Email Luke Luke Ford Essays Profiles Archives Dennis Prager Mar 26 Stephen J. Cannell Interview George Will: Terrorists are Winning

Passover Plea to the Jewish Women of Los Angeles

Chaim Amalek writes: Dear Jewish Woman of Los Angeles Basin: I have been too meek of late in presenting my case to you, the case for marriage to Luke Ford.

1. I have sturdy goyishe genes in every cell of my body, the kind that you don't get through generations of yeshiva study and inbreeding within the shtetl. Admit it, you would rather your kids looked like me than like some short little Hollywood type with a whiny tinny voice.

2. Do you find yourself fighting invidious comparisions between jewish women and shiksas? Sick of coming up short on the height and blondeness scales that jewish men seem to have over their eyes? Well, when you deal with Luke Ford, you get an AUTOMATIC three point bonus, just for being jewish! That's right, the rest of the world may take you for a "four", but in my eyes you are a "seven" at least! And if you are a six, you are a near perfect nine by me! Through the prism of torah, I see levels of beauty that popular culture obscures.

3. Money. Ok, let's talk money. It is true that I am not presently as wealthy as your typical dweeb jewish accountant or lawyer or dentist, but what I lack in wealth I make up for in potential and drive. I am going places, and the woman who joins up with me today helps get me there, for which I will always be eternally grateful.

4. Children. Admit it, you are not satisfied dedicating your life to the office. You want kids, but the born-jewish men you meet give off the vibe that if ever you get fat, they will dump you. Not me. I will regard your beauty as the arithmetic sum of your looks PLUS that of our children. So even as you age, you get better and better looking.

5. Spirituality. Most born jews do not care about torah; those who are spiritually inclined seem to drift off to Buddhism and the like. I am a committed, proactively jewish jew (as a convert, I have to be). We will live authentically Jewish lives.

Finally, and not that this matters, but your girlfriends will be jealous of you for having a man like me as your husband. In fact, very likely they will want to have sex with me, notwithstanding that I am married to you. But do not fret - Luke Ford is very much a one woman man. Jewish woman of Los Angeles Basin, please write back to me at lukeisback@gmail.com, and let's discuss making the future happen for us both!

Chaim Amalek writes Mary: I am in a position to support Luke's claim to Jewish orthodoxy, having corresponded with him for a number of years and having observed him in jewish ritual behavior. Honestly, is it not silly to examine his jewish bonafides in such an anal manner, when you doubtlessly know many born jews who do not do a hundredth of what Luke does to be Jewish? There are many more important things to discuss, are there not? Such as your views on diversity and multiculturalism: can a nation ever have too much of either?

Of course you should accompany me to shul - Friday nights at sunset and Saturday mornings at 9am, the place to see for yourself just what sort of a jew this Luke Ford is is XXX, a nifty modern orthodox shul that is (Baruch Hashem) gay friendly.

I think it would be cool if this lead to something more between us. You are HOT girl - face, legs, arms, feet - you have all the things that make a jewish girl neat! And smart in that clever jewish lawyer sort of way, even though I abhor your politics and am dismayed at your lack of religiosity.

Yes, I know you are "dating", but really, don't jews "date" too much? Less dating and more mating, say I, and I find you eminently matable, which is better than datable. Just remember that flesh is not shelf stable, so must be date specific salable. Three dates with me and you will know one of two things:
1. I am not worth a forth date; or
2. I am the man who should be the father of your children.

I hope it is no. 2.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion

I met producer Moustapha Akkad at his Century City office March 26, 2002. Among many subjects, we talked about Jewish control of the media.

Moustapha: "The media runs the world. Absolutely. No tanks or planes. The media and the public companies. This is what The Protocols of [the Learned Elders of] Zion [is all about].

"The Zionists, last century, were persecuted in Europe. So they immigrated to the United States. They had a target. They were united. And they did not permit [statements] critical of Zion. They went all the way to control the world and to control the minds of the people through the media. There's a lesson to learn from them.

"They have control of the media here. We know it. They did not do it through tanks or machine guns. They planned of course. They united. Did you see Pat Buchanan's book [The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization]? He makes sense."

Luke: "Yes, he's a sharp guy. He doesn't mind telling it like it is, no matter how controversial."

Moustapha: "There is a red line if I get into the issue of Israel but the Jews, like everyone else, wants to make money. Hollywood is not ethnic. There's English, Irish, Spanish, French, Roman..."

Luke: "But movie and TV producers are 70% Jewish."

Moustapha: "Yes. The studios are. That control is financial but not the creative aspect. You can't be more Jewish than Miramax [owned by Disney and operated by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, distributed last two Halloween films]. They financed me and I did it. But probably if I did something about Israel, they would not. So I get financing from overseas, such as when I did The Message."

Read this Anti-Defamation League link on Jews in Hollywood, and the Protocols of Zion.

Moustapha is best known for producing the eight movies of the Halloween franchise. He also directed two movies about the Arab-Islamic world, which have made him a hero in that part of the world - 1976's The Prophet and 1980's The Lion of the Desert.

