Sunday, October 25, 2009


I found this story to be very amusing. I play the lottery. Mostly I play "Fantasy Five" because the odds are so much better---even though 50% of the big Three Hundred Million Mega Million lottery was recently won at a liquor store in my home town of San Gabriel, Ca-- a store I used to patronize as early as 1972. But yesterday the $117,000 "Fantasy Five" lotto was in Nipton, California at the Primm Valley Lotto. The lucky numbers were 4-14-21-28-30. Now because Fantasy Five is won so often, and split so many ways (four winners winning $16,666.00 just a week ago) the jackpot rarely rises above $125,000. The minimum jackpot is $50,000. The hell with megamillions, what $117,000 would do for my life would astound you, Now what is so special about Nipton, Ca. Well guess what? It has a total population of THIRTY (30) people. Good grief, not only would everyone in town KNOW that you won the lottery, they would all be ringing your doorbell trying to borrow some money. If you look at the color picture on the top, you will see what dear old Nipton looks like today. Talk about the original ONE HORSE town, The black and white picture was taken the days it was founded in 1900. The city of Nipton sits on northern edge of Mojave National Preserve, west of Searchlight, Nevada. The history of Nipton began in 1900 as a place for gold miners to reside. For many years, Nipton had the most lottery ticket sales in the state for the California State Lottery. When a new office opened nearby immediately outside Primm, Nevada, Nipton lost its number one ranking, as Primm was easier and faster for Las Vegas residents and others to get to. (Although that office, despite having a Nevada address and phone number, is located on the California side of the border and is actually within city limits of Nipton.) Some of the town fathers (they actually have some) intended to make Nipton the gateway to the Mojave National Preserve. As of July 2009, all you will find there at Nipton is a five-room hotel, originally constructed in 1910, a trailer park, a small general store, and a café that is open on most days called The Whistle Stop Cafe-- although it's nowhere near a train station.The ZIP Code is 92364 and the community is inside area code 760. Oh by the way, with nothing to see, no theatre or major store and no gas station in the town proper, the Bed and Breakfast Inn with only FIVE rooms is $78.65 per night plus tax. WOW! Oh there was two other funny stories. Aboard a Delta plane, a passenger dropped his cell phone into the vent while talking on it. The flight on the plane was delayed several hours while the plane was dismantled! YES-- dismantled. Oh brother! And there was also the story of the New Jersey single girl who went to a party dateless and came home dateless. She was a bit depressed and walked into her bedroom and discovered a drunk but extremely handsome policeman in her bed. He had come home from a similar party, got drunk and walked home (well at least he WALKED) He had been living in the same apartment complex but on a different floor. He got off the elevator on the wrong floor and walked into the woman's unlocked apartment. The girl NEVER locked her apartment. He went into her bedroom, undressed and fell asleep until the girl had screamed at his discovery. He was arrested and suspended. But the girl paid his fine and they are now dating steadily. Go figure!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


One of the most amazing writers in the world of theatre was the late great Moss Hart. Moss wrote comedies with the equally amazing George S. Kaufman-- and what plays they were. There was of course "The Man Who Came To Dinner" "Light Up The Sky", "George Washington Slept Here" and the Pulitzer Prize winning "You Can't Take It With You" -- one of the funniest plays ever written. Moss Hart was also a brilliant director who helmed such Broadway blockbusters as "My Fair Lady" and Camelot. Sadly, this brilliant man died in 1961 of heart failure at the still tender age of fifty-seven-- one year shy of my own father who died of a massive heart attack at age fifty-eight just five years later. Today also is the anniversary of the opening of Pippin-- Steven Schwartz's first big Broadway show directed by the legendary Bob Fosse. The show was based on the life of Pippin the Hunchback, the son of Charlemagne. The show was partially financed by Motown Records. As of April 2009, Pippin is the 29th longest-running Broadway show. Pippin was originally conceived by Stephen Schwartz as Pippin, Pippin, a student musical performed by Carnegie Mellon's Scotch'n'Soda theatre troupe. According to musical theatre scholar Scott Miller in his 1996 book, From Assassins to West Side Story, "Pippin is a largely under-appreciated musical with a great deal more substance to it than many people realize....Because of its 1970s pop style score and a somewhat emasculated licensed version for amateur productions which is very different from the original Broadway production, the show now has a reputation for being merely cute and harmlessly naughty; but if done the way director Bob Fosse envisioned it, the show is surreal and disturbing." Of