Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Another Christmas Day in my life. In my new apartment in Sun Valley. My 65th Christmas Day. It was another challenging year with my partner and I facing an eviction (and not for lack of rent) by a greedy landlord and the complete loss of a computer. But once agin, my Lord and my God came through for not only my partner John and I, but for John Nugent, my writing partner who lives with us these days. We were forced to find another apartment, but that apartment is larger, quieter and free of bugs and other pests like spiders. We now live in Sun Valley which is very close to Burbank. Christmas had to be without visiting family this year, but I'm hoping that little problem called relliable long didtance transportation will be solved by next Christmas. We have a great landlord and some really nice neighbors and the nosey days of Fulton Avenue in Van Nuys are finally over. I will miss friends we made there, but life goes on and new adventures await. I've been writing like absolute crazy this year completing about seven screenplays, seven or eight television pilots and even a new musical. God looks after me in ways I can not describe. He may "draw straight with crooked lines", my friends, but he still has the best solutions and answers to every problem that I put before Him. So this is a quieter Christmas without family (and I will miss that a lot) but I am aiming that 2013 will be the great year of success for my writing partner and me. I want to thank all of my friends like Kevin and Judy Eagan and Tim Doran and I finally connected with Jaimie Silos, my old room mate from my living in Hacienda Heights days ,this year after absolute years of not hearing from him. I called all of my sisters and spent some valuable telephone time, but I will aim for the real thing with them by next Christmas. Jimmy Chapel has some exciting new marketing opportunities and I'm placing all my hopes on God's Mercy. Happy Birthday to my Saviour and King. He is the absolute center of my life.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


After thirteen long years, my domestic partner and I have left our old apartment at 6717 Fulton Avenue in Van Nuys, and found a much quieter, brighter and bigger place in Sun Valley, right next to Burbank. Gone is the noise from all the ambulences, police cars and fire trucks that used to race down Fulton Avenue at all times of the day or night. The morning traffic on this street is absolutely and incredibly bad. The street is in horrible disrepair left over from the earthquake that ravaged the area way back in 1994. Turning left r right onto Victory Blvd was another nightmare. Every kind of accident you could name took pace there. We will miss our garden, but the money we used to spend to maintain it will actually make up te difference we are paying in rent. So we hope and will now spend the holidays without the expense of keeping up with what the cheap landlord, Richard Roberts never took care of. Oh well, as my father used to say "Some guys pinch a penny so hard, Lincoln not only screams, he storms off the coin-- and you shouldn't piss off a guy like Abraham Lincoln." The landlords here are absolutely wonderful. They keep their promises! What a refreshing thing to have happen! So the holidays will be different, but so much better this year. Farewell fulton Avenue forever! I sure hope somebody in the city decides to re-pave your cracked and hole filled roadway. I now can do some amazing writing with all the peace and quiet of this wonderful new place.  Thank you, God!

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Sometimes you stay in one place for so damn long that it fails to make sense any more. My domestic partner and I have lived in one apartment in Van Nuys, California for thirteen long years or the entire length of our relationship together. Sometime your hand is forced and this time it was simply a greedy landlord. This guy would make Scrooge look like Mary Poppins. But as they say "what goes around, comes around. So on Monday, November 5th, we move lock, stock, barrel and cats to Sun Valley about four and a half miles away. It's a bigger apartment, but without our beloved patio and garden, but at least we will save loads of money by not having to invest in plants, barbecues, garden tools and solar lighting. The amazing amount of money that we spent her on Roses and plants was astronomical. Our cheap landlord (who has a barber shop on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles) is bar none the very cheapest man in the entire world. He didn't even provide a hose for his property. He never kept the place swept up or weeded. We did it all! Oh well, farewell, Richard Roberts. It wasn't nice knowing you. Good luck to whoever he suckers into this place. We threw out so much stuff. It's absolutly amazing as to what you gather in thirteen long years. The kitchen stuff we divested ourselves from was amazing. We look forward to the move though it was hard giving up our garden. Farewell Fulton Avenue, we will NOT miss you. What a crazy street!

