Saturday, October 27, 2007


Last night we recorded one more song for "The Traveling Companion" called "It Must Be Destiny" sung by the characters of Princess Evermore and Prince Sterling in order to compete and follow the rules for The Richard Rodgers Academy of Fine Arts Musical competition. The contest's VERY specific rules require forty-five minutes of music and within that forty-five minutes of music there must be a minimum of eight consecutive songs as they appear in lyric form in the libretto. Tim and I were one song short for this requirement and beyond that we would be required to add the overture to come any where close to 45 continuous minutes. The recording got done with difficulty because the singers lacked some training, but certainly had the proper attitude and spirit. So I do thank Jenny and Eric. Robert (our engineer at Smooth Sounds Studios) was kind enough to knock off one hour of recording time cost--($40) what a sweet gesture! There is certainly an argument into the hiring of pro singers (and we certainly have before) But singers come at a minimum of $100 apiece and a more professional studio is at least $85 an hour plus gasoline costs, but "blue sky" ambition does not fund your checking account. We got a song recorded, got a $40 credit, and while it was not the very best result, the recording in my current budget crunch will satisfy the contest requirements. I had two others singers scheduled but they never showed because they were involved in a fender bender. But Jeremy and Natalie who was coming by pure surprise hit another car-- and well, fate and God had another plan. But the great singers have agreed to come back and Jeremy (who called me this morning early) wants to give ME $40 for "being at fault"-- that's what I call classy. Someone pro offers to sing for free and has a fender bender that's his fault. He tries to call but has a cell phone that goes straight to recording. Then he calls to apologize this morning and wants to give ME at least one hour of recording time because he has had a fender bender with minor injuries that was his fault. So we've agreed to another date. We also recorded the first two songs from "SEVEN"-- the musical romp that I've co-written with John Nugent. Brian Martin was brilliant and did both songs in ONE TAKE plus recorded some narration-- wow! Both songs sound great and Tim's accompaniment was right on the money for the type of situation the show called for. Thank you, Tim. Well, now I must get these contest materials together for a November 1st deadline. But if we can win this contest, Tim and I will have made it-- a fully subsidized production of the musical in NYC for about twenty shows and a cash prize. Not bad for something without an entry fee. Keep your fingers and toes crossed, friends. This is one beautiful show: Hans Christian Andersen would have loved it!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Well, today is a brief entry, but I just had to commemorate the birthday of one of my very favorite comedy stars from the "golden age" of comedy. On this day in 1903, JEROME HOWARD better known as good old CURLY was born. How many hours of pure laughter did this gentle giant provide to all of us. Oh how I laughed as a kid! He was portrayed brilliantly on a television movie by Michael Chicklas-- who I was privileged to meet once. Happy Birthday Curly-- I can only imagine that you are keeping the angels in constant laughter-- and God knows they need it after dealing and protecting the likes of us. My sympathy for all the fire victims in the Malibu area this morning. Much was destroyed and many lives were lost. May God be with you all! Another day in my new post as manager-- wow-- what a lot of work to do. Plano grams are not my favorite thing to accomplish

Sunday, October 21, 2007

So you think you're too old is a phrase that should be booted on it's ear. And the reason is this: Mr. Tony Martin, singer and entertainer seen here in a publicity photo from 1954 is going to star in a show at Feinstein's at Loew's in NYC at the amazing age of-- no, not 80-- not 85-- not even 90!-- guess again, you guys-- but fricking AMAZING 95 years old. He will sing and reminice about the grand old days of his career. Wow! It just goes to show you how true those amazing words of George Burns was: "Getting old is mind over matter-- if you really don't mind-- it really doesn't matter" Go for Tony. I remember you well-- especially one of all time favorite movies "Till The Clouds Roll By"-- the fictional accounting of composer Jerome Kern. It would have been my mom and dad's fifty-fifth wedding anniversary on October 19th. Imagine that. Wow! What great parents I had. My mother was my best friend. And my dad was the kindest, most honest and sweet men of all times. The 20th century befuddled him-- I guess just as much as the 21st century befuddles and frustrates me. Tim and I are going to enter the Richard Rodgers competition-- for "The Traveling Companion" We need forty-five minutes of music including eight songs-- thank God we recorded the overture! But it's deadline looms-- so wish us luck

