memorized his entire third edition Compendium of American Slang, carrying, in his car, a telephone cut off at the chord, so as to hold fictional teleconferences for the benefit of his fellow motorists when stalled in traffic, so as to further his "Hollywood big shot" image without having to pay for an actual car phone (in Hollywood, illusion was always more important than reality anyway), and changing his surname from Lowenstein to Lowell.

Emanuel's highest priority, by contrast, had always been artistic, not cultural, acceptance. Unlike his boss, Emanuel was proud of his German Hebrew background. This lanky, poor, staruck kid from Brooklyn, who had worked himself up from studio mail deliverer, prop boy, key grip, dialogue coach, and assistant director, to executive producer, had never opted for a more "American" name, and still openly practiced his family's religious and culinary traditions. If he was too "New York" (a long-standing anti-Semitic code name) for most people's tastes, then so be it.

"Look," Emanuel countered, "the Golem is known all over the world. This hulking, walking mass of clay is the closest we can get to Karloff's Frankenstein Monster. Why, did you know that that silent version of The Golem, from around fifteen years ago, directly inspired James Whale, director of the first Frankenstein at Universal? Besides, think of the big overseas European market, especially in Germany, where the Golem story had been already filmed three separate times, and always to big crowds. And we'd better move fast, before that son of a bitch Hitler goes too far, and starts a war with England and France, and FDR asks us not to export any more movies there period."

Hitler was a sore subject with Emanuel, who was genuinely disturbed by the stories of anti-Jewish measures that his relatives from Berlin were writing him daily of. Lowell, however, would callously dismiss those stories, from his own relatives, as mere exaggerations, claiming that "most of those old stubborn Jewish Krauts" were trouble- Makers anyway. On those occasions, it was all Emanuel could to do to hold his tongue and not tell the ignorant bastard to go fuck himself.

"O.K., Manny, O.K.," Lowell conceded to Emanuel's choice of story material. "The Golem it is. But what about the cast? On a ten-day, $85,000 budget, tops, we could never afford a Karloff, a Lugosi, or a Rathbone."

"I know," agreed Emanuel, "but we'll need some names, nevertheless. Wait…how about…Ramon Corday? He still has enough of a name to draw at least the women who would still remember him when he was a Matinee Idol in the twenties."

Despite this fact, Lowell had some reservations about Corday, who, despite his dark, exotic-looking features, had been born Jacob Schnars in Austria. True, he had been Valentino's chief rival in the silent days, but that was before sound had exposed a cumbersome Teutonic accent, and before the Gables, Cagneys, and Coopers would later make the "Latin lover" image seem comically antiquarian. Moreover, ever since he had suffered a fall from his camel during an action scene in 1925's Son of the Desert , Corday had become addicted to morphine, and was now taking any lowly part to pay for what he euphemistically now called his "medication." But, Lowell reasoned, he could be had for a song. Besides, could he find playing a monster any more demeaning than his latest "strictly for the money" role, as a geeky voyeur in a stag nudie film? Still, even Lowell realized that Emanuel would have to break the news gently to the still egotistical actor that he would be playing what he would no doubt consider a freak.

For the requisite ingénue role, the two agreed on Jean Grant, once a promising child star, but now a struggling young actress who had recently signed an ARC contract to play in the studio's 1937 Western serial Avenger of the Plains. A veteran trouper, she had been forced into the business by her domineering mother, who, after her indigent husband had abandoned the family, saw her musically inclined daughter as a meal ticket, and attempted to fulfill her own frustrated show business aspirations through Jean, whom she pushed relentlessly to be a star. Whenever Jean couldn't cry on cue for a particularly sentimental scene, her mother could induce real tears in an off-the-set, behind-the-closed-trailer-doors moment, whipping her with the silver-tipped ends of her purse straps. Once, when Jean had refused to stay home and study her lines for the next day's shooting on a film that she was currently working on, having wanted instead, like most adolescents, to attend a party with her friends, her mother had placed the girl's hands over their electric stove's open, hot burners, convincing her, on pain of serious injury, to change her plans for the evening.

When she had turned eighteen and had finally escaped her mother's tyranny, with the intentions of bidding adieu to show business, she thought that she had found happiness in her romance, and subsequent marriage to, promising young musical comedy star Tim Swift, whom she had met while on the Paramount lot, where they had once both been under contract. Tragedy would soon await her, however, for her husband's long-guarded secret had now been in danger of exposure: a reporter from Hollywood Confidential had learned that Tim had briefly while a struggling young actor, making extra income as a male prostitute who would supply his services to members of Hollywood's clandestine homosexual community.