Saturday, October 06, 2012


So my landlord wants to evict us over us not cleaning our apartment to his specifications when we rented from him thirteen years ago this one bedroom apartment here in Van Nuys, California was sub standard, uninhabitable and lacked basic amenities like a fresh paint job and a shampooed rug. And we will go to court on October 18th of this year to duke it out. This is all a silly argument and all due to retailiation by him because we challenged his ilegal rent increase, He was embarassed and didnt like losing. We countered by calling the Health Department when we discovered a small gas leak from a non working furnace had been infiltrating our apartment's air for four and a half years. We are confident and with God's help we will win. Of course, the Health Department has made him fix everything finally in two apartments out of four. But some people learn lessons only the hard way. Too bad for him. We have A GREAT lawyer. So on we go and hopefully we will win! sometimes yu jus have to battle for your principles.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Amazing! Today I turn sixty-five years old. I am an official senior citizen. I am more creative today than I have ever been in my life.  My health is still okay with some obvious limitations, but maybe with Medicare, I'll be able to correct some of these problems. At least my diabetes as of this writing is in good control. I still have my ultimate trust in God who remains the center of my life and "The King of my Heart." I have a creative partner in John Nugent who is bar none of the most spectacular gifts from the Lord I could ever hope for. My longtime partner John Long I love dearly. I face a problem that bothers me greatly but I will trust in the Lord one thousand percent and put everything in His hands. He has always been there for me and I am confident, He will be there again and again. I am also grateful for my talent manager, Jimmy Chapel who is an absolutely amazing friend and one hell of a wonderful singer. Tonight we have a party and I'm hoping that everyone invited will show up. I am grateful today to my incredible parents who gave us four kids absolutely everything. I now have outlived them BOTH.  My aunts and uncles were amazing and my cousins continue to be a wonderful support. Thank you, Bonita and Susan and Randy Parole. Life is a challenge, but with God's grace, everything will be good soon. Sometimes the Lord needs to shake your tree to get your attention. He may add a little thunder and lightning, but He is also there with his rainbow and sunshine. Praise be to God!  My ultimate salvation! I have good friends and people who love me and that is not half-bad. It's all good. I guess I should recall the words of George Burns who once said "Getting old is mind over matter. If you really don't mind, it really doesn't matter." 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The above is a "letter from hell" that supposidly was received by English authorities by Jack The Ripper. I received almost a doomsday letter in the last month from my landlord of thirteen years. My partner and I had moved into our apartment thirteen years ago after I lived with our present landlord for over two years in his own house. This apartment became available and I happily went to inspect it. Unfortunatly, I found that the weeds on the property were overrun, there was plumbing problems, holes in the plaster and the unit had cockroaches. I reported this back to my slash roommamte/landlord and was told "Take It Or Leave It." Now since I needed an apartment very soon to accomodate my new domestic partner, I took it hoping that my relationship with the landlord would "convince him" that he had certain duties as a landlord. Boy was I wrong. When you're cheap, my friends, your cheap. My dad used to say that "some guys pinch a penny so hard, Lincoln not only screams, he storms off the coin--and you shouldn't piss off a guy like Abraham Lincoln." For seven long years nothing was done by the landlord to remedy the cockroach problem. I also moved into a apartment that was not painted, the rug was shabby, and there were all the above mentioned problems. Fast foward to 2006 and finally some attention was made to the problem, but not on a regular basis and the roaches by that time had simply taken over everything. Their little trail of poop was everywhere: on the walls, on the kitchen cupboards, and in the bathroom.  My partner and I had maid service from 2006-2008 atwhich time I lost my job becoming disabled and had to let te maid go. Fast foward to 2011-2012 and the same landlord must have found a conscience in a vending machine because then he started spraying regularly. Preparing for one of these "events" is tarumatic to be sure for one must empty all kitchen and bathroom cupboards and load them into your living room. In June of 2012, the Dewey Pest Control guys and the landlord decided that they needed "an official scapegoat".  Now they couldn't go after the "Section Eight" tenant, so that left my domestic partner and I and the poor slob in Apartment #3-- who didn't even own a vacuum cleaner. My partner and I had given up hope. We stayed because the rent was rent controled and relatively cheap. The landlord's note on July 23 wanted us to clean up our act and that he would help us by working with us and suppyling cleaning supplies. X nay on the help and supplies and another spraying was scheduled for August 30th. We hired a professional cleaner to the tune of $120.00 on August 28th. He scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom for four hours. The landlord secretly took pictures without our permission and on the Tuesday after Labor Day", we received a three day notice to clean and perform covenants or quit--the letter from hell. Within the the three days on Thursday, we hired another professional cleaning team of two women for $180.00 and  we paid our september rent and in the same enclosure by certified mail with return receipt we informed the landlord that we intended to perform the cleaning within the time limit. The three day notice had specified that the landlord did not intend to evict if we had cleaned. That turned out to be a lie and we received a lawsuit on the following Tuesday evening. The landlord was supposed to install a carbon monoxide filter. That was an agenda item because he returned our rent check and said he wanted us out. He then proceeded to the kitchen where he took dirt out of his pocket, threw it on the floor and took the ironing board (which we never use these days) and other items to make our kitchen look dirty. He then whipped out his camera to take pictures of "the mess' and we immediately challenged him and ordered him to leave the apartment-- it was still ours. By Wednesday, there was a gas smell in my living room and we called the Gas Company. We had a heater that had not operted in four and a half years and had been silently and steadily emitting a leak ever since. Thank God no one was permitted to smoke in our apartment and we didn't light matches. We then called the Health Department who discovered the roaches and all manner of other violations and he wrote the landlord up. Amazingly, the landlord did a 180 and informed us he was going to "fix everything" but was proceeding with the eviction or unlawful detainer. The court filing fee was over two hundred dollars, I myself being spared the same fee because I'm on Social Security. This last month has been an absolute nightmare. The lesson we learned: call the health department and the housing authority way early. Don't delay. Every apartment in California has an implied warranty that it is 100% totally habitable-- free from roaches, black widow spiders, rotting floors etc. Don't let this happen to you. The landlord can not punish you for calling the Health Department.

