You never know where your research will take you.
Here are parts of letters Ronald Reagan wrote to Nancy while he was away from home on location for Cattle Queen Of Montana (1954) — printed in I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters Of Ronald Reagan To Nancy Reagan.
“The first day of shooting and like all first days I can’t tell you good bad or indifferent. Everything is hectic and upset what with the truck caravan arriving from L.A. in the dark last night. Most of the morning was spent getting the trucks unloaded and the equipment straightened out. Ben B. (producer Benedict Bogeaus) is on hand so things can really get buggered up. I think Alan D. (director Allan Dwan) is trying to get some of the story holes plugged and this morning changed one scene ‘a la’ a suggestion from ‘guess who.’ However our opposition is B.B. himself so I only whisper in an off-ear and let them fight it out. So far ‘Lady S.’ (Barbara Stanwyck) is no help — taking the attitude of ‘who cares in these kinds of pictures.”
“I don’t know how the picture is going. We started in confusion and have managed to develop that characteristic to an unusual degree. B.B. is still defending his script, I’m still feeding suggestions to A.D. and those two then huddle and argue. Right now I’m waiting to go to work and the scheduled scene is one of those that needs changing the most… B.S. (Stanwyck again) just continues to go her merry way in the exclusive company of two hairdressers and her maid. I wonder what picture she’s making.
This, incidentally, is my first crack at picture making since the big switch to TV film work in Hollywood and it bears out everything we’ve ever said. First of all — getting a crew was a case of rounding up who you could find. The industry, as we have so often said, literally forced our technicians to seek work in TV and now we reap the harvest. Ben said there was a scramble to get enough guys for this crew — with no thought whatsoever of picking and choosing.”