“40,000 Dollars A Minute For Mob Scene”

The Sydney Morning Herald – Jan. 29, 1946

By: Lon Jones

HOLLYWOOD, Nov. 6—Producing a motion picture has become an expensive business, as Samuel Goldwyn is ready to testify. This producer says it cost him 48.800 man hours to get 34 minutes of “The Kid From Brooklyn” on the screen and estimates that this scene cost at least 150,000 dollars.

It consisted of the background for a fight between comedian Danny Kaye and Frank Riggi, a professional pugilist, in a third-rate Brooklyn stadium.

Goldwyn hired 700 extras at wages ranging from 7.50 dollars up to 25 dollars a day to act as fight fans. They were paid to sit eight hours a day for eight days in a reproduction of the stadium. On cue from the director, these extras cheered, booed, whistled, stood up, sat down, and marched in and out of the stadium. They smoked cigarettes, munched popcorn, ate hot dogs and drank soft drinks—all supplied by Goldwyn.

These extras cost Goldwyn more than 60,000 dollars in wages. But this was but part of the expense for getting 34 minutes of the script onto celluloid. There were, in addition, the salaries of the cast, including Danny Kaye, who receives about 4,000 dollars a week; Virginia Mayo, Vera Ellen, Walter Abel, Eve Arden, Lionel Stander and many lesser lights.

Behind the camera were the director, Norman Z. McLeod, who receives a fancy salary; a camera crew of five, all high-priced, and electricians, grips, prop-men, wardrobe mistresses, assistant directors, script clerks, make-up men, hairdressers, stand-ins and members of a half dozen other crafts.


The last three paragraphs were omitted as they pertained to other studios and other movies, none of which were Danny Kaye-related.

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