Saturday, June 02, 2012



My writing partner (John Nugent) have been writing together now for five years. He officially arrived in Southern California in 2007 on Labor Day Weekend.  And we've been writing like crazy together all of these many years. We started with a musical spoof called "SEVENLY" and then went on to write Twenty-one more creating an incredible catalog of songs together.

Now we've joined Sound Cloud and we have the results from three months on the site.

The United States ...............  156 listeners
United Kingdom.................     21 listeners

Brazil..................................     20 listeners
Germany.............................     19 listeners
Sweden...............................      15 listeners
Switzerland & Canada..........     9 listeners each
Austrailia....................................8 listeners
France & Ireland........................7 listeners each

Plus we have Japan at 6, Belgium and Hungary at 4 each as well as
Spain, The Russian Federation, Italy, Austria, Turkey. Israel and Egypt.  A total of forty countries around the world. John and I are very proud of those stattistics.  Four our fans our website is www.showbusinewssmusicals.com and on Soundcloud by putting my name (Michael Ricciardi) into the browser.

We thank all of our fans and we appreciate your loyality.

Monday, May 28, 2012



So now I am a senior citizen because I have just signed up for dear old Medicare in anticipation of my 65th birthday on September 24th of this year!
Well, there's a comfort. And because I also signed up for what they "Secure Horizons" I pay only $99.70 a month out of my Social Security Check for absolutely the most amazing medical coverage ever. That's one hundred percent of everything except for an ambulance ( I pay $200 out of $1500.00) and any visit to an urgent care when I'm not admitted to a hospital and that cost is only $65.00. Pretty damn cheap. No deductibles. No co-pays even for a specialist. It makes me feel pretty secure. The coverage actually starts on September 1st and I don't pay for it until September 24th-- not bad. This is my sixth year in writing a blog and I really keep busy writing musicals. Finally I have the space  and the time to write and with an important meeting coming with Lanie Kazan, I just may have a new career in television writing. I remember what my dear friend Morey Amsterdam used to say "Growing old is mind over matter. If you really don't mind, it really doesn't matter."  It's also nice having holidays like Memorial Day off again. When I was working in camera retail, I almost never got these holidays off-- so it's nice. And today is a most beautiful day here in Southern California, so I shall be enjoying it with a cold soda (and maybe a beer) with a BBQ today. i really love cooking out and now that I've discovered a great retail outlet like "Fresh And Easy" I find prices really reasonable and especially BBQ packs of chicken, hamburgers and ribs. My thoughts and prayers with all service men and women today. Thank you for giving us Americans a truly wonderful gift and loyalty. We love you for it!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Not every classically funny performer is as well known as others. One of the best comedians in that category was dear Shemp Howard, brother of Moe of the incredible Three Stooges. I loved the Three Stooges when I was a kid. Not as much as Laurel and Hardy of course, but those guys were in a different league. Shemp resisted becoming one of the trio until dear Curly had a totally debilitating stroke. From 1939 onwards, Shemp appeared frequently in Columbia's two-reel comedies, co-starring with Columbia regulars Andy Clyde, The Glove Slingers, El Brendel, and Tom Kennedy. Dear Shemp was given his own starring series in 1944; he was working for Columbia in this capacity when his brother Curly was felled by a debilitating stroke on May 6, 1946. Shemp reluctantly replaced Curly in Columbia's popular Stooge shorts, knowing that Moe and Larry would be out of work if he refused. Initially, Shemp rejoined the Stooges on a temporary basis until poor Curly recovered, but as Curly's condition worsened, it became apparent that Shemp's association with the Stooges would be permanent. (Prior to replacing Curly on film, Shemp had substituted for his brother in some personal appearances in the early 1940s.) Shemp's take as the third Stooge was much different from Curly's. While he could still roll with the punches as the recipient of Moe's slapstick abuse, he was more of a laid-back dimwit versus Curly's energetic man-child persona. And unlike Curly, who had many distinct mannerisms, Shemp's most notable characteristic as a Stooge was a high-pitched "bee-bee-bee-bee-bee-bee!" sound, a sort of soft screech done by inhaling. This was rather multi-purpose, as Shemp uttered this sound when scared, sleeping (done as a form of snoring), overtly happy, or dazed. Shemp appeared with Moe and Larry in 73 short subjects and the feature film Gold Raiders. He also suffered a mild stroke in November 1952, though he recovered from it within weeks and without noticeable effect on his remaining films with the Stooges (largely remakes of earlier films that recycled footage to reduce costs). In September 1925, Shemp (age 30) married Gertrude Frank (age 28), a fellow New Yorker. They had one child, Morton (1926–1972). (U.S. Representative Barney Frank is the son of Gertrude's cousin, Sam Frank. Shemp used his somewhat homely appearance for comic effect, often mugging grotesquely or allowing his hair to fall in disarray. He even played along with a publicity stunt that named him "The Ugliest Man in Hollywood." ("I'm hideous," he explained to reporters.) Notoriously phobic, his fears included airplanes, automobiles, dogs and water. According to Moe's autobiography, Shemp was involved in a driving accident as a teenager and thus never obtained a driver's license. On November 22, 1955, while returning home by taxicab from attending a boxing match (one of Shemp's favorite pastimes), Shemp died of a heart attack. He was sixty years old. Shemp was lighting a cigar after telling a joke when he suddenly slumped over on his friend Al Winston's lap. Moe Howard's autobiography states that Shemp died on November 23, 1955 and most subsequent accounts point to that date because of Moe's book. But much of dear Moe's book was finished posthumously by his daughter and son-in-law Don Lamont and some specific details were confused as a result. The Los Angeles county coroner death certificate states that Shemp Howard died on Tuesday November 22, 1955 at 11:35 PST; confirming that, Shemp's obituary appeared in the November 23 afternoon editions of L.A. newspapers, establishing the night of November 22 as the date of death. He was entombed at Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles, the same place his brother Curly was buried. Dear Shemp, remembering you this day. Thanks for the laughter. We loved it and we loved you!

