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The Making Of The Fantasy Film Worlds Of George Pal

Producer-Director-Writer Arnold Leibovit

Leibovit directs Charlton Heston
Arnold Leibovit has been inspired by Pal's films since he was 9 years old, and met Pal three years before he died in 1980. "When I was growing up," said Leibovit, "I imagined George Pal to be this big tall man. His named conjured up size in my mind. Interestingly, when I met George for the first time I was surprised to see this sweet cherub-faced man who spoke with a thick Hungarian accent.

First impressions can be deceiving because a few minutes spent with George made me realize that he was indeed the giant man I had always imagined him to be."

Pal's contributions laid the groundwork for the explosion of imaginative, high-budget science-fiction films like "ID4", the "Star Wars Trilogy" and the Star Trek franchise. If you look closely at the works of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, it is clearly evident how they were powerfully influenced by the work of this visual artist.

Pal also provided opportunities for so many at the very center of fantasy filmmaking long before its essential place in motion picture history was realized. "George Pal was an artist in the truest sense of the word. He wasn't concerned about his own publicity. He felt that his films would speak best for him." says Leibovit.

Leibovit decided to make the documentary as a tribute to Pal's visionary work, though his attempt to raise money wasn't easy. Although he got the blessing and participation of Mrs. Pal, the American Film Institute twice turned down requests for grants.

Mrs. George Pal

Animator Bob Baker and original Puppetoon Puppets

After three years, and with the help of friends and family, Leibovit garnered the support of Robert Wise, Charlton Heston, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Barbara Eden, Tony Randall, Walter Lantz, Ray Bradbury, Gene Roddenberry and Joe Dante.

"George Pal was interested in genuine emotion and not manipulation." adds Leibovit. "He used effects for special moments and not for their own sake. Pal should be regarded as a great fantasy pioneer. His vision was eternally optimistic. Pal believed that even in the face of great danger and despair the true spirit of man would triumph. I would like to carry on Pal's inspiring vision in the films I create."
Time Machine Composer
Russell Garcia

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