An Afternoon TRIBUTE to Legendary Director HENRY KOSTER by son BOB KOSTER

  • June 21, 2014 · 12:00 PM
  • The Koster Home

We are privileged (thanks in large part to our wonderful member Mary-Ann N.) to also have as a member of our group the distinguished Bob Koster.  Bob is the son of legendary movie director Henry Koster, but has had an impressive behind-the-scenes movie career of his own as an assistant director and unit production manager (including "Valley Of The Dolls," "Hello Dolly!" and "Futureworld").

[Above is a rare photo of "Robby" Koster held by his father Henry (wearing glasses) and to their left is actor Charles Laughton on the set of the 1942 film "Between Us Girls"]

Many of our members may not be as familiar with Henry Koster as much as other perhaps more touted film directors, but will certainly recognize his roster of acclaimed movies and the fact that he is credited with launching the career of actress Deanna Durbin. For this very special afternoon, Bob will share some of his father's very rare personal home movies followed by a screening of the Deanna Durbin movie ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL (1937).

[IMPORTANT NOTE: This event is going to be in Camarillo at Bob's private home (and was formerly his dad's home in his later years) which is about a one hour long freeway drive west of L.A. off the 101 Freeway--between Thousand Oaks and Oxnard--so due to the limited number of guests Bob can accomodate, please be considerate and DO NOT R.S.V.P. unless you are 100% sure that you are committed to attending and willing to bring a lunch dish to share. Jono will allow 3 members to carpool from his home in Los Feliz at 10:15am on this date. Please be aware of the special EARLY R.S.V.P. deadline so we will have time to provide a security list to Bob with enough lead time].

In this film, Durbin portrays the daughter of an out-of-work classical trombonist who convinces a wealthy socialite to fund the creation of a new orchestra — but when Brady’s husband finds out, he refuses to let the scheme move forward; meanwhile, the great conductor Leopold Stokowski is equally adamant in his refusal to help the daughter or her father.

Henry Koster's film career spans several decades, but some of his more popular film titles include "Jane Eyre," "The Bishop's Wife," "Harvey," "My Cousin Rachel," "The Robe," "Desiree," "The Virgin Queen," "My Man Godfrey," "Flower Drum Song" and "The Singing Nun."

According to Wikipedia, Henry Koster was born in 1905 as Hermann Kosterlitz in Berlin, Germany. His salesman father apparently left home when he was a young man, yet Henry still managed to finish high school in Berlin while working as a short story writer and cartoonist. Henry was introduced to to the movie business around 1910 when his uncle opened a very early movie theater in Berlin. His mother played the piano to accompany the films, leaving the young boy to occupy himself by watching the films. After working initially as a short story writer, Henry was subsequently hired by a Berlin movie company as scenarist then became assistant to acclaimed German film director Curtis Bernhardt. One day Bernhardt became sick and asked Henry to take over as director. Shortly after, in 1931 or 1932, Koster directed two or three films in Berlin for UFA--Germany's principal film studio. 

As Bob can explain better in person, Henry eventually had the opportunity to temporarily come to Hollywood to work with producer Joe Pasternak whom he had met in Budapest, but his success motivated studio executives to keep him here in the United States and the rest is a very interesting and colorful history that Bob will elaborate on.

PARKING: Street parking is plentiful and FREE to invited guests.

[Below is a more recent photo of our gracious host Robert J. Koster in an animated photo likely talking about his love of his dad's career and movies]









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  • Jono

    It was a great afternoon--but I think in the future we need to keep the overall length shorter since so many people had to leave after the home movie segment. Thanks to Bob for all of your generosity and thanks to all attending members for driving to Camarillo and bringing such good food to share. I am not a big fan of operetta singing, but Deanna held her own in SPRING PARADE. The story, characters and excellent direction/timing kept me engaged all the way through. You can see why the public liked her (and Henry's gift of storytelling).

    1 · June 23

  • Bob K.

    I am so glad that you all enjoyed the afternoon as much as I did. You were all wonderful guests. I hope to welcome you back some time in the near future for another session. There isn't any of you whom I wouldn't gladly welcome into my house. Thanks again for making yesterday afternoon so very special.

    June 22

  • Mary-Ann N.

    Thank you Bob for being an excellent host, as usual. I enjoyed the films, food and company.

    June 22

  • Bill

    Bob sharing his home and father's work and life with everyone was a special treat. Thanks so much.

    1 · June 22

  • ellen

    Bob, thanks so very much for a wonderful afternoon. Loved the home movies and they brought back memories. I will follow up as promised.

    June 21

  • Scott

    Amazing weekend. Wonderful people.

    June 21

  • Abby

    Bob, thank you so much for opening your home to us, and for sharing such great stories. I'm sorry that I could not stay for the movie, but I enjoyed the home movies very much. I hope we might have an opportunity to repeat this event. It was so nice meeting everyone, and also Larry, Sol, Dave and Tony. And Kate, who can bake cookies for all our events as far as I'm concerned!

    2 · June 21

  • Bob K.

    The food was excellent, the company superlative, the movies and entertainment far more than we deserve.

    2 · June 21

  • ellen

    Also Bob...the inimitable, brilliant, and creepy Seymour Stern who was my prof in grad school, when I was the only female in the class and he was always grabbing my bottom.

    1 · June 20

    • Bob K.

      Just kidding... I never knew him.

      June 21

    • Jono

      you are hysterical Bob

      June 21

  • ellen

    Bob...we were in the department at the same time. Wow. We must know so many of the same people. Hugh Gray taught 4 classes that I took, and I was the only girl in his graduate classes. I found him to be just as you say, a true gentleman, and a mentor. He was very nurturing. Always think of him with love and respect. Do you remember seeing the early film of Greed with Zazu Pitts when Stern got ahold of the original print? We were at UCLA in a golden time.

