Who was the first famous person you met?
Funnily enough, I was thinking about this the other day. I didn’t even realize he was a famous person. Away back in the days when I was an apprentice and they still put coal in the back of the projectors, this person came into the box in the Regal in Kirkcaldy, and he was one of the directors of the ABC, Robert Clark. He came in, very polite, “How do you do? How are you getting on? Are you the new boy?” and I was thinking it was one of the bosses. It was one of the bosses, but it was only later I discovered he was THE Robert Clark, the producer of “The Dambusters”; he’d put his own money into the film. If you see the film you’ll see it, “produced by Robert Clark.” That was the first famous person I met, although I didn’t realize it at the time. He was a pretty big guy; as you know, “The Dambusters” is still spoken about yet as being one of the best British films.
I hope you were polite to the guy!
Well I was, he was my boss.
Who would you say was your favorite celebrity you’ve met. I suppose it wouldn’t be particularly politic to ask who you didn’t like…
The nicest person I’ve met was Richard Attenborough. The higher you tend to go in the career and they bigger they are, the nicer they are. It’s only as they get lower down that they get temperamental and when they get down to the downright nobodies they’re a damned pain in the neck.
Would that be because they’ve got something to prove>
I don’t know what it is, you know, they’ve made a four-minute film and you’ve to show it as part of a program for someone. You can get a huge producer or director and they’ll say, “Oh, hello Max,” find out who you are first of all, “just you do it the way you do it.” Then this guy comes in with his four-minute film and God almighty! He’s flighty, he’s running around the ceiling, “Oh my film, my film,” for God’s sake it ain’t “Gone With The Wind,” y’know? Of course you don’t say that.
True enough. So what was it about about Richard Attenborough that impressed you?
He was just a gentleman. The film was “Cry Freedom,” it was a 70mm presentation in Edinburgh, we ran it a couple of times in the morning, and I asked him, “How exactly do you want it run?” He said, “Ah, you do it whatever way you want,” and he gave me a big hug. Another incident was Leonard Nimoy, who came to the press showing in Glasgow for “The Wrath of Khan,” was it? “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan,” I think that was the one he directed. The Trekkies were there of course. He went outside and I took some photographs of him and the Trekkies. There were people walking past and you could see them looking at him and thinking, I know that person; he didn’t have his pointed ears on of course. And this old lady was sort of hanging about, looking and looking. And you could see her working it out in her mind, I know this person. And as he turned to go back into the cinema, to go up the stairs to meet the press, it dawned on the old lady who it was and she followed us in. I was walking up the stairs with Mister Spock, a camera strangling me round the neck, and she followed us in and then stopped, quite crestfallen, and sort of turned and walked away. By this time Leonard Nimoy’s eye caught this lady leaving the front door. He said, “Who was that Max?” I said, “I think she actually recognized you and she wanted your autograph.” He turned on his heel and went down the stair, left all the press standing, and followed her out into the street. And you should have seen the old lady’s face, the sheer adoration on it, he said, “That’s alright my dear” and signed her bit of paper. Now that was a really, really nice thing to do. But as I say, the bigger they are, the nicer they are. As you say, they don’t have anything to prove.
So obviously you appreciate courtesy when you see it.
Yes. It’s all the people that are not known that I’ve not had trouble, but jeez, they drive you up the wall. Charlton Heston was an absolute gentleman, and why should he not be?
Where did you meet him?
He opened our new kiosk at the ABC in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. The kiosk was re-designed and he was appearing at STV, so we waylaid him on his way to the airport to come and open our kiosk. Of course, it blossomed into a full-scale Hollywood morning premiere, just about. The whole street got closed off, there was the police, and the crowds gathered…you could hardly get into the blooming door for the crowds, and all he was doing was opening a kiosk. So we stretched a big piece of 70mm film across the front of the kiosk and he cut it through and opened our kiosk. And I’ve kept the film because it’s got Charlton Heston’s fingerprints on it.
The story continues in part four of MAX GIBSON: THE MAN BEHIND THE MAGIC>>>
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