I only knew Ralph Moratz online. He was very gracious about answering questions and we corresponded about his experiences with Robert Taylor and his opinion of Mr. Taylor. Ralph Moratz died on March 10, 2016 at the age of 84. Please note that none of this is used by permission but I don’t think Mr. Moratz would mind.
Ralph Moratz was born to a Jewish family in Germany on October 10, 1931. During the Holcaust he suffered tremendously. For details go to his page at the Internet Movie Database. In 1941 he was able to escape to America and lived in New York. After graduation from Flushing High School, Ralph enlisted in the US Air Force for a four year stint. He joining Central Casting and the Screen Extras Guild in Nov 1953 and was subsequently booked on over 2,000 extra days. He also had several bit parts. Mr. Moratz became a member of the Screen Actors Guild in 1955 and AFTRA in the 1980s. Ralph took a 30 year hiatus to become a programmer, programmer analyst, and Application Manager of Payroll and Consumer Loans at a Major bank in Los Angeles. After retirement Ralph returned to background acting. Most of his extra work was done in the fifties, including several appearances on Robert Taylor’s Detectives. (Adapted from the IMDb entry Ralph Moratz)
The following text is from Ralph Moratz’ wonderful web site In Another Time, he Universe of Ralph M.
“In the late 1950s, after the Black Saddle series wrapped for good, I was able to secure a new stand-in position on the Robert Taylor Detective series. In fact, strangely, I stood in for Robert Taylor for nearly two years. I say strangely since I had no resemblance to Robert Taylor neither in features, hair color, nor height. Nor was I related to anyone on the show. 🙂 It was more
a case of having proven myself as an attentive and reliable stand-in on the Black Saddle series and both were produced by Four Star Productions (This is the company that took over the old Republic Studios. Rifleman, The Big Valley, Wanted Dead Or Alive and many other shows were in production at the same time under the Four Star banner.)
“Moreover, as I soon discovered, Robert Taylor was such a huge screen star that any production he was involved with always had the best of technicians in all categories. The camera men and lighting guys were so good that often I was only called into the set for a few brief minutes for the camera to set the shot and the lighting paraphernalia adjustments applied.
“I’m often asked what was Bob like or what was it like to work with him. As huge as he was on the screen, on the set his presence was equally imposing. An aura of self-assurance and kindness coupled with incredible stage presence and talent is one recollection. Idiosyncrasies or signs of greatness; he almost always bought his lunch in a paper bag, rarely leaving the environment of the set and his dressing room from the time he appeared in the morning until he was wrapped for the day; he went out of his way to relax any day player who showed signs of nervousness or stage fright bought on by working with him;
extremely courteous to all (even me) around him; his normal speaking voice was identical to the sound you hear on the screen; often making slight script adjustment suggestions to the director but never making a demand. Unlike other big stars I worked with, Bob never lost his cool or showed any signs of anger. I think only Gary Cooper had those same qualities.”
“Long before I stood in for Robert Taylor, I was booked on D-Day 6th Of June and worked in a scene with Bob: