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Thursday, June 27, 2013

It was the summer of 1951--I was 15 years old and working as an usher at the Lyric theatre on 42nd street. Back in those days they would show 2 features plus a cartoon and a newsreel not to forget coming attractions. Also the Lyric theatre was one of maybe 7-8 movie houses that filled up with men who didn't have success with job hunting and, in addition, where a lot of illegal activities went on . I don't know how many movies I saw that summer but I remembered "On The Riviera" was held over and I saw it at least 21 times!! To this day I remember most of the dialogue and Danny Kaye's crazy routines.

I was all dressed up, and looking 'spiffy', in my Marine Corps Dress Blues and after having a drink at the Circle bar on Hollywood Boulevard not too far from the Chinese Grauman Theatre I went there as I was part of the ceremony for the opening of "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" after which we watched the movie and was invited to the opening party. It was 1955 and I had met a few 'stars' by being used as a 'guard' for some movie related business and, at other times 'cruising' Hollywood Boulevard. I fell in love with the movie and I fell in love with Jennifer Jones and was completely tongue tied meeting her. As it was she was extremely shy and left the party as soon as she could.

A little over a year later, after getting out of the Marine Corps and hitchhiking to Miami Beach my father came down from New York and took his sister, my aunt, Flo to the opening of the two a day special showing of the movie "The King and I". It was one of the few times that my father and I, as an adult, spent a social evening together. The movie was a good adaptation of the Broadway version and it is one of the few memories, good memories that is, I have of my father as he was really treating Flo as the special person she was. It was playing at the Roosevelt Theatre on Arthur Godfry Road (ask your parents kids!!) and after we went for dinner at The Forge, one of the highest priced restaurants on Miami Beach at that time, and having just started in the restaurant business I was very impressed with the service!

The opening of the Broadway production of "Funny Girl" was suppose to be a Leap Year birthday present for me in 1964 which Pepe had bought the tickets for a few months in advance. The show was postponed and didn't open until March 26--it took me along time to forgive Barbra Streisand for that! By the time the movie opened (I believe at the Loews State theatre) Pepe had moved and Bernie and I were discussing my coming to Memphis with him. We went to see the movie September 19, 1968. I don't see it without thinking about that time in my life.

All I will say about "Last Tango In Paris" is that Johnny and I were surprised to see it in Memphis and I always thought of the theme song being 'our song'--and the butter was fun!

It was June, 20, 1975, and I was in New Orleans for a Transactional Analysis seminar as I was training to become a group leader. It was a bright sunny afternoon and I decided to walk over to Canal Street and the the marquee for "Jaws". The first meeting of the seminar was that evening so I had plenty of time and decided to go in and see the movie. I like millions of others stayed away from the ocean for a few years!!! It was the opening day and I had been at the afternoon showing. When I came out of the theatre the line to get in was so long you couldn't see the end. At the seminar that evening all I could do was talk about the movie "Jaws" I had seen and kept on telling everyone they had to go see it. The leader of the meeting thought I was a shill for the movie and called me on it! We ent to the last showing that evening and while waiting on line we learned a lot about each other and spent the next 5 days (and evenings) together which wasn't exactly ethical but....

I am not exactly squeamish when it comes to watching movies though I have been known to cover my eyes a few times during a film. I know that what is happening isn't real, that the actor will get up after being sawed in half or whatever but for some reason this movie made me leave the theatre, making me very queasy. Bill and I had recently met and were still in the process of getting to know each other when we went to see "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" with Richard Dryfuss in which he plays a quadriplegic who sues for the right to end his life. To this day I don't know why I couldn't stay and watch the film and just went and sat in the lobby with Bill eventually coming out and asking me what was wrong. I didn't have an answer for him except that I wanted to leave. I have not seen the movie on cable or anywhere else as I wanted/want to see if I would have the same reaction. We were in a Coral Springs movie since we were staying at his place that evening. Once before I had reacted that way to a movie but I had been able to sit through it and that was "The Men" with Marlon Brando.


I have, literally, seen thousands of movies in my lifetime, some such as "West Side Story" or, yes, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" many times but where did I see "West Side Story" for the first time, and with whom? I don't have the slightest recollection though I am sure I could look it up in one of my diaries! Why do I remember these 7 films and the circumstances around my seeing them? I don't know!!

When I am asked to list my 10 favorite films I usually decline because it would be easier for me to list my favorite 100 films! I was raised on, in and with the movies and I still, and always will, believe in "Happy Ever After"--The End.
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