Sunday, January 23, 2011

Can an author rate a film of his book?

Q: How can an author rate a film of his book?
My employer, mentor and friend, Robert H. Adleman answered that question soon after the release of the 1968 movie, The Devil’s Brigade starring William Holden based on his nonfiction book of the same name.
A: He can’t!
Bob explained in a newspaper article:
I hear that “The Devil’s Brigade” is one of the most exciting war pictures to come along in quite a while. And everyone who knows that I wrote the book on which it is based has asked me if I’ve
seen it and how do I like it.
I tell them I think it’s great. What am I going to say?
If I tell them that for two hours my wife and I sat in a private screening room and alternately squirmed and held our breath as the scenes we knew so very well flashed by, but at the end of it we couldn’t say whether it was better than the latest Oscar winner or as interminable as an Andy Warhol movie, they would put us down as a brace of filberts.
It’s the truth. I really don’t know how to grade it.
---Robert H. Adleman
Philadelphia Sunday BulletinMay 12, 1968

Privately, like any author, he was more than pleased that his first book had made it to film. He felt like he’d hit a grand slam: Hardback, movie, and paperback. He stated that each creative effort should stand on its own merits and he could not offer an objective opinion.

On a personal note, I loved the author, the book and the movie. Of course, I am as biased as any family member or friend might be. The book was co-written with Col. George Walton who, as an attachment, was a member of the World War II unit referred to as the Devil’s Brigade. Walton did most of the required interviews and research. Adleman took four months to bang out the manuscript with his two-fingered typing technique.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Volunteer Time Provided Higher Return On Charity Investments

My wife and I had a lazy philanthropic regiment—annual hundred dollar checks to universities, animal welfare organizations, and Down syndrome societies. We bought Girl Scout cookies and added a dollar to our grocery bill for breast cancer research, and tucked a dollar into the Salvation Army kettles at Christmastime. That was about it.
One day my wife undertook making brown-bag lunches for Primavera, an organization that provided assistance to the jobless, homeless, and down trodden of our Tucson, Arizona community. The lunches were for workers who would be sent out to perform day labor assignments.
Instructions for preparing the lunches were very specific: two sandwiches, each fitted into a sandwich baggies (no easy task), single wrapped cookies, a piece of fruit, all stuffed into a luncheon bag. Primavera supplied mustard and mayonnaise in takeout restaurant packets. They also supplied a small bottle of water which we began donating by the case.
Now, time as well as, money was required to perform this monthly task of preparing forty sandwiches. It cost under fifty dollars but took about five hours by the time we went to the supermarket, prepared the lunches and drove them to Primavera which was a good fifteen miles from our home.
My wife and I alternated the months that we preformed the tasks.
It felt good to give of our time and not just money for a change. Then one day the benefits of our charity connected with our lives in a direct way.
After twelve wonderful, loving years our first pet Shih Tzu passed away and we decided to inter him at the local pet seminary. When we arrived for a brief ceremony, I ascertained that a day worker from Primavera had dug the little grave. Alongside him I saw a brown-bag lunch, one that I most likely had prepared. As sad a moment for us, with the act of our charity clearly visible, it brought a touch of joy to our heavy hearts.
Note: Primavera, has already, or will be receiving a donation from RedRoom for the last feature I wrote that has been published in AOL Travel.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lost Decade

Has anyone seen my lost decade? I’ve misplaced it. It’s gotta be around here somewhere. Let me retrace my steps.
Hmmmm. Moved to Tucson in ’00. Started and finished a novel. Began writing Down But Never Out, flew back and forth to Philly a lot. Bought a place in Durango, stayed there each summer.
What happened next? Ah yes, bought a Tucson house for my in-laws and they refused to move from New Jersey. Sold the house back to the seller. In ’05 moved in-laws to a second house in Tucson. In ‘06 couldn’t leave in-laws alone in summer, so sold Durango, both houses in Tucson, moved all to Laguna Woods, California in ’07.
Finished Down But Never Out… began publishing The Hummingbird Review. Birthdays…recall a few but not ten. TEN, no way!
Maybe I left the decade in the closet.
Going to look for it now.
If you find it first…please write me.