Gord: Do you remember your involvement in THE ODYSSEY mini series, where Mario Bava directed you as Polyphemus, the Cyclops?
Samson: Polyfemo (the Italian way), No I don't remember the director, nor Bava. They got me at the last minute; I never forgot that, I never had a chance to remember the script. I was in a scene with these little lambs, so I put the script under them, and could see the script. I was reading from the script and petting the lambs and reading for about 15 minutes. I couldn't remember the whole thing at once, it was too heavy, so I just read it. 2 or 3 pages, full, of just me talking. So that's how I did that part. The strangest part was, the cameraman and everyone on the set was clapping and yelling, Bravo! Bravo! You never heard a roar like that in your life. You'd think it was the start of the opera or something. They didn't know how I remembered all that dialogue. I did a Marlon Brando thing. He always worked from queue cards anyway. I used to stay up till 3 o'clock in the morning, just learning my lines for the NIBELUNGEN. Slept 2 hours a day, worked 12 hours a day.
Larry: The NIBELUNGEN was cut down from 10 hours into 2,
1 1/2 hour movies. called WHOM THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY and THE REVENGE OF SEIGFRIED.
Samson: That was filmed in Iceland, Yugoslavia, Rome and Germany.
When I was in Germany, I went over to the Spandau Prison and saw Rudolph Hess. Walking around all by himself, with a British guard on the outside of the prison. I was on a hill looking down. That was a sad thing to see, a man all by himself. They kept him alive.
Gord: MAGNUM P I, what did you do in that series?
Samson: I worked as a villain in that. I did a heavy part were I had a fight with Roger Mosley the helicopter pilot. I always try and fill in wherever I can. I made sure the angles were right in the fight scene, so I had optimum camera time. I had more of the camera on me, hogging the camera. I got more camera time, so people remember.
Larry: Tell us about you work with Fellini?
Samson: I played a pilot. I did it in one day. Fellini never uses a script. He just films things that pop into his head. First I played the Centaur, then I put on a pilots uniform. There was an actual pilot there, pretending to be a passenger, to tell me what to do, what controls to operate. There was a cockpit of a plane with a moving screen outside the window, so it looked like the thing was moving. A lot of hollering people, then I took off. That was the only little part that was in there, why, I don't know. He obviously used it for something, but which title, I don't know.
Gord, Larry: We'll have to check out all of Fellini's film and find those parts. (The scenes are not in JULIET OF THE SPIRITS or SATYRICON).
Samson: He used a lot of people as chess pieces, and animals. If you look at it straight in a sensible way, you think it's weird. But who knows? He was supposed to be a genius. Everybody paid a lot of money to see his films.
Gord: Gordon Mitchell told me "he didn't get paid for some of his films. Did that ever happen to you?
Samson: He worked for a director called Emimmo Salvi, who would promise him things and tell him all kinds of fantasies. "There is a problem with the money it's coming in, etc." He never got paid. That never happened to me. When they sent a car to pick me up, I either wasn't home or I wouldn't go. They'd try all day to get me. When they finally did, I said, "If you don't pay me any money, I don't want to do any work". All of a sudden, we made a mistake, here is your money", and they paid me for the week. That was the only way you could work there. They fooled a lot of people. If you didn't get paid, there was no way to make them pay you. There were no unions of any kind and there was nobody in authority. You cannot press anyone for money in Italy. You cannot demand your money.
Gord: What was it like being a star of these films?
Samson: I was in Morocco and decided to visit the Kasbah. I was walking down the street and turned to see a horde of people following me. I thought that Id done something wrong, so I asked the guide. He explained that there were 2 of my films playing in town and all of these people recognized me. It was a little unnerving.