Blogger note: I’ve heard some din from bitter people about Sarge “sugar-coating” his LRH stories. Makes me shake my head with a mixture of amusement and pity. They don’t get it. You get what you give. The way you get treated in life has a little something to do with the way you treat life and others. I’ve known Sarge since 1978. He’s the closest thing to Forest Gump I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. As I have said from the outset, those who want to natter and tear down the Old Man post-humously, you’ve got plenty of forums older and more widely read than mine to do so at your heart’s content. Have at it. Over there.
CINE by Sarge
After my adventure as Supercargo WHQ, in 1977, I was happily a courier again. The Old Man had written up scripts for a new project called Cine. One day I was at the stables washing my vehicle when a messenger came and asked me to paint a backdrop to go behind a window. The Old Man was doing camera tests as a pre-production project called ‘get your feet wet’. The ‘date packing plant’ had been turned into a studio for ‘Cine’ shoots. I was chosen to paint a simple backdrop because I had been an artist since a kid and knew how to mix colors etc. I found an old sheet of plywood and used some house paint left over from renos. I painted a simple mountain landscape. I even added a tree or two.
Well, next day after my courier run, a messenger came up to me all excited and said LRH wants to see you. I was thinking about telling him I could do better if I had more time and some better materials, etc. Lots of justifiers. When I arrived at the Studio (makeshift affair put together from an old date packing plant), I found a very happy and excited LRH looking through a camera lens. He had me come over to look through the lens at my backdrop neatly framed by the window. Wow! Did I do that? It looked real. I was as impressed as he was. The Old Man called me a genius (again) and also called me Rembrandt.
During Cine the whole crew, including those with full-time posts were used as extras, and held other part time Cine posts. After Cine was in full production the Art Director at the time was found wandering around the alfalfa field talking to himself. Well….yes, (gulp) I was next. It’s amazing how it happened. Instead of the Old Man just posting me as Art Director, he sent Maria Starkey to ask me to help LRH out. There’s that help button again. Maria was now Supercargo WHQ. Well, I figured if I had a way out, I was going to take it. I said no thanks. Then, came Maria and Norman Starkey with their best reg hats on and talked me into it.’ Shame Sarge, LRH needs you.’ Norman was the Producer (held half the org board) and I was to be Art Director (and hold the other half). Scared to say the least. The Old Man was happy to have me on post and started me out on gradients again. I would read the scripts and submit a set design while I was also reading Cine hat material.
The first few set designs were approved with VWDs. Then it got rougher. It seems I was also in charge of Sets, props, wardrobe, makeup and special effects etc. I had to handle a whole lot of natter, crying, temper tantrums, etc. I never got another approved set design. (justifiers again). I soon became overwhelmed. When I was reassigned to LEC (LRH External Comm) I was relieved and also felt I let the Old Man down. I assigned myself confusion as it seemed to fit.
Toward the end of Cine and WHQ, the Old Man looked sick. The atmosphere was one of group bank against LRH and the CMO. LRH invited anyone who didn’t want to be there to leave. Many did. I was walking from LEC in ‘Olives’ to the ranch house as many with bags were leaving and the Old Man was there with messengers. He walked up to me and I was surprised when he said, ‘well, are you leaving too?’. I looked him in the eyes and said ‘no Sir! I’m staying!’ I could tell he was not well, but he said ‘Good!’