day-by-day chronology
photo galleries
more stuff
discussion board
contact us

Home > Day-by-Day Chronology >

Chapter 7  -  UNIVERSAL REINSTATEMENT  (Jun 1954-Apr 1956)
    "end of the 'agreer' era"

previous page
next page

In a productive 23 months under contract at Universal, Janssen is about to log a lot more acting experience. In addition to daily lessons and training, he'll do supporting parts on a dozen pictures and experience live television. In this post-Army period David firmly establishes himself as someone who can earn a living as an actor. No fame or celebrity yet but the building blocks of a more successful career are established. Unbeknownst to him, a significant building block in his personal life will get established as well....



Jun 7

David Janssen's contract is reinstated at Universal-International after 2 years of military service.

Option "a" of his original 7 year contract is excised which guarantees him a place in the talent school for another 6 months (until December 6) when he'll either be picked up or dropped. Salary remains $100 per week. Estelle Harmon now runs the talent school as the replacement for the late Sophie Rosenstein. She will soon be replaced by Katharine Warren.

Broke and in debt to his mother, he lives for the moment in his parents' Los Angeles apartment at 4447 Finley Avenue.


His agent Jack Donaldson is now with the Edward Sherman Agency. Janssen's in esteemed company--the agency also handles Abbott and Costello.

He wastes no time finding a picture role. He's immediately assigned to CHIEF CRAZY HORSE (production number #1775) to star Victor Mature in the title role and his friend, the recently-married Suzan Ball, as the female lead.

Jun 8 Janssen goes to the Screen Actors Guild for reinstatement. Also changes over the 51 Mercury 4-door sedan, bought for him last February, into his name.
Jun 9 Has a wardrobe fitting for his upcoming test.
Jun 10 Horseback riding practice is amongst his activities on the lot today.
Jun 11 A second day of riding practice for CHIEF CRAZY HORSE.
Jun 12

Saturday silent makeup and wardrobe tests are done for the cast of CHIEF CRAZY HORSE on Stage 12.

Those participating are Mature, Ball, Janssen, and John Lund, Ray Danton, Robert F. Simon, James Millican, and Ann McCrea (who may not have gone on to do a role).

Janssen's is called at 8am and his duties are finished by 10am.

Jun 13 David is typically broke. His mother loan him her gas credit card to help him out.
Jun 14 Janssen does additional horseback riding practice, done on the studio lot, for his forthcoming role in the Western.
Jun 17 David is having neck problems and sees his doctor at 5:30pm.
Jun 21

David returns to see Dr. Mundell about his neck.

A new girl starts at U-I. Darlyne Crayne is 19, married, and has a daughter almost two.

She's blond and typically beautiful in the tradition of those who get selected for the studio's Talent School. She has no real acting experience---there will be classes for that. Rumor has it that she's working as a mambo instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio when spotted by producer Edmond Chevie. Was she also, as publicity blurbs will boast, an ex-forklift operator?

The studio will rename her Dani (a diminutive of her middle name) and begins her contract at $150 per week. This makes her higher paid than Janssen, her male student peer. They will meet this month---and marry 21 years later. A series of coincidences seem to keep them in each other's lives. Though the friendship they forge at Universal will not be paricularly intense as student pals, a foundation is established which facilitaties the more intimate direction the relationship takes in the decades that follow.

Jun 25

Was excused by his afternoon dance class by instructor Kenny Williams.

Jun 29

Janssen travels to location in Rapid City, South Dakota to begin work on CHIEF CRAZY HORSE (prod #1775).

It's his 7th U-I film, and the first since his release from the Army.

It's his first job away on location. He'll be there for over 3 weeks.

David flies with fellow actors James Millican and Dennis Weaver (the future on Chester on "Gunsmoke" and "McCloud"). Also with stuntmen Emile Avery and Charles Horvath.

Jun 30

In South Dakota, his first filming day in the role of Lt. Colin Cartwight.

Janssen begins at 7am and works to 4:30pm and most of this day is spent on horseback with not much acting muscle flexed.

His brush up lessons with the Studio wranglers in the weeks prior have come in handy.

They film in Red Shirt on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Lakota Sioux) on a table near the Cheyenne River.

Jul 1

Shoots part of the Rosebud battle sequence starting at 6:45am and finishing at 3:20pm. A line of dialogue he does opposite 'Sgt. Guthrie' (actor John Peters) is filmed but will be cut from the movie. It's typical of the treatment he gets in these supporting roles which are sometimes tangental to the main action.

He'll say in 1961:

“I was the actor in the master scene, in the 3-shot, who was eliminated when the close-ups were taken of the stars...more of my film wound up on the cutting room floor than was seen in the release print.”

Fellow actor Dennis Weaver does not fare as well as Janssen in the Badlands heat. He's sent to the hospital with a fever of 104.

Back at the studio, a progress report from Janssen's various instructors is sent to Robert A. Palmer, head of talent:

  Very good.

Acting (Katharine Warren):
A deeply serious application to work in scenes and to “get his hand in” before production. This boy is a tower of strength from all points of view. He is doing some very fine work in class.

Diction (Dr. D. Vandraegen):
  Does not participate in this program.

Dancing (Kenny Williams):
Due to Dave’s picture commitment he hasn’t started dancing as yet. He has had some previous experience, and will set a routine for him when he returns from Dakota.

Singing (John Scott):

    Has not yet auditioned. Will give report when Dave has finished present production assignment.

Horseback Riding:

    Capable rider. Dave has been riding every day for production assignment.

   Works out at intervals to keep good weight control.

General Conduct and Application:

   Since Dave’s return from the Army he has proven himself to be interested and extremely enthusiastic about the development program. He maintains a high level of fine work in the acting classes and is an inspiration to some of our newer people.

The report is assembled by Talent program administrative assistant Joan McTavish who Janssen enjoys a good rapport with. McTavish will go on the meet and marry the esteemed film director George Stevens.

New contractee Dani Crayne gets similar high praise:

General Conduct and Application:

   If this girl maintains the enthusiasm and spirit which she has displayed since signing with us, she is headed in the right direction. The staff in the talent department are very high on Dani, and believe she has a spark that could make her one of the best bets we have had with us for a long time.


Jul 2 Continues filming the Rosebud battle sequence in South Dakota on CHIEF CRAZY HORSE. Janssen works from 6:45am to 3:30pm.
Jul 3

David has 6:45am call and filming resumes near the Cheyenne River.

Between 9:14am and 9:27am, George Sherman directs a 2-shot of Lt. Cartwright (Janssen) and General Crook (James Millican) and then a close up of Janssen with dialogue.

This line (“First platoon, prepare for rear guard action!”) makes it into the movie but Janssen's next scripted line is given to Millican.

A little later in the morning Janssen is filmed in this 'rear guard action'.

There are shots of him firing his gun and also getting shot. It's the first time he gets to die on screen.

They finish the day at 3:40pm.

Jul 4 Janssen celebrates Independence Day with a Sunday off in Rapid City, SD.
Jul 5 CHIEF CRAZY HORSE shoots its 16th shooting day but Janssen is 'on hold' and is not called to the set.
Jul 6 Janssen is back at work on CHIEF CRAZY HORSE and is called at 7am. Filming takes place outside on the Fort Laramie set in Custer State Park. The day is hampered by sporatic cloud cover and electrical generator problems, but a scene featuring actor Donald Randolph who plays Janssen's father is shot. In the afternoon, a reaction shot of Janssen and Dennis Weaver listening is taken. Janssen is dismissed at 5pm.
Jul 7 Back on the EXT. Fort Laramie set. Janssen called at 7am. Today Janssen is seen in sc. 83 on horseback saying the line "Dismiss the troups!" as the camera pans with Indian soldiers on the Fort's parade grounds.
Jul 8 Janssen has a week off on location waiting around for his last interior scene to be filmed. It is an opportunity to visit local sights and meet local girls, and one would hope that Janssen did some of both.
Jul 15

6:45am call. Janssen works to 12:10pm only and films his scene on the INT. CARTWRIGHT'S QUARTERS set. He is in several shots.

Between 11:09a and 11:36a, 2 takes were filmed of Janssen with the Mantz brothers (Robert F. Simon and James Westerfield).

In the final cut, silent for most of scene, Janssen crosses and stands behind his seated father for the line, “Dad had an Indian grandmother, Mr. Mantz. Something that makes both of us very proud." 

Cut from the release but filmed were a few other lines earlier in the scene where he tells the General he doesn't wield influence on his father's decision making.

Jul 16 Janssen is held in South Dakota as the filming company shoots its 26th and last day of production.
Jul 17

Janssen flies with the CHIEF CRAZY HORSE film troupe from Rapid City at 8am and arrives back at Burbank airport at 12noon. Arrival at the studio at 12:45pm.

Takes his sister Jill to a movie that evening.

Jul 19 Janssen resumes a full day of talent school activities at Universal studios for the 1st time since June 28.
Jul 21

Participates in a casting test for another picture. TO HELL AND BACK will be an autobiographical WWII exploit starring Audie Murphy. Scheduled to start on August 3, the film will be delayed several times due to script and budget problems.

The test, done on the backlot in an area called Gausman's Gulch, involves Audie Murphy and the following other actors aside from Janssen: Dick Castle, Billy Chapin, Allison Hayes, Joe Palcemo, and Vito Cicoria. It seems only Janssen and Castle were cast. It started at 9:45am and was over at 3:40pm.

In the evening Janssen takes in a play "The Lady's Not For Burning" at the Ivar Theater with his agent Jack Donaldson. The play starred Helen Westcott and Henry Brandon.

Jul 22

Oral surgery. A dentist in Glendale pulls David's wisdom teeth. He relaxes in the evening at a movie with friend Norman Bartold.

Jul 23 Producer Leonard Goldstein, who had co-producer duties on the just completed CHIEF CRAZY HORSE, dies. He also produced 3 of the 6 U-I films Janssen did before his military service (UNTAMED FRONTIER, FRANCIS GOES TO WEST POINT, and WILLIE AND JOE BACK AT THE FRONT). He was 51.
Jul 27

Janssen has a wardrobe fitting for a little-know role, that as a moderator in one of the musical short subjects U-I produced. Producer/director Will Cowan made a series of these which showed in theaters before the main attraction.

This one features bandleader Harry James and has a shooting title of "A Date With Harry". He will film it in 3 days.

Jul 28 David takes in dinner and another play with agent Donaldson. This time a production of "Porgy and Bess".
Jul 30

Is called to work at 8:30am on Stage 21 for "A Date With Harry" which will be released as LEAVE IT TO HARRY (production # 7127). In the scene (which tried to be humorous) Janssen is a quiz show host which pits Harry James against 3 kids in a battery of tough questions. The kids (played by Robert Chadwick, Linda Lowell, and Chris Olson) are stumped and losing the contest until Janssen asks, “Can you name 6 songs that Mr. James is associated with?”.

Janssen completes his role at 3:15pm.

Aug 1

Receives high marks on his next monthly studio review:

  Very good.

Acting (Katharine Warren):
Progress in his scenes is definite. He is at a point where he needs advanced work. Am giving him scene for private coaching.

Diction (Dr. D. Vandraegen):
  Does not participate in this phase of the program.

Dancing (Kenny Williams):
David shows a lot of promise. Will give more detailed report next month.

Singing (John Scott):

    I believe David has a good chance as a singing prospect, and will start private work with him.

