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Nick's Columns

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Thu Feb 03 2011, 01:26

CHICAGO! I'm currently snowed in there with my best friend from college and her wife and little boy. Finally going home tomorrow. I'm glad, b/c I'm a bit tired of bantering with a three-year-old, although he has some great comebacks.

Never. Having. Children. Just so you know. Smile

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Thu Feb 03 2011, 01:49

Oh, ya gotta have one so that you can have grandbabies PigLove!!!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Thu Feb 03 2011, 06:05

naughty grandma Dica?

well, maybe you are right
but we will never know, sadly Sad

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Feb 08 2011, 14:45

21st August 2006
Grandpa one-upped by newest U.S. worker
Look out, American workforce. There has been a sea change over the weekend. Since the news has not broken on CNBC, I'm giving you a rare chance to be an inside trader. 

Friday, the World's Only Granddaughter started her very first job, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Allison Zeidler is on duty at McDonald's. I see a dynasty in the making.
Already, Wall Street is holding its breath. The Department of Labor is revising its projections. National productivity figures will not be released until they can judge her impact.
It began quietly enough. Earlier in the week, Allison went to orientation, which she obviously passed with flying colors. Because she is only 15 years old, there are certain limitations on what she is allowed to do. For instance, until school starts, she can only work 20 hours a week. Also, she can't work past 7 p.m.
When school starts, the limitations increase proportionately so as not to interfere with either class time or homework time.
Still, little Allison has a job. It was all her idea and, as you can imagine, she had to use a lot of persuasion on her mother. One thing in her favor was that a few of her friends are already working at the same McDonald's. That means parents can take turns carting their children to and from the worksite.
Allison is very excited about earning her own money. As an extra benefit, she has also completely eclipsed her "Papa Nick." Over the years, I have been emphatic - some have had the temerity to say obnoxious - about how much better my generation was at the "work ethic" thing. Many times I have told the children, and then the grandchildren, how easy life is for them compared to my pioneer childhood.
Often I have told them I went to work when I was in high school. Unfortunately, I made a big point of trumpeting my age at the time of my heroic plunge into the free enterprise system. I was, I proudly proclaimed, only 16.
Allison is 15.
There goes one quarter of my family table conversation. Now I'll have to shut up and listen to the work experiences of my granddaughter.
Not everything has been moonlight and roses, of course. Allison has already discovered that work will require some sacrifices. Here is a conversation I had with her mother, my daughter Ada.
Nick: "How did the orientation go?"
Ada: "Very well, I think. I wasn't allowed into the inner sanctum myself. I haven't been initiated into the McDonald's sorority, so I had to sit outside and wait until she finished."
Nick: "Do you think she's ready to start?"
Ada: "Oh yes. She has her McDonald's blouse and her little visor. The kids are expected to provide their own pants and shoes. That led to our first small moment of trauma."
Nick: "How so?"
Ada: "We went to buy the shoes. They have to be comfortable, plain, non-slip, that kind of thing."
Nick: "And ...?"
Ada: "Well, we looked and looked and finally, Allison said, 'But Mom, none of these shoes are cute!' "
Nick: "So a big bucket of reality came pouring down."
Ada: "Exactly. But it was only a moment. Now she is all excited again."
For the rest of the evening, Nina and I tried to remember exactly how it felt when we got our first jobs and our first paychecks. Even the deductions made us feel we had made a big step forward, contributing members of society. The feeling didn't last, but it was great for a while.
Standing impatiently on the sidelines is the World's Only Grandson, Nick. He cannot understand why McDonald's considers him too young to begin his own career with them. He is, after all, 10. He sees no reason he should be left out and is looking for loopholes in the policy.
In the meantime, I am no fool. I will buy stock in McDonald's. It is bound to soar.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Tue Feb 08 2011, 14:52

so she is around 20 now
and he is around 15

no?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Tue Feb 08 2011, 14:56

Super proud Papa Nick!! I am sure that Nick and Nina frequented that McDonalds often in support of Allison. Now the kids will soon be 19 and 15, this week. I wonder if Nicky is getting his first job at McDonalds?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Tue Feb 08 2011, 14:59

both this week?
AUGURI !!! Smile

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Tue Feb 08 2011, 15:23

I've got them both beat. I got my first paycheck at 14!!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Feb 08 2011, 15:59

Me too!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Tue Feb 08 2011, 16:05

I was babysitting at 9, but only received cash!! I was very "mature" for my age! Gone downhill since - hahahahaha!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Feb 08 2011, 18:08

I had to babysit too at 9 (for my sister) I used to get 2s and 6d a week...I was rich..spent it all on comics and sweets....12 and a half pence in 'new' money LOL..