Friday, March 16, 2012


Today is the 86th birthday of comedy legend Jerry Lewis. He was born on this day before Saint Patrick's Day in 1926. What an amazing talent and generous heart Jerry Lewis has always been. What he has done for Muscular Dystrophy alone over the years is absolutely staggering. Jerry Lewis initially gained fame with singer Dean Martin, who served as straight man to Lewis's zany antics in the Martin and Lewis comedy team. They distinguished themselves from the majority of comedy acts of the 1940s by relying on the interaction of the two comics instead of planned skits. In the late 1940s, they quickly rose to national prominence, first with their popular nightclub act, next as stars of their own radio program. Within a year of their first act together, they went from earning 150-175 dollars a week each at one club to $30,000.00 a week as a team at The Copacabana.They then made appearances on early live television, debuting first on the June 20, 1948 debut broadcast of Toast of the Town with Ed Sullivan on the CBS TV Network (later the Ed Sullivan Show), followed on October 3, 1948 by an appearance on the NBC TV series Welcome Aboard then as the first of a series of hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1950. They began their Paramount film careers in 1949 as ensemble players in My Friend Irma, based on the popular radio series of the same name. This was followed by a sequel in 1950, My Friend Irma Goes West Starting with At War with the Army (1950), Martin and Lewis were the stars of their own vehicles, in fourteen additional titles at Paramount. Final was Hollywood or Bust (1956). All sixteen were produced by Hal Wallis.
However, as Martin's roles in their films became less important, the partnership became strained. Martin's diminished participation became an embarrassment in 1954, when Look magazine used a publicity photo of the team for the magazine cover, but cropped Martin out of the photo. The partnership finally ended on July 24, 1956. Attesting the team's popularity, DC Comics published the best-selling The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comic books from 1952 to 1957. The series continued a year after the team broke up as DC Comics then featured Lewis solo, until 1971, in The Adventures of Jerry Lewis comic books. In this latter series, Lewis was sometimes featured with Superman, Batman, and various other DC Comics heroes and villains. It inspired the Filmation cartoons production company to make, in 1970, a series called Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down, with Jerry as the one character inspired by reality, beside other fictitious characters, including Jerry's fictitious relatives. Both Martin and Lewis went on to successful solo careers, but for years neither would comment on the split, nor consider a reunion. They made at least a couple of public appearances together between the breakup and 1961, but then were not seen together in public until a surprise appearance by Martin on Lewis's Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in 1976, arranged by Frank Sinatra. The pair eventually reconciled in the late 1980s after the death of Martin's son, Dean Paul Martin. The two men were seen together on stage in Las Vegas when Lewis pushed out Dean's birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. In Lewis's 2005 book Dean and Me (A Love Story), Lewis wrote of his kinship with Martin, who died in 1995. After the split from Martin, Lewis remained at Paramount and became a major comedy star with his first film as a solo comic, The Delicate Delinquent (1957). Teaming with director Frank Tashlin, whose background as a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon director suited Lewis's brand of humor, he starred in five more films, and even appeared uncredited as Itchy McRabbitt in Li'l Abner (1959).Lewis tried his hand at releasing an album in the 1950s, having a chart hit with the song "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" (a song largely associated with Al Jolson and later re-popularized by Judy Garland) as well as the song, "It All Depends on You" in 1958. He eventually released his own album titled, Jerry Lewis Just Sings. By the end of his contract with producer Hal B. Wallis, Lewis had several productions of his own under his belt. His first three efforts, The Delicate Delinquent (1957), Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958) and The Geisha Boy (1958), were all efforts to move away from Wallis, who Lewis felt was hindering his comedy. In 1960, Lewis finished his contract with Wallis with Visit to a Small Planet (1960), and wrapped up work on his own production, Cinderfella Cinderfella was postponed for a Christmas 1960 release, and Paramount, needing a quickie feature film for its summer 1960 schedule, held Lewis to his contract to produce one. Lewis came up with The Bellboy. Using the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami as his setting—and on a small budget, with a very tight shooting schedule, and no script—Lewis shot the film by day and performed at the hotel in the evenings. Bill Richmond collaborated with him on the many sight gags. In a 2005 interview, Lewis revealed that Paramount were not happy financing a 'silent movie' and withdrew backing. Lewis used his own funds to cover the $950,000 budget. During production Lewis developed the technique of using video cameras and multiple closed circuit monitors, which allowed him to review his performance instantly. His techniques and methods, documented in his book and his USC class, enabled him to complete most of his films on time and under budget. Happy Birthday, sir comic genius! You're amazing

