Wed, 03/05/2014

Remembering Stanley Rubin

Stanley Rubin

We're sad to learn of the passing of producer Stanley Rubin, who died in his sleep at the age of 96 this past Sunday, March 2, 2014. Rubin started his career in the mailroom at Paramount Pictures and served as a reader for several studios, including Universal. He transitioned to screenwriting and ultimately producing with the now-classic 1952 film noir, "The Narrow Margin," and wrote 19 movies throughout his career. Rubin also produced the television anthology series Your Show Time. With Louis Lantz he co-wrote and produced the show's pilot, and the pair won the first Emmy Award ever given to a film made for television (in 1949) for the Your Show Time production of "The Necklace." Rubin also produced The General Electric TheaterBracken's World, and the television movie Babe, and was instrumental in negotating the first minimun basic agreement for the Screenwriters Guild.

Below are some selections from his 2004 Archive interview:

On winning an Emmy for "The Necklace" at the very fist Emmy Awards:

On one of his favorite experiences on General Electric Theater:

I had a very funny experience with Bill Saroyan. I called him and he agreed to do a GE Theater. He called me back like a week later and said, "okay, I’ve got an idea for a show for you." He told me the idea. The title of it was, “The Unstoppable Gray Fox.” He told me the idea for the show and I liked the idea and I said, "Bill, go. Send me a draft as soon as you’ve got it." And a few weeks later I got in the mail a script by Bill Saroyan with a note attached saying, “Dear Stanley, here’s the teleplay. Here’s the first draft teleplay unrevised and perfect.” The only problem with it was that when I timed it, it ran about 15 minutes and I needed 26 minutes. So I had to call Bill Saroyan and say, "Bill, wait a minute. This is a half hour show. Your show only runs 15 to 16 minutes." He then revised it, and even though it was supposedly first draft unrevised and perfect, he had to go back on it.

On advice to aspiring producers:

The first thing I would say to a producer: be as honest as you can be but don’t be foolish. Protect the project. Always achieve the script that you developed or that you’ve inherited, if that was the case. That comes first. You have to protect the director so that he’s given a chance to make the picture you both envisioned. When they talk about a director’s vision today, they assume that that’s the only vision connected with the picture. The producer has a vision, too. And he’s in at the start. In many cases, frequently, the producer is on that project long before the director is on the project. So the producer has a vision. You’re trying to achieve your vision and the director’s vision. You have to protect the director from the forces that do converge on him because of budget problems and scheduling problems, etc. But you also have to protect the vision you have of that project from the start.

On how he'd like to be remembered:

I’d like to be remembered as a hands on producer who always worked closely with the writer, closely with the director. Who always had tried to do what I mentioned a moment ago - that is achieve the vision that I had of the picture combined or adjusted with the vision of the director, so that there’s one vision between us. And also as a considerate man. Considerate with the crew, considerate with the cast of the picture. And as much as possible, to make pictures that were entertaining and positive.

Watch Stanley Rubin's full Archive interview and read his obituary in the Los Angeles Times.