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Wed Feb 09 2011, 04:23

Yep, I got 50 cents an hour at 9. Babysitting was big business until I got the job at the old folks home (in the dining room, bleh). But I LOVED the money and the freedom (walking to work, grabbing a hot dog on the way home, having an excuse to skip the family dinner).

Then I failed geometry and that was that. Sad

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 09 2011, 05:40

You need to pass geometry to qualify as a baby sitter?? Wow, the labour laws in the US are tough!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by lucy on Wed Feb 09 2011, 12:47

I got a whole $15.00 dollars a week for doing the family laundry when I was 15,I loved earning my cash so much that soon after I was working in factories for a temp agency.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Wed Feb 09 2011, 16:11

It's tricky, tho, b/c my brother decided he liked his job way better than school, so he's still working in retail (and perfectly happy to support his family that way, no problems). His kids are the same way. Job first, school a distant second. I think that's why my parents imposed such strict "labor laws." College gives you more and better prospects. At least it used to. Now maybe all you get is debt.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Wed Feb 09 2011, 16:28

23rd July 1990
Uncle George
The most unforgettable character I’ve ever met? Easy. Uncle George. And underline the word character.

I have often in this space paid homage to the women who have shaped my days. I gladly honor my wife Nina, my sisters Rosemary and Betty, my Grandma Guilfoyle, my Mom and assorted aunts, cousins and friends who encouraged and supported me against the weight of the evidence.
It is clear that the dominant influence in my formative years was female, and I proudly acknowledge it.

On the other hand what was my male influence? Mom and Dad were separated by the time I was four years old, so who was – in the parlance of the ‘90s – my “male role model”?

Uncle George. George Wesley Guilfoyle.

A columnist in the ‘50s said his name was the most mellifluous since the fictional Gaylord Ravenal. He didn’t know the half of it.
George was a product of the Roaring ‘20s, born in December of 1921. He often reminded me that he only got one month of 1921 and by all rights he should be considered a child of 1922, but I have been relentless. 1921 it was and 1921 it stays.

Some individuals are marked from birth to be unique. To be the one others copy, admire, talk about. These are the people who are welcomed when they arrive and missed when they leave. George has always been one of these star-crossed people. I often wondered how the starkly Protestant “Wesley” showed up as the middle name of an Irish Catholic boy, but when you’re the eighth child of nine, it’s likely his parents simply ran short of middle names.

George Wesley was a teenager when I came along. His older brothers drifted away to get jobs and get married and he didn’t have any younger brothers, so he was stuck with me. In a sense he was stuck with the whole family; at least that part of it left at home.

After he graduated from high school, he gave up his scholarship to Xavier University and went to work to support us. When he got a chance to buy a filling station in Ironton, Ohio, we all moved there. When he got a job at Baldwin Piano, we all moved to Cincinnati.

The war came, and a friend of his who had gone off to college told George how he had flunked the test for aviation cadets. “It’s too tough. You couldn’t pass it either”, he told George. So, of course, George took the test, passed it and became a B-17 pilot. He flew 25 missions over Fortress Europe, including several harrowing trips to “The Big ‘B’” – Berlin. He told me how the fliers sat on their flak jackets instead of wearing them so that an errant piece of shrapnel coming up through the fuselage wouldn’t preclude a crewmember’s chance to have a family.

When he came back from the war he learned that his nieces Rosemary and Betty were singing on WLW radio. Then they got a break. Tony Pastor offered them a job as singers with his band. They’d travel all over the country and have a chance to hit it big. But they were too young. They were going to have to pass their chance by, perhaps forever. Unless…..

