PAUL ZASTUPNEVICH AT VOYAGE '94
Sincerest appreciation goes to Paul Zastupnevich from everyone who attended Voyage 94 for all the time and energy he gave to making the convention one of the best ever held.
Paul's first talk at VOYAGE 94 on the Saturday morning followed the Opening Ceremony and a specially-prepared and ever-so-slightly tongue in cheek video of his TV and film appearances by Richard Ryan.
Paul took up position at the front of the hall. "Well, good morning everyone," he greeted the assembled convention attendees. "I'm speechless! And, Richard, I'm still your friend!" After the laughter had died down, Paul continued; "You must wonder why you never saw much of my face. Irwin Allen, every time he cast me in anything, said 'Don't put your face to the camera,' and I remember we were doing a scene from FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON, and I was playing one of the Arabian cousins. Michael Mazurki said 'What the hell did he mean, don't put your face to the camera?' He was standing right next to me, and with that he would shove me right in front so I would have a close up! Thank God for Michael! Sadly he has passed on.
"But before we start, I would like to tell you I'm deeply impressed by all your efforts and I cannot believe the vast amount of research you all have done. The problem with most producers in America is that they do not acknowledge the fans, especially Irwin Allen. We often got into many arguments about it. 'These are the people that buy the tickets that make you what you are today,' I said, 'and this is where your money comes from. You're busy running around and taking care of what I call the bigwigs, the moneymen, instead of acknowledging you people, your sweat and your efforts.' I recently became friends with Jeanette in the States, and when I met Jeanette she convinced me to come over here. When I see how hard she's worked, and Claire and Pat and all of you I would like to go on record. I would like to thank you on behalf of the SEAVIEW crew, and Richard and David, and all the other people I worked for, and even my crew (I used to have three assistants). "At one time I was doing four shows that were shooting at the same time. I would be walking down the street and someone would be coming from Wardrobe up the street with something that I had created and I would have to turn round and drop this creature off and pick up that creature and go back to Irwin Allen and say, 'This is your creature for tomorrow.' Unfortunately, I know that the scripts on the shows began to deteriorate, because Irwin Allen was never what I call a family man. He was an orphan at the age of twelve so he didn't know what it was like to have a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, so he couldn't relate to family relationships. So that's why you find the characters; most of the characters; in the series are really not developed. He wasn't capable of human emotions. The only thing he was capable of was screaming! My favourite word for him was not Egomaniac but Igomaniac; 'I this, I that, I want this, I want this tomorrow.'
"I started out originally to be a costume designer. It was Rhonda Fleming who originally got me my interview with him, and my position. I was to stay three weeks. I stayed thirty years! I'm like the man who came to dinner....
"If Irwin Allen wanted something done he would say to his minions 'I want this and this' and they would say 'It can't be done.' And he'd say 'Yeah, but I want it in fifteen minutes!' So invariably he's turn round and say 'Well, I'll get Paul to do it.' So the favourite phrase around the studio was 'Get Paul to do it'!
"Just to relate to you; one Christmas he called me into the office and said 'Unfortunately we've forgotten a very important individual. I want you to go out and get a Christmas present for him.' I said 'Is he short or fat or what?' He looked at me and said 'Well, he's about your size.' I said 'Okay, what would you prefer for this individual?' He said 'I'd like a cashmere sweater.' So I said 'Oh, what would you like to pay for a cashmere sweater?' So he said twenty five dollars. Well, at that time cashmere sweaters were about sixty five dollars. So I said "I can't really get you cashmere sweater but I'll get you the best I can. What colour would you think?' He said 'Well, what colour would you think?' So I said 'Well, it's Christmas, we'll make it red.' Red was his favourite colour. I went out and got the sweater and had it Christmas-wrapped, and I brought it back in and handed him the package. I'm ready to say goodnight because it was Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve is my birthday. And he knew it, and he was holding me up. And all of a sudden he looked at the package and said the package wasn't important enough. There's not enough ribbon, there's not enough Christmas trim. So I go back to my office and rearrange the package, and I put a few more poinsettias and a few more Christmas balls on it. I come back in and I hand him the package and he looked at it and said 'Yeah, that looks better. Just a minute.' And he walked round in a circle, handed the package to me and said 'Merry Christmas.'!" There was applause and roars of laughter from the audience.
