RALPH'S CINEMA TREK: A Journey in Film
After the whirlwind three months on the road with ROUTE 66 and NAKED CITY followed by a short month-long stay in Los Angeles for ARREST AND TRIAL, it was back to New York -- this time for an episode of THE NURSES. I looked forward to this because it would be a reunion with a buddy from MGM. Two years before when I had reported to MGM to join the DR. KILDARE production staff, Buzz Berger was working in the studio’s casting department, casting extras for the their productions. But Buzz was smart...and ambitious. He told me at the time that he was remaining at the studio in the evening after the day’s work was completed to study the casting files. Casting entails so much more than just matching performers to roles. In a sense there was a caste system to casting actors. There were the stars, each of them with his (or her) price and also the information of which ones would do television. There were featured players, again some who would accept television assignments, some who would not; and each of them carried a price tag. And then there were hordes of day players, again each with a price. Some were available only for roles of at least a week’s work; others at least two or three days; and then the many available for a day’s work. All this, Buzz said, he was memorizing; plus the evaluation of the performers’ talent. He felt he needed to know all of this in order to advance to being a casting director of more than just extras. Within the year of my arrival at MGM Buzz left for New York to join Herbert Brodkin’s production team, at that time producing THE DEFENDERS and THE NURSES. Buzz had become the casting director for the latter show.