…Unless a relative could become their legal guardian and manager and travel with them. And that’s exactly what Uncle George did, until Rosemary became a solo hit, and then Betty became a solo hit and both got married.
Then Uncle George got hooked on what turned out to be his real passion in life. Horses. Just as he had made himself a pilot and a show-business manager, he made himself a trainer. A very independent trainer and a rugged individualist who seldom trained any horses but his own.
Through all this period, George always dated the most beautiful and brightest women I ever saw, but he never married. The timing was always wrong. There was the Depression, then the War, then the Clooney Sisters, then the horses. So George has no children. But there are two generations of nieces and nephews who think he is the best thing that ever happened to the plant Earth. He tells the best stories, he takes them seriously, he listens to them, he’s fun and funny, he has his own language. He is an absolute original. Every niece and nephew has an imitation of or a story about Uncle George.

Well, no wonder he’s so good with kids. He used me to train on. I was his first experiment. Since there were no other men around, he was the one who taught me what it was to be a man. To face up to bullies, but never to pick on anyone weaker. That no one was better than anyone else. Always to stand up for my family and friends. To be there when people needed me.
Old George Wesley isn’t feeling so chipper these days. We’re none of us getting any younger. I’m not sure I ever thanked him for those years when I was a kid. That’s not exactly the kind of thing we talk about when we get together, but I’m pretty sure he knows.

I named my son for him.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Wed Feb 09 2011, 18:44

so sweet
moving

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by lucy on Wed Feb 09 2011, 22:21

My kids have learned that education almost always provides a better living in the end,even if you have to pay for it!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Wed Feb 09 2011, 22:48

You might say George is the sun of George.

Any recent pictures of Allison and Nick ?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Wed Feb 09 2011, 22:58

George is the sun of George

nice


where the hell is he now?
where the hell?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Thu Feb 10 2011, 00:14

Very moving story! Now I understand why George was so broken up when Uncle George died.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Thu Feb 10 2011, 04:29

And Uncle George never got married. . .

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Katiedot on Thu Feb 10 2011, 06:20

Uncle George also died a broken alcoholic regretting the waste of his life according to our George. Don't think he hasn't learnt his lessons.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Thu Feb 10 2011, 09:45

only George knows

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Feb 15 2011, 15:13

28th September 1994

George

1982. Listen, George, this is crazy. You can’t just go out to California and break into acting. You know better than that. It’s the toughest racket in the world.
Yeah, I know, Pop, but it’s the only thing I really want to do. I think I can make it.

(“E-R launches surgical strike on the emotions that could make it the medical drama of the ‘90s…Anthony Edwards is the calm in the storm’s eye, solidly supported by dreamboat George Clooney…” Matt Roush, U-S-A Today.)

1982, one month later. Now wait a minute. Let’s think about this. You’ve been out there. You know there are thousands of talented kids waiting on tables and parking cars.
Sure, I know, but I also know if I don’t do this I’ll regret it the rest of my life.

(“E-R is an antidote for bad TV.” Tom Shales of the Washington Post. “It’s my number one pick for the fall.”)

1983. Okay, how about this? What if you come back for one more year of school, then, if you want to go back to California, you go?
Pop, if I come back for one year, then it will be one more, then one more and the chance to do this will pass.

(“E-R…has a terrific cast that includes Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, John Terry, Sherry Stringfield, Noah Wyle and Eriq Lasalle…” Alan Pergament, Buffalo News.)

1983, one month later. All right, I know you’ve heard this before, but couldn’t you just go back to school until you have a degree? If you have a degree then at least you’ll have something to fall back on if it doesn’t work.
Pop, I don’t want anything to fall back on. If I have something to fall back on, I may quit before I should. If I’m going to be an actor, I have to act.

(“Both [Chicago Hope and E-R] are superbly acted. E-R has Anthony Edwards, George Clooney and Sherry Stringfield as its doctors….” Marvin Kittman, New York Newsday.)

1984. Okay, it’s been two years. How are you making it?
Well, Pop, it’s no walk in the park. I’m still living with our relatives and my friends. I’ve had odd jobs to earn my keep. I’m working my way through an acting class. I think I’m learning a lot.

(“E-R is one of the fall’s best.” John Kiesewetter, Cincinnati Enquirer.)

