What about his wife?
Well, his wife Betty, she was so pretty. And lots of
fun really, and I bet she enjoyed being married to him
and she enjoyed becoming a movie actress. She’s not
as easy-going as Bogey was. She was out there with
us the whole time.
Why would she travel to the heart of
Africa and put up with the things you
had to put up with?
You know, everyone said, “Oh look at the things
you had to put up with.” I don’t think we had to put
up with anything. It never occurred to me that people
would think that would have been so difficult. There
were solutions to all the problems. The only thing that
could have ended it would have been a disaster. If
those bloody ants had decided to settle down in our
camp, then you moved. It would have taken a month
or better to relocate the camp. And we were lucky
that no one got desperately sick. Have you ever been
to Africa? Beautiful. Beautiful.
One of your favorite places?
I found it to be delightful. Wonderful water and
animals, and the people there who were with us
were very nice. Wonderful tools. Wonderful wood.
And not as inhospitable as most
people would think?
No, I don’t think so. And the country where I was
is full of visitors now.
It’s also a continent full of
Well, it’s a mess. It wasn’t when we were there,
but it was about to burst. We were in the Belgian
Congo when there was fierce fighting around
Stanleyville and then around Ponthierville. Then
the second half of the picture we were in Uganda
near Murchison Falls. I think Amin was on the
verge of coming in. We were in the Congo, and
the Belgians were there and the French. The
blacks were in a terrible position there. Not as
bad a position as blacks in Uganda. They were
sweet to us, the blacks. Nice as they could be.
Of the movies you’ve made, which
one is your favorite?
You know, people ask me that and I can’t say. I
can say I have done a few scripts that I really
didn’t particularly like. Most of the stuff I’ve done
I’ve done because I thought it was a good story.
I’ve never been in a position where I was under
contract and had to do what they wanted me to
do. So when they didn’t turn out well, I thought
it was my fault because I guessed wrong. And the
few that I’ve done because I felt I had to say yes
to something were always a disaster. If you’re
wrong after doing something you like, it’s usually
after a first reading when you think that’s rather
interesting. Then you get into it and it’s not as
fascinating as you had hoped.
In a scene from Little Women in 1933.
20 GASPARILLA ISLAND July/August 2018