Monday, July 31, 2006

Once again it looks like you can't download pictures to bloggers. Boo! Hiss! Third time this month! Well it may be time for another hobby! It took five minutes plus to publish these three sentences! What's wrong????????

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today is the birthday of one of the greatest American inventors and industrial pioneers of all time-- and that man of course is none other than Henry Ford. He was born in Dearborn Michigan in 1893. His ultimate desire to create an affordable car and pay workers good wages was scoffed at by many.He simply was the greatest innovator of the 20th century! At the death of his son, Edsel in 1980, Henry Ford was compelled to once again take the reins of his company until his grandson was of sufficient age to head the company, himself. Without the invention of the "Model T" the progress of America would simply have been severely thwarted. And since I now drive a very efficient Ford Focus today, I am proud to mention that today is Henry Ford's birthday. There was a time I was not so supportive of Ford. Their "Pinto" was simply a disaster. My mom had a fatal accident in one, but I always have said "one product does not make, break or condemn a company" My cousin, Bill Camusi was the first attorney to win a million dollar law suit against Ford' then shoddy workmanship back in 1962. Today is also the birthday of songwriter Howard Dietz. Howard was a lyricist who first got into advertising back in 1920 for none other than MGM pictures. It was he who conceived of the world famous "Leo, The Lion" logo and its trademark "Ars Gratia Artis" or "Art for Arts Sake" But some of his songs are the world famous "That's Entertainment" from the musical "The Band Wagon" and "I'll Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans" written with the amazing Al Schwartz. It just shows you that you can pursue a promising lucrative career in business and still be involved successfully in the arts. He even wrote a couple of Broadway musicals-- one with the legendary Jerome Kern. Today also is "Governor Terminator's" 59th birthday. Yes dear old Arnold is approaching the "Golden Age" Of course, although many were surprised that he actually became the governor of California, there are those of us that knew from the mid- nineties on that this was a long held ambition. At one point, while the old boy was still an actor. Arnold was going to play the "Tooth Fairy" in a script that I was representing at the time called "Sweet Tooth". The writer was Mark Troy. I had given the script it's name and it came very close to being produced! The birthday party for my grand niece was very nice and I was very happy that I got to see my sister and her family again. I went with my sister Annette. But there had been a horrendous amount of traffic trying to get to my sister's house and I almost didn't get to go. Good old Cal Trans had struck again this time by closing two left lanes of the Golden State Freeway on a Saturday morning. OMG-- you have seldom see a mess like that-- it backed up traffic for thirty-five miles! Boo to you Cal trans! By the way, the weather at the park was cool and pleasant and although the food was only basic, a good time was held by all. My great niece is simply a most beautiful child! I am very proud! Well until next time! Much cooler Sunday here! Only seventy-eight degrees! Yeah!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Well tonight is the opening of an old chestnut in theatre at the Snapples Theatre in NYC on Broadway. Of course everyone know that the original off- Broadway production of this amazingly wonderful show premiered at the Sullivan street playhouse in 1960. The show went on to become the longest running off-Broadway show ever unning from that opening night in 1960 to September 2001. The original cast included the late Jerry Orbach and one of thge composers, himself: Mr. Tom Jones who used the the stage name of Henry Bruce. I want to wish a grand wish and "break a leg" to the new cast that it may have a long life in a new medium called Broadway. Today also I met my one year old grand niece Christina Grace Dillon at her first birthday party today in very pleasant park center in Torrence, Ca. She is simply beautiful and loves music! My sister Lorie makes a beautiful grandmother. She tells me she's taken on the name "Nanny" Brenda and Robbie my nephew and his wife are very proud and they are expecting another baby about November 10th. Yes, it will again be a girl! Well that sounds encouraging right there! Short notation today. But until next time!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Today would have been the 76th birthday of a true lady, a woman of class, dignity and charm. That lady of course was Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis. She died tragically of lymphonic cancer at the very young age of sixty-two-- the very age my own mother died. I can remember how impressed I was whenever I saw her on television or in footage with President Kennedy. I remember best when she gave the tour of the White House to the three television networks at once. How proud she was of our heritage and what she could to preserve that heritage. Forget the lavish parties that she heled, Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis added a dignity to the political world of the presidency of the United States like none other for one thousand days starting On January 20th, 1961 and ending tragically on November 22nd, 1963. I can still see that stoic tragic look as she stood by Lyndon Johnson as he took the oath of office to become the new president. The Kennedy family has had many blessings, but the tragedies that this same family has endured is perhaps the saddest of all. Only sister Caroline remains. So if there is any one way to define the word "lady" -- this woman's name is almost synonymous with that word. God Keep you, dear lady! Today also is a day of great history. For on this day in 1914, World War I began when Austria-Hungary (then one nation) declared war on Serbia following the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. Never before had a war started over an assassination of a world leader. Other countries quickly followed. It was fortunate that