Thursday, August 25, 2016


It was a big drama when John Cullum was hired to replace Louis Jourdan in the musical, "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," during its pre-Broadway, out-of-town tryout in Boston.

Learning the script, songs, blocking and choreography is a tricky thing for any actor to do, and lyricist, author Alan J. Lerner wanted John to perform the role of the psychiatrist in one week. The rehearsals were "hush-hush"--though staff knew, the cast didn't know, and newspapers hadn't been told. 

After we checked in at the hotel, we were ushered to Lerner's suite to stay there secretly while Alan stayed on his boat. On every flat surface, we saw vials and hypodermic needles. The phone was ringing. It kept ringing--rang constantly with calls from celebrities trying to reach Dr. Max, who was apparently treating some of the world's most famous celebrities as well as the show's staff.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Today's date, my brother's birthday, is burned in my mind.

My brother, David Frankel, was the only male child in my father's family, the one child who could carry on the family name. He drowned in a boating accident a few months before his 19th birthday. He was a freshman at Antioch college, was just beginning to figure out what he wanted to be and do -- he never got a chance to drive the second-hand convertible he bought. I wrote about this and how his death affected me and my family in "Spiffy Cadillac Cars."

As I say his name, I think of my mother, how she loved him, celebrated him, lived through the ups and downs in her life, and helped me -- never stopped helping me and being there for me -- how she gave me her strength. I celebrate her birthday every September in "My Mom's Birthday."

Mom and David are gone, but are part of what makes my mind wander here-and-there, find significance in the many things that are changing, and write-talk about them -- about the sense that I have that the future is mile-a-minute coming in around me, and I am racing into what the earth will be like when I am gone.

David & Em
Yes, people who are gone have shaped you, and made you what you are right this minute. Celebrating them keeps them very much alive and present in your life. Celebrating them is celebrating YOU. Thanks, Mom, I celebrate David's birthday today, Mom, for us.