Saturday, April 26, 2014

Stanley Rubin: A Celebration of Life at the Egyptian Theatre

This afternoon I had the privilege of attending a memorial tribute for producer-writer Stanley Rubin, who passed away last month at the age of 96.

The program at the Egyptian Theatre, which I attended along with my friend Lindsay, was open to the public and free of charge.

The afternoon was attended by Rubin's family, including his widow, actress Kathleen Hughes, and the family also graciously hosted a reception in the theatre lobby at the close of the tribute. Actress Marsha Hunt was also among the attendees.

Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation served as host, and he reminisced that the very first movie shown at the first Noir City Hollywood festival was THE NARROW MARGIN (1952), with Rubin and Marie Windsor among those in attendance.

The eulogists included Coleen Gray (seen above with Alan Rode), who wrote a letter to Rubin reflecting on his relationships and service to God, country, family, and community, and Susan Clark (seen below), who won a Best Actress Emmy starring in Rubin's production of BABE (1975). Clark teared up remembering that she met her late husband, Alex Karras, thanks to Stanley Rubin.

Dennis Bartok, the first programmer of the American Cinematheque, read from a review of DESTINATION GOBI (1953) by Francois Truffaut and remembered the pleasure of seeing Rubin, director Robert Wise, and actor Don Taylor reminiscing and enjoying each other's company at a screening of the film.

When Rubin was 88, he returned to UCLA to complete his Bachelor's degree, over 60 years after dropping out to go to work. When offered an honorary degree instead, he turned it down, saying he wanted to earn the real thing, and he did. It's such a wonderful and inspiring story that he set himself the goal of finishing the degree at an advanced age and accomplished it! Raquel posted his 2006 UCLA graduation photo in an obituary post at Out of the Past.

Bob Rosen, the UCLA dean who assisted Rubin in completing the degree, remembered the irony of Rubin attending a class on television history -- when Rubin was the very first person to ever receive an Emmy Award!

Rubin's writing credits included DECOY (1946), VIOLENCE (1947), and MACAO (1952). In addition to THE NARROW MARGIN (1952) and DESTINATION GOBI (1953) his film producing credits included RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954) with Robert Mitchum, DESTRY (1954) with Audie Murphy, and THE GIRL MOST LIKELY (1958), an old favorite of mine which starred Jane Powell.

Rubin's TV credits included the '60s TV series THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR and quality TV-movies such as BABE (1975), ...AND YOUR NAME IS JONAH (1979), and DON'T LOOK BACK: THE STORY OF LEROY "SATCHEL" PAIGE (1981). I remember enjoying the latter film, which starred Louis Gossett Jr., when it first aired on television.

The afternoon concluded with a 35mm screening of a beautiful print of THE NARROW MARGIN, which I first saw on DVD in 2009 and had the good fortune to see at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival.

I was ready to see THE NARROW MARGIN again just a year after my last viewing, and I've come to realize I could easily see it annually without tiring of it, I like it that much. Starting with the opening title, every shot is beautiful, every line of dialogue memorable ("strictly poison under the gravy"). 71 minutes of pure noir joy.

My gratitude to Stanley Rubin for making such moments of movie joy possible, and my sincere condolences to his family. I appreciate that they shared such a wonderful afternoon with his many admirers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. Sounds a fine tribute.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Thanks for a lovely post on this special tribute.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Nice occasion, Laura.

It would not take much to make me reach onto the shelves and pull off "The Narrow Margin" yet again either. It's just that kind of terrific little movie.

7:50 AM  
Blogger john k said...

I would have loved to have attended this special tribute especially as it was
attended by Coleen Gray and Susan Clark.
Mr Rubin was also responsible for getting Eastwood's wonderful and virtually
unseen WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART green-lit.
Only Eastwood could make a film about the mystique of big-game hunting where
not one animal is shot.
Speaking of Eastwood I recently watched the Blu-ray of COOGAN'S BLUFF the other
day,lovely Susan Clark is cooking Eastwood a pasta dinner when he leaves her
in the kitchen while he follows up a lead,without even saying goodbye.....

6:10 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much for the nice feedback. Rubin seems to have been quite a special man and I was very glad to have attended this tribute and learned more about him.

John, those are terrific Eastwood (and Clark!) anecdotes. Thanks!

Best wishes,

10:36 PM  

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