George "Buck" Flower Interview from Terror Universal

If you have lived in the 20th. century, have seen films and you've not passed away before 1970, you perhaps have seen at least one film involving George "Buck" Flower. A real curio is the way which I could make contact with this actor. The thing is that one night I received an e-mail from a person who informed me that, in addition to his work as a player, George "Buck" Flower had also written a fiction with that well-known player, Charles Napier. It made clear reference to "Red Necks in Love", ", a book which had already been published and is available through Barnes & Noble. So, I responded to this mysterious person asking him whether he had by chance images or stills of this "slippery" player. The matter is that for almost 40 years, Flower has been playing all kind of roles in films, specializing in playing older men or the drunkard type (or as ol' drunkards). Since in most films (the most known ones) he shows up just a little time in the screen, it was really hard to obtain any snapshot of him. I remember that I've spent a long while searching the whole net in order to get any kind picture of him to put it in my website, So, when this unknown person responded, the amazing fact was that HE was the real George "Buck" Flower! The rest of our conversation is developed below, for the delight of all those cinephiles interested in learning something else on... ...

George Buck Flower: that old, well-known tramp

Terror Universal: Okay, in order to break the ice, let's go straight: is it true that something happened between you and Dyanne Thorne?

George Buck Flower: Dyanne and I have been good friends for over three decades and remain so to this day. She was, is and always will be, a very classy lady. We also had a great screen relationship. I loved acting with the lady and always got along quite well with the only boyfriend I ever knew her to have prior to her marriage to her present husband. With whom, by the way, I am also friends.

Terror Universal: When did you know that you'd become a film player?

George Buck Flower: I first knew I had become an actor back in either the late fifties or early sixties when I realized the Government had deducted taxes from my check for performing such services. This, job, by the way, was for an on stage portrayal of The Young Gentleman in the play Le Ronde, at the Summerhouse Theater in Albuquerque New Mexico.

Terror Universal: What about your early efforts in the industry?

George Buck Flower: I worked as an actor, director and stage manager in theatre all over the continental U.S. including two repertory tours of Alaska for about ten years. Then, sometime in the early to mid sixties,( check imdb for the exact year) I was doing a play at a small theatre in Santa Monica, California. The director (Ted Roter) was getting ready to direct his first movie, entitled NORMA. He asked me if I would play the role of the killer in his upcoming film project whom the audience would think was a man, then discover at the end to really be a woman. The role had no lines and I really hadn't envisioned my first motion picture role to be in drag, but I really did want to be in a movie. I said yes and, at the appropriate time, donned the dress. During the filming, when I wasn't playing the man who turned out to be a woman, I pitched in and helped carry equipment. I didn't know any better. In theatre, everybody does everything. I wasn't asked to play any more women, but, due to my other efforts, I was offered job to work on the crew for yet another movie. I turned in my dress for more masculine attire and accepted. ( I had three children to feed, and my wife was getting tired of picking up the whole tab.) After working a few films in this new capacity, I became an assistant director. Then, finally, I was asked to do more acting. These first roles were indeed those of the male gender, but required some nudity. I didn't care. I was in the movies!! However, after viewing me with my clothes off in a couple of these low budget wonders, those in charge decided it would be better for the viewers in the future to pay me a little more if I promised to keep them on.

Terror Universal: During the 70s. you participated in some sexploitation films of the Ilsa saga, considered today really cult films and very desired by fans. Which are your memories of those productions?

George Buck Flower: Regarding the Ilsa films: In addition to working as an actor on the first and second, I also functioned as the casting director on the latter. We labored hard, but the results speak for themselves. Since that time, I also became the director, Don Edmund's assistant director on several films, including BARE KNUCKLES. He remains a valued friend to this day as do many others with whom I became aquatinted on those films.

Terror Universal: Indeed, in those years you worked with B-directors the likes of Bill Rebane, who directed you in some films like ALPHA INCIDENT and CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT. What was like working at that time and which was Rebane's film methods, plus those of other similar directors you worked with?

George Buck Flower: Bill Rebaine's whole family worked on his films. Those of us lucky enough to be hired to help do his movies became part of that family. Bill, like so many others, was considered to be a "B" director because he was never able to raise enough money to do what is considered to be an "A" film.

Terror Universal: In 1980 you played the "Tommy Wallace" part in John Carpenter's THE FOG. Was this your first collaboration with this director? What's your relationship with Carpenter? Which is his filming method?

George Buck Flower: THE FOG was indeed my first film for John Carpenter. It was a lucky day for Buck Flower when his partner at the time, Deborah Hill, who has worked as a script girl on several films where I was assistant director, gave me a chance to read for that talented man. John is very a very special filmmaker. He has already shot every angle of the movie inside his head prior to arriving on the set. He is also a master of communication. If one doesn't know what's going on at all times during a Carpenter shoot, one wasn't paying attention. He is also very quiet for the most part. John knows he's the director and seems to feel there is no reason to remind people of that fact.

