‘Silent Service’ Soon to Surface in Limelight

When movie producer Mace Neufeld bought the rights to Tom Clancy’s submarine suspense novel “The Hunt for Red October,” he decided the best way to get the Navy’s cooperation was to go directly to the top of the chain of command.

It worked.

From a meeting with then-U. S. Secretary of Navy John Lehman has come cooperation that Neufeld calls “nothing short of fantastic,” including access to heretofore hush-hush nuclear-powered submarines based in San Diego and elsewhere.

Navy brass hope “Red October,” the story of a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game between U. S. and Soviet submariners, will provide the same kind of boost for submarine and surface fleet enlistment and prestige that “Top Gun” gave to naval aviation.


“The submarine service has been the ‘silent service,’ both practically and philosophically,” said Capt. Michael T. Sherman, the Navy’s liaison with Hollywood. “That will change with ‘Red October.’ The public is going to be amazed at the technology and the skill involved.”

To prep for their roles, stars Alec Baldwin (the home buyer in “Beetlejuice”) and Scott Glenn (the ex-con in “Urban Cowboy”) recently spent a night at sea aboard the San Diego-based Salt Lake City, a nuclear attack sub. Baldwin is set to undergo emergency training at Miramar Naval Air Station.

The film company will spend a week in San Diego, using a dry dock on Point Loma and shooting for two days in the torpedo room of the non-nuclear Blueback. This summer, the nuclear-powered sub Houston and helicopters from North Island Naval Air Station will head to Puget Sound for action sequences.

To please the Navy, Neufeld agreed to several minor script changes, mostly deletion of X-rated language by sailors. There also have been limits to the Navy’s ability to cooperate with “Red October.”

When cast and crew are aboard the subs, certain high-tech areas are off-limits, and depth and speed gauges are always draped. The instrument panels seen in the movie--from three mock-ups mounted on a sound stage at Paramount--will be realistic but will not give away any secrets.

Two days of filming will be done at sea aboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise. But the crash landing of an F-14 will have to be accomplished the Hollywood way: special effects.

Borderline Intelligence

For the second straight weekend, San Diego police will require teen-agers under 18 to show a permission note from their parents before being allowed to cross into Tijuana.


One would-be reveler that police do not expect to see again is a gutsy, if not particularly brainy, youth from El Toro who was refused entrance twice last weekend.

First he arrived at the border with a note that was easily spotted as phony. Minutes later he tried a new tack: sporting a fake ID showing him as 18.

On the second try, police called his parents. His father arrived two hours later: pleased with police for calling him, less pleased with his offspring.

He’s Not Intimidated


San Diego City Councilman Bruce Henderson, upset at the ouster of Sharon Rogers as a teacher at La Jolla Country Day School, says he may introduce an ordinance to ban discrimination against anyone who is the target of a terrorist attack or threat.

“I don’t mean to belittle people’s concern for their children, but you don’t maximize the health and welfare of your children by giving in to a terrorist act,” he said. “You just encourage more terrorist acts by doing that.”

Henderson said he is studying, as a model, the city’s ordinance banning housing and job discrimination against people with AIDS. The AIDS ordinance allows victims to sue for treble damages but carries no criminal penalties.

The first-term councilman said he will wait until more is known about the March 10 bombing of Rogers’ van before deciding whether to make a formal proposal. He said he hopes that La Jolla Country Day reverses its decision.


“It shocked me that they’d be intimidated like that,” Henderson said.