by Bernard Gordon
Irving Lerner helped me in every department. As associate producer, he worked with the cameraman and the film editor, a youthful Englishman, Bob Dearberg, who benefited enormously from Irving's expertise. Irving knew a great deal about laboratory work, film editing, and cameras, but his greatest expertise was music. He had started life as a musician. Irving and Telly Savalas persuaded me to hire John Cacavas to do the score of the film, even though we had to throw in a Spanish composer for nationality reasons. Cacavas was of Greek extraction, automatically making him a close friend of Telly, but Cacavas was very much an American who had been raised in the Midwest, perhaps one of the Dakotas. He was a talented and experienced conductor and composer but had never done a film score. He was willing to work for practically nothing to get started in the business. For HORROR EXPRESS, John Cacavas really took over, writing and conducting the entire score. Working with Irving, he developed a series of special themes or motifs that represented different characters or movements of our story. We came away with a superior score that has been commented on by people who know. Cacavas went on with Telly to make a distinguished career at Univesal doing the Kojak series and many more.