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Ray Berwick - quotes

Quotations relating to Ray Berwick...

Film Production

The funniest people on the thing were the bird wranglers. 'Cause they were bad-tempered. They were great guys, and I had drinks with them in the evening, but you look after a bunch of seagulls and ravens and crows and pigeons and God knows what else, and you get very nervous!

But Ray Berwick — he was the head bird wrangler — and he was a wonderful guy. And he indeed had patience. He wasn't as bad tempered as his buddies. He knew his birds backwards. He was like a great old cowboy with horses, you know. He knew these silly-looking birds, and he understood them and liked them.

All these tricks were pretty horrifying and pretty exasperating. That's why these wranglers just were going through hell as well as us. We all had our trips to the nurses' station to get out tetanus shot.

With all these bird attacks, no computer tricks, nothing like that. These kids, they'd tie the birds to the back of their collars and they'd be flapping and carrying on, and it was quite terrifying, really. But how else could you do it? And there was no CGI with birds coming into the lens. You put meat in the lens.

There were very low tides at Bodega Bay, and these sand flats stretched for miles. And it was nothing to see one of these poor wranglers running after a seagull that was flopping along just six feet ahead of him for miles.

This one raven, Archie — There's a still of me looking terrified with a bandage on or something, and I'm looking at this bird. That's real terror. I hated that bird! That bird — every morning if I was on the set, we were on the set together, would come over and go "Ungg!" and bite me. And I hated him, and he hated me.

Even when we came back to the studio. And I think that shot on the veranda was taken in the studio. I'd walk in and say, "Is Archie working today?" And they'd say, "I don't think so, Rod. I think we're working with seagulls." And out of the rafters would come Archie. And, you know, hated me. And would lie in wait for me. And I'm sure that bird's still alive!

Rod Taylor (2000)

Working with the birds was very interesting. I love all animals. I always have. And it was very exciting for me to work with the birds. Ray Berwick, who was the bird trainer, taught flocks of birds. He taught them six at a time. He taught them individually. The ones that were taught individually basically could never be released because they were taught to do very bad things. Like, they'd be taught to dive bomb somebody or peck them or, you know, really go after people.

You know, we didn't really rehearse this. It was just because, using live animals, we wanted to take it right away. So everything was lined up and Ray took the little box of strawberry finches and let them go down the chimney, and we thought they'd be flying around and… Well, they sat on the hearth and a few of them jumped up on the coffee table and on the arms of the chairs, and they weren't doing anything. We're going, "Um, okay. What do we do now?"

So we thought about it and all the different things that we could do. Maybe using a fan would be good. You know, and then they'd fly around. Well, so would our hair, you know? So that wasn't going to work and our clothes would fly and everything.

So we finally decided that we would do the scene without the birds. So all of us are reacting to birds that aren't there. And then the film, once it was edited, was sent over to Disney.

There was one named Buddy — very beautiful raven — who I became friends with. In fact, he was so nice, he couldn't even be in the movie. He was so sweet. And he'd come hopping into my dressing room on the set. And he'd hop up on my dressing table, and… he was just fun. It was just… they're so smart. They're so smart.

There was another one that particularly had a reaction to Rod Taylor. And he want after Rod continuously. It was kind of funny, actually!

Tippi Hedren (2000)
keywords: Ray Berwick, Rod Taylor, The Birds (1963), Walt Disney, and production

We realized that, if we were working with seagulls, we could train them to go for food. They're greedy animals, and so you could put food just behind the camera, or right on top of the camera, and they'd fly into the lens.

I must say we tried to use mechanical birds, and we did use a few, but mechanical birds that moved didn't work out too well. So we finally decided to work with crows.

The reason we started with crows is obviously they have an intelligence that most birds don't have. You could train a crow. But because they were so intelligent, they were also hard to capture. But Ray Berwick — I think Ray had done Birdman of Alcatraz, which is only a couple of birds, and here we were dealing with thousands.

So we finally had to go with eggs — growing crows. That didn't take as long as it sounds, because they were very young. I think there is still some of the original crows flying around here. They live a long time!

Robert F. Boyle (2000)