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Tom Graeff's Graduation Photo
Tom's 1952 UCLA graduation photo.

Young Chuck Roberts
Chuck in 1953, a year before he met Tom.

Chuck Roberts in The Orange Coast College Story
Chuck in OCCS. (1954)

settling in ...
After graduating from UCLA in 1952, Tom faced the plight of many a film student: difficulty in getting jobs in the industry and having films produced. He struggled for a few years to get projects off the ground, while he still lived at home with his parents.



The Orange Coast College Story

In the spring of 1954, Tom was hired to produce a short film by newly-established Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. He was given virtually free reign of the campus, with no supervising staff or faculty. It was a lucky break, and a chance for Tom to show his resourcefulness.


The short starred dozens of faculty and students, most of whom had no acting experience, including the fresh-faced "Chuck Roberts", aka Charles Robert Kaltenthaler, with whom Tom would become romantically involved.

There was no script for the Orange Coast College Story, rare for Graeff, who was a stickler for the page. However Tom did have a plan. Filming was completed in three weeks, and Tom wrapped production in less than a month. Vincent Price narrated as a favor to Dr. Norman Watson, the faculty supervisor of the project.

The film premiered on April 29th, 1954, at the OCC spring open house. It was mentioned in a number of Southern California newspapers, including the LA Times. This was the first article in the Times to mention Tom by name. The blurb also contains the first time that Tom and Chuck are mentioned together in print.

Tom gets into feature films >>

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