Saturday, August 13, 2011
My father Igo Kantor is an old school film producer of the type you rarely see anymore. He was born in 1930 and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. He learned english from comic books and American movies. His favorite films were the Republic Serials (Spy Smasher, Captain Marvel).
In 1947, Igo said goodbye to his parents in Europe and boarded a ship to New York. While at sea, he met the film director Max Nosseck (Dillinger, Rin Tin Tin). He told Mr. Nosseck he wanted to make movies and the director gave Igo a written introduction to his brother who ran a projection room in Hollywood.
Igo made it to Los Angeles and looked up Nosseck's brother. He was hired as a projectionist. Five nights a week he ran private screenings for filmmakers including actress Jean Peters who was dating Howard Hughes at the time. Hughes would sneak into the theater next to Peters while a film was playing. Hughes was quiet and aloof and though polite, he refused to shake hands with anyone.
In 1951, Igo was hired as an assistant film editor at Columbia Pictures. He worked on All the Kings Men with famed editor Al Clark (Mr Smith Goes to Washington). Clark was a lunchtime drinker and sometimes after lunch he would show up late or not at all. On those days Igo edited the film himself. (He remains proud that he edited the famous railroad speech in Kings Men.) Igo was elevated to music supervisor and he worked on Bye Bye Birdie and Under the Yum Yum Tree.
In 1962, Igo met my mother Enid through the help of a Jewish matchmaker. They were married and had three children. Igo opened a post-production house in Hollywood. He wrote the musical theme for two Tarzan features and became post-production supervisor on The Monkees. He was hired by Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson of Columbia/Screen Gems to head post production on Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens. He also supervised post-production on Dennis Hopper's infamous film The Last Movie. After the film soared over budget, Universal pulled editing privileges from Hopper. Hopper asked Igo to participate in a clandestine plan to steal the negative from Universal. Igo refused though he and Hopper remained friends.
Igo received Emmy Nominations three years in a row for editing the Bob Hope Christmas Show. He worked with renowned writer/director Dalton Trumbo (of "Hollywood Ten" fame) on Trumbo's indie film Johnny Got His Gun. Sadly, Trumbo refused to pay his hefty bill and Igo was forced to close his post-production facility.
Igo moved into producing films. For the next 20 years, he made low-budget thrillers and horror films. These include Kingdom of the Spiders with William Shatner, Hardly Working with Jerry Lewis and Act of Piracy with Gary Busey. He also produced the musical opening for the 1988 Olympics in Korea. In 1992, Igo won a Western Heritage Award for his TV documentary Legends of the West with Jack Palance. Today, Igo continues working in the film industry. He's ramping up several new projects which he's hoping to start shooting in 2017. Movies are in his blood and he is happiest when immersed in the 24/7 chaos of film production. (5" x 7", black ink print)