My friends back home in New Jersey ask me what I’ve been doing the past three months since I moved to Malibu. The truth is simple: as little as I can.
I have spent a goal-oriented life climbing the mountain and I am perfectly happy watching the young Turks heading up as I gingerly make my way down. I do have considerable time to observe my new surroundings though, and observe I do.
For one thing, I’m amazed at how many people here are in the entertainment business. I’m sure this news comes as no surprise to anybody who has lived here for more than a day, but I surprise easily. I understand my impression is not reality, but it seems like nearly everybody is an actor, a writer, a cinematographer, a director, or a producer. I think I met four producers in just one week. There must be a whole lot of producing going on here.
Yes, I did meet Pat Boone in the late 1950s when he lived in my original home town of Teaneck, and yes, I was mayor of Fort Lee, which was the film capital of the world in the early year 1900s, but by the time I was elected, “The Perils of Paulene” and other silent classics were a distant memory.
The fact is I don’t know stage right from stage left, a grip from a gaffer, the difference between a producer, an executive producer, an associate producer, or a co-producer, and so I feel a bit out of my comfort zone when I meet people in show business. I frequently blurt out something inane like “High Noon” is my favorite movie of all time, which rarely contributes much to the conversation.
I haven’t told anybody what I am about to reveal, but since I now live in Malibu I think it is safe to report I once had (in a manner of speaking) an acting career, albeit a very brief one. The year was 1960 and a beautiful blonde with an angelic voice got the lead role in the high school musical “Down in the Valley.”
Since I had the hots for the young lady, I tried out for the lead part so I could play opposite the lovely heroine. Unfortunately, I was the victim of type casting and was picked to play the villain.
The heroine was Blythe Danner and she went on to be a movie star, and I the villain went on to a career in real estate. Apparently there is no justice in the world.