Horseback Riding:

    Very capable rider.

   Works out regularly.

General Conduct and Application:

   David is very cooperative in every phase of the development program. Due to the fact that he is much more advanced in his acting training, he is a great inspiration to other members of the group. He is very helpful in assisting in scenes plus any outside auditions that we might request him to do.

Aug 9 Janssen is offered up on the dubbing stage to do "wild lines" for SMOKE SIGNAL, a U-I film in post-production. it was commonplace for Contract Players to be recruited for these services--they "looped" the original dialogue drowned during production by airplane noise, replaced fluffs, contributed unscripted off-camera lines.
Aug 11 Excused from his normal classes including a morning picture screening in a studio projection room and an afternoon dance class. Instead, Janssen has a private dance lesson and assists in a casting audition. Dani Crayne and a newly-signed Clint Eastwood (whose own successful casting test was April 26) also participate in the audition.
Aug 16 Excused from morning and afternoon acting classes for private dance lessons at the Studio.
Aug 18 Again is excused from his normal Wednesday schedule (morning picture screening/afternoon dance classes). Is at Goldwyn Studios today for reasons unknown with fellow students Myrna Hansen and Race Gentry.
Aug 19

The delayed TO HELL AND BACK (see July 21) tests Janssen again. Back on the backlot at Gausman's Gulch, 3 scenes from the script are shot with Janssen, Robin Winans, Allison Hayes, and Ricki Marshall. After the test, Audie Murphy is photographed with the 2 boys. Test occurs from 10:15am to 2pm. Film will now not begin until mid-September.

Aug 25

Has a wardrobe fitting for TO HELL AND BACK which may spell success on his recent casting test.

In the afternoon, Janssen assists in a casting audition and is excused from his afternoon dance class for this purpose.

Aug 29 David and friend Marty Milner weekend in Big Bear Lake, an alpine vacation spot near Los Angeles. Mother Berniece joins them this day and the Janssen family buys a cabin in the coming week.

A new report card :


Acting (Katharine Warren):
   His work is excellent, and a great strength to the class. He needs inner assurance through doing parts. Am working him hard for this reason. He is a fine actor.

Diction (Dr. D. Vandraegen):
  Does not participate in this phase of the program.

Dancing (Kenny Williams):
  Dave has been the best male dancer that has been at Universal in the last couple of years. At present, he is working on a routine with Leslie Gaye, and much to my surprise he is shaping up pretty well. He can be seen in an audition number sometime in October.

Singing (John Scott):

   Is a good prospect-has good rhythm. Very inexperienced. Would need a lot of work.

Horseback Riding:

   Very good rider.

   Works out regularly in gym.

General Conduct and Application:

   David is one of the most cooperative members of our group. He is very helpful in assisting other members less developed than he in reading of scenes.

Dani Crayne also is excelling:


General Conduct and Application:

   Dani shows the same excellent spirit as last month. Dani's serious attitude and cooperative spirit make her one the most responsible and dependable young women in the group. It should not be long before we see definite and positive results from her efforts.

Sep 2 Janssen has a publicity portrait sitting for CHIEF CRAZY HORSE.
Sep 11 David and friend Pete Wilson, who flew in Thursday for a visit, go to a party together.
Sep 15 Begins 3 days of cast rehearsals for the movie THE SHRIKE, directed by and starring Jose Ferrer. Others in the talent school including Race Gentry, Allison Hayes, and Betty Jane Howarth participate in these rehearsals. None ultimately appear in the film. Perhaps this was some kind of workshop used to develop the script.
Sep 16 cast rehearsals THE SHRIKE.
Sep 17 cast rehearsals THE SHRIKE.
Sep 19

Janssen begins work on his first feature film role in 2 months.

TO HELL AND BACK (production #1769) is finally in production and Janssen flies this day to the location in Yakima, WA

It's his 8th U-I film and 2nd since his reinstatement from the Army.

Janssen works in the Anzio sequence in the film.





Sep 20

TO HELL AND BACK filming in Yakima, Washington.

Sep 27

Returns from Yakima, WA and his role as Lt. Lee in TO HELL AND BACK.

Berniece rushes from daughter Jill's singing lesson to pick him up at Universal at 8:30pm.

Sep 28 On his first day back at the studio after his week on location, Janssen tests for another picture, CULT OF THE COBRA. On stage 9, director Francis Lyon tries him for the part of "Tom Markel". Called for rehearsal at 10am, David does not film his closeup until 5:05pm, then supports Martha Hyer in her close up test in the part of "Lisa". They finish at 6:10pm. Marshall Thompson and Faith Domergue will eventually snag these roles in the picture. Janssen wll get cast in another role and Hyer will be passed over altogether.
Sep 29 For their 14th wedding anniversary, David gets his mother and stepfather premiere tickets to the Judy Garland film A STAR IS BORN at the Pantages Theatre.
Oct 6

CHIEF CRAZY HORSE shoots an additional day (on the old Phantom of the Opera stage at the Studio) for added scenes. It's a short day for Janssen who is called at 8:30am and is finished by 11am. In the scene, Janssen back in his Lieutenant's garb is on horseback next to General Crook (James Millican) for a quick line of dialogue ("The Shoshone scouts have been wiped out, Sir"). Two takes of a closeup of Janssen are done followed by four of the 2-shot.

After shooting, these two actors plus Robert Warwick go to the dubbing stage to do some dialogue replacement work for the picture.

Oct 13 Has dubbing chores on RETURN OF THE CREATURE, a film that he did not act in.
Oct 14 Janssen gets an early contract renewal--and a raise. He learns he'll be extended another 6 months after his contract is up on December 6. The 50% raise under option (b) of his original contract means he'll be receiving a whopping $150 weekly (except for the 3 weeks they are allowed to lay him off).
Oct 16 Takes another Sunday off in Big Bear with his family and Martin Milner.
Oct 21

Has a wardrobe fitting for CULT OF THE COBRA. 

David as "Corp. Rico Nardi" will be killed off in the "B" horror picture, but it will be a role that gets him a substantial amount of screen time and a chance to be noticed.

Cast as Army pals from the U-I stable will be (L to R) William Reynolds (from future QM show THE F.B.I.), Richard Dobson, Janssen, Jack Kelly ("Maverick"), Richard Long ("The Big Valley"), and Marshall Thompson ("Daktari").

Reynolds recalls:

"That film was actually one of the first good parts that Davey Janssen got at Universal. He was very good in the film, better I think then any of us, which was kind of funny because I don't think anyone expected that from him at that time. Davey was the least experienced of all of the cast, but was probably the most memorable person in the film."

Oct 22 Janssen is excused from his afternoon dance class to assist in a casting audition.
Oct 23 Has a final wardrobe fitting for CULT OF THE COBRA.
Oct 26

Day one of production on CULT OF THE COBRA (prod # 1783).

This is Janssen's 9th Universal film role and 3rd since his honorable dischange in June.

Filming takes place in a real bowling alley in Burbank--in the film it's owned by Janssen's character.

He puts in a full day starting at 6:45am and finishing at 5pm.

Oct 27

CULT OF THE COBRA filming continues on stage 7 at the studio. David works from 2 to 4:30pm. The set is EXT. BACK SPACE BEHIND BOWLING ALLEY and shots are done of Janssen crossing to a window to close it and then discovering it is open again.

Janssen pulls double duty this day as the Talent School also enlisted him to assist in the Casting Tests of 2 young starlets--Joyce Van Der Veen (Dutch) and Diane Dubois (French). These are done on an existing living room set on stage 9 and directed by Abner Biberman who will later direct Janssen in several FUGITIVE episodes.

Oct 28

CULT OF THE COBRA. Janssen reports for work at 8:45am. Process projection is used on a special sound stage to do first at scene in the C-47 airplane mockup until 11:18am, then driving in a military Jeep (to 12:16pm). The full Army buddy actor ensemble (minus Richard Dobson) works this morning and and teases Janssen good-naturedly on this day. William Reynolds:

"I can remember sitting on the set inside of the plane. Jack Kelly (pictured with David at left) and Dick Long would tag team Davey, kidding him, on his line readings. Dick would say, 'You know, I think Davey should give it more Cary Grant.' And Jack Kelly would say, 'Davey, this time give it a little more Clark Gable'. Poor Davey! But it didn't seem to bother him. As a matter of fact, if that was the technique he used, it was very effective!"   

Oct 29 Has the first of 7 consecutive days off on COBRA while other scenes not involving him are shot. He resumes normal school activities.

Report card time. In it it's revealed that Universal liked the leading men they were grooming thin:


Acting (Katharine Warren):
   Dave has done some really constructive and excellent work. Real progress is being evidenced in class scenes, private work, and outside casting auditions. Dave’s confidence since returning from the service seems to have been renewed through this constant activity.

Diction (Dr. D. Vandraegen):
  Does not participate in this phase of the program.

Dancing (Charlotte Hunter):

    Dave seems interested in this part of the development program. Has more of an aptitude for dancing than most of the other boys in the class.

Singing (Colin Romoff):

    Seems to have a musical personality. Should the time permit it might be possible to have him in for a few lessons.

Horseback Riding:

    Although Dave is not too active in this phase of the program, he is good rider and can fill any production requirement.

   Since a weight problem has been brought to his attention Dave has been attending the gym.

General Conduct and Application:

   David concentrates on the dramatic training aspect of the program and is helpful with outside auditions.

Nov 3

Signs a studio proration agreement leveling out his salary to $115 week (so he gets money on his 3 weeks of layoff as well).

Friend Pete Wilson visits again, flying in from Mexico.

Nov 4 is excused from his afternoon acting class for a doctor's appointment.
Nov 5 is excused from his afternoon dance class for a dramatic rehearsal at the studio.
Nov 6 resumes his role in CULT OF THE COBRA working today on Stage 20. Called at 7:45am, scene 72 is among the things shot today (the MILITARY HOSPITAL ROOM set). A shot of Janssen and friend Richard Long is filmed from 2:10 to 2:34p. Janssen wraps at 3:07p.
Nov 8

works a full day (7:45a-6:15pm) on CULT OF THE COBRA. The morning is spent on the "Cafe Bristol' set on Stage 7.

14 takes are needed on the opening shot involving a monkey. The monkey presumable spoils most of the takes, but Janssen flubs one.

In the afternoon, 2 plus hours are taken on several shots filmed on the process stage. On the INT. RICO'S CAR set, Janssen fakes driving and reacts to the about-to-attack cobra.

The day ends shooting the LAMIAN TEMPLE ENTRANCE set.

Nov 9 Continues work on CULT OF THE COBRA. The LAMIAN TEMPLE sequence keeps Janssen busy from 7:45a-5:30p.
Nov 10

javascript:winpopupSized('images/cultsetLG.jpg',765,605);CULT OF THE COBRA.

The "California Street" on the backlot of Universal has been transformed into the EXT. BAZAAR set.

Janssen works outside on it from 7:15am to 5:30pm. These are the opening scenes in the film.

The studio issues a press release on a recent guest on the COBRA set. David's mother Berniece has ended a self-imposed policy of non-visitation long enough for a photo op. She's quoted:

“It’s just because I’m a professional that I’ve stayed away from the sets where David has been working. I’ve seen too much of stage mothers during my time and I dread the thought that I might become one of those troublesome creatures. The best way to prevent this from happening I figure is to stay away from the sets where David is working.”

