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SEDUCTION THROUGH WITCHCRAFT
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Louise Huebner's Seduction Through Witchcraft Review
AM, AMG

A spoken word recording of spells and charms of seduction and sexual power from Louise Huebner, the Official Witch of Los Angeles, a practicing sixth-generation witch and author of several books on witchcraft. Though dated and certainly a bit odd, Seduction Through Witchcraft is nonetheless a mesmerizing and thoroughly enjoyable listen, particularly for those fated to seek out recordings in the hermetic world of spoken word occultism. Huebner adapted much of her successful book Seduction Through Witchcraft for this auditory Book of Shadows, and throughout the recording her scratchy, witchy voice intones recipes for sexual conquest and liberation against a backdrop of spacey Moog synthesizer improvisations. Best listened to by candlelight. ~ Anthony Reed, All Music Guide (C)

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLASH GORDON
A CANDID INTERVIEW WITH MENTOR HUEBNER
Prevue Magazine
1982

Mentor Huebner became Flash’s permanent production illustrator soon after shaking the South Seas sand of DeLaurentiis’ Hurricane from his hair. Traveling the globe in the course of his profession, Huebner works wherever film producers need him, taking advantage of the opportunity to soak up historic atmosphere on long, weekend walks.

Spending several months in London for Flash, Huebner was the only English-speaking member of the Italian art department.

When interviewed, he was working in a North Hollywood office, planning the upcoming DeLaurentiis version of E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime. Personable, candid and willing to share the memories of more than a hundred feature films since he entered the business in 1952, Huebner was, relaxed in a room surrounded by his charcoal and crayon drawings for Meteor, King Kong and other big-budget blockbusters.

He revealed he had originally visualized the staging of classic scenes such as the chariot race from Ben-Hur and the biplane chase through the cornfields in North by Northwest. He was also the designer of George Pal’s memorable - Time Machine.

“It wasn’t one of the best of my ideas, but George was quite taken with that whirling disk I put on the back.”

Over the last thirty years, Huebner has served as production designer, illustrator or art director on such movies as The Longest Day, Fiddler on the Roof, The Amityville Horror, 10, Lord of the Rings, Forbidden Planet, Westworld, The Great Race, Damnation Alley and the upcoming Under the Rainbow and S.O.B.

He has also exercised his penchant for historical settings by designing all the necessary atmosphere for the TV productions of The Man in the Iron Mask, The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables.

An artist who genuinely loves to draw, Huebner creates countless storyboards every year. He taught life-drawing classes at a California university for 20 years, and has had numerous gallery showings of his paintings. More than a simple draftsman, Mentor finds that the skills required to be a first-rate production illustrator include being a functional designer with a thoroughly detailed knowledge of set construction, special effects, screen composition, lighting, storytelling, costume designing, editing, cameras, lenses, and space-time coordination.

“The production illustrator,” he explains, ”is the guy who gets the script, reads, ’500 Indians sprang out of the bushes,’ and has to solve the problems of putting those Indians realistically on the screen. Where do they come from? How did they get there? Are they on horses? Where are the horses? Where have they been hiding? These are the questions the writer didn’t resolve when he typed the scene.

“Production illustrators are real money-savers for producers. Some new directors and executives don’t understand how to use our skills effectively, and try to ramrod through situations without storyboards. But, on a really elaborate film, with multiple camera setups, stars and extras, 500 Indians and their horses could cost up to $150,000 a day. Every minute is precious. There's no time for improvising or debating with the cameraman about the field of vision. Three bad days on a big film could equal my income for nearly three years. It also makes financial sense to lay everything out, shooting as tightly and economically as possible, instead of guessing and leaving over a half-million bucks on the editing room floor.

“Some directors, like Blake Edwards, use boards and collaborate freely, usually for the chases and tricky technical problems. Two-people-in-a-room scenes rely mostly upon the actors, but fifty people in a room have to be choreographed for the camera so that the audience won’t see the dolly tracks, crane shadows, or reflector lighting panels. But then, there are the directors who are resentful of anyone planning their shots; it infringes on their creativity.

“Flash Gordon was a great film experience. Working with Mike Hodges was a real pleasure, because he’s the most sensitive person I’ve dealt with in a long time, a marvelous raconteur – I think he’s really a frustrated actor at heart. He lent a sympathetic ear when I’d say, ’ Mike, this scene just won’t play.’ We’d sit down and work out concepts together, rewriting the script at my drawing board.

“I’ve done about 2000 storyboards for Flash over the past two-and-a-half years, along with a number of 20 x 40” detailed set studies for the construction department. The script was rewritten four or five times along the way. Much of the drawing was very detailed because Dino wanted the technicians to see everybody and everything in every panel.

“When you have over $25 million invested you want to know what’s happening to all of it. We were on six stages at Shepperton, all the Star Wars facilities at EMI, and in a six-million-cubic-foot complex at Brooklands. I had to do a lot of drawing to fill all that space.”

