Well, dear readers, you remember how, the other day, I reconnected with a gal who I knew when she was a kid of eight or so, and how that was fun. Well, last night someone posts on my Facebook page that he played drums for a revue I did in 1970, just prior to my good fortune in being seen in a play, getting an agent, and my career starting. I was flailing badly back then and doing whatever I could to perform. So, I made a little revue that we did at a jernt called The Proud Bird, very near LAX airport. I don’t have much memory of it, but his name sounded familiar and he said his sister played the piano – the minute he said that, it came back to me immediately, where I’d met his sister and how she came to play the revue. I walked to my bookshelf, pulled out There’s Mel, There’s Woody, and There’s You and there it was, on the last two pages of the prologue, just before chapter one picks up with the story of the play and the aftermath of that. Her name was Joanie Cahn and I know she was in her teens at the time. I’d met her when doing this weird show, The Drunkard, for this weird man called William Jarvis. Joanie was playing the show (there were only a couple of songs) and we became fast friends and after the show we’d play the piano together, our specialty being Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. After I began working, we remained occasional friends, but then I lost track of her, not running into her again until I was living in Santa Monica at The Shores in 1988. I think it was actually in the mid-1990s when I ran into her – she was playing the piano with a woman playing the violin on the Venice boardwalk. We chatted for a bit, but she had to get on with the music. And then nothing. So, I asked her brother if she was on Facebook so I could say hi. And she was, but under a totally different name. I “friended” her and she PMd me almost immediately, saying, “I know you.” And so we did a back-and-forth, caught up a bit, but yesterday we had a telephonic conversation for an hour and really caught up, and that was really fun. I linked her to the June Kritzerland show of my songs because I knew she’d remember several of them and I was right – she knew the first two instantly.
And as if that wasn’t enough nostalgia, I then, directly after talking to her, had another hour-long telephonic conversation with composer David Spear, who I haven’t spoken to since 1993. He wrote the score to The Creature Wasn’t Nice and did the orchestrations of my songs for it, then did orchestrations for my songs for the Danny DeVito movie, The Ratings Game, for which he wrote the score, frequently using some of my themes, which was fun. I hired him in 1993 to do the first of Michelle Nicastro’s albums, Toonful. We agreed on the deal, they met, but before going to work he began to pressure me for more money. I said it was what it was, but he kept at it and kept at it and I finally said goodbye and hired Lanny Meyers, which began our grand adventure that continues to this day.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by some German company who’s going to put out The Ratings Game and do a German dub. They asked if I had the songs and the score. I told them no to the score but that I had the songs, but they weren’t of high quality, coming from an old cassette. I did send those to them. I’m not sure from whom they licensed the rights, but clearly it was not the fellow who produced it, who, most likely, has the M&E tracks (music and effects) – if they had that, the process would be very simple – so, I got David’s e-mail from our mutual friend Marshall Harvey, and put them in touch. Then David’s agent called me – I’ve known him since the late 70s – and said David and I should speak, that David had all the two-inch tapes from which we could remix everything. So, David and I spoke, and it was really fun to catch up with him, too. He actually lives exactly three blocks away from me. We’ll do a lunch at some point. Reunions – who knows why or how they’ll happen, but it’s usually fun when they do, and they did eat up a lot of my day, which took my mind off wanting to stick my head in the oven. Instead, I stuck three hot dogs in.
Yesterday was a reunion day. I got eight hours of sleep, did things that needed doing, and then had the two hours’ worth of phone conversations. By that time, it was already three o’clock, so I made my three hot dogs – one with mustard and onions, two with red cabbage and cheese – and ate them all up. That reminds me of the tale of The Randy Vicar and the Three Hot Dogs – oh, that one’s a corker. I then did a quick Gelson’s run and got some more Honey Crisp apples and a little spicy Thai noodles, came home and ate the noodles, which brought me up to about 900 calories. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I watched a motion picture on Blu and Ray that I’d never seen before, entitled The Seven Percent Solution, starring Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, and Vanessa Redgrave. Amusingly, I bought the Blu-ray in 2013 and never looked at it. Well, I quite enjoyed it. I don’t think it’s a great movie or anything, but it moves right along once you acclimate yourself to the fact that it’s not a Sherlock Holmes adventure, as in yarn, but a film about Mr. Holmes and his addiction and conquering thereof. This he does with the help of his loyal and true Dr. Watson, who contrives to get him help by engaging the services of Sigmund Freud. I always like these fictions of meetups like this. Once all that kicks in, it becomes fascinating, and then, of course, there is a little adventure to deal with. The actors are all superb, although Joel Grey is completely wasted in a small, basically non-speaking role. It does take some getting used to Mr. Duvall’s attempt at an accent, but he’s so good in the part you forgive it. And the score by John Addison is really good. The transfer looks fine.
After that, I had two apples and listened for the very first time to the cast recording of Rex by Richard Rodgers and Sheldon Harnick. I found it a complete slog, with Mr. Rodgers being derivative of Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Harnick being derivative of Mr. Lerner. Nicol Williamson – who knew I’d be having a Williamson double bill – is surprisingly fine as a singer and everyone else is fine, but it’s just dreary and it didn’t get better with Mr. Rodgers’ final musical just three years later – I Remember Mama. In fact, despite their contentious relationship, the lyricist who brought out the best in Rodgers and who inspired him to write a fresh and wonderful score was my close personal friend, Mr. Stephen Sondheim, said score being Do I Hear a Waltz? So, Rex is not anything I’ll need to hear again.
Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll hopefully pick up something from the mail place, I’ll pray for some little miracles, and then I’m having a fine dining adventure with Doug and his wife at Tam O’Shanter. I already know what I’m having and it won’t add up to more than 1200 calories, so I’ll be fine.
Tomorrow I have to do some tests for the Friday Partridge Family events, and Friday I have the two back-to-back marathon events to do and I hope they’re fun. The bigger of them has Shirley Jones, Danny Bonaduce, Jeremy Gelbawks, Brian Forster, some Teen Beat person, David’s personal photographer, Henry Diltz, and li’l ol’ me.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, hopefully pick up something from the mail place, pray for little miracles, have a dining adventure, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had unexpected reunions.