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Back in 1983, I wrote a musical called "The Invitation". It had come from a short story idea that I had been prompted to write at a local college's creative writing class back in the late 1970's. The teacher's name was Lanore Pearlman and bar none she was one of the best creative writing teachers I ever had. Danny Simon was the very best, but that's another story. The assignment was to actually begin a short story with a honest-to-god invitation. We also had an assignment to begin a short story with an actual radio broadcast. The radio broadcast idea went nowhere but "The Invitation" became a big part of my life. I figured what might be on an invitation sent suddenly to an old hobo whose life was now going nowhere fast. Maybe that hobo was once an important battlefield commander in a great civil war in a country much like England at the very close of the 19th century and maybe the community in which he lived just had never been the same since the end of the great civil war five years ago. What if nobody really believed in Christmas any more in this village. They were too impatient for it to arrive or simply were too selfish to observe it among themselves. Well there was a great story's start. Now if Christmas was in serious trouble in a community what might happen if the "Spirit of Christmas" came to rescue it? And maybe, because it's the very last week in December and the very last days of the 19th century, wouldn't be interesting if the Spirit of Christmas actually was training an ex-mortal teenage boy who had a near fatal accident to become the Spirit of Christmas for the 20th Century? The story became a musical with some of the best songs I have ever written with anyone. That writer is Randy Louis Ames: a brilliant composer. Together for this show, we wrote one of the most beautiful Christmas songs you will ever hear called "Christmas Belongs To You" and "Are You Real Or Make Believe" We added some unique elements to the story. The big conflict is how our protagonist, Mr. Robert Cromwell Carter made a decision to make peace with the enemy on Christmas Day and trade rations. Of course, there was to be a planned rendevoux with other forces and those forces seeing the evidence of a one day peace accord assumed the enemy had just wiped out the other side. And in they went like death on horseback causing an absolute massacre. That caused the poor battlefield commander (Carter) to bury as many men as he could and simply walk away from the rest. That caused Carter to be blamed for the entire tragedy and Carter has been a worthless hobo ever since. We won't give away the surprise ending here, but it is truly unique. We did a radio show of the musical which was broadcast over seventy-five public radio stations. It starred Joey D'Auria later to become Chicago's "Bozo, The Clown!" It was directed by our dear friend David Holmes. So now it's completely revamped and re-written and submitted to my manager Jimmy Chapel. You can sample it at our web site at http://www.showbusinessmusicals.com/ It's a very unique and heart warming story that makes the poster on this page come alive. Read the words: they are very special and should be observed by everybody with a human heart.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


On Monday last, March 5th, I lost my own personal hero. He was a songwriter. He was however no ordinary songwriter. He was a master craftsman and musician and lyricist and together with his dear brother Richard he created some of the best songs in the entire world. He helped create words like "Fortuosity", "Fantasmagorical" "Toot Sweets" and so many others. Here he poses with his brother Richard and the famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Car that was the star of their great musical "Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang". I have admired the brothers work since I was a teenager when there were songs like "Pineapple Princess", "Tall Paul" and "Mister Piano Man". He was a gentleman and my friend. I represented his young son, Robby and while Robbie was songwriting full on his own, I went to his house many times. I can not begin to tell you how much influence he has had upon me as a songwriter, myself. He would give critiques that were so very helpful. So now with my partner I have written over nine hundred songs and without the Sherman's influence, I don't think I would have written one. He was a sweet gentle man who always gave you the most amazing encouragement and wisdom. After he moved to London, there was little communication except through Facebook and E mail, but it still remained. He and his brother were working on a new musical called "The Merry Go Round" which I am hoping is complete enough to go forward. Every lyric he wrote was so special. The three words a song must be Simple. Sincere and singable will long be in my head as absolute credo. He was an amazing man who was an absolute gift to his family and any one who ever had the chance to meet. God Bless You, dear, Robert. I can bet you and Walt will have much to talk about. Robert Sherman was both kind and brilliant: a shining light that will remain forever in my heart.

