Paul Newman’s Stockton connection

Vince Perrin Writes:


“It would be a pity if The Record ran the story of (Paul) Newman’s passing without noting his time in Stockton. Luke (in “Cool Hand Luke”) is one of his iconic roles. A new remastered and cleaned-up print of the movie has just been issued in a special Collector’s Edition, which I watched just the other night. 


“Larry Luttrell, then of Stockton, was the location manager for the film, shot on Davis Road in and around what is now Dentoni Park (its oak trees draped with fake moss).


“There also were sequences shot on rural Stockton roads, in the San Joaquin Delta on the Roberts Island side of the San Joaquin River, where a chapel and some other structures were built near the old Brandt Bridge, and at an unidentified Lodi site.


“Famed character actor Strother Martin has the film’s most remembered line, the oft-quoted “What we have here is a failure to communicate”.


“George Kennedy won the Golden Globe and Academy awards for Best Supporting Actor, launching a more high-profile career; Oscar nominations also went to Newman, who has a memorable egg-eating scene, and to former Stocktonian Jo Van Fleet, who has a single scene as his visiting mother.


“Van Fleet, already a 1955 Oscar winner for playing the mother of Richard Davalos and James Dean in “East of Eden,” was a University of the Pacific graduate. She stayed in the Stockton home of her former drama professor, DeMarcus Brown, while on location in Stockton.


“Coraleta Rogers of Stockton was cast as a sexpot in a railroad crossing scene that was not used in the final cut because Southern Pacific refused reshoots using its train ? but she was hired as assistant script secretary, typed rewrites dictated by the writers and Newman’s producer brother Art, and watched the daily rushes with cast and crew at the Stockton Royal Theatre (now Empire Theatre). She declined the company’s offer of a job in Hollywood.”


One more piece of trivia. My father, who was pesident of the Stockton Livestock Market, supplied the livestock for that film. When Newman flees through a shantyytown, and pigs and chickens scatter, those were animals he rounded up from 4-H kids. 



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