"This gives you an idea how vexed I could become with him," Paul continued. "I had been running around like a daft idiot for my own Christmas present! I wanted to take the sweater, and go...." he added, making a throwing action with one hand, "but I didn't; I continued with him. And just to show you how close we really became, the trip that you saw me taking with Irwin and Sheila, his wife, that was their honeymoon. I went on their honeymoon!" (Laughter from audience.) "There were certain lines that I drew that I would...." Paul's voice trailed off, drowned by more laughter. "Incidentally, this is the jacket that I want to give to someone here when we pool this thing tonight," Paul continued, modelling the denim jacket he was wearing, that had the logos of the Irwin Allen series painted on it. "This is a thank you from me to all of you on behalf of the cast and crew of the SEAVIEW ."
"If there are any questions I would be more than happy to follow them through for you," Paul then added.
The first question was about Paul's schedule when they were shooting all these shows. What did he do during the day? Paul answered; "My schedule would be; I would leave the house at approximately 4.30 in the morning. I would arrive at the studio about five. I would have breakfast then I would go to my workroom and check out the things that had to be on the set. I would try to be on the set the first day of shooting of every sequence. Unfortunately a designer can't protect himself unless he's right there, because you have two pitfalls. You have the Director, and you have the actor or actors. Fortunately most of them are very professional, but occasionally you get a new one coming up that has not been schooled theatrically, and they think they know everything. They've learned it and they know more than you do. I've always said when they walk through the door into the workroom I treat them as though they are God, up until the time they try to double cross me or pull some trick on me. Because, you know you can put a knife in my back, but I can put double-edged scissors right through you! "So I would go to the set and make sure everything was all right. Just to show you what can happen; I did a dress for THE TOWERING INFERNO, which was for Faye Dunaway. The dress was cut to here and slit to here and she would have fallen out of it but we had her taped. I went to the Director and I said that the woman shouldn't sit in the dress, please. Bring her down the staircase or lean her against a pole or have her stand, but whatever you do, don't have her bend over or you'll give us problems. Would you know he double-crossed me and put her in a chair from the beginning! But she held herself up and the tape held!
"Just to point out another amusing episode; just after the show came out I began to read the reviews, and one critic chastised me for putting Faye Dunaway in a chiffon dress for going to a fire. He wrote to me in the article; 'Why would she wear that kind of a dress to a fire?'! I was so furious I sat down and wrote a scathing letter. I said, 'What makes you think she was going to a fire? She was going to a cocktail party to seduce her boyfriend on top of the Empire State Building, practically. She didn't know she was going to a fire! If she had known she would have worn overalls that were fire retardant, not the chiffon dress!'
"But I'm to tell you my schedule, okay," Paul went on. "We've just got to the set at eight in the morning. At the same time we're casting possibly maybe TIME TUNNEL and another show. You see, at one time I was doing four shows. I was paid the same salary for all four shows; I never got paid any more or any less. The only way I got additional remuneration was by doing the acting bits. It was the voice-overs or whatever, that was his way of making compensation for me. At the same time he would not give me two extra screen credits. He would only allow me the one credit. I said, 'But you've got Irwin Allen production, produced by Irwin Allen, created by Irwin Allen, directed by Irwin Allen; what's wrong with...?' And he said' Your name is so long!'
"Actually, my full name is Paul Dimitriovich Nicholiaevich Ivanovich Fidorovich Gregorovich Zastupnevich. He had a nervous breakdown when I said that!
"In the afternoons I would be, maybe, creating a costume for another thing or at the same time we might have someone bursting out of something. For instance, I got an emergency call and rushed onto the set of POSEIDON ADVENTURE, where Shelley Winters was doing the swimming scene. She dived in to try to save Gene Hackman and ultimately died at the other end. Well, Shelley was not quite as optic as we wanted her. She had gained weight and she'd been eating continually through the picture, but she hadn't gained enough weight. So we had to build a body pad for her. We used foam rubber. We put the body pad on with the chiffon dress and she dove in and unfortunately she bobbed right back up again! We couldn't sink her! She was so buoyant, they went into a state of panic. So finally we had to put a weight belt on her. First we tried five pounds, then ten pounds, then fifteen pounds. Finally, when we had twenty five pounds of weight on her, we did get her to the bottom, and she didn't bob back up. But then we had another problem. The chiffon dress; which was what I called the Bah Mitzvah dress because she was going to Jerusalem to see her grandson; the chiffon dress would come up over and you could see her underpinnings. We didn't want to see her panties or her girdle. So finally I put a pair of culottes petticoat underneath and then we put lead weights in the chiffon skirt so it wouldn't cover her face underwater!
"So, often, you really don't know what's going to happen. You have to be prepared. Another very interesting thing that happened on shows like VOYAGE and POSEIDON; at that time drip-dry fabrics had come out, and when they'd get through with the trick they were supposed to look dirty and grimy. All of a sudden we had them in the water and they came out and they looked like they'd been in the washing machine! So we had to resort to using grease, glue, whatever, spray paint, paint. Because, just on POSEIDON we used seven sets of clothes for everyone and we had to number them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, so if we had to go back for a retake we had to be able to match approximately the dirt pattern, and what state they were.
"Just to show you another; Shelley Winters was a naughty little girl. I used to call her Big-Mouth. She never stopped talking. Continually on the go. When I do a picture with a female star I always say the most important thing to do is to fall in love with them first and then give them a piece of jewellery. Then you've kind of got them on your side. I gave Shelley a string of pearls, and in the scene she wanted to wear pearls. But she didn't wear my pearls. I had to furnish pearls for her. They were hoisting her up in one scene and she was tugging on the pearls and all of a sudden the pearls go all over the floor! In fourteen takes we went through approximately fifteen strands of pearls. In the meantime my poor little wardrobe girl was going crazy re-threading and trying to make another set because we couldn't hold up production. If you held it up one hour it was ten thousand dollars that had gone down the drain and there'd be hell to pay.
"So these are things that you never anticipate and you have to be prepared for them, and of course, Like Irwin Allen: 'That's Paul's problem. Don't bring them to me!'
"But I will say this. I had been in Hollywood for nine years. I had been trying to knock on the door and get through and if it hadn't been for a very lovely actress by the name of Rhonda Fleming I would not be here today. Rhonda was the one that finally said to Irwin Allen, 'There's a young man that I know and I want him to do my clothes.' Well, he wanted Rhonda Fleming very badly, and I didn't know at the time that there was another chap; Maurice Zuberano; and he did a lot of work on THE SOUND OF MUSIC and WEST SIDE STORY with Bobby Wise. Unfortunately he passed away last Sunday. He said to me, 'Do you know how you got your job?' I said, 'Well, I know that Rhonda interceded for me.' He said; 'You know what she said? "Unless he does my clothes, I don't do the picture."' So he said, 'You were already sold before you ever came in.' So it's because of Rhonda that I'm here. So thank God, Rhonda, wherever you are!
"Irwin managed to surround himself with the best talent in Hollywood, and he never took second. He always wanted first grade quality, whatever it was, even if it cost more money. He had to steal the money from somewhere. I can sew and I can do things. We had an incident; this happened on ALICE IN WONDERLAND. They had cast Diahann Carroll as one of the flowers in the ALICE IN WONDERLAND garden sequence, and unfortunately, Diahann Carroll's daughter got ill and had to have an operation. So Diahann cancelled out. What happened was they cast Sally Struthers as the flower. Well, you put Sally Struthers next to Diahann Carroll, and you've got this tall, willowy, thin, weed, and here's this little corn blossom. The costume was already made, and it was a leotard. Irwin said, 'Oh, it'll fit. Just put it on her. Just squeeze her into it!' I got into the fitting room after they called me and Sally's standing there and she starts to cry. Now, I had known Sally when I worked at the Pasadena Playhouse. We had attended the Playhouse together. So I said, 'Sally, don't worry. I'll tell you what. Monday morning when you come in for your fitting and you have to be ready for shooting;' she was coming in at eight and she had to be ready at ten; I said, 'Everything will be ready for you. I will take the costume home and I personally will work on it.' I went home and I redid the whole thing. I made another leotard and I took a poncho which completely hid, and I cut it in such a way that all you could see were her legs. I put her on stilts about four inches high which gave her a longer line, and then she wore this bonnet which made the flower and she talked through that. All of a sudden I heard her screaming out of the dressing room, because I had dropped the costume off. I had done everything myself. In fact, I had used my mother as a model! Because she was approximately the same size and weight as Sally. And they said, 'Oh, Sally's calling for you.' So with that I knock on the dressing room door, and she said, 'Who is it?' And I said, 'It's Paul,' and as I came through the door she threw her arms around me and gave me a wet kiss! I'd never been kissed so much, and she said, 'Oh, I just love it. I'm so happy. Look how sexy I am!' Which she did, I must say, it achieved the results that we wanted to.
