Friday, August 31, 2007


Today would have been Alan Jay Lerner's 89th birthday. What an amazing lyricist, librettist and even screen writer. There wasn't a lot this grand man of theatre could not do. His talent was pure magic. Through a career that spanned three decades, Alan Jay Lerner and his partner, composer Frederick Loewe, became virtually synonymous with the blockbuster Broadway musical. A list of their hits all but defines the genre: "Brigadoon," "Paint Your Wagon," "Camelot," the movie musical GIGI, and their biggest triumph, "My Fair Lady."The tuneful adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," "My Fair Lady" opened on Broadway in 1956 to rapturous notices and packed houses. Brooks Atkinson of THE NEW YORK TIMES, for one, proclaimed "My Fair Lady" as "the most civilized play of its time and one of the finest of the century."My Fair Lady" opened on Broadway in 1956 to rapturous notices and packed houses.In the 1970s, after Loewe fell ill, Lerner continued writing with composers including Andre Previn and Charles Strouse, but such subsequent musicals as "Coco" and "Dance a Little Closer" never quite caught on with critics and playgoers. He even attempted to collaborate with the great Richard Rodgers-- but that was simply doomed! In 1978 Lerner produced his wonderful autobiography, ON THE STREET WHERE I LIVE. By then he had quite a story to tell --for he had been married a total of eight times -- but as NEW YORK TIMES critic Mel Gussow noted, "The book is more professional than personal." He continued that the volume's delights include a look at Lerner and Loewe's labors with "My Fair Lady": "dashing off 'The Rain in Spain' in 10 minutes, agonizing over 'I Could Have Danced All Night' ... and agreeing to eliminate 'With a Little Bit O' Luck' until it stopped the show at its first performance in New Haven." At the time of Lerner's death, he had just begun to write lyrics for The Phantom of the Opera, (can you imagine how different that show might be today!) and was replaced by Charles Hart. He had turned down an invitation to write the English-language lyrics for the musical version of Les Miserables. He also had been working with Gerard Kenny in London on a musical version of the classic film My Man Godfrey.Poor dear Alan Lerner had an addictive personality; for more than twenty years he battled an amphetamine addiction, and he would marry eight times. The drugs and divorces cost him much of his wealth. When he died, he reportedly owed the IRS over $1,000,000 (USD) in back taxes. Alan Jay Lerner died from lung cancer in Manhattan at the age of 67. At the time of his death he was married to actress Liz Robertson, who was thirty-six years his junior. I wrote a tribute song to him recently. I had read an article that Liz had written which basically said that marriage was just not good for Alan Jay Lerner-- that he would completely change once married and become a person you seldom recognized. Perhaps she said that "marriage was Alan's way of saying goodbye" And yet despite it all-- for we all have our weaknesses let us salute to the great Alan Jay Lerner!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Imagine if you will that "Trouble" was just awarded twelve million dollars by the "Queen of Mean" herself- Leona Helmsly.A dog (who actually bit people) named "Trouble" was awarded twelve million dollars- and a life of care. what a waste! Her chauffeur only got one hundred grand. Dear me! When this dog dies, her remains are to be placed in the same mausoleum that Leona occupies. Two grandchildren were purposely dis-inherited utilizing the same words ('for reasons that are well known to them") that Joan Crawford used in her will to dis-inherit her two children Christopher and Christina. Two grand children were remembered but are obligated to visit Leona's grave site every year or "they will lose every penny" she has left them and be obligated to pay back the rest! What a sad commentary that a woman can live cheating and hurting people throughout her life with only a slap on the wrist (the so called jail sentence) I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when she and God had their meeting. Oh well, maybe she and the devil are having cocktails in hell this evening. Poor Tim is looking after a penniless type Leona -- good old "Aunt Carol". She is never grateful for all the things that Tim does for her. She wants it her way or no way. Why are these people sent into our lives? Who knows? Perhaps to make us stronger? Maybe that is what it is all about. In better news, my new collaborator is about to leave Tennessee for his journey to California. I am very excited as he seems to be a really talented musician.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Today would have been Mother Theresa's 97th birthday: the living saint. It is a small comfort to know that even this amazing woman had her many doubts about her faith in difficult times. We all have those moments. We all have our faith tested to the core. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball that no grand slam hitter in the entire world could even begin to hit. We all scratch our heads at times like these and go "What the hell was that?" But we need to trust God more than ever and realize just how much He knows what to do. God is alive and well and cares about every day of our lives. The great saints were tested and the great near saints like Mother Theresa were grilled. Sometimes you want to say to God "Ok, I'm done, Lord -- turn me over!" And then out of the purest blue comes a little sign that shows us how much He loves us. Maybe it's an old friend we haven't seen in a long time. Maybe it's a day of pure joy after a week of hell. Maybe its finding a new and better place to live. Maybe it's finding the ability to pay the mortgage when you thought everything was lost that month. God loves us all. Today is also the anniversary of the 19th amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to vote. I was surprised to discover that it was the state of Tennessee that gave the final vote of approval to the proposed amendment and more surprising: there was no one there from any woman's organization (not even the daughters of the American Revolution) when the official document was signed. This also mark's the one year anniversary that my friend Bill Lewis has had his new job at Disneyland: one of the singing pirates at pirate's lair Island at Disneyland. Congrats Bill! Bill is the last pirate in the picture at the top of the page. What an amzing friend he has been all of these years. And by the way, his friendship came from a very negative expierence that almost wiped me away a about seventeen years ago. So I am convinced that god blesses us all in so many ways-- crooked lines and all -- God is one heck of a Rembrandt.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Fifteen years ago on this day, Hurricane Andrew slammed into Florida and caused monumental damage in the millions of dollars. My John was living in Fort Lauderdale with his mom and sister at the time and describes it as if "hell was imposed on Earth" It was strange: it almost destroyed an air force base and yet a nearby apartment building went completely unscathed and untouched. Nature is one strange and unpredictable force. On the same day in 79AD, the greatest volcanic eruption known to man-- good old Mount Vesuvius erupted destroying completely two cities including Pompeii. Two disasters on the same day almost two centuries apart. I am surprised to learn that Vesuvius is the only volcano on the European mainland that has erupted in the 20th century. The last time was 1944. The other famous volcanoes are both on Islands. Well, I have the day off today and I plan to write. I finally finished the re-write on the musical "A Moment With Mister "C"-- good grief, other than last year when i re-typed it back into the computer, this is the first time that I have touched this work in over twenty years-- and guess what? I discovered it was just as funny, just as endearing and made me cry in the ver same way that it did all those many years ago. Now I need to find a new venue to get this classic re-staged.

Thursday, August 23, 2007



Today we remember two great artists. One was Gene Kelly whose 95th birthday would have been today.
Gene's last picture was "Xanadu" --which was a total flop back in the 1980's but looks to be a huge hit on Broadway today. I'm sure Gene is smiling at that one. Today is the day that we lost Oscar Hammerstein at age sixty-five. What an amazing crafter of language that combined with the music of his collaborators: Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern and others will last forever. Richard Rodgers never had another Broadway smash after Oscar died even though he worked with some of the greatest lyricists in the business including Alan Jay Lerner and Martin Charnin. Some collaborations are made in heaven I suppose. My newest collaborator, John Nugent is on his way to California and will arrive on Labor Day. Let us hope that this will be a fruitful and blessed meeting. John and I writing a musical spoof and satire together called "Seven" What might happen if at the start of the Millenium the Deadly Sins thought it was up to them to take over evil in the world once the devil gets locked up for a thousand years! It's a fun story and I have great hopes for it!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


On this day, thirty years ago, the world lost one of the greatest comedians of all time: the one and only Groucho Marx. Groucho appeared once at Carnegie Hall and absolutely slew the audience. It was there he told the "Samson and Delliah"/ Cecil B. De Mille story that I've told here and yet that was but one of the many classics he told that fateful night. He also told that evening that he was coming out of dinner and had just lit up up a $250 cigar when a Roman catholic priest recognized him, slapped him on the back and said "Groucho Marx", said the priest, "God and I would like to thank you for all the laughter you have brought into the world". The cigar went flying out of Groucho's mouth where it landed on the ground to the great one's utter dismay! Groucho watched as some oblivious fat woman passing by and stomped on it not even knowing what she had stepped on. Groucho looked up at the priest and said "And I'd like to thank you and God for all the joy in the world that you've taken away!" God Bless you, Groucho Marx, wherever you are! I can bet you are still making the angels laugh-- and God knows they need it! I see also that the new Grease opens on Broadway tonight. The original starring Barry Boatswick and Adrianne Barbeau opened on Valentine's Day in 1972. This was the same year that Paul McCartney debuted with his new band called "Wings". Sad to note the passing of Stanley Myron Handelman last week of a heart attack. I used to watch him a lot on the old Dean Martin Show and "The Tonight Show". My sympathy and prayers go to the families of those brave fire fighters who lost their lives fighting that seven alarm fire right near the World Trade Center in NYC last week. That sad street has had more tragedy that it can bear.
well it's Sunday, but I neeed to go to work today-- so off I go!

