What’s in a Name

We have forgotten the exact moment and circumstances when Ed said he’d illustrate a story of Tonton Jim’s. The author himself can’t remember when he’d told Ed that the book, later to be Max and the Lowrider Car, would have the nom de plume “Tonton Jim” on the cover. Ed so liked the idea that he invented a pseudonym of his own: E. Felix Lyon. The publisher and editor, Linnea Dayton, indulged the two.

There is a story behind the worthy name of E. Felix Lyon. TJ vaguely Continue reading

Chapter Seven of Sunny Marley and the Six Little Actresses

Here’s the concluding chapter of my Sunny Marley story. And here are some concluding thoughts:

This storybook hasn’t been edited or proofread by anyone but me, so it’s probably a bit rough. (I cannot overstate the value of a good editor. It also helps to have at least one friend or relative who loves what one has written.)

I’m fond of the characters which might be a mistake (I once proofread a novel that my sister wrote and though I never told her, I thought that one of the novel’s weaknesses was that the author had grown too fond of her characters – perhaps it was that not enough negativity afflicted them, or maybe it was because fondness fosters a biased telling of the story (I’m working on another story which I thought might be good for a comic book series, and one of the pieces of advice that I read stated: The comic book author should put his characters through hell – never been there myself, so I’m not sure my descriptive powers are up to it.)) but the thing is that I started writing Sunny Marley just after my grandniece was born and you can easily guess that her name is Marlena.

I’m working on the second book in the series which is tentatively titled, “The Golden Egg of Television” which is a play on the expression…

This first book is copyrighted; not so much because I’m afeared of someone stealing my creations or even a joke or two, but because it’s easy and cheap to do, and because it makes me feel like a real writer.

Chapter Seven of Sunny Marley and the Six Little Actresses

Chapter Six published – “That’s Amore” Citation

The song that Dean Martin made famous, “That’s Amore” was composed by Harry Warren with lyrics by Jack Brooks. I’m not sure if I need to get permission to quote one line from the lyrics, but I’m hoping that this citation excuses me from any legal entanglements. I mean, it’s not like I’m singing it for money (an impossible event because no one in their right mind would ever think of paying to hear me sing). If you click on Harry Warren it will take you to the Wikipedia article where you will see just how prolific and awarded this songwriter was. Above all, he wrote one of my favorite crooner songs, “I Only Have Eyes for you” which I only know from the 1959 version by the Flamingos.

Dean Martin, by the way, is, IMHO, the best crooner ever.

Anyway, here is Chapter Six of Sunny Marley and the Six Little Actresses.


Chapter Five published – Apologies to Nikita Khrushchev

Here is the fifth chapter of Sunny Marley and the six little actresses. In it is a reference to something Ronald Reagan said in the eighties which probably doesn’t belong to a story set in the sixties. But I used Gorbachev as a name for a minor character. It could be said that I should have used Nikita Khrushchev’s name instead of Gorbachev’s, but being a child of the cold war and a veteran of hiding under the desk in case of a nuclear bomb attack, I still have a faint feeling of dislike for the man. After knowing him as the evil Russki who wanted to kill all us good Americans, it’s near impossible to eradicate this child nurtured fear of the man who wanted to bury us. Later on I might substitute another name for the groundskeeper. (Making the Simpson’s school janitor and groundskeeper a Scott was a stroke of brilliance worthy of an essay, but some other day.)

The bigger problem with the name Gorbachev is that it, along with Khrushchev, is hard for children to pronounce. The simplest Russian name I can think of – offhand and without resort to the internet – is Pavlov. Of course, I could just use Struva, the character’s middle name. Back in the sixties, for a short while I had a girlfriend whose name was – I think – Krya Struva. Hopefully, my remembrance of her last name isn’t so corrupted that Struva isn’t a Russian name at all, but some Bulgarian curse word.

Chapter Five of Sunny Marley

Chapter Four of Sunny Marley

Here is chapter four of Sunny Marley and the Six Little Actresses. It is mostly Sunny’s impression of the play that Mr. Bedor wrote, produced and directed (by the way Roy Al Bedor’s name alludes to the name of a famous Hollywood director, King Vidor: Though Roy’s personality wasn’t drawn from King’s – I just liked King Vidor’s name – and some of his movies).

A Martin and Lewis Moment

Anyway, in chapter four, toward the end, I have an adult character remark that the reconciliation between Roy and Whit is a “Martin and Lewis” moment. Of course, that’s Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and it’s my understanding that that famous moment of all-is-forgiven-we’re-buddies-again is apocryphal. I should go look it up again, but I like the legend and it fits the story though it’s very unlikely any little girl reading or hearing the chapter would understand what a “Martin and Lewis” moment is – probably not her mother or her grandmother either. Even so, I like it – it’s so show business.

Chapter Four of Sunny Marley and the Six Little Actresses

A One Act Play

My favorite editor gave Sunny Marley and the Six Little Actresses a read and among other things she told me that the chapter four scene where Sunny goes to see a play written by Roy and acted by the six little actresses was hard to follow. She suggested that that chapter be put in comic book form and placed in the middle of the book. It’s a good suggestion. As soon as I hire an illustrator I look forward to reading the comic book version.

It was a tricky chapter to write, made harder by the play being about a play the play’s characters are putting on. Just so this weak mind could keep track of what Sunny was witnessing, I first wrote the play. And so, instead of posting chapter four of Sunny Marley and the Six Little Actresses, I present to you the play it is based on. Feel free to have your local troupe put it on.

P.S. WordPress wasn’t able to format the play in the correct format for scripts. Seriously, if you’re interested, I’ll send you a copy of the play in the correct format.

Chapter Three and All About Eve

All About Eve

In Chapter Three I have my ten year old want-to-be a movie star, Bette, adopt the role of Margo Channing from the movie All About Eve.

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

I used to listen to a college radio station broadcast out of USF. They were fond of playing audio clips from various sources and one their favorites was a Bette Davis line from the movie, All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” Ms. Davis had some great lines in that movie and I have my Bette character repeat more of them in Chapter Three.

Based on the play The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr, the screenplay was written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Having never seen the play, I don’t know who created that line, it might have even been Darryl F. Zanuck who according to Wikipedia gave the movie its name and worked on the script.

Sunny Marley’s Movie Acknowledgements

In the first two chapters of the books I have my characters quote from the following films. And just to be clear about what I’ve written: The little actresses are not the leading ladies in those films; they are simply named after the actresses and are being taught to imitate the actresses in certain film roles. Hopefully, no one will accuse me of evil intent. And if you’re interested in why I picked this admittedly eclectic selection, I can only refer you to the TCM channel and my mother with whom I watched many of these old movies as she called them. Many of them I’d seen while growing up in front of the television. I grew fond of seeing them again with her and my sisters who knew the bios of nearly every leading man and lady.

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