America did not become involved in this war until three years later in 1917. Now of course we have another war in the Mid-East and once again peace and harmony are in great danger. Now man justifies wars with the name of God in the same sentence. How much closer are we to the end of man? On a happier note, today is the day that the world of Broadway first heard a Richard Rodgers melody and a Lorenz Hart lyric. The year was 1920. The show was called "Poor Little Ritz Girl" (which made me chuckle because I now work for Ritz Camera) and featured some classic songs now long forgotten including "Love Will Call", "You Can't Fool Your Dreams", "All you Need To Be A Star" and what must be a classic only appreciated by a 1920 audience was "Love's Intense In Tents" The show only ran for 93 performances which would be abysmal by today's standards. The day here is forecast to be much cooler-- if you call 85 degrees cooler. Tomorrow is the 1st birthday of my grand niece Christina Grace Dillon and I will be attending her birthday party in a park party. It's been a long time since I have seen my sister Lorie and that side of the family. Well until next time, have a great day!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Today is an anniversary for peace. On this day in 1953, the armistice was signed that ended the Korean War in 1953. Twenty-four thousand, one hundred and eighty five young Americans lost their lives in this useless conflict that offered no long term solutions to world peace. The Koreas are still divided and the North continues to make it's threats and missile tests taunting the world-- will we ever learn that war is so useless? So little is gained over what we all lose in the process. Personally, I think that Douglas Macarthur was correct and President Harry Truman was dead wrong. If you are going to fight a war-- better fight it like you intend to win! Today is also a very interesting duel day in history-- and funny it involves the same famous person. On this day in 1960 Richard M. Nixon was nominated by the Republican Party to be President of The United States to run against John F. Kennedy. Fourteen years later in 1974, Richard M. Nixon was impeached for various misdeeds associated with the Watergate scandal. Of course we all know that Nixon had less than one month to remain president after that day-- but isn't it funny that a man reaches the mountain top of his first success and the point of his ultimate doom on the same day -- many years apart! History is always very interesting to look at and study. Twenty years later, Richard Nixon was dead--history is always in cycles it seems. Today is also the birthday of my arranger, Mr. Tim Doran. I've said it before, but I will say it always as to how grateful I am for this man's genius, friendship and patience with songwriter me all these many years. I simply could not be a songwriter without his help. My sisters got all the piano lessons and I was left without. But to me, music will always be the passion of my life. Today also I face a great challenge at work and need to really finish all of the training to be a Ritz manager by the end of August. I am scheduled to take over my Studio City store as manager for the month of September. If I do well there then I can go forward in this company. Of course, it would be better if songwriting was the sole source of my income, but until that day arrives...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Today is the 150th birthday of one of the greatest playwrights of all time: the one and only George Bernard Shaw. Shaw was the only playwright to win both the Nobel prize for literature and an Academy Award for writing the screenplay of the original dramatic (non-musical) version of Pygmallion in 1938. Shaw went through some very difficult periods. His father was a drunkyard and his mother left the family to teach singing in London. He was raised mostly by servants. Perhaps his greatest work except "Pygmallion" is the amazing play "Saint Joan". Amazingly, Shaw did not die of old age in 1952, but from a fall from a ladder. His incredible plays continue to influence writers and actors to this day. Today also are the birthdays of two of the greatest second bananas in the world of comedy. The first is the amazing Gracie Allen --wife and partner of dear George Burns-- for whom I will always have an amazing affection for. And the second is Vivian Vance -- good old "Ethel". There is an amazing quote by jimmy Stewart about second bananas. He said (about Ronald Reagan) "Only in America can a man be a second banana to a chimpanzee and in his same lifetime become President of the United States. And Gracie Allen was perhaps one of the amazing "second bananas" and comedians of all time. She played the "Dumb Dora" personna with ultimate perfection. When she said things like "When I was born, I was so surprised, I didn't talk for a year and a half" -- you just have to laugh. Hers with comedy perfection. Gracie was born on this day in 1895. The love affair of George Burns and Gracie Allen is the stuff of legends. And dear Vivian vance has made me laugh over the years on more ocassions than I can possibly remember. Her classic line "Morbid curiosity compells me" is something I still say. It's so damn funny. I can remember not only those classic "I Love Lucy" episodes, but the "The Lucy Show" episodes in which she played the character of Vivian Bagley. One classic episode has her character on the roof with Lucy trying to put up a television antena. She has already put a big hole in the roof and proceeds to almost fall off and hurt herself. Instead she grabs on to the side of the hole she has made inb the roof-- but instead of swearing or saying something ordinary, Vivian Vance looks down through the hole she has made in the roof and says "Gee, I should have made my bed this morning" -- and you just laugh out loud. Most people don't know that Vivian was Lucy's second choice for the role of Ethel. Lucy had wanted the character of Ethel Mertz to be much older and not at all in competition with Lucille Ball. Lucy had wanted Bea Benederet (of "Petticoat Junction") Thank goodness dear Bea had other comittments-- it simply wouldn't have worked. Most people also don't know that Vivian Vance and William Frawley (good old Fred) actually hated one another! And most people don't know that every time Vivian Vance's aggressive agent demanded and negotiated a pay raise for Vivian, Desi Arnaz would give the same raise to William Frawley without his ever having to ask for it. Great quote from Sam Levinson to end today "Why is it that people who are born on third plate go around in life bragging that they always hit a triple?" Well until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Today is the 5oth anniversary of the collission of the Italian luxuary liner Andrea Doria. Fifty one people lost their lives including an old family friend of my parents. Of course the only collision more famous than this one was with The Titanic in 1912. Although this was a terrible tragedy, at least the loss of life was limited to those ill fated fifty-one! There were over eleven hundred passengers on this most famous ship! The colission occured in a dense fog in the Atlantic Ocean! Amazing ship! Happy belated birthday also to Alex Trubeck who turned sixty-six yesterday. Today is also the 83rd birthday of one of the funniest ladies in show business! That of course would be Estelle Getty who played "Sophia" on the "Golden Girls". Estelle is not well, health wise so great good wishes are being offered here. What a funny lady Estelle has been. Her incredible performance on "The Golden Girls" was simply classic. She helped me to laugh on many a night! What an incredibly funny lady! She did not start her career in show business until she was forty-seven years old when she first appeared in her first Off-Broadway show! Well the weather is cooling down. The temperature was ten degrees cooloer on this Tuesday! Well until tomorrow!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

On this incredibly hot day of at least 103 degress, I would like to give a tip of the hat and an "atta boy" to Mr. Charles E. Menches who on this date in 1904 at the Louisana Purchase Exposition invented and sold for the very first time: "the ice cream cone" Ye gods, how I love ice cream in an ice cream cone. It just has to be one of the most delicious treats on the planet! I am told that he sold the cone with a scoop of any flavor of ice cream for the unbelievable bargain price of three cents each. Imagine that bargain hunters-- three cents! Oh me! I remember back when i was a kid, when there was a Thrifty Drug Store. As I was growing up here in Southern California, it was a haven for great bargains. My mother certainly shopped there a lot and later in life my sister Rosemary would go to work for them as an inventory specialist. Thrifty Drug Stores sold ice cream cones in 1960's for the paltry price of ten cents for one scoop, fifteen cents for two and twenty cents for three huge scoops of any of two dozen different flavors. Ah those were the days! I remember when my Aunt Laura used to make home made ice cream in her ice cream maker--oh was that delicious! So lets hear it for Mr. Menches! Not much else happening here except heat-- so I'll sign off for now! Until next time!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

You may not recognize the image to the left or that she was born on this day in 1889. She didn't lead a country. She didn't fight for freedom. She didn't accomplish any great scientific feat. She simply wrote a poem. But that poem is perhaps one of the finest pieces of literature ever written or written on on paper. For this woman is Emma Lazarus, the poet who wrote the inscription for the Statue of Liberty. Those amazing words shine even today! "Give me your tired, your poor, your downtroden yearning to be free..." etc. Those words were immortalized in a musical written by Irving Berlin called "Miss Liberty"-- in which Mr. Berlin put music to these amzing words! The musical, itself didn't do that well, but it did give us one of Berlin's most famous songs "Let's Take An Old Fashioned Walk". As far as Emma's words go --they simply without question represent what our country is all about. They are not words to be taken lightly. Today is also the birthday of composer Alan Menken who turns 49 years old today. Menken with the late and amazing Howard Ashman wrote the scores for "The Little Mermaid" "Alladin" "Beauty and the Beast" and "Little Shop of Horrors" His newest musical "Sister Act" is currently slated for a tryout at the Pasadena Playhouse in October and November of this year. I look forward to seeing it, as I adored the movie! The weatherman claims we are going to have a record breaking HOT day here reaching 115 degrees. OMG-- I certainly hope he's wrong. This is the hottest summer, I have ever experienced in my life! It looks like there is some interest in "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" in connection with my old friend Jimmy Chapel, but we will have to see what this becomes-- don't want to get too excited! Well, until next time!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Well today is the 55th birthday of one of the funniest men in the country-- and that of course is none other than Robin Williams. Robin of course started his caeer as the amazing alien himself-- Mork as in "Mork amd Mindy" I remember Robin most as playing "Mrs. Doubtfire" -- what an amazing talent this man is. He certainly can make any character he beings to the screen come alove. Sometimes everything is amazing at what he does and sometimes the situations depicted simply don't add up. But for the most part, this amazing modern day comedy genius compliments every motion picture he is in.