By Bill Warren: I just heard from Steve Lee, son of Walter W. Lee, Jr. — he of the Reference Guide to Fantastic Films and other genre movie research projects, starting as far back as the early 1950s, when he lived in Coos Bay, Oregon. He came to California, married, had two great kids, worked at Hughes, and produced the incredible Reference Guide, which I was privileged (and paid well) to type.
Walt’s birthday is next Saturday; his folks would love to take him cards and good wishes — to his care facility. Walt is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. This is a stunning shock to me, as one of his outstanding, most interesting and productive traits, was always his quick, sharp intelligence. And he was as funny as hell, from time to time.
It was the first truly major work of film scholarship in the area of science fiction, fantasy and horror. It wasn’t easy to do; while being a father and holding down a job, he researched that exhaustive book.
This was long, long before the iMDB, long before most books on movie research. He spent hours upon hours in the files of the Motion Picture Academy, UCLA, USC, Forry Ackerman (a lifelong friend) and elsewhere. He corresponded with people all over the world — he was determined to make the book as inclusive as possible, and he did. It was the first citation in print (other than industry books and magazines) for hundreds upon hundreds of movies. He was one of the first researchers to routinely include many of the great Hollywood cartoon shorts. Walt was there first, before anyone. I still consider my work on his book to be one of the most important things I ever did.
The address to send cards:
c/o Steve Lee
3431 Inglewood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066
The family wants cards and letters more than eMails. If you want to eMail Steve directly, here’s his eMail address: Hwlostandfound (at) yahoo (dot) com