Friday, November 12, 2010

Interview with... David Macklin

I know it's been a while since I last posted an interview, or movie review, but I've been saving up some incredible actors/actresses with which to present to you.
First case in point is long-time actor of TV shows such as The F.B.I., The Donna Reed Show, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, and Bonanza.
Of course I'm talking about David Macklin.

David was kind enough to allow me the opportunity to interview him, and I hope you enjoy the following;

1. What was it like to film Bonanza?

Let me tell you a bit about what led up to Bonanza. I was eleven years old when I started acting and studying in my home town Cincinnati Ohio actually Greenhillls Ohio a "greenbelt community", built by FDR about 18 miles from Cincinnati. I worked in school plays, local TV. . PBS or NET as it is now known, called my acting coach Water Eyer and wanted a boy about fifteen to play the part of a mentally disturbed boy in "Escape from the Gage" This show won some awards and the photographer of the show Bill Bradshaw ... the absolutely best in the area ... met with the great Hollywood director Henry King while the local TV writer for "The Cincinnati Time Star" Ed Chapin was interviewing Mr. King. Bill showed him "Escape Fron the Cage" and he was impressed.
Then an article appeared in the "Times" that Mr. King might have a role for me in his new film "The Bravados" to be shot in Hollywood. That part ended up being played by and old actor but the article and appreciation showed by Mr. King made up my mind that Hollywood and not New York was where I was going to try to break though. Also my brother Clem was an intern and he and two of his intern friends where driving to L.A to work in a Hospital there.
After an amazing, camping out here and there, treck across the country by route 66 I arrived in Culver City and roomed with some actors that I knew from Summer Stock that I did at the state theater of Kentucky "The Pioneer Playhouse". We lived in a ramshackle old house that was condemned for construction by of the first freeways. But we were about four blocks from the studios of the great MGM. I worked as a soda jerk, dishwasher, mail boy for a while.
My acting coach was Hellena Sorrel, under contract to 20th Century Fox as head of talent. She recommended me to an agent Jeanne Halliburton who got me my first SAG part in a Dupont commercial. That was a big step because I was now in the Union. Then came an audition for a title role "The Real McCoys" starring Water Brennan called "Harvey the Boat Boy". It was a real "kick in the head" to get this part when I had so little experience. In fact Walter Brennan and the Director Hy Averback were very kind to help me through some of the cinema technique that I was never trained in.

Ok ... Then comes "Bonanaza". My agent tells me to go over to Paramount and read for the new COLOR western "Bonanza" again a title role "The Todd Greyson Story". I walked into a room full of all the good juvenile actors in Hollywood and for some reason I went in ahead of a lot of them. I read to Mr. David Dortort and before I was finished he said "That's enough. You have the part". Then Bill Maybury, the casting director, took me through the room filled with all those actors waiting to read and Mr. Maybury said "Thank you. The Role has been cast."
I was flabbergasted .. my guts was entirely flabbered. I felt bad about the other actors ... for a millisecond and then digested the fact that I got a great part in a show that was to become a classic, I heard from many of those fine actors later, sometimes working with them, about that interview. One of them was Tom Lowell who I had a great time with at "The Twilight Zone 50 Convention" in Hollywood a couple a years ago in LA.

2. Have you been a fan of the shows you’ve appeared on?

Very seldom. I am a book and movie person. I did like and know "The Eleventh Hour" , "My Three Sons", "Mr. Novac" ... that's about it. I loved shows I was never on like "Mash:, "Mary Tyler Moore", "Dick Van Dyke", "Bob Newhart', "All in the Family", "Maude", and "specials".

3. Subsequently, what was it like to then appear on these shows?

I would give it my best and hoped it was a hit and take the money. Also I worked with some wonderful people like Burl Ives, Loretta Young, Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Landau.

4. What about The Twilight Zone appealed to you?

Very little. I did like a few of the episodes but not the one I was in ... "The Ring-a-ding Girl". I didn't like my part , my make-up was a mess done by a hack, that shirt I wore was hideous. The director didn't.... I had no idea that this show would be my ...ekkks ...most remember. Such a hit.

5. Please tell us about Harris Against The World.

I fought like crazy to get a decent part on that show and finally did in "Harris Against His Son" (that was the shooting title) in the 13th segment. We came back to do the next 13 and all of us including Jack Klugman and Patricia Barry were all aghast to see a crummy note on the door telling us we were all fired. Just like Joe Connelly made a scummy deal with NBC that killed "Harris" which was the best review, highest rated of the three shows on "90 Bristol Court". I wish someone somewhere had a copy of at least one of those show I was in. I remember the opening where I got star billing over my taking the sports section of the newspaper. I remember the enormous pictures of me at the commissary. I remember, as Jack Klugman does, that if there were not nefarious crap going on, "Harris" could have been a hit. It was a good show.and was just finding it's way. There is a lot more about this and so much more about so much more in my book. ACTING In The Motion Picture BUSINESS

6. What has been your favourite role?

Maybe Howard in "FBI" " How To Murder an Iron Horse" There are parts of some of them I like such as "The Sound of Anger" tv movie, "Stoney Burke", "Mr. Novac", "Blue Light", "The Real McCoys". I then I think of some like "The Law and Mr. Jones", "Window on Main Street" that are no where to be found.

Again I want to thank David for his time and energy put into this interview. I'm amazed at what's been discussed.
I'd love to know what you think also.
Please feel free to contact me at to let me know.
Until next time.


  1. David Macklin is a BRILLIANT actor and it shows in all the movies/shows he did. David really takes on the character he plays. I have a copy of David's book "ACTING In The Motion Picture BUSINESS", and I recommend anyone out there who wants to go into the acting field to buy this book. Although it teaches you how to be a great actor it also is fun to read and has some very funny parts in the book. Its a book for EVERYONE! Donna Ferguson, California

  2. Where you can order David Macklin's book "ACTING In The Motion Picture BUSINESS" is at

    Donna Ferguson

  3. Why has David Macklin not become a household name?

  4. Adore David Macklin.....still crushing

  5. Convincing actor, the all American Boy