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WESTERN RAMBLINGS






                                                        OCTOGENARIAN ANTICS
                      June 6, 1955



                      I appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show (then called Toast of the Town). I was

                      singing with The Port Chester Senior High School Choir. Sullivan, I learned,

                      was  from  my  hometown,  Port  Chester.  We  sang  “Beyond  the  Blue

                      Horizon” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” There is video on YouTube. I'm in
                      the  front  row.  Big  hair.  Big  eyes.  At  one  point,  as  the  choir  drifted  off

                      pitch, a wonderful soprano, Norma Vitti, saved us all by singing, loudly

                      and clearly, the right note. No one seems to know what became of her. Of

                      the many stars appearing on the show, Bob Hope was the only one who
                      spoke to us. In person they all looked at least ten years older than they

                      looked on television.



                      June, 1962.



                      Re-run performance at Cornell University of Tom Jones, a musical based

                      on Fielding's novel. I wrote the lyrics and co-performed a tap dance with
                      steps  I  learned  from  my  father.  My  friend  Warren  Wechsler  wrote  the

                      music.  The  book  was  written  by  people  who  disliked  each  other,  Mike

                      Abrams and Stephen Sahlein. Even as Warren and I wondered what more

                      might be done with the show, the extremely successful film came out. A
                      member of the cast wrote me, "Tom Jones is the funniest movie I have

                      ever seen in my life."



                      June 25, 1974



                      On  June  25,  1974  I  was  utterly  depressed  about  my  writing.  I  had  just

                      brought our car in for servicing—never a happy obligation—and taken the

                      bus  back  home.  I  was  extremely  tired  and  believed  at  that  moment  I

                      would  never  produce  anything  of  any  value.  Glancing  at  a  collection  of
                      Olson's essays—particularly at “Human Universe”—I noticed a sentence

                      which began, “If there is any truth at all to the idea that....” Certain that

                      nothing  would  come  of  it,  I  typed  on  a  piece  of  paper,  “If  there  is  any

                      truth at all” and added, as if in commentary, turning the line into iambic
                      pentameter,  “(there  is).”  I  went  on  to  appropriate  others  of  Olson’s

                      phrases, changing them if I felt like it. (Olson actually wrote, “It is not the

                      Greeks I blame.”)
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                           REDEFINING WORLD
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