Faced with certain ruination of his career, Tim had, after he and Jean had been married for three weeks, awakened around 3AM one Monday morning, while Jean was still sleeping, stepped outside under the calm, still dark, but starry southern California sky, placed a 22 caliber rifle in his mouth, and promptly put his fears to rest. A Confidential reporter, in the company of the LA police, who had been promptly called by the couple's neighbors, had preserved the grim tableau of Jean, her eyes dim and glazed with shock and grief, cradling her husband's body while blood and brain matter defiled the purity of her white nylon nightgown, for posterity. Months of counseling to wean her off a subsequent sleeping pill addiction had followed, with a brief suicide watch in a sanitarium, more fodder for the tabloids. On the advice of her psychiatrist, who had urged her to seek solace through activity, Jean had reluctantly returned to the only work that she had ever known-acting. Still, it was a profession that had never held any joy for her, and ARC had, to its credit, taken special pains to assign this now emotionally ravaged woman-child the most amiable, undemanding directors possible.

One such director was Jack Danvers, a silent screen veteran who had gotten his start, like many behind the camera, working for the great D.W. Griffith. Danvers had developed a reputation for never pushing his cast and crew, but working briskly and efficiently nevertheless, and getting every shot in the can in one take, hence his nickname, "One Shot." Detractors, however, liked to point out that Danvers, who could never remember names, and thus called every performer and technician, even women, "Bud," had earned his appellation for another reason: one shot of bourbon was never enough for him, and his weekend binges were legendary. Once, while thoroughly smashed, he had tried to duplicate Harold Lloyd's famous "human fly" routine outside his hotel building-in the nude.

Still, while on the set, he stayed away from the bottle, and handled well assignments on tight schedules and slim budgets.

Everything, then, seemed to be in place. The film would be a contemporary version of the Golem of Prague, so as to save costs on what would otherwise have been more expensive period costumes and sets, with Ramon Corday as the Golem, and Jean Grant as Rabbi Loeb's daughter, with films to commence in five days. But then the production hit an unexpected snag. When Corday was told that he would be playing the mute title creature, the former silver screen Latin Lover balked.

Where's my dialogue?," he demanded, perusing the script.

"You don't have any, Ramon," Emanuel tried to explain. "You just lumber around and grunt."

"You can get any tall extra to play this part," Corday explained. "I'm an actor, not a freak."

"You didn't object to playing a bearded geek in a porno loop, Ramon," logically countered Emanuel.

"That was different," insisted Corday. "Nobody recognized me with that thick, black crepe beard I wore, and I played the part under a pseudonym. You may be counting on my name to help sell this picture, but I still own this name, and I won't play some grunting half-wit, no matter how badly I need the money-even for my "medication," which this damn town has addicted me to."

"Look, Ramon, will you at least do a make-up test for the part? When you see how menacing and impressive you'll look, you'll change your mind, I'm sure. Why, this part could make you another Karloff!"

Corday really didn't want to be the next Karloff. Romantic and/or classical character roles, he was convinced, would be his ticket back to stardom, but he grudgingly agreed to meet the studio half way. When he stepped before the cameras, though, in full makeup and costume, Lowell, who had joined Emanuel on the set to observe the screen test, remarked, "Jesus Christ," Lowell remarked, "he looks like some fag from The Nutcracker!," and burst out laughing. Emanuel didn't laugh, but even he realized that the two had made a mistake in casting the frail-looking, fifty-year-old actor, who now spouted a prominent bulging waistline, in such a physically imposing role.

Humiliated, Corday instantly stormed off the set, only to be lured back by Emanuel's promise to drop the studio contract player that he had originally chosen for the supporting role of Rabbi Loeb, and recast him in the part. That way, Corday could sink his teeth into the script's rather fruity dialogue, and enjoy "And Also Starring…" billing, a ploy that, Emanuel hoped, would sell some tickets to what he (despite the fact that remaking The Golem had been his idea) now was fearing would be a colossal turkey--truly, his very own Frankenstein Monster. "Face facts, schmuck," Emanuel told his reflection in his bathroom mirror while shaving the next morning. "You've got a drunk for a director, a psychiatric patient for a leading lady, a drug addict for the lead supporting role, and, worst of all, for a horror film, no monster-no Golem! How in the hell are you going to find a suitable, let alone marketable, actor for this friggin' part, and with only four days remaining until we shoot?" It was not hard for Emanuel to imagine himself ending up joining Corday in the destitute actor's next inevitable stag film assignment.

