|INSURED MONSTER COPS OUT
From The Visiting Fireman, Vol. 3, No. 21, Page 2, November 10, 1969.
There is a monster in the depths of Loch Ness.
How can FFA make that statement when the existence of such a creature has been in doubt for centuries?
Because he's our monster.
This particular beastie was constructed for a scene in "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes," being filmed by Mirisch Productions for release through United Artists. According to the script, he was to rise to the surface of the lake, tip over a boat in which the indomitable Holmes was riding, and then sink back into the waters.
Surface the mechanical monster did, and submerge he did also. And nobody's seen him since.
Fireman's Fund American was especially concerned over the creature's deep-water disappearance, since the company is on the line to pay the loss. We write prop coverage for the movie, along with cast, extra expense, equipment, and negative film insurance, under a blanket coverage for all United Artists films.
Unfortunately the monster's apparently irreversible dive was made before filming of the sequence was completed. So writer-producer-director Billy Wilder moved the cast back to Pinewood Studios in London and reshot the scene with a new monster, in a tank with a bottom shallower than that of the famous loch.
Aside from the monster, the film features Robert Stephens as Holmes and Colin Blakely as his companion and chronicler Dr. Watson. Irene Handl plays Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of 221B Baker Street. Genevieve Page, Clive Revill and ballerina Tamara Toumanova are also in the cast.
The film is a quartet of original adventures built around the famous characters created by A. Conan Doyle. According to a studio release, "it will shed new light on Holmes and Watson." (Sherlockians, please note.)
Meanwhile monster specialists who probe the depths of Loch Ness for the creature of legend will have twice as much chance of finding something.
But if they pull up a monster that's a bit rusty, they may want to try again.
[Fireman's Fund Archives: 4-1-3-5-30; 1335]
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