July 20, 2007
Great Moments in Sound History

Otto Preminger - now there's a man who knew how to keep a sound mixer happy! Roger Ebert reports from the set of 1968's Skidoo:

Preminger, whose temper is said to make Genghis Khan resemble Colonel Sanders, moved impatiently onto the set...But just then a conversation from off the set became audible.

He marched out of the set and onto the platform, high above the floor of a sound stage at Paramount. A man with a mustache, who turned out to be the representative of the studio head, was talking to a cameraman.

"You!" Preminger roared, pointing an accusing finger at the man. "Out! Get off my set. Yesterday you come and make noise, and today you come and make noise, and that is all! All! If I see you on this set again, I will take my bare hands, and . . . I hear noise!" Preminger thundered. "Mr. Von Stroheim, do you hear noise?" His nose lifted up as if sniffing out the offending conversation.

"Nothing out here, said Erich Von Stroheim Jr., Preminger's first assistant director.

"All the same." Preminger roared, "I hear noise. I cannot stand noise, and I am the director, and this is my set, and that is my privilege!"

...Preminger marched to the telephone to talk to Paramount's front office.

"Number one," he shouted, "do not ever let that man on my set again -- that what's-his-name. That's number one."


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