I found these interesting links about Akkad on the net:

From Kult Movie Maximus: "Moustapha Akkad?", you might wonder. "Wasn't he the guy that produced John Carpenter's Halloween series and never done anything else?" Well yes and no. Akkad is a Syrian-born filmmaker who has two ambitious epic films to his name. His first, the relatively forgotten film The Message, detailing the coming of Mohammed and the Koran, was understandably a huge success worldwide. Over the next four years, Akkad somehow persuaded Libyan dictator Molomar Qaddafi (sp?) to invest $35 million dollars into the sweeping war epic Lion of the Desert... which upon its release grossed about $1 million dollars worldwide. One of the largest financial disasters in history, though one of the greatest films I've seen... how does this make sense? Beats me..."

From Laurie Goodstein's article in the November 1, 1998 New York Times: After years of virtual invisibility, Arab-Americans are finally finding prominence in Hollywood movies -- as terrorists and villains. They are only the latest in a long line of ethnic groups and nationalities cast in stereotypical bad-guy roles, from American Indians to Germans to Japanese to African Americans to Russians.

"We cannot say there are no Arab and no Muslim terrorists," said Moustapha Akkad, an Arab-American producer and director who was born in Syria and who has worked in Hollywood for 45 years. "Of course there are.

"But at the same time, balance it with the image of the normal human being, the Arab-American, the family man," Akkad said. "The lack of anyone showing the other side makes it stand out that in Hollywood, Muslims are only terrorists."

Earlier in his career, Akkad produced and directed two films portraying Muslims as heroes. "The Message" (1977) told the story of the beginning of Islam, and "Lion of the Desert" (1981) starred Anthony Quinn as the real-life Bedouin leader Omar Mukhtar, who fought Mussolini's invading troops in the deserts of Libya. But Akkad said that raising money for such films was difficult, and that to achieve financial success and creative freedom, he had had to turn to another genre. He is now better known as the executive producer of all seven movies in the "Halloween" horror series, the most recent, "Halloween H2O," released in August.


Moustapha carries himself in a regal way and he speaks slowly and confidently.

Moustapha: "I was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria. I wanted to be a film director in Hollywood. That was the joke of the town. We were an average family. My father worked as a government employee in customs. My father said, 'If you want to go, I can not really help you.' I had an American theater arts teacher Douglas Hill and he got me into UCLA. In 1954, when I was 18, I came to the airport to leave. My father said goodbye and put $200 in one pocket and a copy of the Koran in the second pocket. 'That's all I can give you.'

"I attended UCLA for four years and graduated in 1958. At the time, UCLA had the best film program. They had three productions per semester. USC at the time was not as rich as UCLA and the cinema department was smaller. If you wanted to do a film, you loaded up your station wagon and went to shoot. The New Wave [of filmmaking] developed at the time. The more realistic documentary approach to filmmaking. I wanted to expose myself to that and I went to USC for three years for my Masters.

"Then I started the starvation period. I applied to the seven giant studios for work and all TV studios and all advertising agencies for a job... Then [Director] Sam Peckinpah wanted to do a movie about the Algerian revolution. So he approached UCLA to help him find a consultant, somebody from that area who speaks the language. They gave him my name and we got started. Then Algeria got its independence and the project was canceled.

"He took a liking to me. He was developing a movie for MGM called Ride the High Country. He asked me to work with him. I was not paid. He always used to tell me to start from the top. 'You went to school for seven years. You can't go to work as a messenger boy. Sit down and write something.'

"I used to sit down and write every day and I'd bring it to him. He'd take it, read it and tear it up. I had applied everywhere for work and I always got the same question, 'What have you done?'

"I remember from my days at UCLA, I used to be invited into American homes. And they always ask you, 'What do you think of the American food?' 'What do you think of the American woman?' 'What do you think about American education?' Everything you think about America, they like to know. I thought that would be a good subject to do a program on - how others see us.

"I made a small presentation to three TV stations to bring an African, European, Asian, and Latin American foreign student, with an American moderator and a different topic every week... The CBS and NBC both wanted it as a public affairs program on Sunday afternoons. NBC offered me $400 a week but no credit. CBS offered me $100 a week and the producer credit.

"So I went to Sam Peckinpah and I told him about my two offers. He asked which one I was going to take. I said, 'NBC.' He replied, and I've never forgotten, 'You sonofabitch. What do you want the money for? Take the credit.' I took the CBS offer.

"Now that I was a producer at CBS, I could call anybody and they'd return my call. I called United Artists and sold them a syndicated travel show, Caesar's World, hosted by Caesar Romero. Every week we traveled to a different country.

"I always advise anyone who aspires to be in this business Sam Peckinpah's advice. When you have something that somebody likes, play dumb on the money aspect. Tell them to talk to your lawyer or agent. But never compromise on the credit."

Luke: "How did you come to make your 1976 book The Message [about the founder of Islam, the prophet Mohammed]?"

Moustapha: "I was making documentaries all over the world. I thought I needed to do something about Islam, which is not understood. At first I thought I'd make a documentary. Then I met Irish scriptwriter Harry Craig. He convinced me we should do it as a feature. I was able to raise the money from the Arab world."

Luke: "How was it received?"