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Well today is another historic day! For on this date in 1969 man landed on the moon for the very first time. I don't know about you, but I was glued to our family's television set in San Gabriel, California. It was an amazing transmission from the lunar surface even though it was in grainy black and white. I have always been a big supporter of the space program and this day was no exception. It was a warm summer day and we had had a July 4th ceremony just two weeks before the big landing. I remember watching Walter Cronkite getting very very excited-- as did a lot of us. My mom cried-- oh hell, so did I! I think today we take so much of this in stride. Nothing makes us swell up with patriotic pride anymore. Only the September 11th tragedy five years ago this upcoming September caused a nationwide great patriotic stir. Suddenly flag waving patriotisim became a huge item. I realize our country is not perfect. I am reminded of what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed back in 1800. "Democracy is most certainly not the perfect form of government, but all the others are so much worse!" And how true that is. So to those original astronauts: Neil armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Ed Harris my salute to you for blazing the trail and keeping the fire of achievement alive in this country. I'd like to see us go back to the moon, myself. it's been far too long! Another hot day in Los Angeles and another day in retail, but my sales have been really up this week and that is very encouraging. I guess after so many days of the same kind of weather in a row, people get used to it and no longer resist buying things. I do notice that where I work people are very "me" oriented. They interupt. They're impatient and sometimes rude! Oh well, most people are still well and good ! Well until next time-- tonight when you see the moon --think about those trailblazers from 1969-- they made our country so much better!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Happy 65th Birthday, Vicki Carr. Can that be possible? Magic Mountain

Can it possibly be true? The amazing Magic Mountain in Valencia may soon be history as its entire area has been purchased by developers to build new housing. Good grief! Wasn't the whole place financed and built by land developers (Newhall Land?) back in 1969 and who opened the park back in 1971? Another landmark goes to hell in a hand basket. I think this is one property the Disney folks should snap up-- if not for an amusement park, but for a gated private community like they have in Celebration, Florida. This is crazy! Well we shall see what we shall see in the coming days. It is also Vicki Carr's 65th birthday today. Vicki has had several gold records including her smash hit : :Let It Please Be Him!" I always enjoyed her rich wonderful voice! I saw some recent pics and i must tell that she looks amazing! She is so pretty! The Golden years have graced her well. Another hot day here in Los Angeles and we shall somehow get through it. I am having Tim Doran orchestrate the overture for the musical "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" and next he is going to re-do the overture for "Skylark" I am determined to get these wonderful musicals out of the mothballs and into public view again. I also read that the 1960's health guru, Jack laLane is alive and licking hard at the age of 93. He rises every morning at 5am and bench presses fifteen hundred pounds! He has an early breakfast of fruit and egg whites! I used to watch this man exercise on television in thr 1960's!! He is simply amazing! Well other than this ir's a quiet day! So we will meet here again tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Today is the birthday of the great American clown, Red Skelton. Inspired by another great American clown, Mr. Ed Wynn who met Red when he was appearing in Red's home town. Red was ten years old at the time and Ed was buying a paper from him. "What's there to do in this town?" asked the great "Fire Chief". Red answered "The great Ed Wynn is appearing at the theatre across the street." Ed asked young Red if he were going to see the show and the impoverished young boy shook his head and told Wynn that he just couldn't afford to. Ed Wynn bought all of the ten year old's newspapers so that Red could attend the vaudeville show that Ed was starring in that night. Ed showed the boy all around the theatre and let him peek out at the audience through the curtains. Well, that hooked the young boy and all throughout his life Red Skelton credited Wynn for his decision to become a performer! What an amazing turn of good luck-- for both Red and the rest of the world! Red literally ran away to be a performer at the tender age of fifteen and has delighted all of us with some of the craziest and endearing characters of all time. I loved watching this great man's television programs on CBS. Who can forget Klem Kiddlehopper, George Appleby, Junior, the " Mean Widdle Kid," and Sheriff Deadeye. I loved his monologues and especially the two great pigeons "Gertrude and Heathcliff" that Red featured in so many of his monologues. Believe it or not, the great Johnny Carson (early in his career) used to write for the great clown including those pigeon jokes. Red was one of the few guys who could laugh at his own material and get away with it.I think watching red Skelton doing a pantomine was pure joy-- nobody in my humble opinion could match the genius that he displayed in those. His amazing clown paintings are simnply astounding and this dear, gentle and God-loving man made a huge impact in my life. He passed from this life in 1997, but he will NEVER be forgotten by me. I could write volumes about this kind, loving and incredibly generous entertainer. I'm sure he puts a smile on God's face every single day in heaven-- without one doubt!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Today is the 89th birthday of one of the funniest and most incredible show persons in the world-- and that of course is the one and only Phyllis Diller. She raised five kids and started her career at thirty-seven years old. But the most incredible fact that I discovered with a little research today is that this incredible lady's first ambition was to be a concert pianist. Phyllis Diller, believe or not has appeared as a solo pianist with over one hundred different symphony orchestras throughout the country and the world! That simply blew me away. Her events for charities around the world is one of the most amazing telling of all times. I was able to sell her jokes many years ago when she was paying $10 for a one liner about Fang or one of her kids. Some of them were pretty damn corny for today's standards. One of these jokes that I sold went like this: "Fang found out that McDonald's is going to an all family menu and because I can't cook, he was the first one in line one night when they tried out their new menu-- he wanted