Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Making The Last Dinosaur, A Review of the B. Harrison Smith Book

It could've been last week.  For over six decades the industry has ignored the guidance and wisdom of Richard Boone.  They ignored him at their own peril.  The acting profession has become increasingly corrupted and some (okay, just me) may suggest that those actors who have so much influence are actually mere puppets of the industry execs who seek to cleanse movies of humans.  Hence AI is a big issue and may go unaddressed by the negotiations in the current strike.  Hard work!  Dedication to an age old art form! Respect for the movie-going public! A belief that the arts, especially acting and filmmaking are tools that can keep us human as a culture.  A bad movie?  1977's "The Last Dinosaur' was a bad one...in 1977. Over 40 years later, the film may be a doorway of salvation if modern day "Hollywood" choose to walk through it. Today we look at B. Harrison Smith's book Making the Last Dinosaur (Bear Manor Media). Find it on Amazon by clicking this link The Last Dinosaur on Amazon .

In 1977 I was in front of my TV to watch ABC's Friday Night Movie, with my mom.  I was not even a teenager, but monsters were monsters...thus "The Last Dinosaur" was a must watch.  Even as a 12 year old, I knew the movie was bad...but I liked it!  Richard Boone's character was fantastic and Joan Van Ark was a babe.  The T-Rex was...lame...but better than anything in the TV show "Land of the Lost."  I have not seen the film since.  Over four decades later, Mr. Smith puts out a book and fills in blanks I never knew existed.  For me, the central theme of the book is contained in the letter Mr. Boone wrote to the industry in 1960.  They should've listened to him.  Okay, the "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" people made a monster movie.  Problematic?  Perhaps.  As Mr. Smith points out...problematic or not, they made this movie.  They got a great cast.  They had ambitious, though not always effective f/x.  The effort and desire to do the most of what they had was paramount in the filmmakers mind...and cast.

Bad?  I liked it!  "Ordinary People" won an Oscar a few years later and that movie makes me gag!  Fun! It had a monster!  Joan Van Ark rolled around in a mud pit!  Mary Tyler Moore didn't do that in "Ordinary People." The story or plot for this film is a theme often touched upon in the old westerns of Sergio Leone.  Henry Fonda played the Richard Boone character in those old oaters. You know the character, the aging gunfighter displaced by the railroad and commerce, As Mr. Smith points out, perhaps Mr. Boone's role is a prescient message to the acting profession today. However good these newbies are in Hollywood...the railroad is coming and so is law and order in the form of Harvard MBA execs who look at bottom lines instead of casting reels.

The insight into Richard Boone's life and his views toward a profession that can change the world for the better (if it chooses) are valuable for all of us...even us who have no talent.  Mr. Smith gives an unpopular message.  Hard work and respect for the people who you will never meet will carry you beyond your current life and into eternity.  It will also propel civilization forward instead of backwards.  Going against that wisdom gives us failed diplomacy in The Ukraine and Israel, and talk of World War 3.  Richard Boone knew that.  His plea was for humanity and I think he knew the entertainment industry was a mere metaphor for a world headed into The Cuban Missile Crisis.  This is all in the book...read it! 

"The Last Dinosaur" respected its audience.  This is a point Mr. Smith harps on.  Ultimately the movie makers cared for you...wanted you to enjoy their 90 minute production. Making the Last Dinosaur is an important book that may offer insight into how Hollywood got into their current mess.  New technologies may wipe out the acting profession.  Richard Boone desperately tried to correct this disaster in 1960.  Mr. Smith's work is a plea for a return to adult behavior in an industry that has forgotten its God-given purpose to inspire and bring out the best in humanity.  Read this book today by clicking on the link above.  


  1. I've liked Richard Boone in everything I've seen him in, from Have Gun - Will Travel to I Bury the Living to Big Jake. The Last Dinosaur sounds familiar, but I don't think I ever saw it. You've got me intrigued about Boone's philosophy, so I'll probably get a copy.
    It's interesting that movies and TV cost more than ever to make, but people are increasingly turning to other things. The difference is that Hollywood used to want to tell entertaining stories, but now it just generates "content" formulated by committees (and AI). They deserve to go bankrupt.

  2. A delightful review, Chris! Very insightful and enjoyable to read! You are a gifted writer! God bless you! :)