"And then my day would continue beyond six o'clock. We would go to the dailies in the evening, we would see the rushes. Sometimes I did not leave the studio until twelve in the evening. I would get home maybe at one in the morning, and I had to turn around and be back at four thirty, and there was no such thing as overtime. You were on a permanent salary. My workers ended up getting more money than I did sometimes, but that's the cost of fame and that's Show Business. If you love it, you do it. I must say I was very fortunate; I worked with some of the most wonderful people in the business. I had Claude Rains, I had Robert Morley, I had Michael Rennie, some of the top, top names; Jennifer Jones, Fred Astaire, Victor Mature, Rhonda Fleming, Barbara Eden. In fact, I even worked with Angela Lansbury's mother, and another English actress by the name of Doris Lloyd. At one time I did a play with James Whale; I don't know if any of you remember him. He did the original WATERLOO BRIDGE, and he did FRANKENSTEIN, in the early days. Unfortunately, Jimmy committed suicide by taking his wheelchair and going right into the swimming pool, because he had had a stroke, and he just couldn't bear inactivity."
Another question was asked: didn't designing for the characters, when they were so one-dimensional, as in the episodes, make it more difficult? "Yes," answered Paul. "There was one individual I always had to please, and that was Irwin Allen. It all depended on his mood. Whether he was in the orange mood, or the colour mood. It depended on specific moments. He had an inability to talk to women. He just couldn't cope with actresses. Inevitably I had to sit in the room with them while he would discuss certain things with the actresses, and they would often wonder what I was doing there, and they loved it. I was there because he wanted to be sure no one could accuse him of anything, but that wasn't the point. If the conversation lagged I was supposed to jump in and lift it up. Many times when I knew we were going to have a character, I basically would say, 'Look, I can make it expandable up to a point, so give me someone that's five foot ten, who's got a twenty eight inch waist, and maybe a thirty six inch bust, so that they could go to a fitting.
"Oh, I must tell you this. Irwin had a habit of old girlfriends, and we were working on THE BIG CIRCUS, which was my first big picture with him and we had a scene where we had a mermaid who had to go round and round on a float. She was in a half shell with pearls. All of a sudden he called me in and said, 'I've cast so and so.' I said, 'Oh, my God, she's about a forty six, she's not a thirty six. I don't have anything to fit her.' He said, 'You've got to. You've got to put her on the float.' So I said, 'What do we do?' We finally worked a bra out, and I put a little bit of tooling, and we were able to disguise it. The thing comes around, and the camera's shooting down like this, and the moment it reached under the camera all of a sudden she bobbed out! That was one of the very famous out-takes. She really didn't care, she just went...." he added, making a scooping gesture with one hand. "Unfortunately, those are some of the things the audiences never get to see. They always get cut out. "David and Richard throughout the series, the wonderful thing about the two of them, when they first met there was a definite rapport between them, and there was definitely a father/son relationship. Richard's son was not living in America. He would come occasionally to America and spend the summer vacation. In fact, he's in one of the segments, I don't recall which one he did [SEALED ORDERS, Ed]. Richard would take David; David acknowledged that Richard helped him a lot. He learned a lot. He was an accomplished actor when he started with Richard, but Richard really honed him, really polished him to the utmost, and it was delightful to see the two of them work hand in hand. They never resented one another, and in fact, they always tried to help Chip. Poor Chip was always..." Again, Paul's words were drowned by the tidal wave of laughter from the audience! "...Being sent down below or something!
