Thursday, April 29, 2010
sammy & "PT 109"

On Thursday, April 29th, Turner Classic Movies will be showing "PT-109", the film made about John F. Kennedy's Navy experiences, starring Cliff Robertson as JFK. The film was released in 1963 but was actually filmed in 1962, on location, in Florida. My dear friend and life-long Soul-Mate, until he died in 1985, Sammy, was in this film. He had a wonderful part, playing Andrew Kirksey, one of the men who was killed when the 109 got hit. Sammy had a lovely scene with Cliff Robertson, where he shared with him that he had this premonition that he was going to die and Robertson as JFK tried to quell his fears.....But, in fact, Kirksey did die. Below, a picture of the "real" crew and below that, the recreated photograph for the film.....
Some of the names of the crew are different and in the original a few of the men were not in the picture. Spending eight weeks on location in Florida, all these guys got pretty close. Sammy remained friends with Lew Gallo, Norman Fell, (both not in the picture above), Sam Gilman, David Whorf, John Ward and Robert Blake. And that is how I got to know these terrific men......Cliff Robertson was 'hand picked' by JFK to play him in the film, and he was really wonderful....The perfect choice, in fact. As you can see above, that's JFK on the left and Cliff Robertson on the right.....This was not a great movie, but it was a very good one. And when it was released in June of 1963 it received rather tepid reviews, and not unfairly, though I personally liked it very much because my friend was in it and very good in it, too.....I remember Warner Bros. had to give Sammy a toupee---by that time he had lost a lot of his beautiful head of hair.....See this photo below taken in the summer of 1951...... This was taken at The Sea Cliff Summer Theatre, where we were both apprentices, having met in the fall of 1950 at The Feagin School Of Drama & Radio (yes....'radio'.....) which was located in New York City in The International Building of Rockefeller Center, on the 6th floor. That is where we met---on the very first day of school. I was 19 and Sammy was 20.....And that was it. We became fast friends and remained really close for 35 years....Here below, a picture of Sammy around early 1962....You can see the receding hair was happening, already. The toupee that they found for Sammy, which fit him perfectly and looked right for the character, had 'Gene Kelly' written inside of it. We both loved that! I haven't seen the film in a while, (Though I will see it today...), and I don't have a picture of Sammy in that Gene Kelly toupee...but my memory is, this is what it looked like.....
Most of the time when we saw Sammy in this film----except for that particular scene----he had on his sailor's hat......This film has never been released on DVD, sad to say, and who knows if it ever will be. One can get a VHS copy, but it might be a pirated one, at that. It will be great to see Sammy in this film, once again....So, if anyone is able, it will be broadcast at 8pm on the East Coast and 5pm here on the West Coast on TCM......I miss Sammy every day of my life----in some ways, more now than ever. So it will be wonderful to see him once again, doing what he loved to do and was so good at...... I suppose one could say this is living in the past...Well, I think as we get older we treasure all those wonderful memories of times gone by and people gone by, too, even more.....I'm sure my memories of Sammy will appear on these pages again as they already have in the past.....And why not? When someone is very dear to you and so unique in every way----they are there in your consciousness even when you are not actively thinking about them.....He enriched my life in so very many ways and he taught me a lot about so very many things---not the least of which was true friendship and unconditional love......I loved him dearly.

Watch "PT 109" if you can.......

More To Come........









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24 Comments:
had this to say:

What a truly beautiful post. I love the way you talk about Sammy. What a wonderful friend he was.

Memories are what keep us all going. The past is in many ways our future, and our present. The people that come and go from our lives shape us into who we are.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 1:04:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

wonderful post Naomi... you have so many wonderful memories and I never tire of listening to them !

special people in our lives deserve to stay in our lives by remembering everything about them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4:33:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

A lovely tribute to your friend. And I wouldn't worry about "living in the past." People are truly blessed during their lives, which becomes evident in how they're remembered after they're gone.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Loved this post and your caring for Sammy is so clear and solid. We all have or need a Sammy in our lives.
I do watch TCM a lot so I will look out for it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 5:03:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

How wonderful it is that you have this movie available, so you can see Sammy again.

I met Cliff Robertson here in Raleigh; he was the "star" who came here to attend the Red Sword Ball for the American Cancer Society, and I had done the decor for the ball. He was charming and so handsome - and shorter than I by at least 3".
As you may recall, I met JFK too, in 1960, when he was running for President.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Academy Award Winner Cliff Robertson comments on tonight's TCM broadcast of PT 109 www.thomcomm.net/featurefilmmarketing/cliffrobertson.html

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 7:02:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I would love to but I dont have cable and I wont be home.We have to go to the grocery store after I am done with work tonight..so no movies tonight..I hope you enjoy the movie though and thanks for the grand review of when you first saw it with real photo's of people you know..

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 8:41:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a beautiful tribute about friendship and more so about love between two good friends. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 3:24:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm recording the movie tonight to watch later!

This post made me cry. I can't imagine having someone in your life and then going without them for so long.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4:08:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Ily
had this to say:

I would love to hear more stories about Sammy. To have a soul mate for all those years...there must be so many stories to tell.

I will tune into TCM tonight and see if it's not too late to catch "PT-109."

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:24:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

A soulmate should be remembered and shared, again and again. I'm sure I saw that movie.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Hey Naomi.....reading this post makes me wanna cry because I felt in a way connected to Sammy and your wonderful friendship between both of you.

A beautiful tribute and I hope I get to watch it too. He looked so handsome there :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I've been married for 32 years but my soulmate is a wonderful friend of mine. He is a 27 year old gay man and we have worked together for the last 4 years. We are the best of friends and he is gong to be leaving the company soon to start teaching history in an inner city school. He was born to teach and to make people laugh. Every day at break, we sit in my cubicle and tell each other stories and laugh our heads off. People look at us like we are crazy, but we both say that we are our true selves when we are with each other. I don't know what I'm going to do when he leaves the company as I'll miss him terribly.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 9:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Aww that was sweet and straight from the heart. I shall watch out for this movie as we get the Turner Classic Movies here too. Memories - I love to hear about yours and they always live on and how can you not be reminded of them given the industry you are in. I hope you enjoyed watching this again. Keep telling us more just like you always do. Its fascinating and what a wonderful friend you must be to so many too.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I have seen this movie but didn't realize Sammy was in it. He is very handsome!

You aren't living in the past just remembering all your wonderful memories of someone you loved so much! I know you miss him so!!

Love and hugs,
Rachel

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 7:06:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I've never seen PT109, but have heard about the movie, and the fact that it is based on a true story. You friend Sammy looks like a really nice man. How lovely for you to have enjoyed his friendship.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 8:41:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, having lost so many people I loved so much I understood and respected every word you wrote..only today I was walking in Lake Placid (I'm on vacation this week) I looked straight ahead and envisioned my mom walking towards me with my son Daniel. I felt their presence in my heart and soul because I had given them my thoughts and remembered the wonderful love and feelings they shared with me while living in this sometimes confusing world. Thus, a beautiful post, from a lovely lady who knew and treasured unconditional love, and yes I'll try to see the movie again, and I will think of Sammy for you..as our loved one deserve to be remembered often.

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 11:47:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I think it's good to remember those we loved, to talk about them and enjoyed reading your remembrances. It's a terrible loss to lose a soul mate but in a way we never do as at least we had them.

I have never seen PT 109

Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 5:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

A beautiful and a touching post Naomi! Telling us this story allowed us to get to know you more as well as knowing the people around you that you cherished deeply.

Btw, I am still wondering if you still have problems reading my blog since I made an adjustments and the likes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 5:30:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I don't see it as living in the past but as carrying those we love forward with us

beautiful post my dear friend

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 6:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I don't get the impression you live in the past anyway... but having said that what would be wrong with it anyhow? Sometimes it's a way nicer place than the present!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 3:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Just catching up on all the posts I've been missing. I guess I missed the airing of this film. I remember seeing parts of it before, but never the whole movie. I didn't remember seeing Robert Blake in it, maybe he just wasn't in the segments I caught. I think you should remember people who were important to you and I think it's wonderful that you can reminisce and take us along for the journey. Your memories and stories are important and I am glad you had such a special person in your life. We should all be so lucky. I also think when we remember a loved one, wherever they are, they know it and are warmed by our remembering.

Monday, May 3, 2010 at 2:59:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

I spend a lot of my time thinking of friends and family - many of whom are no longer here- but they live on in our hearts.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 3:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful post, but to be honest, all your posts are pretty wonderful.
I know what you mean about "living in the past" I don't know if it's really that so much as keeping those we love alive by remembering them. Sure, sometimes I long for those days, but I enjoy reliving them too because it makes our dear friends and family seem not so far away.
Keep writing about your past, it's fascinating and wonderful and shows the love you have for your friends and they for you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 2:54:00 AM PDT 

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