My first day on a feature film set was on Bound for Glory the Hal Ashby directed life of Woody Guthrie; D.P. Haskell Wexler got me up on a huge Crane 30 feet in the air. You know I’d never actually laid eyes on a Titan — I’d only seen photos in the Library — and there I was, quivering like a leaf, with my prototype, to undertake this very very risky combination shot — stepping off the crane, walking through the crowd of 900 extras!… and back! The operator Haskell had sent up with me to help out, said “Jeez. that’s funny, you’re shaking but the shot is still!
Anyway, that shot was a smash hit, and then I got to work on Rocky, because the demo we had made to sell the original prototype showed my then girlfriend, now wife, running down the art museum steps.. and back up. And John Avildson, who was to direct Rocky, Avildson, saw my reel and recognised his longtime camera assistant, Ralph Hodgekiss. John called Ralph and asked, “where are those steps… and how did they do that?”
So you can imagine how supercharged this particular year was for me. I went from making Sesame Street films in Philly to being the guy with the secret weapon! And then I shot Marathon Man with Conrad Hall, so, against all odds,