Daniel Griffith: The Man Behind Ballyhoo Motion Pictures


Sometimes, when you watch a DVD, the special features are the best part.  But did you ever wonder who creates those special features?  You might be surprised to learn that a Chattanooga filmmaker has made quite a few.

Daniel Griffith is the man behind Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.  His company has made several short documentaries, and those documentaries have been used as extra features for Mystery Science Theater 3000 box sets and other films released on DVD.

We might think of old sci-fi films as B-movies.  But Griffith sees something more–as a filmmaker himself, he says he can learn from the way those B-movie directors and producers dealt with their challenges.

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One Response to “Daniel Griffith: The Man Behind Ballyhoo Motion Pictures”

  1. George Nelsen Says:

    To: Ballyhoo Motion Pictures
    From: George Nelsen
    Re: John Davis Chandler
    I just learned John Davis Chandler (AKA J.D.) who was my roommate at Princeton University in 1953 passed away over two years ago.

    John probably never should have gone to college as his sole desire in life was a career in acting.

    He was an excellent left-handed tennis player recruited by Princeton which pleaded with him to play for the tennis team, but once he learned Princeton put on stage productions, that became his only interest.

    I had told him I too wanted to become an actor and when The Triangle Theater (or was it the McCarter Theater?) auditioned for a role in a Shakespearean play, we both tried out for the part.

    J. D. got it!

    I did go on to act in NYC in several off Broadway plays.
    John did not attend many classes choosing to sleep in late or all day.

    This came to a head when exam time came. As one can guess from the parts he played in Hollywood, J. D. was a rebel; a real character; a true Maverick; but a helluva great guy!

    So instead of showing up for the exam he was admitted to the University Hospital with severe diarrhea and irritated, flaming red eyelids.

    I had watched John before going to the hospital down two medium sized bottles of Magnesium Citrate, which is for constipation and rub Ajax cleaning powder under each eyelid.

    That just about ended his time at Princeton. It came to fruition one morning when I woke up and he was gone! Left! Disappeared into the night. No goodbye….nothing! But what the heck? That was J.D. all over.

    One other episode we had together was not a nice one. One evening we decided to go to New Brunswick, where was an all-girl Choir College. We started to thumb for a ride (remember that was 1953!) and was soon picked up by a man in a blue Chevrolet coupe. Since the car had no back seat, all three of us sat in front with me in the middle.

    About half way north a car being driven by a drunk and coming from the other direction came into our lane smashing into our left rear fender making the rear of the car move to the right and causing the left front of the car to swing over into the lane for cars coming from the other direction. There was a car immediately behind the drunk and if I close my eyes, I can see the head on collision that took place next.

    J.D. ended up with just a small cut on his forehead. I made a four point landing of injuries. My head hit the roof when the drunk hit us: my mouth hit the rear view mirror; one knee hit the radio; and the other the clock.
    We went to see the car later in the junkyard with parents and friends. No one could understand why we all weren’t killed.

    That’s enough for now.

    I have a yearbook with J.D.’s photo and short profile in it. If you’d like a copy of that page and mine too just let me know.

    Another actor that was part of my life was Eugene Horowitz AKA Michael Landon.

    Before quitting High school and taking off for Hollywood, he and I competed in high school track and field in the Javelin event. He attended Collingswood High and I played for Audubon both in South Jersey.

    I still have newspaper clippings showing him and I competing with him winning sometimes and vice-versa.
    I plan to try and contact either Michael’s widow or one of his sons to see if they’d like to have the clipping.

    Regards, George Nelsen

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