Phantom Film Find | Letters | Chicago Reader

Phantom Film Find 

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Dear Reader:

I'd like to respond to Neal Pollack's piece on Bob Connelly [Our Town, August 30], specifically where Bob mentions his working at MGM and trying to sell a pilot using the idea from The Phantom of the Opera with the guy living in the basement of a film studio. I was working at MGM from 1969 to '73 until I was one of 1,600 people laid off because of the recession of '73. This was during the tenure of James T. Aubrey, the man who brought The Beverly Hillbillies to CBS. He cast his daughter Skye in this movie of the week, The Phantom of the Back Lot. True to half of Bob's wish, it was about a disfigured guy living in the studio's basement who began causing havoc when he found out the studio began selling its back lot and all the memories it contained. He died in the end by a cheesy special effect. The interiors were shot at MGM but the exteriors were shot at the Warner Brothers studios because true to "art imitates life" the old MGM lot and (and 20th Century's) was sold to real estate developers. So Bob, your idea was finally made into a film, though not quite the way you wanted.

Jack West

Flying Eagle Films

Northbrook

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