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Don Gordon Bell

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Don Gordon Bell (page 5)


You also had an interesting part in Ferdinando Baldi's "Warbus"...

My role in "Warbus" (1985) was perhaps my best chance to show my acting skills in a dramatic role rather than action. It was not as a Leading Role but in the Main Cast. Italian Director Ferdinando Baldi and a small Italian crew came to do a co-production with Regal International Films. How I got the part despite being 'blacklisted' was part of the reason 'Crazy Don' was changed and found faith in a higher Being.


"Warbus" (1985), shot on location in Tanay, Rizal province and Laguna province.

I had just had a huge problem with "Peter", the talent agent I mentioned before. Well, "Peter" had a beautiful young Chinese-Filipina wife and she was very interested to 'play' behind his back. And I was a crazy man who loved to do kinky things, have multiple partners, traded partners with my friends, boasted that I had had STD's more times than my age. This is why Mike Monty and I were 'birds of a feather'. The Philippines has a rainbow of different ethnic beauties of every type, I sometimes said it was like the 31 flavors of Baskin Robbins Ice Cream! I had a vasectomy at 28 to not have to worry about getting anymore women pregnant. I had already 'fathered' a daughter and a son but both mother had better men to marry rather than a struggling character actor like me. Remember I was a heathen, drunken, pot smoking, sex crazed fiend back in the days of my youth. I WAS a bad boy. This is my true confessions, with Nanarland's expose' for the first time!

That being said, I did not have time to spend with "Peter"s lovely young wife that night nor any other night. I did have some professional scruples, and would always ask my friends if it was okay to have even a 'bar dancer' that they 'had been with'. 'Le Cadre de la guerilla des artistes' had rules on such things, of course. That night, I also had two local young ladies in my hotel room when she called me up. We were on location in Ilocos Norte on a Cirio Santiago film. She heard the girls and got so angry that I was 'rejecting her offer' that she called her husband "Peter" and falsely accused me of trying to entice her to my room! In the Bible Joseph, in the Old Testament, was falsely accused by Pharoah's top General Potiphar's randy wife of attempted rape and thrown into jail. Sacre Bleu! "Peter" then told the Regal Films producer that I was a 'sexual pervert who abused women and young girls' (16 was legal in the Philippines!). He said I was a 'wild, crazy man, fighting and shouting loudly when I was drunk'. He also made the accusation that I 'publicly and without fear, rolled marijuana joints and smoked hashish on the sets'; that I was an alcoholic who drank on the set, a drug pusher, a pimp, and generally a horrible scumbag of a person.

I was insulted and shocked! I never pimped!! Uh, however, most of the other accusations were very true. So because of that I lost any hope of getting a part for "War Bus". I was Black-listed by "Peter's" false accusations as the rumors spread throughout the film industry and even the news tabloids. Soon it got even worse, with NBI agents trying to perform a hit on me! Prior to that night, I had already been called in for investigations twice by policemen and National Bureau of Investigations, and twice my connections with the family of President Marcos and other highly placed friends had kept me out of jail. So when 3 NBI agents came for me at 1 in the morning, and were going to take me somewhere down south, I tried to convince them that I knew too many people, surprising them that I understood that they planned to kill me. They were talking about it in Tagalog and were shocked when I spoke to them, and demanded that they call my contact with Presidential Security Command. I was on a watch list of "friends of VIPs". You will have to read my book for the rest of the story!! But I was lucky, so they turned around and went back to their headquarters and called the Presidential Security Command. A Major of PSC came with ten heavily armed men and demanded my release. The three NBI agents confirmed later that "Peter" had paid them to kill me for less than 300 dollars! Life was cheap in the Philippines. I thought that my connections had saved me, not realizing that God was preserving me. I bragged to my friends that I would get revenge on my accuser. Then something happened!

My great friend Bugsy Dabao, who has since gone ahead to heaven, heard of my problems with "Peter". He prayed with me and told me to trust God. I knew Bugsy quite well for eight years, knew that he had some 'healing prayer' ability and was a very devout Catholic. He had taken me to see mystics and always tried to get me to say the Rosary. Bugsy knew my heart was good but I was Crazy Don. I told him, "God will have to Prove Himself to me before I can believe". You will have to read my blog to hear the rest... Bugsy prayed that God, if HE were Real would give me the part of Ronny in "War Bus". I just smiled, thinking it was impossible.

