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August 10, 2017:

DEN MOTHER

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, guess who showed up in one of the Hitchcock Hour episodes? Well, I’ll tell you, for why should I keep such things from you dear readers? The person we used to call our den mother around these here parts – our very own Susan Gordon. She was, as always, cute as a button and seeing her made me remember our meeting and friendship up until she passed away. We met right here on haineshisway.com sort of. Dear reader Jane had found us the very first week we were in existence. And I’d talked about my boy crush on Susan and Jane contacted her, and somewhere in mid-December she IMd me (remember IMs) and we became instant friends. We messaged back and forth relentlessly, talked on the phone relentlessly, she sent me fun photos from the old days. And then, at the end of that month (this was the year 2001 and I had literally just finished writing Benjamin Kritzer, which I let her read and which she loved) we decided to meet. She flew to Las Vegas as did I and we spent two or three days there and celebrated New Year’s. I’ve never told this before, but why not? It was a load of fun spending time with her – she watched while I made my feeble attempts to play craps, a game I’ve never understood, we ate lots of meals and she even went off her macrobiotic diet a bit. That diet was a bone of contention – I felt it was very unhealthy for her and I think I was ultimately proven correct. We saw some show I don’t remember and then we both went to our various and sundried home environments. She then became the first person to ever proof a BK book – it took a long time and we argued back and forth about which fixes to use and which not to use.

We remained close via telephone and Internet and eventually she came here to this site and everyone fell in love with her. Except she had a very bad and evil stalker that caused no end of trouble here and it was the main reason I made our proper discussion board, where I had complete control over who posted here. But she came less and less because this person made her life a living hell. This person also used to write me relentlessly and I really let him have it on many occasions – but good. She had something like six children, and they all seemed like smart good kids. I even got her to take part in her first signing show – the old Ray Courts show when that show was small and fun and at the Beverly Garland Hotel. She didn’t think anyone would remember her – she saw how wrong she was immediately. We sat next to each other and she did really well. On that trip, I met her mom, Flora, and we became friends, too. I got Susan and Flora to do a commentary on Susan’s dad’s film, Beginning of the End, and that was really fun.

Eventually, I finally met her dad – I was a big fan of Mr. BIG – Bert I. Gordon, and we just hit it off perfectly from minute one and I introduced him to Genghis Cohen and that became one of his favorite places and we dined there quite a bit. I also got him to do his first signing show, and he then did them regularly. When his book came out it was riddled with errors and typos and stuff, so Susan asked me to go through it and correct things, which I happily did and the new version was much more accurate. Susan’s health deteriorated, partly, I think, because of that damn macrobiotic diet and partly because she let things go that should have been dealt with. She proofed the subsequent two Kritzer books, and I always let her read each new book the minute I finished them. She was a wonderful person and I miss her and wished the end for her had not come so early and that she’d found the happiness she so deserved. But she lives on via her films and TV appearances and it’s just about impossible to see her and not fall in love with that face and that dimple.

Yesterday, I got eight hours of sleep, answered e-mails, did some work on the computer, then went and had a Chinese chicken salad and came right back home. Then Robert and Alby arrived. We ran the act top to bottom, but stopping to fix things as we went along, so the work session was almost three hours. At this stage, it’s impossible for me to tell if it’s too long or too short or just right. As he spoke his commentary, we made lots of adjustments, cuts, additions, always just trying to say as much as necessary in as little time as possible, which is the function of good patter. And running the last three numbers I realized two of them needed to flip, and one needed to consist of just one song rather than the put-together it was. That helped that section perfectly. Robert also wanted to do one of the What Ifs he did at Kritzerland, but I wasn’t sold on the one he was doing – mostly due to tempo and length, so we’re also going to try a different one and see which feels best tomorrow during our next work session. He’s already sent me the revised patter, and I’ll go through that today and finesse it further. But it’s going to be a very good act, I think. And I’m sure dear reader FJL will be very happy that we’re doing my put-together of She Dies and Time and Again by Mr. Skip Kennon.

After we finished, I went and picked up a couple of packages, then came home and sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a couple more episodes of the Hitchcock Hour show. The first was called The Paragon, starring Joan Fontaine, Gary Merrill, Irene Tedrow, and Susan Gordon. It was stylishly directed by Jack Smight, but I didn’t really care for the story or the writing. I tried to watch I’ll Be the Judge – I’ll Be the Jury, but I didn’t like it and moved on to Diagnosis: Danger, starring Michael Parks, Charles McGraw, and Rupert Crosse. Directed by Sydney Pollack, it was a pretty good episode about an outbreak of anthrax but not really Hitchcock Hour material – in fact, even though I haven’t been able to substantiate it, I’m pretty certain this was a pilot for a new medical show (Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare were very popular) to star Michael Parks as a doctor dealing with dangerous outbreaks. It plays like that, even the ending plays like there’ll be more to come.

Then I had a cheese sandwich for my evening snack. I didn’t jog (nor did I the day before) – needed a break. Then I listened to music – a wonderful performance of Prokofiev’s first and third piano concertos by Gary Graffman and George Szell – classic and now my favorites of those. And as I write these here notes I’m listening (finally) to William Bolcom’s opera of A View from the Bridge. I think it’s okay but doesn’t lend itself very well to the opera treatment and certainly nowhere near as well as The Crucible does. But, it’s certainly not without interest.

Today, I’ll finesse Robert’s patter, do Levi work, eat, hopefully pick up packages, jog, and then relax.

Tomorrow we have a Robert and Alby run-through with no stops, then performances resume for our final weekend of Dial ‘M’ for Murder. Saturday we do another run-through, then I’ll attend our evening performance. And I’ll be there for the final Sunday matinee performance and I’m sure that at least Doug and I will go out after for a meal – perhaps even to Genghis Cohen – a little celebration. Then next week is all Robert’s cabaret show, including a quick trip to Coachella on Friday to make sure the tech aspects are fine and to see his opening show. I’ll stay overnight and see his Saturday night show, then drive home.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, finesse patter, do Levi work, eat, jog, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: For those who were here, share your den mother memories – for those who weren’t, share your favorite Susan Gordon performances. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, feeling a bit nostalgic in the reminiscing of the den mother.

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