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Memories of Pacific's starring role

Editor's note: The summer issue of Pacific Review looked back at the 1969 filming of Stanley Kramer's " RPM" on the Pacific campus. The story sparked many memories for Pacific alumni.

Following those letters are several that were not included in the winter 2009 Pacific Review because of space constraints.

Back in Time "Paid to Protest" on the Filming of "RPM"

I was there, and remember it like it was yesterday. While I did see the "paid to riot" scenes filmed in front of Knoles Lawn, there was something else I saw which was much more indelible. This was a not-to-be-forgotten, irreversibly imprinted memory of Ann-Margret climbing onto the back of a motorcycle driven by Anthony Quinn who drove her into one of the scenes in "RPM." I stood outside my apartment on Stadium Drive across from the library - no more than three feet away,!

There were many things I remember from my days at Pacific: Getting accepted to pharmacy school in 1967, graduating in 1971, getting accepted to graduate school for a master's degree in pharmacology under my great mentor, Dr. Marvin H. Malone, graduating in 1974 which qualified me to go on to a PhD.

Along the way at Pacific during my undergraduate days, meeting the great rose-garden philosopher, Jess Escobar, who created and sustained the awesome visual beauty of the rose garden in front of Weber Hall and who served like a father-away-from-home figure for many of us away from our families for the first time.

And speaking of Weber Hall, receiving acknowledgment from then President Burns for having helped save Weber Hall from a potentially devastating fire by quickly alerting the local fire department after smelling smoke from my apartment across the street on Stadium Drive one late night in 1969.

Moreover, during pharmacy school, helping to create and sustain one of the first drug-abuse programs, "Straight Drug Talk" run by pharmacy students during the early 1970s in which we delivered the hard, cold truth about drug-abuse to local high school students.

Thanks for flashing back the past. For someone who just turned 60, this flash-back re-kindled very therapeutic memories!

- Bill Watson '71, '74

Thank you for the "flashback" to 1969. I was one of the football extras in "RPM." It was great money for the time and a lot of fun. I was also the chairman of MEChA and one of the founders of the organization that year. We (the Black Student Union and MEChA) marched on Burns Tower and held a demonstration to bring attention to the lack of diversity, particularly Latino and African-American (although we called ourselves Chicanos and Blacks then), on campus and "encouraged" the university to rectify the situation. I spoke on behalf of MEChA and John Stanton spoke on behalf of the BSU. After a meeting with the administration, the Community Involvement Program was founded. I am very proud that I was able to play a small part in helping the University leap ahead of other institutions in supporting student diversity.
- Victor F. Ornelas '71, Regent

My gosh, when I flipped to the last page of the latest Pacific Review I was immediately taken back 39 years (39? Yikes! When did THAT happen??) to the cold gray December days in Stockton when filming of "RPM" occurred during my freshman year. While the filming of the riot scene did occur in December, the cast and crew actually arrived in Stockton in late November - the picture you have of Anthony Quinn was actually taken during the Thursday noon chapel session (the 1969-70 school year was the last year for noon chapel as a part of the "official" campus calendar). And, winter break as it is now known on campus did not exist. The 1969-70 school year was the last year of traditional semester schedule for Pacific. We had finals when we got back from the two-week holiday vacation, which was always full of term papers.

All of the action sequence pictures you have took place on the quad between Knoles Hall and Burns Tower. I can remember the film crew giving the gardening staff fits by trying to make the area "grittier" with leaves and debris when the quad was the pride and joy of the gardener, who kept it immaculate - you messed with his roses at your peril!

I am not only in the movie, but on the sound track album cover. I probably own one of only 10 or so copies ever sold (there were about 10 Pacific students on the cover. Admittedly, it's pretty mediocre - maybe even flat out bad - music). The album picture is of students "occupying" the Hudson administration building as a sit in. In actuality we were hanging out the windows of the second floor classrooms in Knoles Hall. My head is out of the upper center window.

Poor Ann-Margret. There was a scene filmed just on the corner of the library where Anthony Quinn rides up on his Harley (he played a VERY counter-cultural faculty member) and picks up Ann-Margret for a ride. All of the windows of North hall overlooked this intersection. Every time Ann-Margret went to straddle that Harley a din of camera shutters went off. The original paparazzi!! After the third attempt at a take, Kramer sent his crew into the dorm to get guys to knock it off - the sound of the cameras was so loud it was coming through the recording equipment.