Moustapha: "It was received fantastic but it was not American commercial [fare] for two reasons. You can not see the prophet. I get upset when I see Jesus or Moses portrayed by an actor. To me, you don't touch these things. The film is about Mohammed but he's not portrayed. Therefore, the camera takes subjective angles. It's good for those who know the religion. The movie was a big hit on video.

"Then two years later, I got into another one."

Luke: "How did you raise the money from Moahmar Khaddafy for Lion of the Desert?"

Moustapha: "It was easy. I had the credentials now. And the subject pertained to the Italian occupation of Libya. I had the freedom to work with the material. It was not religious, where you can't show this, you can't say this..."

Luke: "Why do you think it didn't do better at the box office?"

Moustapha: "Publicity about Khaddafy hurt. They politicized it. The critiques [of the film] were good. I believe in the audience. If the audience do not come, I can not [boost the film]."

Luke: "Who distributed the film?"

Moustapha: "This is another thing. We had a hard time finding a distributor because of Khaddafy, prejudice, whatever... United Artists distributed it [around the time of the Heavens Gate debacle]."

Luke: "How did you connect with Director John Carpenter in 1977 to make the first Halloween movie?"

Moustapha: "I was busy doing Lion of the Desert. He said he wanted to make a movie for $300,000. I laughed. You get worried when the budget is high or low. I asked him about the story. He told it to me in four words and I grabbed it. He said, 'Baby sitter to be killed by the boogie man.' The baby sitter part grabbed me because every kid in America knows what a baby sitter is. I told him, 'Let's do it.' I was spending $300,000 a day on Lion of the Desert. I gave John points [percentage of the gross receipts] so he made lots of money afterwards.

"The movie came in on budget. It was John Carpenter's movie. I saw the commercial aspect to it. We distributed it theater by theater, state by state. We made so much money we couldn't believe it."

Luke: "You must've funded it with pocket change from Lion of the Desert."

Moustapha: "Yes. Then two years later, 1980, Dino DeLaurentiis came to me wanting to do a sequel. I said, 'Sequel? This is not television. It's not going to make any money.' They said, 'We'll give you the profit in advance.' So they did and we made Halloween II. It did good. I couldn't believe it.

"They came again. They said, 'Let's do Halloween III.' I said, 'No way.' They said, 'This time we will change it a bit. We will do one without Michael Myers.' I wasn't for it, but I was outvoted. I said ok. That was the big mistake. It was a big flop.

"Then I brought back Michael Myers and the basics, and Halloween IV was a big hit, perhaps the biggest hit [of the franchise]. We made the most money on Halloween I, the biggest box office on Halloween H2O [VII] but we had the most paying customers for Halloween IV.

"Drunk with our success, we did Halloween V a year later. And that was a mistake. A few years later, Miramax came with an attractive offer to do Halloween VI. Due to recent events, we're coming out with Halloween VIII in July.

"This Halloween [series] is a blessing. I feel like a father. Everybody wants to come chop the head of Michael Myers but I love this guy. I always try to keep to realistic stories. Somebody falling from the sky with ten ears and ten eyes isn't scary. But if you're locked inside a house and there's somebody there who wants to kill you, that could happen to anybody. You can relate.

"Why do people pay money to get scared? I asked my 17-year old son. He said, 'Dad, I take a girl with me to the cinema. After five minutes, I'm either grabbing her or she's grabbing me.'

"[Actor] Donald Pleasance was asked by the press if we he was going to keep doing Halloween movies. He answered, 'No way. I'm going to stop at 22.' And that's my answer too.

"With H2O, we chopped off his [Michael Myers] head. But was it really his head?

"This is something where you cater to the kids. Eighty percent of the audience now is kids. Home entertainment has become so sophisticated with the large screen, stereo, satellite, DVD, you can watch any movie a few months later. You can stretch your legs, smoke, drink. So why should adults bother to drive to see a movie? Kids have to go for dating and meeting. At my age [66 yo], you start losing touch.

"When my teenagers talk, I have a hard time understanding sometimes. We were casting Halloween 8. The director [Rick Rosenthal] suggested Busta. Do you know who Busta is?"

Luke: "No."

Moustapha: "I went home and asked my son about Busta. He lit up. 'Busta Rhymes?' He went crazy. I called the office and said, OK, get Busta Rhymes.' He's one of those rap singers with the hair..." And Moustapha fingers curl around the air above his head.

"We got him. Every time we shoot, kids gather around the studio. Another actor suggested was Tyra Banks. Do you know Tyra Banks?"

Luke: "I think I've heard the name."

Moustapha: "See? You're getting grey hair already. Again I went home and asked my kids. [Their voices filled with excitement.] 'Tyra Banks? I'd marry her.' Tyra Banks is a black model who appears in underwear ads.

"When we test the movie, we bring kids. I've lost touch... All I do is preserve the storyline and the atmosphere of horror. But as for casting..."

Luke: "How come you are the one person on all eight Halloween movies? Do you own the franchise?"

Moustapha: "Yeah. I paid for the first one. I guess it's a blessing. I didn't intend to sequels. But I had my lawyer read the contract and they put everything in... At the time, I didn't think of it.

