Friday, December 28, 2007


It's been awhile since I've written something here, but my days as retail manager have been long and hard. Christmas 2007 was a bit disappointing because my store did not beat last year's figures which I really wanted to accomplish. But we did beat a few store stores and sold 144 point and shoot digitals and twenty one digital *SLR'S. Maybe now, I will now have some time for writing. John Nugent and I are finishing songs for "The Runaway Heart" and have even done some work on "The Wild Swans"-- another story from the late great Hans Christian Andersen. Meanwhile Tim has completed the bass and guitar book for "The Traveling Companion" and we plan to go into the studio in January to record some tunes for "Seven" John goes for an interview today for Bed Bath and Beyond. All fingers and toes crossed and a special prayer to God today. With all that goes wrong in our lives, I was reminded by a scripture reading this morning of that grand old phrase "No crown without the cross" We must all bear it and get through it. More later.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Well, friends, today is the birthday of Ludwig Van Beethoven, the master composer. What an amazing life. Here was a master: a man who's genius came from a very troubled life. His strict father was unbelievable-- rousing the young master out of bed at night in order to practice. He dreamed of studying with Mozart at the age of sixteen only to have his mother become ill and that dream shattered with the death of Mozart, himself. The story of Beethoven's custody fight over his young nephew could make a fascinating musical all by itself. Today is also the birthday of Sir Noel Coward. And in American History this is also the anniversary of The Boston Tea Party. It also marked Lucille Ball's premiere on Broadway in 1960 with "Wildcat" ("Hey, Look Me Over!) And the final project of classic songwriter Jules Styne with "The Red Shoes". Interesting day. I am going to a family Christmas party today-- should be great fun. In honor of Sir Noel, here are some trivia facts about his work:
The character of Beverly Carlton in the 1939 Broadway play The Man Who Came to Dinner was based on Coward. He was portrayed by Reginald Gardiner in the 1942 film of the play.
In the sixth season of Frasier in an episode entitled "How to Bury a Millionaire, Niles Crane purchases a pen once owned by Coward.
In the third season of Frasier, Frasier gives a Christmas gift to his father, that he says "Noel Coward would love it, but it's not you."
Charles and Fiona (Dame Celia Molestrangler and Ageing juvenile Binkie Huckaback), characters in Round the Horne.
In the 1982 film Better Late Than Never, David Niven played Nick Cartland, an ageing cabaret artiste, whose showpiece is I've Been To A Marvellous Party.
Jon Wynne-Tyson's play Marvellous Party, about a middle-age reunion in Las Vegas of Coward and his collaborator Esmé Wynne-Tyson was broadcast by the BBC World Service in May 1994, starring Stanley Baxter as Coward and Dorothy Tutin as Wynne-Tyson.
In 1998 Twentieth-Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward was released. The album contains Coward's songs performed by Sting, Elton John, Pet Shop Boys, The Divine Comedy, Vic Reeves, Paul McCartney and others.
Coward appeared as a regular character in the fifth and sixth series of the BBC sitcom Goodnight Sweetheart.
Coward is the leading figure in Jeremy Kingston's comedy, Making Dickie Happy, also featuring Agatha Christie and Louis Mountbatten (the 'Dickie' of the title), first staged at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in London in September 2004'
The name of the men's clothing line 'Godspeed the Well-Dressed Man' came from the closing of one of Coward's letters.
Monty Python parodied Noel Coward in the Penis Song segment of their 1983 movie, The Meaning of Life and in their album Monty Python Sings as Penis Song (Not the Noel Coward Song).
The Doctor Who novel Mad Dogs and Englishmen features a version of Coward who has allied himself with alien poodles and gained time travel technology.
The opening to the song "The Lady Is a Tramp" includes the line "Alas, I missed the Beaux Arts Ball, and what is twice as sad I was never at a party where they honored Noel Ca-ad (Coward)".
Coward's play "Private Lives" is parodied in the off-Broadway musical revue "Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know" in a short scene entitled "Private Wives."
Marcy Kahan's Noel Coward quintet for BBC Radio 4 dramatises Coward as a detective in "Design For Murder" (2000), "A Bullet at Balmain's" (2003) and "Death at the Desert Inn" (2005), and as a spy in "Blithe Spy" (2002) and "Our Man In Jamaica" (2007). The cast of the quintet includes Malcolm Sinclair as Coward, Eleanor Bron as his secretary and Tam Williams as Cole Lesley.
'Two Old Queens' (2007), Perth, Western Australia, starring Edgar Metcalf as the Queen Mother and John Michael Swinbank as Coward. A conversation between the two at the unveiling of the statue of Coward in Poets' Corner.
In the (1969) classic English film Kes a man inquires about his interest in Coward's autobiography Present Indicative.
'The Actors Nightmare' contains a scene from 'Private Lives'

Sunday, December 09, 2007


The lyrics to that wonderful song "Young At Heart" has a line which reads "And if you should survive to one hundred and five. Think of all you'll derive, just by being alive". Well, Margaret Hamilton, aka, The Wicked Witch of The West in the MGM classic movie "The Wizard of Oz" may not have survived actually to the age of one hundred and five, but she most certainly has achieved that in all of our hearts. I adored her. I thought she had more class than many. Today would have been her One Hundred and fifth birthday! She is loved and endeared by so many fans still even today! Not even her roles as Cora, the Maxwell House housewife spokes lady surpass the fame she gained as a misunderstood green witch. And just think, the creator the Witch character, Mr. L. Frank Baum only created a minor character of her in the original book. Of course, take a look at how that witch character is endeared now. Margaret would have been happy. Lyman Frank Baum would be simply beside himself. This kind and good author was an absolute failure in his lifetime. He went totally bankrupt and lost just about everything- several times. He had never intended to write any more than one Oz story. Well so much for what we plan! Because the children of the world had different ideas. He was inundated with letters from them "More Oz!" And dear Margaret Hamilton who had wonderful memories but she very bad experiences while making the movie, never dreamed that she would forever be famous because of that ONE movie role oh so long ago. I wrote a musical back in the 1980's that depicted this entire scene. I think Margaret and L. Frank Baum would be oh so happy to see that the Land Of Oz is as popular today as it was back then. Well, it rained like hell here over night and I go to work later. being a manager is certainly different than i expected it to be. Today my youthful employees are as independent as hell. They want things their way and are willing to walk away (in unison, if necessary) if they can't. Well, I must be smart. this is Christmas, the busiest season of all for retail. I must bide my time and not allow my own pride to act. I will get more with sugar than vinegar any day!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Happy Birthday to Woody Allen who turns Seventy Two this day, Bette Midler who turns Sixty-two this day and to the memory of Mary Martin who was born on this date in 1913 (The same year as my dear mother) and the best captain hook of all time: Mr. Cyril Richard who was born on this date in 1897. Great performers all! Working a Christmas season in a mall again after twenty years is certainly interesting. It's amazing our store is either dead or crazy with customers. There does not seem to be a fine line between the two extremes. It turns out that the character name that is being used in the new Broadway show (the last Kander & Ebb) has a protagonist (the show business loving detective) with the last name of Cioffi. That name was the real last name of my aunt and godmother-- imagine that because Cioffi is a very uncommon italian last name. By the way take a listen to a particular song from that show called "I Miss the Music" which was written by John Kander (both music and lyrics) in loving tribute to his own late musical partner Fred Ebb. I promise you this: it will make you cry! This was a partnership of over forty years and this was the team that gave the world the Broadway "Cabaret" "Chicago" (among so many others) and a little ditty of a song called "New York, New York" Well have a great weekend!