30 August 2014

Hollywood heaven

every once in a while I see something that brings so many of my personal touchstones together that I'm overwhelmd.  that happend tonite.

I saw a half hour tv show from Xmas week of 1955. the series was "Screen Directors Playhouse." it lastd but one season.  however it's become legendary because it brought to its 35 episodes such prominent Hollywood directors as John Ford & Frank Borzage   Ida Lupino & Fred Zinnemann.

the episode I just watchd was "The Silent Partner."  directing was George Marshall who helmd such big screen classics as "Destry Rides Again" & "The Blue Dahlia."

the reason I wantd to see it was simple. it brought together one of film's greatest stars Buster Keaton with my Everyman -- Percy Helton.  but I had no idea going into it that there wd be surprises.

it opens with the Pantages Theater on Oscar nite.  altho I now find the Academy Awards beyond silly when I was young they were important to me.  & when I first began watching them on tv they were broadcast from the Pantages. we see the crowd & then suddenly there's my old friend George Fisher interviewing stars.  George's moment of Hollywood history is the subject of a poem of mine in The Arrow That is Hollywood Pierces the Soul That is Me.

George interviews Joe E. Brown who I once saw in summer stock. Keaton is a sort of bystander who then walks to a nearby bar calld Barney's. I suspect it'd be in the location of the Frolic in reality. Barney is Percy Helton -- star of my Percy & Bess. also in the bar is another silent screen great -- Zasu Pitts.

the story gets predictable but before the adventure is over we see Keaton in a comedy routine briefly opposite another beloved performer I've written abt -- Snub Pollard.

throw in Evelyn Ankers & Jack Kruschen & Hank Mann & a young Jack Elam -- even a cameo by Bob Hope -- & for me it became a major event. altho not a great piece of filmmaking it brought together both my past & Hollywood's in such a poignant way.  seeing those particular favorites of mine intersect was magic.  I'm so up I may have to do a little dance before I calm down.

27 August 2014

Lois Viscoli (1928-2014)

every city has its local legends.  Lois was one in Santa Fe. over the years I saw her more on stage than off.  so she really wasn't a friend.  but she was a colorful thread in the tapestry of our town.

I don't know much abt her early acting career which apparently included Broadway. in more recent times she was well known for having playd Alice B. Toklas in a 2-woman show. apparently it was a hit at Cherry Grove Community House on Fire Island.

Lois lived in a lovely house across the street from the onetime residence of Witter Bynner.  I'm sure her close friends have many stories.

24 August 2014

Michael Pace (1949-2014)

I've written often of my love for the singing group Gotham who were the kings of the cabaret scene of the '70s.

Gary Herb died first.  then my friend David McDaniel. & now the last of that sublime trio -- Michael Pace.

"Morning After Nite-blooming Cereus"

photograph by Jim Hinchee (Twin Lakes: 1980)

22 August 2014

today's "hike"

by the time we got to Valles Caldera it was too rainy to hike. luckily they also provide a shuttle tour. & the preserve is so vast that that took 2 hours.

& then we went to Los Alamos for a major lunch at Blue Window.

18 August 2014

still thinking

abt classmates who are dead. from high school at least 80 are gone.

17 August 2014

e-mail from a boyhood friend

"I remember your mom was the fastest walker in the city of Elyria." 

Kirk Nevins