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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Monday, April 26, 2010
ladies who lunch - part 3


So....there are Mark & Dianne in the first picture above, on their Wedding Day, March 25th, 1975, and then there they are now, at our 'Ladies Who Lunch' on March 29, 2010......Sweet, Sweet, Sweet.....! Mark found the print-pictures I had hoped he would, and he scanned them in and emailed them to me....They are faded, but still very very dear. And here are our happy couple below, playing with some of the stuff that was in The Gift Bag........ Mark is holding up the 'Flip Flop Pads---upside down, but still....Dianne is sharpening one of her pencils with that Heart Sharpener that was in the Gift Bag--along with some Pencils.....And below, here are those Flip-Flop Pads right side up! And there were two different types of Sun Glasses included in this Bag....I thought they were both just terrific, so, being the excessive creature I am....... Here were the "Bat Women" type glasses, which Lee said she was going to wear at the next "Batman" convention up in San Francisco.....I must say, I thought everyone looked great in them....... Maybe they should all go to that "Batman" convention...lol...Then there were these wonderful Aviator-type glasses......After seeing them on Mark & Dianne, I thought they looked like they could be in the CIA so I asked them all to put those on and took a picture........ Betty particularly liked these glasses because they were UV proper, and with her Macular Degeneration, she needs to protect her eyes as well as she can...... Lee looked really cute in these glasses, too---especially holding up that squeeze ball and the adorable Ducky......Then, it was time for 'the presents'.....Hooray......! Dianne opened Betty's gift first because Betty had to leave early to go to an important appointment back at her house..... We do have fun.....! Dianne opened the card first and it was very very cute.......(Check out Betty's ring....it was one of the Bling Rings from the Goodie bag....nothing like pretty glitter....!) And Betty's gift to Dianne was a wonderful beautifully covered book which she can write in like a Diary or a Journal.... Very Very Pretty, isn't it? Then Dianne opened Lee's present next.Lee had to leave too, so she could drive Betty home for her appointment. Lee's card was really cute....... Lee is great at finding cards that have Nuns on them...Betty, Lee and Dianne did "Nunsense" together a couple of years ago and it is always great fun when Lee finds these cards.....Her gift was quite wonderful, too. Lee gave Dianne a beautiful hanging Wind Chime.....it had the prettiest sound and is perfect for Mark & Dianne's new home....And Lee didn't even realize they were moving! Serendipity. Then....Betty and Lee departed and it was just Seemah, Mark, Dianne and me that were left. Next, Dianne opened Seemah's gift......
Such a pretty card.....and it turned out there were two very beautiful gifts, as well...... Above, these lovely earrings and this really beautiful scarf, below! Dianne was thrilled with both these truly lovely gifts. And then.....Dianne opened my gift.
I saw this on Debra's blog, 'From Skilled Hands', and I thought it was so very special and unique. Each year, where Debra lives in Peninsula, OH., they have a Regional Food Bank Drive. And this fund raiser is called the "Cups Of Kindness" Art Show, and the money raised goes to this much needed Food Bank. Lots of artists participate in this by donating an original work of art. This particular cup by Kathleen Martin is called "Circus Cup". I thought it was so very beautiful and colorful that I decided to get it for Dianne. Above---you can see the inside of the cup.And in this picture above you can really see the bottom and sides of the cup. I love the idea of helping other people and in this case giving someone else a gift, at the same time. It is, in fact, a really lovely way to do both things. And both Mark & Dianne really loved this Cup and immediately knew where they were going to put it in their new abode! Such a delicate little cup....! And that bracelet on Dianne's arm was one of the goodies in The Gift Bag. So, there you have it. After the opening of the gifts, we four sat and talked for a couple of hours...... Dear Seemah.......The wonderful Mark...... And our delightful Birthday Girl, Dianne...... And below.....one last faded picture of The Dear Wedding Couple......


More To Come...........



Note: I spent a few hours at The Tile House last Sunday and took almost 300 pictures. It was a fantastic experience. The whole inside of the Ehling House is Mosaic, all designed by George....I'm still working on the pictures and organizing them with the end result being me continuing to share all of this fantastic creativity of George Ehling, with you.....So, be patient, please....As soon as I am able to start posting them, I will!





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Friday, April 23, 2010
"the red shoes"

"THE RED SHOES"



"....TIME RUSHES BY....
......LOVE RUSHES BY....
......LIFE, RUSHES BY......."

I wrote this Post back in early February, 2006. This Masterpiece of a film was on Turner Classic Movies, yesterday, Thursday, April 22, 2010. They showed the "RESTORED" version, which was thrilling to see.....I just had to post this again, because I want to share the great beauty of this film with those of you who may not be familiar with it. If you have never seen this stunning beautiful film, do rent it or buy it....It was released in 1948 but nothing about it is 62 years old. This is ART that inspires.....!

"The Red Shoes"
One of the GREATEST films ever made, and certainly the greatest film ever made about Ballet....THIS is a piece of 'art'. Truly, as if it were a Rembrandt, or a Michelangelo, or a Calder.....This film is GREAT GREAT "ART".

If you do not know it...RUN, do not walk, to the nearest rental place...But you better call them first....this is not a new film..it is old, well.....1948 was the release date...and ye it is 'new' in every way one would want a new movie to be 'new'.....

I've probably seen this film at least 20 times...actually, more like 30 times. It is never 'old hat'...never 'been there, done that'.....NEVER! And believe it or not, each time I see this film, I see something I haven't seen before...or, if I have seen it, it seems completely fresh and 'new' to me. How many films can you say that about?

It is as fresh and surprising and authentic as the first time I ever saw it, over sixty years ago. It is as current as human feelings are, and is so beautifully filmed that it puts to shame most of the films around today.