Terror Universal: In BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985), your character went straightly around the world, and achieved public of all-known extraction (not only the science-fiction type). What's like to become a well-known screen face?

George Buck Flower: Since, for the most part, especially in BACK TO THE FUTURE 1&2, I always portray extreme characters, very few people recognize my face. Considering the roles I play, it's probably just as well.

Terror Universal: How and when was born that threatening character -a cross between a drunkard and a tramp- which you've so well developed throughout a big variety of films?

George Buck Flower: Probably because I look like a dirty drunk and a drifter. They say we play best what we are. God! I hope that's not true.

Terror Universal: Of your whole filmography, which ones are your favorite films?

George Buck Flower: With only a few exceptions, all the films I have been fortunate enough to appear in in are my favorites in one way or another. Among the forerunners, however, are BUTTERFLY, ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE, IN SEARCH OF A GOLDEN SKY, ( Which I also Co-wrote and produced) STARMAN, THEY LIVE, PUMPKINHEAD, GIANT OF THUNDER MOUNTAIN and a new one I'm just finishing, entitled THEY ARE AMONG US.

Terror Universal: You talks about BUTTERFLY (1982), a controversial movie of his time (I suppose by erotic scenes and incest theme). You have a role in this, and I noted the presence of big Orson Welles. Do you meet him?

George Buck Flower: BUTTERFLY was not only the best movie Matt Cimber ever directed, it was also Pia's finest performance. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding this show, adapted from the novel to the screen by John Goff, was neither erotic scenes or incest theme. It was the fact that Pia's husband (Quite a bit older than she was,) financed the film. Once she won the Golden Globe award that year for best Actress in the same movie, a sort of boycott began to take place. It was really a shame. As for Orson: Except for the big man, everyone on that film was wonderful to work with. No one can deny, however, his status as one of the world's greatest actors. My memories of doing scenes with him are not at all pleasant, but watching those same scenes later, indeed were.

Terror Universal: One of the movies reviewed by me is CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT (directed by your "familiar", Bill Rebane). My last question its about this movie, do you have some memory of this particular?

George Buck Flower: I remember it was very cold and they had to keep reshooting my dog sled scenes because I kept falling off. I also recall that Bigfoot's costume (We all called it his 'Bunny Rabbit suit') kept freezing to his skin and he finally quit. The 'Bunny Rabbit suit' had to be altered to fit another Bigfoot because the original was seven feet two inches and his replacement was only six feet seven inches tall. Capture of Bigfoot was one more movie in which I had the pure pleasure to work with John Goff. John is probably the most talented man I have ever met, both as writer and actor. He is indeed one of the unsung heroes of the motion picture business over the last thirty years. I have no idea why he's not as famous as Orson. John is definitely nicer than Welles ever was.

Terror Universal: When you made IN SEARCH OF A GOLDEN SKY (1984), you worked with this marvelous big character actor named Cliff Osmond. I don't know now if Osmond is alive, but I have a sweet memory of him, from KISS ME STUPID (1963), FRONT PAGE (1974), millions of TV Show episodes, and... (hehe)... SHARK'S TREASURE (1975), a little and cool adventure-ship movie with Cornel Wilde which I see when a boy. Do you remember Cliff?

George Buck Flower: I also have great memories of Mr. Osmond. Like you, I was a great fan of his work long before I had the pure pleasure of witnessing him first hand in a movie I helped to write with John Goff. Working in front of the camera with this tremendous talent was an additional bonus I will always cherish. I'm not sure, but I don't think Cliff's with us anymore. If this is true, more's the pity. *

Terror Universal: In MANIAC COP (1987), directed by William Lustig and produced by Larry Cohen, were gathered B-class icons the likes of William Smith, Richard Roundtree, Robert Z'Dar and Bruce Campbell. Had you any chance to get to known them closely?

George Buck Flower: I had, the pleasure of being friends with William Smith long before MANIAC COP. I am proud to state that the friendship still exists. I also knew Robert Zdar before MANIAC COP. I helped launch his career. His first sizable role in a movie was the muscle bound monster killer in THE NIGHT STALKER (1987) which I line produced for Don Edmunds. I didn't really get to know Bruce Campbell until I did SUNDOWN, VAMPIRES IN RETREAT (1987), for Anthony Hickox. I'm not sure when I became aquatinted with Roundtree. I think it was not until later when I played the drunk convention dude on an episode of OUTLAWS in which he starred with Rod Taylor and my close friend Charles Napier who is also Co-writer of my published RED NECKS IN LOVE.

Terror Universal: In PUMPKINHEAD (1988) you can work with that genius, Stan Winston. Tell us something about him.

