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#71 A Big Fish out of Water

With all two hundred and fifty-odd pounds of him standing in front of me, Howard Cohen seemed too big for the DIC studio hallway. I suspect he liked it that way.

Howard was an enigma. As he stood half-blocking my way, I understood why Lori trailed off when she mentioned Howard’s name to me. He was tough to describe.

Chilon of Sparta, one of the circa 600 B.C. Seven Sages of Greece, advised, “Don’t speak ill of the dead,” the humanist position being that while deceased aren’t here to defend themselves, there might be karmic repercussions if you trash talk them. W

ell, Howard has long left this earthly plane, but I don’t think he’d mind me talking about him. He was, I’m sure Howard would agree, one of the most pompous people I’d ever know, often to the point of it being amusing. I think Howard liked being pompous.

Webster’s defines ‘pompous’ as “having a feeling of superiority.” Howard didn’t have a “feeling” of superiority. He was convinced he was superior. And in some ways he was.

He had more entertainment industry credentials than anyone at DIC when the studio was launched. Beginning in 1972, Howard carved a career as a writer-director, directing nine films, three with low budget genius producer Roger Corman. His writing credits included screenplays for the shoestring budget films Saturday the 14th, Space Raiders, Cover Girls Model, The Young Nurses and the ‘immortal’ Vampire Hookers.

Laugh, but in Hollywood selling a screenplay, let alone getting the film made, is like parting the Red Sea, which, of course, was why Howard was sneering at me, flabby arms folded over his chest, asking “How did your little meeting go?”


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