Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #72)

This is a true story!

I was born in the Price Hill district, in Cincinnati. By the time I was 13, I had been in as many grammar schools – and states – as I had years on this earth.

My mother was a practicing alcoholic. My father was a hypochondriac, or “pill head.” I entered a seminary before I was 14, to study to be a priest. Priesthood represented something to me that my family did not.

In 1942, I left the seminary to go into the Navy Air Corps. My plan was to return to the seminary and earn my degree after World War II had been won. This I did…but not immediately after I was discharged.

First, I went to Hollywood to work with my father in the motion picture studios. My father was a wardrobe man. For the next few years I worked in various Hollywood studios – costuming, acting, dancing and writing. Then I decided to return to the seminary and resume my study for the priesthood.

After a year back in the seminary, I knew that I would not make a good priest. However, I stayed another year and completed my studies so that I could get my degree. Then I returned to Hollywood and to work in the studios as a wardrobe man with high hope of becoming a writer and possibly someday a director.

I married a fine woman and sired two lovely children – a boy and a girl. Eventually I got a break as a writer. Actor Russell Hayden had an idea for a TV western and I wrote it. He sold it and I wrote a series of 13.

Then I went down the tubes. I became an alcoholic and was consuming two-fifths of booze a day. By this time my father had died and my mother had found sobriety in A.A. She came to the rescue of her lost sheep. I joined A.A. and managed to stay sober for 8 months.

My downfall came while working at Paramount on a flick called BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S. I got turned on to terpine hydrate and codeine because of a bad chest cold. To avoid coughing during ‘takes,’ the wardrobe girl gave me some cough medicine. She didn’t know that I was an alkie and I didn’t know that the cough medicine was 40% alcohol with a grain of codeine per ounce. After several swigs I was off to the races.

Many months and several jails later, my mother accompanied by a priest put me in Synanon. I stayed there a few months before splitting (escaping). The trail to dope took me to New York City and there I was introduced to smack (Heroin) and made a connection around 125th Street and Lexington, which I now call “Paradise Lost.”

Eventually, I ended up back in Venice, Calif., living under a pier, the boss among many dope fiends. I wanted to live so I went back to Synanon again and stayed for more than two years. Because I went over the east wall instead of waiting for permission to leave, I am considered by Synanon to be an illegitimate child.

I will never be able to fully repay A.A. and Synanon, who with the help of God twice saved my life. Today, I live by the Golden Rule. I give not less than 10 hours each week of my time and talents to helping others who have a problem with booze, pills or dope. In addition, I give countless hours to worthy youth programs.

In 1962, I began writing a story for the screen. I know the powerful impact motion pictures have on the youth of the world.

During recent years I have tried to get back into the motion picture industry, but I found at all the studios my reputation as an alcoholic and junkie had preceded me. It has been rough trying to make it on the streets, stay sober, stay clean and living on hope instead of dope. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

God is everywhere and there’s power in prayer.

A young woman in the bank who was trying to help me re-establish my credit introduced me to a producer of low-budget films. As a result I was fortunate enough to get some assignments to write and direct a few of his films. This work enabled me to buy a decent wardrobe and a car and to save some money.

One day I was driving with a woman-friend down to the Borrego Badlands to scout locations when I got a premonition. Something told me that there was a mysterious woman living in Yucaipa who could guide me to success. Yucaipa is a little town about 4 miles north of the Palm Springs highway. In my mind’s eye, I saw a rickety, dilapidated service station where Standard products were sold. Something told me that I could find about this mysterious woman there. I told my companion about my vision and she laughed and thought that I might be a little nuts, but why not find out.

We turned off the main highway and for the first time in my life I visited Yucaipa. There it was, a rickety service station selling Standard products. I pulled up to the pumps. The station attendant was servicing another car. The owner was standing alongside. I asked if they knew of any mysterious-type woman in Yucaipa, perhaps a clairvoyant. The station attendant didn’t even know what a clairvoyant was. But the owner of the other car said that he did – and told me about Mrs. Josephine Kellerman, who lived near his home. He directed me.

At Mrs. Kellerman’s house a young girl opened the door and said that Mrs. Kellerman was not seeing anyone that day. I pleaded and begged. Finally, Mrs. Kellerman came to the door and said that she would see me.

