Today, I would like to pay tribute to a man without who’s drive, determination and
ingenuity, Manos, The Hands of Fate
could not exist. Harold P. Warren. Writer, Director, Producer and Star. Today is the anniversary of his death on
December 26th, 1985 and I would like to say a few words to honor
Hal Warren came up with the idea for Manos on a bet with
(who had worked on the show Route 66).
Hal said anybody could make a movie.
Even he could make a movie…and so he did. He raised about $19,000.00, mostly by selling
stock in the film. At that time, Hal was
working as manager of the
American Founder's Life Insurance Co. in and was
active in local civic groups and community theater. Through his connections he was able to secure
many of the things and necessary people he needed for little to no money. The Festival Theater, now known as The El
Paso Playhouse was where Hal met my father, Tom Neyman who was a regular actor
and director. That was where he also met
John Reynolds/Torgo and William Bryan Jennings/Sheriff. Hal had a knack for recruiting people with a
variety of talents. Mr. Jennings was an
attorney in his day job and had worked for the D.A’s office. I am only speculating here but I imagine that
was the connection to Judge Coldwell who supplied the film locations of the
house and the Master and wives resting place. Besides playing the part of the Sheriff with
the classic line, “Whatever it is you’re not doing, go do it somewhere else”, Mr.
Jennings is credited with being President of Sun City Films and the lawyer for
Manos. Bob Guidry was a cameraman for a
local television news station and Bernie Rosenblum was a local photographer. I understand that Bob, Hal and Bernie’s six
hour Manos editing session happened one evening at that television station using
the stations equipment. My father, Tom
Neyman was/is a very talented artist and my mother was a talented seamstress,
so my father agreed to not only be The Master, but to clothe him, create his
environment and decorate it with artwork. My dad also supplied the kid, the demon dog
and the family car. Diane Mahree fell
into the picture when she responded to a classified ad for an acting job. Although, at that time, she had no acting
experience, she needed a job. She tells
a story of arriving for the audition and then kept there for many hours reading
lines. She was going for a part as a
wife and could not understand why he needed her to do so much reading until he
finally announced that she was the lead actress. After Manos, Diane left El
Paso, Texas El
Paso and launched a very successful modeling career in New York and Europe. The wives were students at the Mannequin Manor
in . During
filming, Hal was heard to yell at them to stop walking the runway. The wives costumes originally did not have
the red strip of cloth underneath, but the lead wife and the owner of the
modeling school were not comfortable with the revealing nature of the dresses
and insisted on something more conservative.
So, based on time and budget the piece of red cloth was added. At the premire, Hal had found a red carpet
for his cast and crew to walk upon into the Capri Theater and borrowed spot
lights from a car dealer to place in front of the theater scanning the sky to
create a El Paso Hollywood feel. He rented a single limo to circle the block picking
up cast members and delivering them to the red carpet. He even added the detail of autograph seekers
in the form of young street boys with paper and pencils. To be sure.
Harold P. Warren was a visionary and it would be great to hear what he
thinks now of his baby. I’m sure he
would be thrilled with the Love of Manos that has built up since MST3000
brought it back to life in 1993. So,
thank you Hal for your contribution to this world and I hope you have many
blessings in the next.
Blessings to you all in the upcoming New Year of 2013. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your Manos fandom. “Hands down” Manos fan are some of the best people I’ve met and I appreciate you all so very much.