Saturday, March 03, 2012


At 11:59 pm late last night in Phoenix, Arizona the last Continental airline flight took off from it's airport there on a last journey to Cleveland. It will arrive in Cleveland as a United Airlines flight, the airline that bought them out two years ago. Imagine your last journey and you're going to Cleveland? Oh, dear! The Continental web site shut down at Two AM this morning (Saturday) How sad! Another icon gone the way of the do do bird. I used to fly this airline all the time. It was a Continental flight that flew out of Ontario that allowed me to go on with my Florida vacation back in 1992 when the Los Angeles riots closed International Airport. In order to get to Orlando, i had to fly first on a Continental flight to San Diego, then another Continental flight to Phoenix. From Phoenix, I had to take a plane to Dallas and from Dallas to Atlanta and finally Atlanta to Orlando. Was my luggage lost? Of course it was. But good old Continenatl's flight out of Orlando saved my vacation. Does anyone remember Continental's "Polynesian Pub?' As the guy who wrote a famous jingle for them way back when, it will indeed be sad to see old Continental Airlines go. They've been around for a long long time. In other news, John and I have finally finished the final polish on the libretto for an engaging musical comedy called "The Beautifully Bald Brooklyn Boys Choir!" This musical is so much fun. Imagine a group of all balding, once married (and then in the closet) gay men who (with one exception) are all broke paying alimony and/ or child support. these men have all formed a singing band called "The Prufrockers". Now for those of you who are scratching your head over that, the group name is inspired by the classic poem by T.S. Elliot called "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in which our main character utters the now famous line: "Do I dare? Do I dare? Descend the stair? With a bald spot in the middle of my hair!" The leader of the group is Joe Miller whose ex-wife could be the original "Wicked Witch of the West" without being green except with greed. They were married twelve years and had a son named Winston before Joe discovered he was gay and left when young Winston was only eleven. As the musical opens, the ex-wife has sent re-possessors to confiscate all of the band's instruments and studio equipment. With that disaster fulfilled , the ex wife delivers a certified letter to her ex-husband that looks to be more bad news. It's not. The document reveals that Joe has been willed his grandmother's house and property but must live in it seven continuous years before he will officially inherit it and the four acres of land upon which it sits. Tiffany Miller's confiscation forces the boys to form an all male a Capella choir. But good old greedy Tiffany wants Grandma's old house too even though logistically that's impossible. That doesn't the greed machine from action. All of the men in the group are ex altar boys and ex-Catholics for the most part all desiring a new relationship with a guy. The first to have a shot with that is Michael Wissomski, the gayest of the group and the only one who has never been married prior to a woman. Enter young college freshman Christopher Fitzgerald who is a young god that Michael instantly lusts for. Michael pretends to be a great painter when Christopher reveals that he models in the nude for pay. Michael promises God that he gets the boy in bed, he'll go back to church. Art has never suffered this great a blow and when Michael spikes the college kid's coffee and does get him into bed an angry Christopher punches Michael out for it. But all goes better for the boys with the intervention of their old pastor priest, Father Murphy who inspires Christopher to remember his own Catholicism and let bygones be bygones, but also forcing Michael to go to confession after almost twenty years. Joe's kid Winston comes calling to live with Joe to warm him of his mother's planned law suit barrage and asks to live with him. The confrontation between Joe and his ex- wife gets Winston delivered to Social Services from where he escapes. In the end, however: boy finds father, group wins a $100,000 dollar contest. ex-wife loses battle and Michael gets Christopher when the young eighteen year old Adonis stud finally comes out of the closet, himself. Winston and Christopher shave their heads to be part of the bald men's singing group and everybody lives happily ever after. It's a great script and now available from our publishing company: Creative Horizons at www. showbusinwssmusicals.com