But shortly after, fortune smiled on me. First, the actor from Italy could not come! Someone up above was watching over me, though I still did not believe in God at this time. Then, director Ferdinando Baldi asked about me, the 'character actor' who had such empathy for the role. But the producer at Regal was a woman, Lily Monteverde, a Matriarch of the film industry. She had heard the very disturbing reports about me from jealous "Peter". I was just big trouble she had heard. Later, I got a call from Romano Kristoff. He told me that Director Baldi somehow persuaded Ms. Monteverde that he could find no one else who could play the part in the Philippines like me. Romano was instrumental in convincing the Director that I would not be a problem and that he would personally guarantee I would be okay. I was totally stunned, maybe there was a God?

I had to stand, in front of most of the main cast members, in the office of Lily Monteverde and swear on my life that I would not have more than 2 beers per day, not smoke or use drugs on or off the set, NOT to use foul language, curse or be loud and obnoxious, no rough behavior or fights, and lastly stay away from the female cast members! What, stay away from the female actresses! This was the reason that a certain young actress 'slept' with Romano but not with me. This was a first for me, but that was the 'conditions' that I had to agree to in order to get the part. Have you heard of such a clause for other actors? A 'no sex with other actors' clause? What we do for show business!!

When the Italian Director Ferdinando Baldi explained the character of Ronny, he said he had seen some of my films and told me I had the "Forlorn, twisted, pathetic, miserable, 'sad sack', loser, etc" character look that he wanted. I thought, oh, thanks a lot. My character, Ronny, is married to the daughter of missionaries, a wife who has taken care of Ronny's mental and health problems all through a difficult marriage. She is driven to depression and burnt out emotionally. She is ready for an affair when the Aussie SAS man shows her kindness. She cannot stand taking care of Ronny, who suffers with Acute Paranoid-type Schizophrenia. His hallucinations and delusional behavior has driven his wife crazy. Ronny has been in and out of Mental Institutions; Ronny is also a sexual pervert, a voyeur who cannot be trusted with young girls either! AND Ronny is a Symptomatic Generalized Epileptic who suffers "Grand Mal" seizures because he has run out of his medication. Well, it sounded just right for me!

In addition to looking tormented, pathetic, delusional about 'his children from a previous marriage' who do not exist except in his mind, Ronny also LOVES weapons! He has a .45 Colt Automatic pistol; a Sniper rifle with scope; two shotguns; and a M-16 Colt automatic rifle. As Ronny, I covered my USMC tatoo, like I had been wounded, because Baldi thought of Ronny as a non-military person. More like a Redneck country boy who just loved weapons, which allowed ME to do shooting action in the film.

I studied for my part by first asking our friend from Argentina, who I knew was epileptic, all about the disease, and what the symptoms were, what to do if someone had a seizure etc. He told me how to prevent injury when someone has violent, uncontrolled convulsions and might hit their head or bite their tongue. He explained how sometimes he would get a 'brief period of unconsciousness or dizziness' that would come as a kind of warning, before a "Grand Mal" seizure struck. I used this idea in the film, while I was on lookout duty, riding on top of the bus, Ronny begins beating on the roof and complaining of dizziness from the heat. Before shooting began, my Argentine friend suffered a seizure because the flashing disco lights triggered a "Grand Mal". I immediately took control and kept his head from hitting the floor, then commanded the bodyguards of our 'highly connected friends' to keep people away and give him privacy. As the seizure increased I put a rolled up cloth napkin into his mouth to prevent biting himself, remembering to loosen his clothing and make sure he could breath freely. When the convulsions subsided enough we gently carried him to a private room while he recovered. I told him jokingly that he did not HAVE to suffer a "Grand Mal" just to help me for the movie!

During the filming I had a life changing confrontation/misunderstanding with three drunk Philippine Constabularies that was just one of a chain of events that made me surrender to God and finally believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. "War Bus" was to be my best role, and the rest of the year of 1985 I actually did only two other films. First was Mr. Lim's production of "Mad Dog" starring Romano Kristoff in the leading role, with me playing a supporting role. Second was "Red Roses, Call for a Girl", directed by Bobby A. Suarez, in which I had just a minor role. It was funny because Bobby asked me if I wanted to do a scene with some nude 'call girls', knowing my reputation. I told him that I could not do the scene and suggested one of the other guys. That is when many crew members came up to me and said that they had heard that I was acting real nice and 'acting like a born again believer' only because of problems with the authorities. When I turned down a chance to be with naked girls in a soft porn scene they finally believed that something had really happened to Don Gordon Bell. "He really got saved if he is refusing a scene with naked women!"

Apparently, you knew Mike Monty quite well... What are your memories of him?

Mike Monty was brought out in the Philippines by his friend Richard Harrison. Mike and I hit it off very well from the very first time we met. I think Richard Harrison knew that we "were a little crazy" about women. I was known as "Crazy Don" for several reasons but one was that I just couldn't get enough of the wonderful women of the Philippines. As you know, Mike first met me on "Pleasure Island", a soft porn shot in Manila that had a French and a German actress come over.


"Pleasure Island" a.k.a. "Blue Emmanuelle" a.k.a. "Isola del Piacere", directed by Michel Ricaud in 1981.

Of course many of us lined up to 'try out' and it was indeed very difficult to 'perform on the set'. My first try was with a very young Filipina who had no idea that we were not going to 'fake' it but really do it. When I was taping with her the first night, she just laid there and I was getting very frustrated with her not helping at all. I was having a difficult time getting aroused with this silly girl just laying there and not even allowing me to kiss her or fondle her. Finally, Mike got her and I, off somewhere private, and he talked to her about what she needed to do to help me. He then warmed her up and NOW she started 'working with me'. I got mine working, we got the crew back in, and finished the sequence. It was a real, uh, hard challenge. This is how Mike and I became friends. We would literally share many more women in the years we knew each other. I am the godfather of one of his sons in the Philippines.


Mike Monty, Romano Kristoff and Don, discussing the next days sequences during a shooting.

Mike loved very skinny women, many were suffering from eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia, but he sure made them feel loved. We lived two years in a Erimita apartment that was just bare of furniture, no dishes, not even a refrigerator. This was just after I had moved out from my partnership with Bill James Haverly. We were both barely making it for several dry months. Les Misérables Artistes for sure in that Dark period in 1981, but we always had women and just enough rice to eat at the corner eatery. We had one bed, took turns with the upper mattress when ladies would come over. Finally, the Chinese owner kicked us out when Mike hit on his daughter, or his wife, maybe both.

We were the terrors of Mabini & Del Pilar, the Streets of Passion, where it was said over 500 bars once lined every side street. One would just run down the street to the beer garden with cheap ice cold San Miguel Beer and pickup anything you wanted. Erimita was then a Den of Iniquity that I wallowed shamelessly in for years. I told you I was known as "Crazy Don", well one reason was that I had gotten STD so many times even my best friends told me I was crazy for not just staying with one girlfriend. I wanted to be like Mike in some ways, even eating ground red cayenne pepper like him because he claimed it was like an aphrodisiac (in fact, he taught me to use it to 'keep hard' but he failed to tell me to EAT it, not rub it on! That one hurt...).

In "Pleasure Island" businessmen were coming to buy pleasure. We shot scenes frolicking on the beaches of Mindoro, with tourists taking pictures as they passed in outrigger boats. My character was a Saudi Prince, and I obtained authentic headgear and robe. I had borrowed everything from a Middle Eastern restaurant but lied about using it for a commercial. I had a long beard and wore the headgear during all my shots to keep my USMC tattoo covered! When another Filipina girl came on the set with no idea of what was to come, I knew I would need a "Fluffer to help me". I called a good dancer/girlfriend from the Firehouse Bar, to come to the Hotel. I did not tell her that she would have to help me in the bathroom "to get ready and hard" then I would rush into the room and begin my scene with the useless, unsexy babe they had gotten who had no idea that we would really be having sex. One time a very hot light was knocked over, the edge actually seared my butt good, producing a great expression for the climax shot! Doing porn was quite fun and a learning experience but very weird at times, like humping over a cameraman for P.O.V. shots! I did two films of this nature that prepared me for Premiere Productions' "Naked Vengeance", in which I had similar shots. It was a rape-and-revenge movie directed by Cirio H. Santiago, where with Nick Nicholson I was one of the five rapists who are killed by a revengeful woman.


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