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Written by / 3/01/2010 / No comments / , ,

JORDAN RHODES ("THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO")

Character-actor Jordan Rhodes appeared in numerous classic cult films including the Charles Bronson vehicle MR. MAJESTYK and Sean Penn's directorial debut THE INDIAN RUNNER, and in-between this time he got the opportunity to work on a popular television series called THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO with the late Karl Malden...

JORDAN RHODES: Karl Malden…What a tremendous actor and professional. When I first was hired to recur as Jerry Billings, the D.A. on Streets of San Francisco, to replace John Kerr, I had no idea that Karl was the man responsible for getting me the job. I had been hired to do a guest shot on the show a few months before, during the season. In that show, my character had a couple of scenes with Karl and Michael Douglas. Shortly after I finished that episode, John Kerr, the actor that had been playing the D.A., left the show because of some creative differences. Michael had just announced that he was also leaving the series so he could produce One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. A play, that his father, Kirk Douglas, had starred in on Broadway and had owned the movie rights to for over ten years. Kirk had given the rights to Michael and he had finally found the financing and wanted to produce the movie. So the production company was going to bring in another young actor to take over the role of Karl’s partner and side-kick, Richard Hatch. The company was very anxious to keep Karl happy, and now due to a new guy coming in, Karl was going to have to go back to working at least 5 days a week, since Michael’s character and story line would no longer be able to take up a couple of days a week. The production company wanted to bring in a new guy for the D.A. that was capable of taking up some of the slack and have enough scenes in a show to allow Karl a day or two off during a grinding season of shows. I’m not sure people realize you work 10 to 12 hours a day on a series, and when it’s a hit, you were doing 26 episodes. They went to Karl and asked him if he had any suggestions for the new D.A. – AND he remembered me from my guest shot, where I played an attorney whose law partner had been killed by an ex-convict, and he suggested they bring me back as the D.A., who left his private practice to join the district attorney’s office. Karl never said anything about this to me, I learned it from someone in the production office after I was on the show for a while. I learned a great deal from Karl. He would tell me how to “stay” in a shot, even when we were walking along headed to the courthouse, he would grab me by the arm and say, “stay close, that way you’ll always be in the shot”. In the beginning, he watched out for me with the make-up men and the lighting. In every scene I did with him, Karl was always “there”! He believed in giving, sometimes more than he got, and taught me you always worked for the “good of the scene”, the good of the story. He was just terrific to work with and if you could leave your ego home, you would always learn something from working with him. I’m thankful that a few years ago, I took the time to write him a letter expressing my thanks for all he taught me, and his kindness toward me during the time I worked with him.
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