ENTREVISTA A WILLIAM WELLMAN (I PARTE)
Entrevista originalmente publicada en 1978 en el número 29 de la revista Focus on Film
You were born in New England?
Yeah, in Brookline, Massachusetts. My father was a stockbroker, although not a particularly successful one. And my mother was a wonderful, wonderful woman. She was a little bitty gal named Cecilia McCarthy; she was from Ireland. She had two sons, my brother and myself. When she died she was within two months of being ninety-eight years old and sharp as a tack!
When I was a kid, I was a crazy bastard. I was a good athlete; quarterback on the football team, shortstop on the baseball team, and rover-the fastest and dirtiest player of them all - on the ice hockey team - in those days, there were seven men on ice hockey teams.
When my father had some money, my mother became the probation officer for Newton Highlands, outside of Boston. She always called the delinquents "wayward boys"; she absolutely refused to let anybody call them anything else. So, when I got kicked out of high school, I had to report to the probation officer of the city of Newton for six months - who was my own mother.
What did you do to get kicked out?
I dropped a stink bomb on the principal's bald head. A direct hit. My mother was such a successful probation officer that she was asked to speak to Congress about juvenile delinquency. She told them that of all the thousands of boys she'd worked with, the only one she couldn't control was her own son!
So you had a turbulent, middle class upbringing?
I think it was a little above middle class. But I had a beautiful boyhood, with a wonderful mother. My dad had a little drinking problem, but my mother was in love with him and there was never anyone else. My brother and I had a hell of a boyhood. I used to borrow cars at night and take them out for a ride. But we always brought them back.
After you got booted out of high school, did you go directly into the Lafayette Flying Corps?
No, I tried various things. I tried being a candy salesman, but I never sold a pound of candy. I tried being a cotton belting salesman but I never sold a foot of that. Then my brother, who was in the wool business, got me into Coffin and Gilmour, a Philadelphia wool firm, as a salesman. I never sold any of whatever the hell you sell wool by, pound or whatever. So then I went to work in a lumberyard, and I was a hell of a success.
I started in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the middle of the winter with great big freight cars full of South Carolina flooring. I started out as a lumper and then a piler and I did those things so well that they made me a truckdriver. Then I lost control of the truck one day in Roxbury, Massachusetts and drove through a barn. They fired me, so I decided to get the hell out of there. I'd always wanted to learn to fly, so one of my father's brothers, Francis Wellman, got me in the Flying Corps.