Monday, April 28, 2014
a deamy dream


I had this dream the other night about Jack Nicholson....we were all young and full of hopes and 'dreams' of the future.....
I woke up and thought....'now why did I dream about Jack?'
It was a very nice dream and actually did have some relationship to a long ago personal time with him.

He was young and so handsome and so incredibly talented.
Back in the day, as we say now, Jack was a very active member of Theatre West---the long time group that I still belong to, though I am inactive now......
This time that we all spent with Jack, was in the mid 1960's.....Our little group of professionals were housed at a 90 seat Theatre in Van Nuys---in fact, it was on the corner of Van Nuys and Dickens, for anyone familiar with that area. (Once a little Post Office----now, a Restaurant....everything changes.....)
It was Theatre West's second space....we moved there in 1964 and stayed there till 1967-68, when we moved to our present and l-o-n-g time home on Cahuenga Blvd West.

Jack came into TW sometime in '64 I believe....he was dedicated and involved and I remember him working on a wonderful play by the brilliantly talented writer, Charles Eastman.

Charles was also Directing his play, as well. He  was such a truly gifted man; a dedicated Artist-----I think they worked on that play for at least six months......

It was quite a cast----there was Jack and the wonderful Paul Winfield.

Paul was so young then, too.....just out of UCLA.....so very very talented.......

And the very talented and underrated actress Brett Somers.
Working on everything at Theatre West was a 'labor of love'.  No one got paid---you did things because you just had to, to fulfill the passion of creating, whether you were an actor, a writer, a composer, a director, or a set designer, etc., etc....
And of course when these projects grew and developed, there was always some hope that whatever it was you were working on---especially if it was a whole evening----that it would get on at our little theatre for the public to see----back in those days, we didn't charge anything for tickets---it was free to anyone and everyone who wanted to come.....The Theatre West Board voted on what was shown to the public and what wasn't.
Charles' play did not get on---one of the few mistakes our little group made back in those early days, I must say.
I never knew anyone to work as hard as Charles and his deeply dedicated cast.  It was an exciting play---new in many ways---and maybe the feeling was it was 'too far out' at that time.
Well, the Board was wrong.
One of the joys of Theatre West on a Monday Night was after an evening of exciting and stimulating work, some of us would go out afterwards to a local pub where people could get a bite to eat or have a beer, or a drink, and we had this lovely social interaction based on the shared experience of the evening, and friendships were deepened by these 'after the workshop' outings.....We had lots of laughs and lots of heated discussions, and sometimes we closed the place down.....
Jack was always a part of these after workshop gatherings as was dear Betty Garrett and many other wonderful talented people who were a part of Theatre West at that time---like Carroll O'Connor, and Richard Dreyfuss, who was just a kid back then.....


I remember at that time Jack was trying to get a couple of independent films off the ground with Roger Corman---Jack had written a script or two and was hoping Corman would  produce them.....He had acted in a number of Corman films during those early years of his career.
I felt a real affinity with Jack, and dear Betty Garrett did too.....He was smart and funny and dedicated and passionate about his work. And Ohhhhh so attractive!
I remember one night we all were having such a good time at the Golden Bull, and it was almost closing time and Betty said----'Hey, why don't we go back to my house'.....So, Jack and Betty and I all went back to her place.....Betty's husband, Larry Parks, was fast asleep, as were her two boys, and we---Jack and Betty and myself----stayed up all night just talking and laughing and philosophizing the way you do in the wee hours of the morning----and before you know it, dawn was breaking.  When Jack and I left Betty's house, the sun was just about peeking up over the hill and it was a little after 6am.....
It was one of those memorable nights that one never forgets.....
In fact, Betty was talking about it with the 'Ladies Who Lunch' at that very last lunch we had before she died---still remembering that special night, all those years later. 
I don't remember exactly what we talked about that night---just that we shared more personal things and the difficulties of life, in general, and the difficulties of a life in the theatre, in particular.
It was a great evening!

Jack did get a bunch of movies made with Corman and got so busy, that his Theatre West days fell by the wayside.....
And then came "Easy Rider".......
And the rest is History.
My dream the other night had something to do with that all-night-into-day marathon evening so very many many years ago....
It was, as I said, a really nice dream----it made me feel good, and I woke up thinking---'Gee, what a nice dream that was'.....And it brought back those early Theatre West days and the Evenings of thrilling work on a Monday night and then, the kind of social celebrating that became part of the work, after, at The Golden Bull.......




The last time I actually saw Jack, in person, was sometime in the mid 70's.....I was having Lunch at Musso and Franks on Hollywood Blvd.---a very popular Hollywood Restaurant where many deals were made and lots of good food was consumed---an old fashioned place with a long long history---the oldest Restaurant in Hollywood, and it is still there.
I was having lunch with a sweet friend of mine at one of the smaller booths---a booth for two----and Jack came in through the back, where the parking lot was----by this time he was a big star....
He saw me and with that gorgeous smile, leaned over and gave me a kiss and said 'Hey...Naomi!'
He sat down next to me on this bench seat for one and it was so incredibly lovely to see him and feel that he too had such wonderful memories of all those years before when we were so close, at Theatre West......And sitting so close on that bench-for-one, out of necessity, felt just about as wonderful as you might imagine it would!
I'm not sure what triggered that lovely dream, but it certainly flooded me with lots of sweet wonderful memories, when we were all young and when Jack was just starting out----a young man with a big talent and even bigger dreams.
And he has had a truly great career and deservedly so......

It's strange how lives drift apart, but not unusual in a business that takes people all over the country and the world, for months at a time.

That night, so very many many years ago stayed with me and stayed with Betty, too.
There was something very special about it; very intimate and sweet, and it was all about the love of our work.....people looking forward to living out more of their hopes and dreams.
It was unforgettable.......


