George’s “bad boy” antics behind the scenes.

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The other day I was reading a very entertaining book by Mark A. Vieira entitled Hollywood Horror:From Gothic To Cosmic  (New York : Harry N. Abrams, 2003) when I came across some anecdotes about George which I want to share. The first incident  recounted happened when George was hired in 1942 for the lead in a movie titled The Undying Monster. George went on suspension rather than “report for work…dressed as a gorilla”  That certainly sounds like George.  The second incident occurred during the filming of the 1945 film Hangover Square. The filming had been rocky because of the behavior of the other lead actor, Laird Cregar who was on a severe diet and taking medications which led to erratic behavior on his part. Then George decided to put in his oar and show his temperament.  One of the producers, Robert Bassler, wanted George to say the line “He’s better off this way”. George, however, did not wish to say that line believing it to be inappropriate. This was causing a delay in filming a very expensive scene. According to Vieira, when Bassler found George sitting in a canvasback chair at the edge of the seat he confronted George and when George didn’t respond Bassler said “How dare you , you arrogant s** of a b****!”  As Vieira puts it “Sanders blithely reached forward and punched Bassler, knocking him out”.  How like George to do that!  As far as I am concerned George had every right since the guy called him a nasty name. I’ll bet George used his famous right jab.(remember George was inter-scholastic heavyweight boxing champion in college)

I remember reading in some book about an occasion where George showed his temper in a passive-aggressive way.  After his tremendous success in Lloyd’s of London and Lancer Spy  George was extremely peeved when he was casted in a small part inMr. Moto’s Last Warning. He showed his ire by appearing for one of his scenes drunk.  Naughty, naughty George!  Another amusing anecdote concerns the following incident.  George had asked  the studio to paint and spruce up his dressing room.  One of the studio head men came to George’s dressing room and said they would be glad to make the repairs if George would stop making disparaging remarks about the studio managers. George thought for a minute and then said “No, it isn’t worth it”.  Typical George!

George occasionally acted up and he could give studio management and producers a hard time, but he was always generous with other actors.  Although George always knew his lines perfectly and his delivery and timing were perfect, he was always patient with other actors who muffed lines or messed up their timing. He was never resentful when other actors caused retakes of a scene and he never tried to upstage other actors.  If you watch George in movies when the other actors are peforming ( which I do, at NO time do I take my eyes off  George) he never does anything to distract the audience from the other actor’s performance.

By the way, I don’t have any photos of George pulling “bad boy” antics behind the scenes, so for the slideshow I used photos of George being, haughty, supercillious, and just plain bad on the screen.

Hopefully, in my next blog I will get around to discussing George’s last Saint movie, The Saint In Palm Springs.

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