Monday, August 13, 2007

As I approaqch the golden age of sixty, I am sometimes relieved to learn that other "classics" are turning older than me. Yes, dear friends, dear old "Bambi" becomes a senior citizen this day-- for the picture was released to theatres sixty-five years ago today. What an amazing film! I can watch it over and over again and still find something new and exciting about it. The original novel by Felix Salten was adapted masterfully (Mr.Salten's works yielded two other Disney classics ("The Shaggy Dog" in 1959) and Rascal in 1974.The story of the natural life cycle—birth, death and re-birth—is the true plot of the film. It is a case study in the very basics of life: the "doe-eyed" innocence of childhood; parental love; discovering and learning about the world around us (both its beauty and its danger); loss and grief; developing friendships; loyalty; balancing risk and need; growing toward independence; being at one and in harmony with nature; and romantic love.Like the majority of Walt Disney's feature-length animated narratives, Bambi embraces both joy and tragedy. Bambi is a movie that alternates frequently between these two extremes, with the one typically being used to set up the other. For instance, the ultimate joy of Bambi's first walk through the forest is interrupted by a frightening thunderstorm. His first visit to the meadow is joyful until it is interrupted by hunters who fire upon Bambi and his mother.
The pivotal scene in the movie involves Bambi's mother and her death at the hands of a hunter. In the sequence, the audience sees the joy/tragedy motif used again. The scene is set in late winter, and Bambi and his mother struggle to find food as mournful music plays. Joy is felt as they discover a patch of new grass, signaling the arrival of Spring, and joyful music is heard on the soundtrack. As they feast, the mood changes again, and we hear Man approach off-screen, represented only by his theme music (a low, three-note motif). Bambi's mother suddenly catches Man's scent, and orders her child to run, but she is too late. As they flee across the snow field, shots ring out. The camera stays with young Bambi as he runs through the forest, finally stopping to catch his breath. He notices at this time (as does the audience) that his mother is nowhere to be seen. Our hearts collectively break at this very moment.In a series of heartbreaking dissolves, Bambi wanders desperately through the forest calling for her, but no answer comes. Bambi is startled by the sudden appearance of his father, the Great Prince, who informs him that his mother can't be with him any more. Bambi casts his head to the ground, and when he lifts it again, the audiences see that he is crying, realizing what has happened. Bambi follows his father into the forest, taking one last look back as he leaves his childhood and innocence behind. Today is also the birthday of dear old Alfred Hitchcock who was born in 1899. What a masterful director this genius was. And of course, let us remember Merv Griffin who has passed from this weary Earth at age eighty-two. You had one hell of a great life, Mr. Griffin-- one fantastic ride. Our condolences to your son, Tony and your two beautiful grand children.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Today would have been the birthday of one of the greatest directors of all time: the amazing Cecil B. De Mille. Although he is best known for "The Ten Commandments" in 1956, he also brought the world "The Greatest Show On Earth" --which won the BEST PICTURE Oscar and "Samson & Delilah" He was 79 when he died in 1959. Speaking of "The Ten Commandments" I recently met the actor/director who played "Baby Moses" in that film: Mr. Frasier Heston-- son of Charlton Heston. He tells me his dad is not doing too well at age eighty three. I told him a story that he did not know. Back in the 90's Paramount decided to re-release "The Ten Commandments" just prior to their DVD release of the picture's amazing restoration. Jimmy Chapel and i went to go see it at the Cinerama Dome theatre in Hollywood. Charlton Heston was set to appear there. After the movie ended everyone was gathered around him. I shook his hand and so did Jimmy. Suddenly a woman approached him and in an idolization voice proclaimed loudly: "Moses! Moses" She pressed near him to have him sign her book. The dear man politely told her that he most certainly was not "Moses" -- simply an actor portraying a great and holy man. But the woman would not have her drama lessened and got him to sign her book. I think Mr. Heston should have looked where he was placing his signature because the moment the autograph was inscribed the woman walked away yelling out "Moses signed my bible! "he signed the "Holy Book". Heston shook his head and replied "That could only happen in Hollywood" De Mille was a very tough director and had little patience for actors who would not take chances. Victor Mature was called a "yellow bastard" for refusing to wrestle with a toothless and claw less lion in "Samson and Delilah" and speaking of that picture-- here's a flashback to early 1949. Mature was a real heart throb and a big muscle man. He looked like a gladiator and then some! Big throbbing pecs were his trademark. So here