In the decades to follow, the kisses, like the one seen at right, will be fewer and farther between.

Nov 11

CULT OF THE COBRA shooting day 15. Janssen's work hours are 11:30am to 9:45pm. The LAMIAN TEMPLE sequence is completed.

Nov 12 David has night scenes on the backlot "Tower of London" set doubling for the the EXT. TEMPLE. Called at 4:45pm, he completes filming at 11pm.
Nov 13

The 17th and final day of shooting on CULT OF THE COBRA. Again the shooting finds Janssen toiling at night on the backlot.

On "Brownstone Street", Janssen is filmed taking trips to his car while closing up the bowling alley, then driving off. A brief dialogue scene with "Mrs. Webber" (played by actress Helen Wallace) is done from 10:21pm to 11:37pm. Some of this scene will be reshot in 2 months.

Janssen's work finishes with his post-mortem shot; he's pinned under the wreckage of his overturned car.

Due to his more subtantial role in this film the U-I publicity arm is present this night and writes a short press release on David and the wrap up of photography.

Janssen is interviewed and is quoted as they prepare his final shot: "What I start, I always finish."

It explains that filming began several weeks earlier with a solo shot of David (closing up inside the bowling alley) and finishes this night with another solo shot (Rico dead).

When assembled, these 2 shots will be within 2 minutes of each other.

Janssen wraps shooting on the film at 2am.

Nov 18 Is absent from his afternoon acting class.
Nov 22

Late for his morning acting class.

Elsewhere at the studio, talent school vet of 5 months, Dani Crayne, has a spill. Coming down stairs outside dance rehearsal, she trips on cracked wood, falls 10 steps, and sprains her left foot.

Nov 24 Recruited for "voice only" work, Janssen does line dubbing on the film LADY GODIVA OF CONVENTRY.
Nov 25 Thanksgiving. David is home with his family for evening turkey dinner along with family friends Ben and Bunny Cooper.
Dec 1

Does similar dubbing chores on an oater, THE MAN FROM BITTER RIDGE.

In the afternoon is excused from his scheduled afternoon dance class to participate in a casting audition.

Dec 2

Janssen makes what may be his singing debut.

He is excused from his morning dance class to provide voice support on the dubbing stage on the Kirk Douglas film MAN WITHOUT A STAR. Contract players Clint Eastwood and Betty Jane Howarth are also part of the chorus.

Dec 7 Option (b) of his studio contract takes effect. He's now guaranteed a job at Universal through December 6, 1955.
Dec 19

Believed to be the date of the annual INSIDE U-I Christmas pageant at the studio.

In this incarnation, David dons toy soldier garb for one skit that pairs him with fellow student, the stunning Myrna Hansen (at right).  

Dec 20

Has a private rehearsal with U-I peer Kathleen Case which excuses him from regular U-I activities. This rehearsal, presumably for a special acting or dance performance, continues over the next several days.

Case will have some notoriety in 1967 when she kills actor Dirk Rambo in a car accident when her car strikes his in Hollywood. Though intoxicated, charges against her are dropped.

Dec 23 Pete Wilson comes for a 10-day visit. May have been a guest at the home of the Janssens.
Dec 25 Christmas morning. Pete Wilson is at the Janssen's for breakfast.
Dec 28

David misses his afternoon acting class (and many of his Universal obligations over the next few days in this holiday week).

As his time at Universal winds down, Janssen is aware of a shift in attitude taking place at the studio with respect to the Talent Program. He would explain in a 1960 interview with Hedda Hopper:

"As part of the passing parade I saw many kids come and go. We had drama classes, boxing lessons, dancing and fencing given to us by the studio. It spent a fortune developing new talent. Then a strange thing happened; it became a prestige thing NOT to go to classes. It meant you were a professional. So we were in a silly trend where producers would say, ‘Why should I want somebody who’s going to school?’. Of course, this was before the vogue of (the) Actors Studio and such."            

Dec 29 David's mother and stepfather go to see a Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis film (3 RING CIRCUS). David's short film with Harry James, LEAVE IT TO HARRY, is on the bill.
Dec 30

David and Pete Wilson go off to the track to enjoy some horseracing.

David remains a loyal friend to Pete for life. Wilson eventually goes into the horse business as a trade, and the two partner in a short-lived thoroughbred deal in 1971.

Dec 31

David wraps up 1954 at a party at the apartment of Dick Vertlieb, a friend from Ft. Ord Special Services. Vertlieb was also a crosstown sports rival from Hamilton High during high school.

Swedish-born actress Lili Kardell is Janssen's date.

Pete Wilson attends as do David's mother Berniece and stepfather Gene.

Verlieb went on to hold executive positions with several teams in the NBA bringing basketball to Seattle in 1967. He stated in a 2004 interview that he shared a rental house with Janssen and Martin Milner for a time in the 50's and that Natalie Wood was a frequent visitor.

Lili Kardell will get future tabloid ink as the companion of James Dean and later Troy Donahue.


Jan 2
Pete Wilson returns home.
Jan 3 Berniece's running tally has her son's debt up to $1096.89.
Jan 7 Janssen renews his contract with his Jack Donaldson who is affiliated with the Edward Sherman Agency. Located at 8580 Sunset, the agency secures their client (so they think) for another 3 years.
Jan 8

does Saturday looping at U-I for the film THE PURPLE MASK.

In the evening heads to Big Bear with friend Norman Bartold and presumably to his parent's new cabin. Bartold is an actor recently on Los Angeles stages in "The Curtain Rises" and soon to be in "My Three Angels".

Jan 9 Big Bear.
Jan 10 More looping at the studio in addition to normal talent school activites. This time it's for THE SHRIKE and Dani Crayne also participates in the session.
Jan 15

Janssen recently learns that he needs to re-shoot two days on last fall's CULT OF THE COBRA.

He's called to the studio at 11:30am to film for an hour. On the "Phantom of the Opera" stage, an added shot is done of Rico (Janssen) driving a Lamian to the temple wall with a torch. A version with and without dialog is done. He is wrapped at 1pm.

GET SMART fans will recognize "Chief" (Edward C. Platt) in an early role as the Lamian.

David stays home at his parents' this Saturday evening with his half sisters Teri (now 12) and Jill (9-1/2).

Jan 16

David stays again home all day and evening.

Jan 17

Janssen spends the morning reading at home.

A casting assignment has been made for David to do a one day role in a Rock Hudson picture ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. This will occur later in the week and today he has a wardrobe fitting for that film.

Night shooting on CULT OF THE COBRA. He reports to the "Brownstone Street" on the backlot at 6:30pm, again doubling for the EXT. BOWLING ALLEY STREET. Part of the scene with Mrs. Webber (Helen Wallace) done back on Nov. 13 is reshot.

FIrst (10:40pm-11:25pm) comes a shot with the camera starting above the car and then craning down to a MEDIUM CU of Janssen as he puts a case of beer in the backseat and a hand comes in and startles him.

A meal break occurs just before midnight. Afterwards, closeups of "Rico" and "Mrs. Webber" are done. Filming is completed at 12:40am. Most likely this time the scene is shot in such a way as to ramp up tension.

Jan 18 An additional wardrobe appointment for ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS.
Jan 19 With a filming day on the new picture to occur the next evening, Janssen again stays in for the night.
Jan 20

Films his uncredited role on ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (prod #1789). This is David's 10th U-I film and 4th since his return from the Army.

The film reprises a successful pairing of actors Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, producer Ross Hunter, and director Douglas Sirk. Their MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION has recently been released.

Evening shooting occurs on the backlot with Janssen called at 3:15pm to "New England street" and the EXT. SCOTT HOME set.

Janssen gets to take khakis off as he has an atypical civilian role. As "Freddie Norton" he is the boyfriend of "Kay Scott" (Gloria Talbott), the daughter of widow Wyman. He's described in the script as "a football captain from Princeton--tall, handsome, and blond." However a trench coat hides any chance of glimpsing his physique and a hat covers his dark locks.

Jane Wyman (Cary Scott) and mismatched date Conrad Nagel (Harvey) drive up and miss catching the younger two in a very G-rated in flagrante delicto.

The scene is noteworthy perhaps in that at 6:10pm exactly Janssen gives his first screen kiss. Recipient Talbot will later appear in the RICHARD DIAMOND episode "A Cup of Black Coffee".

Jan 21 Pete Wilson and Dave go out to dinner.
Jan 25

Another quickie role yields Janssen his 11th U-I film and 5th since reinstatement at the studio.

THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON (production #1791) has David back in the military, as a Lieutentant again.

Jerry Hopper directs; in a decade he will be the most prolific director of "The Fugitive" filming 14 of the show's 120 hours. Charlton Heston stars along with 10-year old Tim Hovey.

David is injured filming his role in an Army combat training sequence ("sham battle") filmed in Sierra Canyon. Descending a hill with exploding charges set off in the ground near him, one charge which Janssen gets too close to causes him to stumble and fall. The site of the carbine he is carrying comes into contact with his mouth and badly lacerates his gums. Janssen comments, “I went through much tougher times training in the real Army and never got even a scratch. Now I have to wound myself just acting.”

He toughs it out and completes the one-day role, working from 8am to 4:30pm.

Jan 27 Spends the day at the cabin in Big Bear. David's maternal grandparents join the family.
Feb 3 Has a wardrobe fitting for the movie AWAY ALL BOATS, a big film he will do a tiny part in in 4 months. The wardrobe is for early pre-production tests on the picture.
Feb 4 A backing test is filmed on AWAY ALL BOATS. This is assumed to be photographic testing of some kind to test the believability of a ship at sea as filmed on a Hollywood soundstage.
Feb 5 Cousin Paul Joy, now stationed at Ft. Ord, is down for a visit.
Feb 15

Wardrobe fitting for another casting assignment.

FRANCIS IN THE NAVY will reunite David with director Arthur Lubin, star Donald O'Connor, and of course, the talking mule.

Part of the filming will take place "on location" and he'll ship out in a week.

No surprise that he is back in a military uniform--a Lieuntenant this time who is given the name 'Anders'.

There is a press preview this evening of CHIEF CRAZY HORSE.

Feb 17 Mother Berniece lunches with her son at the Universal commisary.
Feb 18

A publicity luncheon at the studio commisary is arranged for Chuck Saxon, head of "Modern Screen" magazine. Other U-I pactees who attend are Colleen Miller, Mara Corday, Martha Hyer, William Reynolds, and Ray Danton.

On this day David reads for a role at Goldwyn Studios. it is not known what this was for.

Feb 23

Janssen begins FRANCIS IN THE NAVY (production # 1795), his 12th U-I film and 6th since rejoining the studio.

His first 5 days are on location in Coronado, California, near San Diego . The film has been in production since Monday.

David flies from Lockhead Airport in Burbank at 6:40am to San Diego and is taken directly to the set. He wraps at 3:45pm.

Spectators in the area may have seen Francis the mule towed in his very own horse trailer which sported the U-I logo and the announcement "He's in the Navy Now!".

Clint Eastwood, who director Arthur Lubin has been trying to help since he started at Universal, lands his best part to date in the film. Martin Milner too gets some decent screen time.

Others who supported star Donald O'Connor came from the studio stable including these women pictured below. From L to R Martha Hyer, Betty Jane Howarth (billed as Jane Howard on this film), and Leigh Snowden.


Feb 24

FRANCIS IN THE NAVY - Coronado. Films from 7:30am to 4:45pm.

