Here is a photograph taken about 8 years later by a wonderful Actor/Director named Lee Phillips....This was for publicity too, but had a much more natural look...this was for the run of "Spoon River" at The Theatre Group at UCLA where we were seen by a New York producer and the Broadway production of this very special show began to take form.This was in April of 1963. Lee took this photo of me in Betty & Larry's back yard...This photograph looks like the "real" me....(not the manufactured pretend "Nightclub Star" person....)
The "Spoon River" experience began for me in January of that year. This was the beginning of one of the happiest most productive periods of my life. The 'run' at UCLA was a glorious experience and then we were booked to go to New York, opening on September 29th, 1963 at The Booth Theatre. This was a dream come true in every way for everyone involved. This picture appeared in The New York Times Magazine section, on Sunday Sept. 8th, 1963. That's me with the violin...see, all those lessons came in very handy when we needed a violin to illustrate one of the characters from "Spoon River" named Fiddler Jones. This photograph had actually been taken when we did the show that spring at The Theatre Group. The New York producers bought the costumes, the benches we sat on and the 'lectern' that we used. Everybody went for a subway token...! Well, not really, but no one got their regular Broadway salary because this was 'a labor of love', and it was supposed to be a limited engagement of four weeks. We played for fourteen and could have played through the spring of 1964 but the Producers had gotten what they wanted which was a reputation for putting on classy stuff! They had bigger fish to fry. So they closed us with people clamoring for us to remain open. As far as my salary was concerned, I was happy to get paid...cause I didn't have a "regular Broadway salary...". Another photograph from The Theatre Group production that appeared in that same Sunday New York Times article. After our opening, on September 29th, the New York Times critic gave us one of the greatest quotable reviews one could ask for. "Let no one say that California only takes and does not give!" This may not seem like much of anything to any of you but there was and there still is a prejudice about something that has started in California and then comes to Broadway...the critics are ready to shoot it down just because it didn't begin in New York, and that old saw...it cannot be very good if it came from "that coast". The reviews, (there were seven New York papers at that time,) were all raves. I know I posted two other pictures from the CBS Special's 'publicity' pictures, but I'm postimg another one because Hal Lynch, my fellow 'folk singer' was not in the Theatre Group production, but he was in the Broadway production and the CBS Special. This photograph was taken in the summer of 1967, though the special was not 'aired' until 1969. Go figure.
And since I am in the 'performance' mode....here is another picture that I found of our little band at the Lear Schoool...me playing my sturdy Triangle over on the far left...and someone is actually holding a Lear School banner. It appears we are in rehearsal clothes. This is the last of the Lear School photo's, circa 1935-36, Miami, Florida. At least I think it is the last. Time will tell, won't it...? (lol) And since this seems to be Musical Instrument day...here is the final photo for today's post... Gene and I at the piano in Great Neck, with our Violins. Gene is seated and I am standing, and in fact, I think that is my Viola...the year is 1945-or 1946....
More will be revealed on the morrow....
IDEA: Chris, who commented today suggested that I do a Q &A because she had so many questions and I am aware that other people have had questions too...some of them I have tried to answer on their blogs or in emails, but I really like the idea of this Q&A so I think after my Birthday I will ask all of you who have questions to post them on my blog in the comments each day for a few days and then I will devote a post or two to answering these questions as best as I can...
Naomi, I love these trips back in time. Even after your birthday passes, you must continue a weekly "Back to the Future" segment! :)
I agree with Chatty~ I loved this post and it does make me want to read more. I am sorry Gorden has such bad memories of The Farm. Your memories are very special and so much fun for us to sneak a peek into!
Great pictures and stories as always. I agree with Chatty .
Emotional abuse was (and still is) one of those silent horrors of many children's childhoods. I felt bad to read about Gordon's experience.
Loved your "glamour" publicity shot. Reminded me of all the pin-ups of the 40's and 50's. Such a difference from the candids the celebs have done now a days.
How I wish I could have experienced Spoon River on Broadway....my first trip to Broadway wasn't until 1974...on my honeymoon...to see Grease and I cannot remember the other one, but Ruth Warwick was in it. That first experience was an instant love for the theater and had us going back to NYC a couple times a year for other Broadway productions. Sorry to say it's now been about 8 years since I've been there...to see "Rent."
Your postings are stirring so many memories for me...so thanks for all the sharing.
you are lucky so many photo's were taken of you and your family as children to be able to do this!! I wish you had more photo's of the farm too! Gorgeous home!
we are learning a lot about Naomi because of this special birthday!!
(only a few days to go!!)
My mom and her brothers were horribly abused by my grandfather. ...and like your mom, my grandmother did nothing but allow it. Needless to say, they harbor more anger against their mother than their father, for not protecting them. So very sad. How wonderful of you to share with us!
Great trip down memory lane as usual. I really love the shot of the old billiard ball.
I love when you take us back in time! It is like your story has way too many interesting chapters. So yeah you have to keep doing it! :)
Love the pictures and that second publicity shot of you was stunning!
I've just stumbled across you and I just want you to know how facinating I find your blog.
All the memories of your youth complete with wonderful photos, your lovely garden...everything!
Thanks for sharing with the world. (and me in particular)
va-va-voom, naomi! you must have turned quite a few heads!
hope you don't mind that i ate some of the olives...;)
Gee Naomi, you never told me that you played the violin! You look so natural at it, too! Really enjoyed the publicity shots, and I am REALLY impressed with your history.
LAST GIRL ON EARTH
You look so lovely in that picture. It reminds of those old glamour and the likes of Audrey Hepburn. Classical and stunning.
I am sorry to hear that your brother, Gordon wasnt able to exp. the wonderful stuff in the farm though.
The question/answer idea is a great one. I'll start on my list today.
I've been away a few days and see I have loads to catch up on. Love reading these stories. I'm so sorry for Gordon. Thanks for these posts, Naomi! And although that one shot is very glamorous and pretty, I also like the more natural one. A very pretty image with a great "feel". Thanks again for sharing with us!
I had a LOT to catch up on. I was four posts behind, but I read them and throughly enjoyed the photos.
My high speed internet got repaired this morning - a day earlier than expected - and I am rejoicing!!
The Farm photos are wonderful. The house looks so nice. That front door is impressive!
I am so sad about the way Gordon was treated by your dad. That kind of emotional damage lasts a lifetime. Your pain is evident as well, as you talk of all that happened within your complicated family. You dealt with so much at such a young age.
I like both photos- your glamour shot and your more natural promotional shot. I agree that the natural one shows more of the real YOU, but the glamour shot is HOT! What a looker!! :)
You talked of gaining and losing weight. What a battle we women face!! I try to keep my weight under control, because deep inside me there's a fat lady that has to be regularly beaten into submission.
I look forward to the Q & A posts. BTW, Tom Skerrit is an actor I really like. He has always reminded me of an uncle of mine.
Your big birthday bash is coming soon!!!!!!!
How beautiful you are in these photos. :-). I would love to come some day and visit with you. Have lunch somewhere in downtown L.A. and let me hear in your voice tell of the past. Reading you is a pleasure. I'm not very good with words as you may see in describing what I'm trying to say, but I do hope you get it. Thank you for sharing your life with us cyber folk. I can not wait until you tell more about your amazing life.:-)
Have a great day!!!
I love the idea of a Q & A post! That will be so interesting!!!
As usual I was spellbound reading your post! These memories are so interesting, even though some are not so pleasant, it's wonderful that you are sharing them with us.
You look a little different in each picture, so far. It's kind of fascinating. Enjoying your ruminations very much, continuing to read. :)
Every day I enjoy so much your great pictures and amazing stories as always! Happy moments and sad moments. And I am so sorry about Gordon.
Love all photos! Your glamour photo is gorgeous and the photo by Lee Phillips is gorgeous, too.
The Q & A posts is a great idea!
The big Birthday Party is coming soon! Hurray!
Oh, you are such the party animal! You look like a pinup girl in that 1 photo. I LOVE your eyes, they are just mesmerizing. Thanks for sharing with us.
Love the glamour shot even if it isn't the real you.
I was three days old when you opened !!
I am saving all my questions for August Aunty Em.
BTW I just got my flights confirmed YEAH !! :)
The New York/California thing is interesting, and it played out marvelously in painting around San Francisco, as I’m sure you know. The Bay Area Figurative Painters were a reaction to and largely a rejection of the abstract New York School spearheaded by some of the painter in San Francisco that were trying to catch up with East Coast abstraction. David Park reportedly drove all his abstract canvases to the dump and began painting distinctive post modern figurative work. He brought Richard Diebenkorn and many others with him, and t hey created something original and great in California. Thank God.
These memories would make a wonderful book. You have such stories! It's strange how the camera can freeze in time a part of us we don't recognize. Michele says hi.
You always have so much to say-- and so interesting!
I love all these pictures down memory lane Naomi! You are so talented in so many ways!
How nice that you got one of the pool balls to keep. That was nice of your step-mother to get that for you.
So sad Gordon didn't get to enjoy the farm.
Looking forward to the party! The Q&A thing sounds very interesting too!!
Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
Location: Los Angeles, California