Meeting... Richard Kobritz

Columbia College Hollywood: 10.30am, May 18, 2015

After a 30-minute drive from my accommodation in West Hollywood, driving through some of the busiest roads in the world, I parked up in the car park of Colombia College Hollywood at about 10.20 am. I then gathered myself and my research tools together, and went in.

Was I feeling nervous? You bet…

Not only was I about to meet the man responsible for some of the best horror and suspense films ever made, but, also, the one most important of all to me, Salem’s Lot.

After a short wait at the main reception I was ushered up to Richard Kobritz’s vast first floor office by his personal assistant (he is the CEO of the college, by the way). After one knock on his office door, I was presented to the man himself.

Immediately I was made to feel very much at home. He came from behind his desk to shake me warmly by the hand, thanking me for my interest in his work, and offering to answer any questions I had on any aspect of the film and its production.

Now, as you may or may not know, I’m a ‘location guy’, so the vast majority of my questions were related to where exactly certain scenes had been filmed, and the logistics and crew involved*.

Richard was very patient with me and answered with a high degree of confidence in his recollection, considering the film had been made 36 years earlier.

After about 45 minutes, Richard suggested that I spend as much time as I wanted with the two leather-bound volumes of production notes** relating to the film, as they would probably answer more of my questions, and more accurately, than him. I thanked him for all his help to that point, and graciously accepted his offer.

*Also, as most questions relating to the origins of the film, and his hands-on production style, had been answered in interviews with Bill Kelly (in 1979) and Tony Earnshaw (in 2007), I found it unneccessary to repeat those same questions. 

**For those of you who are interested, Richard has always had the production notes for every film he's worked on bound in leather after the film’s release. Some of you might be interested in visiting with them at some point in the future…

©2015 Ian S. Bolton

The two volumes of production notes for Salem's Lot.

As you can imagine, for the time I spent with those hallowed volumes (three and a half hours, at least) I was in film heaven. Not only were the two volumes a couple of inches thick in their own right, but they also contained many loose items including photographs, notes, invoices, letters, property details, and many other miscellaneous items. 

One of my favourite finds was the sketch of the proposed Marsten House construction.

©2015 Ian S. Bolton

Pre-construction sketch (by Mort Rabinowitz in 1979) of the proposed Marsten House exterior to be built in Ferndale, CA.

And what was built. Not too much difference there.

Amongst the letters were some from Stephen King himself, but I was asked not to divulge their contents. What I can reveal is that one remarkably interesting letter was about the proposed follow-up series (that, unfortunately, never came to be).

All in all, I had a wonderful day thanks to Richard's amazing generosity. I will definitely take him up on his offer to return!