Thursday, February 16, 2006

Film SA

We've Lost a Texas Film Legend

I learned early this morning that Frank Q. Dobbs (above, in costume on the set of GAMBLER V in Galveston) passed away last night, while undergoing cancer treatment in Houston.

I first met Frank in Houston, where we were scouting locations for GAMBLER V. As many of you know, Frank generally insisted on driving himself everywhere. So we started out for Galveston, with him behind the wheel, and not 10 minutes had gone by, and we were promptly pulled over by the DPS for speeding! Frank shrugged it off, told me "I usually get a speeding ticket on every shoot. At least now I've got that taken care of!", and off we went to Galveston.

Frank will be missed, and was truly one of the people that inspired and made friends with everyone he knew.

Frank wrote and produced more Texas projects than anyone I can think of including "Rio Diablo", "Gambler V", "Streets of Laredo", and "Rough Riders".

Thanks for always taking my call, Frank, no matter what part of the world you were in.


At 7:58 AM, Blogger Robert A. Nowotny said...

Frank Q. Dobbs was a big man in every way. No one, and I mean no one, has done more for the film industry in Texas than Frank. And there's no one I know who elicits more unforgettable, wonderful memories than Frank. Your speeding ticket story is just one example of what I am talking about.

I first met Frank in 1986, when he was still headquartered in Houston. He shared his office space with a retired political advisor named Chet Warner. One day out of the blue Frank's telephone rang; it was Mel Tillis on the other end. Somehow (and Frank never knew how or why) a copy of his screenplay UPHILL ALL THE WAY was in the Green Room for the TONIGHT SHOW. (This was back in the days when Johnny Carson ruled).

Mel was bored, found the script, loved it and called Frank who initially thought this was some sort of practical joke. Once convinced it really was Mel calling and that he had already secured the independent financing necessary to jump start production, Frank was ecstatic. Upon hanging up he let out a loud "hooray" that reverberated throughout the entire building -- prompting Chet to run in and ask what all the fuss was about. When told that Frank was going into production soon Chet sheepishly asked, "Can I be in your film?"

Frank, pretty much thinking Chet was only kidding (he had absolutely no training of any kind either in front of or behind the camera), replies, "Learn to tap dance and you're in."

Yep, two weeks later Chet knocks on Frank's door, is invited in and commences to perform a simple tap dance, the result of ten straight days of lessons.

Sure enough, the very opening scene of UPHILL ALL THE WAY features Chet on a small stage tap dancing for no apparent reason whatsoever as the camera pans across the old western town also inhabitated by Mel, Roy Clark, Burl Ives, Glenn Campbell, Frank Gorshin and Burt Reynolds (in an uncredited role) in what became Frank's third feature film.

Frank Q. Dobbs was always a man of his word...

Robert A. Nowotny


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