Holy Hiatus!

It’s interesting how the mind works, or refuses to work in my case so far this week.I started a post on Harry Carey,Sr. the old-time Western movie hero and later (in the late 1930′s and early ’40′s)an actor who received an Academy Award nomination for his role in”Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” I lived on his ranch for two years when I was nine, ten, and eleven years old. It is now an historic site under the auspices of the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation.
I’m stuck.The memories are too many to fit into a decent-sized blog. It seems to be a case of elimination without losing the flavor, but I’m working on it.
Do you have that problem? Do memories, sometimes, seem overwhelming,perhaps because they and the people involved have made a telling impression on you for the rest of your life?


Driving down Cahuenga Blvd. the other day,I passed the block where I used to work in the 1950′s as a publicist at Motion Picture Center, home of the “I Love Lucy” show. Now, memories start.
It is January, 1956, as I pull into the small parking lot, driving up to the fiesty,elderly man who ferociously guards his territory of parking spots. “Good Morning,” I call out. He grunts in reply and points to my parking space in case I have forgotten. Not the friendliest way to start the day, but inside the studio it is a different atmosphere.
Motion Picture Center is small by studio standards, containing nine sound stages, several offices, and a commissary.
I start my day reporting to my boss,Kenny Morgan, in our small office. There are just the two of us doing publicity for Desilu on the lot every day. On my way in, Desi stops me. “How’s ever little thin, honey? Get me some coffee?” I head for the commmissary and run into Ken Tobey from “The Whirlybirds” and Hugh O’Brian from “Wyatt Earp.” “Who was that girl you were with yesterday?” O’Brian asks. Tobey’s request is, “Can you get me dinner reservations for tonight at _______restaurant?” I tell O’Brian the name of the girl and ask Tobey, “Who was your social secretary last year?” He laughs.
On the lot, the shows rehearsing and filming are “I Love Lucy, The Danny Thomas Show,Wyatt Earp,The Sheriff of Cochise,Guestward Ho, The Red Skelton Show,Those Whiting Girls, The Dick VanDyke Show, and The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse among others.
My job is to write and plant items about the shows and actors in the trades and newspapers. I interview guest stars. I write some presentations for pilots for possible acceptance by networks and sponsors. I accompany actors for publicity shots and invite, by phone, celebrities to attend special celebrations by Lucy and Desi. Every Christmas Eve,Killer Kane,a studio driver, and I, all dressed up, drive all over Beverly Hills and its surrounds to deliver the Christmas presents from Lucy and Desi to celebrities and columnists.
Every Tuesday evening, I attend the “December Bride” shooting to gather material for stories and arrange for a photographer to take publicity shots on the set after the filming of the cast: Spring Byington, Harry Morgan, Verna Felton, Frances Rafferty, and Dean Miller, all easy to work with. Spring,a bundle of energy, former stage and screen actress, knows exactly what is right for her. If she disagrees with the director or producer about a scene, she simply retires to he dressing room until they come around to her way of thinking. They call her “The Iron Butterfly.”
Spring and I, both science fiction aficionadas, get along very well. For a hobby, she makes colored eyelashes to match different outfits. One afternoon at her house, while we are looking over the eyelashes, she confides in me that she is dating Charles Coburn. “He comes for me in a limo,” she says, laughing like a young girl.<b
On Thursday afternoons, "I Love Lucy" is filmed with a live audience that crowds the entrance on Lillian Way. My job is to talk to them before they enter and, because we are always over-ticketed,explain to those who are turned away and give them tickets to our other shows. It is never pleasant. Kenny says, "You do it because they won't hit YOU." Really? I'm never sure. Thwarted "Lucy" fans are not happy people.
Kenny, who much prefers working with the young and the beautiful, is always amazed that I get along so well with Spring Byington and her family. When an older lady is a guest of the studio, I'm assigned to take her on a tour. Such is the case with Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel in 1926. She is charming,and I enjoy my time with her. Afterwards, Kenny says, "How come you always get along so well with the little old ladies?" "Because," I tell him,"someday I will be a little old lady, too."
I like visiting the sets. One day, Rory Calhoun is a guest star on the "Lucy" show, so I go down to interview him. He is charming, and tells me a dirty joke. I don't laugh, and he says, "You didn't like that, did you? I'm sorry." He is a gentleman as well as incredibly handsome. Another day, on the set before filming, Red Skelton puts one hand over one of his eyes. "This one," he says, pointing to the uncovered eye," is for those who love Lucy. And this one," pointing to the covered eye, "is for those who hate Desi." Years before, when I was married and pregnant,my parents and I had attended one of Red's parties. He took a flash picture of me, saying, "Your kid is going to come out like this……" He pantomimed a face with wide, wide open eyes. Later, he lost his son and his soul.
Orson Welles comes into the office, all aflow with hat and long scarf and deep voice and ready to direct “The Fountain of Youth,” a show for the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse.I can’t wait to visit that set. When I do, he is directing Joy Lansing, a young, gorgeous actress who is struggling with the part. Watching Orson Welles in action as he very patently guides her, step by step, over and over, until he has the performance he wants, is like looking at the magic act he once performed. Fascinating.
Lucy stops by the office. She takes my face between her hands and says, “You have gotten so pretty,”thinking back, I assume,from the days when she knew me as a teenager. I feel seventeen again.
When we move from Motion Picture Center to the old RKO Studio on Gower Street, we lose the ambiance of intimacy. RKO is huge and cold, and it takes longer to travel to see people we had formerly run into on a daily basis. George Murphy, former song and dance man,actor,and politician, is now a Vice-Pesident of Desilu, providing more panache. The only times I see him, he is either arriving or leaving in a limo.
It is also the time when the story about Desi’s indiscretions appears in “Confidential” magazine. Kenny panics. “We can’t let Lucy see this!” he says, tucking it under his desk blotter, where,he believes, it will remain hidden from her.
Later in the day, Lucy’s dresser stops by our office, telling us, “Lucy’s read the story.” Kenny is frantic. “Who showed it to her?”
“Nobody. She walked down the street to the drugstore and bought a copy.”
There is no need to protect Lucy. She already knows about his drunkenness and suspects his bad behavior with other women. There have been many times when the Beverly Hills police, out of courtesy to her, have deposited him on their front lawn rather than arrest him for drunk driving. It is the public humiliation that hurts and leads to a divorce.
The studio is busy with even more shows: “The Untouchables. Mission Impossible. Star Trek” among them. Lucy starts a workshop for young talent. One of them is Majel Hudec Barrett,whom I had known earlier when she first came to town. We went to Jazz Clubs together once in a while. She s a lovely, talented actress, who becomes a regular on “Star Trek” and eventually marries Gene Roddenberry.
They are wonderful years with Desilu, but after five years, I quit to work for a songwriter and a whole new way of life in show business. But, that is another story for another time.

