Q&A with Al Doshna
"The Man of Iron"
Tell us a little about your fascination with creepy monsters as a child in Yonkers! How did your childhood fantasies develop into reality as an accomplished writer, producer, and actor in Hollywood?
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of watching monster movies with my brother Don on Saturday mornings. There was a lot of monster memorabilia flooding the market: toys model kits, trading cards, so after watching the movies, you could go out and dramatize them yourself and put your monster figures in your Tyco building set and then make the “dam” burst and wash it away.
You and Paul Marco, Kelton the Cop, had been friends for a number of years. How did you meet and when was the last you were with Paul before he died?
I first met Paul when he and Conrad Brooks (“GLEN OR GLENDA and “PLAN 9”…) did a personal appearance at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles for a Halloween screening of some Ed Wood’s films. I began having a little more contact with him when I was the Associate Producer on the documentary THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD JR. After that, we kept in touch. He seemed to take a liking to me, and invited me to come to visit him every so often, and, eventually, I was very privileged to, apparently, become a close friend of his.
We had attended a screening of the colorized PLAN 9 at the Vista Theater about a week or two before, but I was with him the day before his passing, when he gave an interview about Bela Lugosi. I especially remember how he recalled gently teasing him about his upcoming wedding night. Bela smiled, tilted his head and waved his finger at him as if to say, “Now Paulie, behave!”.
Tell us a about your experience as the Associate Producer on the acclaimed documentary THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD, JR.. Who were some of Ed Wood’s original cast members that came to this spectacular event at the LA’s Nuart Theatre in 1995?
I feel like I caught the mother of all brass rings, so to speak, when
I met the late Crawford John Thomas, who produced Ed’ Wood’s
true first film, the featurette CROSSROADS OF LOREDO. It seems, in
looking back, that my whole life in a sense was kind of a preparation
for that meeting, which has had , and continues to have a ripple effect
in my life. I began to do research for him, and it developed into a
dual credit for me as Associate Producer and Historian on the film.
The premiere was a who’s who gathering in the world of Ed Wood
films: Paul Marco, Bela Lugosi, Jr., Dolores Fuller, Norma McCarty,
Anthony Cardoza, Dr Lyn Lemon, Gregory Walcott, even Elvis Presley
Jr, who did the soundtrack for the restored CROSSROADS! Also, Forry
Ackerman, who’s Famous Monsters Magazine I used to buy at the
drugstore on Ashburton Avenue in Yonkers.
Iron Man is a flawed, but well meaning superhero in Marvel Comics. I think we all are “Iron Man” so to speak. We all put on our emotional armor to protect ourselves from hurt, but some of us, including myself, fantasize about what it would like to put on some real high tech armour so as to take down some powerful super villain like Titanium Man, in spite of, or maybe because of the fact that other things in our lives may be lacking. Actually, Iron Man for me is what Hamlet is to other actors.
How has the impact of your favorite music group the Beatles impacted you personally?
There is a reference in the Bible to “the pool of Bethesda” in Jerusalem, where sick and crippled people would camp nearby, as an angel would come down and stir the waters, and the first person to enter the waters would be healed. I think that the Beatles were like a stirring of the waters for many people, spiritually, emotionally and other ways. It would be nice if the waters could be “stirred” a little more often.
Who are a few of Hollywood’s other icons you admire and why?
James Dean was my favorite actor, Montgomery Clift was up there for me too. The emotional impact of their raw and naturalistic acting has never really been duplicated. Also Henry Fonda for his deceptively simple acting "style", his choice of offbeat westerns such as ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, and how he transitioned into endearing, cranky old men such as in ON GOLDEN POND.
As a lead actor and appearing in over 50 film and theatrical presentations, you were recently featured in a a recent BackstageWest article for your role in “KELTON'S DARK CORNER (EPISODE 1)". How did Director Vasily Shumov get together with Paul Marco to create the concept of the KDC episodes?
Vasily set an appointment with Paul to see if he could be incorporated in the film as a “law and order” figure, in contrast to the other characters who all seemed to be up to no good. Vasily had heard that Paul was looking for something that would challenge him acting wise, as he had been recovering from a broken hip which left him in a great deal of pain. It was one of those golden opportunities. But I think Vasily pulled it off very effectively.
What was it like for you to star in a role that featured one of your friends, Paul Marco and what kind of an impact will it have on fans across the world?
I felt very honored, of course, to work with him, especially considering the circumstances. One of Boris Karloff’s greatest roles, in the opinion of many people, it seems, was the low budget TARGETS, shortly before his death, which was directed by the then-unknown Peter Bogdanovich. I hope that the DARK CORNERs will have the same effect on Paul’s fans.
What career aspirations do you foresee for yourself developing after KDCII?
More acting work! Would like to do more producing. Doing some of the interviews has been fun.
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