Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Interview with... Jack Grinnage

My next interview has some very interesting things to talk about, from the golden and silver era of Hollywood.
Or would that also be Bronze era? I forget the generational gaps...

Anyhow, Jack Grinnage appeared alongside James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, and also alongside Elvis in King Creole.

Jack Grinnage also appeared in one of THE coolest supernatural TV shows of all time. I'm talking, of course, about Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Jack Grinnage.

1. What was it like to work on Rebel Without A Cause?

it was amazing, wonderful, and fun. It was my first movie with screen credit, although the credits where wrong, I played Moose, but credits say, Jack Grinnage as Chick. Beverly Long, and I had gone to college together at Los Angeles City College, done scenes together and a play. I called her in San Diego and told her she should get up to LA, that there was a Movie she should be in. ' She called her agent, and there she is. We worked long hours, we where a family, we went out after the shooting to become a gang, and played games on the set, sometimes with Jimmy. Nick Ray let us watch the daily's, if we didn't mention how we looked. Worked on day 24 hours, Where paid a full days pay for every hour over 14 I think. What ever the SAG rules where then. filmed in black and white for a week or two, then to color, had to change wardrobe. The leather jacket I wore was mine, and also wore it in King Creole. There it was ruined in the water.

2. What was James Dean really like?

I have been asked that so many times. He was Twenty Four year old young man. flooded with success from and incredible performance in " East of Eden" Having more money than he had ever had, Searching for who he was. He was mischievous, moody, inquisitive, and interested in the process of movie making. What works, what doesn't work. I was intimated by Jimmy, but eventually warmed up. A typical 24 year old, with the best of times, happening all around him. Attention all around, everyone wanting to be your friend. He stayed a distant from the gang at first, as it should have been for the character building. I had an incident in the film, driving a car through a very narrow space and pulling up quickly in front of Buzz's car and Beverly and I then hopping out and running back to talk. Action was called I floored the car, did a quick turn wheeled passed Buzz's car and slammed on the brakes. Bev and I jump out. Shoot done, After the shoot Jimmy walked up to me and said. "want to drive my car in the next road race?" I don't remember my answer. Beverly and I ran into Jimmy after film at Hamburger Hamlet, he was friendly and interested in what was going on with our lives. What where we all like at 24? or will be like when we are 24? A typical 24 year old, with a lot of success. That was Jimmy Dean.

3. Supernatural-themed shows are all the rage now. Please tell us about Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

I was originally only suppose to do just the one episode. The people at that time, like the character of Ron Updike and wanted to bring him in as a regular. I was leaving for Europe with my Grandmother at the time and said no to the 3 or 4 episodes they where offering. They kept coming back with more episodes and Co-Star Billing. I finally could not turn it down. Glad I didn't as it was one of the best experience I have ever had on a Television show. Working with Darren, Simon and Ruth was a great experience. And then there was Carol Ann Susi. We have remained friends through the years and just live a couple of block from each other. There seemed to be a great deal of turmoil surrounding the "Night Stalker "set. To this day I don't know what that was all about. I was never involved in that, I enjoyed going to work everyday. And
I still get mail from fans saying how much they liked the show. Great memories

4. What was it like to work with Elvis Presley in King Creole?

Good job, I had several interviews for television shows the day I auditioned for King Creole. I did not think I would book the film. I was interviewed by Hal Wallis and Michael Curtis. I was overwhelmed. The walk from the doorway of Mr. Wallis office to his desk, seemed like eight blocks. With trophies, memorably awards, all lining the walls as I walked toward his desk. I could hardly speak. Fortune Dummy was a non hearing non speaking individual so it worked. I was later told, I had the worst interview personally of any actor they had interviewed. Original the part had been cast with another actor. He thought the part to small so turned it down. Lucky for me. I didn't meet Elvis until the day I work. When I also met Vic Morrow and Brian Hutton. Elvis was very professional, and polite, During the dime store scene, between takes while they where setting up different shoots, he would play his guitar and sing. Lots of celebrities came on the set. When we went to New Orleans I saw him in the morning when we would drive out to the locations. One morning while we where sitting in the limousine. He said you want to see something. I said what? He roiled down the window and on the street where thousands of girls, he yelled, hey there. They screamed and started running toward the car. He said to the driver drive, drive. and away we went. He know his effect on the lady's. Elvis also helped me make a decision, about the fall from the dock. I was originally told I would be double for the fall, but come the day, no double. I ask if Walter was going to do the fall they said know. It was my last shot of the film. And they didn't care if I was hurt or not. I felt if I didn't do the fall I would be blacklisted as uncooperative. And never work again. But Elvis said, if you do the fall and get hurt, you may never work again either. They wanted to offer my more money. I said know and walked back to the limousine and sat their wondering what I had done. They found one of the crew to do the fall. But they didn't have double cloths, so I had to give them my cloths for the shot. Then we changed cloths again I got into the wet cloths and got in the water. Nervous day. Years later I ran into Elvis, when I was working at 20th Century Fox, And he said your still working. Good man good memories and a very pleasant experience with the King.

5. What prompted you to work on the TV show, Scrubs?

They offered me the job. and I like to work.

6. What has been your favorite role so far?

I guess Ron Updike on "The Night Stalker"

7. What would be your ideal dream role?

My next job.

8. What’s coming up next?

At the moment, just the New Year.

9. Is there an event or charity you would like to bring to my reader’s attention?

I was in the Marine Corp, the Toys for Tots, have always been the best. I helped collect toys when I was in the Corp.

Thank you Jack!
I wish you all my very best.

Please feel free to comment about this interview below.
Until next time.


  1. Hey Straight To DVD,

    I just read the wonderful interview you did with Jack Grinnage. I loved it!!! Thanks for contacting Jack and asking him to do the interview. He did a great job.

    I've known Jack for almost 30 years. I can personally say Jack is an amazing man. He is a very loving, kind, thoughtful, giving, caring, considerate, compassionate and of course, talented man. He has a great sense of humor too. And I'm proud to know him and to say he is my friend.

    Thanks Jack for being the blessing you are! God bless you Jack!

    Kindest regards,

  2. Dear Jack,

    It was great to read this interview. I was 13-14 yrs old when The Night Stalker came out. I was hooked then and still am today. It was exciting to hear about your career. You are a great actor and I wish you all of the best.


  3. Hi Straight to DVD,

    Is there a way I can get in touch with you via email? I work at a production company in London and am currently doing some research on Jack Grinnage. Or if easier, please get in touch with me at

    Best wishes,