Emanuel felt that he had no choice but to call Actors' Equity, knowing that even the famed talent agency could not, on such short notice, get him an affordable "name" star, but perhaps, at least, an experienced actor with the right physical stature for the Golem role. The answer to his call unexpectedly came two days later, when AE told Emanuel to expect agent Nathan Green and his client. Jon Melog, the next morning.

When Emanuel met the pair in his office the following day, at first he thought that the agency had sent him a burlesque comedy team. Green was short, about 5'2," thin, and, for a man who was probably in his twenties, prematurely balding, with tufts of dark brown hair protruding above his ears. Melog, on the other hand, was truly a monolith of a man, tall, about 6'6," with an impressive 300 lb. physique and a barrel chest. His handshake, while unusually cold, felt so strong that any extra pressure would have crushed Emanuel's extended hand. He certainly could meet the part's physical demands, and, because of his rather peculiar grayish-brown hue (due to a recent bout with the flu from which his client had just recovered, Green reassured Emanuel), probably would require very little skin-tone makeup. His forehead bore a most unusual scar, but one which could easily be concealed by what little makeup he would require. But could he act? "Certainly, sir," Melog answered politely. "I've acted in regional theatre since I was sixteen, everything from Shakespeare to Dostoevski."

"Any movie work?," Emanuel asked.

"Oh, yes, sir-in at least twenty-five motion pictures."

"Not in this country, surely."

"No, sir, in my native Prague."

"Prague? Well, this part would seem to be right up your alley, wouldn't it?"

"Yes, sir. I hope so, sir."

"Well, Emanuel replied, addressing Melog's agent, "he's hired. He'll be paid scale, of course, and you'll get the standard AE agent fee-"

"Not so fast, Mr. Myering," Green interrupted. "I don't think you realize what a find you're getting in Mr. Melog, what a legend he is in his native country. I think that, in view of this fact, he is entitled to at least twice pay scale salary, and myself of a corresponding double agent fee."

"Now, look, Green," Emanuel objected, "he may be a 'legend' in Czechoslovakia, but his name means nothing to American audiences."

"Oh yes, about his name, and his billing, Mr. Myering. We realize that above-the-title billing, at his point, may be a bit presumptuous-"

"Yes, very presumptuous!"

"But certainly special "And Introducing Jon Melog as the Golem" would not be out of the question, would it? And may I suggest, too, in your publicity, "Introducing the Renowned International Star Jon Melog as the Golem?"

Emanuel paced around his office table, knowing that Lowell might fire him for agreeing to Green's outrageous salary demands, but realizing that, with the looming production staring him in the face, it was either Melog-and on Green's terms-or no Golem.

"O.K., you win," Emanuel conceded. "Have him report at 5AM sharp, Tuesday morning."

When Melog officially reported to the set at 6:30AM following makeup and wardrobe, Emanuel had no doubt that he had made the right casting decision. In the makeup and costume, Melog seemed like the Golem of Prague reborn. It was now time to meet his director and principal co-stars. Melog seemed polite, yet reserved, when introduced to Jack Danvers and Ramon Corday, and quite shy, a trait that she found sweet and endearing, to Jean, with whom now yearning for acceptance and affection following the trauma in her life, would strike up a friendship.

The first few days of shooting went quite smoothly. Melog was quite cooperative-unusually so, Emanuel felt-when taking direction, as docile as a trained dog, whether knocking down cardboard fences, or tossing rubber boulders at mobs (simulated, of course, by stock footage riots of the Russian Revolution). For his part, Danvers lived up to his "one shot" reputation, moving from one camera set-up to another at a remarkably brisk pace, even for him, but always with that good-natured amiability which put everyone else at ease. Even the normally egotistical Corday, who was acting up a storm in his wildly over-the-top performance as Rabbi Loeb, arching his eyebrows, flaring his nostrils, and popping his mouth in expressions of shock and amazement, as if is this were a silent movie, seemed to be enjoying himself, even overlooking Danvers' persistent habit of calling him "Bud." Danvers was unflappable, even when he was short of an extra to play an additional priest in a scene in which the Golem tears down the synagogue. He simply had the same extra, whose character (the leader of the anti-Jewish mob) had been earlier killed by the Golem, don a long, fake beard and dreadlocks to play the part, reasoning that no one would recognize him under that heavy makeup, and he would not have to fall behind schedule. In fact, it appeared as if "One Shot" would even finish the film ahead of its ten-day schedule.