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Dear George Carlin lost his dear wife of many years this week. The man who gave me my favorite saying "I want to know something-- why is it that the caterpillar does all the work and the butterfly gets all the publicity" gave an eulogy at her funeral that has absolutely made me cry this morning. It is perhaps the most beautiful and eloquent statement about living that I have ever read in my life of sixty years. Who would guess that a guy who has made me laugh for the last thirty-five years at least could be this poetic and this amazing. I suggest that you read it and take these words very much to heart because ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, life is far too short. It ticks away second by second and we all rush around taking it for granted. My mom and died both died very suddenly. My father was fifty-eight and was taken by a heart attack so quickly that the doctor claimed minutes later that he couldn't have saved him if had been on the operating table at that very moment-- with his heart open. My mom was killed in an automobile accident-- she simply never had a snowball's chance in hell. My mother was very best friend in the world and my dad was an amazing loving, giving super father whom the seventeen year old me at that time was just beginning to know and appreciate. So here are George Carlin's words at his wife's eulogy-- word for word-- nothing cut. Get a hanky ready, kids, you're gonna need one. These words are amazing. I may even put them to song.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it.
A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you
.Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there.Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I assume my post as manager of the Ritz Camera store in Sherman Oaks this day. The store is located in the "Fashion Square" mall on Riverside Dreive in Sherman Oaks. Imagine that, I haven't worked in a mall in twenty years. This should be interesting! Of course the big stagehand strike looms over Broadway this week and guess what? They've released two classic Broadway soundtracks. The first is "By Jupiter" from the 1967 reprise production off Broadway. Ray Bolger did the title role in the original. And believe or not Groucho Marx in "The Mikado" -- boy is that special. Here are some other mazing things that happened in Broadway history today:
In 1930 The Gershwin Brothers, George and Ira, are at it again tonight with the opening of their new musical, Girl Crazy. The show provides an outlet for several unknown stars, both on stage and in the orchestra pit. Ethel Merman stops the show singing "I've Got Rhythm" with an incredible 16-beat hold on the "I." She is later reported as being able to "hold a note longer than Chase Manhattan." Ingenue Ginger Rogers was also in the cast, singing "Embraceable You." In the orchestra are unknown musicians Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Gene Krupa. The show will run more than 34 weeks, racking up 272 performances.
And in 1958 Pre-"Star Trek" William Shatner plays an American coping with the emotional issues of having an Asian girlfriend (France Nuyen) in Paul Osborn's The World of Suzie Wong, directed by Joshua Logan.

In 1961 Just like its forerunner, Guys and Dolls, a musical by the same team, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, opens tonight and triumphs with a story about life in the big city. This time, Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser look not at the lowlife underground, but at the high life and the goings on within a high-rise office building. The story follows a young man's progression from window washer to CEO of a major company in New York. Although Hugh Lambert is credited with choreographing the show, Bob Fosse is on the bill as having done the "musical staging". Robert Morse co-stars with Donna McKechnie and Rudy Vallee in this musical comedy satire, which got rave reviews and ran for more than 1,400 performances.
And finally in 1967 One of the largest theatrical empires in the world loses its patriarch as David Nederlander, who founded the Nederlander Organization in 1912, dies today. He founded the organization first as a small theatre in Detroit, Michigan. It grew to represent theatres, producers, and shows around the world. Today, the organization is responsible for housing such shows as Beauty & the Beast and Rent. Well, wish me well, today!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Broadway comes to television today as the very first currently running Broadway show is broadcast on MTV. The show is "Legally Blonde". Lawrence O Keefe (The Bat Boy) is the composer. Could this be the way to keep shows on Broadway that may be faltering in box office sales? Maybe. The show itself only opened in April of this year. But hey, if this is the way to keep musical theatre going on Broadway-- why not? The stagehand union's threatened strike won't happen this weekend, thank goodness, but still looms as a real Broadway show stopper. The only two MAJOR musical shows that would NOT be shut down completely should a strike be declared is MARY POPPINS at the New Amsterdam and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at the Hilton. Those shows are covered by separate contracts. This is my last day at the Studio City Ritz Camera store and I go on to manage the Sherman Oaks store on Sunday, October 14th. A big challenge, but with God's help, I will be successful. Today is also the 90th anniversary of the last appearance of the Blessed Mother at Fatima. "The Miracle of the Sun" happened on this day and hundreds of thousands witnessed it. The Mother of God is my strength, my pathway and light on the dark roads of life. She has rescued me more times than I can ever tell you. We Catholics don't "pray to Mary" instead of God. We ask the Mother of Jesus to intercede for us with God and her Son. It was the dear Mother of Our Savior who got His public life started with the Miracle of Cana. Who could deny their own Mother's request? Well, it isn't any different with Jesus. And so Dearest Mother of God watch over me always and forever!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Well, today came the premiere of two great but amzingly different Broadway musicals. The first was Irving Berlin's "Call Me Madam" and the other was Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ, Superstar" which of course originated the phrase "What's the buzz?" "Superstar" got its backing by releasing a phonograph album of its soundtrack on RCA records prior to its Broadway production-- this was what obtained the financing to put on the show on Broadway in the first place! Ethel Merman played the lead in Madam and simply wowed the critics. One of them suggested that that the show actually be renamed "Call Me Merman". Ethel Merman was one amzing lady. The funny story was that RC Victor had the rights to record the original Broadway soundtrack, but Ethel was under contract to Decca Records who refused to allow her to participate in the Original cast recording. They Threatened a big law suit if she did. So Etherl (believe it or not) was replaced in the soundtrack recording by Dinah Shore and Etherl Merman released a one artist cast recoirding of Call Me Madam" on Decca Records in which she sang ALL of the score-- even those songs she never sang in the Broadway show! Wow! And you though legal issues were only interesting today! Of course those songs were:

Act I
Mrs. Sally Adams
The Hostess With the Mostes' on the Ball
Washington Square Dance
Can You Use Any Money Today?
Marrying For Love
The Ocarina
It's a Lovely Day Today
The Best Thing For You (Would Be Me)
Act II
Lichtenburg (Reprise)
Something To Dance About
Once Upon a Time Today
They Like Ike
You're Just in Love

The Best Thing For You (Would Be Me)
It's a Lovely Day Today
Mrs. Sally Adams (Reprise)

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Today, my very favorite musical, "Mack and Mabel" written by the great Michael stewart (book) and the amazing Jerry Herman premiered today at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. It had received rave reviews in Los Angeles during previews there, but had succumbed on the Great white Way after only 65 performances. Tood sad an ending? Perhaps. Audiences could not tolerate unhappy endings in the mid 1970's. But bar none Jerry Herman's score was so wonderful. "I Won't Send Roses" is simply beautiful. And I love "Tap Your Troubles Away". I sincerely hope this amazing show finds a re-birth somewhere. Today al;so on this date Al Jolson starred in a little known musical called "Bombo"-- there were three great and amazing songs in this lottle known Broadway musical. One was "My mammy", the second was "April Showers" and the third:
written by the great Gus Kahn
Yesterday I heard a lover sigh"Goodbye, oh me, oh my"
Seven times he got aboard his train
And seven times he hurried back
To kiss his love again, and tell her.....
Toot, toot, Tootsie, goo'bye
Toot, toot, Tootsie, don't cry
The choo choo train that takes me
Away from you, no words can tell how sad it makes me
Kiss me, Tootsie, and then
Do it over again
Watch for the mail,
I'll never fail
If you don't get a letter then you'll know I'm in jail
Tut, tut, Tootsie, don't cry
Toot, toot, Tootsie, goo'bye!
When somebody says goodbye to me
I'm sad as I can be,
Not so with this loving Romeo
He seemed to take a lot of pleasure
Saying goodbye to his treasure.....
Toot, toot, Tootsie,goo'bye
Toot, toot, Tootsie, don't cry
The choo choo train that takes me
Away from you, no words can tell how sad it makes me
Kiss me, Tootsie, and then
Do it over again
Watch for the mail, I'll never fail
If you don't get a letter then you'll know I'm in jail
Tut, tut, Tootsie, don't cry
Toot, toot, Tootsie, goo'bye!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Today is the birthday of a "Buster"-- Buster Keaton to be precise. What an amazing gifted man whom I discovered about halfway into my life when I was running old movies on sixteen milameter to help raise money for the Alhambra Public Library. He was a most amazing performer born on 1895 on Piqua, Kansas-- while his parents were employed doing a tent show with Harry Houdini. It was dear old Harry who gave Mr. keaton his stage name after a six month old Keaton fell down a flight of stairs. Houdini shouted out "What a buster!" And the name stuck. Today is also the fiftirth anniversary of the first eposode of "Leave it To Beaver" woth June, Ward, Wally, Eddie and of course-- The Beav. Boy, do I remember those classic episodes. Great old memories!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Put on a happy face, today I get my promotion and start as the manager of the Ritz Camera store in Sherman Oaks in the Westfield Mall. I haven't worked in a mall in twenty years-- and I thought I never would again, but we will see what happens here. There's a lot of challenges and I leaving a very busy store to do this, but I need to trust the Lord and allow Him to lead me to a new challenge. I am hoping that I can create some really exciting new things and give the store a new look. It will involve more hours, but again it's a wonderful opportunity-- so we will see what happens. My first training is this morning at 9:30am-- so everybody say a Little prayer for me-- please! The "Seven" libretto is finally finished and now John Nugent is writing the orchestration. And this Friday, we get the word on "The Traveling Companion and whether Tim and I can get a shot at pitching this to the Disney brass. Fingers crossed. Toes too!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Today would have been the birthday of the greatest comedian this country has produced! Bar none-- no one has ever matched or beaten Groucho-- EVER! In tribute for his birthday today, here are some quotes that he made famous. Happy Birthday, Groucho, wherever you are!
Witty remarks by Groucho Marx
Note that several of these come from his films and although spoken by Groucho were written by the various films' screenwriters.

A man's only as old as the woman he feels.
A woman is an occasional pleasure but a cigar is always a smoke.
Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.
From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I
convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.
Go, and never darken my
towels again.
I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.
I remember the first time I had sex - I kept the receipt.
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
Hollywood brides keep the bouquets and throw away the groom.
Marriage is a wonderful
institution, but who wants to live in an institution?
Marry me and I'll never look at another horse!
Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you.
One morning I shot an elephant in my
pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I don't know (often misquoted as "I'll never know.")
Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
There is one way to find out if a man is honest; ask him! If he says yes you know he's crooked.
Those are my
principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
Whoever named it
necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
Why, I'd horse-whip you if I had a horse.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
I thought my razor was dull, then I heard his speech.
Today is also the birthday of Bud Abbott-- who was the greatest straight man this country ever produced!
Happy Birthday, Mr. Dinklepuss (the character he played in "Jack In The Beanstalk") wherever you are. You are on "first" Now.