Since it's Halloween, this is of course the perfect day for this sketch from Burr Tillstrom and the beloved Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
Here is Beulah Witch, who learns at the last minute that there are no men coming to her group's dance that afternoon, and so it's up to her to rectify things -- although as she notes, she really doesn't do spells much anymore (although she did get her doctoral thesis in it). And it's only fitting that it all leads to her serenading herself with "That Old Black Magic."
I told this story five years ago (almost to the day, but definitely to the occasion), but it bears repeating. My favorite Halloween memory came about 20 years ago. And it involved a Staples office supply store. No, really.
In the late afternoon, I parked in the lot of my local West L.A. Staples and headed towards the building. And coming outside at that moment was Ray Bradbury.
Now, mind you, that alone would have been good enough. I've always loved Ray Bradbury's writing, and the first book of his I'd read was his classic Something Wicked This Way Comes, which centers around Halloween. But then, so did many of his works. He wrote a collection of stories, The October Country. One of his creepy stories is The October Game. He wrote a short novel, The Halloween Tree. And much more.
Side note: years after I read the book, Disney Studios made a movie out of Something Wicked This Way Comes. A friend at the studio got me a copy of the screenplay and poster, both personally signed to me by Ray Bradbury. Which I still have. So, the author, book, and the connection to Halloween has long been strong with me.
And then there was Ray Bradbury. On Halloween.
I tend not to go up to celebrities. And Ray Bradbury was clearly not in the best of health, helped by a caregiver. But...this was Ray Bradbury. And it was Halloween, for goodness sake. You don't ignore that and expect to have any self-respect. It would almost like avoiding Santa on Christmas. Sure, he's busy because he's the patron saint of the holiday, but he more than almost anyone in the world is celebrating the day to its fullest. And wants the day celebrated to the fullest.
So, I walked over, simply said how much I enjoyed his writing and expected to leave it at that. But he was charming, and engaged me in conversation, helped in part by him finding out that I grew up near where he did, in Waukegan, Illinois. (Glencoe, where I'm from, is about 25 miles directly south.) I don't recall a great many specifics about the conversation, though I do remember his saying how Halloween was his favorite holiday. (Gee, no kidding!)
Which is why it came as a thrill -- and is my favorite Halloween memory -- when, as we parted, Ray Bradbury wished me, "Happy Halloween."
It's not common to have a Tweet of the Day so early in the day. But since I was out of town and preparing to leave the next morning, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley's tweet that night slipped through the cracks. My suggestion is to read it first before the reply.
Thank goodness that Twitter limits one to 280 characters because otherwise I'd still be typing...
Well, I'm back in Los Angeles, and what I find impressive is that I got the exact same greeting from the city's mayor and the state's governor upon my arrival that Trump got when he landed in Pittsburgh.
That, of course, would be none.
On the other hand, my pal Bill Goldstein did pick me up at the airport and drove me home. And while Trump had rides, too, that took him to whatever pandering faux-sympathy location he was going, I'm going to guess that they were on some payroll and got paid. Bill drove me home purely out of goodwill and kindness.
Keep in mind, too, that Pittsburgh is the city that Trump pointed to when he pulled out of the Paris Accord, and said, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." It should be noted that at that time, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto responsed -- “Fact: Hillary Clinton received 80% of the vote in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh stands with the world and will follow Paris agreement. As the mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris agreement for our people, our economy and future.”
There are many morals that one can pull from this, but the one I'm going with is -- People named "Bill" seem to be on the right side of goodness.
Taking off from Chicago this morning, and I'll be arriving in Los Angeles in the late afternoon. So, this will be it until later tonight. I should hopefully be able to post something this evening.
To tide you over, here's a lovely interview by Stephen Colbert with Rowan Atkinson. The highlight is when they talk about the series Blackadder which Atkinson did with Richard Curtis, who later wrote such things as Mr. Bean, Notting Hill, and Love, Actually"(which he directed) among many others. And he not only tells a story about doing a comedy bit which almost ended Curtis's comedy career when they were at Oxford, but he recreates some of it. I won't say more...
On this episode of 3rd & Fairfax, the official podcast of the Writers Guild of America, Moon Zappa interviews Drew Goddard about his new film Bad Times at the El Royale, which he wrote and directed. His other work including writing the screenplays for The Martian and World War Z, as well as writing and directing, The Cabin in the Woods.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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