Remembering Richard L. Bare

April 13th, 2015
Richard L. Bare

We're sad to learn that director Richard L. Bare passed away on March 28, 2015 at the age of 101. Bare worked in a combat photography unit during Word War II and soon after transitioned to making short films for Warner Bros., starting with "So You Want To Give Up Smoking." He got his start in television at Warner Bros., directed the western series Cheyenne (where he discovered James Garner), and went on to direct the series that made Garner a star, the western-comedy Maverick. Bare also directed The Twilight Zone episodes "Third From the Sun," "Nick of Time," and "To Serve Man," the pilot of 77 Sunset Strip (originally intended as a feature film), Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres

Below are some selections from his 2003 Archive interview:

On directing James Garner in Maverick:

I loved him, of course. Simpatico. He was such a consummate master of anything comedic and Maverick certainly was. While there were no pratfalls, there was no low comedy; it was very cerebral in Maverick, very cerebral. When they made a movie called Maverick, many, many years later, it was about five years ago, they missed the whole idea. They missed the point and they had all of this wild, physical comedy, which was not part of Maverick's charm. 

On meeting Rod Serling when he directed The Twilight Zone:

I’ll never forget meeting Rod Serling. I had envisioned Rod Serling as a very thin, bespectacled, tousled-haired, young man - complete intellectual. The day that he came in to meet me, I was at the studio at MGM and he left his office to come in and meet me, and I was shocked. Here was a guy looked like a quarterback. He had a gait like this and he had no glasses, he had no demeanor of being the intellectual that we found out he was. You would never cast Rod Serling as a writer.  

On directing the opening credits for Green Acres:

I didn’t write them - I shot them all. Eva standing there and there was the tune, “Green Acres is the place to be,” and then, “farm living is the life for me.” Then we get her where he says, “fresh air” and she says, “Times Square,” and she’s in their apartment in New York and then his hand comes in and pulls her out to the ranch. Then we did a burlesque of that famous painting of the two pioneers, the pioneer man and the woman with a pitchfork. That was how the song ended, “da da da da da, boom, boom,” and Eddie would go “Boom, boom,” with his thing you see. It really worked.   

On advice to an aspiring director:

Read my book [The Film Director] because it tells you how to do it from A to Z, and the theme of the book is, "Do you want to crack the big time, make a short, beg borrow or steal?" Make a short. They will look at it. I had no trouble getting them to look at my short. Spielberg made a short. Universal looked at it gave him a contract like that. Lucas took a short he made at USC, as I did, took it to Warner Bros., my old studio, and they gave him a contract. There’s a lot of people that really have done it and have done it successfully. I just didn’t get the billion dollar pictures like those two fellows got, but I enjoyed it. I had a good time.  

Watch Richard L. Bare's full Archive interview and read his obituary in The New York Times.

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