"I spend 90% of my time on the Halloween franchise. If I am to direct, I only want to direct epic historic films. My favorite director when I was a child was Alfred Hitchcock. And then David Lean. I met him while I was student and he gave me advice. I'm now preparing an epic on Saladin and the Crusades, starring Sean Connery. We have a script. Financing is the issue.

"I love history. The best movies are comedies but I'm not good at that. I cannot direct a Western. You have to be able to live it to be able to direct it. Produce it, you can."

Luke: "The current atmosphere post September 11, is that good or bad for your Saladin film?"

Moustapha: "It is very good because Saladin exactly portrays Islam. Right now, Islam is portrayed as a terrorist religion. Because a few terrorists are Muslims, the whole religion has that image. If there ever was a religious war full of terror, it was the crusades. But you can't blame Christianity because a few adventurers did this. That's my message. Always there are fanatics but Saladin protected freedom of religion and different holy places. My sources on Saladin are all from the West. They all admit the chivalry of Saladin. The BBC did a beautiful four hours on the Crusades."

Luke: "Are there other Islamic filmmakers?"

Moustapha: "No. There are Arabic Christians like Mario Kassar."

Luke: "What is it like being a Muslim in Hollywood?"

Moustapha: "No. American citizenship is not an ethnic nationality. I practice my religion more freely here than I could anywhere in the Arab and Muslim world. Here it is not the rule of the majority but the rule of the constitution. Atheist lady Madelyn O'Hair sued the government and the next day, when she won, government schools were not allowed to mention the name of God. You get waves of hatred. You don't blame people after September 11 from having certain feelings against a certain group. That's normal. I was upset about it. Sometimes I am afraid to ride on a plane with someone [who looks like a young fundamentalist Muslim].

"We're living in a free society ruled by a constitution. The United States is like a corporation. The US is the true United Nations. The whole world is represented here. We all have shares. How influential you are depends on how hard you work. But at the end, the media runs the world. Absolutely. No tanks or planes. The media and the public companies. This is what The Protocols of [the Learned Elders of] Zion [is all about].

"The Zionists, last century, were persecuted in Europe. So they immigrated to the United States. They had a target. They were united. And they did not permit [statements] critical of Zion. They went all the way to control the world and to control the minds of the people through the media. There's a lesson to learn from them.

"They have control of the media here. We know it. They did not do it through tanks or machine guns. They planned of course. They united. Did you see Pat Buchanan's book [The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization]? He makes sense."

Luke: "Yes, he's a sharp guy. He doesn't mind telling it like it is, no matter how controversial."

Moustapha: "There is a red line if I get into the issue of Israel but the Jews, like everyone else, wants to make money. Hollywood is not ethnic. There's English, Irish, Spanish, French, Roman..."

Luke: "But movie and TV producers are 70% Jewish."

Moustapha: "Yes. The studios are. That control is financial but not the creative aspect. You can't be more Jewish than Miramax [owned by Disney and operated by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, distributed last two Halloween films]. They financed me and I did it. But probably if I did something about Israel, they would not. So I get financing from overseas, such as when I did The Message.

"My base, really, is England. I have a studio there, Twickenham. It's not under my name. I did all of my work [on the two films he directed]. My crew was mostly English. The best crews are English."

Akkad's produced such other films as Sky Bandits, Appointment With Fear and Free Ride [1986].

Luke: "How do you feel about being best known for the Halloween films?"

Moustapha: "Only with kids. The adults haven't seen it. But when I'm around kids, I feel good. How I feel depends where I am. When I am with kids, I feel like a king because of Halloween. With adults, they might know me for Lion of the Desert. Within the Arab-Muslim world, I am really big because they see me [as one of them] who's made it in Hollywood."

Luke: "Have you encountered much discrimination as a Muslim in Hollywood?"

Moustapha: "No. I make it very clear. I am proud of it. I don't try to hide it. Many suggested that I change my name. I would not. I respect other religions - Jewish, Christian, atheist... When I see somebody who, because he got married, changes his religion, I lose respect for him. One who's proud of his roots and his heritage, I respect.

"This is something that I practice in my home. When I lock the door in the morning and I leave the house, I am 100% American in my thinking, working... This is where I earned my education, my living, and my faith. Who's going to touch this country? Forget carrying the flags. Look at it from a practical point of view. I live here. My kids live here. My grandchildren live here. So I want security for this country America. It's a matter of practicality, not religion. I am open about it but I have never faced any [discrimination] that I know of. You might find something but I didn't feel it."

Luke: "Did you put a flag on your car after September 11th?"

Moustapha: "No. I hate this flag waving. People who fly a flag are trying to hide something. Why should I fly a flag? America is not a flag. It's a country with a constitution. And anything that affects this country, automatically affects me. I think these terrorists, the Taliban, are a bunch of animals. I thought of them as animals when they blew up those [ancient Buddhist] statutes. I wanted at the time to go hit them."

Luke: "Did you feel any moral qualms about taking funding from Moahmar Khaddafy?"

Moustapha: "No. It all depends on what I do with it. If he put conditions... If I served his regime... At the end, he wanted to make a film about him and his revolution. I turned it down. I don't care where the financing comes from. It's what you make out of it. I can get it from anywhere."

