Mr. Arnold Baker '51 - 2011 A Award Recipient
Arnold Baker, class of 1951, received the A Award for his faithful witness and accomplishments in the film industry.
Baker came to Asbury with an interest in films and majored in Fine Arts, gaining a background not only in drawing and oil painting, but also philosophy, aesthetics and psychology. After graduation, he entered the U.S. Air Force and graduated from its School of Still Photography, completing an assignment as the still photographer attached to a motion picture crew stationed in Panama.
In 1955, Baker began his studies in the University of Southern California’s Department of Cinema, completing more than twice the units required for the master’s degree. While a graduate student, he was the editor on a film that won a Screen Producer’s Guild award for best student picture of the year. By the time he finished the degree in 1962, he had edited a faculty production, headed the film lab, helped restore some of the Library of Congress’s earliest copyrighted films and learned to print and process several types of film.
Experience and enthusiasm notwithstanding, however, the film industry proved difficult to enter. Lacking the connections needed to get his foot in the door, Baker went back to school to earn credentials to teach high-school fine arts while he continued to seek out opportunities to work in the industry. His break came when he was offered a position as a go-fer at an independent production company, and after advancing to post-production supervisor, landed a job at Universal Studios.
After working several years on both television shows and feature-length films, including Clint Eastwood’s “Two Mules for Sister Sarah” and Robert Wise’s “The Hindenberg,” Baker spent two years working on television shows at Columbia Studio before moving to the lot at Twentieth Century Fox with Spelling-Goldberg Productions. A member of a team that released five hour-long primetime television shows each week, Baker worked on some of the most well-known shows of the time, including “Starsky and Hutch,” “Love Boat,” “Dynasty” and “Charlie’s Angels.”
Throughout his years as an editor in the film industry, Baker continued teaching. In an environment where who you know is as important as what you know, Baker provided a point of contact for dozens of students through his film editing classes at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and as a production teacher in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California.
On top of his achievements as a teacher and film editor, however, students and colleagues cite Baker’s quiet, gentle and constant witness as a source of encouragement and inspiration. Paving the way for believers who would come after him, Baker has weathered the peaks and valleys of a career in Hollywood with patience and integrity, making a lasting impact for God’s kingdom.