Then, on day eight, Melog went messugah , as Emanuel would remember decades later. He showed up an hour late, without explanation, quite a departure from the otherwise professional behavior that he had displayed up to that point. Green, who was as surprised as anybody else by his client's tardiness, assured Emanuel that it would not happen again.

But it did. On day nine, Melog was again late, and this time with a tall, red-haired leopard leotard-clad hooker, with whom he had obviously spent the night with, on his arm. "He's got a battering ram between his legs!," the young lady confided to the burly security guard who instantly escorted her from the lot. "Tell him," Emanuel informed Green, as his reprobate client departed for the makeup and wardrobe departments, as if nothing had happened, "that if this happens again-picture or no picture-I'll put both of you on the first plane back to Prague-personally! Emanuel's problems were far from over that day, however. When Melog finally arrived on the set, in full Golem regalia, Danvers tried to explain, from his special director's chair and shouting into his megaphone, how he should properly carry Jean to the safety of the synagogue in the next scene. When Danvers followed his instructions with his customary, "Got that, Bud?," Melog's normally placid face became a mask of rage. He lifted Danvers, who, in the meantime, had dropped his megaphone, from his director's chair, brought his shocked face up to his own, eye level, and shouted, "MY NAME IS NOT 'BUD!' MY NAME IS 'MELOG!,'" and roughly flung him back into his chair.. At that point, as Danvers himself would remember many years later, all he had really wanted then were the services of a good laundry, for he had soiled his trousers in fright.

"Jon," Jean tried to reason with him. "What's wrong? You're not acting like yourself!"

Melog turned his eyes away from Jean in shame. Her approval and friendship were still important to him, but even she could not prevent him from tossing aside Corday like a rag doll when the actor unwisely grabbed him by his massive shoulders and demanded to know why he was behaving so unprofessionally. Danvers, having regained his composure, called Emanuel, who then alerted security, but Melog easily disposed of the studio's most able-bodied guards, flinging them across the soundstage as if they were balsam props. When Emanuel himself arrived, he was witness to Melog tossing and breaking camera and sound equipment in an uncontrollable rage, muttering audibly to himself, "I refuse to be a slave! I am a man, not a slave-not a servant!"

"Stop!," now called an outraged voice from the other side of the soundstage. Up to the scene of the melee marched a frail, yet determined, gallant elderly man in a dark gray suit, and wearing a star of David medallion and a ceremonial skull cap. Inexplicably, Melog instantly halted his wholesale destruction, but never once looked at the brave old gentleman, but fearfully turned his eyes toward Green, evidently hoping for support and protection.

"Mr. Myering, I understand," the patriarch addressed Emanuel, who nodded in acknowledgment. "My name is Rabbi Shakel, of the Synagogue of Prague, and I am here to put an end to this sacrilege-and to this deception," he announced, now fixing his eyes on Green in an stare of icy contempt. "If you," he continued, again addressing Emanuel, "would be so kind as to escort myself, Mr. Green, and Mr. Melog to your office, I would be happy to explain this whole unfortunate episode to you."

"I wish somebody would," Emanuel replied, utterly stunned by this bizarre turn of events.

As promised, Rabbi Shakel began his explanation, and in a controlled, yet impassioned voice as he strode up and down the perimeters of Emanuel's office while the other three listened in rapt attention. "Mr. Myering, I am afraid that you have been the victim of a cruel hoax, perpetrated by this man." He pointed an accusing forefinger, distorted by arthritis, at Nathan Green. "Tell him your true identity," commanded the old man.

"My name is Nathan Green, but I'm no agent. I'm a seminary student of Rabbi Shakel's."

"Yes," the Rabbi added, "and when he learned, through his American kinsman, that you were searching for the ideal actor to play the Golem, he decided to pull off this subterfuge in order to make money-and thus forsake his sacred vows."

"What did he do?," asked Emanuel.

"Tell him," ordered Shakel.

"I am a student of the Kaballah, the ancient Hebrew texts," answered Green, "and I had learned, through my seminary studies, the method by which the Kabbalists had formed life long ago from inanimate matter, through the right combination of sacred letters. When I learned of your call from my cousin, who works at Actors' Equity, I saw this as an ideal opportunity to make a fortune. After all, what more ideal choice for the Golem then a real life Golem itself? So I put the formula to the test, forming a living man out of clay and, following the texts of Eleazar of Worms, I recited the "alphabets of the zzI gates" over the creature's organs, and marked the word "Emet" on his forehead."

