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Young Steven Spielberg: 23C

While visiting his cousins in Canoga Park in the summer of 1965, 17-year-old Steven Spielberg took the studio tour of Universal Pictures. "The tram wasn't stopping at the sound stages," Spielberg recalled. "So during a bathroom break I snuck away and wandered over there, just watching. I met a man who asked what I was doing, and I told him my story. Instead of calling the guards to throw me off the lot, he talked with me for about an hour. His name was Chuck Silvers, head of the editorial department. He said he'd like to see some of my little films, and so he gave me a pass to get on the lot the next day. I showed him about four of my 8-mm films. He was very impressed. Then he said, 'I don't have the authority to write you any more passes, but good luck to you.'"

The next day, a young man sporting a slick suit and briefcase strode past the gate, waved at the guard, and heaved a silent sigh: He had made it! "It was my father's briefcase," he recalled. "There was nothing in it but a sandwich and two candy bars. So every day that summer I went in my suit and hung out with directors and writers and editors and dubbers. I found an office that wasn't being used, and became a squatter. I went to a camera store, bought some plastic name titles and put my name in the building directory: Steven Spielberg, Room 23C."

[Two years later, Spielberg enrolled in the film school at California State University, Long Beach. Soon thereafter, he showed his first 16-mm film at Universal. The next day, he was called in to see Sid Sheinberg, head of TV production, and offered a seven-year contract to direct Universal TV series. He was 20 years old. "I quit college so fast," Spielberg recalled, "I didn't even clean out my locker."]

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