Luke: "Even Osama Bin Laden?"

Moustapha: "I'd take the money from him. But what I do with it, that's what counts. I would correct his outlook and his animalistic approach to the whole religion."

Luke: "And where is your family?"

Moustapha: "I have one sister and one brother in Syria. I have three brothers here. I have four kids, three boys. My son Malek is my big help. He just finished his own film, Psychic Murders. He shot it on digital video. He's accomplished more at his age than I accomplished at that age. I had to earn a living. I told him that he's deprived of the pleasure I have [from struggling]. When I own a car, it's [the fulfillment of] a big dream. When he wants a car, he gets a car."

Adam writes: ROFL. This guy is a virulent anti-Semite who believes the "Protocols" are real, and he wonders why his views aren't in the mainstream media.

Chaim Amalek writes: Mustafa seems like more of a man than your average whiny jewish producer bleating that to be acknowledged as short is an act of antisemitism. The jews could learn a thing or two from Mustafa.

Lavender Mob

On his nationally syndicated radio show today, Dennis Prager says he only found out about National Review's Victor Davis Hansen six months ago but now he considers him one of his ten favorite columnists. DP read from his column on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

Why do Middle Easterners become excited and haughty as they gloat to you that Americans are unpopular in their countries, but suddenly grow shocked, silent, and hurt when you politely and calmly explain why the feeling is becoming — and perhaps should be — mutual?

Why do so many from the Middle East come here to find freedom, security, and safety — and then criticize the country that they would never leave as they praise the country that they would never return to?

Is there a word for profiling or irrationally hating Americans? Americanophobia? Misamericany?

Why did we incur only anger from Eastern Europeans and Orthodox Christians for saving the Muslims of the former Yugoslavia from Milosevic, but no praise at all from the Islamic world itself?

Is there a difference between Palestinians preferring to kill Israeli civilians rather than soldiers, and Israelis preferring to kill Palestinian fighters rather than civilians?

FROM Dennis Prager's third hour: Why does the mainstream press so rarely mention the sex of the victims of Roman Catholic priests? Because the press is a herd. They think the same, talk the same and vote the same. To mention that the great majority of victims in the Catholic Church scandal are boys is to raise an issue that they don't want raised.

We all know that heterosexuals abuse girls. So it is no smear on homosexuals to note that these are probably gay priests. It doesn't mean that homosexuals are all child abusers. But anything that might cast any aspersion on gays is forbidden in the news media, particularly the New York Times.

The pro-gay agenda of mainstream press has rendered the gay press unnecessary. Why bother reading The Advocate when you can get gay news and gay advocacy in the NY Times?

Luke says: Read Lavender Mob.

DP says: These Roman Catholic scandals show why the Boys Scouts don't want to have gay scout leaders. Why would you want scoutmasters who can be sexually attracted to their charges?

If you had to leave your boy in the care of an adult, would you rather the adult male be gay or straight? Of course you'd prefer to leave him with a straight.

A caller wondered why there were so many more gay priests today than historically. Does a celibate priesthood lead to homosexuality?

Prager said that mainstream clergy over the past generation have become more therapeutic and anti-macho than morally prescriptive. And that discourages macho males from joining up, and perhaps encourages other types to join.

A caller suggested that homosexual priests were more likely to molest than heterosexual priests. DP said he was agnostic.

Is Calling Someone 'Short and Jewish' Anti-Semitic?

I spoke by phone this afternoon with producer Alan Sacks who was displeased with the tone of my writing.

Alan: "I have some concerns about your point of view. It's fine as a journalist to interpret whatever you see, and that's cool. But you describe one person I'm talking to as matronly. You describe my students as dim lightbulbs. You describe someone else as black. You describe me as short and Jewish. Those are not positive images that you're laying out there.

"You walk in there with a yarmulke on and I was surprised to see that."

Luke: "Hmm. People ethnicities and religion are of interest to me."

Alan: "What's so interesting about short and Jewish? Or matronly or black? If there was a reason for it, that's one thing. That almost seems anti-semitic. "

Luke: "Black and Jewish identify someone's ethnicity or religion. Matronly describes how someone looks."

Alan: "I understand but there are other ways to describe how somebody looks. Those are all negative. I'm proud to be short and Jewish. But the way it read. For somebody on the outside [i.e., the goyim], that's just not a cool thing. That was completely stereotypical. It's like saying I'm cheap."

Luke: "I don't think of short and Jewish and black and matronly as negative."

Alan: "Nor do I, but the tone of it was. A reader would pick that up."

Luke: "I will go back and take a second look. The main thing is, I quoted you accurately?"

Alan: "Yes, pretty much. If you want to include it, just bring up this conversation. I'm cool with that."

Khunrum writes: "Hahahahahaaaaaa! I like this one. Is he stingy too? Did he offer you a drink? Take you to lunch? The cheap bastard. I would revise the article. Describe the guy as tall, goyisha, and extremely handsome but a fucking miser with a buck..hahahahaa!