In addition to positioning all the people on the ground, Huebner also had to solve a number of aerial difficulties when it came to the scenes involving King Vultan and the Hawkmen of Mongo. He not only designed the wing-like jet packs which replaced the ponderous previous versions, but also had to determine the cameraman's angles so that the Hawkmen, kept fourteen feet apart by their wings, would appear to be only three feet apart – conversational distance – when delivering dialog.

In a spectacular flying sequence, Huebner devised a way to simulate an entire squadron of flying men with eight actors, thirty miniatures and triple optical printing – completed in post-production by the special effects crew under Frank (Superman) Van der Veer’s supervision. The man who actually constructed the Hawkmen’s wings, Glenn Robinson, performed a similar task 40 years ago for The Wizard of Oz’s flying monkeys.

The essential plot for the DeLaurentiis Flash Gordon is rather like the original comic strip – Flash, Dale and Dr. Zarkov fly to Mongo to avert an interplanetary collision. Princess Aura, King Barin and other familiar characters turn up during the struggle to overcome the tyranny of Ming the Merciless.

“The Earth settings have been updated by screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., who reportedly received $225,000 for the finished script. ”But,” interjects Huebner, ”even the most talented writers forget simple time and space problems when they are concentrating on the dramatic instead of the visual end of the story.

“At one point, we used a 175-foot-long set with Ming’s throne constructed at one end: Flash was to crash his rocket at the opposite end, go through a corridor, and up the stairs to the throne. I got the screenplay and found the landing scene described only as ’Flash Gordon staggers out of his crashed rocket and says to Ming – “Oh, yeah?”

“The two actors ar e 175 feet apart! I had to block out a series of shots with various angles and quick takes to signify a short passage of time, just to bring Ming and Flash together. It was nothing sensational, just necessary for the story flow.”

Though his storyboards resemble elaborate comic book panels, and function in much the same way, Huebner’s attention to detail and practicality goes far beyond the four-color realm, even on such a comics-inspired project as Flash Gordon .

“I remember the original Alex Raymond strips quite well, and we had the reprinted books in my office, Mike’s and Dino’s. We used what we could, but some designs were too impractical to build, so we adapted the material, and retained the artistic flavor.

“I like working with Dino, even though he can be very demanding. He treats me with consideration. He’ll call me and say, ’Hey, Mentor. I want you to go to England tomorrow morning, work maybe five, six weeks.’ Then, he will see to it I’m put up in a nice hotel and be well taken care of. He’s not like a lot of producers who won’t even let you go to the library for research – they figure you have been hired to draw, so they damn near chain you to the board, and wont spring for bus fare to Burbank.”

Few of his drawings are ever returned to Huebner, not even those done for films which were never made. ”They’re stolen,” he explains. ”People take them for souvenirs. I try to get as many as I can myself, because they’re valuable to me as a guide to what I’ve already done. The rest wind up on producers’ walls, some studio files and in film archives.

“As an artist, I appreciate audience reaction to my work, even if nobody knows that the scenes they're watching developed partially through my efforts. But the projects that are most frustrating will always be the ones that never quite got off the ground, like the handful I designed with George Pal, including for the film, Iceberg, which he was working on when he died.

“I like production illustration because it presents me with challenging situations which require my particular ability to both draw and work out the mechanics of getting a good shot or pacing a difficult scene. Often, just the quality of my work is satisfying, particularly if I am able to create a cohesive overall atmosphere for a film. Sometimes, I’ll see the movie in a theater just to find out if it works with the audience.

“In an illustrative sense, I am directing movies on paper. I’ve even toyed with the idea of becoming a Director, but I’m not sure I could handle the actors well. I’m too used to nailing them down on my drawing hoard – I don’t know if I’d like to start watching them move around all by themselves.”

The storyboards reproduced in this special PREVUE portfolio are from Huebner’s personal files and present prime examples of his work on Flash. Note the skilled familiarity with which he draws the human figure reflecting his many years of study. Many production artists have an awkward, architectural approach towards drawing people, as opposed to Mentor’s easy facility, solid mastery of forms and appealing warmth and humanity.

Note Huebner’s skill with cinematic imagery and the sequential staging of action, supplemented by directional arrows to indicate camera motion and character movement. By constantly altering sizes of elements, points of view and angles of vision, he introduces stimulating visual variations which engage viewer interest. By focusing on even the unimportant details and rendering every figure in the crowd scenes, Mentor conveys an accurate impression of exactly what figures, textures and emotional impressions the camera should see. *

“This sequence * is from one of the earlier drafts of the screenplay,” Huebner explains, “and has been altered somewhat for the final version. The soldier who throws himself on the sword was changed into a Lionman and put into an arena with a monster, I believe, to tie into the original Flash Gordon material.

“This was the way I originally staged the initial face-off between Flash and Ming, just after their landing on Mongo, juggling over a half-dozen major characters, and trying to show what types of personalities they have through the pictures alone. As you can see, Flash doesn't fare to well in this sequence.

“But then, this is Flash Gordon we're dealing with, and the movie has only just begun.”

