Tuesday, July 8, 2014

An Interview with Jerry Maren

(NOTE: Found a couple of old interviews which I have not rescued from cyberspace. Hope you enjoy!!)

An Interview with Jerry Maren
by Rusty White
Friday, August 31, 2001

I have to admit that I got a thrill out of meeting Jerry and Elizabeth Maren at the Memphis Film Festival. The Lollipop Kid from "The Wizard of Oz" has always been a favorite cameo performance of mine. When I sat down to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Maren, Jerry wasn't feeling to well. His delightful wife Elizabeth did most of the talking.
Rusty White: Mr. Maren, you were in "Under the Rainbow." What was it like on the set of that film, and how did what "Under the Rainbow" depict compare to what really happened on "Wizard of Oz?"

Jerry Maren: That was a terrible movie.

Elizabeth Maren: Just a horrible film. It was nothing like what went on during "Wizard of Oz." The munchkins weren't running around getting drunk all the time like they said. We did make a lot of money for "Under the Rainbow" but it wasn't like on the set of "Wizard of Oz."

Did you remain friends with Billy Barty over the years?

Jerry: Yes, we stayed in touch. It sad that he's gone.

Elizabeth: Jerry is years older than Billy was. Billy worked himself to death. He never turned down a role.

Jerry: I haven't had to work so much. I made some smart investments and have been able to enjoy retirement. Of course the real reason I've lasted this long is the woman sitting next to me. Elizabeth is the worlds best cook.

What was it like on the set of "The Marx Brothers at the Circus?"

Jerry: Oh man they were funny. I couldn't keep a straight face. Groucho would get you every chance he got. He'd do something to crack you up. He was the funniest man I ever met. Harpo and Chico were funny, but not like Groucho.

Later at the panel discussion Jerry spoke about the third member of the Lollipop Guild: Billy Curtis. Billy Curtis is best known to modern audiences as the dwarf sheriff in Clint Eastwood's Western Ghost story "High Plains Drifter." During the panel discussion Mr. Maren stated that Mr. Curtis wasn't very smart and cited several forms of moral deficiencies. Actor Gary Gray, a costar of Mr. Curtis on television came to his defense.

Gary Gray: I have to butt in here. I worked with Mr. Curtis and found him to be very much the gentleman. He's not here to defend himself. I can't let this pass. Billy Curtis is a very fine human being.

Jerry Maren: But stupid!

Mr. Maren played the announcer at the recreation of the "Gunsmoke" radio show on Saturday afternoon. He an Elizabeth also treated the audience to an impromptu bit of fancy ballroom dancing at the closing banquet.

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