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Today is Shelly Berman's 86th birthday. When I was a kid, Shelly Berman was my all time favorite comedian. I used to play his records over and over gain and then I would imitate him for friends and relatives. His bits on an imaginary telephone were absolutely priceless pieces of robust comedy. Today some of the phrases he used to use are simply not around any more. Like on an airplane there is no longer a stewardess. It's a flight attendant. And when was the last time you heard one of those guys ask you "Coffee, Tea or Milk". There is one monologue where he is trying to call a department store head office to inform them that "there is a woman hanging from your window ledge." It's hysterical because none of these stoops can find a woman hanging precariously from their very own window ledge. I got to meet Shelly once at the Jewish Home for the Aged in Woodland Hills where we doing a benefit. What a sweet man! Berman started as a straight actor, receiving his training at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, honing his acting skills in stock companies in and around Chicago and New York. In the mid-1950s, he became a member of Chicago's Compass Players which later evolved into The Second City. While performing improvised sketches with Compass, Shelly Berman began developing solo pieces, often employing an imaginary telephone to take the place of an onstage partner. In 1957, Berman landed his first job as a comedian at Mister Kelly's in Chicago, which led to other nightclub bookings, and a recording contract with Verve Records. His comedy albums would earn him three gold records and he'd win the first Grammy Award for a non-musical recording. He was the first standup comedian to play Carnegie Hall. Berman would go on to appear on numerous TV specials, and all of the major variety shows of the day.Berman's success as a comedian enabled him to continue with his first love - acting. He starred on Broadway in A Family Affair and continued to do stage work in productions of The Odd Couple, Damn Yankees, Fiddler on the Roof, I'm Not Rappaport, La Cage aux Folles, and Guys and Dolls, among many others. He still teaches comedy at USC where Danny Simon did the same. If you want to be really moved (and laugh) listen to the dialogue stand up bit he that he does about talking to his father Nathan sometime. It's an absolute classic. It will move you to tears and also make you laugh like hell. Happy Birthday, sir. Many more years for you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012



Everyone who knows me knows full well just how much I love spoofs. I adore "The Book of Mormon" now on Broadway and find it to have the very best opening of a musical devised in a long time, but also some of the best songs ever created. So with that in mind, my writing partner and friend John Nugent sat down to write a musical comedy spoof of the "Adam and Eve" story. I am a cradle Catholic, but I firmly believe that Almighty God must have a grand sense of humor. Don't believe that? Think of the poor Platypus. Think of the sow bug. So our spoof asks the question "Wouldn't it be crazy if Eve ate of the tree of Knowledge but was a blond in every aspect that we know blonds today? Suppose that when Eve went to Adam, he was less than over joyed over what she had done and even less thrilled about losing paradise? Suppose that Adam (trying to find a way out of his problem) balks at the fact that he never had any creative input as to what his mate should have looked like. Suppose he said "Maybe, I wanted someone just like me." So John and I set down a title and started working from there. We called it (drum roll please) "Adam and Eve and Steve" (When the Devil Wasn't Enough!) So in this spoof Eden's plum tree becomes Adam's new mate Steve as poor Adam discovers the other side of the sexual coin. We of course make the Snake a real blond charmer and we've added Magnolia, the Peach Tree and Limey, the only lemon tree in the Garden of Eden. Eve is thrown out of the garden with the lemon tree made human (who is a lesbian) and we add God's voice and a couple of heavenly archangels. The result we've just finished and the songs are some of the very best that we've ever written. In other news, our recording date is this Saturday at 1pm at our new studio The California Recording Company in Van Nuys. David Holmes, Lindon Von Warren, Jessica Budha, Jonny Wexler and Travis Hunt will join us at 1pm. WE hope it will really turn out well. We're also re-writin "Little Bit Of Broadway" and we've just finished a new children's musical called "The Box of Robbers" based on the L. Frank Baum fairy tale. Busy. busy always.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


