Memories from David Hedison
Since I met everyone in this picture for the first time at Chiller ( except for Terry Becker who I had first met at Diana's last summer ) and I am recounting David Hedison's memories of Richard here I thought this would be an appropriate place to put this picture. This is the crew from Voyage with Richard Basehart's nephew, Bruce, filling in for him.
I first met David Hedison at Chiller in April 2004. I introduced myself in the lobby at the Sheraton on Friday night and he immediately gave me a bear hug. He greeted me like a long lost friend. I gave him some pictures of him that Diana had. We talked for a few minutes. I asked him about calling Richard "Richard" and not "Dick" and he commented that to him Richard was always a "Richard". He could never be anything else. Richard was too sophisticated, too elegant, too dignified to be called Dick. Like King Richard. He was in a hurry so he agreed to talk with me about Richard later. We got together that Saturday night along with Diane and John Kachmar, Debbie Holliman and Richard's nephew Bruce. We talked about a lot of different topics, but of course, I was mostly interested in what he thought about Richard. I really enjoyed speaking with him. He talked about how Richard enjoyed reading in between scenes. He seemed to be always going to the Baseharts for the holidays, which Diana had also mentioned. He even went to Diana's art exhibits. He reiterated over and over just how much he missed Richard and wished he were stil here. He was such a great friend and a great person. He doesn't remember any story about "Freddy the Fly" though. ( A story that I am sure that Richard cooked up to tease him about having a pet fly named Freddy which supposedly David accidentally killed.)
Below are some stories told before and seen in some Voyage zines so several people have heard them but I feel they need to be recounted here. The one thing that I realized when talking with David Hedison was that I realized he truly cares a lot for Richard and really does miss him. A person can read this in print and you know you can't believe everything you read, but after meeting him personally I know it to be true.
A Joke on David
Richard Basehart was huge on talent, but definitely not very tall. When we were on the set the difference in height made us look like Mutt and Jeff. When we had closeup scenes together, Richard would stand on a 2 inch riser to decrease the difference in height. He once played a trick on me that the whole crew enjoyed. Once during a long acting sequence Richard found a 5 inch board and stood on it. I took my place next to him involved somewhat in the preparation of my dialogue. The cameras rolled, the director said "Action," and the scene started. All went well, we were in tune, and the scene was going like gang busters. Suddenly, I realized that I was looking UP at Richard - not down, or at - but UP! I gasped and then blurted out, "Oh, my good God, you've, GROWN....! Richard gave out a huge laugh and the crew applauded. The five inch board was abandoned, and the more appropriated two inch riser was used.
Commenting on Richard Basehart as an actor
It was fantastic working with him. I was a very lucky actor to be working with him. He was a wonderful man. He taught me a awful lot because I don't think I was as good an actor that first year as I was when the series ended. I'm grateful. I love you, Richard! I had never worked with an actor who had such total concentration in his work. He would appear on the set for the first run - through the scene - usually when most actors are exploring their parts and/or bungling their lines. (NOTE: Dante Giammarco made a comment about this also ) You could almost roll the camera on Richard. He was that good. It was like playing tennis with a marvelous opponent. There was always something there for me to take from, which always helped my performance. I loved working with him, and I think he may have felt the same way working with me. When we really got involved in a scene and everything was working just right - sparks would fly. It was wonderful.
Comments on what Richard Basehart was like off camera
Off camera, he was very introverted. He was very very intelligent. He was always reading and was shy with people. He just did his work. For some reason we hit it off well. I had many plans for the character and wanted to meet Richard before the show started so I got his telephone number from the producer and called him at home. I asked if he minded if I came up to visit him because I was playing the Captain and I would love to talk to him for awhile. I told him how I admired his work and was so proud to be working with him. Diana was there, also. I think they were impressed because I was so enthusiastic about the work and was so happy to be working with him. From that point on I think is when we became good friends. I was always invited over to their house at Thanksgiving and Christmas. He was a wonderful fellow.
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