"Include Black..."Tall, dark, handsome, goyisha but wouldn't part with a goddamned dime. Didn't offer me a drink, a cigar or a bite to eat. No wonder no one likes him in Hollywood. I believe he is washed up in this town" hahahahahaahaaaaa!"

Luke: "Tell me about your first TV movie, 1979's Women of West Point."

Alan: "It was based on an article I found in the New York Times. It was about the first year women were admitted to West Point. I set that up at CBS. We shot the whole movie at West Point.

"That fall, I had run the New York marathon."

Luke: "Not bad for a short Jewish guy."

Alan: "Exactly. With an arm full of tattoos. You missed that."

Luke: "I was running marathons in the late '70s too."

Alan: "I had really messed up. The week before the marathon, I developed achilles tendonitis. I went to the doctor and said, 'Just shoot up my leg. Make it numb. I want to run the race.' And it was a really stupid thing to do. They taped up my leg. I flew to New York. I go to the starting line and I put my foot down and the pain went from ankle right to the third eye [mystical spot in the middle of the forehead]. And every time I put my foot down for the next four hours and ten minutes [of the marathon] it was this excruciating pain. I finished the race. I came out through the chute and it was like an incredible experience. I had all this energy going through my body. They asked me how I was. I said, 'I'm not that good. My foot is messed up really bad.'

"They took up my bandage and my tendon looked like a lightbulb. It was ready to rip. And if that rips, that's the whole ballgame. It runs up your leg like a Venetian blind and they can't put it back together again. That night somebody drove me up to West Point where I was going to start pre-production on the movie. And when I got up there, they greeted me like a war hero, like I'd done this incredible thing.

"They put me through this physical therapy they had up there and they got my leg back together again. And I was able to run the marathon again the next year. I felt very close to West Point. While I was making the movie, I stayed in the Eisenhower suite at a nearby [luxury] hotel.

"I worked with West Point closely and they liked the movie. I got an award from West Point."

Luke: "Your next movie was 1980's Cry For Love."

Alan: "That was based on the novel Bedtime Story by Jill Robinson about a woman who's addicted to amphetamines. And she's in a relationship with an alcoholic. It's about their spiral. That was the first movie where punks were on network television. I used a punk band. I used a punk band called Darby Crash. We shot the drug scene in the Hong Kong Cafe downtown. I bumped into the director Paul Wendkos six months ago. He said, 'Alan, you were always ahead of the game. You brought me 500 punks.'"

Luke: "Murder Ink, 1980, directed by Rocky's John Avildsen."

Alan: "That was a TV pilot (that never turned into a series) based on an anthology mystery book called Murder Ink. We'd extended the concept to have a woman running a bookstore, who's also a sleuth. They made a series like that years after with Angela Landsbury."

Luke: "Leave 'Em Laughing."

Alan: "About a clown dying of cancer, and it starred Mickey Rooney."

Luke: "Twirl, 1981."

Alan: "It was about a baton twirling competition. We had a lot of young girls twirling batons with high TVQ appeal. We introduced Heather Locklear. It also starred Stella Stevens, Erin Moran, Jamie Rose and my good pal Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jew Boys, a country music band. 'They ain't making Jews like Jesus anymore.' Kinky's now a novelist, but then he wrote a great song for the movie. 'Twirl, just a small town girl, until she learned to twirl, and set the world on fire.'

"Music is always an important thing. I always like to get my hook on the music even in the developmental stage of the project. I developed stuff that didn't get made from songs. I developed 'The night they drove old Dixie down,' and the Gatlin Brothers' 'All the gold in California,' and 'The spirit of New Orleans.'

"I'm getting my camera now and heading down to an underground hip hop competition to put together a presentation for a new series based on hip hop."

Luke: "In Love with an Older Woman, 1982."

Alan: "Based on a book, stars John Ritter."

Luke: "The Rosemary Clooney Story, 1982."

Alan: "That to me was a classic. It starred Sondra Locke as Rosemary. It was Rosie's idea to cast Sondra. She was looking at young pictures of herself and saw Sondra and said she'd be perfect. Then Rosemary called Clint Eastwood and Clint called the network to pitch Sondra. Then we got it made. He was always around the set. And it was directed by Jackie Cooper."

Luke: "Jealousy, 1984."

Alan: "That was an idea I had to do a trilogy of jealousy stories. I was taking words out of the Bible like jealousy and revenge, emotional words. I did a research study on different stories related to jealousy. And I thought it would be cool to have the same actress play in three different stories of jealousy. And we got Angie Dickinson to do that. One story we took the concept of Othello. No stories are new."

Luke: "What's the ratio of the stories you develop to the stories you finally get to make?"

Alan: "About 100 to 1. As an independent creative producer, I have to have a lot of balls in the air. Every one that happens is a miracle."

Luke: "The Secret of Lizard Woman, 1996."

Alan: "That was a ball. That project was given to me by ABC executive Linda Steiner. I'd just done the cowboy thing Elko: The Cowboy Gathering [1994]. So if I could do cowboys, I could do Indians. We shot the whole movie on a Navajo reservation in the northern part of Arizona. It was a third world environment. Every day a sign goes up about the water quality. 'Drink the water. Don't drink the water.' Sheep ran across the street. Sad about the poverty on the res. But spending time on the res was like going deep in South America.