is a great De Mille story that involves the stars of that picture and Demille's idol --the one and only Groucho Marx. The "Samson & Delliah" picture was five months away from release. As always, an adoring De Mille invites Groucho Marx for a private screening of the film. De Mille brings in Groucho's favorite Cuban cigars, a incredibly comfortable arm chair, his favorite kosher food and an air-conditioned screening room at Paramount --which was no easy feat in 1949. Groucho arrives and is treated like pure royalty. The movie is screened and at its conclusion, De Mille goes down the aisle like a kid approaching a candy store to fervishly address the great Groucho. "Well, Groucho, did you like it. Did you like it" Groucho raised an eyebrow. "Can I be honest, C.B.? Demille was really taken aback. "Well, of course you can!' Groucho without missing a beat says "I'm sorry to say this, CB, but you're gonna lose a lot of money on that picture!" DeMille was crestfallen. This was awful. The great Groucho Marx hated his newest movie. "What's wrong with it? De Mille wanted to know. Again the great Groucho never missed a beat. He took the cigar out of his mouth and said "You got the parts all wrong" De Mille was devastated "The parts are all wrong?" Grouch blew a puff of smoke in De Mille's face and said "Sure, they are: Victor Mature has bigger knockers than Heddy Lamar! (well he did) The great DeMille was on the floor, laughing so hard he could barely stop! A great director was floored by the great Groucho Marx! De Mille's niece was the great Broadway choreographer Agnes DeMille.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Amazingly enough today Dustin Hoffman turns seventy years of age. What an amazing actor. My all time favorite film of his will always remain as Tootsie but "Rain Man" makes a very close second. His career story is really fascinating. Hoffman was born in Los Angeles California to Lillian Gold, a jazz pianist, and Harry Hoffman, who worked as a prop supervisor/set decorator at Columbia Pictures before becoming a furniture salesman! As I love to say-- that's a combo you could mix in a glass!
Dustin performed at the Pasadena Playhouse for two years with fellow actor Gene Hackman, who were both voted notoriously by their class as "Least Likely To Succeed", as both actors didn't fit in with the traditional norms of the blond, surf tanned performers in demand at the time. Determined to prove his classmates wrong, Hackman headed for New York City and told Hoffman to call him if he were to come to New York City. Hoffman took Hackman up on his offer and soon after followed his friend to New York, where he worked a series of odd jobs, such as coat checking at restaurants, working in the typing department of the city Yellow Pages directory, or stringing Hawaiian leis, while getting the occasional bit television role. To support himself, he left acting briefly to teach. Believe it or not, folks Dustin Hoffman also worked as a professional fragrance tester for Maxwell House. Coffee! Oh what we have to do to earn a living in the lean years! Dustin used to quip that if this acting thing didn't work out his proboscis-obnoxious would always find enough food for the table. In 1960, Hoffman landed a role in an off-Broadway production and followed with a walk-on role in a Broadway production in 1961.He also did the occasional television commercial. An oft-replayed segment on programs that explore actors' early work is a clip showing a young Hoffman touting the Volkswagen Fastback. Dustin then studied at the famed Actors Studio and became a dedicated method actor.Through the early and mid-1960s, Dustin made appearances early in his career on many television shows and movies, including Naked City, The Defenders and Hallmark Hall of Fame. Hoffman made his theatrical film debut in The Tiger Makes Out in 1967, alongside Eli Wallach. In 1966, young up-and-coming director Mike Nichols, fresh off a Best Director Oscar- nomination for his film Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, began casting his next film The Graduate, an adaptation of author Charles Webb's little-known novel of the same name. The first choice for the role of Benjamin Braddock, Warren Beatty, soon dropped out. The second choice was Robert Redford, who also wanted the role, but agreed with Nichols that he was too charming and popular to play the role of a sweaty-palmed, sexually uncomfortable virgin.Hungry for a role, Dustin auditioned for the film and, luckily, he came through with the exact and precise amount of awkwardness necessary for the role. Hoffman was cast, and the film began production in March 1967. That was 40 years ago! The cast included Anne Bancroft as the sexually promiscuous older woman, Mrs. Robinson. Though the age difference in their characters was intended to be 20-25 years, Hoffman and Bancroft were actually only 6 years apart in age difference. Hoffman was twenty-nine. Dustin Hoffman received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Graduate. The film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and Nichols took home the award for Best Director. The Graduate was also subsequently voted as the #7 Greatest American Movie of All-Time by the AFI. Happy Birthday Dustin Hoffman!