course I must also comment on the death of my dear Soupy Sales at the age of eighty-three. The picture that you see was taken on his 8oth birthday when he was awarded a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame". The late Johnny Grant has gotten a pie in the face here too! Soupy was one of the most talented comedians to come along. He made me laugh as a child and I earned a few bucks with him as well. Who could forget White Fang, the meanest dog in the whole wide world, plus Black Tooth the kindest. Then there was The Count, The Little Boy Next Door", Marilyn Von Woolf, Pookie The Lion and Hippy the Hippo. And the day of the naked lady who appeared at his door. Oh boy! Every dentist could have used his "Words of Wisdom" message "Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you!" God love you Soupy Sales. I cried a good bit for you. As you enter heaven, make God laugh-- Lord knows, he needs it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yesterday was a go back to my past day. I paid a visit to an old friend. Of course, unbeknown to me "the old friend" had re-located itself a bit. The old friend was the Alhambra Public Library. And now it had moved to First Street in Alhambra right next door to City Hall. I can not tell you how many happy hours that I spent in that library. My dear father loved it so. He would take us kids (my sister Annette and I especially) there on Tuesday nights when I was small. They would stamp the books with the date due as many times as you had actual books borrowed. In that way, our dear father (and other parents, I presume) would know just how many library books had to to be returned on that particular due date. My dad would get so mad at us kids if he found a book was missing. The library's collection was precious. The library had several locations over the years and one temporary location was actually in an old super market while they were finding the funds to build a permanent building! Those were tough days! I remember when i was about ten years old going to the old library and discovering my first Disneyland recorded soundtrack there. It was "Sleeping Beauty" . The record had been well used. It was my birthday and we were so poor at that point that my "birthday present" was a brand new library card. But that library held so much for me otherwise. I got to know a research librarian there by the name of Ann Mcowsky. Ann was a be speckled older woman who was the most devoted librarian you could ever hope to meet. Perhaps I'm the only one to remember her because I don't think she ever married or had a child and she died of brain cancer. While I was in college and beyond, I started raising money for the 16mm film collection of the library. My friends and I started a series of film festivals at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Parish Hall. Dear Father Hultgren was an amazing minister who was kind and good of heart who allowed us to use the hall for our film showings. With my old 16mm Graflex projector, I would run Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and Our Gang comedies in that old parish hall auditorium and we bought a number of 16mm films for the libraries permanent collection including "The Little Drummer Boy" and the Saul Bass masterpiece "Why Man Creates" plus we long leased a few Disney cartoons from the Walt Disney Company. Well, today I returned there and obtained a library card. Imagine that! I haven't been at this library (at any of its three or four locations in over thirty years. Since my new job will be close by at Alhambra Nissan I thought about getting my first new library card in almost that same period. I also donated some of my recordings of my songs for their collection. That felt good. And then as John Nugent and I were driving home, we passed by Holy Trinity Church. Nothing had changed about that grand facade! What a flood of great memories. Dear Father Hultgren was so amazingly kind. So I thought of him fondly this afternoon. I could still see his face in my mind. I hadn't seen that church in over thirty years. Wow! I took out some library books and found a very interesting detail about the life of Jerome Kern, the composer. I'm going to have to verify the story, but if it is true, it could make an incredible musical story that would incorporate bot the actual fact and a bit of fiction. According to the book, I was reading, Jerome Kern was on his way to an audition in New York City for a revival of "Showboat" in 1946. He had a stroke as he was on the streets walking to the theatre where the auditions were scheduled. The book that I was reading said that he had no identification and was sent eventually to a hospital on Governor's island -- the assumption was that without any kind of ID, he was simply an immigrant without insurance. Good grief! This was Jerome Kern. As I looked on Wikepedia, that article said that he indeed had a stroke but that his only Id was his ASCAP membership card. Kern was in search of a drug store looking for the medication that he needed so badly. I'm not sure how he would have gotten the medicine without wallet or money but I need to find this out. At any rate, I thought of an