The Magician, or Histories from a Mid-West


The Mirror Obscura wrote this magical journey. It delights me, and I want others to enjoy it as well.

Originally posted on The Mirror Obscura:

The Magician, or Histories from a Mid-West

(for, Mac Hammond)
It’s been said that he’d been quite common, a magician
Slight in his sleight of hand pulling rabbits out of hats,
Ping-Pong balls and aces from the thin air. Flowers
From a glass of milk and the clichéd colored scarves
Of silk that went red, to green, to yellow, to dual blue
As usual, turned into a dove that flew into the rafters
Of a hundred mid-west towns and whistle stops,
Until the show was toured-out and through.

Then once, back in Iowa, at the 1938 State Fair,
There, beneath the flag-topped tents
That fluttered as blue as the big sky was,
When the audience seemed entertained and still,
He asked for some assistance. She volunteered.
She moved toward the stage with a limp.
He reached out his hand to help her up and
Only slightly touched her. The crowd…

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YouTube, Copyright and Piracy Concerns


This post is from Oil Pastels by Mary, an extremely talented artist, and it is of major concern to many.

Originally posted on Oil Pastels by Mary:

I know some of you use YouTube to share videos of your work, perhaps you’ll be interested in a real life situation that Artist, Paul Taggart finds himself in with YouTube and how piracy has turned his world upside down.

Paul Taggart has been an artist for 40 years, authored a number of art instruction books, has given countless workshops all over the world and who has generously shared over 260 art tutorials via YouTube, where he earned YouTube Partner status.  I’ve watched Paul Taggart’s video’s for a number of years, they have been tremendously helpful tool in my development as an artist.

An artist friend of mine on PMP brought Paul’s situation to light, I hope that by publicizing his experiences here that perhaps some extra support may be raised for his cause.  At the very least it will alert you all to how easily your videos can be stolen and how you may not be…

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For the past six days, my computer has been vainly searching for the server and, as a consequence, has been out of action. This afternoon,with the help of a tech from at&t and a savvy computer friend, I’m up and running once more.
I have sorely missed reading your blogs and am busy now catching up to 589 messages. That may take me another six days! I’m working on my own blog about the old Desilu studio and hope to have that posted soon.