Monday, August 06, 2007


Today would have been Lucille Ball's 96th birthday. She was born in Jamestown, New York in 1911 and after her father dies suddenly in 1915, she (and her brother Fred) were raised by their mother (Dee Dee) and her paternal grandmother. Her three best friends in the world were Ginger Rogers, Mary Wickes and of course Vivian Vance. She was sent home from "dramatic school in 1923" because she was deemed as having "no talent whatsover" (I wonder how loud and long God was laughing at that one) Bar none, no other comediasn remains in my heart and mind and memory like Lucy does. She was simply the most original and amzing performer of all. Along the way, she created a television dynasty and reached several "firsts". Ball was the first woman in television to be head of a production company: Desilu, the company that she and Arnaz formed. (After buying out her ex-husband's share of the studio, Ball functioned as a very active studio head.) Desilu and I Love Lucy pioneered a number of methods still in use in television production today. When the show premiered, most shows were captured by kinescope, and the picture was inferior to film. The decision was made to film the series, a decision driven by the performers' desire to stay in Los Angeles.Sponsor Philip Morris did not want to show kinescopes to the major markets on the east coast, so Desilu agreed to take a pay cut to finance filming. In return, CBS relinquished the show rights back to Desilu after broadcast, not realizing they were giving away a valuable and durable asset. Desilu made many millions of dollars on I Love Lucy rebroadcasts through syndication and became a textbook example of how a show can be profitable in second-run syndication. In television's infancy, the concept of the rerun hadn't yet formed, and many in the industry wondered who would want to see a program a second time.
Desilu also hired legendary German cameraman Karl Freund as their director of photography. Freund had worked for
Fritz Lang, and had shot part of Metropolis. In addition, he had directed a number of Hollywood films himself, and knew his business. Freund used a three-camera setup, which became the standard way of filming situation comedies. Shooting long shots, medium shots, and close-ups on a comedy in front of a live audience demanded discipline, technique, and close choreography.I Love Lucy dominated the weekly TV ratings in the United States for most of its run. The strenuous rehearsals and demands of Desilu studio kept the Arnazes too busy to comprehend the show's success. During the show's hiatus', they starred together in feature films: Vincente Minnelli's The Long, Long Trailer (1954) and Alexander Hall's Forever Darling (1956). When the couple finally found time to attend a Hollywood movie premiere in late 1953, the entire star-studded audience stood and turned with a thunderous applause. It finally connected with the Arnazes. I Love Lucy made them the biggest stars in the nation, even among the Hollywood elite.
Desilu produced several other popular shows, most notably Our Miss Brooks. The Untouchables, Star Trek, and Mission: Impossible. Many other shows, particularly Make Room for Daddy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and I Spy, were filmed at Desilu Studios and bear its logo. But the eternal logo for laughter and pure honesty in comedy (as defined by Neil and Danny Simon) goes to this amazing performer. Nobody did it better. Lucy was the "James Bond" of comedy. I will venture to say that she still keeps the angels laughing-- and God knows they need it after dealing with the world!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


On this date forty-five years ago Norma Jean Mortenson aka Marilyn Monroe was found dead at home. Suicide? Murder? Who knows? But such a fascinating lady! She was style and a true Hollywood star. But it was not until 1948 after a six-month stint at Columbia Pictures saw her star in Ladies of the Chorus, but the low-budget musical was not a success and Monroe's contract was dropped. She then met one of Hollywood's top agents, Johnny Hyde who had Fox re-sign her after MGM turned her down. Fox Vice-President Darryl F. Zanuck was not convinced of Monroe's potential, but due to Hyde's persistence, she gained supporting parts in Fox's All About Eve and MGM's The Asphalt Jungle. Even though the roles were small, movie-goers as well as critics took notice. Hyde also arranged for her to have minor plastic surgery on her nose and chin, adding that to earlier dental surgery. The next two years were filled with inconsequential roles in standard fare such as We're Not Married! and Love Nest. However, RKO executives used her to boost box office potential of the Fritz Lang production Clash by Night. After the film performed well, Fox employed a similar tactic and she was cast as the ditzy receptionist with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers in Howard Hawks slapstick comedy Monkey Business. Critics no longer ignored her, and both films' success at the box office was partly attributed to Monroe's growing popularity. Fox finally gave her a starring role in 1952 with Don't Bother to Knock, in which she portrayed a deranged babysitter who attacks the little girl in her care. It was a cheaply made B-movie, and although the reviews were mixed, they claimed that it demonstrated Monroe's ability and confirmed that she was ready for more leading roles. Her performance in the film has since been noted as one of the finest of her career. Today is also an anniversary of triumph. For on this day the world premiere of American Bandstand made its debut on ABC television starring the eternal teenager himself, Dick Clark. Dick goes on despite the effects of a terrible stroke that befell him in 2004. My hat is off to you, sir! After all, it was you who introduced Ed Mchannon to Johnny Carson!