1984, three months later. Now let me understand this. You work in these plays for nothing?
Yeah, for almost nothing, Pop. They’re called “Equity Waiver” plays and they produce them in tiny theatres on Santa Monica Boulevard and elsewhere in town. Just a few people come, but most of them are agents and writers and directors and producers. So I did a couple of plays and I got an agent and now he has me up for a couple of parts on TV. They’re one-shots, but they pay above scale. If I do well, I’ll get more work.

(“E-R is sensationally entertaining.” New York Post.)

1989. I don’t get it, George. “Roseanne” is a huge hit. Why in the world would you leave it? It will probably run for years. Did they fire you?
No, they asked me back, but the role wasn’t going anywhere. Roseanne and John are the stars and there’s really no room for anyone else. I’ve got to get out there on my own and take a chance and make a place for myself.

(“E-R is a program that looks as solid as any that has ever come along.” Jeff Plass, TV Data.)

1993. I’m really sorry they cancelled your show “Bodies of Evidence”, George. I liked it. I know it must be tough on you. What is this, three or four shows you were on that got cancelled?
Oh, it’s not so bad, Pop. I just think back to my childhood. I had a role model. Nobody had as many shows cancelled as you did.

(“Chicago Hope has the benefit of scripts by [David E Kelly]…but E-R is more solidly connected with the real world and it, too, can deliver powerfully affecting scenes.” John J O’Connor, New York Times.)

1994. George? This is Pop. I just heard the ratings. E-R is first in its time period and the number one new show of the season, huh? Well, you deserve it. The show is great and so are you. Tomorrow night at ten is the one with Rosemary, isn’t it? Incidentally, by actual count, I’ve read 21 reviews of your show from Flint, Michigan to Salt Lake City. Out of the 21, only once was mildly negative. You won’t be surprised to learn it came form your home city, Cincinnati. Well, I can’t point a finger at the reviewer.

I was once wrong about you too.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Katiedot on Tue Feb 15 2011, 15:17

I love this one. Love, love, love it!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Feb 15 2011, 16:47

Meant to say ....sorry if there are any typos...typed it up from the book......not Nick's fault LOL....

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Tue Feb 15 2011, 17:22

meraviglioso Smile cheers Drink 3
a really proud father
and a great lesson
from G

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Tue Feb 15 2011, 17:46

Thanks again and again Merlin!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Sabby on Tue Feb 15 2011, 22:44

love this one and the uncle george one before it too! Thanks so much Merlin!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Wed Feb 16 2011, 00:26

right, great work indeed!!!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Wed Feb 16 2011, 01:19

Oh Merlin - you worked your magic on me once again! I don't need any special help with my love for the senior Mr. Clooney, but this story is great! Thank you so much!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Wed Feb 16 2011, 07:16

Thank you!

I was reminded of the story because we have a new SKY channel in the UK which has just started repeating ER from the very beginning (and 30 Something which I used to love) Doug Ross is definitely my favourite George role.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Wed Feb 16 2011, 14:59

8th July 1992

Robert Redford

I tell you, I don’t know what’s wrong with Nina. After all, it was only Robert Redford. True, I promised I’d introduce her to him, but things got busy and there was a mix-up and I didn’t get it done. If you happen to run into her on the street, will you explain how sometimes things happen over which a husband has no control?

It all started when Robert Redford agreed to an interview. He has a beautiful resort up in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains called Sundance. The centerpiece of the development is an outdoor summer theatre. This year, there was a grand opening of a children’s theatre, also outdoor, with its own stage, its own seating and its own season.

Redford has worked hard on this complex. There are cabins, there’s a good restaurant and skiing facilities. Meeting and rehearsal halls abound. A clear mountain stream runs through it. A drinking fountain sticks up from the stream, eternally sprouting clear, cold, pure water. All the buildings look as though they sprouted from the stones and the dirt and trees around them.

Overwhelming everything is the startling mass of a mountain. It’s a guardian or avenging angel, depending on your point of view. Maybe it’s both. Impressive.