idea-- if he really was shipped off as an immigrant without ID and maybe without memory that he was indeed the great Jerome Kern what would happen if he met a young composer from a foreign country who passionately wanted to be a composer, himself. Could the great man actually inspire or teach the foreign kid a few things? Crazy? Well, no more crazy than the MGM musical film of his life that came out in 1951 that starred Robert Walker and Van Heflen. That was the purest form of fictionalized biography ever produced. But at any rate, it was a great day of memory that i truly enjoyed. Monday I had applied for a job at Disneyland-- without success. I am convinced that the folks who run Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom today want no part of a guy with a real Walt Disney, the man, not the icon knowledge. What was I thinking? Oh well!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I have a new job! And I can sum it all up under the banner headline "God Draws Straight With Crooked Lines" My dear friend, Tim Doran has been so amazingly wonderful in finding me leads on Craig's List. There were employment ads for Star Trek Conventions in Hollywood, a furniture store sales job, a dog bakery in Pasadena, a therapeutic chair store in Tarzana and so many more. Well one day, he sent me an add for a sales job at Alhambra Nissan in Alhambra. Now trust me, dear friends, I have sold many things in my life, but NEVER a car. What appealed to me that the job was in Alhambra, Ca-- a town along with San Gabriel, Ca (next door to each other) where I had grown up and spend many happy years of my childhood. Also I learned that there was NO recession in Alhambra, home town of dear old Phil Spector among others. So On Tuesday of this week, I went to an interview in Alhambra to meet Al Bennett who was actually an independent contractor who trains people to become a car salesman. Now, I'm not talking about features vs. benefits of individual cars. No, this is "the art" of selling a car. An untrained salesman gets into some very bad habits like using the words "May, I help you" and talking while putting his hands into his pockets. But everything is about getting the car sold in the proper way. Here at Alhambra Nissan, sales people can make 22% of the profit and that can mean $500- 600 pr more per car. There are also spiffs and bonuses just like the camera industry. So I went through the paid training program after being selected. It was a risk, but you gotta take chances in this weary world if you want to farther than you have been before. It was a two and a half day unpaid training session that literally covers some incredible steps to selling an automobile at a price with a good profit on the vehicle. Ultimately I was assigned to be headquartered in the Service department where I am to greet customers who have just been given an incredible estimate to repair the cars, or where I notice that the mileage on their cars have reached a point of no return. Then I am to refer them to a regular salesman on the sales floor. We split the commission evenly. Disadvantage: I only get half of the commission. Advantage: I won't have a sales quota because I won't be actually selling a car and I won't have to test drive any car. Requirements include that I must be licensed by the DMV and have finger prints taken which of course is a brand new experience. Of course, it's very curious to me to be required to be licensed when I am not actually selling the car. But God seems to be leading me here in a very odd way. I will keep you posted. We are scheduled to start this coming Friday. So we shall see where this leads us.

Friday, October 09, 2009

On this day in 1958, we lost one of the greatest popes of all time. Pius XII. This amazing individual was the pope of World War Two having been elected on February 8th, 1939. Pius XII defined and declared as dogma that Mary, the mother of Jesus was assumed body and soul into heaven. I remember him as the pope of my childhood. Back when I received my first Holy Communion the fast before receiving Holy Communion was pretty strict. That fast banned food and all water twenty-four hours before receiving the sacrament. Today also would have been the 69th birthday of John Lennon. John Lennon revealed a rebellious nature, and biting wit, in his music, on film, in books, and at press conferences and interviews. He was controversial through his work as a peace activist and visual artist. After The Beatles, Lennon enjoyed a successful solo career with such acclaimed albums as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". After a self-imposed "retirement" to raise his son Sean, Lennon reemerged with a comeback album, Double Fantasy, but was murdered less than one month after its release. The album would go on to win the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 2002, respondents to a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted Lennon eighth. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lennon number 38 on its list of "The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time" One month before his death the great John Lennon proclaimed "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans" And congrats to our president for winning the Nobel peace Prize. What an amazing honor. Mr. Obama is only the third sitting president to win this amazing honor. The other two were Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt. Mr. Carter won the honor after he left office. Regardless of your politics, we all should be proud of him,

