Because I have to make a dental appointment soon, I flashed back several years to another time, another appointment.

The toothache is painful. Then, the prospect of a difficult extraction is daunting. I’m beyond nervous. I’m terrified. The dentist has advised me ,”Do not drive yourself.” My friend, Sir Chrisalot, steps up to the plate. (It is not surprising as baseball is one of his loves, and he coaches high school players on the side). The side of what? His career is acting. His name is Christopher Atkins, and he made a huge hit in “The Blue Lagoon” some years ago.  “I’ll drive you, he offers. Away we go, getting only a little lost. Once in the office, he keeps my mind busy as we tell each other stories about our first loves.
Then, the moment of truth arrives. The technician calls my name. I get up to follow her, and just as we reach the door beyond which lies my fate, Chris calls out loudly, “If they hurt you, yell, and I’ll get you out of here!” I laugh.  All the other patients in the waiting room laugh.  The tooth removal is a difficult one, but the painkiller holds, and I don’t have to yodel for Chris.  In the meantime, he’s holding forth with the other patients in his usual friendly way, telling corny jokes, asking them about themselves, making them smile and forget they’re in a dentist’s office.  By the time, a half-hour later,when I’m ready to leave,there is a relaxed atmosphere in the room. When I go to the desk to make a follow-up appointment, the receptionist says, “And be sure to bring him back with you”


When my daughter was a very young girl, Stan Jones, who was writing songs and acting in a Disney film “Ten Who Dared” had a meeting with Walt Disney, and took her along with him.  After Stan and Walt had finished their conversation in  his office, Walt turned to my daughter and asked her what film she would like to see on his television show, “Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”  Immediately, she answered, “Ferdinand.” He wrote it down on a blank sheet of paper on his notepad. Two weeks later, “Ferdinand” appeared on the show.  He did listen to children.   We went to see the rough cut of “Ten Who Dared” at the theatre  at the Disney studio. The audience was comprised of some of the actors on the film, some Disney executives, and some people who worked at the studio.  When it came to the scene where one of the characters is threatening another one’s dog, there was a gasp and a voice cried, “Oh, no!  We don’t eat dogs in a Disney film!”  Needless to say, that broke up the audience.

When she  was twenty, my daughter, then in college, decided she wanted to travel, and the best way, she thought, was to become an airline hostess. She was thinking about TWA. Around that time, I was at a party at Eddie Albert’s home, where Mr. and Mrs. Rod Serling were also guests.  We started talking, and I mentioned my daughter”s desire. “Oh,” Rod Serling said, “my brother,Robert, is the only man to attend the TWA training school.  It was background for his book, ‘The President’s Plane is Missing.’Let me give you his phone number. Have her call him, and he can tell her about his experience. Just say I told her to get in touch with him.”  He gave me the number, and Robert gave her all kinds of information. The next year, she became a TWA hostess.It was a “Twilight Zone” moment.

When my friend,David, came to visit me while I was working at Desilu, he looked up his old schoolmate, Anne Bancroft, who was making lower budget films at the time and in the middle of getting divorced, It was before she went back to NY to become an outstanding stage actor and her film career spiraled out of sight.  David,Anne, whom he called “Annie,” and I had a couple of dinners together. One evening we went to Pacific Ocean Park, then a huge amusement center  on the beach. We went on the rides, we ate cotton candy, we inhabited the fun house, with Anne and I hiding in nooks and crannies together to jump out and scare David. We wondered about the people who lived in the apartments down there with flimsy curtains flapping in their open windows. We sang to the radio music on the ride home, Anne driving. It was a time when, in our twenties, we could become kids again. She was a one-of-a-kind beautiful, bright lady, and I am glad that I had that time with her just to be ourselves.

WordPress’s Own Welcoming Committee – HarsH ReaLiTy


Thank you, Linda, for posting this. Jason has helped many,many people.

Originally posted on lindaghill:

When I started blogging I had no idea what I was doing. I roamed around WordPress marveling at all the people who seemed to have something to talk about. I knew I had words inside me that I wanted to get out – but how to start was the biggest question, followed closely by, how do I get anyone to read what I’ve written?

So I began, rather lamely I might add. A few people followed me, most of whom when I looked at their sites were simply trying to sell something.

I read up on a few hints from WordPress themselves; things like click on people’s avatars and follow them, or comment on other people’s blogs. It didn’t get me too far, but it was a start. Then one day, someone who called himself “Opinionated Man” followed me. I made one of my bolder attempts at commenting on his…

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‘Red River” was a Western film that brought together people in my own life….the writer, Borden Chase, and the actors….Harry Carey, Sr., Harry Carey, Jr., Joanne Dru, and Walter Brennan.  I did not know John Wayne personally, although I was at a couple of social events with him and taught English to several of his grandsons.

