Sunday, September 18, 2022

José Salcedo, the great film producer who fell in love with Almería

 At 85 years old, he remembers his beginnings as an actor in the cinema, although he was later in different production departments, having shot some 150 films, 29 of which he recorded in Almería

Diario del Almería

By Diego Matrtinez

September 4, 2022

At 85 years old, José Salcedo Salmerón has worked in different production departments, including directing. To his credit he has more than 150 films, of which 29 were shot in Almería. Salcedo was born in Úbeda (Jaén) on August 14, 1937. Now retired, he lives between Madrid and Almería, where he enjoys the beach and his friends.

In the post-war years, José was able to study in his town. His father had a fruit and vegetable stand in the Úbeda Market where he earned his livelihood to feed his family. At that moment Manuel, the oldest and José were there. Then his only sister Luisa would arrive. José studied in his town at a school and curiously his father paid the school the monthly tuition in tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Salcedo studied up to 4th year of Baccalaureate and decides to go to Madrid. He was 13 years old and went to the capital of Spain to live with his maternal grandmother. “I was with her until she passed away. Precisely with 14 years he begins to work in the cinema. Curious, but everything came without waiting and perhaps due to chance or a stroke of luck. The fact is that he changes her life. “One day I was next to my grandmother's house, and I saw some papers fall from the balcony of the Hotel Monopol. I picked them up and the sheets were from a movie script. While a person went down to pick them up, I began to read. In those papers there was a word that was buttons. After thanking that man who had lost his papers, I asked him what it was. He told me it was a movie and I told him that I would like to play buttons. That's how I started as an actor”, he recalls.

The cinema was an outlet for Salcedo to bring some money to his grandmother's house. He then had the position of 'announcer' in some filming, when he was very young. He was an orderly, hard-working person who complied on the set. "I wanted to make movies, because it was a way of making a living." It was 1951, Salcedo is 14 years old. In 1952 he participates in La Estrella de Sierra Morena with Lola Flores as the advertiser.

In the film El Andén directed by Eduardo Manzanos, she became a production assistant. Salcedo remembers that Jesús Tordesillas, who was the protagonist, asked him for a glass of cognac and Salcedo very obediently brought it to him. Of course, on the way, as it was cold, she wet his lips. Then another came and asked for an anise. The fact is that the only time Salcedo got drunk was on that shoot, since he got a good craze from trying all the drinks.

The famous director Luis Lucia was one of the people of whom Salcedo has great memories. “We lived nearby and that meant that in the end he took me to the filming of Morena Clara with Lola Flores on a motorcycle that he had. That saved me from having to go on the tram every day. One day he gave me 100 pesetas to buy me some pants, since I always wore shorts and it was very cold back then in Madrid” recalls Salcedo.

In 1955 he became a councilor in the film Curra Veleta with Paquita Rico. Salcedo was only 18 years old but he was a man so devoted to his work that in the movies this young man was already being talked about. From those years Salcedo remembers the day he had to look for a vulture for a movie. “I was making arrangements and I had to get the vulture no matter what. In the end I found Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente and he gave it to me”.

Salcedo works in Calabuch as a production assistant and still remembers a fact that few know. That historical film starring Edmund Gwenn was shot in Peñíscola in 1955. Directed by Luis García Berlanga, the very young Salcedo had found a wonderful town, where it never rained and they were going to shoot without problems. “We are going to Peñíscola and it rained for 21 days. To take advantage of those days, Berlanga recorded some interiors in rooms in the city, something that we planned to shoot in Madrid. The actor Gwenn was a fabulous person.”

In 1959 he left his job as head of production at the age of 22 because he was called to do his military service in Cádiz. He had to join the ranks of the Artillery Application and Shooting School. “I put cinematography as a job and five days later Commander Juan Naya Valera called me and he asked me what he meant by cinematography. I explained that he was my profession and my surprise was that he was a movie buff. He often called me to tell him stories about the actors and actresses. He was fascinated. They put me in charge of the Library in the barracks”.

Salcedo remembers with special affection the experience of shooting with Catherine Hepburm. He worked on the movie Las Troyanas that was shot in Atienza, a town near Guadalajara in 1970. “We lived in Sigüenza but we shot in Atienza, which simulated Troy. Every day we would pick her up at the hotel and every day she would see a bus pick up a group of children and they would leave. She asked where those children went and it was clear that they went to Sigüenza to school. When she found out that there was no school in Atienza, she paid out of her own pocket for the purchase of a large house to set up a school and they would not have to travel from the municipality”.

In 1963 he met Almería on the set of The Taste of Vengeance directed by Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent with Richard Harrison. “I was on location for that movie that was a big hit. Almería was very small, it was a pretty town that lacked water and coming to Almería by road was an odyssey. We were received by Diego Fernández, the taxi driver, the father of Diego and Juan, since he was the person who best knew the places in the entire province. From that moment I shot up to 29 films. In 1965 in Johnny West I met Pepe El Habichuela”.

José Salcedo lives in Almería, in an apartment that he bought in 1984 on the city's Paseo Marítimo. He travels from time to time to Madrid and once a year to Asturias, the land of his wife Alicia López. Of course, at 85 years old, he has a prodigious memory and is an encyclopedia of cinema shot in Spain. He doesn't rule out writing his memoir. He has a granddaughter who is following in his footsteps.


1 comment:

  1. He must have really enjoyed working in Almeria since he goes back and forth between there and Madrid.