The morning scene has Janssen, without dialogue, standing near Hutch (Jim Backus) as he addresses troops in front of a battleship.

Feb 25 Janssen is not called to the set today and has the day off in the San Diego area.
Feb 26 Last day in Coronado for Janssen who works from 8:15am to 4:50pm. Suspect his introductory scene ordering Stirling (Donald O'Connor) to bring his boat in "on the button" is filmed today.
Feb 27

Janssen travels home from location.

He returns in time to attend the wedding reception of actor friend Norman Bartold.

Feb 28 Still on payroll, Janssen spends the week in Los Angeles while the FRANCIS IN THE NAVY film troupe continues to work on location (until 3/3).
Mar 1


Janssen does a looping session for another picture KISS OF FIRE, a film he did not otherwise act in.

Mar 2 On "hold" FRANCIS IN THE NAVY.
Mar 3

Does not film on FRANCIS IN THE NAVY, but goes on the dubbing stage to do some "narration" on the picture.

At 4pm, he takes his sister Jill to an acting interview at the studio.

Mar 4 On "hold" FRANCIS IN THE NAVY.
Mar 5 Works for 3 hours on FRANCIS IN THE NAVY (2pm-5pm). Scenes for the INT. ENLISTED MEN'S BARRACKS are shot on Stage 17.
Mar 7

Monday's filming is a continuation of the INT. ENLISTED MEN'S BARRACKS scenes on Stage 17. Dave works all day (8:15pm to 6:05pm).

A clever scene is done today with both of the charcters Donald O'Connor plays ('Stirling' and his doppelganger 'Slicker') acting in tandem in front of a missing mirror. It fools Janssen into thinking that one is a reflection. This morning, 18 minutes of the shooting day is devoted to a full shot of Janssen watching the 2 Donalds.

Mar 8

David works on a new set, the INT. NAVY GYM (BOXING SCENE), which is built on the "Phantom of the Opera" stage. His work hours are 8am-5:55pm. In this sequence, he's in the crowd at the boxing match.

Mar 9

FRANCIS IN THE NAVY on the INT. NAVY GYM set. He works from 8am-3:30pm.

His only featured shot is done from 11:53a-12:06pm: a 3-shot seated next to "Betsy" (Martha Hyer) and Jim Backus reacting to the fight.

Mar 10 A retake (of scene 171) is done back on the BARRACKS set on Stage 17. Again works in the afternoon only (2pm-5pm).
Mar 11

David finishes his role in FRANCIS IN THE NAVY at 11:30am on Stage 17. The dialogue scenes (181 and 182) between he and Donald O'Connor are filmed which end with one "Donald" being carried out of the barracks in a seabag. The movie will shoot 19 more days without Janssen.

In the afternoon he segues to a rehearsal for his 1st live television drama, an episode of LUX VIDEO THEATER. The program has an arrangement with the studio to make use of some of their talent pool and story rights to material it owns. This episode is a TV version of Universal's movie "It Grows On Trees". The "it" is money.

Janssen will play "Ralph" (a role that had been played by Richard Crenna in the movie). His love interest is Leigh Snowden (link to April 27, 1954).

Ruth Hussey and Robert Preston are the leads. The show will be broadcast in 6 more days.

David will be paid $500 for the role.

Mar 14

Rehearsal for LUX VIDEO THEATER "It Grows on Trees".

Pete Wilson came to Los Angeles and overnighted with the Janssens.

Mar 15

Rehearsal for LUX VIDEO THEATER "It Grows on Trees".

David went to bed extremely early (7pm).

Mar 16

Rehearsal for LUX VIDEO THEATER "It Grows on Trees".

David and mother Berniece go to EAST OF EDEN, the Elia Kazan/James Dean movie, at its opening day the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.

Mar 17

10pm live broadcast of LUX VIDEO THEATER "It Grows on Trees". James Mason hosts the show which is broadcast from NBC Sudios in Burbank, Stage 2.

Actors are in an after-the-play interview as part of the hour-long broadcast.

Variety in its review will say: “U-I pactees Leigh Snowden and David Janssen contribute stirling characterizations as the young lovers.”

An inter-office memo sent to Universal's David Lipton (VP Talent) from Bob Raines (director of TV and Radio Promotion) following the broadcast also raised the stock of these 2 performers:

“This morning I spoke to both Cornwell Jackson and Stanley Quinn, executive producer of LUX regarding last evening’s appearance of Leigh Snowden and David Janssen. Jackson was pleased with both performances. Quinn, who at first abandoned the entire idea of doing “It Grows” with Snowden and Janssen involved in the package, was extremely complementary to both the youngsters today. He said they worked like troupers, and he would be happy to use them anytime we make them available. Also important is the fact that he stated that if these two are samples of the young talent we have out here he will never have cause to hedge on using others of our young contractees...”

Mother Berniece does not watch this evening from the sidelines instead going to friends John and Marvel Lawrence's to see it on TV live.

Mar 20

Joined AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists).

This is the trade union which covers the live TV work he's just done on LUX VIDEO THEATER.

Mar 22

David records narration on the dubbing stage for a Nat King Cole musical short on which he did not appear on camera.

Future wife Dani Crayne gets her picture in the paper. Her live broadcast appearance on this evening's "George Gobel" show is publicized with a small blurb in the Los Angeles Times.

Mar 25

David loops his dialogue for TO HELL AND BACK, the film he completed last September.

It is also a big day for others in the Janssen clan.

Sister Jill has a screen test at the studio for the role of Rock Hudson's daughter "Suzy" in the upcoming NEVER WAVE GOODBYE. This a film David will act in as well. On stage 6, Jill competes for the part with other child actresses: Sherry Jackson, Susan Seaforth, Linda Lowell, Lydia Reed, and Shelley Fabares. Adult leads Rock Hudson and Cornell Borchers act with the youngsters on the test. Fabares is rewarded with the key role, but Jill wil get a smaller role in the picture to film in a little over a month.

Berniece is believed to have participated in a "Mrs. America" pageant in the evening at the Los Feliz Theater.

Mar 27

David's 24th birthday. Pete Wilson visits for the birthday celebration the Janssens have planned. But David is very unpleasant this evening and spoils the party.

Perhaps it's time for someone David's age to have his own place.

Mar 28

Janssen moves out from his parents apartment at 4447 Finley and into an apartment belonging to U-I acting peer and Army buddy Marty Milner. This apartment is believed to be in North Hollywood near North Hollywood High School (it may have been demolished decades ago to make room for a freeway on-ramp).

On this day Dave also completes looping duties on his late January job, THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON.

Apr 2 David does a looping session on ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS which he filmed in January.
Apr 3 David's mother sees a double bill including David's CULT OF THE COBRA. It is playing with REVENGE OF THE CREATURE.
Apr 6

A new casting. David will appear in NEVER SAY GOODBYE, a new Rock Hudson film and is called into the wardrobe department today for a fitting.

He shouldn't need to--he will play a person in the military again. Janssen comments on this regular occurance:

"After 2 long years on active duty I return to the glamour, bright lights, pretty girls, and comfortable living of Hollywood and inside a week I’m a Cavalry Captain [actually a Lieutenant] with an arrow in my chest for ‘Chief Crazy Horse’. Three weeks later I’m a [Army] Lieutenant crawling through the mud at Anzio with Audie Murphy for “To Hell and Back”. And a month after that I’m demoted to Corporal and found crushed under a car with a half a cup of snake venom in me for “Cult of the Cobra”."

In quick succession came “The Private War of Major Benson” (Army Lt.), “Francis In the Navy” (Navy Ensign), and now “Never Say Goodbye” (Army doctor).

Janssen adds, “And on top of everything else, I go to an Army reserve meeting one time a week. The only disconcerting thing is that in the last 4 films I’ve worn the same khaki uniform! The last time I walked into the wardrobe department, I didn’t even have to tell them what picture I was doing. The wardrobe girl just took the khakis off the rack, opened a box of collar insignias and said, ‘Well, what will it be---Army, Navy, or Marines?’”

Apr 9

Janssen begins NEVER SAY GOODBYE, (production # 1797), his 13th U-I film and 7th since rejoining the studio.

David plays "Dave Heller" and first up are the scenes in the VIENNA NIGHT CLUB which are shot on a set on Stage 21.

Janssen works from 8am-5:05pm.

The film has not settled on a title yet and is alternately called A TIME REMEMBERED and A DAY CALLED TOMORROW during the production phase.

Female lead is European-born Cornell Borchers who fails to connect with U.S. audiences and who career will fizzle in just a few years.

Apr 10

David, now living away from home, returns this Sunday for lunch and a day with the family.

He attends a singing/dancing performance of sister Jill at the Embassy Hotel in which she is fratured doing the tango.

They all go to David's uncle George and aunt Maybelle Janssen's for dinner.

Apr 11

Day 2 of David's work on NEVER SAY GOODBYE.

Scenes in the VIENNA NIGHT CLUB on Stage 21 continue. His work hours are 9am-5:55pm.

Actor Max Showalter (using his earlier professional name Casey Adams) is seated between Janssen and Rock Hudson at left. This particular scene, with a seltzer bottle on the table and the actors in this seated configuration, does not appear in the final print.

In fact all of the this VIENNA NIGHT CLUB which will take 3 days to shoot may be scrapped. A reshoot of this set will take place in late July.

Apr 12

NEVER SAY GOODBYE. Completes scenes in the VIENNA NIGHT CLUB (Stage 21) working from 9:30am-2:30pm.

Apr 13 David does not film on the picture today and does regular Talent School activities.
Apr 14

NEVER SAY GOODBYE. Works 9:45am to 5:30pm on stage 7 for the INT. LINDA'S APARTMENT set.

Berniece comes with a friend Kay Jacobs to have lunch with David at the commissary.

Apr 15 NEVER SAY GOODBYE. Works 10am-6pm finishing the LINDA'S APARTMENT set.
Apr 16

Last day for Janssen on NEVER SAY GOODBYE.

He is called for the afternoon only (2pm-5:15pm) and the scene is the INT. VIENNESE MARRIAGE LICENCE BUREAU.

As previously stated, after he was famous in the Sixties, Janssen would like to tell a stock story about how he was an 'agreer' in these early U-I films--he'd have a quick exchange with the leading actor long enough to say 'yes', and then he'd disappear.

He sometimes used this alternate stock description:

“I was so unknown, I didn’t even get a chance to look over the star’s shoulder”


In this scene it appears he does, albeit out-of-focus.

April 18

David is given a raise--one the studio is not obligated to give him.

His current $150 weekly contract is discarded and replaced with one that will pay him $100 more. A pro-ration agreement is signed concurently evening out this $250 salary, which is guaranteed for only 40 weeks per year, to an even $192.

The new contract, effective April 27, seems to roll back the clock and give Universal rights to him for 7 years all over again--to April 1962. It specifies raises each year to $300, $375, $475, $600, $750, and then $1000 in the last year.

Why the raise? Since Universal signed him in 1951, the studio most likely has been upping the starting salary for new incoming Talent School students. Janssen is probably making less or the same as people just staring out. Dani Crayne for example, with the studio less than a year, is making the same $150 as Janssen and is scheduled to have a salary hike to $175 in June.

Janssen can sure use the money. He's trying to make a go away from home and has unpaid debts to his mother which go back for years. And which she has very carefully kept track of....

