Sam Peckinpah (Official MoFo's Discussion Thread)


Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
While searching for that, I came across something I never read before

Final Word
By Bruce Bellingham

Mort Sahl and I wandered out of the Big 4 a few years ago. The afternoon sunlight blinded us. Glancing up, I saw a group of people across the street gathered on the steps of Grace Cathedral.
“Look, Mort,” says I, “they’re still waiting for Bishop Pike!”

Mort said immediately, “You mean Pike Bishop.”

I was silenced for a change, stunned for a moment. “Who’s Pike Bishop?” I asked.

“Pike Bishop was the William Holden character in The Wild Bunch.”

“Pike Bishop? How did that happen?” I asked. “Who’s Pike Bishop?”

Mort explained that his old friend Sam Peckinpah, the director on The Wild Bunchwas fascinated by the strange disappearance of Bishop Pike.

You may recall that Bishop Pike was the Episcopal bishop, based at Grace Cathedral in the 1960s. There was much consternation when he disappeared in the Sinai Desert in 1969. I’m sure there was some relief too. Nob Hill hasn’t changed all that much. James A. Pike was found later, dead, a victim of a car accident in what is now called Israel. Come to think of it, it was called Israel then. It had always been called the Promised Land. 

Up here on Nob Hill, Bishop Pike’s name for the old-timers is a low murmur, a distant tide of memory.

Few can recall it.

Gee, and I thought this was going to be a quick joke.

“So,” I asked Mort Sahl, “what fascinated Sam Peckinpah so much that he would insinuate Bishop Pike into his film, a very important film in so many ways?”

Mort gave me that treacherously winning smile.

“Sam would order two Scotches, then turn to me, and say, what are you having?” recalled Mort.
Think about it, Bishop Pike was under fire for being a roué, a boozer, a renegade – and, as the Episcopal Church asserted, “a heretic.”

I recall as a kid reading about Bishop Pike in Time magazine, being described as a heretic.

How cool is that?

I always wanted to be a heretic but no one would listen to me.

Mort said that Peckinpah, for whom Mort had worked as an actor, always loved renegades. I regret that Mort and I do not speak anymore. I hurt his feelings in some ways. It makes me feel quite bad. 
After all, The Wild Bunch is part of my childhood.

Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
Mort Sahl Called Me a 1939 American," in Film Heritage (New York), Summer 1976.

During the nation’s bicentennial, by which time Peckinpah was pretty well strung out, his best films behind him, the director said, “I feel I’m an American citizen. Dummy, I believe in all that ****. Mort Sahl called me a 1939 American. I still believe. But somebody better start waking up pretty soon.”

I'd love to read Peckinpah's full article (with Marlon Brando on the cover!), but it's too expensive