More To Come........

  







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20 Comments:
had this to say:

I have never commented on your site before but I did want to send you a note to tell you how much I have enjoyed your site and all your blogs. I am a big fan. Thank you for all you share .

Monday, April 28, 2014 at 4:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Just a note to say to you how much I have enjoyed your site. I love reading your stories about all your friends in the entertainment industry. I had the pleasure of meeting Betty Garrett in 1985 when she came to N.Y for an Al Jolson 100th birthday event.She was just so nice and friendly to all around her. Thank you again for all you do...I look forward to reading more....Best Regards, A Big Fan

Monday, April 28, 2014 at 5:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post, so I'm assuming you had a bit of a crush on him too! Ha. I can understand why, he seems full of charisma and charm!

It's nice when we have pleasant dreams and not nightmares!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 2:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful dream and even better memories. I rather like looking back at those times long ago when things weren't dependent on money or what was popular -- but on the passion. I've had the opportunity in recent years to work with our university's theatre board and have been able to see young people just getting their start, finding their niche. Some are clearly better than others, all have a passion or commitment. Those must be wonderful thoughts on which to consider and reflect.

The other day I was cleaning the china cabinet and found a bowl of matches -- including some from Musso and Frank's from a visit sometime in the late 70s, maybe early 80s. When you described your meeting with Jack N. there, it brought back some fun memories of my own.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 5:51:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful dream, Naomi!
Jack Nicholson is a great actor and very fascinating and attractive too. Looks amazing that you had some relationship with him. Great memories! :)




Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 9:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful dream but an even a better memory. Obviously that night meant something to him also.
What a killer smile that man has. I heard he has finally retired. That is a loss.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 12:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a precious memory. Thanks for sharing that. I never knew Jack did any of that. I've moments like that before too. You stay up late, talking right through the night with someone, connecting on this magical level and it stays with you for life. I'm so glad you connected with such wonderful people.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 12:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

what wonderful memories they are Naomi! I can't remember the last time I had a "joyful" dream..this one is just wonderful..it made me smile! (and that's not easy these days!) You are right Jack was handsome and great smile! oh and I always loved Paul Winfield's voice! (didn't hurt that he appeared in a star trek movie too! lol)

great post Naomi!!!! loved every word of it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 2:00:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Lee
had this to say:

A wonderful story; wonderful memories, Naomi and I thank you for sharing it with us.

I've always been a fan of Jack Nicholson...a brilliant actor whose character, I'm sure, would light up any room he was in. He certainly is most talented.

Cherished memories, never to let go of.

It's difficult to describe fully the feelings that come with having dreams like the one you had...so much from the past comes to the surface again...it's as if we've revisited the time; and perhaps we have and do...in a parallel life. The dreams make it all seem so real again...so who are we to question? :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 8:47:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I feel like I'm living vicariously in that time through your blog. How neat! I love dreams that go back to happy times.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 9:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It's as though you've taken us back there with you. I adore Jack, his smile, witty and funny ways (on film and interviews) and I see you and Betty were able to enjoy so much more than that and I love that you remember it like it happened yesterday. You're right, the entertainment business takes you many places and people come and go but special moments like the one you shared throughout the night with JN can never be forgotten. I like how he sat next to you at that table for one with that warm greeting. That would've melted my heart. I love the stories of Old Hollywood, as we call it now. You must have so many more stories to tell. I hope you share every one of them. Cheers, my friend, with much love from Miami..."Scarlet"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 2:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great memory. It also shows how things can start out and the rich mix of people wanting to make it in theatre and the movies.

Great that your later memory of him shows he's still grounded too. Great post!

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 2:44:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This is sweet in so many ways. I didn't realize that was Jack Nicholson in The Little Shop of Horrors, which I remember well ... so weird. I wonder if the play that the Theater rejected ever got seen?

I am so happy that I actually made it there to visit you and that you pointed us to that very restaurant (w sat in the second booth in the front row) where I saw Drew Barrymore!

It's always amazing to me how fulfilling some dreams can be, just as if they happened in real life.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 6:18:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

PS and the real life stuff was pretty dreamy too!

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 9:13:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful dream and wonderful memories! He did and does have a killer smile. I love the description of that night of conversation - I can just see it. Lovely that happened.

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 11:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Great to dream about something that brings back great memories. He was very handsome but I think he still is and sexy. I loved him Something's Gotta Give. He is good in whatever he does-- and that sexy voice :).

Friday, May 2, 2014 at 3:15:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, I am trying hard not to be jealous that you got to spend a night with Jack Nicholson!! He has such a great smile - I would have melted in his presence, whether he was an actor or not! LOL

Good story! I hope you are doing well - or better than you were. Two of my kids are in L.A. this week on business. I sure wish I was with them, so I could visit you!

Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 10:08:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

What a wonderful memory Naomi and how great to have got to know him before it all happened.
Did he have that mischievous twinkle in those days?
Those get togethers after theatre work are really special aren't they. We used to go to a little pub called The Mitre - next to the theatre and when that closed to my friend Jean's who was the catalyst who brought us all together.
I'll never forget how I felt after seeing Easy Rider and drove everybody mad praising it.

Monday, May 5, 2014 at 8:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hello old friend! It's been ages I know but I do check-in once in a while to see if all is okay. I haven't blogged in so long. Ooo dreamy Jack. Oh he was handsome in his day wasn't he? (Still is!). What a great story and I'm looking a bit green-eyed at you. xx

Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 6:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

A toast tonight - that you shall dream only the sweetest of memories. Good people live on in the lives they have touched- you have touched so many.

Your readers- We are blessed.

Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 6:07:00 PM PDT 

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