Monday, June 30, 2008


Well, I've been out of work now exactly one week and it really feels like I'm a shoreless boat. Of course, the job hunting has gone on long before that as i knew this was coming for a month! Wow, I never thought I'd miss it that much. I have put applications all over Career Builder and have now signed up with Monster. Com. The problem is just don't get that much reply, I do have an interview tomorrow in Gardenia, Ca as a "High School Presenter" in which I would go around to various high schools and sell a "College". I have sold many things in my life, but never an institution for higher learning. There is also a job fair tomorrow and there are other irons in the fire, but man this is scary. I must trust in God-- I know for sure that he didn't bring me all the way here intending to drop me here. He just doesn't work that way. So if everyone will say a little prayer for me, i would be very grateful. I have not been out of work in almost twelve years and have only actually collected unemployment once in the 1970's-- scary thought! I continue to write and send out resumes every single day--thank God for the computer! Well, that's about it for today! Sorry that the entries this month have been pretty sparse. I saw a performance of the Gay Men's Chorus on Saturday thanks to the kind generosity of my dearest friend, Tim Doran. It was a fabulous show: a tribute to the 1970's. Heard first was "Joy To The World" authored by Hoyt Axton. It was arranged by my old partner in songwriting Mr. Eddy Clement. What a wonderful piece. Of course if you want me to cry just sing one of my all time favorite songs "The Rainbow Connection" --I think it is so beautifully written. Paul Williams is masterful. Happy week ahead!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


On this day in 1966-- we lost one of the greatest comedians of all times. Often called "The Perfect Fool"-- and world renown as "The Fire Chief" Ed Wynn was a classic vaudevillian performer who delighted audiences throughout the years. He was also an amazing dramatic actor who starred as Van Dussell in "The Diary of Anne Frank". He was Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins and starred in a great number of Walt Disney films. Walt is shown with Ed here on this blog entry. It's also an amazing co-incidence that we lost Walt Disney, himself in December of 1966. One of my favorite of his roles was on an old "Twilight Zone" episode in which Ed Wynn plays a salesman who cheats death because he has "unfinished business" here in Earth. Of course that "unfinished business" is as he calls it "a pitch for the angels"-- the best sales presentation of all times. The character of Ed is found in my musical "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" -- a really wonderful tribute to "the old fire chief". On another subject, the job search goes on. I have about three more days at Ritz Camera and I will be working in the Ventura store this weekend. I have submitted resumes everywhere. So everyone--please-- say a prayer for me that I can find one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Today is Gene Wilder's 75th birthday. What an amazingingly funny and very human man. His life has had many ups and downs. Gene of course is the co-creator of "Young Frankenstein" and was a master at playing Willy Wonka.In 1971, Mel Stuart offered Wilder the lead role in his film adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wilder was initially hesitant, but finally accepted the role under one condition:
“When I make my first entrance, I'd like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I'm walking on and stands straight up, by itself...but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.”
When Stuart asked why, Wilder replied, "because from that time on, no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth."All three films Wilder did after The Producers were box office failures, Start the Revolution and Quackser seemed to audiences poor copies of Mel Brooks films; while Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory seemed, to many parents, a moral story "too cruel" for children to understand, thus failing to attract family audiences After hearing that Wonka had been a commercial failure, Woody Allen offered Wilder a role in one segment of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask). Wilder accepted, hoping that this would be the hit that would put an end to his series of flops. Everything was a hit, grossing over $18 million dollars in the United States alone against a $2 million dollar budget.
After Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), Wilder began working on a script he called Young Frankenstein. When he had written a two page scenario, he called Mel Brooks, who told him that it seemed like a "cute" idea but showed little interest. A couple of months later, Wilder received a call from his then agent, Mike Medavoy, who asked if he had anything where he could include Peter Boyle and Marty Feldman, his two new clients. Having just seen Feldman on television, Wilder was inspired to write a scene that takes place at Transylvania Station, where Igor and Frederick meet for the first time. The scene would later be included in the film almost verbatim. Medavoy liked the idea and called Brooks, asking him to direct. Brooks was not convinced, but having spent four years working on two box office failures, he decided to accept.While working on the Young Frankenstein script, Wilder was offered the part of the Fox in the musical film adaptation of Saint Exupéry's classic book, The Little Prince. When filming was about to begin in London, Wilder received an urgent call from Mel Brooks, who was filming Blazing Saddles, offering Wilder the role of the "Waco Kid" after Dan Dailey dropped out at the last minute, while Gig Young became too ill to continue. Wilder shot his scenes for Blazing Saddles and immediately afterwards filmed The Little Prince.After Young Frankenstein was written, the rights were to be sold to Columbia Pictures but after having trouble agreeing on the budget, Wilder, Brooks and producer Michael Gruskoff went with 20th Century Fox where both Brooks and Wilder had to sign five-year contracts. Young Frankenstein was a commercial success, with Wilder and Brooks receiving Best Adapted Screenplay nominations at the 1975 Oscars, losing to Francis Coppola and Mario Puzo for their adaptation of The Godfather Part II.While filming Frankenstein, Wilder had an idea for a romantic musical comedy about a brother of Sherlock Holmes. Marty Feldman and Madeline Kahn agreed to participate in the project and Wilder began writing what would become his directorial début, 1975's The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother"
In 1975, Wilder's agent sent him a script for a film called Super Chief. Wilder accepted but told the film's producers that he thought the only person who could keep the film from being offensive was Richard Pryor. Pryor accepted the role in the film, which had been renamed Silver Streak, the first film to team Wilder and Pryor. While filming Silver Streak, Wilder began working on a the script for The World's Greatest Lover, inspired by Fellini's The White Sheik. Wilder wrote, produced and directed The World's Greatest Lover, which premièred in 1977, but was a commercial and critical failure. 1979s The Frisco Kid would be Wilder's next project. The film was to star John Wayne, but he dropped out when the Warner Brothers executives tried to dissuade him from charging the studio his usual $1 million fee. Harrison Ford, a then up-and-coming actor, was hired for the role. Happy Birthday, dear Gene! God love you for giving the world your humor.

Monday, June 09, 2008


Today would have been Cole Porter's 97th birthday. What an amazing composer! What a brilliant lyricist! I can only hope he is entertaining the angels tonight. My job search goes on. This is is the first time I have been out of work in twelve years and I am applying everywhere through Career on the Internet-- which is quite good, but the responses are very slow in coming. But I have turned this over to the Lord and I need to trust Him completely. Of course I am still hoping that Ritz will find something for me to go on to. Having a store closed is not exactly the most joyful situation of my life. Our little store was doing very well. Unfortunately, "the sharp pencil boys" of Ritz see only pedantic low figures in January and February of this year. We had a terrible writer's strike and gas continues to go up. In California, gas is up to $4.35 a gallon for basic gas. Crazy! Everyone please say a prayer for me! This is one of the toughest moments of my life!