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July 24, 2005

Color Him Sentimental

Just gotta share this gem of an e-mail with fellow Herschell Gordon Lewis fans! Forty years later, Color Me Blood Red casualty Dan Faulkner remembers his paddle-boat demise:

As I sat reminiscing in front of my computer some 10 days ago, I recalled the movie I had played a part in many years ago -- while a student at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida -- but had never seen. I Googled Color Me Blood Red.

Yesterday's mail included the "time capsule." I watched for the first time as I peddled the waters of the Gulf with that lovely young lady only to be struck down in my youth by the mad artist in his boat.

The special effect props as I most clearly recall were cow lungs from a local butcher which I grasped to my chest wound in feigned agony. It's a wonder I didn't get eaten by a shark! (I still wear the ring that can be seen on my right hand in those scenes.)

I think I received $35 for the work but I remember that I read for the part with my shirt on but when it came time for the shoot my beer gut was revealed much to somebody's dismay.

Everyone on the set was very nice as I recall.

It is one of my favorite memories.

Dan also included a newspaper clipping which I've transcribed:

Film being made on Longboat Key


By Harris Williams
Sarasota Herald Tribune (February 1964)

At a lonely spot just off Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key stands a ghostly grey house, its sides treated harshly by pounding surf and winds. Trees nearby have been uprooted by the elements but thick undergrowth almost completely hides the house.

Late Monday night there was a shotgun blast inside the house. Screams followed. Not one person, but many. Boys and girls, men and women, all giving off noises associated with a violent death.

Longboat Key's lone policeman drove by -- only a couple hundred yards away -- but smiled and kept going,

A movie was in the making.

Moving into the "haunted" house last Friday was the filming crew of Friedman-Lewis Film Co., out of Chicago plus actors and actresses from all over the northeast.

Heading up the filming are Dave Friedman, a former resident of Sarasota and Herschell G. Lewis. Friedman is the producer and Lewis is the director.

The two were in Orlando recently filming a picture and happened on the Longboat site because, "we had to have a lonely home with a deserted beach area. We saw this house, it was perfect and we have it leased until the film is complete," said Friedman. He added the company would spend about $30,000 a week here.

However, all scenes aren't in the house. Last Sunday the company put in 12 hours at the Longboat Key Art Gallery and Friedman said, "I have never had as much cooperation as the people at the gallery extended to us."

Other scenes will be shot in Gulf of Mexico waters.

Playing the male lead is Gordon Oas-Heim, a 37-year-old Chicagoan who recently starred in a movie titled The Parables. It was sponsored by the National Council of Protestant Churches and will run for two years at the World's Fair. He also had a part in That Kind of Woman starring Sophia Loren. The majority of his summer months are spent directing plays at his own theater, O'Hare Inn, located near the airport.

In the movie, Oas-Heim is a painter who in the process of the picture goes insane. His model is played by shapely Elyn Warner of New York. She is 21 years old and her work to date has been in television spots and off-Broadway shows, plus plays in the Miami area.

Also playing a feature role is Candi Conder, a Florida (Sanford) girl who was given her chance in movies after she won a beauty contest in the central part of the state.

Locals hired for the show are Scott Hall, 8025 Midnight Pass Road and Dan Faulkner, Ringling Art School.

In the movie Oas-Heim is a rich painter who likes to be left alone, thus the reason for his lonely beach house. However, a group of teen-agers invade his property for a party and eventually Miss Warner makes her way to the house.

While she is working as a model-helper, she cuts her finger on a nail. She carelessly wipes it on a canvas and Oas-Heim discovers the blood (The title is Color It Red) is the most beautiful color he has ever seen.

One thing leads to another and one murder leads to another until Oas-Heim decorates a painting with blood instead of oils and art critics rave.

However, his fame is short lived as he is found on the devastating end of a shotgun blast.

A Friedman and Lewis movie, Blood Feast, recently came in for much publicity in Sarasota when it was banned here by an injunction taken out by a dozen residents.

Legal action is still pending in the case but Friedman says his company is not involved and that the suit is being handled by the Florida State Theater attorneys. The movie chain is contracted to handle all Florida showings and Friedman and Lewis aren't legally concerned with the direct action.

Friedman said he was puzzled by certain aspects of the injunction but his own feeling was that "we make the picture and let the people themselves decide if they want to see it. I don't feel we should dictate what can and what can't be shown. Our movie was no worse than the horror films they show on the late show but these we just laugh at."

Posted by G. Noel Gross at July 24, 2005 3:27 PM

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