"But I can truthfully say in all my relationships with all the casts I worked with I didn't have a finger in any of them. They were all completely professional and they really followed through, and they tried to do the best that they could. And I think it shows. Because when I myself would read some of the dialogue and I would work with Richard; occasionally I would help Richard, I would cue him if David wasn't around or he was in a particular set-up. I would look at Richard and I would say, 'Oh God, how can you say this crap?'
"One evening he said to me, 'I've tried it this way and I've tried it that way, and I said, 'Have you tried it standing on your head?' And he said, 'No, I haven't!' He had a marvellous sense of humour. He had a beautiful singing voice, and he loved to do Welsh songs. Now, he has a son who is living in Milano, with the mother, Valentina Cortesa, and Jack is now around forty two. Now, occasionally there's some producer who says, 'We're going to do VOYAGE again.' So I've said, 'Well, the ideal thing would be to take Basehart's son because the only difference between Jack and his father Richard is six inches. He is six inches taller, and if Richard had had those six inches when he was coming up, he would have been the biggest star. He was so unappreciated, because he turned in so many marvellous performances.
"Now, you know that Richard did LA STRADA in 1954. This is the fortieth anniversary, but they're not celebrating.
"But unfortunately, he departed. I had seen Richard a week before he actually died. I was walking on the lot at Warner Brothers and I told him I'd just returned from Italy and that I'd seen his son, and I gave him a message. And he was rather sad about it because he had not seen his son in quite a long time. So I told him when I see Jack I will tell him. "But I feel that if they took Jack Basehart and made him Admiral Nelson the PR people could have a field day. The son of Admiral Nelson takes over the SEAVIEW! He has the same type of voice and speaks five languages, and he has the most gorgeous voice you could ever imagine. In fact, Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted to audition him for when he was thinking of doing THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. But Jack was trying to lose a few pounds before Mr Webber saw him. But I don't know that Mr Webber can be trusted. Actors and actresses are very unhappy with him in America because he dumped two. But I think he's met his match in this one, because Faye Dunaway; I've worked with Faye Dunaway, she's a very accomplished actress; and for anyone to say that she couldn't possibly do that role is all hogwash. To me she was more the epitome of a fading actress; I mean if you saw Faye in the morning you'd think 'What washerwoman came in?' then all of a sudden an hour later she comes out and she's just as regal and as beautiful. "I remember I walked onto the set of THE TOWERING INFERNO, and she was in the chiffon dress that caused so many problems with one critic for going to a fire. She nearly caused a fire when she came on set! Everyone kept looking round and trying to peek, and they said, 'How'd you get it to stay up?' And I said, 'Trade secret, trade secret!' When I walked in she said, 'Oh, my God, Paul, you've sewn my character in the dress. I don't have to do anything. All I have to do is just stand and look.' And she was a looker, and she's quite talented. It's just a shame that he didn't give her a chance.... I don't know what's involved. Well, we all know what's involved. Money. Money is the root of all evil, especially in Show Business, and that's why I say you people haven't been appreciated. No one has taken you by the hand and thrown their arms round you and said thank you. Because without all of you, we would not be there making these things in Fantasyland. We make the dreams for you and we try.... I mean, when I see what TV has evolved into; I mean, soap opera; I say, 'Oh, my God!'
"I can remember having certain costumes rejected because they showed a little too much skin! I said today they don't even bother! They just throw it off and let go!"
It was time for another question, and the next one was about VOYAGE out-takes. Were any out-take reels shown at VOYAGE end-of-season parties? Or were any jokes ever played on set? Paul replied; "Well, we had many bloopers taken out and they were all accumulated and were supposed to be at a Christmas party. But they never got to that Christmas party for some reason or other. Irwin was very protective. We would get a request from a fan or somebody, and the letter would be opened by the secretary; he would never see it; and if it contained something that she knew he would say no to she sealed it up and sent it back. I said. 'What's wrong with that?' And he would say, 'I can't divulge any trade secrets. I don't want them to know.'