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Today, I have finished our latest musical libretto called "The Magnificent Confession". John Nugent and I really wanted to do a show that was mostly music and had a minimal amount of dialogue as many pop-rock musicals do. This story does not purport to be the musical re-telling of the "Jack, The Ripper story. There is already an opera by the name of "Lulu" (the name of the heroine) composed by Alban Berg who also composed "The Violin Concerto" He was a student of Arnold Schoenberg (the uncle of Claude Michel Schoenberg who of course was the co-writer on "Les Miserables" and "Miss Saigon". John and I have taken a completely different spin on the story. We use the story of course and the victims names and even the real Inspectors, but we thought, "what if there were a real reason that Jack The Ripper" did what he did? What if he had been forced into a seminary like the great Thomas Aquinas had but something very bad had happened to him there? There is a reason for everything in this world, so why not with Jack The Ripper. It will be a pop-rock musical-- something very different than what we have ever done before. Some of the songs are "If You Convince Me?" and "They Say That I'm a Doctor Now!" One thing for sure is that we examine the darker side of the Catholic Church. I am a proud Catholic but I know there were times in our church's history that selfish men put her in a very bad light. Folks like Pope Julius II and several bad priests. We examine here the effect of pride on what should be very holy men. Evil makes no distinction when it picks a person to work with. The devil, do not forget even attempted to sway Jesus Christ! Remember the devil's first temptation to man is "God needs you to do this!" We also ask the question of Who is actually worse? The murderer on the street or a prideful priest who arbitrarily withholds God's forgiveness in Confession, thus condemning his victims to hell.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


On this date in 1919 was the premiere of a pretty much forgotten Broadway musical called "Hitchy Koo". In that musical, however would be the premiere of the very first Cole Porter song called "In A Lovely Garden". Cole Porter was twenty-eight years old. And today Al Jolson first sang "Toot Toot Tootsie" and "April Showers" in another forgotten Broadway show called "Bobo". Interesting bits of history both. But thirty-five years ago one of my all time favorite Broadway musicals "Mack and Mabel" opened at the Majestic Theatre. Despite rave reviews for the late great Robert Preston and the still sexy Bernadette Peters, the show only received "fair to middling reviews" and closed after only sixty-six performances. The show had pre-Broadway tryouts in San Diego and then Los Angeles, opening to rave reviews and brisk box office sales in both cities. Buoyed by the critical acclaim and initial public enthusiasm for the show, Herman and company ignored a number of critical warning signs. Neither Sennett nor Normand were particularly lovable characters, and their story was darker than that usually found in a musical. New York audiences of the 1970's were not supportive of darker characters. Robert Preston (as Sennett) was too old for Bernadette Peters (Mabel), and their characters lacked chemistry. What were they thinking? Director and choreographer Gower Champion devised a number of eye-catching visual effects and spectacular dance sequences set to Philip J. Lang's orchestrations, but their brightness proved to be too great a contrast with the somber mood of the piece. Gower's concept of setting the action in the corner of a huge movie studio sound stage created problems with the set and limited the staging to the extent that it was seen as static and boring. Most importantly, audiences didn't want to invest two-and-a-half hours in a musical where the heroine dies tragically at the end. Not in the 1970's where a disgraced Richard Nixon had just resigned the presidency two months before in August of the same year. Efforts were made to resolve the problems at The Muny in St. Louis, but this venue was a "terrible mistake." Because The Muny was so large, the performers overplayed and pulled the show out of shape. By the Washington, D.C. Kennedy Center engagement, "nothing was working", and Champion changed the staging of scenes that had previously worked By the time the show opened at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway on October 6, 1974, it was less successful than it had been four months earlier and the show closed after only sixty- six performances, Herman's first major flop. Despite the reviews and short run, the show received eight Tony Award nominations - for the book, direction, set and costume design, choreography, lead actor, lead actress, and the