|Special thanks to Victor Staggs for the following remembrances of Eddie Dew and his family.|
Our family lived across the street from him in Burbank, California. Our address was 620 North Florence Street.
Eddie's house was a Spanish style home with a turret entrance and a stained glass window looking out the front. It was on a double lot, and the part not occupied by the house was devoted to a fish pond, a putting green, an aviary, and a collection of exotic fruit trees - pomegranate, pineapple guava, orange, etc.
I don't know much about his early Hollywood roles, because I and my twin brother were born in 1940. After WWII, Eddie and his family (Eddie Jr. and wife Mary) were in a traveling production of "The Red Mill", and returned from their odyssey in a new streamlined Hudson automobile, in 1948 I think.
When Eddie directed the "Living Bible" series, he shot a scene of Jesus Christ meeting John the Baptist at the River Jordan, and everyone he knew got to be extras, including our family. The location was the Kern River outside of Bakersfield. My keenest memory is that children had to go barefoot, and only the adults got sandals with their costumes. So we had to walk on very hot sand with stickers in it. The real high point was the catered lunch.
Eddie brought that episode and one or two others over to our house and showed them to us on his projector. He was always friendly and outgoing, and eager to show off his work. He had a great baritone voice and was the narrator in the movie.
The actor who played Jesus Christ in the series had the stage name of "Sid Christy" (see footnote). We got to meet him too. When Eddie shot the story of Salome the dancer, he used the Passion Play location just off Highland Blvd. in Cahuenga Pass. It made a very convincing set. His wife played Mary Magdelene, and also used the stage name "Mary", so she was easy to remember.
He made one film for Henry J. Kaiser, and had to fly to Hawaii to see Henry J. and find out what kind of film Henry wanted. It was an action-romance film set in Hawaii, with Kaiser's cars appearing in certain roles: the Darrin sports car, a Jeep, and the full-sized Kaiser sedan. It was to run on television to popularize Hawaii and the Kaiser automobiles.
Eddie brought this film over to show us, and we boys thought it was pretty neat. Eddie had a big time telling us about Hawaii, which was considered an exotic destination in those days, and what it was like to make a movie there. I have no idea what the title of this movie was.
In one scene, the fair damsel gets stranded in a rowboat out in a shallow bay when the tide runs out, and the hero must drive out in his snorkel-equipped Jeep to rescue her. Eddie said that the actor didn't even do a rehearsal. He opened the hood and switched the carburetor over to breathe through the snorkel, and then drove out on the coral with much of the jeep underwater. When he drove back onshore with the girl inside, water and fish spilled out all of the door openings.
Eddie did many of the special effects for the "Living Bible" series in his garage and backyard, namely the miniatures and stop-action sequences. He also had a Moviola editor in the garage.
One of his hobbies was leatherworking, and he made two fine tooled leather belts and gave one each to my twin brother and I.
One thing I learned about Eddie and his wife was how much enthusiasm and gusto they put into their movie careers. This must be typical of other actors and movie creators. They do this because they are passionate about it, and they wouldn't want to do anything else.
Eddie's son, Eddie Mac, grew to be a red-haired person, 6' 7" tall or so. He was the center on his high school basketball team. He became a historian and spent his career as a college professor at an East Coast institution.
Mary and Eddie moved from Burbank to Studio City in their later years, and sold their house. It was split into two lots, and a second house was built on the then-vacant part. I am sure the Moorish garden of Allah is no more.
Eddie was one of those who realized the role of movie films in the new medium of television, and worked behind the scenes to make the transition between the old world of matinee movies in neighborhood theaters, and the new reality of the home TV screen.
|Footnote: "Sid Christy" might be an alias/screen name for Nelson Leigh (pronounced Lee), who did many movies and TV shows. Leigh was one of several who portrayed Jesus in the Dew directed "Living Bible" series. Photo and filmography on Leigh is at the IMDb: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0500273/|
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Eddie Dew. Click HERE.
The Living Bible Collection is available from a variety of videotape and DVD sources, and info on the series lists 1952 as the production year. Appears that VCI is the company that is producing the videos, and their website notes that there are 36 episodes on five DVDs: http://www.vcientertainment.com/product.asp?title=LIVING%20BIBLE%20COLLECTION,%20THE
Apparently the Living Bible series is in public domain. The BuyoutFootage.com website has some screen images from several of the half-hour episodes in the series. Included are notations that the production dates were 1951 and 1952: http://www.buyoutfootage.com/pages/pd_religious.html
There are several websites referencing the play "The Red Mill", and Edward Dew among the cast. Both also mention that the plays were presented/produced by Paula Stone and Hunt Stromberg, Jr. (reference back to Richard Simmons' comments on Paula Stone on our first webpage on Dew):
The Internet Broadway Database has 1945-1947 productions of "The Red Mill", and Edward Dew is listed as portraying "The Governor": http://www.ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=1732
The National Theater in Washington, DC includes several 1947 and 1948 runs of "The Red Mill" with Edward Dew listed among the cast. On this webpage, do a Search/Find for Edward Dew: http://www.nationaltheatre.org/mainstage/mainstagepast1925-1949.htm