Apr 22 Does looping for FRANCIS IN THE NAVY, his February/March filming assignment.
Apr 25 Does looping for THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW, a film he didn't act in.
Apr 26

Participates in a "Vista-Vision" photographic test at the studio.

David visits in the evening and clears up some debt with his mother. They have dinner at a drive-in restaurant and go see "Camille" (unknown if this is a person or a show of some kin).

Apr 27 Date of contract, retroactive to April 18, which yields Janssen his raise.
Apr 28

Bob Raines, a supporter of Janssen's at the studio who helped place him for his LUX live TV debut, suggests him for another "small screen" role.

An upcoming NBC Spectacular which will utilize U-I actors is in the early stages of planning. Raines writes to his vice president David A. Lipton:

“...two of our younger players, perhaps Bill Reynolds and Dani Crayne, or David Janssen and Leigh Snowden, could do one of the original acts put on during the past U-I programs. I particularly have in mind “The Clown” sketch done by Joyce Holden, or the Western skit done two times and used on many tours by Rock Hudson and Joyce Holden...”

When the show, "Allen in Movieland" starring Steve Allen, is produced in July, Janssen does not participate. Clint Eastwood ends up making his network TV debut in it. Dani Crayne also appears. David is assigned to another film.

Apr 29 Janssen loops dialogue on TO HELL IN BACK. a picture he completed last September.
Apr 30 David is home for supper.
May 1 David moves back to his parents' apartment (4447 Finley). Intended to be temporary, this will become a 5-month return.
May 8

David plays the good son to Berniece on Mother's Day as his sisters and stepfather are at the cabin in Big Bear.

After sleeping late, David accompanies his mother to look at some new apartments.

Afterwards, David takes her to see DADDY LONG LEGS, a Fred Astaire picture, at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

He follows this with Mother's Day dinner at Kelbos Restaurant.

May 10

David has a casting test for a role in WORLD IN MY CORNER, an Audie Murphy boxing movie which will soon go into production. He is passed over.

Half-sister Jill begins her 1st of 4 days on the U-I lot playing "Judy", a friend of Rock Hudson's daughter (played by Shelley Fabares). She had screen tested for the key daughter role a month and a half ago. The picture is still NEVER SAY GOODBYE, which Janssen finished several weeks ago.

What will remain of Jill in the final cut is a nice moment at the end of a children's party where George Sanders ("Victor") is finishing up a sketch of her.

David picks up his parents' Cadillac from a service appointment at the dealership and uses it this evening, giving his slightly passe 51 Mercury a rest.

May 13

Jill, mother Berniece, and other sister Teri all work on camera at U-I today.

David joins them for a photo session arranged by the Publicity Department.

Rock Hudson joins in for several of the photos and some are taken with the NEVER SAY GOODBYE artist who drew the sketches which were supposed to be in "Victor's" hand.

This same sketch artist did a sketch of Janssen in character when he was working on the film several weeks earlier.

May 19 Does looping for THE SECOND GREATEST SEX, a film he didn't act in.
May 20 Pete Wilson is in town and stays overnight with the Janssens.
Jun 2

Dani Crayne appears in court to get her necessary approval, as she is not yet 21, on a U-I contract raise. Judge Prager had to pleasure of seeing 3 such starlets on this day and it was written about in a Los Angeles Times story.

Dani claims to be able to save only $2 weekly as all her surplus funds are going towards a new car.

Jun 3

Is put on salary on AWAY ALL BOATS (production number #1793), his 14th U-I film and 8th in a year.

This Jeff Chandler vehicle is being touted as the biggest film Universal has undertaken to date. Filming has been underway since April in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and has recently moved back to the studio. On stage 12, a 111' replica of the real USS Randall has been built doubling for the movie's fictitious USS Belinda.

Janssen had done some photographic tests on this picture back in early February, but has now snagged a tiny role on it.

It's definately of the "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" variety. Clint Eastwood has even a smaller role.

In fact it's not known what shots he participates in for the first week or so; the few scenes he's known to appear in will be done starting on June 14. Janssen may have been being paid just to hang around in case a bit came up and they needed someone who could speak. It was cheap insurance:

The way the Studio contracts worked, actors did not receive any additional salary for film assignments. Janssen got his $250 weekly whether he was assigned to a picture or not. When on a film, an internal accounting was done so the costs for that time would be charged against the movie and not under the Talent School ledger.

Publicity blurbs are released that David is setting high marks for actor activity. But David isn't getting any richer for being so productive...

Janssen's casting in AWAY ALL BOATS is typical of the quixotic nature of life as a contract player. On his previous film, NEVER SAY GOODBYE, he receives screen credit--even his name on the film's poster. On this he'll receive neither, nor will his character even have a name.

Mother Berniece has lunch with her son at the studio this day. He also bought a new gray suit at Sy Devore's, a classy store frequented by the likes of Fred Astaire, and had publicity shots taken at a dress shop in North Hollywood.

Jun 5

On his Sunday off, David gets up at 6:30am to go play in a U-I golf tournament.

Jun 7 David no longer has a free ride. He pays $100 to his mother this day for 2 months 'rent' to live at home. She also regularly assesses him $3.50 weekly to wash and iron his shirts.
Jun 14

Director Joseph Pevney guides Janssen in his very bulky costume for shots in the climax of AWAY ALL BOATS.

The scene has Dave following "Hawks" (Jeff Chandler) out of the wheelhouse door of the ship and flanking him silently as Hawks makes a pre-attack speech.

Jun 15

AWAY ALL BOATS. Continuation of the above scene.

Janssen gets some inconsequential screen time in some shots as one Kamikazee plane gets shot down in the sky, and another crashes into the ship.

Jun 16 AWAY ALL BOATS. More chaos aboard the ship under attack. On the port wing (sc. 352), Janssen is thrown the line "Damage control reports we're hit at the waterline, sir!" , which was scripted to be delivered by co-star George Nader.
Jun 17

David continues work on AWAY ALL BOATS.

Dani Crayne begins a one-week role on WORLD IN MY CORNER, a movie which David had screen tested for.

Jun 18

Janssen completes work on AWAY ALL BOATS.

The ship is now damaged but quiet. As "Hawks"(Jeff Chandler) lays dying in his cabin, David is again relegated to the background without dialogue in a scene (sc. 393) along a railing beween McDougall (Nader) and Lt. Randall (Sam Gilman).

Another scene shot this day may have yielded David another speaking line ("Fire! Fire in the midship flak locker!"). A short George Nader-Keith Andes scene never made the final cut. It was determined editorally to go right to Jeff Chandler's death scene and wrap up the movie without this prolongation.

Jun 23 Looping sessions for FRANCIS IN THE NAVY.
Jun 24

A new picture. THE SQUARE JUNGLE (production # 1804) casts Janssen in a more substantial role, that of "Jack Lindsay"-- Tony Curtis' fast-talking press agent. This is U-I film number 15 for Dave. And one that allows him to don mufti, and sharp ones besides.

Jerry Hopper directs, his boss from NEVER SAY GOODBYE.

On his first day, and the film's third, Janssen is not featured but present at a fight scene between "Packy" (Curtis) and "Gorski" (John Day). Not coincidently the set is put up on the "Phantom of the Opera" stage where he sat as a spectator for his role in FRANCIS IN THE NAVY.

Janssen works from 8:15am to 7pm.

The producer is Albert "Zuggy" Zugsmith, who will hire Janssen on some grade "B" films in a few years when his Universal contract is up.

Jun 25

THE SQUARE JUNGLE. Scenes for the CHICAGO HOTEL SUITE are shot on stage 20.

The pre-fight scene is shot first.

David does dialogue ("All of Chicago's jumpin'--biggest thing sice Tunney and Dempsey" and “About tonight--want me to decorate the place with some attractive lightweights?” ).

Ernest Borgnine and Jim Backus also appear in the scene.

Janssen works from 8:15am-11:55am.

Jun 27


A post-victory celebration scene is begun. Janssen introduces Curtis to one of these "lightweights". It's "Lorraine" played by Leigh Snowden.

Janssen's Dialogue: “Packy, Miss Lorraine Evans. Packy Glennon, the new champ.”  Dave is called from 8:15am -5:30pm this day.

Jun 28


Working to 12:30pm to finish this set, David plays a short scene with Leigh Snowden:



as they look after Packy. Lindsay glaces at the girl.


Nothing but interruptions.


You’d be surprised how much time I have.

She takes a lighted cigarette from his fingers as we


Jun 29

THE SQUARE JUNGLE moves back into the "Phantom of the Opera" set.

In the morning, reaction shots, some with dialogue, are taken of a group seated together watching the 2nd fight: Janssen and Lorraine (Leigh Snowden) in one row, and McBride (Paul Kelly) and Julie (Patricia Crowley) in the row ahead. Then wardrobe is changed, Crowley is taken out, and the owed reactions are filmed for fight number one.

David is not wrapped until 5:20pm.

Jun 30 Janssen on "hold" on THE SQUARE JUNGLE.
Jul 1

Fight number two is filmed on the "Phantom of the Opera" set with Janssen watching, but not featured in any shots. He's called from 8:15am -5:43pm

Jul 2

Janssen on "hold" on THE SQUARE JUNGLE.

The "Allen In Hollywood" NBC Special that Janssen had been recommended for is broadcast live tonight with Clint Eastwood and Dani Crayne making appearances.

Jul 4 Studios are dark due to the Independence Day holiday.
Jul 5 THE SQUARE JUNGLE. On the set from 8:30am -5:35pm. A 3rd fight is filmed on the "Phantom of the Opera" set and again, fight shots are featured with audience reactions to be done later.
Jul 6

THE SQUARE JUNGLE. David is called at 8:30am but it's not till 5:12pm that the film unit gets around to shooting him close. 35 minutes are devoted to reaction shots to the 3rd fight including some dialogue (none of which makes it to the final cut).

Janssen is wrapped at 5:54pm.

Again he's filmed in a grouping of with Lorraine (Leigh Snowden), Julie (Patricia Crowley), and McBride (Paul Kelly).

Jul 7

THE SQUARE JUNGLE. The "Phantom of the Opera" set and the CHICAGO STADIUM set are completed. Janssen is again filmed in his group for a good part of the afternoon doing fight number 3 reaction shots and dialogue.

His only line of dialogue which will survive from the fight scenes is done this day:

After Packy's brutal knockout of his opponent, McBride's asks him where he's going. Lindsay replies, "To look for a job..."

Jul 8 Janssen on "hold" on THE SQUARE JUNGLE.
Jul 9 Janssen on "hold" on THE SQUARE JUNGLE.
Jul 10 Sister Jill wins first place in a Big Bear beauty contest.
Jul 11

David finishes THE SQUARE JUNGLE with a scene shot on the part of the backlot called "Gausman's Gulch" (after longtime U-I set decorator Russell Gausman).

In the afternoon, a training camp scene set at a lodge is filmed. In it, Borgnine banishes Janssen and Snowden from the workout session with Curtis' consent.

Janssen is called at 8am amd released at 4:15pm.

Jul 20

Puts in a full day on stage 21 reshooting his opening scene for NEVER SAY GOODBYE. The new set is call the BAR BAROQUE (believed to have replaced April's VIENNA NIGHTCLUB) and Janssen is on set from 8am-6:20pm. Again he works with Rock Hudson and Max Showalter around a table. George Sanders and Cornell Borchers also appear in the sequence.

