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Ron Bulman

Executive Action, on behalf of Steve Jaffe

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Never realized Mark Lane helped write the script, that gives it credibility to me right there.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2018 at 11:09 PM, Ron Bulman said:

Never realized Mark Lane helped write the script, that gives it credibility to me right there.

"Executive Action" which I have not seen in many years, was way ahead of it's time. Dalton Trumbo did the shooting script. Just look at the trailer. Those of you in the research community understand that even now, the topic of the JFK assassination is still under the cover of those who planned the murder. The MSM refuses to report important findings. Mark Lane and I made a documentary, not released as yet, narrated by Martin Sheen. In it, Stone, Mark and Robert Tannenbaum have a talk in Stone's office about the incredible resistance they each encountered. Mark wrote a book called, A Citizen's Dissent about it which I highly recommend if you can find it. Tannenbaum talks about the reason he had to resign from the HSCA and Stone talks about the tidal wave of negative press he got about "JFK" even before the film was even finished. I have encountered similar resistance writing articles which is why I'm writing for the National Enquirer. My seventh piece runs next Friday. The  brains behind the cover-up were brilliant in predicting how the media would react and swallow quick release of fake news about Lee Harvey Oswald. The cover-up still holds today. So just having been a part of the production team behind "Executive Action" is something I'm very proud of.

Edited by Steve Jaffe
Typo

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“The  brains behind the cover-up were brilliant in predicting how the media would react and swallow quick release of fake news about Lee Harvey Oswald.”

 

I’m not sure they were “brilliant” as much they were just confident. They infiltrated every major media outlet in the country with their minions.

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Steve,

Did the production of "Executive Action" catch the conspirators by surprise? If not, was there any advance negative press like Stone got for "JFK," or did they sort of just let it happen?

 

 

 

 

 

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"Executive Action" was produced for a company called National General that made low budget films. Edward Lewis made the deal. I was asked to write a report documenting what was said in the script in order for us to get E&O Insurance which I did. We purposely held back on advance press. We kept the film a secret until days before the openings. I held the ads to a minimum and hoped we could get a good opening based on "word of mouth." We did.  We made our money back the first weekend. It helped that we had Burt Lancaster and Robert Ryan as stars.  They both deferred any salary up front.  In terms of advertising we had great trailers. The flyers, which were newspapers I produced in an "as if" format (i.e., "as if" the press had reported the truth on 11/23/63 instead of the lies), proved to be a major plus as people who saw the movie and were overwhelmed with information could read them at home and discuss them. 50,000 copies of them were gone in a couple of days. The movie did very well but was reviewed as "average" without any real indications that Hoover or Dulles and their men were worried about it. Later, when National General's film catalog was sold to Warner Bros. we hit our first snag. Long story short, I had a sworn statement from N. J. Daniels (former DPD who was with officer Roy E. Vaughn when Ruby entered the basement 11/24/63). It was a trick. I was hoping that Vaughn would file a lawsuit against us so we could get into court on the JFK case. He did! However, Warner Bros., who later told us they were afraid of litigation, settled with him. I was furious but Warner Bros. wanted no problems. Had we gone to court, the film would have done double the business but we would have had ourselves a trial. Imagine Mark Lane representing the film in a lawsuit. In fact, years later, when I was working with the Warner's brass on another movie, I learned that there had been communications from D.C. along the way, before the release from National General (specifically, Hoover and others). 

Edited by Steve Jaffe
clarification

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I wondered about the Warner Bros. logo at the start.  I didn't think they or any other major motion picture company had anything to do with making it.  I watched it the second night in a row last night on the amazon 48 hours for 3 bucks deal.  Before Oliver Stone's JFK there was really nothing else like either was there?  And it wasn't like people could just watch it on demand "back in the day".  Was it ever released on VHS to buy or rent from say Blockbuster after they came along? 

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Posted (edited)

The closest one got was the political conspiracy thriller bandwagon that the studios reluctantly jumped on in the 1970s.  Some of these were non-specific and offbeat in the worst sense (Twilight's Last Gleaming, anyone?), but the trend kept a simmering undercurrent of dissent going during the decade and after, and directed attention to conspiracy revelations in books and magazines.  The best was perhaps The Parallax View, which not-so-obliquely addressed the RFK shooting.  I think we can thank Executive Action - and Dick Nixon - for starting that trend, though the seeds were planted as early as Blow-Up (1966), which caught the idea of assassination evidence hidden in photographs.

I seem to remember that Executive Action was available on VHS tape for rental.

Edited by David Andrews

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David: Thanks for the mention of Executive Action. I was impressed by both Blow-Up and The Parallax View. Warren Beatty has always had a keen understanding of politics and been a fine filmmaker in every respect. I even talked to Antonioni, in 1966 when he was in LA, about considering doing a film on the JFK assassination. He was most interested but shared his reticence about it because he thought it was so much a part of American culture that he thought an American director should do it. EA was on VHS and is now on DVD.

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