BITS AND PIECES AND HOLLYWOOD STUFF

HELLO AMERICA!  You must agree it is like watching a darn exciting Warner film starring several of our favorite bad boys and girls! With so many of White House's power-force in prison or replaced with even more "yes-men", one wonders who really is running the government.  The president's game playing with such countries as Russia, China, North Korea and their neighboring nations is a frightening observation.  Even though Congress has all the evidence it needs to impeach, the Senate refuses to accept the reality of what this White House is doing.  The president's base still refuses to accept that in America "no man is above the law" and quietly lurk in the background as if backup singers. 

It is so sad to walk the streets and see such division and suspicion framing every step of people who normally represented a friendliness giving the atmosphere such a safe center.  It was such a relief to retrieve some of the kindness and respect our nation was attempting to instill that had a healthy beginning during the 1960s.  I hope it is not too late; it would be so gratifying to recapture an atmosphere of love and hope. Hollywood produced miracles during 40s and 50s which gave us all hope; I only hope and pray it is not too late to make it happen again.

I RECENTLY WATCHED "GONE WITH THE WIND" again. Of course, it was just as thrilling as it was when I first viewed it so many times before back in Philadelphia.  It took on an even greater meaning when I finally arrived in Hollywood to be featured in "Carmen Jones" Otto Preminger's Oscar nominated musical of 1954.  It was then I met such iconic stars as Olivia De Havilland, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen and Isabel Jewell who finally was a neighbor of mine.  We became fast friends, spent several weekends watching films and discussing respective projects. However, it was easy to observe she was yearning for the old days when she was in demand.  There were times following a private screening at the Writers Guild on Melrose Ave, she would ring me up and discuss what was screened as well as some of the actors. It was wonderful hearing her wild stories of yesterday's cinema world.  

However, like so many actors frustrated or hungry for the luster of the days when their name lit of a marquee, Isabel consumed a lot of alcohol making her say and do things which was quite frightening.  I didn't know how extreme it was until the time I was hosting a private dinner for my buddy Chris (General Hospital) Robinson, Angie Dickenson, Ziva Rodan and Tony Perkins.  It was rather special because each of these guys had been so supportive of whatever I did as an actor, musician and writer.  During halfway through the dinner, the phone rang. It was Isabel. She was totally out of it and slurring or words. She announced she was going to commit suicide and wanted me to come to her place right way.  

I attempted to calm her down and make her understand that killing herself was weak way of handling her frustrations.  However, I would come over to talk with her once my guests left for home.  She was outraged with my response and slammed the phone down.  However, a few hours later after my guests left for home, I went over to her place which was about five minutes away and rang her bell.  Isabel answered the door, dressed as if she was the First Lady of Hollywood and said with a broad smile, "Oh, hello, darlin', WHAT took ya' so long?"  THAT was Isabel.