This remarkable man you see on this page is the manager for our company Creative Horizons. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our friendship. We were introduced by another mutual friend at the time and bar none this has been one of the most remarkable friends I have ever had in my life. The other being the amazing and incredible David Holmes. Jimmy has always supported what I was doing whether it was being an agent myself, a songwriter or any kind of writer. I retired four years ago in 2008 and in these four short years, I have never been as creative as I have in these four years. Of course finding my partner, John Nugent was absolutely the best present from Almighty God other than my parents and my eternal soul. And I certainly would have little or nothing accomplished without him. But now Jimmy Chapel has taken the most active role of all times and is representing twenty musicals (you read right) and nine original sit com pilots with additional episodes already created. Jimmy is both a gentleman and a scholar. Not only can he be a great reader on scripts, he's an excellent proofreader to boot. We started with a sit com called "First Mother" which I actually first created in 1992- about the same time that I met him in Orange County. The pitch: "The most eligible bachelor in the world becomes quite suddenly the Jewish president of the United States and his Brooklyn mother moves in the white House, lox, stock and bagel and takes Washington by storm." Back then, the idea of a Jewish president under any circumstances, would have been as impossible as a Mormon becoming president. So last July, Jimmy called me and told me that he had Lanie Kazan interested in portraying the First Mother and could we possibly get it together. Now remember, it had been twenty years since I had touched this material. We had a teleplay, but it was in the wrong format. The wrong format in Hollywood, today is the equivalent of being a bride's maid in jeans and a halter top. So out we went to get FINAL DRAFT an extraordinary software program and re-typed the original. It went to ABC and ABC thought it was too philosophical and not funny enough-- but invited us to submit other stuff. Then a strange man who was a former stunt man had a connection to FOX and with his advice, he said we needed a series bible and at least three additional episodes. We went back and wrote six more episodes. We then started writing more and soon we had SENIOR HIGH DROPOUTS, BREAK A LEG, TAXING LAUGHTER, IRISH LEFTOVERS, PROFESSOR CHUTZPAH, THE GOLDILOCKS BOYS and ZORRO'S DELI. That's what he's amazingly representing today. The funny thing is that the stuntman turned out to be a flake who actually knew no one, but had all this great CORRECT advice. Isn't that crazy?It just goes to show you that a blessing in disguise can hold more benefits than the fraud he represents. Jimmy Chapel is our hero, bar none. God love you, Jim for all your efforts!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Just in case you've never seen it, my creative company's endeavors has not one, but two web sites. The first is http://www.creativehorizonsmusicals.com/ which shows off our many musicals by subject matter and the other sister web site is similiar but is a bit simplier . It is : http://www.showbusinessmusicals.com/ which lists all of our many musicals by title. The first also shows off our ever growing list of Television sit com pilots now completed and available including "FIRST MOTHER" which has Lainie Kazan attached, "TAXING LAUGHTER" about two twin Italian men who hate one another but are now forced by their parents will to live together for five years as well as SENIOR HIGH DROPOUTS, IRISH LEFTOVERS and the newest of them called "BREAK A LEG"-- that title comes from the good old show business term one uses when you wish to offer a performer grand good luck. Take a look at them. John Nugent and I continue to seek new ways to market our many shows. Our agency sends out lots of queries but theatres today are less and less inclined to answer these even with a stamped self addressed envelope enclosed. The results from the ASCAP-DREAMWORKS musical theatre workshop that will be held the first two weeks in February were announced and we didn't make the cut, but so didn't many of writer friend's efforts. We all wonder just what these guys want as we have been trying many many years to get in here. Today is also Betty White's 90th birthday. We watched her birthday bash on NBC last night and it was simply terrific. Even Jerry Herman got into the act by altering the lyrics to "Mame" to accomodate the name "Betty". Big shock on how badly Mary Tyler Moore looked. Tank God for creative camera work. Diabetes is a real lady killer. And Ed Asner looks absolutely ancient these days, but we all must get older. So a new marketing campaign begins for the New Year and we hope for the best. Big laugh today as I read that a poor guy who had pneumonia in a New York Hospital last summer finally got his hospital bill. It was for forty-four million dollars and change. Now that's enough to make you sick all over again and for the real fellow it did. I laugh because my friend Tim Doran gets so many of these unexpected surprise bills, many for meager amounts, but some really substantial. I can only imagine what his reaction would be had he been the one who opened this one. Of course, it was an error. The hospital's computer had accidentally put the invoice number in front of the actual amount due and put a dollar sign in front of it. Ah, our dear computers: we can't live with them and we can't live without them. It's a cold, but beautiful day here and the stret is very quiet here once again. That makes a nice change from the usual.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's a brand New Year: 2012 and already things with big changes have started with a bang! Our first surprise came from the Westfield Fashion Square mall and the little free community room that we used for absolute ages dating back at least four years for rehearsals and parties in countless numbers. This great "free little room" with a kitchen and restrooms stopped being FREE as of January 1st. That nice little room now costs $150 a day to rent. Unbelievable. It was designed and built to be of service to the community and I can only guess the Westfield Fashion Square Mall folks have no more community service spirit. Everything is about the buck: the almighty dollar. This is the same room that just had mold cleaned out of its bathrooms at our multitude of requests. Oh well, I guess I won't be using their room any more, but I also will NOT be shopping at that mall anymore. It's too expensive anyway. I should know. I ran a retail store there upstairs next to Macy's. The second big shock came when we were told that our beloved sound engineer, Mr. Robert Roth is no longer an associate of Smooth Sound Studios in Van Nuys. We've been recording there since 1999 and I just can't imagine that Robert is not a part of this any more. He tells that he has his own place now and so John and I are quite eager to discover what the new venture will be at a new address, I'm told. Well, one thing for sure is we won't won't miss the parking congestion the dear studio had. We also wait for the results of the winner to be announced for the ASCAP-DREAMWORKS Musical workshop. It changed sponsorship this year from DISNEY and the results were supposed to be announced on Friday, January 6th, but there's not a word heard YET. The year began badly when the power supply went out the second time on New Years Day at 8:19 am. I was without a computer for an entire week. What a bummer! Let us hope that the rest of the year fares better than it began. Beautiful summer like day here the first of January is encouraging. We can finally turn the heater off for a while. And it's a quiet morning here for once on Fulton Avenue-- not the usual endless stream of cars. trucks and sirens. Have a great day this 10th day of January 2012.