    Did you know Ray Kitchener? Dan Weisburd? Jerry Olken who became Judd Taylor and eventually was head of Screen Directors Guild? Jody McCrea, Susan Kohner, Pippa Scott????

    This is taking me down memory lane.

    June 20

    • Bob K.

      When I was there Art Ripley, who edited GREED, taught. Yes, I knew most of those folks, Ray Kitchener, Daisy Sickles, et al. We'll talk tomorrow. Remember Al Rossman? We're having dinner next week. Kenny Greenwald also.

      June 20

    • Bob K.

      I was Judd Taylor's A.D. on FLESH AND BLOOD back in 1978.

      June 21

  • ellen

    Yum...sounds delicious.

    Bob, did you know the screen writer, Hugh Gray? He was my professor and mentor in Grad School when I was in the Film Dept. at UCLA. He wrote Quo Vadis, Helen of Troy...and those epics. Your dad might have worked with him in the good old days when films were actually made in America, and primarily in Los Angeles.

    1 · June 20

    • Bob K.

      Hugh Gray taught film history at UCLA when I studied there in the late 1950s. What a great mind. He made the elements live for us, and in many ways inspired me to go into the business. I took classes from him. That wonderful rolling British accent washing over the class, carrying us all with it.

      June 20

    • Bob K.

      Check me out at imdb.com for credits.

      June 20

  • Jono

    Thanks in advance to Bob for all of your hospitality. It is greatly appreciated and glad you have so far enjoyed being a part of our group.

    1 · June 20

    • Bob K.

      You honor my humble home with your presence.

      June 20

  • Bill

    Thanks to Jono and everyone for your understanding and welcoming comments. See you all around high noon tomorrow.

    June 20

  • Abby

    Yes Bill, please come. If needed I can sit on the floor as long as I can lean back against something.

    Went to the farmer's market this morning. Will be bringing a summer fruit salad and roasted cauliflower tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you all.

    Thanks Bob for hosting us, and thanks Jono for everything.

    1 · June 20

    • Bob K.

      Roasted cauliflower? How does one roast cauliflower? That's a new one on me.

      June 20

  • Jono

    In addition, Bob has some special film surprises for us that he will announce once we are all together tomorrow. Please drive safely and if you are into outlet stores you may want to get there much earlier to enjoy those which are nearby. I believe Camarillo is like heaven to outlet shoppers.

    June 20

  • Jono

    Per my latest e-mail. Bob's place is very nice, comfortable and airy, but his living room has somewhat limited formal seating so I am asking that our lady members get priority sofa seating and us guys may have to sit on Bob's plush carpeting with various throw pillows. I just wanted to prepare everyone--not frighten anyone away. I think the afternoon will be tremendous fun and looking forward to seeing everyone. Thank you for being accommodating and understanding about limited seating arrangements (I contemplated taking some of my folding chairs, but Bob has concerns they may block line of site to his wall mounted flat screen TV).

    June 19

    • Bob K.

      Bill: I have reserved my special massage chair for you. You can not only see the movies but also be stimulated beyond all reason whilst doing so. Please attend. We will accommodate you.

      1 · June 20

    • Jono

      Please DO come Bill, it wouldn't be the same without you! I am also bringing 2 extreme movie buff friends--one named Tony Sol whom you have met before and another that you haven't who is a renowned sci-fi/horror film historian and writer named David Del Valle--who I think you will really enjoy meeting. Can hardly wait!

      1 · June 20

  • ellen

    Need the address please.

    [masked]

    June 18

  • Mary-Ann N.

    I have two friends who will drive me to Bob's. So I will tell them to bring the drinks you suggest. In other words, I 'll bring two guests with soft drinks.

    June 18

    • Jono

      Good to hear Mary-ann, I was going to try to contact you today to offer to pick you up on the way (since I need to drive past your area anyway), but sounds like you have that covered. Thank you.

      June 18

  • ellen

    Jono....I do not have the address so please resend it to me at [masked]

    Probably overlooked it the first time you sent it.

    Thanks...and I am bringing chicken.

    June 17

  • Jono

    Thanks everyone, I drink wine and believe Bob does, so he suggested I bring 2 large bottles to make sure we don't run out. Not to scare anyone, but this is going to be a fairly leisurely afternoon and longer than some of our other house gatherings (but that will help make the driving trek to Camarillo more worth everyone's while!)

    It would be great if others could bring Coke, Diet Coke and ice tea for those who aren't wine lushes like yours truly!

    1 · June 17

  • Bill

    I plan to bring a dessert to share.

    June 12

  • ellen

    Laughing already Bob and Jono...this sounds like an anti AA meetingup.

    I will bring enough roast chicken for 8 people. Really look forward to this party.

    June 12

  • Jono

    And I will volunteer to bring a shareable vegetarian kale salad AND 2 magnums of wine (white and red) for those who are wine drinkers to enjoy with lunch and through the movies. PERHAPS OTHERS ATTENDING CAN ADD TO THIS COMMENT SECTION WHICH SHAREABLE FOOD ITEM THEY INTEND TO BRING, SO WE DON'T HAVE MULTIPLE MEMBERS BRINGING THE SAME ITEMS? Thank you.

    June 12

  • Bob K.

    looking forward to welcoming you to my humble abode. I have enough hard liquor here that you folks won't notice when the home movies are out of focus. :-)

    1 · June 12

  • ellen

    Jono...I live only ten minutes from Bob...so, happy to bring food. See you there.

    June 11

    • Jono

      Wonderful, thank you!!!

      June 11

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