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Harold Arnold "Herk" Harvey (June 3, 1924 – April 3, 1996) was an American film director, actor and film producer.
Harvey was born in Windsor, Colorado, the son of Everett and Minnie R. Prewitt Harvey. He grew up in Fort Collins and was a graduate of Fort Collins High School before serving in the U.S. Navy as a Quartermaster, 3rd Class, during World War II, during which time he was studying chemical engineering. "But when I got out," Harvey has said, "I decided that wasn't for me and so I went into the theater."
Harvey came to Lawrence, Kansas in 1945 to study at the University of Kansas, where he majored in theater, directing and acting in stage productions, such as Harvey, Beggar on Horseback, and Hamlet. During his college years, he was vice-president of the Dramatics Workshop, appeared with the University Players, and was a member of the Owl Society. He earned a bachelor of science degree in education from the KU speech and drama department in 1948 and received a master of arts degree in speech and drama from KU in 1950. Besides student appearances, he appeared in summer stock, with the Topeka Civic Theater and with Kansas City's Resident Playhouse.
On June 3, 1950, Harvey's 26th birthday, he married Bernice "Bea" Brady, a girl from Wichita some five years his junior. The wedding ceremonies were held in the Plymouth Congregational Church of Lawrence. The two had met at KU in the drama department and had performed in Hamlet together in 1948. After the marriage, Harvey did a graduate study in drama during the 1950 summer session at the University of Denver, and then studied at the University of Colorado for a doctorate in theater. "I made it through summer school and then I decided to go back to Kansas," Harvey has said. He and his wife then returned to Lawrence, rented an apartment on campus, and Harvey began working as an instructor, teaching and directing for the KU speech and drama department.
Harvey broke into the film business as an actor in some of the movies being made by Centron Corporation of Lawrence, an independent industrial and educational film production company. Founded in 1947 in Lawrence by Arthur H. Wolf and Russell A. Mosser, Centron would come to the forefront of the industrial and educational film companies in the United States. Harvey joined the staff in 1952 and went on to work for Centron as a film director, writer, and producer for 33 years, making a variety of short industrial, educational, documentary, and government films. Centron competed with large companies on both coasts to become one of the top producers of industrial and educational films. Harvey was known for his high quality films, coming in on time and under budget. Harvey and his film crews were dispatched to locations around the globe to bring back images for geography and travel films. Harvey also worked with many well-known professional actors and entertainers in Centron films, such as Walter Pidgeon, Rowan and Martin, Dennis Day, Louis Nye, George Gobel, Anita Bryant, Eddie Albert, Ed Ames, Jesse White, and Ricardo Montalban. The director won many national and international awards for his work, including the highest honors from the American Film Festival, C.I.N.E., and the Columbus Film Festival, and claimed an Oscar nomination for the documentary Leo Beuerman. In 1981, Wolf and Mosser sold Centron to the Coronet division of Esquire, Inc. Harvey retired from Centron four years later, in 1985.
Harvey and his first wife Bea were divorced around 1960, and shortly afterward Harvey met Pauline G. Pappas, who was one of the investors for Carnival of Souls. The two were married by the end of the 1960s.
When a crew from ABC came to Lawrence in 1982 to shoot the controversial television movie on nuclear war, The Day After, they cast Harvey as a Midwestern farmer struggling to rejuvenate his crops after the nuclear attack. The film was broadcast to much international publicity and controversy in 1983.
After his retirement in 1985, Harvey continued in various activities, teaching film production at the University of Kansas, adjudicating films for the American Film Festival and the Kansas Film and Video Festival, and directing and acting in plays for the Lawrence Community Theater. He also had small speaking roles in the made-for-TV movies Murderer Ordained and Where Pigeons Go to Die, both of which were filmed on location in Kansas.
Carnival of Souls
Harvey is best known for his sole feature film, Carnival of Souls, a low budget 1962 horror film starring Candace Hilligoss. It was produced and directed by Harvey for an estimated $33,000. While vacationing in Salt Lake City, he developed the idea for the movie after driving past the abandoned Saltair Pavilion. Hiring an unknown actress, Lee Strasberg-trained Hilligoss, and otherwise employing mostly local talent, Harvey shot Carnival of Souls in three weeks, on location in Lawrence and Salt Lake City. The movie never gained widespread public attention when it was originally released as it was intended as a B film, but today has become somewhat of a cult classic. Set to an organ score by Gene Moore, Carnival of Souls relies more on atmosphere than on special effects to create its mood of horror. The film has a large cult following and occasionally has screenings at local film and Halloween festivals.
