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Fred and I gathered a team of enthusiastic friends (including David Houston, who designed the sets) to make a 20-minute film about a young gang of bright Manhattan kids who form a secret superhero squad they call "JUSTICE INC."
I wrote the script, directed and edited the film, and it was produced by Dan Fauci, who was making money on Wall Street at the time, but clearly had creative blood that eventually took him to Paramount in LA, where he partnered with actor Ted Danson (CHEERS) and supervised TV Comedy production for several years.
"JUSTICE INC." is mostly a 16mm chase through New York streets and Central Park, with the five kids on bicycles, in uniform, equipped with amazing gadgets, choreographed to the "Donna Diana Overture" by von Reznicek.
(click here) for an except of JUSTICE INC.
This short film served as my portfolio when I applied to Grey Advertising for a job producing radio and TV spots.
Somehow, I got the job. Grey is a top ad agency, and for two years I made commercials for many major national clients. I had no idea, more than 40 years later, that MAD MEN would reproduce my era on Madison Avenue (Grey was actually at 777 Third Avenue).
I knew that advertising was not the field I wanted to spend my life in, but my time at Grey yielded incredible training and discipline. I learned budgeting, casting and editing. I flew to LA and directed Rod Serling (TWILIGHT ZONE) for voiceover in an award-winning spot.
I met the Everly Brothers and hung out with them for a week, as they performed at a Greenwich Village nightclub. I secured Barbara Bain and husband Martin Landau, my heroes from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, for spots we shot at Sunset Gower in 1970. I loved producing commercials.
I learned that every second of a :30 or :60-second spot had to be potent. Every voice, every note of music, every graphic, every cut, every frame had to sell the product -- whether it was RCA Records, Automatic Vanish Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Heinz spaghetti sauce, GE, Citgo or National Institute of Mental Health's anti-drug campaign.
(click here for) Grey TV commercials
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