Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Producer Sandy Howard R.I.P.

Sandy Howard, a producer of film and television responsible for the movie A Man Called Horse and the Seventies version of The Island of Dr. Moreau, died Friday at the age of 80.

Howard was born on August 1, 1927 and grew up in the Bronx. As a teenager he wrote short stories published in the magazine Liberty. He entered show business as a publicist for Broadway shows. At the age of 19 he became a director on the children's show Howdy Doody. He produced The Barry Gray Radio Show from 1951 to 1958. He also produced Captain Kangaroo.

In 1958 Howard entered the world of prime time television, creating the earl reality show Night Court U.S.A., in which people discussed cases before a Los Angeles judge. He wrote, directed, and produced the series. He also produced the 1959 TV drama Police Station and the 1963 comedy series Mack & Myer for Hire. His career in film began when he directed the movie Tarzan and the Trappers in 1958. He would only direct a few more films, Diary of a Bachelor (1964) and Gammera the Invincible (1966) among them.

It was in the realm of producing movies that Howard found his niche. In 1964 he produced his first film, Diary of a Bachelor. He would go onto produce such films as A Man Called Horse (as well as its sequels), Man in the Wilderness, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), and Circle of Iron.

I don't think anyone can deny that the quality of the films Howard produced could vary considerably. He produced some truly bad films, such as he Eighties exploitation films Angel and Hollywood Vice Squad. But he also produced a few very good films, such as A Man Called Horse, Man in the Wilderness, and the 1977 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Given there are producers who have never even produced one good film, I guess that can be considered an achievement in and of itself.

1 comment:

Squirrel said...

I remember "A Man Called Horse" it was a very popular flick. Amazing how many of these guys come out of the Bronx or Brooklyn, isn't it? I'm just impressed that he directed Howdy Doody, and produced Captain Kangaroo.

Gammera the Invincible --I'm sure I saw that one as a kid, and more than once.

RIP Mr. Howard, and Thanks!