George Buck Flower: Working with Stan Winston was a very pleasant experience. The man is not only extremely creative, he is also a true gentleman with a wonderful sense of humor.

Terror Universal: In the 90s. we enjoyed a lot your work in those widely shown films like BODY BAGS (1993) or VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1995) among others, but in also small B-class entries like MOONBASE and BLOODSUCKERS. Has the industry changed from the Seventies on, or is that everything continues being equal?

George Buck Flower: Maybe the film industry has changed. I'm not sure. I do know most of the people I didn't piss off are no longer in power.

Terror Universal: In addition to your player role, you have written the scripts of some films, and worked in several other occupations. Which ones of these jobs have given you more satisfactions?

George Buck Flower: There is only one good job on a movie set. Actor!! It's the only position where you are responsible to only yourself. Screen writer is, among the positions I have held, the biggest heartbreaker. I believe it was Earl Felton who said."You know you have a good story when everyone involved wants to write their own version." About the only good experience I have enjoyed, (Other than the money) in that capacity was on the original set of IN SEARCH OF A GOLDEN SKY, directed by Jef Richard and the little T&A comedies I wrote with Ed Hansen who also directed. (BIKINI CARWASH (1990), TAKIN' IT ALL OFF (1987), PARTY PLANE (1990), PARTY FAVORS (1987), etc.) Unfortunately, due to lack of money, and therefore time, these weren't nearly as funny as they might have been.

Terror Universal: Recently, you co-wrote a fiction along with the "great" Charles Napier, with whom you worked in several films. Which was this project's genesis and what's the subject of this book?

George Buck Flower: Charles Napier, one of my best friends and favorite character actors, and I originally wrote RED NECKS IN LOVE as a screenplay over twenty-five years ago. During that time period, options to make the material into a movie were purchased four different times by four different individuals. Unfortunately, each time sufficiant money had been raised to convert the script to the screen, somebody would declare the material to be too 'Chauvinistic'. When this happened,the financers (Even though each time they were totally different entities,) would get cold feet. The option was then dropped, with the rights reverting back to Charlie and I who would sell them again, only to be accused of female bashing once more. It was almost comical, except for the sad fact that the story does not paint women in a bad light. Except for two women and an alcoholic pig, all characters within the piece are caught up in the muck and mire of North American society's dictates of corruption and stupidity. Those who reside in the rural areas are simply more honest about being crooked and stupid. Two of our 'heros' are indeed always running around the countryside in a beat up old motor home with thier drunken pet pig, trying to have sex with older and overweight ladies. God knows, you can't a story with any realism about American Red Necks without making them womanizers.

Years later, after deciding to expand this whacky satire of human behavior into a novel, we got lucky. We found somebody that actually willing to pay us and publish it. Now, because the story was made into a novel, a fifth option to make it into a movie has once again been purchased. The screen rights to RED NECKS IN LOVE are now temporarily the property of a wonderful actor/musician named Demitri Diatchevica. Quite by coincincidence, Demitri has also just finished a Latin C. D., entitled Passion, Fire and Romance. Currently on the market, with two of its instrumentals happening to be Argentinean, this music can be obtained over the Internet by contacting Good luck on all fronts Demitri!!

Terror Universal: Which player or director (alive or dead) would you have liked to work with, and you weren't able to do it up to now? Which are your best friends of the industry?

George Buck Flower: I wish to work for any director willing to hire me. As for actors with whom I haven't had the pleasure of working, but wish I could, there are far too many to mention. However, I am a fan of Steve Harris, a member of THE PRACTICE cast. I'd really like to do a scene with that guy some time. I think it would be as much fun as the three pages in a jail cell I got to do with Willie Nelson on a television episode of DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN. As for the very dear friends I have made among the actors I have worked with in this business, that list would fill the Pacific Ocean. I'll give it a shot, but I'm bound to leave out far too many. I suppose among the closest are: Jef Richard, John Goff, Stacy Keach, William Sanderson, Don Edmunds, William Smith and , of course, Charles Napier, the brother I never had, but now I do.

Terror Universal: The staff informs of the conclusion of CURSE OF THE KOMODO (2003), which incidentally would be your 115th. film in close relation with the fantastic genre. Which are your projects for the incoming years?

George Buck Flower: As I mentioned earlier, I am currently involved as an actor in a wonderful paranormal film called THEY ARE AMONG US. This fine project stars a young man whom you have probably never heard of, but I believe you will soon. His name is Michael Di Laoo, and he is terrific. THEY ARE AMONG US is being masterfully directed by Jeffery Obrow and the script was wonderfully written by Lars Hauglie. Amy Armstrong is not only the assistant director, she is also line producing the final pick up shooting.

* Cliff Osmond its alive and well. He teaches theater and acting and he's well respected actor to date