production itself as Best Musical. Herman - whose melodic score had received the best notices - was not nominated. Herman was deeply disappointed, since the project had been one of his favorites (and remains so, even now), and he felt producer David Merrick had done little to promote it, saying "He never invested in advertising. He never came to the theatre." Why does that not surprise me? What a piece of work Merrick was! Despite its failure, the show has developed a cult following. News of a job interview came through this morning at a Los Angeles Florist Shop. Imagine me -- selling flowers. Well I love Broadway, so maybe the Eliza Doolittle spirit has come down upon me. I am waiting for the shop to contact me and confirm my twelve noon interview appointment. It pays $10 an hour.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Damon Runmon was a classic story teller. If you've watched "Guys and Dolls" or "Pocketful of Miracles" or even "Little Miss Marker" (made into a modern film called "Forty Pounds of Trouble" with Tony Curtis and the late great Phil Silvers then you have an idea of what his storyteller. That film is only one of two films to use actually use Disneyland as a major location on a film this one, however the only one filmed while Walt Disney was alive. To be said that your writing is very "Runmonesque" is a great compliment. Remember the film "Yours, Mine and ours with the amazing Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda? Well that was based on a Damon Runyon story. His early years are fascinating: After a notable failure in trying to organize a Colorado minor baseball league, Runyon moved to New York City in 1910. For the next ten years he covered the New York Giants and professional boxing for the New York American. In his first New York byline, the American editor dropped the "Alfred," and the name "Damon Runyon" appeared for the first time. A heavy drinker as a young man, he seems to have quit the bottle soon after arriving in New York, after his drinking nearly cost him the courtship of the woman who became his first wife, Ellen Egan. He remained a heavy smoker.His best friend was mobster accountant Otto Berman, and he incorporated Berman into several of his stories under the alias "Regret, the horse player." When Berman was killed in a hit on Berman's boss, Dutch Schultz, Runyon quickly assumed the role of damage control for his deceased friend, correcting erroneous press releases (including one that stated Berman was one of Schultz's gunmen, to which Runyon replied, "Otto would have been as effective a bodyguard as a two-year-old.")Runyon frequently contributed sports poems to the American on boxing and baseball themes, and also wrote numerous short stories and essays. He was the Hearst newspapers' baseball columnist for many years, beginning in 1911, and his knack for spotting the eccentric and the unusual, on the field or in the stands, he is credited with revolutionizing the way baseball was covered. Gambling was a common theme of Runyon's works, and he was a notorious gambler himself. A well-known saying of his paraphrases Ecclesiastes: "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the how the smart money bets.
Runyon's marriage to Ellen Egan produced two children (Mary and Damon, Jr.), and broke up in 1928 over rumors that Runyon had become infatuated with a Mexican girl he had first met while covering the Pancho Villa raids in 1916 and discovered once again in New York, when she called the American seeking him out. Runyon had promised her in Mexico that, if she would complete the education he paid for her, he would find her a dancing job in New York. Her name was Patrice Amati del Grande, and she became his companion after he separated from his wife. After Ellen Runyon died of the effects of her own drinking problems, Runyon and Patrice married; that marriage ended in 1946 when Patrice left Runyon for a younger man. Damon died in New York City from throat cancer in late 1946, at age 66. His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered from an airplane over Broadway in Manhattan by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker on December 18, 1946. One of the things that you will notice about all Damon Runmon stories is the near total avoidance of past tense (it is used only once, in the short story "The Lily of St Pierre") is not the only oddity of Runyon's use of tense; he also avoided the conditional, using instead the future indicative in situations that would normally require conditional. An example: "Now most any doll on Broadway will be very glad indeed to have Handsome Jack Madigan give her a tumble ..." (Guys and dolls, "Social error"). There is an homage to Runyon that makes use of this peculiarity ("Chronic Offender" by Spider Robinson) which involves a time machine.
Some examples of Runyonesque slang terms include the following:
pineapple—pineapple grenade
roscoe/john roscoe/the old equalizer/that thing—gun
There are many recurring composite phrases such as:
ever-loving wife (occasionally "ever-loving doll")
more than somewhat (or "no little, and quite some")
loathe and despise
one and all -- It's fun stuff to know the origin of.
