Warren Berlinger made his feature film debut in 1956’s TEENAGE REBEL. This was not some cheap teen exploitation film, but was instead an adaptation of a Broadway play called “A Roomful of Roses” by Edith Sommer, which ran for 88 performances in the Fall of 1955.
In the film, wealthy Californian “Nancy Fallon” (Ginger Rogers) welcomes back her troubled estranged teenage daughter “Dodie” (Betty Lou Keim), who lived with her father after the divorce. The rebellious Dodie is difficult to get along with and is antagonistic to her step-dad “Jay” (Michael Rennie) and her droll step-brother “Larry” (Rusty Swope). Things change when mom recognizes how insecure and lonely she is, and relates to her in a way that breaks through her wall of hostility. Warren Berlinger and Diane Jergens play “Dick and Jane Hewitt,” two teenagers who live next door to Dodie.
Berlinger and Keim reprised their stage roles for this film. This was 45-year-old Ginger Roger’s last starring film role. Edmund Goulding directed and co-wrote the film. Leigh Harline provided the unreleased score.
This was the first black-and-white film to be advertised as being in CinemaScope. Twentieth Century-Fox had for a number of years maintained a policy of only using CinemaScope for color productions. The film had moderate grosses of $5 million.
Betty Lou Keim and Warren Berlinger were married four years after making this film. Keim retired from movies in 1960 in order to take care of their children; they were married for 50 years until Keim’s death in 2010.
Carol Lynley had her first lead role in 1959’s BLUE DENIM. The film opens with the following written quote: "Youth is like spring, an over-praised season. Samuel Butler." The story follows “Arthur Bartley” (Brandon de Wilde) and “Janet Willard” (Lynley), two fairly typical 1950s teenagers. Their lives are turned upside down, however, when Janet becomes pregnant. Warren Berlinger plays Arthur's smart aleck friend “Ernie.” Lynley and Berlinger reprised their roles from the Broadway production of James Leo Herlihy and William Noble's 1958 play, upon which the film was based. Berlinger had received a Theatre World Award for his stage performance.
Warren Berlinger and Brandon de Wilde in BLUE DENIM
Philip Dunne directed the 1959 drama. Bernard Herrmann’s score was released by Film Score Monthly in 2001. It was reissued by Varese Sarabande in 2011 as part of their box set “Bernard Herrmann at 20th Century Fox.” BLUE DENIM grossed $7.1 million at the box office.
In BECAUSE THEY’RE YOUNG, new high school teacher “Neil Hendry” (Dick Clark) tries to help troubled students and falls in love with “Joan Dietrich” (Victoria Shaw), the principal's secretary. Among Neil’s students are “Buddy McCalla” (Warren Berlinger), whose mother “Frances” (Linda Watkins) hides her promiscuity from her son; “Anne Gregor” (Tuesday Weld), whose sexual misstep the previous summer with incipient juvenile delinquent “Griff Rimer” (Michael Callan) has sullied her reputation; “Ricky Summers” (Roberta Shore), whose love for fellow student “Jim” (Doug McClure) prompts both sets of parents to warn their offspring about premarital sex; and Griff, whose leering glances at Anne disrupt Neil’s class.
Tuesday Weld and Warren Berlinger in BECAUSE THEY’RE YOUNG
Paul Wendkos directed the 1960 release. John Williams provided the unreleased score. The film’s title song was written by Don Costa, with lyrics by Aaron Schröder and Wally Gold. An orchestra played the instrumental version over the opening credits, and James Darren sang the vocal version elsewhere in the film. Darren’s version was released on a Colpix Records 45rpm. But it was the version by Duane Eddy that became one of the rare all-instrumental hits of the era, going to #4 on the American charts in the summer of 1960. The combination of Duane Eddy's "twang" guitar style and string orchestration was a different one for Eddy and it ironically became the biggest hit of his career. The film was an under-performer at the box office, with a $1.8 million gross.
Producer Albert Zugsmith may not have been able to get A-list stars for his productions, but he always gathered good casts of recognizable names. PLATINUM HIGH SCHOOL is set at an exclusive military academy on Sabre Island. Rich young delinquents think money puts them above the law. Enter “Steve Conway” (Mickey Rooney)—there to investigate the death of his son, who he had been told died in an accident. He's met with hostility by the school's commandant, “Major Redfern Kelly” (Dan Duryea), and Kelly’s sweetheart-secretary, “Jennifer Evans” (Terry Moore). Conway is also threatened by the cadet drill instructor, “Vince Perley” (Christopher Dark), and the P.E. instructor, “Hack Marlow” (Richard Jaeckel). Still, he makes a startling discovery when he talks to his son's former roommate, “'Chip' Hastings” (Warren Berlinger).