It is about passion. It is about obsession. It is about love...the love of creating. It is about creating 'art' and in this case the creating of a ballet and a ballet star, as well. If you do not like ballet at all...then move on right now, unless...unless you have a passion for creating, ...whether it be a ballet or a symphony or a play or a song or a poem or anything that holds you in the grip of this incredible process.

And if you love ballet, then you have probably seen "The Red Shoes" more than once. But, if you have not then you are in for a magical treat and very very moving magical treat at that...nothing like it before or since...nothing!

I recently saw this film again, and was so moved once again by everything about it, that I just had to share my enthusiasm with you...

So....I urge you with every fiber of my being to rent this film...(Netflix has it....I checked) or, if you are flush, this film might be one you would like to own...The Criterion Collection is the definitive DVD....

I began writing about this film a few weeks ago, (early 2006) and had no idea that it's beautiful star Moira Shearer, was about to die. She passed away a few days ago, at the age of 80. She was a Great Great Ballet star and one of the stars of this film, along with Marius Goring and the beyond-memorable Anton Walbrook...(who's line "....The Red Shoes will not be danced tonight...." stays with anyone who has seen this beautiful film...this speech and Anton Walbrooks performance, stays etched into one's brain, forever)....Miss Shearer played the leading role of the young woman who becomes a very successful Ballet Star. She was very well known in the ballet world for her special talents as a dancer, particularly with the Royal Ballet of England, originally called the Sadler Wells Ballet before changing it's name in 1956. She made a number of wonderful films and appeared in quite a few stage plays, as well. But most audiences today never had the opportunity to see her dance on the stage and know her only from this film "The Red Shoes".

Moira Shearer had this very beautiful red hair and a luminous presence both on the stage and in film and her acting and dancing were impeccable. So even after almost 60 years "The Red Shoes" has a magic to it that one rarely sees in films today, and certainly, this Masterpiece by the great C0-Directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who's body of work would make a whole blog essay in itself....(Miss Shearer appeared in another film of there's as well, "Tales Of Hoffman"...) will live on for another 60 years if not 600, and beyond that...,

I know I recommend a lot of films, and it is because in my opinion I really think they are superb, and of course my opinion is very subjective and comes from what moves me and touches my heart or tickles my funny bone or means something special to me. So with that in mind, this film, in my book gets 8 stars...yes....8!

A love story that goes beyond the love of two people for one another...a love story that transcends into the love of creating 'art' with music and dance and illusion.

Every Actor in this film is superb...All the dancers are truly fantastic....Many of them famous as Dancers and Choreographers back when this film was made....The "restoration" is a true gift to us and to our children and for all future generations who value the importance of film and it's place in our lives......

As I said, it's Beautiful in every way, and is a true work of Art.


I just had to share this, but know, I will resume my "Ladies Who Lunch - Part 3, shortly....

More To Come........






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Tuesday, April 20, 2010
ladies lunch - part 2

One of the things that is so great about this group of friends is---we never run out of things to talk about. Whether serious or funny---there is always so much to share...... And I am sure that comes from having so very many interests in common and so much shared history...... I have known Lee and Betty since 1962, having met at Theatre West and then within that first year, Betty Joyce V.P. and I did "Spoon River" and Lee was the understudy for all three of us. I met Dianne in 1967-68---at Theatre West. We worked together on Tom Skerritt's two One-Act plays..."Conversations Overheard"....I was the Producer and she was the Associate Producer---we did everything, including painting the sets! I met Mark when Dianne met Mark, in the early 1970's....And Seemah I met in 1975.....And we have all worked together, played together, been through sad times and happy times together....This day was one of the 'happy' times......And, speaking of happy times....it was now time for 'The
Cake(s)"....yes...I had two cakes! This first one above was Dianne's Birthday Cake---the fabulous Lemon Meringue that everyone loves, loves, loves........! Dianne particularly loves this cake as she is careful about eating chocolate....Then, I had an Anniversary Cake for Mark & Dianne and the candles were on that cake...... They were so cute about the candles.....35 years is a true milestone! And then....they blew out the candles! And of course, this was the Chocolate cake. I cannot have a 'Ladies Who Lunch' without a beautiful yummy Chocolate cake...... Below....A closer look at the Anniversary Cake...... Believe it or not...I have about 150 pictures of Mark & Dianne's Wedding...but, they are all slides! And I am unable to scan them in to my computer with the scanner I have.....I was hoping Mark might be able to email me a picture or two that I took of their Wedding---but what with moving and such, those pictures are in one of the many boxes that they have still not unpacked....But....here below is a picture of them (from the back) on that wonderful day.......March 25th, 1975 And, that is dear Betty and her late husband Larry Parks. This was at the reception, which was in the back yard of their house, and that is Mark in the beautiful white top and Dianne with that very sweet lace on her head.....Sadly, Larry died exactly two weeks after Mark & Dianne's Wedding..... Time to open the Gift Bags.....There were a lot of goodies in these bags.....And here below, the sweet soft plush Duck....... There were a few smiley-face things---that Orange Ball---something to exercise your fingers by squeezing. Those of us of a certain age need stuff like this.....lol. There were a few Smiley-Face stampers and there were a number of other things too....A Heart shaped Pencil Sharpener and some Hershey's Chocolates..... There were some very big flashy rings....A colorful bracelet over on the left--still unopened....A really nice small Kaleidoscope, and a Key Ring with a lip shaped thingy of Lip Gloss attached, which Dianne said was really nice! Also, a deck of round cards that looked like a Beach Ball.....And of course more of those little Hershey's Chocolates.
Stay Tuned for Part 3......

More To Come........







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