Borden’s step-daughter, Pat, was one of my close girlfriends during our late teen years. We used to go horseback riding on their San Fernando Valley ranch, or go to movies or lunch together. We were both our “father’s daughters.”  After her marriage failed, and he divorced her mother, Pat and Borden got married, causing a huge scandal in the movie industry.

I have already written about Harry Carey,Sr.,Harry Carey, Jr. and Joanne Dru on former blogs. As for Walter Brennan, he was a tall, handsome man, the direct opposite of so many of the wizened old men he so famously portrayed in films and television. He and Stan Jones, for whom I was working at the time, were in discussions about a screenplay Stan had written with Walter in mind. One day,Walter came over to the house again, this time to hear the finished script, which I read out loud to him, trying to vary the voices of the different parts.  It took two hours, at the end of which Walter said, “Thank you. I never could have done that!”  Unfortunately, Stan died before any action was taken. It would have made a wonderful Western, based on the true story behind Stan’s song “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and Walter would have been great as the lead.

Another Western star, James Arness, came to the house one day to talk with Stan. He was very, very, very tall.  When my twelve-year-old daughter came home from school that afternoon, she caught a glimpse of him in the den and in a quiet voice said to me, “How did he get through the doorway?” before disappearing up to her room.  Later, she came down, autograph book in hand, to be introduced. Arness was a soft-spoken, kind gentleman.  After he finished signing her book, he said, “I ducked.”  Obviously, he had overheard her comment.


When I worked with Stan Jones, actor and songwriter (Ghost Riders in the Sky, songs and background music for Disney and John Ford films, and The Standard School Broadcast), he and his wife, Olive, were often hosts for evenings of music comprised of  friends such as Frank Miller (Memories Are Made of This), Ken Curtis(former singer with The Sons of the Pioneers and the character Fester in “Gunsmoke”) and The Sons of the Pioneers.  A guest one evening was Wendell Corey, actor, who was not a musician. I remember his grousing about The Pioneers. “When do they start playing? They’re always just tuning up!”  He was a different man on the weekend after Stan died, when many,many people in show business appeared at the house to pay their respects. Stan’s son, SJ, only four years old, was a little overwhelmed with all the company. Wendell took him apart from the rest of us, inside a hall closet, where he sat down and proceeded to play board games with him for hours. He could not have done anything more loving.

My daughter and I had lived with Stan and Olive for several years. He had become a surrogate father to her, and she was sixteen when he died. That same day as Wendell was taking care of SJ, Joanne Dru took my daughter aside to talk about the losing of a parent figure, something she had experienced years before.

About a month after Stan’s death, Barbara Ford (daughter of John Ford and wife of Ken Curtis) called me.  “We all know how the widow is doing,” she said, “but I want to know how the best friend is coping.”  We talked for quite some time. Her best friend,Ward Bond, had died not long before, and we had a lot to discuss.

Bless these three for  reaching out to people who were hurting.. Although all three are gone now, too, I will be forever grateful to them.


Snippets of memories cross my mind of people of the Old Hollywood days that I would like to share with you. There are many more to come,but I’ll start with these.

It is the early 1940’s, and Spike Jones is having a “pool party” at his house. My father, mother, and I arrive to find that the pool is not yet apparent. There is a huge, huge hole where it will eventually appear, and around the hole are tables and chairs and guests. We join them for conversation and laughter and entertainment by Spike and some of the City Slickers of his band who perform their outrageous parodies of popular songs. They’re crazy, and so is the party.

It is Christmas time in the late 60’s, and Margo Albert (Eddie Albert’s wife) and I are shopping in Beverly Hills. We have a list of Margo and Eddie’s friends, plus family, and are doing our best to seek out “just right”gifts. We’re cruising the side streets when we run into Ava Gardner. She and Margo meet and greet. She is probably the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and I’ve seen some gorgeous ones in show business. “Let’s have tea,” she says, and the three of us find a nearby tea shop where we plop down in a corner booth. It is hard to take one’s eyes off her. There she sits, with no makeup on, dressed casually, speaking softly, just “one of the girls.” Whatever stories I have heard about her, and there have been many, this day she is simply herself, down-to-earth, funny, and charming.