Anyway, Robert Redford was so intent on the success of his children’s theater that he would even submit to a private interview with a newsman. That’s how it came to pass that Nina, our old friend Dante DiPaolo and I drove up into the Rocky Mountains two Saturdays ago. Robert Redford. He of Barefoot in the Park, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance (remember Sundance?) Kid, The Sting, All the President’s Men, The Way We Were and name your favourite. Robert Redford the environmental and sometime political activist.

When we got to the resort, there was confusion about where Robert Redford was. Many of his employees were understandably nervous about the opening and about having the boss on the premises, and some were flustered. Our photographer, Matt Sohn, was up the mountain at the theatre site. Was Redford there too? Nina and Dante hopped into a 4-wheeler to find out.

At the last minute, a youngster with a handy-talkie grabbed me and pointed me towards Redford’s cabin. As we walked, he got another call and we retraced our steps to the actor’s private office.
And that’s where we had our interview. It was interesting. Redford looked great, with some of the cragginess of his beloved mountains in evidence. He talked of his struggle to “leave as much alone as possible and just develop what was necessary” here in the mountains.

He spoke of how “poor the literature for children’s theatre was generally” and how he hoped this theatre and workshop for writers would help make it better.

He told of bucking all the experts 22 years ago when they told him that his outdoor theatre in the mountains would fail. “It was too far, too cold, nobody would come and I said the hell with it, let’s try it anyway.” He wanted to combine “art and nature.” It’s now a major success.

Because of his interest in the environment, I asked him about the Rio Earth Summit. He largely dismissed it as a “photo-op.” Because of his interest in politics, I asked him for whom he would vote. He was suddenly more alert. Wary. “You mean for president?” “Yes.”

He was clearly uneasy. “You’re getting pretty heavy there, pal. Who do you vote for? Do you want to die by fire or poison arrow?” I could see him thinking it over. He decided to go ahead. “You’ve got a man who has exhibited ignorance and incompetence on one hand. Then, down in Texas, you’ve got a man, who, you know,” he opened his eyes very wide, staring, “doesn’t blink very much. You want to see a guy blink occasionally. And I think he probably has a narrower track than is going to be required to run the country. And then Clinton…..” He looked out the window and paused for a long moment. “I don’t know. All I can say is, I probably share the view of a lot of Americans. I’m pretty depressed about the options.”

The interview was over. We talked for a few minutes, and then I remembered. Nina! Were she and Dante still on top of the mountain? By the time we connected again, Robert Redford was on to other things, and she only saw him from the stage as he introduced the performance.

Actually, she took it pretty well. Perhaps that’s because she has her two earlier encounters with Paul Newman to fall back on. But that’s another story.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Wed Feb 16 2011, 16:28

great as usual
thanks Smile

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Wed Feb 16 2011, 19:18

Clooney guys always forget about their wives, don't they, especially when the guys are having a good time . Drink 2

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Wed Feb 16 2011, 19:52

strange disease....

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Link to Nick's Columns

Post by bjschm on Sat Feb 26 2011, 19:51

Hello,
I'm not sure if this was posted or not but the link below is to the Nick Clooney archives from The Cincinnati Post. It covers from 1/1/1999 - 03/04/2005.
I don't know where Merlin is getting the other ones but thank you!! I love his columns.

Clooney Archives

This is my first post (ever) so I apologize if I screwed it up.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by noodle on Sat Feb 26 2011, 20:12

That's a great link. Thanks.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Sat Feb 26 2011, 20:13

bjschm THANKYOU! That's fantastic! I was never been able to find those archives after the paper closed...I've just posted ones that I had myself which I had posted on Clooneyfiles and Clooney Unlimited.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Sat Feb 26 2011, 20:16

And welcome to the forum cheers

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sat Feb 26 2011, 21:20

Welcome bjschm and noodle!!! Great find bjschm and thanks for sharing!!!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by bjschm on Sat Feb 26 2011, 21:39

Melbert & Merlin - Thanks for the welcome.
PigLove - I have to say that I love your avatar picture of George! I heard the rumor that he bleached his hair because he lost a bet.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Tue Mar 01 2011, 06:47

Yes, that's what People Mag says. Feels true. I like it! Especially with the specs. Such a hipster!

PS: Welcome!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Tue Mar 01 2011, 13:50

Those archives, that's about how many readinghours ? Anyone around here into mathematics ? Whistle

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Wed Mar 02 2011, 14:11

The very first one...

A rosy New Year with King Kong

Column by Nick Clooney

King Kong took Nina and me to the Rose Bowl.

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you a short story. The Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day is one of the biggest annual events in all of Southern California. Most of us who are not from Pasadena call it the Rose Bowl Parade, which grates on second- and third-generation organizers. The fact is, there was a parade years before the football game got into the act.

Today's parade, if all went according to schedule, had about 170 units, 52 of which were elaborate floats. Which brings us to the King Kong connection.

These floats have become very big deals, indeed. In fact, they are now so expensive - anywhere from $90,000 to $250,000 each - that they require corporate sponsorship. As most of you know, each must also be covered with living flowers in order to be an eligible entry.

The theme for this year's parade was 'Echoes of the Century.' One of the corporate sponsors, Countrywide Home Loans, decided that an important echo of this century was film. Their next job was to pick a film to represent that entire industry. No easy task.

They chose 'King Kong.' Not only was it included as one of the century's best 100 movies by the American Film Institute, but it is obviously very visual and, if done right, should cause quite a stir on the parade route. To make sure it was done right, Countrywide hired award-winning float designer Raul Rodriguez to put together a concept, then got Fiesta Parade Floats in Duarte to build it.

Let me tell you, this parade is a very big year-round business.

Finally, not wishing to hide their light under a bushel, they lined up a large number of radio and television stations around the country, then called me at American Movie Classics and asked me to talk to all those stations about King Kong.

Easy, I thought. Who doesn't know about King Kong? Skull Island. Kong. Fay Wray, screaming. The big capture. The spectacular New York show. The escape, Fay Wray screaming. The Empire State Building. The biplanes circling, firing. Down falls Kong. ' 'Twas beauty killed the beast,' says the shameless showman. The End.

A couple of hours research, I thought. Two days later I was barely halfway through the fascinating material I had been able to dig up on producer/director Merian C. Cooper and director/producer Ernest B. Shoedsack. A movie about these two adventurers would not be believed.

Then there's Willis O'Brien, the genius who pioneered the painstaking technique of stop-action animation. His 18-inch-high model of Kong was moved, a fraction of a centimeter at a time, then photographed frame by frame, 24 frames per second. A few seconds of movement would require a complete day's shooting. He also designed a full-

size head and shoulders, one massive foot and one full-size hand in which Fay Wray would wriggle, struggle, scream and faint for much of the film. The expressions he was able to coax from that primitive 1933 technology make Kong a sympathetic character, even today.

Look at this tidbit I was able to find from a 60-year-old profile: Among the native dancers on Skull Island, a featured player was the great Native American Olympic champion, Jim Thorpe.

These are the things I talked about on 19 radio stations last Monday and 14 television interviews last Tuesday. Curiously, no Cincinnati radio or TV stations signed on, but just about every other major city in the country did.

Then, today, the float had its two hours of glory. If everything went as planned, a 33-foot-high Kong dominated a 55-foot-long New York City, battled circling biplanes, knocked the mooring mast off the top of the Empire State Building and, most spectacularly of all, did this while holding Fay Wray in his hand. Well, not really Fay Wray. Though Miss Wray is, I'm happy to report, still among us, she did not repeat her role. But there was a real live actress there, suspended 25 feet above Colorado Boulevard, dressed in a satin gown very like Fay Wray's, kicking and screaming for two hours. She should fire her agent.

Then, when the parade crowd had gone home and King Kong returned to Duarte, after Nina and I waved a fond farewell from the temporary grandstand, we headed to the nearby Rose Bowl for the football game. All thanks to King Kong.

And that, I submit, is the way to begin the last year of a millennium that, like Kong, was bigger than life and only marginally believable.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Freelance columnist Nick Clooney writes for The Post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


Publication date: 01-01-99

Merlin
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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Wed Mar 02 2011, 19:25

" ... kicking and screaming for two hours. She should fire her agent. " lol!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Katiedot on Thu Mar 03 2011, 01:57

LOL! What a treasure trove, can't wait to read more!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Thu Mar 03 2011, 14:15

Well humor runs in that family.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Fri Mar 04 2011, 07:19

Because I only kept the columns I liked mainly family ones..my posts are out of order so I thought now we have access to the archives Very Happy I'd post them in order...however the second one wouldn't open for me LOL....so here's the third one....

