Friday, September 4, 2009

Film Writer Dick Berg and Richard Moore R.I.P.

Dick Berg

Television and movie writer Dick Berg passed on September 1 at the age of 87. The cause was a fall in his home.

Dick Berg was born on February 16, 1922 in New York City. He grew up in New Rochelle, New York. He attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Following graduation, Berg moved to Hollywood for a career in either acting or producing. He wound up as a dialogue coach for the stars of B-Westerns at Republic, including Roy Rogers.

Berg later moved to Westport, Connecticut where he operated a art supply shop called Poor Richard's Art Gallery and the Paint Bucket. In his spare time he started writing for television, eventually making sales to Robert Montgomery Presents and Kraft Television Theatre. Dick Berg would write episodes of such anthology series as Studio One, The Kaiser Aluminum Hour, Playhouse 90, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Suspicion. As television moved away from anthology series to TV shows with continuing characters, Berg wrote scripts for The Third Man, Johnny Staccato, Five Fingers, and Checkmate.

In 1961, with the series Checkmate, Berg became a television producer. In addition to Checkmate, he produced such shows as Firehouse and Key West. Berg also went into movie production, producing such movies as Counterpoint and House of Cards. He produced many, many TV movies, as well as mini-series, including The Martian Chronicles and Space.

Richard Moore

Richard Moore, cinematographer and co-founder of Panavision, passed on August 16 at the age of 83.

Richard Moore was born on October 4, 1925 in Jacksonville, Illinois. He attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he earned a degree in film. His first work was on travelogues and documentaries.

It was in 1953 that Richard Moore and Robert Gottschalk founded Panavision. The company had been founded to make the anamorphic projection lenses necessary for filming movies in such widescreen processes as Cinemascope. Their first lens, the Super Panatar, entered the market in 1954. Panavision would bring an important innovation to CinemaScope with the Auto Panatar camera lens for 35 mm. In the early days of Cinemascope, the lenses had one big problem with close-up shots--they tended to widen individuals' faces. The Auto Panatar was the first anamorphic projection lens which permitted close-ups in anamorphic photography which looked natural. The Auto Panatar insured Panavision's success.

Panavision also developed the widescreen process MGM Camera 65 for MGM. It was this process which was used on Ben Hur, How the West was Won, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and a few other films. Eventually Panavision moved to manufacturing cameras. In 1972 they introduced the Panaflex, a hand held camera which could record both sight and sound quietly.

Richard Moore eventually left Panavision, supposedly because he tired of a desk job. He was a cameraman on the film Sex and the College Girl in 1964 and did the underwater filming on Thunderball. In 1965 he received his first credit as cinematographer on a film, on the movie Operation C.I.A.. He was also a cinematographer on the TV series Daktari. He would go on to serve as cinematographer on such films as The Wild Angels, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, The Stone Killer, and Annie. In 1979 he directed the film Circle of Iron.

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