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January 28, 2021:

THE SNEAK PREVIEW STORY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers this week is flying by, like a gazelle performing the operas Madame Butterfly and La Traviata at the same time, resulting in Madame La Traviata Butterfly by Pucciverdi. It’s quite bracing. As to what I’ve been listening to this evening after forty minutes of trying to get with Da Five Bloods (I couldn’t even get with One Blood), we’ve had a Laurent Petitgirard ballet of The Little Prince, scored for mixed choir, clarinet, harp, and percussion. I didn’t really love it, but it does have several effective moments. Prior to that it was three Andre Messager operettas, Veronique, Monsieur Beaucaire, and Les p’tites Michu. I enjoyed Veronique quite a bit but the others not so much. Then I listened to yet another Hansel Und Gretel set, this one conducted by Charles Mackerras and sung in English. Mackerras is a wonderful conductor and he and the band are great. The two leading ladies are too heavy voiced to play these roles and they really roll them R’s like nobody’s business. And amusingly, even though they’re singing in English you can’t understand a word they’re saying. I’m convinced that these people need real record producers in the studio who will speak up and tell them they’ve got to be understood. Heaven forbid they should make an adjustment. I did think the lady who played the witch was very good and her you could understand perfectly. And right now, just because it came up in iTunes, I’m on an opera break and listening to the beautiful symphonies of Cyril Rootham.

Yesterday was an okay day as okay days go. I got seven-and-a-half hours of sleep, answered e-mails, got part two of a major miracle, and put into play what would make part three, the final part, of the major miracle happen. But now we sit on both pins and needles and needles and pins for about five days, which is when I’ll know if part three will happen and make things a whole lot easier and that would be a good thing, let me tell you and I have told you. Once all that was done, I did the Facebook announcement about project one aka Tonight’s the Night and that got some nice comments. We went out the press release to various outlets and Broadway World has already run it, which is nice. Doug Haverty made up a nice flyer with all the dates and times. Here it is.

Then I had some chili, cheese, and onion hot dogs for food, with a few chips. Then I began the day’s proofing, which is, in fact, what I did for much of the day and evening. I’m now forty-six pages in. I’m liking what I’m reading and finding lots of typos and a few things that I needed to smooth out, but nothing major so far. Then I picked up a couple of packages, came home, and proofed some more. I tried watching Da Five Bloods but am not loving it – I know I’m in the minority, but that’s the way the cookie bounces. I heated up more chili and warmed up two tortillas and put the chili on them with onions and cheese and ate those – too much food – and that was pretty much that.

I’ve also been going down the newspapers.com rabbit hole but it’s been exhausting but fun. I was determined to find out the exact date we had our very first preview of The First Nudie Musical, where we screened the work print in interlock with the mag sound. I remembered it being in either Glendale or Pasadena, with the latter more likely as that was a popular place to preview and would have theaters that could do the interlock picture and sound. The only other thing I remembered was that it was a huge theater. I was pretty sure the preview would have had to have been in mid to late July, as I know it took about six weeks to cut it and we began that the last week of May. So, I went through every L.A. Times movie section for July and found nothing. I was pretty sure we’d have had a little ad and that’s what I was looking for, but I was also checking all the Glendale and Pasadena listings of the various chains, although I was certain we’d have been in a Mann theater since my friend was a higher-up there and would have booked it for us (he was even in the film as an extra). But there was nothing in July at all. So, knowing it couldn’t have been before that, I moved into August. There was a preview at the Glendale Theater in Glendale on August 2, but it said Major Studio Preview – I guess they might have just said that. That was a Saturday night and that didn’t quite feel right because I know that the day after our first preview, we traveled to San Diego to do an interlock preview, where we played with Dolemite. Also, I looked up the Glendale and it just didn’t look like what I remembered and only sat 1,000 people, not exactly huge.

I looked at every Tuesday through Saturday because I knew those were the only days it could have happened. So, for a moment it looked like the Glendale was the only candidate and it couldn’t have happened much later than that because once we’d done the San Diego preview, I made a couple of trims and we locked the film, it was mixed, and submitted to the ratings board and that would have all had to happen within a two-and-a-half-week period, but I thought how could all that have gotten done and an answer print been timed and struck. But I kept looking. And I finally found it – Friday, August 8 at the Academy Theater in Pasadena. Sneak Preview it said above the double feature they were listing – Tommy and Once Is Not Enough. That felt exactly right and when I looked up the theater at a historical site and saw the pictures, it all came back to me instantly. That theater was THE popular preview theater in the 40s and 50s, had interlock and seated over 1,700 people. And I must say, the downstairs section was completely full. Don’t know about the balcony. So, that means that between the following Monday, which would have been August 11, all that work was done, the film was rated (and that took two showings because we fought them and had to make two tiny trims), the final sound mix was done – I wasn’t there for it because I was shooting the premiere episode of Doctor’s Hospital nearby, and an answer print timed and struck and all by September 1. Amazing, when you think about it. And I know it had to be done by September 1 because on September 2 I flew that answer print to New York to preview at the Sutton Theater with Love and Death on September 3, after I’d seen a matinee of A Chorus Line that day. I’d assumed for years that it was still in previews, but it had, in fact opened at the end of July. And I was back in LA on September 4, rushed the answer print to the cutting room where I finally removed the “Where Is a Man” song, then rushing that print to the Regent in Westwood for our preview that night (also with Love and Death). And it was that preview that resulted in the sale to Paramount.

The other interesting thing was I thought the first time I’d ever seen myself on a huge movie screen was that first preview at the Academy, but that wasn’t the case, because the week before that preview, The Apple Dumpling Gang opened, and I saw it at the first matinee at the Fox on Hollywood Boulevard where, ironically, The First Nudie Musical would be playing just about eight months later.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll probably make Wacky Noodles for food, I’ll continue proofing, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, and then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow and the weekend will be proofing galore, but I’m also hoping that we’ll have all the elements for project one in place so we can integrate the two effects sequences and end titles and lay back the smoothed-out sound onto the picture, if we like that better than what we have. And I continue to figure out the Kritzerland show.

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, eat, proof, hopefully pick up packages, proof, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What were your favorite movie palaces that you’ve been in? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have finally solved the sneak preview story.

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