"You know, if you had all walked onto the set and seen the SEAVIEW in two pieces, the big one which was down at the moat, you'd die! I said, 'You've gotta be kidding!!' My God! There's the conning tower, and the long runway, and the water's out here, and a few effects back there. And the cameraman's angled in such a way that all you can see is the water. Then, all of a sudden I'd go into the projection room, and I'd say, 'My God, where did they get that? I don't remember that.' It would just be bits and pieces.
"Then from time to time we'd get a director and the SEAVIEW expanded and contracted, and all of a sudden you'd have so much room in this thing!
"The big joke with all the actors and actresses was when Irwin Allen came onto the set when it was time for the rock and roll. We called it rock and roll. He would take either a garbage can or a bed pan and a big metal spoon and then, whack!, and everybody would do rock and roll. It was so funny because once in a while you'd get an actor who forgot which direction they were going in. Everybody's going this way, and he's going that way!" Paul related, waving his arms in totally opposite directions. "So we would say to Irwin, 'But that guy's going up and down!' And he would say, 'He's just reacting differently'! I said, 'Don't you think the audience would notice, and he said, 'No, they'll never notice. Don't worry about it. So what if we get a letter or two? We can't afford to reshoot it.'
"As I've said before, it all boils down to money, and you would be amazed at the money that's spent foolishly behind the scenes. For things going on location, actors are given what we call little extra bits. Like the main star will get to bring his wife, three kids, two cars, a house, a trailer, whatever. I said, 'This has nothing to do with the picture! How come we're charged with all this?!' I have got $250 to dress a segment of LOST IN SPACE, and all this money's being spent and I want $25 extra and I can't get it! Occasionally, believe it or not, I went out on my own and spent my own money and just put it in because I wasn't about to run around and go crazy. And he knew what I was doing." A pause. "But he didn't care!" added Paul, with a wry grin as the audience laughed. "So that's why I'm here today."
Paul was then asked which costumes of the Irwin Allen series he designed he thought worked the best.
"Well," answered Paul, "the thing that depresses me about my work when I look at it now; I mean, VOYAGE looks like it was shot today! It's actually timeless. That's the most amazing thing about it. You see, I went on the premise that those things were going to be shown to children, so I used basic primary loud colours that would attract kids. They said, 'But the adults?' So I said, "Everyone's a kid at heart. It really doesn't matter. So what the hell's the difference?'
"The most important thing about any wardrobe is shoes. Because if the feet don't fit and they feel wrong, well, the face...." he mimicked it dropping. "An actress can do this to you, and this, and your beautiful outfit is just thrown out of the window.
"If she says, 'I don't wear pleated skirts,' and she's an old timer and she's made many, many pictures.... For instance, my friend Maureen O'Hara was doing a picture with another designer. And she was a little thick around the hips so she knew she couldn't wear pleats, but she liked what I call a half circle skirt, you know, cut on the bias, because that just drapes over the hips and just drops and it would hide the hips. He wouldn't do it. He was so damn ornery and so obstinate. So what actually happened, she had done another picture previous to that so she brought most of her wardrobe from that and went into the picture. She could have had him fired but she didn't want to. It was his first picture and she didn't want to. So she just went ahead and adjusted. But it made life miserable for her. So I say if you have someone of Maureen O'Hara's build and stature, listen to them because they know what they've seen on the screen and you can benefit by this.
"Basically, keep it simple, which I have always done. When in doubt and you think; should I or shouldn't I, leave it off. Keep the lines very simple so the eye isn't distracted. There are certain times you can cut certain things in such a way.
"I had a problem with Stu Whitman on CITY BENEATH THE SEA. He was playing a commander pretty much like David Hedison and I had cut the lapels off and I had a black turtle necked sweater. When he saw the sketch he said' 'That looks too much like a nancy-boy, I can't wear that.' I said, 'Stu, please, as a favour to me wait until we get into the fitting room, and let's try the outfit on and let's see what happens. If you don't like it we'll have to change it, but I've built the rest of the wardrobe around your outfit. The girls are made to coincide with you and what not.' Damned if he didn't come into the fitting room, and he put the thing on and all of a sudden he was like a peacock. He's strutting around; 'Dammit, I look good'; you know! And from that moment on I never had any trouble with him. He had a slight reputation for being a bad boy in the business, but he was absolutely a charmer. I mean, if you knew how to approach him you were fine.
