Well, goddammit, the Manka Brothers have demanded that I write something for their Octogenarian Magazine about what it means to be old in Hollywood. How insulting. What a bunch of disrespectful bastard sons of whores.

But, here we are.

Being an old man in Hollywood means a lot of good things such as screeners of Academy movies, lifetime memberships at the Friar's Club, and a yearly invitation to just about every last one of Hef's parties because he hates seeing young, virile men around making plays for his girls.

Being old means that every week you open Variety and turn to the obit section and there's someone else there that no one around me at the newstand has ever heard of, but that I met at a party, at a studio, on a soundstage, anywhere - and they're dead.

That's more painful than I like to let on. You go to the funerals, you nod your head at the right people, and you go home. That's why I have always surrounded myself with younger women.

Most people say I'm a lech, but it's really because I'm scared. Younger women make me feel young, too. It's only natural. Having lotsa sex makes me feel young even if for the ladies it's not necessarily that great. I know they're with me for my money, but I don't care.

Hef's right - viagra changes everything and it may well be a fountain of youth. In the business, however, I'm a joke.

I can walk into a pitch meeting and tell them that I've made literally hundreds of films and they all just smile politely as if they could care less. I am almost completely resigned to the fact that I'll probably never make another movie.

Well, then there's the other kind of meeting, I almost forgot. There are always young pups who grew up on my films and now they're in places of power in the studio system. They think they can play Quentin Tarantino to my John Travolta and suddenly I'll have new credibility, they'll look like geniuses, and suddenly I'll have retrospectives at every film festival for the next three years like my friend Jack Hill who's suddenly the toast of Austin and has signed more autographs in two years than he did all through the 1980's.

I hate to disappoint them, they're so very earnest - every last one - but when they hand me a script and I start telling them what I want to do with it, that glued on little boy smile they start the meeting with begins to fade and how.

Suddenly, this "legend" in front of them who's artistic mastery was never realized during his lifetime except by those junior execs today, is just an old man trying really, really hard to act like he still knows what he's talking about.

Would you believe that I have never even seen a Steadicam close-up and had no idea that it was a new union position?

So, they all ask me very politely for my autograph and I give them that along with promises to "get something down on paper" which prompts a series of quick nods, but they just want me out the door and dread the idea of EVER seeing me again. I find that mildly amusing, but only because I've been through it so many times. I haven't really laughed at a Mel Brooks movie in 20 years, have you?

So you asked me what it's like being old in Hollywood? It's nice. I've got the money, I've got the women, I've got the memories, and occasionally I get trotted out to some ridiculous awards show where I learn that once again, my waist has expanded another inch and I need another alteration on my tux and that the stretch limos they send up to my house are getting longer and longer, making it virtually impossibly for them to sneak through my gate and onto my driveway.

Am I bitter? Not really. I have my place here in Hollywood. I am part of the scenery. There's a movie poster shop in Burbank that has a framed poster of mine in the window and another sci-fi shop in Hollywood that has a giant poster of one of my movies hanging over the counter. People know my name.

That's enough for now. I'm far more interested in seeing what kind of films are being made now than to dwell on the movies I made many, many years ago when everything was different.

G. Gordon Castle, Filmmaker

G. Gordon Castle has directed over 250 films for Manka Bros. over the last sixty years. Most of his work is available on Manka Home Video & DIVX.

by G. Gordon Castle