"Smack in the middle of the Navajo reservation is the Hopi reservation. Hopis and Navajos don't get along. In the town we were based in, half the town was Hopi and half the town was Navajo. And the Navajos and the Hopis are on different time zones. So if I was going to have lunch with someone on the other side of the street, they were on a different time than I was."

Luke: "Do they speak English?"

Alan: "Very little. They speak the Ne, which is Navajo. The elders don't speak English. The younger people do. I had to go before the tribal council and get permission. I needed a translator. It was great, meeting the elders, learning the culture... We shot a couple of scenes in Monument Valley where John Ford did all of his westerns.

"I used a completely Native American cast. One of the challenges was that we had to teach the crew to respect the land and the elders. If things got out of hand, they would present problems to us. Part of my job was keeping everything moving along and everybody happy, both the studio and the tribal elders.

"One year I'm dealing with the staff at West Point. One year I'm dealing with the skateboarders. And the third year I'm dealing with the tribal elders."

Luke: "The Other Me, 2000."

Alan: "That was based on a book called Me Too. I sold it to the Disney Channel. It was about a kid who cloned himself. One actor (Andy Lawrence) played both roles. We used high technology so that the movie is seamless."

Luke: From my archives, here's my reporting that originally got me in trouble.

Fear And Loathing In Los Angeles

I was somewhere around Beverly Hills when the homemade strawberry lemonade banana smoothie began to take hold.

I dashed into the public library for a pitstop and then checked out Hunter S. Thompson's book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as well as Emminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey, Marcel Proust by Edmund White, Selina Hasting's 1994 biography of Evelyn Waugh and The Complete Short Stories Of Evelyn Waugh.

I felt the need to jazz things up on lukeford.net. So far critical reaction to my interviews with producers has been negative.

I drove to Los Angeles Valley Community College on the corner of Burbank and Coldwater Canyon Blvds and arrived shortly after 2PM. My appointment with producer - professor Alan Sacks was for 3:30PM. I like to arrive early.

I gathered my meager materials, a tape recorder, notepad, sony digital camera and some spare batteries, cassettes and discs, and set off around campus, wearing my stylishly black look - Calvin Klein sweater, black T-shirt, black jeans and black Klondike Klodhoppers. And my silver-blue yarmulka I bought in Sfat, Israel last July.

On campus I spotted pornographer Maggie Knowles. The students dress slovenly. I wander next door to Grant High School and watch the kids play games.

I feel uncomfortable. Part of me doesn't believe that I've truly left, or deserved to have graduated from, high school.

I find Mr. Sacks at 3:30 PM in the "smartest classroom on campus." He's a short Jewish guy wearing glasses and Buddhist regalia.

He's got a copy of last week's Los Angeles Daily News paper with the banner headline "Valley Tops In Film Jobs."

Alan says with a snicker: "They also said the porn industry is part of these film jobs. I was thinking, how many students are we training that are going to work in that industry?"

Film people look down on TV people who look down on commercials people. And they all look down on porn people.

Alan Sacks, Alan Sacks, Alan Sacks, The president of Los Angeles Valley College in Halloween outfit

Alan wears a small idol on a silver chain around his neck. "It's my own mezzuzah," he says. "It's a dohrje. It's a symbol.

"Padma Sahmbaba brought Buddhism to Tibet 2500 years ago. He came out of water on a lotus blossom while holding the dohrje in his hand. It's a power symbol.

"I've been interested in Tibetan Buddhism since 1975. I joke with my wife and kids that I am a Jew for Buddha."

Luke: "Do you practice it?"

Alan: "I went into a meditation center at lunch time today. Not to practice but to get a brochure. I like to sit and meditate every day, even if it is just ten minutes."

Luke meditates about 20-30 minutes almost every day.

Alan: "I try to remember to look at colors. I'm looking at the color of this tape recorder, seeing that pretty red color. Just to remember that that's out there. So that's a form of meditation for me. I like to think there is more compassion and peace in the world than exists right now.

"I have an affinity for Buddhism. I don't know why. In 1975, I was introduced to this Tibetan Buddhist Llama, a wonderful wonderful man named Tafe Toka Rimposhea. My ex-wife said let's go up to his meditation center. I'm looking at myself after meditating, saying, this is pretty California. Then I had a five minute audience with Tafe. He asked me what I did and I said I was a producer in Los Angeles. And he said, 'You will work for me one day in Los Angeles.'

"I laughed at that. But six months later, I found myself setting up a meditation room and weekend seminar for him.

"Rimposhea called me up a couple of months ago and we talked about the stupor, a building that houses a lot of power. You get enlightenment walking around it. He built one of these in Northern California. He's been in retreat for two years and has hardly been talking to anybody."

Alan's just bought a copy of the William Strunk, E.B. White classic "The Elements Of Style." Sacks discusses the book with a smart matronly looking woman beside him.

"It is gender biased," she says. But what do you expect from something written over 60 years ago?

