MEMORIES OF RICHARD BASEHART

In this section I hope to collect memories, stories and anecdotes about Richard Basehart from his family, friends and fans.

Anecdotes from Jack Basehart

These are excerpts of our 1st trip to Italy to see Jack that Debbie wrote.

Jack sat slouched in a chair across from us while Steph and I sat on the sofa, the very same sofa that he and his dad used to sit on while his dad read him comic books and did all the voices. He said that when he was little, the family had gone to visit Uncle Harry in Albuquerque. Harry had read him his comic books but he didn't do all the different voices like RB did and Jack didn't like that at all.

He told us about how his dad would sing songs all the time, mostly while he was shaving in the morning. As Jack recalled the songs, he sang them for us--he has an incredible singing voice. He said that RB used to wear handmade shoes and tailored suits and that he was a very classy man with a wonderful sense of style and charm. When RB was in Italy, he always dressed very elegantly.

When Jack last saw his dad, RB had come to Italy to visit Jack at school. Jack was very well liked at his school so all his teachers were really looking forward to meeting dad. Jack and RB spent some time at a little hotel on Lake Maggiore. He said that once again they captured that closeness that he had had with his dad but then he had to go and Jack never saw him again. He wasn't able to go to RB's funeral. He talked about the irony of the Olympic speech and how he died so shortly afterward.

In 1977 Jack bought a villa in Rome. Because of his age, he needed an older person, preferably his father, to co-sign with him. RB couldn't do it so Jack got Massimo Serrato (he was in Cartouche with RB) to sign the deed. Massimo became sort of Jack's surrogate father in RB's absence. He truly does miss his dad and how very close they were. He commented more than once that his dad was his best friend and that he missed him so much.

Jack told us that when he was 9 months old, his dad tried to teach him how to whistle. RB would whistle and all Jack could do was blow. Jack said that his dad's index fingers were caught under the teeter-totter when he was a kid and that's why they looked funny. I asked him if he didn't mean his pinkies and then told him about how they looked odd and he was always hiding them. Jack said it could have been his pinkies. Back in the day when the family, Dick, Val and Jack, were coming to the US, they would take the ship across. They would often meet people and one family in particular invited them to their ranch outside Mexico City. There was a picture in Jack's photo album with RB and Jack on horses. It was taken at that ranch. ( That picture is in the 1950's Family Pictures section of the web site.)

Jack told us a story about how Broderick Crawford was drunk and he kept falling out of the car in "Il Bidone". He did this several times, ruining the take. Finally, Dick said (paraphrased), "Yeah, they are out to screw you. But you show them. Next time DON'T fall out of the car". Broderick got it right on the next take. He told us another story about how the authorities were closing out the last brothels in Rome and RB and a friend had one last go. When they went home the next morning, RB and the other guy were peeing on the fence--with Valentina watching. He was remanded to stay at his friend's for a month! Jack was laughing when he told this story.

Jack still has his dad's watch. He took it off and showed it to us. The band was leather and is not the original one but it's very close to the same one his dad had. He used to have his dad's gold Zippo lighter but he lost it a few years ago. He said that his dad liked to go shooting and had a hand engraved rifle from Germany.

While we were still eating, Jack had Gamine bring in these two glasses. They looked like tumblers you might use for a scotch and soda or something. He said that his aunt gave these to him; they were his dad's martini glasses. He also said that his dad's favorite drink was 2 beers and a double Jack Daniels. Jack said he tried that combo once and about fell on the floor. He then quoted a rhyme in German about drinking. I can't remember how it goes but I knew what he was saying so I gave him the English equivalent: liquor before beer, never fear; beer before liquor, never sicker. He had never heard that before so I had to repeat it a few times so he could memorize it. We spoke a little bit in German. He told me my German was very good and then asked where I learned it. My German seems to get much better in Italy because I can't speak as well when I'm back in the States.

He told us about RB and Broderick Crawford: they were told by Fellini during the filming of "Il Bidone" to go on the wagon for a week. They did but then came the wine festival in Rome where the wine pours from the fountains. They couldn't find RB and Broderick for two days.

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Copyright --October 20, 2000 Stephanie Kellerman and the Basehart Family