It is at one of the Eddie Albert’s parties filled with some celebrities and some not, all chatting away, no one trying to impress anyone, just having a good time enjoying good food, good conversation, and playing some music.  One of the ladies picks up a guitar and sings a Spanish folk song. We give her a round of applause, and then someone else starts another song. The next week, my friend who manages one of the top downtown theaters, calls me. “My boss, as you know, was at the Albert’s party and talked about some lady in black with glasses that sang a song, but he doesn’t know who it was. Who was she?” he asks me.  Laughing, I tell him, “That was Rita Hayworth.”

Mother Dog Doing What She Does Best


This is the kind of story that needs to be read by a lot of people, so I am reblogging from Morning Story and Dilbert.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 10, 2010

In 2003, police in Warwickshire , England , opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had clearly been abused.

In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a greyhound female, to the nearby Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary known as a willing haven for animals abandoned, orphaned or otherwise in need.  http://www.warwickshirewildlifesanctuary.co.uk/

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved.

They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.

The dog had other ideas. No-one remembers now how it began, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It…

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10 Great Quotations for International Literacy Day


Reading can take you anywhere on a magic carpet of words. This is reblogged from InterstingLiterature.

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

Today is International Literacy Day! What better time, then, to celebrate some of the wisest, wittiest, pithiest, silliest, and most profound things that writers have ever said about literature and reading? The following are 10 of our personal favourites from the last 21 months of Interesting Literature.

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’

– George R. R. Martin

Parents should leave books lying around marked ‘forbidden’ if they want their children to read.

– Doris Lessing

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

– P. G. Wodehouse

Cat with book

There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.

– Charles Dickens

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.

– Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

One always tends to overpraise a long…

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I just finished reading “Company of Heroes, My Life as an Actor in the John Ford Stock Company” by Harry Carey, Jr.He was the son of Harry Carey, Sr. and had a long film career, attaining a reputation as an authority on Western films.

To me, he is always Dobe (a nickname because of his hair the color of adobe brick)who i first know on his father’s ranch in 1936-38. I am 10 years old, his sister, Cappy, l3, and he is 16. Cappy and I ride out nearly every day to explore the l,000 plus acres of the ranch, find the horses and the cattle, and stampede them up the canyons. Dobe, shy, riding more sedately, always chooses a direction opposite to ours, singing opera all the while. He keeps busy with his two friends, Al Taylor and Bobby Robertson. Al is a short, sturdy, wirey tough guy who Dobe wants to train to be a prizefighter, and who, eventually, marries Cappy. Bobby is a tall,handsome teenager who eventually becomes a professional football player. Dobe does not become an opera singer.

After we move from the ranch and go back to New York, our families are not as close, although Dobe, working in New York at the World’s Fair for a short while, comes to visit us. I am l4. He is 20. One day, he takes me to see “Dumbo” and we both sit in the theater crying our eyes out.  Soon after, he  enters the Navy. We, again, return to California and frequently see the Carey family once more. Dobe gets married to Marilyn Fix, daughter of actor Paul Fix, and we attend, along with half of Hollywood, including John Wayne and John Ford.After the war, Dobe becomes an actor, performing in  many, many films such as ” 3 Godfathers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Wagonmaster, Rio Grande, Red River, Mr. Roberts, The Searchers,and Cheyenne Autumn,” as well as Tv shows.  “Red River” is a film that brings  Dobe and his father together in the cast, along with  others who play small parts in my life: writer Borden Chase, Joanne Dru, and Walter Brennan.

Around 1965 or so, there is a strike in the industry, and the actors are having a rough time. I happen to be the casting director  for The Standard School Broadcast then, and we shoot 3 or 4 scripts at one time with actors playing historical figures. I gather together an acting troupe, among which is Dobe. At $200 a script, I can give them 3 scripts at a time to record in one day, so that they walk away with $600 or more for a couple of hours of work.

At  the age of 91, Dobe dies of natural causes. A year earlier, a friend and I plan to visit him and Marilyn, but  before the date we all set, Marilyn calls to say, “Dobe fell down in the bathroom, and he’s in the hospital.We’ll have to postpone.” We never do make that vijsit.

Even though I have known him for many years in the industry, I always think of  Dobe as riding on the ranch, singing into the wind. My daughter ran into him at a meeting several years ago. She introduced herself to him as my daughter, and Dobe’s first remark to the friend by his side was, “Her mother rode like an Indian, bareback and wide open!”  I guess those childhood memories stamp us forever in other’s minds.  

Now, he is off singing opera in the widest of open spaces with God as an audience.