Monday, April 25, 2011


Bea Arthur was an amazing comic actress, singer and Broadway star. We lost her to cancer two years ago today. She could deliver a line like Bob Hope, Jack Benny and many other comedians combined. Her portayal of "Maude" was classic and incredibly funny as Dorothy on the Golden Girls. I was priveleged to have written one episode for the Golden Girls show many years ago. Dear Bea was married twice.

Her first marriage took place during her time in the military, when she married fellow Marine Robert Alan Aurthur, a screenwriter, television, and film producer and director, whose surname she took and kept (though with a modified spelling). Shortly after they divorced, she married director Gene Saks from 1950 to 1978 with whom she adopted two sons, Matthew (born in 1961), an actor, and Daniel (born in 1964), a set designer.
In 1972, she moved to the Greater Los Angeles Area and sublet her apartment on Central Park West in New York City and her country home in Bedford, New York. Bea
Arthur was a committed animal-rights activist and frequently supported People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaigns and joined PETA in 1987 after a Golden Girls anti-fur episode. She appeared on Judge Judy as a witness for an animal-rights activist, and, along with Pamela Anderson insisted on a donation to PETA in exchange for appearing on Comedy Central. In Norfolk, Virginia near the site of the PETA headquarters, there is a dog park named (Bea Arthur Dog Park) in her honor. Arthur's longtime championing of civil rights for women, the elderly, and the Jewish & LGBT communities—in her two television roles and through her charity work and personal outspokenness. Arthur died at her home in the Greater Los Angeles Area in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 25, 2009. She had been ill from cancer,and her body was cremated after her death. Her ashes were given to either a friend or relative.On April 28, 2009, the Broadway community paid tribute to Arthur by dimming the marquees of New York City's Broadway theater district in her memory for one minute at 8:00 P.M. Bea Arthur's co-stars from The Golden Girls, Rue McClanahan and Betty White, commented on her death via telephone on an April 27 episode of Larry King Live as well as other news outlets such as ABC. Longtime friends Adrienne Barbeau (with whom she had worked on Maude) and Angela Lansbury (with whom she had worked in Mame) released amicable statements: Barbeau said, "We've lost a unique, incredible talent. No one could deliver a line or hold a take like Bea and no one was more generous or giving to her fellow performers"; and Lansbury said, "She became and has remained my "Bosom Buddy" I am deeply saddened by her passing, but also relieved that she is released from the pain".
Arthur bequeathed $300,000 to The Ali Forney Center, a New York City organization that provides housing for homeless LGBT youths. Dear Bea won the American Theatre Wing's Tony Award (The Tonys) in 1966 as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance that year as Vera Charles in the original Broadway production of Jerry Herman's musical Mame. Arthur has received the most Emmy nominations for Leading Actress in a Comedy Series with 9. She later received the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series twice, once in 1977 for Maude and again in 1988 for The Golden Girls. She was inducted into the Academy's Hall of Fame in 2008.
On June 8, 2008, The Golden Girls was awarded the Pop Culture award at the Sixth Annual TV Land Awards. Arthur (in one of her final public appearances) accepted the award with co-stars Rue McClanahan and Betty White.

Sunday, April 24, 2011





Think of the song by the magnificent Sherman Brothers "It's A Small World" and perhaps the very first thing you will think of is "I can't get that song out of my mind. Well for a songwriter that's about the best compliment you can get. And since I am a songwriter, I would be proud to have that compliment said about any of my songs. Perhaps it would help you say if the song had if you had more verses. Though translated in different languages, the attractions only carry two verses, but at least three additional verses were at one point penned for the Disney On Parade touring show that was held in the late 1960s and early 1970s. All five verses are listed below: The version of "It's A Small World that you see here is the one to be found at Disneyland Paris. Anyway, the all the verses written by Dick and Bob Sherman follow:

Verse #1
It's a world of laughter, a world of tears.It's a world of hope and a world of fears.There's so much that we share,That it's time we're aware,It's a small world after all.

Verse #2
There is just one moon and one golden sun.And a smile means friendship to everyone.Though the mountains are wide,And the oceans divide,It's a small world after all.

For three of its four seasons, each Disney on Parade show ended with a Small World finale

Here is that verse: I kind of like this one a lot

Verse #3.
It's a world of star light of sky and sea

It's a world of wonder for you and me
Like a world without end

But come closer my friend,

It's a small world after all.

Here is yet another verse: This was is pretty good:

Verse #4

In a world where people are still apart

Build a bridge or handshake a hopeful start

If we hold out our hands,We will soon understand,
It's a small world after all.