Warren Berlinger and Mickey Rooney in PLATINUM HIGH SCHOOL
Charles F. Haas directed the 1960 film, which has an unreleased score by Van Alexander. Singer Conway Twitty made his film-acting debut in the picture. The film was a dud at the box office, grossing only $500,000.
In THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY, Navy Officer “Rip Crandall” (Jack Lemmon) ships out on a leaky schooner with a bad winch motor, after being tricked into the command by old buddy “Lt. Commander Vanderwater” (John Lund) with the knowledge that he's the only one with the needed sailing experience. Next best is “Tommy Hanson” (Ricky Nelson), a kid with minimal training. They skip northward to Borneo from Australia, and then find out that the real mission is to drop a spotter-spy (Chips Rafferty) on a remote island held by the Japanese. Crandall reluctantly elects to continue rather than let his new crew do the job under an unfriendly officer. The machinist who can never get the boat's engine to turn over when needed is “Radioman 2nd Class A.J. Sparks” (Warren Berlinger).
Richard Murphy wrote and directed the 1960 comedy-drama, which was based on actual incidents. The film has an unreleased score by George Duning. The picture was a hit, landing in the top 25 films of the year at the U.S. box office, with a $10.3 million gross.
In his second naval film in a row, Warren Berlinger had a supporting role in ALL HANDS ON DECK. This was more of a musical comedy than a dramatic comedy. The film follows “Lieutenant Victor Donald” (Pat Boone), the executive officer aboard a Navy LST operating out of Long Beach, California. His chief duty is to keep a watchful eye on the zany antics of “Shrieking Eagle Garfield” (Buddy Hackett), a Chickasaw Indian who has attracted the attention of Washington politicians because of his wealth. Lt. Donald also is seeking to marry his girlfriend, “Sally Hobson” (Barbara Eden). Warren Berlinger plays “Ensign Rudy Rush” in the film.
Norman Taurog directed the 1961 film, which has an unreleased score by Cyril J. Mockridge. Three of the four songs sung by Pat Boone in the film were released in Britain on a 45rpm EP, but they have never been re-issued on CD. The film generated average box office returns of $4.3 million.
Warren Berlinger had his first experience in series television with “The Joey Bishop Show”. In the NBC series, Bishop was “Joey Barnes,” who worked in a Hollywood public relations firm. His home life centered around his mother (Madge Blake) and his two younger siblings—sister “Stella” (Marlo Thomas) and brother “Larry” (Berlinger). After the first season (1961-62), the format of the series was changed and Blake, Thomas, and Berlinger were dropped from the show.
Warren Berlinger, Joey Bishop, Madge Sinclair, and Marlo Thomas in “The Joey Bishop Show”
During a hiatus in the shooting of “The Patty Duke Show,” United Artists and Patty Duke co-developed a starring film project for her. This was the 1965 teenage picture BILLIE. In the film, Duke plays "Billie Carol," a 16-year-old athlete who consistently out-runs all the boys on her high school track team. Her prowess leads to trouble with her boyfriend, “Mike Benson” (Warren Berlinger), who is ashamed of always losing to a girl, and with her father (Jim Backus), who had been running for mayor on a platform of no competition between the sexes.
Patty Duke (far left) and Warren Berlinger (far right) in BILLIE
Don Weis directed the comedy. Dominic Frontiere's score was released on a UA LP, which was reissued on CD by Intrada in 2010. Duke also sang several songs in the film, written by Frontiere and Diane Lambert. The film had average grosses totaling $4.1 million.
In SPINOUT, Elvis Presley plays “Mike McCoy,” a carefree swinging bachelor racecar driver who moonlights as a singer with a touring combo (“Curly” (Jack Mullaney), “Larry” (Jimmy Hawkins) and the female drummer “Les” (Deborah Walley)). In Santa Barbara, he’s involved with three loving females: his drummer Les (Deborah Walley); “Cynthia Foxhugh” (Shelley Fabares), the spoiled pretty daughter of an overbearing millionaire car manufacturer, “Howard” (Carl Betz), who gets Mike to sing (for $5,000) a birthday song for his daughter and then wants Mike to drive for him in the Santa Fe Road Race; and blonde writer “Diana St. Clair” (Diane McBain), who spies on Mike after choosing him as the model for a book that the best-selling author is writing on the perfect American male. Warren Berlinger plays “Philip Short,” Howard’s weak-kneed, but loyal assistant, who has a crush on Cynthia.