This day is part of a substantial 7-day reshoot on the picture.

Signs a 1-year artist's manager contract with Gus Dembling's agency. Gus himself has just died (April 30) from a heart attack at age 59. His Agency evidently is carrying on without him.

The contract calls for a 10% fee from all his income.

Jul 24 David spends a Sunday off in Laguna Beach, CA.
Aug 2 Producer Albert Zugsmith from his last film role has David pencilled in for his next picture. The preliminary budget for STAR IN THE DUST (aka LAW MAN) shows David janssen in the supporting role of Lew Hogan. However, Harry Morgan will get the role.
Aug 3

Janssen is invited to return to a 2nd live LUX VIDEO THEATER and begins rehearsal this day. This episode "Perilious Deception" is based on an unproduced U-I movie script.

His female counterparts, Karen Kadler and April Kent, are also both U-I players.

Aug 4 Rehearsal LUX VIDEO THEATER "Perilous Deception".
Aug 5

Rehearsal LUX VIDEO THEATER "Perilous Deception".

Actress/friend Suzan Ball succumbs to her mounting health problems at the age of 22. Wife of actor Richard Long, Ball had the destinction of playing against Janssen on his very first day of filming on the Universal lot in UNTAMED FRONTIER.

Aug 6 Rehearsal LUX VIDEO THEATER "Perilous Deception".
Aug 8 Rehearsal LUX VIDEO THEATER "Perilous Deception".
Aug 9

Rehearsal LUX VIDEO THEATER "Perilous Deception".

Susan Ball's funeral services were held at Forest Lawn. Not known if the rehearsal schedule was altered to allow Janssen and his U-I peers to attend.

Aug 10 Rehearsal LUX VIDEO THEATER "Perilous Deception".
Aug 11

LUX VIDEO THEATER "Perilous Deception" broadcast.

It is performed live for the East Coast at 10pm Eastern time, then shown delayed via kinescope on the West Coast 3 hours later. It is not know if this kinescope (or any of the others for Janssen's live performances) survives.

Universal cleverly makes a little money on Janssen's appearance. Janssen is now a member of AFTRA by virtue of doing this television work. He will pocket not only $256 (which is the pro rata salary for 7 days work that U-I is obligated to pay him), but also $41.40 extra (to bring him up to the $297.40 minimum AFTRA scale amount).

However, Lux pays Universal $1000 for the loanout. Therefore the studio pockets more than $700 that they don't pass on to him.

The feedback given the studio from the sponsor is not quite as complementary this time. Bob Raines reports in a inter-office memo:

“Quinn (Stanley Quinn of J. Walter Thompson) states that he believes Janssen can develop into a real fine actor and personality for us. His problem is that he is so interested in his own characterization he does not 'play with’ the other actors in the scene. (Karen) Kadler does not have this problem at all. She “gives” to the other performers. Janssen, according to Quinn, has a real good personality and looks that could boost him to the top with more experience and the right breaks. June Leff, head of Casting and Talent at NBC, feels that all of the players need much more experience before tackling further starring roles on live TV.”

The Hollywood Trade paper Daily Variety also reviews the broadcast:

“Three young players whom host William Hopper exuberantly called ‘the stars of tomorrow’ were entrusted with this unproduced script from U-I and given exposure that may go a long way towards shaping their careers. For Karen Kadler it’ll do more good than the others.......David Janssen, who may have the ambitions but not the dimensions of Clark Gable, conjures up a likeness both in voice and general bearing, but the deep breathing must be his own idea to build up for a big scene. He seemed unduly nervous and awkward in his movements. He needs more training....Janssen, cast as a despicable character who murdered his wife and then went on a fast make for her best friend, said at the close, “being a wife killer was fun to play.” He appeared much too tense to enjoy it."

In 10 years time he'll be at the height of playing a (suspected) wife killer, confident enough to not mimic Gable, and really seeming at ease in a role.

Aug 17 Janssen again is earmaked for another film casting that doesn't materialize. The budget for A CREATURE WALKS AMONG US lists David tentatively in the role of "Jed Grant". Gregg Palmer will do the part.
Sep 7

A special dance performance is given on the lot for producers and studio bigwigs to see. All gather on stage 22 at 1:45pm to watch David showing off his dancing prowess with (future wife) Dani Crayne and (then girlfriend?) Mara Corday. The studio releases a press release this month stating that David and Mara have been dating for two months and developed an interest in each other while rehearsing the routine. They may have been "over-stating" the interest. It’s not known how involved the two get.

Dani would state in future interviews that David, Mara, and she used to go out as a platonic threesome. David would complain, "Here I am with the two prettiest girls in Hollywood and both of you are like my sisters”. Dani says they’d tell him, “Your luck will change."

Mara will eventually get involved with Dick Long, currently a recent widower. They will marry in 1957 and will be David's duplex neighbor in his waning days of bachelorhood.

And will any sparks fly between David and Dani while under contract? Except for a story (uncomfirmed) that they might have tried a kiss one night on the studio lot, most recollections seem to point to no "hook-up" for the two in the 50's. However, the whole Talent School environment was fairly college dorm-like in nature and did lead to many incestuous pairups and heartbreaks.

As to today's dance routine, it did impress a few including U-I producer Ross Hunter. He sent a personal note to David:

“Just a word to tell you how much I enjoyed seeing you dance this afternoon. I can’t begin to tell you how good it was to know now, that not only are you a fine actor but also a very capable dancer. Congratulations to you, boy. Keep up the good work.”

Sep 9

A new role is on the horizon for Janssen. He will start within the week in a Western quickie with a pre-production title of GUN SHY (to be retitled SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE). David goes in for his initial wardrobe fitting.

Considered for the role of "Chip" (which Grant Williams will get), David is given the role of a Deputy Verne Ward which Lee Van Cleef had been pencilled in for.

Sep 12

David is screen tested for a future part.--THE GODDESS (alternate title AND YET SO FAR), a forthcoming picture to be produced by Janssen's producer on TO HELL AND BACK, Aaron Rosenberg.

Also this day, mother and son go looking out for apartments again for David to move into.

Sep 13

Janssen has a followup wardrobe fitting for his role in SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE.

It's determined he'll wear one wardrobe change throughout the role.


Sep 14

Begins filming SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE (production # 1812). It's his 16th movie role at U-I.

Working on location in the LA area on Conejo Ranch, scenes 1-17 are filmed (EXT. KANSAS COUNTRYSIDE).

He is not featured in shots today and was on set from 9:30am-4pm.

Howard Christie produces. He's previously hired Janssen in YANKEE BUCCANEER and AWAY ALL BOATS and will again the THE TOY TIGER.

Charlie Haas, who had an undistiguished career, was assigned to direct the programmer.

The film starred Jock Mahoney. His 8-year old stepdaughter may have visited the set after school. She became "Gidget", "The Flying Nun" and "Sybil"--Sally Field.

Sep 15

Back on the Conejo Ranch SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE location, Janssen works from 10am-6:15pm.

Scene 179A is shot and his scripted dialogue spoken to "Jim" (Jock Mahoney):

“The trouble with this business is that it makes a man old before his time. I never did hear of any sherrif livin’ to a ripe old age, did you? "

Sep 16

On hold from SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE filming, David goes into Hollywood to make a major purchase.

Perhaps spurred on by the ribbing he got regularly from Tony Curtis on his out-of-style Mercury, Janssen trades it in for a maiden year black Thunderbird hardtop.

Putting $450 down, he takes on a $115.59 per month for 30 months obligation for the privilege of driving in style.

It's one of the first clear instances of an expenditure he makes that he really can't afford. He sets a personal precident of fiscal non-conservatism and reveals his lifelong compulsion to "spend big" as a way of demonstrating taste and style.

This car payment will come back to haunt him in the future. In a few years, when faced with the frequent hiatuses on his first TV series (RICHARD DIAMOND), he would reveal: "I'd park it at my friends’ houses so they couldn’t find it and take it away. Then after the show was picked up, I resumed payments.".

Even into the early 1960's crew members on his Allied Artists low budget movies recall helping him by hiding the T-Bird off the lot for the same purpose.

Sep 17

SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE film continues, now on the studio's backlot "Western Street" doubling for the script's BUCKEYE STREET.

In a scene "Verne" (Janssen) is on a main street porch. Claudius (Ted de Corsia) dismounts a horse and walks to him. Dialogue:

Verne: Trask! Wasn’t he sheriff before the war?
Claudius: That’s right.
Verne: Supposed to be a fast me with a gun...
Claudius: Supposed to be.

David works 7:45am-4pm.

Sep 19

More "Western Street" shooting on SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE. David works 7:45am-5pm.

David has no scripted dialogue in the scenes (42-50) shot today.

Sep 20

SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE "Western Street". David works 7:45am-6:10pm.

Part of the day is spent on a scene where "Peggy" (Martha Hyer) drives in spotting Janssen and "Jim" (Jock Mahoney) on a porch followed by a dialogue scene with "Jack" (Dayton Loomis). Janssen has no scripted lines in this sequence.

Sep 21

SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE "Western Street". David works 7:45am-4pm.

An earlier scene where Janssen confiscates the gun of "Loop" (Lane Bradford). Several lines of dialogue.

Sep 22 "Hold" day SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE.
Sep 23

The SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE unit films on the backlot at Gausman's Gulch.

David works 9:30am-5:51pm.

The scene is the EXT. MOSLEY RANCH with Janssen on horseback riding in with Jock Mahoney, entering the house, then leaving with dead Mosley (Lyle Bettger). Dialogue.

Sep 24

SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE. Soundstage shooting. David works 8:15am-3pm.

David works in the STAR HOTEL SALOON scene on stage 14, then the SHERIFF OFFICE scenes on stage 8.

Sep 26 "Hold" day SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE.
Sep 27

SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE. On location again for EXT. BIGELOW FARM scenes. A private ranch (Morrison ranch) is used. This is the set where the Martha Hyer character lives. David works from 7am-4:50pm.

In the evening, Dave, a 'girlfriend' (unknown), his mother and sisters go see THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON, in its first day of release.

Sep 28 "Hold" day SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE.
Sep 29 "Hold" day SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE.
Sep 30

Janssen finishes SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE.

Stage 19 is used to build the INT. MOSELY RANCH rooms for the scene with Janssen, Jock Mahoney, and Lyle Bettger which is intercut between scenes shot a week earlier.

Janssen is called at 10:30am, released at 5:10pm, but appears to have not worked until the late afternoon.

He also fits in a looping session for the film PILLARS IN THE SKY this day.

He will not have another picture assignment for almost 8 weeks.

Oct 1

Janssen moves out again. The apartment he's found is in "the Valley" and close to the studio. It is in North Hollywood, at the corner of Moorpark and Camellia. This ends 5 months of crashing, for a fee, at his parents' apartment. Phone STanley7-2257.

He's at the new digs until mid-January.

Oct 3

Janssen rejoins his U-I Talent School peers for regular activities after his 2-week film assignment.

In addition, he has these various U-I activities today:

Goes onto the dubbing stage to re-record some lines on his just completed SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE.

Assigned to participate in screen tests for 2 prospective new Talent School applicants: Ziva Shapir (aka Ziva Rodann) and Coleen McClatchey. This test is cancelled.

Has a wardrobe fitting for a 2nd casting test on THE GODDESS. His first was September 12.