Other news I have just finished Act one of our new musical called "The Magnificent Confession" John wanted to do an almost all singing show and after some consideration, I came up with an idea: Just as in "The Wicked" what if there were another side to Jack The Ripper? What if there were a real reason that he murdered only prostitutes? What if he had been forced to do something in his youth and that literally took him away and kept him captive and this away from a beautiful girl
that he really loved? What would happen if when he finally found that girl again, desperate times had turned her into a prostitute? And then she rejects him totally because she can not give up the whore's easy life? Might that turn this now angry man against every woman who chose to be a "lady of the night"-- Think about it.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Today would have been the birthday of the greatest straight man who ever lived. Those are not actually my words. Those are the words of the great Groucho Marx whose birthday is also this very day. He said those words on the day that Bud Abbott died of prostrate cancer. Groucho was born in 1890. Dear Bud brought the very best out of Lou Costello. He was a comedic genius. All you have to do is to watch his timing on that immortal sketch "Who's On First" and you will see what I'm talking about. Abbott crossed paths with Lou Costello in burlesque in the early 1930s. Abbott was producing and performing in Minsky's Burlesque shows, while Costello was a rising comic. They formally teamed up in 1936 and performed together in burlesque, vaudeville, minstrel shows, and cinemas. In 1938 they received national exposure for the first time by performing on the Kate Smith Hour radio show, which led to the duo appearing in a Broadway musical, The Streets of Paris. In 1940, Universal signed Abbott and Costello for their first film, One Night in the Tropics. Although Abbott and Costello were only filling supporting roles, they stole the film with their classic routines, including an abbreviated version of "Who's On First?" A common misconception is that Abbott and Costello are the only two non-baseball players who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The comedic duo are not members of the Cooperstown society anymore than the sports writers and broadcasters who are acknowledged by separate awards. However, a plaque honoring and a gold record and transcript of their famous sketch has been included in the museum collection since 1956, making them one of the few non-baseball players or managers to have a memorial in the Baseball Hall of Fame. During World War II, Abbott and Costello were among the most popular and highest-paid stars in the world. Between 1940 and 1956 they made 36 films, and earned a percentage of the profits on each. They were popular on radio throughout the 1940s, primarily on their own program which ran from 1942 until 1947 on NBC and from 1947 to 1949 on ABC. In the 1950s they brought their comedy to live television on The Colgate Comedy Hour, and launched their own half-hour series, The Abbott and Costello Show. Norman and Betty Abbott, the children of Bud Abbott's sister Olive, started on their own careers with help from their uncle: Betty as the script girl on Breakfast at Tiffany's and Norm and who directed live TV. After Olive's husband abandoned his family (allegedly going for a pack of smokes and never coming home), Abbott supported them. Bud changed every one's name back to Abbott and raised them as his own children. He also adopted two children with his wife Betty.Abbott's great-grandniece and granddaughter of Norman Abbott, Kathleen Abbott aka Lisa Bay, was born to Chrissy Abbott in 1966, while Chrissy was attending Beverly Hills High School, and is the adopted sister of director Michael Bay.Relations between the two partners had been strained for years. In their early burlesque days, their salaries were split 60%-40%, favoring Abbott, because the straight man was always viewed as the more valuable member of the team. That was changed to 50%-50% after they became burlesque stars. However, other accounts state that the 60%-40% split was Costello's idea. "A Good Straight Man is hard to find" is attributed to Costello. Yet, the sixty-forty split had long irked Costello. Later, after Buck Privates made them movie stars, Costello insisted that the split be reversed in his favor, and it remained sixty-forty for the remainder of their careers. Costello's other demand, that the team be renamed "Costello and Abbott," was rejected by Universal Studios. The result was a "permanent chill" between the two partners, according to Lou's daughter Chris Costello, in her biography Lou's on First. The partners' relationship was also strained by Abbott's battle with alcohol, which began when he took to heavy enough drinking in order to combat the effects of epilepsy. Abbott's alcoholism did not please Costello either, considering the latter's wife's problem with alcohol. The team's popularity waned in the 1950s, and they were further bedeviled by tax issues—the IRS demanded heavy back taxes, forcing the partners (both of whom had been serious gamblers) to sell most if not all of their assets (including Costello's rights to their television show). Abbott and Costello parted ways formally in July 1957. Lou Costello died on March 3, 1959. Fifty years ago this year. I was able to see afew pictures of the new Walt Disney Family Museum that opened in San Francisco yesterday. The place looks absolutely amazing-- what a wonderful tribute to Walt Disney, the man, not just corporation.