Norman Taurog directed the film, Elvis’ third film of 1966 and sixth overall directed by Taurog. George Stoll scored the film, but none of his music appeared on the LP of Elvis’ songs released by RCA. The album was re-issued on CD in 1994. All three of the Elvis films that year ended up in the top 50 films of the year at the box office, with SPINOUT grossing $6 million, against a budget of $2.2 million.
In THUNDER ALLEY, stock car racer “Tommy Callahan” (Fabian) is forced to join a thrill circus run by “Pete Madsen” (Jan Murray) after Tommy’s blackouts cause a fatal accident that gets him thrown off the circuit. He shows Pete's daughter “Francie” (Annette Funicello) and her boyfriend “Eddie Sands” (Warren Berlinger) everything he knows about driving. Eddie takes up with Tommy's girl “Annie Blaine” (Diane McBain) after winning the first time out, and they become fierce rivals by the next race.
Warren Berlinger and Annette Funicello in THUNDER ALLEY
Richard Rush directed the 1967 film. Mike Curb’s score shared space on the Sidewalk Records LP with several songs. The LP was re-issued on CD in 2013 by Curb Records, but in mono only. THUNDER ALLEY had below-average grosses of $3.1 million, but still made a profit on its $1.4 million budget.
Warren Berlinger made numerous guest appearances on television shows in the late 1960s. In 1970, he had a seven-episode arc, playing a character named “Artie Halpern,” in the television series “Bracken’s World” about life at a movie studio. In 1971, Berlinger had his second shot as a series regular in “The Funny Side”, a sketch comedy program.
“The Funny Side” was hosted by Gene Kelly and starred five pairs of actors and actresses who were presented as married couples. Each week was an examination of the "funny side" of a potential issue in real-life marriages, such as health, money, sex, and the like. Each couple was generic. Kelly also appeared as an actor in the sketches, and there was also a musical aspect, with production numbers.
The couples were: • John Amos and Teresa Graves as the Black couple • Burt Mustin and Queenie Smith as the elderly couple • Warren Berlinger and Pat Finley as the blue-collar couple • Michael Lembeck and Cindy Williams as the teenage couple • Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon as the wealthy couple
NBC premiered the hour-long series on Tuesday, 21 September 1971 at 9:30 PM. The competition was fierce. CBS was airing the William Conrad detective series “Cannon,” the #26-rated program for the season. On ABC, the show was opposite the last half hour of “Movie of the Week,” the popular series of original made-for-television films (the #5-rated show) and the first half-hour of “Marcus Welby. M.D.” (the #3 rated show). “The Funny Side” could get no traction and was cancelled after six episodes.
Michael Lembeck, Cindy Williams, Warren Berlinger, Pat Finley, Burt Mustin, Queenie Smith, John Amos and Teresa Graves in “The Funny Side”
In THE LONG GOODBYE, laid-back detective “Philip Marlowe” (Elliott Gould) helps his best friend “Terry Lennox” (Jim Bouton) flee to Mexico, only to be hounded by the police when Terry is accused of murdering his wife Sylvia. It soon comes out that Lennox committed suicide in Mexico. Marlowe refuses to believe either report without proof. The notoriety from the incident lands Marlowe a missing persons job from “Eileen Wade” (Nina Van Pallandt), who wants Marlowe to retrieve her alcoholic husband “Roger” (Sterling Hayden) from his hiding place in a sanitarium. Marlowe discovers that the two cases overlap: not only did the Wades know the Lennoxes, local gangster “Marty Augustine” (Mark Rydell) had money dealings with both. Warren Berlinger plays the supporting role of “Morgan” in the film.
Robert Altman directed the 1973 film. John Williams' score was most recently issued by Quartet in 2015. The film had below-average grosses of $2.9 million.
Warren Berlinger was cast in another television sitcom, “A Touch of Grace”, which was based on the British series “For the Love of Ada.” Recently widowed, in her 60s, living off her Social Security checks, and struggling to make a new life for herself, “Grace Simpson” (Shirley Booth) moves in with her daughter and son-in-law, “Myra and Walter Bradley” (Marian Mercer and Warren Berlinger). Grace is perky and young at heart, in sharp contrast to the stodgy and conservative Myra and Walter, and her presence disrupts their lives. Although Grace dates a lot, her steady boyfriend is “Herbert Morrison” (J. Pat O’Malley), who works as a gravedigger. Myra and Walter disapprove of Grace's relationship with Herbert.