Oct 5

Screen test THE GODDESS. The test is in color and with sound. The film, unrelated to the produced Kim Stanley movie of 1958, is never put in production.

Valentine Davies (writer of "Miracle on 34th Street" and director of "The Benny Goodman Story") also directs a casting test for Italian beauty Irene Genna which Janssen assists on. it is filmed on an EXT. SHIP set on stage 6.

David has a full day (8:30am-3:15pm) participating on these tests.

Oct 15 David and a girlfriend Coleen Vico arrive at the family cabin in Big Bear in the evening to stay overnight. Vico, a sultry brunette, married Dead End Kid Huntz Hall in September 1960 (her 2nd marriage) and acted in a horror flick THE DEVIL'S HAND, a year later.
Oct 16 return from Big Bear.
Oct 28 wardrobe appointment for a screen test he will do tomorrow for a forthcoming picture.
Oct 29

Janssen tests for a part in APACHE AGENT, the new Audie Murphy film, which U-I will retitle WALK THE PROUD LAND. It is believed he loses this role to Tommy Rall.

Dani Crayne will do a role in this film.

Oct 30 Berniece sees NEVER SAY GOODBYE as it's ending its 3 week run in Hollywood.
Nov 2 Dani does a day of shooting on a U-I Eddy Grady musical short.
Nov 3 Looping for the movie THE WORLD IN MY CORNER which he did not do a role in.
Nov 7 Participates in some type of sound "underscoring" for the Lionel Hampton musical short.
Nov 10

Wardrobe tests done today indicate that Janssen has secured his 17th U-I movie role.

In THE TOY TIGER, he'll share the screen again with Jeff Chandler who he briefly played against earlier in the year in AWAY ALL BOATS.

The tests done today has David photographed in different hats from 11:55am-12:28pm, and also in front of the camera for most of the afternoon (to 4:10pm).

In the evening, David invites his mother to a studio pre-release screening of NEVER SAY GOODBYE (at 8:30pm).

Nov 19 Half-sister Teri makes a Coca-Cola commercial audition given at U-I over 50 other girls. She'll film it in a week's time.
Nov 21

David begins THE TOY TIGER (production #1814). It's a remake of a 40's Deanna Durbin film "Mad About Music".

Puts in a 8:30am-5pm day on the INT. HOTEL ROOM set on stage 12.

Janssen, in a red plaid shirt, first plays a dialogue scene with Jeff Chandler in which he reveals he knows about "Timmie". This takes up most of the day.

Shooting ends with the scene of the two entering the adjoining rooms after check-in. This may have been re-shoot in January.

Nov 22

THE TOY TIGER. Janssen's work today is on stage 4 and the INT. HOTEL LOBBY and is on set from 9am-4:55pm.

Janssen works with actors Cecil Kellaway and Richard Haydyn and is in humorous hunting attire on one scene.

A discarded version of the checking-in scene was done next.

Nov 23

THE TOY TIGER. A backlot day on Western Street doubling for the screenplay's WINAWATAMIE STREET.

Director Jerry Hopper becomes ill in the afternoon and the company is forced to finish early before Janssen is called on camera (2:45pm).

Nov 24 Company is down due to director illness.
Nov 25

THE TOY TIGER. Shooting resumes on the backlot Western Street.

A version of the scene of "Larry Tripps" (Janssen), "Rick" (Jeff Chandler), and "Timmie" (Tim Hovey) walking to the hotel is shot first in the morning.

The scene which precedes it, at the bus, is started next before the lunch break.

When lunch is over and the scene is ready to be resumed, David is missing in action. The usually professional Janssen keeps the company waiting 15 minutes due to his tardy return--a delay which is noted on the official studio paperwork. His delay may be family related. His sister Teri is filming her Coke commercial today and is on the lot with their mother.

A shot of "Rick" and "Larry" asleep on the bus completes the filming day which is cut short by the loss of daylight.

David is released at 4pm. This entire day's work including the shot at left will be reshot in January.

Nov 26

THE TOY TIGER--the backlot Western Street.

the 1st shot of the day is one of Janssen entering the hotel solo from the outside. It will be cut from the release print. He's on set from 8am-4:10pm.

Nov 28

Janssen works a short day on the backlot finishing at 12noon today. The scene involving "Rick" and "Larry" waking up on the bus is completed. It too will be cut from the release print.

Dani snags another role as well, working today and tomorrow and typecast as the "Blonde" in WRITTEN ON THE WIND.

Nov 29

David has one more set to shoot on THE TOY TIGER, the office scenes, but they are to be done later in the schedule.

Therefore he has this day, and the next 11 "on hold", and won't resume filming until December 13.

Dec 4 David visits home this Sunday afternoon and is given a pre-Christmas gift by his parents (an electric clock). His maternal grandmother Graf has also left him some "apartment warming" gifts (towels & soap)
Dec 9 Berniece and David do some early Christmas shopping together.
Dec 13

David resumes his last 3 scheduled days on THE TOY TIGER.

Called at 9:30am, he doesn't work until the late afternoon and takes care of some looping for SHOWDOWN AT ABILENE while waiting.

At 4:17pm, he begins shooting a scene in INT. GWEN'S OFFICE (stage 20). The dialogue scene has David entering the office of "Gwen" (Larraine Day) while "Edna" (Jacqueline DeWitt) is present.

The scene doesn't make it into the picture.

Dec 14

THE TOY TIGER. Yesterday's scene is completed. Janssen is done for the day at 10:20am with 4 takes of his closeup in this never-to-be used scene finishing his day.

David lunches this day with his mother and a new agent Dick Weil who is now partnered with his agent since 1951, Jack Donaldson.

Dec 15

THE TOY TIGER. Janssen's call is 8:15am.

A busy day completes his comedic role as "Larry Tripps" on the picture. 3 scenes are filmed in INT. RICK'S OFFICE (stage 20):

One (sc. 13, pictured above) is a dialogue scene between "Larry" (Janssen) and "Rick" (Jeff Chandler). It's their introduction and it makes it into the film.

The next (scs. 24-25) has "Larry" entering past secretary "Alice" speaking to "Rick" again--never to be seen by audiences.

The last (sc. 210) had "Larry" and "Rick" and the tusk. This is reshot in January.

At 4:15pm he is wrapped. In 3 days will be the Studio's annual "Inside U-I" showcase. He'll most likely participate and have some rehearsals the next 2 days.

As the year winds down the Studio is pleased with their now-seasoned contract player:

A casting executive says: “Dave has one of the most important assets of any actor. He can switch from dramatic 'leading man' roles to comedy with ease and credibility. And an actor who can do that is rare.”

Jess Kimmel, the current head of the development program, agrees: "He’s now one of our best examples of the success of our training program. Dave is now one of our most accomplished actors, and most importantly, he’ll never have to worry about whether or not a role is ‘his type’, because he can handle them all and has."

David also takes inventory at this juncture : "One complaint I’ll never have is that I don’t get enough variety in my roles. I have yet to play the same role twice. It’s an important blessing too because a constant change of characterization keeps me on my toes, gives me a chance to experiment with many different acting styles, and affords a wonderful background for the future.”

But it's his future he may be taking a serious look at, and what may be sinking in as he completes this 17th inconsequential role is that if a big break hasn't come at U-I after over 2 years, it may never come.

Things seem to stay the same for Janssen and some of his Talent School peers. Clint Eastwood is still getting lost in the crowd in uncredited roles.

And Dani Crayne, though not as ambitious, is still playing 2-day "blonde" bits after a year and a half. But at least she is winning elections...

A studio vote has earned her the title of Universal City's honorary fire chief along with co-running mates Leigh Snowden and Julie Adams. They easily defeat cowboy actor Jock Mahoney. No wonder why....  

Dec 18

The studios annual Christmas party/talent showcase, "Inside U-I" is held from 1pm-4pm. This will be Janssen's last.

His family attends, then visits David at his North Hollywood apartment.

Dec 22 David comes home to have an evening meal with his family.
Dec 24

In a last minute Xmas purchase, stepfather Gene and Berniece buy David a tape recorder costing $217.88.

David comes home in the evening to open gifts. Family pictures are taken.

Dec 25 Turkey dinner with the Janssen family all together. In the evening David may have come along to a double feature his parents attended of "Lucy Gallant" and "The Adventures of Quentin Durward".
Dec 30 Berniece and daughter Teri work as teacher and student respectively as extras on a U-I picture THE UNGUARDED MOMENT.
Dec 31

David spends his New Years Eve "in town", while the rest of his family goes to the Big Bear cabin.

At year's end, mother Berniece's running tally shows that David's indebtedness to her is $1080.49.


Jan 8
THE SQUARE JUNGLE has just opened and David's mother sees it today at the Pantages Theater.
Jan 13

The Janssen family is looking to move and has been looking at new places. But it's too early to consider downsizing.

David, nearly 25, gives up his Valley apartment and moves back home today. He is "flat broke and days in debt".

Jan 14 Mother Berniece and stepfather Gene see ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS.
Jan 18

Janssen does his first radio work in several years.

He goes to KHJ radio studios from 4:45pm-8:30pm to record the role of "Frank" in an episode of FAMILY THEATER entitled "Little Church of the Ambush".

It's not live and won't be broadcast for a month.

Jan 19 David comes home early. The Janssens have friends from San Diego, the Trouts, visiting.
Jan 21

A month after completing the role, David is back in prop eyeglasses for new scenes and reshooting on THE TOY TIGER.

Today's sets are both the INT. HOTEL LOBBY and INT. HOTEL ROOM on two different sound stages. Janssen, who works from 8:15am-2:05pm appears to have redone the checking-in scene in the lobby as one, if not the only, filming he participates in today.

In the evening, David and date Coleen Vico attend a banquet to watch his 10-year old sister Jill's dance performance.

Jan 23

Back in front of cameras for 3 hours on THE TOY TIGER.

RICK'S OFFICE, still intact on Stage 20, is put into use. Scene 201 is shot which begins with "Rick" (Jeff Chandler) on the phone and the camera dollying back to reveal "Larry" (Janssen). The scene is finished at 12 noon. It's a new version of the scene with the 'tusk' which was filmed on December 15th.

Jan 24

THE TOY TIGER additional shooting. Western Street-backlot.

David is on the set from 8:45am-4pm for the new version of the scene where "Larry", "Rick", and "Timmie" (Tim Hovey) cross to the hotel.

As an aside, child actor Hovey, who'd also been a star of an earlier Janssen credit, THE PRIVATE WAR OF MAJOR BENSON, befell a sad fate. Like many child stars, the future was less rosy. Hovey hung out with the Greatful Dead in his adult years, becoming their road manager for a time. He died in 1989 at the age of 44. Suicide was suspected.

Jan 25 Rain cancels the continuation of backlot shooting on THE TOY TIGER, and does tomorrow as well.
Jan 27

David uses his "hold" day on THE TOY TIGER retakes to attend to some personal business. He takes his new T-Bird into be fixed as it leaks in the rain.

Later in the day, he brings his sister Jill to a commercial audition in Hollywood where she is deemed too tall.

Jan 28

Janssen completes his THE TOY TIGER additional shooting on the backlot Western Street. Called at 8:45am, he is released at lunch at 3:30pm.

New shots are done around the bus:

In one, "Larry" and "Rick" exit and "Rick" trips over Timmy.

