Tonight I took the trek up the hill to Martin Luther College in the town I live in.
I had just returned home from work and had eaten some supper and was ready to recline, until the buzzing on my SmartWatch told me I needed to be up at Martin Luther College at 8pm because an actress from the Robert Wise hit movie, by the name of Debbie Turner was going to talk about her role in “The Sound of Music.”
Growing up as I did in Toronto in the Inner City, I was a very lonely and neglected child and I found my escape in music and in musicals.
Walking home tonight, I fell into that reverie, the lines of the song from Sunset Boulevard sang in my head, we taught the world new ways to dream. That is Hollywood for you.
There is a resurgence and a resurrection of interest in the old movies. In fact, I’m leaving to another Turner Classic Movie Cruise in about a week. This will be my 5th Turner Classic Movie Cruise and I will see Jerry Lewis, Kim Novak, Michael York, Leslie Caron, Lucie Arnaz jr., among others.
I’ve been on cruises where I’ve seen other stars such as Shirley Jones, Mickey Rooney, Theodore Bikel, Eva Marie Saint, Angie Dickinson, Richard Wagner, Lou Gossett jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Harold Lloyd, Ruta Lee, Jane Powell, and Margaret O’Brien, who are just a few that come to mind.
Listening to Debbie Turner talk about her experiences playing Marta in The Sound of Music told me a lot about the way Hollywood used to be. The so-called lesser players were paid much less back then. The things classic movie actors and actresses have to bank on now, is the keen interest Baby Boomers along with their children have in old Hollywood. Sadly, old Hollywood, is as recent as the eighties and nineties not just the thirties and forties.
I grew up very lonely with LP’s teaching me all the lyrics to all the famous musicals from West Side Story to The Sound of Music and others in between. The curse I had was that my rhythm was poor. I have perfect pitch but not perfect rhythm, that came later with training. My husband has natural rhythm but not natural perfect pitch so we’re a perfect match.
Nevertheless, Hollywood has put its imprint on me as well as millions of others.
While kids of today may have never seen a Judy Garland film they have heard of her, just like I have heard of Rin Tin Tin, but I’ve never seen him in a movie.
So when I go on the Disney Fantasy and see Jerry Lewis for the first time for real, it will probably be just as startling and uplifting as when I saw Shirley Jones for real on the Disney Magic. I grew up watching Jerry Lewis films. In fact he was my role model for a spell. I was a crazy zany over-the-top teenager, every once in awhile, after watching one of those movies because I was yearning for a role model, even though people thought I was nuts.
I was in Oklahoma playing the lead role as Laurie in junior high school. I was unable to talk to Shirley Jones on the ship, but I was able to listen to her speak about herself and her past and I was duly disillusioned.
Did you know she was pregnant when she was playing in the movie, The Music Man? Finding out about these Stars close up and real, they were not like in my imagination at all.
How desperately I really wanted to be a part of Hollywood, is unfathomable.
I imagined being a movie star would mean being perfect and being happy all the time.
In college, they said you don’t want to meet your heroes or idols because they would surely disappoint you. For a while I was reading the biographies of Barbara Streisand and all the other movie stars that I was emulating.
I had a chance to be in a couple of local television commercials and I learned about waiting. I hated waiting for the lighting and all that. I didn’t like being part of an ensemble either. I used to sing in a choir and I hated every second of it. I wanted to be the star.
So here I am today as a radio announcer, happy as can be with two dogs to take care of and a wonderful husband who loves me. Who could ask for anything more?
In another vein, so often I heard actors and actresses say they wound up being movie stars out of dumb luck.
Perhaps it was dumb luck that prevented me from going to Hollywood and becoming an actress. Perhaps I was too dumb to qualify. I’m glad of that. I’m glad to be where I am today.