to be the first customer to order McMeat Loaf and McLiver and onions" Well the $10 was sure appreciated back in 1977. So Happy Birthday, dear Phyllis Diller. You have helped me to laugh so many times over these long many years. I think you're incredible! I read also that "The Pirates Of The Caribbean" movie has raked in over 153 million dollars in less than two weeks. I think Walt Disney would be pretty jazzed about that. The third installment happens next May and it probably will be another smash. More great news: There will be a new production of "The Wicked" that opens in Los Angeles in February 2007. I hope to finally be able to attend. I also read about the crash of a British antique plane in Hillsborro, Oregon. It crashed right into a house and destroyed it, dismissing other property and a backyard around it. The people in the house were not home at the time deciding at the last moment to go the grocery store. Does God look after us or what? It is sometimes very hard to exist in this life. Some of us live paycheck to paycheck, but in the end, everything works out-- we simply have to trust Him more! With news of the war between Israel and Lebanon comes great sadness. I hope the very proud Israel will remember just how many blessings God has showered on her. Yes, every nation has the right to defend herself, but I think somebody in Israel is just a bit revenge happy. Start an entire war over the capture of two soldiers? Can you imagine the United States reacting that way? Can you imagine us declaring war on North Korea when the USS Pueblo happened or dropping bombs on Iran whine the hostages were captured back in 1978? I think tolerance is a lost art! May God end this conflict very soon. We need a cease fire! Today also is Disneyland's 51st birthday! Amazing! And she still brings more happiness to people than any other institution on Earth. Well until tomorrow!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

So many events happened in history on July 16th throughout the years. First and foremost was the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. Now of course I am so pro space program, I still get sentemental about it. Hey, after all that was the day that even the greaat stoic Walter Cronkite cried-- right on the air! It was simply an incredible moment that I shall never forget in my lifetime. I remember getting up so damn early to watch every single aspect of that incredible launch! Raise the flag, boys, I'm patriotic! Oh well! AND WATCHING THEM LAND-- well that's another story for another day! Today also would have been the birthday of the magnificent Ginger Rogers. She would have been 95 years young today. Oh could that dear lady dance!You really have to appreciate the arts to respect the memory of any great performer like she and I do and I always will. The way she tripped the light fantastic with Fred Astaire was nothing short of amazing. This was also the day that John F. Kennedy Jr. along with his wife Carolyn and Carolyn's sister Lauren Bessette was killed when Kennedy's private plane plunged into the ocean near Martha's Vineyard. That's right: Martha's Vineyard, scene of another Kennedy misfortune. This family has known greatness and great personal tragedy. There's an eiree balance in God's great plan for all of us I think: good and great times and crash and burn times. We simply have to be ready for it and trust Him a whole lot more! But this historic day goes on: "The Catcher In The Rye was first published on this date in 1951 and both Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan both accepted their parties nomination for President of the United States on this date in 1964 for Goldwater and 1980 for Ronald Reagan. Without Goldwater's incredible defeat at the hands of President Lyndon Johnson the following November most historians agree that the nomination of Ronald Reagan all of those many years later would simply not have been possible because of the changes that Goldwater's defeat had on the Republican Party. It was Barry Goldwater who said that "extremisim in the defense of liberty is no vice and moderation in the persuit of justice is no virtue" Prophetic words that are used today by the Bush Administration to justify the fiasco in Iraqm but fatal to the campaign of the great conservative Goldwater! Speaking of things that should never have been said, today on this date the secret taping system that Richard Nixon had installed in the White House was revealed by accident by Alexander Butterfield (whoops!) The great assanination of Czar Nicholas II and his his entire family occured on this date in 1918 and today is even the birthday of the parking meter-- the first of which was installed in Oklahoma City in 1935 on this date. So as you put your money into one tpday, you may curse it, kick it, and wish it was history, but wish the damn thing "many happy returns" won't you? ha! -- So as you go out on this day and do all the things you will do, think of the great history that happened on July 16th throughout the last one hundred years. I wish the people In Ecuador good fortune against that volcano that has come to life after being totally dorment and silent for the last eight decades! Maybe another star for the date of July 16th. Well, it's on to work and another hot day! Oh well until next time.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Well, very few people in the world will even think about this, but today is the 400th birthday of Rembrandt, born on this day in 1606. A master painter, Rembrandt is known for his biblical paintings of both Old and New Testament biblical scenes, but he is also known for his incredible landscapes that seemed tormented by nature. Although this man was born to very well-to-do parents and was very successful within his life, he ended his life in abject poverty starting with bankruptcy in 1656 at the age of fifty. The pictures you see here are self portarits painted forty years apart. Rembrandt had five children but four of these children died in infancy or before reaching adulthood. One of the amazing things that this great artist developed in painting was the skill of "Chiaroscuro"-- that's an Italian word --it means the bold contrast between light and dark. My father was an amazing artist, himself and I write this because I know this information would interest him. Of course, knowing my dad he probably has had amazing conversations with every famous painter in heaven several times. Today is also the birthday of the great Itallian saint, Mother Cabrini who was the first Itallian -American saint and who with her Sisters of Charity established over 75 schools and orphanges in the new world. She was sent by the Pope here in the 1800's and persuaded a dubious archbishop that she could do what she set out to do. She obtained her first orphange by hitching a ride with a rich woman as she walked along a long stretch of highway on a very hot day! The woman asked her what she was doing out in the middle of nowhere in the heat and Mother Cabrini told the woman that she was looking for land sites but that she had experienced a dream to build an orphange in a open plot of land with a beautiful house that was already built. She then, and with sight unseen before that day described to the woman the very house that this rich patroness lived in right down to the brass doorknobs. Amazed the woman asked her for a drink from her canteen, the last water the good sister had and Mother Cabrini complied that she would "in the name of the Lord!" The grateful woman directed her driver to the very house that she owned and was now giving this house and property to the good sisters for their orphange. From that day forward when asked how she achieved her first stronghold in the United States Mother Cabrini would also say with "a dream, a prayer, and a drink in the name of the Lord!" Sure says a lot about having faith in difficult and diverse times. I think we all need to trust the Good Lord a whole lot more. There is a hidden blessing in everything he sends our way. And we need to do a little more for those who are without. I for one will take this new lesson to heart this very day. It's a grand lesson. You get what you give -- ten thousand fold! Well, the weatherman says it will reach 110 degress --today -- let's hope he's wrong! Bye for now!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Well, I guess it's true. Celebrity deaths always come in threes. First we lost the great comedian Jan Murray, then we lost the amazing June Allyson and now one of my personal favorites: Mr. Red Buttons. At the age of seven, Red (whose real name was Aaron Chwatt) began performing on street corners for pennies singing the popular songs of the day. At age age twelve, he entered every amateur talent contest he could find. When he was sixteen, red auditioned and got the job as an entertaining bell hop at a tavern called Ryan's Tavern in NYC. With his red hair and his uniform with a thousand buttons he was dubbed "Red Buttons" by Dinty Moore, the famed orchestra leader (and for whom the stew is named) He worked for $1.50 a week plus room and board-- (and we compalin) He used to bill himself working for the famed Minsky as "the only Burlesque comedian with his own teeth" Of course, I will always remember the day i got an autograph from him and just how gracious he was about giving it. But I laughed at this genuinely warm and witty entertainer. One night he slew me when he said this during a celebrity roast on the Dean Martin Comedy Hour: "Mrs. Noah who said to Mr. Noah-- it's your turn to clean under the elephants tonight-- never got a dinner" Oh how I laughed and I laughed and even today, it will pop into my head and i will laugh at it all over again. His performance in "Sayonara" was top rate and so was his role in "Pete's Dragon" There are so few great comedians left. And here's a comedian who even did Shakespeare-- "A Mid-Summer's Night Dream" no less with Basil Rathbone and the legendary Leopold Stokowski conducting a new score for the work in 1956. Not bad! He has been honored by the City of Hopeand the Friar's Club Lifetime Achievement Award. So now I will say what I say when any great comedian dies but personalize it here: "Red Buttons, after a lifetime of laughter on earth-- go make God laugh-- Lord knows he needs it after dealing with modern man! Until next time. Really hot day here by the way 106 degrees they claim and 110 tomorrow according to weatherbug-- let's hope they're wrong!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On this day in 1960, John F. Kennedy, the soon to be 35th president of the Umited States was nominated for president by the Democratic Party. John F. Kennedy was my boyhood hero and although much has been revealed about him that perhaps are not the most complimentary things in the world, he was without doubt in a brief one thousand days, one of the greatest presidents this country ever had. I don't think we would have survived The Cuban Missle Crisis without this man's wisdom, patience and diplomacy. Too few people realize just how close this poor old planet came to absolute destruction in those October days. This was a case of two great super powers in an eye to eye staring contest that no one was going to walk away from without incredible diplomacy. Russia had nothing to lose and everything to gain. She felt her entire identity and integrity was on the line and was not going to walk away with her tail between her legs. Kennedy of course said many great things, but i did find a couple of new ones. "The Chinese write the word "crisis" with two brush strokes one stands for the danger, the other for the opportunity the situation provides" and my favorite of the two "The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining". He was an amazing man who had a weakness or two because like all of us-- he was human. I think that's important. There's nobody on this planet that doesn't have faults-- we are all the same in that way. His great leadership when we needed it was perhaps the one thing that saved us all. Well I do have the day off today and I plan on trying to drum up some submission opportunities for "The Traveling Companion" with Tim Doran this afternoon. I would also like to wish actor Harrison Ford a happy 64th birthday! May the force continue to be with you!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Today we remember two great men. And one incredible lady The incredible men were Milton Berle and Oscar Hammerstein II. The very great lady was June Allyson.