In another, "Larry" gets his bags and rifle from uncredited Clem Fuller explaining he's going to try some hunting.

Feb 14

Shoots a one day role in another of the 2-reel musical shorts that Universal-International produces.

This one, MR. BLACK MAGIC, features Billy Daniels and has him on a stage in a tux introducing acts.

Feb 15

Janssen begins work on what will be his 18th and last U-I film role while under contract.

FRANCIS IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE (production # 1806) no longer pairs the Talking Mule with Donald O'Connor--Mickey Rooney now assumes co-star duties.

Today's filming has David as "Police Lt. Hopkins" and working at Pollard Lake (backlot?).

From 7am-12:30pm, a road scene (46) by a rock slide is done. James Flavin is also in the scene.

At 9:30pm, David's 30 minute radio drama with a religious slant, FAMILY THEATER, is broadcast on the Mutual Network.

Feb 16


David is home for dinner and brings his own beef and pie to eat.

Feb 17


Shooting on the backlot on Circle Drive the work at the EXT. HOTEL AND POLICE STATION is done.

Janssen is involved for the morning only (7:15am-10:50am).

The scene (131-132) is the discovery of stabbed "Jason" (Richard Deacon) in the car with "Dave" (Rooney) and "Hopkins" (Janssen) peaking in for a look. Dick Winslow also appears in the scene.

In the evening, David takes Teri and Jill, his sisters, to a movie.

Feb 18

David watches his sisters this weekend as his parents go the the Big Bear cabin.

It would appear now that Universal films are no longer shooting on Saturday as this film is working a 5 day per week schedule.

Feb 20


The "Tower of London" backlot area where David has worked before here plays as the EXT. CASTLE.

A dialogue scene (52-53) with Janssen, Dick Winslow, James Flavin, Richard Deacon, and Charles Horvath is done on the stairs.

Feb 23


Works 8a-5pm on Stage 16's INTERROGATION ROOM set.

The first shot, a close up with Janssen speaking on the phone (sc. 58) is a bit of a shaky start for the actor with take 1 being a false start, and 2 of the next 3 takes noted as having flubbed dialogue. He gets the shot in take 5. He continues to have some trouble with lines this morning.

3 other scenes are done today (47, 87, 133) in which director Charles Lamont repeats the convention of pulling back from the bare lightbulb to start the scene.

Feb 28


Works 8:30am-3:45pm on stage 22's INT.GREAT HALL set. The company is working around a Mickey Rooney illness today.

The scene (54-55) entering the castle is done. Janssen works with Helen Wallace again, the woman who startles him just before his death in CULT OF THE COBRA. Again, David seems to blow some takes delivering his dialogue.

Feb 29


The "Tower of London" backlot area again.

One of the shots done today is of Janssen and "Martin" (James Flavin) coming from the car to help clear the road (sc. 67).

David brings home Sally Todd, a new girlfriend of about a month, to 'meet the parents'. Blond, beautiful, and brown-eyed, does anyone other than us see a resemblance to Dani Crayne?

Todd will be the Playboy "Playmate of the Month" in a years time, and will in the early 60's date Troy Donahue. Donahue, the fan magazines will report, will have a tough time deciding between her and Lili Kardell, Janssen's 1954 New Year's Eve date.

Mar 1

FRANCIS IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 8:30am-5:05pm. The Stage 22 INT. CASTLE set.

Another entering the castle scene (sc. 188C) in which Janssen enters with "the Mayor" (Ralph Dumke), "Chief Martin" (James Flavin), "Sgt. Arnold" (Dick Winslow) and speak to "Frazer" (Paul Cavanagh).

Additionally, some corridor scenes are filmed including a show of Janssen firing a machine gun.

Mar 2


The Stage 22 INT. CASTLE scenes continue.

Mar 5


The film company scrambles to work around another Mickey Rooney's illness. It shoots first on the "Tower of London" set (CASTLE COURTYARD), then at 2:45pm moves back into stage 22 INT. CASTLE CORRIDOR for scenes not involving Rooney.

Janssen shoots scene 72, running to the locked door with "Martin" and "Arnold" and begins sc. 83 , the use of a lamp as a battering ram.

Mar 6


Mickey Rooney still ill. Janssen works only on stage 22 after the company shoots outside for most of the day.

INT. CASTLE CORRIDOR sc. 83 is completed first.

Then scenes are shot when the door is forced open again (sc. 196A) and one in RYAN'S BEDROOM (sc. 199)

Mar 7


With Rooney back at work the full day is spent on the INT. CASTLE set. Some of the work as follows:

A scene (71) is done where "Mrs. MacPherson" (Helen Wallace) lets the group in again.

A corridor scene (71A) with Janssen running down followed by "Prescott" (Rooney) is next.

Then another in the corridor (61) where "Mrs. McPherson" leads a group to the door ending with Rooney getting dragged out of the room.

Mar 8


INT. CASTLE-DAVE'S BEDROOM is first (sc. 85-86). This is the continuation of the cops' entrance into the room to discover Rooney with a gun.

In the mid-morning the company moves to stage 16 and shoots in the INT. CELL set:

A scene (144) where Janssen and "Arnold" (Dick Winslow) talk to arrested Rooney is shot.

Berniece comes to the studio lot to lunch with her son and deposits money for him at the bank.

Mar 9


Again, Berniece comes to the studio lot to lunch, this time with sister Florence.

Mar 13


This day starts on the backlot at Gausman's Gulch for the outside of the barn, and finishes on stage 9 for the inside.

Mar 14


See Sally Todd this evening but is home at his parents' house early.

Mar 15


David took girlfriend Sally Todd and his youthful mother to dinner at Keyes, the joint across the street from the Universal studios that was owned by a propman. A advance screening of THE TOY TIGER on the lot followed.

Mar 19

FRANCIS IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE. 4pm-6:20pm. Stage 16. An earlier cell scene (60) is shot in which Janssen pulls a sleeping Rooney to his feet.

In much bigger news, notification is made by the studio this day that they will not be picking up Janssen upcoming option. This means as of April 17 David will no longer be a part of the studio's development program and no longer having the studio home which he's had since November 1951.

Herman Kretzer of the legal department sends a memo to this effect to Edward Muhl (VP in charge of production), James Pratt (executive manager), Morris R. Davis (business manager), and M. Weiner (industrial relations).

It seems
David didn't have much forewarning. Berniece, his mother is disappointed to hear the news, but her son doesn't seem to mind. He tells her he'd rather freelance.

Mar 20

Janssen completes work on FRANCIS IN THE HAUNTED HOUSE.

Called at 8:15am on stage 16 the remainder of the INT. POLICE STATION work is done:

Scs. 134-137 at the glass partition.

Sc. 130 "Hopkins" (Janssen) giving orders.

At 4:05pm, the company moves to stage 7 to do process photography with a police car at what is supposed to be the roadblock.

The first setup is Janssen in the back seat. The 2nd will be Janssen's last shot as a contract player at Universal. One take of him getting in the backseat (sc. 68C) is done at 5:20pm and he finishes the film.

He'll have another month on the studio lot to wind up classes and say goodbyes. There's an unexpected last minute loanout to do a 3rd live LUX VIDEO THEATER.

But his next film role will be as a free agent and when and where it will occur is uncertain.

Berniece competes in another "Mrs. America" pageant, this time held at the Brown Derby. She is a runner-up.

Mar 22

David has stepped into LUX VIDEO THEATER's segment "It Started With Eve" to replace John Agar who has been assigned to the movie THE MOLE PEOPLE .

This is further evidence of the lack of control actors have over their own destinies at U-I---a situation Janssen will soon be rid of.

On this night the LUX SHOW introduces him in a preview of next week's show. He presumably has rehearsals the remainder of the week.

Mar 26 LUX rehearsal.
Mar 27

David turns 25 today. LUX rehearsal.

In the evening, a celebration is held at the Janssen house with a home-baked cake provided by Berniece. His sisters got him hankerchiefs.

Mar 29

Tonight's LUX VIDEO THEATER's segment "It Started With Eve" is the show's 1st colorcast and goes out live from NBC Burbank, studio 2.

It's a TV version of a Deanna Durbin film. Thomas Mitchell plays Janssen's dying father and Joan Weldon, the cigarette girl who he asks to "stand-in" as his fiancee.

David's agents, Donaldson-Weil, needing to work harder due to their client's soon-to-be available status, take out a small trade ad for the performance.

Variety will review it:

"Janssen, who stepped into the role at the last minute, was hampered by an often-obvious unfamiliarty with his part, but considering the circumstances, generally acquitted himself ably.”

Friend Mara Corday represents the U-I peer group and sends a supportive telegram to him at NBC:

“Hey 26 this is sprayed with Milltown (sic) and share it with Arthur. We are all with you little darlin, every sick fink. Go Go Go Love Corday”

She has his age wrong and the reference to Arthur is unclear, but 'Miltown' was an anti-anxiety drug that was enjoying a bit of popularity.

David will soon reciprocate the support.

Mara, also dissatisfied with the autocratic nature of the studio system, will confide in Janssen. U-I will assign her to do a low budget horror flick about a praying mantis. Wanting no part of such a bad picture, she will ask David over drinks at Keyes, across the street, what she should do. One drink leads to another and before long the DEADLY MANTIS script which she had brought is disassembled, and its pages turned into paper airplanes which are set sailing through the restaurant. She doesn't do the picture, and too will get dropped from her U-I contract.

Apr 4 Berniece arranges to watch a compilation of David's screen tests at the studio from 10:30am-12:15pm. She was perhaps looking for material to secure for a reel, which might come in handy as he approached his transition to freelancer.
Apr 7 Atttends contact player Floyd Simmons' birthday party. Floyd was an Olympic decathalon star the studio was trying to mold into actor material.
Apr 9

A free advance screening of THE TOY TIGER is shown at the California Theater in Burbank. Gene Janssen, Berniece, and the girls go.

When the film is officially released, The Hollywood Reporter will give Janssen a cursory mention: "David Janssen is good as Jeff's assistant."

Apr 10

Concerned with the lack of power of his current representation or, more likely, influenced by others to do so, Janssen takes a meeting with the William Morris Agency.

It's clear he'll need a different kind of help to get his name out there now that he'll be exiting the U-I microcosm. Jack Donaldson, though an old friend, may not have the clout.

WMA is clearly the bigger gun. And it has the prestige which will fit nicely with the T-bird, the sharp clothes, the vixen girlfriends, and all that is shaping up to be the perceived persona of young actor David Janssen. Keep the part about living at home with your mother quiet.

Apr 16 Janssen signs with the William Morris Agency. It's a one-year contract.
Apr 17

Janssen contract officially ends at Universal-International.

He is now unemployed.

late Apr

The William Morris Agency and agent Stan Kamen get to work immediately to set up interviews and appointments with other studios. Warner Brothers has a Tab Hunter-Natalie Wood film coming up and Janssen will be getting a screen test.

David 's erratic output as a contract player might find him assigned as a featured actor on one picture, then relegated to the background on the next. Though the studio has the right to control his destiny thusly for 6 more years, they part ways after just 3. WIth this lifevest gone, Janssen is cast off to sink or swim. He's about to enter the more uncertain waters of freelancing....

previous page
next page



home | biography | day-by-day chronology | credits | photo galleries | more stuff | links | discussion board | contact us

Copyright © 2003-2012 • The David Janssen Archive • All rights reserved
Images and text may not be reproduced without permission