Thanks so much for a quick trek back in time! And, you're right. It was a great way to make some holiday spending money on a Saturday.

- Mike Phillips '73

Your writer asks readers to write if we were there in relation to the filming of the movie "RPM." I have a great story about that. I was an incoming freshman and at that time freshmen came to campus a few days prior to start of class. I drove to Pacific, checked in to my new dorm and met one of my neighbors. We then set out to walk the campus to see how things were laid out. There were very few people around, however as we walked across the quad we passed a most beautiful woman. We quickly consulted each other and decided it was Ann-Margret, though at that moment we had no idea why she would be on our campus. We ran back to the dorm, found my camera and ran back. Sure enough, it was Ann-Margret, and she graciously posed for a photo with us. Picture a photo of two freshmen, dazzled by the presence of this star, and looking absolutely beside themselves with happiness. This all happened within my first hour on the Pacific campus. Needless to say, it gave me reason to believe college was going to be just great, and a good story to tell all these years later.

- Ed Epperson, '73, '74

Thanks for the article about "RPM." I was a sophomore and everyone wanted to meet Ann-Margret and Anthony Quinn. The DU house invited Ann-Margret to eat dinner there but she refused. Many of us were paid extras, and I remember getting paid $15 bucks a day and a hot meal. Some of the filming may have occurred over either Thanksgiving or Christmas break.

They did a National Guard scene, and I was issued a uniform and a rifle. The director wanted me to be the Master Sgt. and they added stripes to the uniform. I was told to act real serious and act tough. It was kind of hard to do as I was surrounded by my pals, and they were all laughing when I was given the order to yell out commands.

I would love to get a copy of this movie, and even more I would like to get a copy of the movie poster that showed the troops in line.

- Alonzo Karr '72

Back in Time spring 08 "The Death Valley Expedition"

I read with considerable interest about the 1934 Death Valley Trip since I had taken coursework from both Ken Stocking and E. E. Stanton. My class in the early 1940s from Ken Stocking was while I was interested in chemical engineering. Upon by return from the army, I changed my major to botany. Only two were majoring in botany at that time. After I received my degree in botany in '49, I entered graduate school at U.C. Davis, where I majored in plant pathology. While I was there, I noted Ken Stocking's brother was in the botany department there, although I did not have a course from Dr. Stocking. I was pleasantly surprised to hear about Ken Stocking.

- Dan Y. Rosenberg '49

Pacific Remembers summer 2008

While reading my Summer 2008 issue of the Pacific Review, I was touched by the thoughtful tribute to three memorable faculty in the article "Pacific Remembers." I was particularly interested in the section on Dr. Sy Kahn. As a drama major at Pacific from 1972-76, I took classes taught by Dr. Kahn, acted in plays he directed and was a member of the 1974 European Performance Tour he organized and led. I was saddened to learn of his passing.

What surprised me, though, is that I could find no mention in the Pacific Review of beloved drama professor Dr. Darrell Persels, who passed away Dec. 18, 2007. Darrell (who would never have allowed us to call him Dr. Persels) was everyone's absolute favorite drama professor. His specialty was technical theatre, where he loved the challenge of building sets, making ghosts appear and disappear, and creating all kinds of magic. He was the heart and soul of Fallon House, Pacific's amazing, transformative summer theater experience in Columbia, Calif. I was lucky enough to be a part of the 1974 season under Darrell's direction, where we lived and worked, 24/7 and staged 6 shows in 8 weeks. Darrell worked his personal magic to keep our Fallon House troupe focused, supportive of each other, and cheerful as we achieved the impossible.

Darrell probably taught at Pacific as long as Dr. Kahn. He worked there until retirement, then lived in Stockton for a number of years until moving to Arizona with his wife Sandy (also a Drama Dept. faculty member). His brilliance and creativity were reflected in how he taught, directed and treated people. Darrell was warm, personable, and showed a sincere interest in his students. He had a charming, devious sense of humor which infused everything he did. He looked and acted like and elf, which just made him more endearing. We could talk to him about our lives outside of class and theatre; he inspired confidence and trust. He never yelled, was never cross (unlike many directors I've worked with over the years). How fitting that he hailed from What Cheer, Iowa - he was the most cheerful person I ever met. He loved theater, his work, his students and we loved him.

I hope the Pacific Review will include a line or two about this remarkable teacher in a future issue.

- Linda Weber '76