"Half the time I'm like a doctor. I can't divulge. I remember, I did a picture with Kathryn Grant, who had married Bing Crosby, and we were doing THE BIG CIRCUS. Hedda Hopper and Luella Parsons were on top of me: 'Is she pregnant?' Finally I said, 'Look, girls, it's not for me to say. I'm like a doctor. Everything's in confidence. But the only thing I can tell you that will set your mind at ease; I'm not letting her clothes out. I'm taking her clothes in. She's losing weight. 'Oh,' they said. 'Oh, fine. The rumour's wrong.' They didn't know that a pregnant woman sometimes loses a lot of weight at the very beginning and then puts it all back on. So I got out of that squeeze very nicely!"
The next question was about LAND OF THE GIANTS and actress Deanna Lund. She's a well endowed lady, the questioner remarked, and with any high shots with the camera there was suddenly an insert in her costume!
"It was very funny," replied Paul. "When the weather was very cold on the set; sometimes we had air conditioning; we had a slight problem with two little pinpoints! All of a sudden they would become very erect and the costume was very revealing. Heather Young especially. She was a Mormon girl and she always wrapped herself with yards and yards of linen. Why I've never been able to figure out. Maybe it's some part of her religion. "Irwin had certain idiosyncrasies. If an actor or actress came in, as they were talking he would always look, and all of a sudden he would say' 'Let me see your teeth.' They would show him and he would say; 'That's a bad tooth. You can't play the role otherwise you'd have to get that tooth capped,' or something. He would find some defect. I don't know what it was. Maybe he wanted to be a dentist," added Paul, as the audience laughed.
"Deanna was quite sufficiently endowed and well balanced. She was playing an heiress. It was very funny. When we started the thing the only had one outfit, no doubles, what not. And they got sick of wearing the same thing. Finally the whole cast said, ' For God's sake, we have luggage aboard! (More laughter from the audience.) Wouldn't we carry...?' And Don Matheson said, ' I've got so much money, and Deanna's travelling round the world, and Heather should have a spare uniform somewhere along the way.' So finally they convinced Irwin that they could have a change. That's why we changed the wardrobe the following season, and that's why the clothes got a little sexier. Just to show you money was involved; I wanted Deanna's boots to tie in with her clothing and didn't have enough money to buy special boots to be made out of the fabric. So I took them home and I painted them all. I painted the herringbone and the check pattern to tie in with the outfit. That way I was able to achieve the look without spending any money. I might have gotten into trouble with some local but we got it on the screen and she was quite happy.
"As I say, most of the cast were very, very happy. There were times they were a little disgruntled. You had problems when the cast begins to sit down and count their lines, 'One, two, three.... I got ten lines, you got sixteen. Why do you have sixteen and I've only got ten? Why am I being cut out of this scene?' Or occasionally; when we did the VOYAGE movie we had Joan Fontaine and when she got the script she was much more different than Irwin Allen had surmised. She'd read it and all of a sudden she would say, 'Well, okay, I don't like this line.' I looked at her one day and I said, 'Joan, you've practically cut your scene down to a walk-on.' She said, 'That's all right, they'll never miss me. I'm doing TENDER IS THE NIGHT, which is much more important.' Funny thing was, TENDER IS THE NIGHT went right down and she made more money and became more popular because of VOYAGE. So it's just a state of mind on most of them."
At this point Katie came in, and Paul asked if it was time to have the draw for the jacket. She answered yes, and Paul finished, "You have to turn me off sometimes!" His first talk ever at a convention was very warmly applauded as he took off the jacket and held it up so the logos on the back could clearly be seen while the draw was being made. As we have said, the winning number was 425, which turned out to be Ann Heath, who was totally overwhelmed at being the winner! This was the end of Paul's first public talk at VOYAGE 94, but, of course, he chatted to the convention attendees at length throughout the weekend.
Transcribed by Carole Whittaker