(clockwise from upper left) J. Pat O’Malley, Warren Berlinger, Marian Mercer, and Shirley Booth in “A Touch of Grace”
“A Touch of Grace” premiered on ABC on Saturday, January 20, 1973 at 8:30 P.M., as a mid-season replacement for the cancelled western “Alias Smith and Jones.” It faced tough competition in its time slot from CBS's “Bridget Loves Bernie,” the fifth-highest-rated show of the season. The show wasn’t helped any by its 8 PM lead-in, the new sitcom: Here We Go Again,” which ranked dead last out of 75 shows that season (because it was going up against #1 “All In the Family”). That was enough to doom an old-fashioned show like “A Touch of Grace,” which was cancelled after its half-season order of 13 episodes had aired.
After an accident causes “Miriam Knight” (Stockard Channing), an ugly duckling girl, to undergo reconstructive surgery, she emerges from behind the bandages a ravishing beauty. It's payback time when she uses her new attractiveness as THE GIRL MOST LIKELY TO… exact revenge on those who wronged her, including her childhood 'friend' “Herman Anderson” (Warren Berlinger), who once made her believe that he cared for her.
Warren Berlinger in THE GIRL MOST LIKELY TO…
Lee Philips directed this made-for-television film, which aired on ABC on 6 November 1973. Bernardo Segall provided the unreleased score.
In THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, Richard Thomas starred as “Pvt. Henry Fleming,” a young man who enthusiastically joins the Union army during the Civil War, thirsting to find glory and honor. But his first battle opens his eyes to the reality of how un-glorious and dishonorable war really is. Henry deserts his regiment. It is not until after he reaches the rear of the army that he overhears a general announcing the Union's victory. Ashamed, Henry escapes into a nearby forest, where he stumbles upon a group of injured men returning from battle. They include “The Tattered Man” (Charles Aidman) and “The Cheery Soldier” (Warren Berlinger).
Lee Philips directed this made-for-television film, which was based on the novel by Stephen Crane. The film aired on NBC on 3 December 1974. Jack Elliott provided the unreleased score.
LEPKE told the story of Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter (Tony Curtis), who together with Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro (Warren Berlinger) co-founded “Murder, Inc.,” the 1920s syndicate that spattered the headlines of the day with blood. The two met as boys when both attempted to rob the same pushcart and decided to join forces. They worked for Jacob “Little Augie” Orgen (Jack Ackerman), a gangster who had the monopoly on labor racketeering in the 1920s.
Johnny Silver, Warren Berlinger, and Joseph Kim in LEPKE
Menahem Golan produced and directed the 1975 film, which cost under $1 million to produce. After its completion, Golan sold the film outright to Warner Bros. for $1.75 million. Ken Wannberg’s score has not been released. The film under-performed at the box office, with a $2.5 million gross.
THE FOUR DEUCES is about “Vic Morono” (Jack Palance), a mob boss whose main squeeze, “Wendy Rittenhouse” (Carol Lynley), two-times him while he’s trying to win a bloody conflict with rival hoodlum “Chico Hamilton” (Warren Berlinger). The “four deuces” of the title are Morono’s cohorts, played by Gianni Russo, H.B. Haggerty, Johnny Haymer, and Martin Kove.
Warren Berlinger (far right) in THE FOUR DEUCES
William H. Bushnell directed this 1975 comedy gangster film. Kenneth Wannberg’s score has not had a release. Wannberg also composed six songs for the film.
In I WILL…I WILL…FOR NOW, unhappily divorced after 10 years of marriage, “Les Bingham” (Elliott Gould) finally convinces his ex-wife “Katie” (Diane Keaton) to give him another shot. Reluctantly agreeing to a legal arrangement instead of a wedding vow, Les signs a six-month contract, unaware his lawyer “Lou Springer” (Paul Sorvino) also loves Katie and plans to use the wiles of their sexy neighbor, former Playboy centerfold “Jackie Martin” (Victoria Principal), to bust up the Binghams for good. Warren Berlinger plays Jackie’s husband “Steve,” who, Jackie confides to Les, is too busy to have sex with her.
Diane Keaton and Warren Berlinger in I WILL…I WILL…FOR NOW
Norman Panama directed this 1976 romantic comedy, his final theatrical feature. John Cameron provided the unreleased score. The film had below-average grosses of $5.3 million.