"Did you notice a rather unusual scar, running horizontally across Mr. Melog's forehead, when you first met Mr. Green's client, Mr. Myering?," the Rabbi asked. "This is what that scar had been hiding!"

With that, Rabbi Shakel lunged at Melog, and, with a sharp knife that he had pulled out of his breast pocket, slashed the actor's forehead, tearing away the artificial flesh that had been sewed over the holy word "Emet," streams of blood flowing over each letter. "No!, no!," screamed Melog in pain.

"Silence!," ordered Shakel, who continued to explain the seriousness of his student's sacrilege. "This creature had been created to protect the Jewish people from harm. But using a Golem for base and immoral purposes, as Mr. Green has done, will, the ancient Kaballahists believed, corrupt the creature, making him decadent, depraved, and destructive. "That is what has happened here, has it not? Worse yet, he can never regain his pristine nature, or fulfill his sacred mission, until he is returned to clay, and remade anew. And the truth is, Mr. Myering, that his services have never been needed more urgently than now, for prophecy has foretold of an imminent danger to the Jewish people of Europe, one unlike any other that they have ever experienced, and one that the whole world will soon learn of. That is why I am here, to make sure that death reclaims the Golem, so that he can purge himself of his corruption, live again, and prevent this unspeakable evil."

"No!," shouted Melog, jumping from his chair in defiance. "I want to LIVE, even as I am, even in this foreign land, and explore the full dimensions of this marvelous life I have been granted, here and now, AND ON MY OWN TERMS! I want to be free to choose my own destiny, to make the same mistakes, but experience the same joys, as others. I don't want to be somebody else's puppet or servant!" Before Rabbi Shakel could make a move, Melog had bolted from the room, and fled from the studio lot.

"A curse upon you, Nathan!, declared the Rabbi. "Because of your betrayal,--and for mere greed-the Golem's moral corruption will continue as he becomes more and more human, to the point that he will eventually have no memory at all of his previous identity or origins-until someone who alone knows the truth awakens those memories, and convinces him to fulfill his duty, no longer to himself, but to others. This will not be an easy task. In the meantime, Nathan, remember this: the blood of your own people-thousands, millions of men, women and children-whole families!-will now be on your hands!"

Emanuel never forgot these words-indeed, relived them in the faces of the approximately six million innocent victims of the Holocaust-lives that he held himself as responsible for as Nathan Green. After all, he reasoned, if he hadn't been so intent on just making a film-if he, too, hadn't seen the legend of the Golem as just a money-making enterprise-if… He continued his career as a successful producer, but this hidden guilt robbed his life of all happiness, and he never married. He enjoyed stable health until age eighty-one, when a debilitating stroke made hospitalization in the Motion Picture County Home a necessity, and, for the next fifteen years, Emanuel lived a quiet, yet monotonous existence of institutionalized routine. Yet there would be the odd visit or two from an old friend here, or a fellow studio executive there, although such visits became less and less frequent during the 1980s and 1990s. More frequent were interviews with Cinephiles, students of cinema who had proclaimed Emanuel an auteur, an icon of Hollywood's Golden (some would say Bronze) Age of double features and B movies. One such interview scheduled for the first week in January, 2003 (no one was more amazed than Emanuel that he had somehow lived to see the first three years of the new millennium), would prove especially memorable.

Jeffrey Gomel, a writer for Fantastic Cinema Magazine, had scheduled an interview with Emanuel for Monday of that week, but the now ninety-seven-year-old man's attention was riveted to his TV set, to a story being carried on CNN News about a threat by a Hamas terrorist to explode a "dirty" nuclear bomb over Tel-Aviv unless the government immediately agreed to its demands for release of Hamas prisoners captured eight months ago by Israeli intelligence. Talking about the grade B, C, and even Z films that he had made for ARC more than a half-century ago now seemed to Emanuel so trivial, and yet he felt obligated to keep the interview. As he rolled his wheel chair to the door to greet his visitor, who carried a laptop computer in his broad arms, Emanuel looked into the eyes of a 6'6" giant of a man with a most unique looking scar running horizontally across his forehead, and wondered if this rather innocuous interview could ultimately result in the salvation of approximately 33,600 innocent people. Dare he try to awaken the long-forgotten memories that he was certain lay behind those eyes? "Too daring Manny, too daring," he could again hear George Lowell say, but when had that ever stopped him before?

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