 

 

 

 

 

"To lend a little magic to public entertainments, Los Angeles enjoys the services of an official County Witch—a title conferred by the County Supervisor on Mrs. Louise Huebner, a "third-generation astrologer and sixth-generation witch." Sorceress Huebner, who affects clinging outfits of silver for her increasingly frequent broadcasts and public appearances, made her official debut last July at a folk festival in the Hollywood Bowl, at which everyone was supplied with red candles, garlic and chalk and instructed to repeat after her three times: "Light the flame, bright the fire, red the color of desire." The spell was supposed to increase sexual vitality, and some reported that it did."
Time Magazine (c) March 21, 1969

 

 

 

 

COUNTY NEWS BUREAU
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

NEWS ITEM JANUARY 10, 1970


County Supervisor Ernest Debs once issued a scroll to Louise Huebner at a Hollywood Bowl “happening” designating her as the Official Los Angeles County Witch. Now a move is afoot by Supervisor Debs and Counsel John Maharg to stop her from using the title to promote books and records. Miss Huebner has retaliated by threatening to invoke her magical powers. Tribune County Bureau Chief Pete Searls, an apparent early casualty of the strange spirits unleashed on the Hall of Administration, filed the following report:

POOR SUPERVISOR AND PRETTY WITCH
TALE OF A POLITICAL MISHAP
- by Pete Searls ~ Tribune Bureau Chief

Once upon a long time ago, a County Supervisor wanted to give a present to a witch. But, he was only a poor County Supervisor. He didn't have a bag of gold or a fine coat of Unicorn hide or even a glass slipper.


But, he did so want to find a gift for the witch, who was a good witch and very pretty too, with flowing raven hair and a great figure, that he finally sent for his adviser, who was a poor woodcutter, and said, “What can we give the good witch who has been so nice to all the boys and girls of our county?”

And the woodcutter (whose axe made the sound “flack!” when it bit deep into the wood, and so was known as a flack) said, “You are only a poor county supervisor, so you can not give her a bag of gold or a Unicorn coat. How about a tip on where we're going to change the zoning?”


But the poor supervisor said he didn't think that would be a fine enough present for such a good witch so finally the flack said, “What about a nice hand-lettered scroll making her the official witch of the whole county?”


And that was such a splendid idea that the poor supervisor, whose name was Debs, and who was so sincere he was called “Debs, the Earnest,“ forthwith returned to his office and prepared the scroll and called all the people of the county together for a great festival.


When the witch came in, he gave her the scroll and the people cheered and the witch, whose name was Louis Huebner, said it was the finest present she could have gotten (although she wondered if the supervisor was so poor he couldn't afford just a tiny little bag of gold).


In return, she gave Debs the Earnest a magical golden horn and on this horn she cast a spell giving Debs great romantic vitality. And, because all of the good people of the County cheered her so mightily, she cast a good spell on them, increasing their sexual vitality. And, so the festival ended with great merrymaking.


Witch Louise returned to her home in the forest and began more good things for the people of the county.


She made some records and wrote some books telling them how they too could do good things ~ but never bad or evil things unless it was really necessary. And she gave the books and records to the boys and girls and their mothers and fathers, and all she asked was just a teeny, tiny, little bag of gold in return.


But, then, one day, as the Good Witch Louise was stacking all the teeny, tiny, little bags of gold in her corner, there came a messenger from a man who was named John Maharg, who had wormed his way into the confidence of the good, but poor, supervisors and had become their counselor.


The message from Maharg to Witch Huebner was that she must stop calling herself “The Official Witch of Los Angeles County” even though Debs’ scroll said she was, and especially must stop this when raking in the teeny, tiny, little bags of gold.


Witch Huebner was furious. She stamped her foot. She threatened all manner of evil spells. And then she called for her poor woodcutter ~ also known as flack ~ and said, “Oh, whatever shall we do?”


And the flack said, “Why don't we give all the good boys and girls of the county one last chance?”


And so the flack called all the scribes and the criers together, Friday, at a place called the Los Angeles Press Club, and Witch Huebner told them she would not give back the wonderful scroll and that she would still be the Official Witch.


And she said if the poor -- but now wicked -- Supervisor didn't lay off, she would take away her spell of increased vitality from all of the County.


But she promised the poor scribes and criers that she would keep her spell on them, and thus cheered, the scribes and the criers went to the poor County Supervisor and asked Debs what he meant.


Debs -- who was not wicked but just harassed by evil spirits and constituents -- said: “If only you could know the trouble I've had. Now that Witch Louise has a scroll from me, all the warlocks and elves and angels and fertility goddesses -- not to mention the fairies -- in Los Angeles County -- want scrolls from me and it is just too damned much!”


And so he went off to Maharg, and Maharg, muttered something about a magical thing called an injunction, which was so terrible a spell that even the strongest witch or industrialist might be afraid.


And, now all the people of the county tremble at the thought of Witch Louise and Maharg casting spell and counter spell and some think the moral of the story is that sometimes a cheap scroll costs you more than a teeny, tiny little bag of gold.

 

 

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Louise Huebner. (c) 2003

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