A fifth verse may be stretching it a bit, but if sung correctly it could be wonderful!

Verse #5
If we just lock hands clear around the earth,
We will know how much brotherhood is worth.
It's a chain strong as steel
In it's strength we can feel,

It's a small world after all.

I had absolutely no idea that the Sherman Brothers had composed so many verses for the incredible song. The original attraction was inteneded for the New York World's Fair of 196401965. The fair itself lost a lot of money because it was poorly laid out, but the Disney attractions were solid hits. We all perhaps have heard of the famous story about "It's A Small World" which was sponsored by Pepsi Cola at the fair. The Pepsi Company Board of Directors simply hated it and thought it was dreadful. Luckily for all of us the Pepsi Chairman had just died and his famous actress wife took over. She loved it and threatened to fire every member if the board whoopposed it. That celebrity ladies and gentlemen was none other than "Mrs. Wooden Coathanger-- JOAN CRAWFORD. Of course, there is another "Small World" story that is quite classic. Walt Disney was driving the Sherman Brothers to WED Enterprises back in 1963 to show them the prototype for the original attraction at the World's Fair. Walt was telling the Shermans how the ride would be a salute to the children of the world and how the attraction was being sponsored by UNICEF. The Shermans hearing the acronym UNICEF said "OH, we should donate our royalties to the UNICEF. Walt put the brakes on the car and put the car in park, turned around to the Shermans and said "Boys, don't you worry about the children of the world-- the world will take care of them-- DOn't you ever give your royalties to anyone!" Now Walt Disney could have turned that single generous offer into one hell of a marketing campaign, but Walt Disney was simply not that kind of man.. The Shermans make a lot of money a year for a little song that took ten minutes to write.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I received a telephone call from my sister with some very sad news. I have always been a cradle Catholic. What's that you say? It's a guy who still doesn't eat meat on Friday and says grace before eating a "Twinkee". The sad news was that the church that I had attended for nine years or so --Saint John Vianney in Hacienda Heights had burned down the night before. It started about a few minutes after midnight and was finally contained about two and a half hours later. The fire it was discovered had been started by an arsonist. There was nine million dollars worth of damage. Gone were all the magnificent stained glassed windows. Gone was the altar and the most beautiful Christ upon the cross and worse gone was the church's million dollar pipe organ. I had attended Saint John's starting in 1984 while I was married. My ex-wife introduced it to me and I always thought it was a most beautiful church. Even after we were divorced, I continued to attend the church. In 1990, I became a parishoner and started to be active in the church. Father Joe Shea was the pastor then. In 1992, I started as the entertainment chairman of the church's big fundraising annual effort called "Early California Days". Two years later a new pastor that I knew well by the name of Monsignor John Kane arrived at the church. I had known John from his service at Saint Denis Catholic Church in Diamond Bar. Monsignor Kane was an amazing pastor. A big trouble swallowed my life in 1996 and into 199y and I found myself homeless. It was the amazing Monsignor Kane who got me to the welfare office and got me my medication for my diabetes plus he paid for my resumes to be created and paid my long overdue automobile insurance. Such an amazing man. I am very sad about this beloved church that love very much and I pray that the parishioners will found the courage, have the resolve and determination to help the church re-build. I also pray for the arsonist: what possesses a man or woman to do such a thing? The church is also special because it was here that we staged our second "Touch A Life: concert a few years ago. I wish my friends there including dear Lillian Avery the courage to see through this senseless tragedy. God bless you all! You will be in paryers daily!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Today, April 12, 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the start of the greatest and the most painful war in this beloved country's history. It began with the election of a president by dear old South Carolina which throughout US history beginning with John C. Calhoun has always provided the heat of controversial thought. On December 20, 1860 South Carolina delegates to a special secession convention voted unanimously to secede from the United States of America. In November, Abraham Lincoln had been elected President of the United States with little support from the southern states. The critical significance of this election was expressed in South Carolina’s Declaration of the Immediate Causes of Secession: “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all states north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of president of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.” The Declaration claimed that secession was justified because the Federal government had violated the constitutional compact by encroaching upon the rights of the sovereign states. As the primary violation, the Declaration listed the failure of 14 northern states to enforce the Federal Fugitive Slave Act or to restrict the actions of antislavery organizations. “Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slave holding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.” The Declaration expressed South Carolina’s fear that “The slave holding states will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.”What brought the people of the United States to a point where talking had ceased which eventually led to war? Was war the only option? Visit Fort Sumter to learn about the many events and policies that led America to split in 1861.