Harvey did live to see the belated recognition of his single big-screen directorial effort. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1996, at his home in Lawrence. Other than his wife of about twenty-seven years, Pauline, Harvey's other survivors included two nieces and one nephew.
- Prather, Maurice, "Mosser-Wolf Shoot Official Football Movies," University Daily Kansan, December 1, 1952
- "Mr. N Comes to Lawrence," Lawrence Journal-World, May 18, 1954
- "'Star 34' Result of State's New Movie-Making Industry," Kansas Business Magazine, July 1954
- "New Centron Movie Seen by Kiwanians," Lawrence Journal-World, March 11, 1954
- Fowler, Giles M., "Off to a Ghoulish Start as: Cameras Roll in a Kansas Town," Kansas City Star, September 16, 1962
- "'Carnival of Souls' Might Open New Frontiers Here," Lawrence Journal-World, September 21, 1962
- "'Carnival' Cast Is Built Around Top TV Performers," Lawrence Journal-World, September 25, 1962
- "'Carnival' World Premiere Is Called Producer's Dream," Lawrence Journal-World, September 27, 1962
- Ogden, Ann, "MGM It Ain't . . . But In Its Own Field, a Lawrence Film Company Started By a Couple of Jayhawkers is Making a Pretty Fair-Sized Splash," Alumni Magazine, February 1968
- "Centron Films Win Awards in American Film Festival," Lawrence Journal-World, May 20, 1971
- "Old Home Town . . . 25 Years Ago 1948," Lawrence Journal-World, October 3, 1973
- "FLB Movie Shot On Local Farm," The Marysville Advocate, July 4, 1974
- "Down is Up," Louisiana Contractor, July 1976
- "Centron Takes Two Film Honors," Lawrence Journal-World, November 27, 1980
- Bretz, Lynn, "A Play From a Stacked Deck," Lawrence Journal-World, August 30, 1981
- "Centron Wins Double Awards for Film Efforts," Lawrence Journal-World, January 9, 1982
- Warren, Andrea, "John Clifford's Play Set for Lawrence Premiere," TeleGraphics, January 27, 1982
- Bauman, Melissa, "ABC Official Denies Network Can't Find Sponsors for Show," Lawrence Journal-World, October 12, 1983
- Twardy, Chuck, "Power of Affection Concerns Clifford," Lawrence Journal-World, November 13, 1983
- "Community Theater Has Mixed Success In Trio of Local Plays, Lawrence Journal-World, November 18, 1983
- "Farm Unit Honors Film by Centron," Lawrence Journal-World, January 19, 1984
- "Centron Wraps Several Projects," Back Stage, May 25, 1984
- Retzlaff, Duane, "Films Give Broad View of Farming at Area's Annual Farm-City Mixer," Lawrence Journal-World, November 28, 1984
- Gurley, George H., "Horror Need Not Be Vulgar," Kansas City Star, October 31, 1989
- "State Piano Honors," Lawrence Journal-World, November 12, 1989
- Dekker, Mike, "A Screen Reunion," Lawrence Journal-World, November 25, 1989
- Butler, Robert W., "The Art of Budget Filmmaking," Kansas City Star, January 12, 1990
- Burnes, Brian, "Rising From Its Grave," Kansas City Star, January 14, 1990
- Smith, Nancy, "50s Flashbacks," Lawrence Journal-World, February 28, 1993
- Mayer, Bill, "Mayer Tome on Fieldhouse," Lawrence Journal-World, February 11, 1995
- Butler, Robert W., "'Carnival of Souls' to Come Back to Life on Englewood Screen," Kansas City Star, February 25, 1996
- Biles, Jan, "Lawrence-Made Movie Stays Hip Through Years," Lawrence Journal-World, March 1, 1996
- "Director Honored at KU Studios," Lawrence Journal-World," March 8, 1996
- Biles, Jan, "University Pays Tribute to Film Maker Harvey," Lawrence Journal-World, March 14, 1996
- Pigg, Sherry, "Filmmaker Harvey Dies," Lawrence Journal-World, April 4, 1996
- "'Carnival of Souls' Director Dies," Lawrence Journal-World, April 6, 1996
- "Harold A. Harvey," Lawrence Journal-World, April 17, 1996