Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story

I watched CBS This Morning and their chef segment.  Some of Roxanne Spruance’s signature recipes include Summer vegetable salad, Grilled octopus, Tomato and cucumbers in salsa verde, String beans with miso butter, Roast pork loin with almonds, anise hyssop and peaches, Popcorn crème brûlée, and Raisin ice cream.  I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend.  The Top 10 songs on July 23, 1977 were “Best of My Love,” “Do You Wanna Make Love,” “Margaritaville,” “Undercover Angel,” “Angel in Your Arms,” “My Heart Belongs to Me,” “I’m in You,” “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “I Just Want to Be Your Everything,” and “Looks Like We Made It.”  I went to work and later went to Ike’s for a Dave Henderson sandwich.  They gave me a Tootsie lollipop with the sandwich.  I went over to Tara’s Organic Ice Cream.  It was two fairly small scoops for $3.80, although it tasted good.  I walked to the theatre to see “Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story.”  Harold and Lillian Michelson were married in 1947.  Harold became a storyboard artist and worked on films like “The Ten Commandments,” “The Birds,” “Marnie,” and “The Graduate.”  Lillian began to work at the research library at Samuel Goldwyn studios in 1961, and she bought the library in 1969.  She did research for “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown,” and “1941.”  This film has drawings that make it seem as though Harold and Lillian’s lives were a storyboard.  Harold was responsible for some very famous images we saw in big movies like “The Ten Commandments,” “The Birds,” and “The Graduate.”  Some of Lillian’s stories are funny, like her work for “Fiddler on the Roof.”  She went over to the Fairfax district and talked with elderly Jewish women about the clothes they wore in years past.  They gave her patterns.  She also got into some potential danger in researching what the homes of drug dealers looked like for her work on “Scarface.”  We get a slight sense of what filmmaking is like, and how people like Harold and Lillian don’t get the recognition for their work.  Danny DeVito used to hang around with Harold.  Lillian tells the tale of driving Harold across Europe in hazardous winter weather so that he could work on the Sam Peckinpah film “Cross of Iron.”  At the time, Harold was recovering from a badly broken leg.  Harold became a production designer and worked on the first Star Trek movie.  He said that he gained a lot of recognition for working on a Star Trek project.  Looking at Harold’s work made me reconsider the talents of directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Mike Nichols.  Their level of creative genius seemed less than I thought.  Mel Brooks was one of the people interviewed, and he talked about Harold’s ability to produce ideas that improved movies, like “Spaceballs.”  Lillian mentioned people like David Lynch and Francis Ford Coppola coming into the library.  Harold had health problems, and he would eventually die in 2007.  Lillian would retire in 2010.  They made it seem like Hollywood was a fun place.  I thought this was a good movie about the movie business, and it was better than just about anything since “Day for Night.”  The audience on this afternoon was mostly older people, and some of them laughed along with Lillian’s comments.  She had a book about their lives, fitting because of her library work over all those years.  How did their marriage last for sixty years?  There was a touching moment when Lillian talked about running into Harold at Paramount and celebrating their being in the same place.  I went home and listened to the end of the A’s game against the Mets.  They blew a 5-0 lead and gave up a walk-off home run, losing 6-5.  I watched some of my TV program DVDs and felt too tired to watch “Playtime” at the end of it.  I don’t know how people have the time to sit down and spend hours watching Game of Thrones or Dark Matter or whatever it is that they’re watching.  I heard about John Heard’s death.  The news kept mentioning that his most famous role was the father in “Home Alone,” but I remember him more for those early movies like “Chilly Scenes of Winter,” “Cutter’s Way,” and “Cat People.”  Looking at his credits, it seemed that his career started to fade in the early 1990s, around the time of “Awakenings” and “Rambling Rose.”  I saw on Twitter that Mayim Bialik worked with him on “Beaches” when she was 12 years old.  Some of us confused John Heard with John Hurt and William Hurt.  Heard was the only one of the three not to get an Oscar nomination.  Some of the people who died on July 23 include Ulysses S. Grant (1885), D.W. Griffith (1948), Montgomery Clift (1966), Van Heflin (1971), Vic Morrow (1982), Eudora Welty (2001), Leo McKern (2002), Amy Winehouse (2011), and Sally Ride (2012).  Today is a birthday for Woody Harrelson (56).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 23, Montgomery Clift died of a heart attack at age 45 in 1966.  In 1982, the Robin Williams movie “The World According to Garp” was released.  Also in 1982, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” with Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, was released.  In 1999, the Disney film “Inspector Gadget” was released.

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