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Today and not the 4th of July as he thought is the birthday of Louis Satchmo Armstrong. The man who knocked the Beetles off the Billboard Top 100 back in 1964 with "Hello Dolly" and then again for two other songs was perhaps the most amazing musician of the 20th century. His recordings of "Ain't Misbehaving" "What a Wonderful World" and "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You" are staples of the American jazz history."Satchmo" was an extremely generous men who contributed great deals of money for the poor, the uneducated and the struggling musician and worked closely with Martin Luther King. His classic recordings even extended to the Disney Studios with his recordings of the Oscar winning tune "The Bare Necessities" (which he performed on that Oscar telecast) as well as "Bout Time" and "When You Wish Upon A Star". "What A Wonderful World" was a song that was a big hit in Europe right away, but did not become huge in this country until it was part of the movie soundtrack for "Good Morning Vietnam" starring Robin Williams. Today I also had a great discussion with the manager of the Ritz store in Beverly Hills. It appears that I will be "moving on up" top the posh side and that transfer may happen in just about two weeks. Greater sales and new opportunities are sure to happen here. I finished another musical book. This one is called "The Runaway Heart" and it looks top be very promising and funny! Well on to work!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


On this day in 1921, we lost one of he greatest opera singers of all time, Enrico Caruso who died at the tender age of forty-eight of pleuresy. What a tragedy! My father was an avid Enrico Caruso fan and would listen to recordings of his voice on so many evenings back home in San Gabriel, California. H would go into his bedroom, put on one of Caruso's recordings and simply slip away into another world where all of troubles simply disappeared. It was his "peaceful time" Caruso was of course in San Francisco the night before the famous quake there in 1906 singing "Carmen" and thought God had sent the earthquake because He was displeased with what Caruso sang the night berfore. He vowed he would never return to San Francisco and he never did! Some interesting trvia about him: Caruso was one of seven children born to the same parents and the one of three to survive infancy. When he was 18, he used fees earned by singing at an Italian resort to buy his first pair of shoes. He is pictured wearing a bedsheet, draped like a toga, in his first publicity photograph because his only shirt was in the laundry. Caruso's birthplace in Naples, 7 Via San Giovanella agli Ottocalli, still stands next to the church where he was baptized. His remains were interred in a mausoleum at the cemetery of Santa Maria del Pianto During a performance in Naples, early in his career, Caruso was booed by the audience because he ignored the custom of hiring a claque to cheer for him. Afterwards, he said he would never again go to Naples to sing, but "only to eat spaghetti His recording of O Paradiso is a key part of the play "Awake and Sing" by Clifford Odets. At a performance of Puccini's La Boheme, the basso onstage lost his voice and Caruso reputedly began to sing his aria "Vecchia zimarra" while the basso mouthed the song. His performance was so appreciated he even went to record it but later asked for it to be destroyed. This recording was recovered and has had several incarnations on LP, including a recital disc published by Club 99 in the 1970s (CL99-60). According to the website Daily Rotten, on November 16, 1906, Caruso was "charged with an indecent act committed in the monkey house of New York's Central Park Zoo. He was initially accused of pinching a woman's derriere, causing outrage amongst New York high society. The actual story as told by biographer Stanley Jackson is much grimmer The incident may have been part of an extortion racket. The woman's name was initially given as Hannah Graham, but the name, and her address, proved to be false. Newspapers talked up the incident as they would a scandal involving the Kennedy family or Paris Hilton today. The accusations escalated until Caruso was being accused of child voyeurism.Caruso must have had problems with very high notes. In his recordings of the tenor's aria in Act I of La Boheme, the high C is replaced by high B, while in Faust he sings the high C in falsetto style, in contrast to Jussi Bjorling and others. And this one really slayed me! Bob Dylan in a 1965 interview with Time Magazine claimed he was just as good a singer as Caruso.Boy isn't that just like the tangerine saying he was just as good as the entire orchard!