Today is the birthday of one of the greatest lyrcists and musical book writers of all time: Oscar Hammerstein II. Sometimes confused as his father, Oscar was the son of a theatre builder. Oscar's father was the guy who invented "the pie-in-the-face" routine for vaudeville. But he was steadfastly opposed to Oscar II persuing the arts. That's incredible in my thinking, I must say! Oscar II had to hide the fact that he was studying the arts in college until after his father's death in 1914. His collaboration with Richard Rodgers was simply a "happy accident" because Lorenz Hart was simply too much of an alchollic to work on "Oklahoma" in 1943. Oscar's first collaboration was with Otto Harbach and his first musical was called "Always You" for which he wrote both book and lyrics. His second great collaboration came with the amazing Jerome Kern with whom he wrote "Sweet Adeline", "Music In The Air" "Very Warm For May" and of course the grand masterpiece itself "Showboat" in 1927. He also collaborated with Sigmund Romberg on "Desert Song" and "New Moon". Oscar remains today the only guy named Oscar to win the Oscar (the Academy Award). In fact he won it twice-- once for "The Last Time I saw Paris" ( I love that song) and "It Might As Well Be Spring" from "State Fair" He is without one doubt one of the most important figures in the history of American musical theatre and brought it to a full maturity. Oscar made the story of the musical,(the book) not the songs or the stars to what it remains today. The very last song he ever wrote before his death from cancer on August 23, 1960 was "Edelweiss" which was added to the score very late in the rehearsals of "The Sound of Music" Today is also the birthday of "Mr. Televison" himself: Milton Berle. Milton always slayed me as a kid. He could simply make my troubles go away. He would do anything for a laugh-- even if that meant manning a dress and a wig and becoming the ugliest woman on the planet. Funny thing, Oscar's first musical was called "Always You" and Uncle Miltie's theme song was "Always". At one time this incredible comedian had a guaranteed contract for twenty years from NBC at $200,000 a month-- not bad for 1951! I was very sad to hear of the death of June Allyson. She really was "the girl next door" and a most beautiful actress. She was famous for singing "Cleopatara" in Jerome Kern's "Leave it To Jane!" She also starred in several movies with Jimmy Stewart!God Bless You all that I mention here. You were all very influencial in my life! To Milton I would say "Make God Laugh-- Lord knows He Needs it". Until next time!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Well today is the birthday of one of the greatest names in musical theatre: the one and only Jerry Herman. Jerry Herman is the only composer-lyricist in history to have THREE BRoadway shows last more than 1500 shows each. These shows of course were Hello Dolly, Mame and La Cage Au Folles. Today Jerry Herman is Seventy-three years old. My personal favorite is Mame. I also happen to love mack and mabel which I understand is making a bit of a comeback soon. Happy birthday dear Jerry. Your amazing songs are so tuneful, so memorable, so hummable. As a songwriter, I have always strived to write songs with hummable memorable melodies. As the great Richard Rodgers once proclaimed "You can't take home the scenery, so you better be able to "take home" the songs. The Sherman Brothers know this oh so very well. They and Mr. Herman have always been big influences in my song writing. Today would also have been the 80th birthday of a great performer: Mr. Fred Gwynne-- Herman Munster, himself. He was really a wonderful performer and author of several children's books. Alas, like Michael Landon, Fred was another victim of pancreatic cancer. Well another day of work at Ritz Camera with not much else happening. Happy birthday Jerry Herman!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The new "Pirates Of The Carribean movie premiered last night at my local theatre and I want to tell you that it is just as good-- no, actually it's better than the original. I think Walt Disney would be proud that something he had a hand in creating almost forty years ago is still as popular as ever. Even the classic ride at Disneyland has been made over. I am waiting for a chance to do that. I won't spoil it for anyone that has not seen this, but you really need to go and see this movie right away! Great! In news that may shock some is another birthday celebration this day: It's Tom Hank's 50th birthday. He's come along way since "Splash" and "Bossom Buddies" He will of course always be "Forrest Gump" to me, but he really is a most incredible actor and amazing performer. Well another day in retail and yet another hot day. I finished my re-write on "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" and very satisfied with it now. Today also on this date the Declaration of Independence was first read to the troops of General George Washington. We take freedom so much for granted-- but I wonder what it must have been like hearing those amazing words of prose read aloud for the first time. Sends goose bumps up your spine. Well on to work and another summer day. Take care. By the way, this blog entry represents my 30th consecutive day entry for this blog. I certainly hope that I can keep it up. It really provides so much room for expression. Until next time...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Today is the birthday of a great name in musical theatre: Florenz Ziegfeld: entrepreneur, showman, producer and the guy who introduced a lot of stars to the world incluing the late great Ed Wynn and cowboy humorist Will Rogers. Today also marks the day in 1927 that he held a show on the roof of the Broadway Theatre in New York City to garner publicity for his new "Follies" show. Of course we know the connection between Mr. Zegfeld and the legendary Fanny Bryce, the story of which is told in the musicals "Funny Girl" and the movie "Funny Lady" But you have to hand it to the old boy-- that roof idea was pretty clever! The only thing that really did in Mr. Zegfeld's shows was the depression, itself. His greatest accomplishment was producing one of the greatest musicals of all time- "Showboat!" With a score by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hamerstein that one musical alone broke ground for so many future musicals to come. Not much today more. Another really hot day here. The weatherman claims it will reach 106 degrees here in the valley-- Good Lord, I hope not! Well until next time!