Planet of the Apes and Philosophy


I’m reblogging this thoughtful article,not only for its content about the film, but also for the comment about our hasty technology that resonates with many of your comments on m blog about today’s technology.

Originally posted on yadadarcyyada:


The first thing most people think of when thinking About Planet of the Apes is Charlton Heston’s celebrated overacting as Taylorsaying, “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”, but after reading this entertaining and thought-provoking book, Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike (edited by John Huss),part of the Popular Culture and Philosophy series from Open Court, I realize that either I don’t think enough about Planet of the Apes…or these philosophers think about it way too much.

While I enjoyed all these cool essays on how Planet of the Apes pertains to: war, peace, love, hate, prejudice, revolution, evolution, genetic engineering, time/space paradoxes, insanity, identity, the environment, our inability to learn from the past, not looking toward the future, what made me think most was about our ability as humans to speak.


Humans talk. We…

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Who Is Freshly Pissed?


I re-blogged the first one, and feel this second one should also be read. If you want to follow the Phil Factor blog, here is the latest.

Originally posted on The Phil Factor:


Some of you may remember my Freshly Pissed post of two weeks ago. It took me a bit, but I’ve finally put together the list of all of you who wanted to be Freshly Pissed. Just click on the Freshly Pissed tab above my banner at the top of the page. If you want to be Freshly Pissed just read the post and let me know with a comment and I’ll add you to the list.

Feel free to share by reblogging! Have a great Sunday! ~Phil

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I was reading an interview today with the script writers of “Game of Thrones,” one of the most successful TV shows of today. When asked how they juggled all the story lines, the interviewer suggested they might use iPads. Their reply: “We’re Luddites, so we use index cards on corkboards.”    I cheered because I, too, am a Luddite and keep my technology confined to computer blogging, FaceBook conversations, and an internet business. I don’t own an iPad or a cell phone.

I watch people all around me texting or talking on cell phones in cars, on the street, in restaurants, in bathrooms, in the market places, etc.etc.etc. Some of them on the street stop dead in front of me while they’re texting. I do not exist. No one exists as real people for them.I saw a woman with her two young daughters in a restaurant constantly on her cell phone and ignoring her children.

My feeling is that the more technology, the less real human communication.

Schools are now instituting the use of iPads instead of real textbooks. Technology is lurking around every schoolroom in all guises. Less emphasis is placed on discussions, on writing well, on debating, on exchanging one-on-one “thinking exercises” in the classroom.

I applaud the senior high school student who recently said, “I have paper, a pen, and a teacher. What more do I need?”

Isn’t it amazing that Socrates, Plato, and all the great teachers of the ages managed to produce students who became productive human beings and changed the face of the world  without the technology of today?  They had students who read, discussed, thought for themselves, wrote well, and all they had were books, “paper, pens, and teachers.”

I’m open to everyone’s thoughts on this issue. How do you feel about technology today?  Too much?  Not enough? How do you think it is affecting human communication?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art


This is a post that touched my heart. I want to share it with anyone who recognizes love in all its guises.

Originally posted on Life&Ink:

love l&amp;i.jpg

A good work of art, for me, is something I not only see with my eyes, but feel in my heart.

The story of this photo, this Work of Art, began on May 2nd when my phone rang while standing in, of course, Home Depot.

It was my daughter.

“Mom,” she said with words that filled one long cascading breath, “I am with the sweetest dog, he was in the kill shelter and no one adopted him so my residence hall director Michelle is fostering him, both his front legs have been broken and they didn’t heal right and he walks kinda funny and he hasn’t been fed and his little ribs stick out, but he is the sweetest little dog and I love him and he needs love and well, can we adopt him?”

How do you say no to that?

How do you say no to a young woman who wants to…

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I’m Freshly Pissed!


For those Un-Freshly Pressed, Unite!
The Phil Factor is giving us an award.

Originally posted on The Phil Factor:

This blog is dedicated to myself and all the other erstwhile bloggers who have toiled long and hard writing interesting and engaging blog posts but have nary an official award to show for it.


For my friends who visit me here from Facebook or TwitterFreshly Pressed is an honor awarded to people who aren’t as brilliant and funny as I am a blog post by the trolls people that ‘run’ WordPress like their own cool kids clique in high school. The honor of having your post Freshly Pressed means that it is part of a featured list on WordPress that is read by thousands and you get a Freshly Pressed badge that you can post in your sidebar for all eternity so you can lord it over the havenots, telling them  “I’m better than you”.

You know how the government has the “Do…

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