The clairvoyant told me things about my family and myself with such amazing accuracy and detail that it shook me to my very bones. She told me that I had written a vital and very important story for the movies but lacked the funds with which to produce it. Mrs. Kellerman suggested that I switch the leading male character from a white to a black and the leading female character from a blond to a red-head. Finally, she suggested methods by which to procure funds for putting my story on film.


Honor Lawrence (Judy)
Bernie Hamilton (Mike)
Steve Lavigne (Brony)
Bert Hoffman (Bert)
Eric Weston (Toke)
David Steinbeck (Funky)
Elizabeth Nelson (Peggy)
Lynn Taylor (Ginny)
Joanna Patrich (Jenny)
Ernie Phillips (Jimmy)
Bobby Tratter (Singer)

Written, produced and directed
Jac Zacha

Associate Producer
Sterling Franck

Production Manager
John Coots

Music by
Kevin and Eric
(Kevin Dwyer and Eric Zohn)

Edited by
Ray Laurent
Ron Peterson
Jay Lovins

Stan Fox
Lew Gwynn
David Evans

Movielab, Inc.
Eastman Kodachrome

MPAA rating: R
Running time: 94 minutes

Kroger Babb

Released by
Hallmark of Hollywood, Inc.
("The Kroger Babb Organization of Specialists")

'Walk the Walk' Release Set for July by Hallmark

HOLLYWOOD -- Jac Zacha's life story, "Walk the Walk," will enjoy the most intensive campaign ever created by showman Kroger Babb, Hallmark of Hollywood, worldwide distributors. The colorful pressbook and entire campaign is scheduled for completion about June 1 and the national release date for the film with be July 1.

Babb believes that "Walk the Walk" is just as timely as "Mom and Dad" 25 years ago and rates it a more powerful story because it is fully true. Jac Zacha lived the story, wrote it, directed and produced the film starring Honor Lawrence and Bernie Hamilton.

The campaign for the film will offer exhibitors a variety of 25 different newspaper ads; five 30 and 60-second radio spots; ten 20 and 60-second color TV commercials; two styles of four-color one-sheets; four-color 8x10 stills; four-color 11x14 stills; a new lobby/concession stand four-color pennant, 11x17 inches, in sets of six different styles; four-color litho 14x22 window cards; a 16-page throw-away booklet; and two different colorful heralds. The radio discs will have eight songs from the film on the reverse side and the color preview trailer will be in widescreen.

(Boxoffice, May 18, 1970, p.10)

Three Big Circuits Book 'Walk the Walk' -- Babb

RENO, NEV. -- Showman Kroger Babb , here for meetings with Elegant Industries, Inc., for which company he is producing a commercial movie, told local theatremen that his company, Hallmark of Hollywood, Inc., is anticipating a minimum of 3,000 engagements for Jac Zacha's new film, "Walk the Walk," starring Honor Lawrence and Bernie Hamilton, by the end of 1971. Babb said that one agent, Bob Farber in the Southeast, booked three big circuits last week, involving a total of over 70 contracts and approximately 100 weeks of playing time. "Walk the Walk" is the true story of Zacha's life, the story of a youth who started smoking marijuana and ended up hooked on heroin. "It's the most timely movie since 'Mom and Dad,'" Babb emphasized, "and the story is just as powerful."

Babb said that after a "soft" opening in a neighborhood theatre in Norfolk, Va., "Walk the Walk" was booked into a drive-in across the river in Portsmouth, Va., and turned in the theatre's biggest gross in three years. "Our Detroit test at the Fox Theatre was okay," Babb reported. "It proved the campaign approach is right."

The Hollywood showman revealed that his "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has now played approximately half of the U.S. and that its gross to date is just about ready to pass the $3,000,000 mark.

Hallmark's Hollywood creative staff is at work on an all-new type of campaign for the company's next release, Babb said. It will be a double-feature horror-mystery type package, "The Blue Hand" and "The Black Eye." The release date is indefinite, according to the Hallmark chief. "We'll see how fast our new network of agents gets 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' and 'Walk the Walk' rolling."

(Boxoffice, August 24, 1970, p.W-3)


Howie Pyro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thank you for having this on your blog! My husband, PK Dwyer, is the Kevin Dwyer who wrote some of the songs for Walk The Walk. We have been after a copy of this movie for years now . . .