Friday, July 07, 2006

I saw this nice photo on line and thought I would share it all with you today. It's really a most beautiful moon over sunrise shot. Not too much happening this day. I did begin the re-write on "Once More With Spirit" and I have renamed it "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" and hopefully that will make it a bit more marketable. The title now says it all and nobody has to guess what the story is about. For those of you that I have not shared the story with you, "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" is all about Parker O' Day, once a really big vaudeville star! When he dies, he discovers that he's not good enough to go to heaven and not bad enough to go to hell. So dear Parker is given a second chance to go back to earth for twenty years and fix up the three lives that he screwed over while living. Broadway is in a crisis when he arrives and another different kind of major problem near the end of his stay. If Parker suceeds at his mission, he will become an angel in the league of Saint Genesius (the patron saint of entertainers) if not he will be sent to "Section 86" in hell. Well of course, the "Old Smoothie" doesn't like it when he learns he has a set of rules to follow and a female guardian angel named Melissa Mcduff. So he rejects her and the rules and tries to solve the problems in his own way. Well more about this later!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I think Mark Twain said it best. "I think God created man because he was disappointed in the monkey!" Sometimes the stupid things that people do in this crazy world are so amazingly dumb that you just can't believe it. Forget the Michael Jackson's of the world. How about the guy in China who was watching the World Cup on television at 3am because thats what time the local feed came through. His house catches on fire. His wife grabs the two babies and the dog-- what does the father do? He grabs the television-- and before he finds out if his kids and wife and dog are okay, he's borrowed an extension cord and a power connection from his neighbor and plugs the television in to finish watching the game! Or there is also the stupid woman who tried stealing secrets from Coca-Cola to try and sell to Pepsi. Didn't she suspect that these two giants co-operate with one another? Her life is over! Then there's the story of the moron who decided to rob a brand new Bank of America-- there was only one problem-- the money hadn't been trucked in yet, but he is still being charged with attempted robbery. He'll get 5 years for the attempt of stealing nothing but paint fumes! Oh well! John and I went to go and see Superman at Universal City Walk last night in IMAX 3D-- it was wonderful. The 3D scenes were really amazing! Brandon Routh looks so much like Christopher Reeve that it's downright scary! Kevin Spacey makes a delightful Lex Luthor and even the original Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson (Noel Neil and Jack Larson) were in it. So John and I celebrated our seventh year together. It was a great day and evening! Well today is a short entry. It looks like another hot day in July here. I did manage to get the weeds out of my garden (so many) -- it looks so much better. Well, until next time.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Well, it is today the Fifth Of July and there is one birthday that I did not mention yesterday and that of course was the birthday of "The Yankee Doodle Dandy" himself, Mr. George M. Cohan. Cohan was part of a famous vaudeville family, but soon went solo and gave us some of the greatest songs in Broadway history. Songs like "You're A Grand Old Flag" and "Give My Regards to Broadway". Joel Grey who recently was the The Wizard of Oz in the hit musical THE WICKED was the star of the Broadway show "George M" in 1966 that hailed the great showman's life and career. Isn't it funny that the two of the greatest writers were born both on July 4th. The other of course was yesterday's highlighted name: Mr. Neil Simon. I had a very quiet 4th. I had to work for the first time in eight years, so it seemed very odd. There were enough fireworks in the area around my house. But the real highlight of the day was watching the Space Shuttle go off-- the first time in the history of the Space program that we have launched a rocket on the Fourth Of July. I can tell you I cried and cheered and whooped and it made me very happy-- just like it used to when I was a kid. I would get up in the wee hours of the morning and watch the proceeding HOURS before the actual launch. I was hooked. I guess I must be part "Yankee Doodle Dandy" myself. Another hot day today, but I do have the day off-- so that is going to be pleasant. The storyteller CD for "The Traveling Companion" is finally finished and Tim and I will now make an effort to get it out to some theatres and play producers. Let's hope it takes off like that rocket yesterday! Well, until next time!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Well, today is indeed July 4th, Independence Day and I thought it might be fun to share an image with you from "Naked Boys Singing" I saw the show in new York and found it to be absolutely wonderful and extremly entertaining. Of course the guys in the cast provided much needed "eye candy" and really provide a show that is full of song, dance, and just the right of amount of ("wink, wink") naughty. Gay pride is something real and I am very proud to be who I am. So Happy Fourth of July. Today is also the birthday of a writer who is a national institution and that writer of course is the amazing Neil Simon. "Doc" is seventy-nine years young today. Neil actually got the name "Doc" from a nickname given to him by his late brother Danny. Danny Simon passed away this year! Neil has written more plays than Shakespeare and bar none there is hardly a klunker amoung them. Some (like "God's Favorite" and "The Star Spangled Girl") didn't work and were not hits, but most everything else he wrote was simply a smash hit. What Neil writes today and for all of these years were and are all based principles he learned from Danny and those are the same principles that Danny taught to me and all of the other students who studied in his comedy writing class for four years! To write comedy, you absolutely must get into the heads of your characters-- there simply is no other way. Woody Allen learned the same principles from Danny too! I still think the funniest Simon play is "The Odd Couple" closely followed by "Come Blow Your Horn". Everybody knows an Oscar Madison and a Felix Unger. (Danny was the real life Felix Unger!) So you simply laugh your head off because of the honesty that you find in both works. The Space Shuttle is due to blast off today for the first launch of a shuttle on this national holiday that we all pride upon. My prayers are with the astronauts that all goes well and that the discovery of the falling foam and small crack that they found yesterday will NOT be consequential. I used to get up so damn early to watch the early space launches of Gemini and Apollo when I was a kid. So deep down, I have great affection for the space program. Well, I work today-- the first 4th of July that I have had to work in eight long years-- let us hope that it is not a supreme waste of time. happy 4th of July everyone! Be safe! Be proud! It's a great day to be an American!