Pilots, flyovers command respect

Column by Nick Clooney

Let me take you back to New Year's Day for a moment. A number of you watched the Tournament of Roses Parade or the Rose Bowl from Pasadena. Some of you watched both. There were many impressions to take away from either event, not the least of which was the game's outcome, Wisconsin's upset win over UCLA.

However, what I'd like to focus on was a feature common to both events: the flyover by fighter jets of the U.S. Navy. Nina and I were fortunate enough to be on hand for the parade and then for the game, so it is from personal experience we can report that nothing caused more reaction from those of us on the ground than those low-flying aircraft streaking through the blue Southern California sky. Every conversation stopped, every head snapped up to look, thousands stood, applauded and cheered in the wake of the jets' roar. Four aircraft screamed above the intersection of Orange Grove and California boulevards to mark the official start of the parade. What a way to begin.

When all the floats and bands and other units had gone by, Nina and I headed for the football game. Mr. Angelo Mozilo, founder of a company called Countrywide Home Loans, had invited us to see the game from his box. The last time we had been to the Rose Bowl, 1985, there hadn't been any boxes.

Angelo, his wife Phyllis and several of their children, as well as other relatives and friends, greeted us warmly. No sooner had we settled in than the Wisconsin band struck up 'The Star Spangled Banner.' As those of you who attend sporting events these days know, it is now the practice for crowds to start cheering before the national anthem is finished, just after the band or singer completes the phrase, 'O'er the land of the free . . .' - the cheers drowning out 'And the home of the brave.' At the exact second Wisconsin's marching band played '. . . land of the free . . .' four fighter jets blotted out all other sounds as they thundered over the Rose Bowl, one of the four separating from the rest in a vertical climb that brought 95,000 people to their feet.

During the coin toss, all of us in the box were talking about the pilots and their planes and the unique quality they brought to this moment. We agreed that to see and hear it was something we would never forget.

Just at that moment, two young officers in Navy fatigues with pilot's wings on their chests appeared at the door of the box. We looked at them, then at each other. 'Were you with the flyover?' Angelo asked. Both men nodded. 'But that was just five minutes ago,' someone protested. 'Where did you land, the parking lot?'

Lt. Cmdr. Rick Silong set us straight with a smile. 'No, we were at the parade this morning. We landed at Burbank. Other pilots handled the start of the bowl game. They'll be here a little later.'

That settled, Rick introduced his wife, Gina. They had both grown up in Palmdale, Calif., and had gone to the same high school, but never really met until later. They've been married eight years.

Lt. Lee Forsythe, from Grove City, Pa., told me he had been in the Navy for 10 years, though he didn't look more than 25. Lee graduated from West Virginia University, a long way from the sea.

Lee, Gina, Rick and I were still talking at halftime when another officer appeared.

'This is Lt. Andy Falkenberg,' said Rick. 'He was with the bowl flyover. In fact, he's the one who took his plane straight up.' 'We were four seconds early,' said Andy. 'The anthem wasn't finished.' I was able to explain he had been right on cue, arriving just as the crowd began to cheer. Andy had a little boy in his arms. 'This is my son, Peter.' Over his shoulder was a middle-aged man looking at Andy the way Andy was looking at Peter. 'Your father?' I asked Andy. 'Yes. How did you know?' A no-brainer, Andy.

One by one, the other pilots joined us. Many had their wives with them. They stayed through the game and after. We took pictures and exchanged addresses. In a rare quiet moment, I looked at them and thought of their colleagues, some in the Middle East dodging SAMs, some elsewhere, all on eternal vigil, just as these men were, standing in harm's war, all young, all brave. Most with families.

Strike Squadron 125, the 'Rough Raiders,' stationed in Lemoore, Calif., which is precisely 35 miles from nowhere at all. This had been a day of fun for them, thrilling the crowd like the old barnstormers. Now it's back to work.

They gave me an identification patch from the 125th. It will go on whatever jacket I wear most. Guarding the heart.

06.01.99

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