Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's a Small Film World

Some time in the early 90's, the KUTV assignment desk dispatched me to an avalanche at the Sundance resort area. There we found a small slide that had invited itself inside a large log cabin home. Through a picture window.

An older man, the homeowner, graciously allowed us to go inside to see what a snow drift looked like inside his living room.

Years later, I went back to the neighborhood to profile Jann Haworth, a Utah artist who years go had co-created the cover of the

Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album and was recreating it on a wall in downtown Salt Lake.

Arriving at her Sundance home, I experienced deja vu.

This was the avalanche house.

That man, I found out, was her father, Ted Haworth.

Then, in the catalogue of this year's Sundance Film Festival, I saw the Haworth name again. Alex, Jann's son, had directed a Sundance short.

And one of his inspirations, he told us (in a story airing this week), was his grandfather, the man at the avalanche house.

Turned out, Ted Haworth*, now deceased, had been a production designer and art director for a number of classic films: "Marty," "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "Some Like It Hot." Some of my favorites.

"The Longest Day," "Harry and Tonto," "The Professionals." The list goes on.

He worked with directors John Huston, Robert Wise, Sidney Pollack, John Frankenheimer, Paul Mazursky. He had one Oscar and five nominations.

He was the art director who helped create the look of the final carousel sequence of Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train." Another great film.

He worked on Robert Redford's "Jeramiah Johnson" and, like Redford, fell in love with the mountains of Utah and, like Redford, moved here.

After Haworth died, his daughter moved from her home in England to Sundance.

I wish I'd known then, at Ted Haworth's avalanche, what I know now.

I would have liked to thank him.

"Sorry about the house. But I really like your movies."

*Apparently, show business runs in the family. Ted Haworth's father was a playwright, pretty famous in his time. His uncle was a well-known Shakespearean actor. Haworth's protégé, his son Sean, was an art director for "Transformers" and has been working on the upcoming "Avatar."

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