Alan's class from 4-6 PM teleconference's with Derrick deKerckhove's class at the University of Toronto. Mentored by media theorist Marshall McLuhan, Dr. deKerckhove directs the McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology. The quality of the students in his class, many of them pursuing graduate degrees, are light years ahead of the dimmer bulbs in Alan's community college class. But what the Los Angeles class lacks in raw intelligence, it more than makes up for in racial diversity. The Toronto class is all white with the exception of a couple of Japanese students.

Today's special guest is 16-year old animation whiz kid Donovan Keith who comes in via teleconfering from Chabot Community College in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alan began communicating with Keith after reading about him in Wired.com. "I want to help him get some jobs in the industry. I want to make a movie about him."

Luke: "If you wanted to develop a movie about him, what steps would you take?"

Alan: "First, I'd meet with him and figure out what the story would be. The story would probably be - this kid comes up with a program. And then big business comes in to corrupt him and somebody wants to buy him out. Is he going to sell out or is he going to remain a true artist? And he's going through this at 15 years old. Or, a kid like this could probably command a job for $200,000 a year. How would that change you?"

It's 4PM and only a couple of people have come to the class. Alan gets on the phone and asks various people to come by. At 4:15PM, we watch the Canadians come into their conference room and take off their jackets.

I expected Dr. Derrick to be a pompous bore but he's quick and witty.

My attention is not fully devoted to the program. When I walked in the door at 3:30, I noticed this pale Russian with a incredibly womanly figure, who worked as the secretary up front. She had some hairy fuzz on her face, like many Persians. She wore a tight black miniskirt and a tight form-fitting top. She's totally hot looking.

I'm overloaded by sexual stimuli as I step on to the campus of this secular college. In my neighborhood, most people I know are religous and dress modestly. Here the girls mainly wear tight jeans and revealing tops.

"Hi, I'm your moral leader. I want to talk to you about modesty. Please get into my van."

It's so pointless for women to dress all slutty if they're not going to give it up to you.

One hispanic couple bring in their twin boys, who appear about ten years old. They talk to Alan about two of his movies - The Other Me and The Smart Classroom.

Donovan talks about a recently released animation feature: "The movie has some good aspects. Some Eastern philosophy and a female lead. That's always good. More diversity."

The Toronto professor talks about the continuity between Mickey Mouse, Felix the Cat and Shrek.

A black woman dressed as the devil walks in. She's the college president. She wants to buy souls.

A student asks Donovan about military uses for 3-D animation.

Donovan: "There are far too many military applications for 3-D animation... The military doesn't seem to have much artistic vision."

Student: "They have the budget but not the story."

Dr Derrick: "They have a very old story."

Donovan talks about "simplicity of line and form" while I stare at the Russian secretary in the monitor. But how can I look upon a wench when I've made a contract with God over my eyes?

Where does Donovan finds his stories?

Donovan: "You have to go inside. You have to think about what message you want to get across. In Hollywood, far too much emphasis is put on focus groups instead of what we're trying to say to people. It really depends on if you're in it for money or if you're in it to tell people what you want them to hear."

Student: "Not the generic you, where do you get your stories?"

Donovan: "I look at my life. And whatever is important to me in my life, I want to share with others. If I'm feeling really happy one day, I want to spread the love."

Alan: "If Disney offer you a lot of money to work with them, would you go with them or stay independent?"

Donovan: "I'd go with them [Disney] long enough to get the money to afford to be independent."

Alan: "I'd agree with that."

Most everybody seems opposed to corporate movie making in favor of independent producers.

The couple ask for Donovan to give some wisdow to their boys who are interested in animation.

Donovan: "It takes a lot of work but it's a lot of fun."

Most of the last 20 minutes of the class revolves around using pirated software. The students' ethics are as sloppy as their clothes.

Donovan, who's about to release his own animation software program, says: "I do not pirate software anymore. Now that I've become a developer and realize how much work goes into it.

"It all comes down to karma. If you want to have good karma, you don't pirate software."

The students deride this. They think stealing software and music and the like is just fine because they're poor and the corporations are rich.

FindLuke writes: I read your latest interview with producer/professor Alan Sacks. Or should I say, your latest "account" of the interview. And it's there - in your observations, witicisms, and commentary - that the writing is at its best. It's definitely sharp. Undeniably inviting in its neuroticism. I guess one could say that I care less about the world(s) that you cover, and more about how you remark on your time spent there. The somewhat disconcerting line about morality and owning a cube van provides a classic example of what I would consider the very best of Luke Ford. I wouldn't say it "jazzed-up" the piece. It "Ford-ified" it.

Luke replies: Thank you. Your feedback is very important and helpful to me. You see, I have no inner core. Everything I am is simply a reaction to the feedback I receive. It's called Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Curious writes: What's with all the bedding in there [Luke's van]? Does he actually sleep in it or is that to conceal the bodies?.......

Khunrum writes: I love the wire mesh in Luke's ride which I presume in a former incarnation was meant to keep the driver separated (and safe) from either the prisoners on their way to the poky or stray dogs being transported to the pound ....

Fred writes: I always assumed that it was for dates that didn't quite work out.

Curious writes: But the date's pepper spray could easily permeate the caging that separates the driver's compartment from the rear vivisection area.