The Scent of Apples

May 1, 2014

I just got back from a delightful dinner with my oldest friend – 90 year old Jim Terry and his ever so nice Grand Niece…whom I adore!!!!…..

Jimmy has so many wonderful stories of life way back then……he was a producer of film and the stage…was a close friend with Busby Berkeley and his wife wife Etta…and according to Jimmy, got Buzz’s permission to the rights of his life….

according to Wikepedia re: Buzz:

During World War I, Berkeley served as a field artillery lieutenant. Watching soldiers drill may have inspired his later complex choreography. During the 1920s, Berkeley was a dance director for nearly two dozen Broadway musicals, including such hits as A Connecticut Yankee. As a choreographer, Berkeley was less concerned with the terpsichorean skill of his chorus girls as he was with their ability to form themselves into attractive geometric patterns. His musical numbers were among the largest and best-regimented on Broadway.

and then:

Berkeley’s popularity with an entertainment-hungry Great Depression audience was secured when he choreographed four musicals back-to-back for Warner Bros.: 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, the aforementioned Gold Diggers of 1933 and Fashions of 1934, as well as In Caliente and Wonder Bar with Dolores del Río. Berkeley’s innovative and often sexually charged dance numbers have been analyzed at length by cinema scholars.[specify] In particular, the numbers have been critiqued for their display (and some say exploitation) of the female form as seen through the “male gaze”, and for their depiction of collectivism (as opposed to traditionally American rugged individualism) in the spirit of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Berkeley always denied any deep significance to his work, arguing that his main professional goals were to constantly top himself and to never repeat his past accomplishments
.

and regarding his wives:

Berkeley was married six times[4] and was survived by his wife Etta Dunn. He was also involved in an alienation of affections lawsuit in 1938 involving Carole Landis.[5] In September 1935, Berkeley was the driver responsible for an automobile accident in which two people were killed, five seriously injured; Berkeley himself was badly cut and bruised.[6] Berkeley, brought to court on a stretcher,[7] heard testimony that Time magazine said made him wince:[6]

‘Witnesses testified that motorist Berkeley sped down Roosevelt Highway in Los Angeles County one night, changed lanes, crashing headlong into one car, sideswiped another. Some witnesses said they smelled liquor on him’.[6]
After the first two trials for second degree murder ended with hung juries, he was acquitted in a third trial.

Jimmy knew a LOT of old Hollywood…was a close friend of Marlon Brando – well especially his wife back then…Anna Kashfi ……raised in Darjeeling moved to Cardiff, Wales in 1947 – where she worked as a waitress and then in a butcher shop before moving to London where she became a model…

and then actress..starring in the film (as a Hindu girl) with Spencer Tracy …. “The Mountain”

followed by (as a Korean) “Battle Hymn” with Rock Hudson in 1956…

and then by”Cowboy” with Glenn Ford in which she played a Mexican……

alcohol and drugs prematurely ended her acting career…..(and probably the way she was treated and NOT recognized for her true ethnicity)

she was born in 1934 and is supposedly still alive…

Jimmy was the God Father to their son….Christian Devi…who fatally shot his sister Cheyene’s boyfriend at Marlon’s house in the Mulholland Hills above LA in 1990…..was sentenced – to jail for 5 years…released in 1996 – died of “pneumonia” (which everyone ends up dying from)….in 2008…at the age of 49

Jimmy was a close friend of Phyllis Gates – Rock Hudson’s one and only wife…(they were both Gay..and the studio married them to please straight people… as being Gay back then was a disease ..well especially for men…)

they were struggling/starving actors in New York way back then when Manhattan was not owned by the super rich….as it is today….and according to the NYT….the baby boomers in their “Golden Years” are being pushed out now…as they cannot afford the rent raises…..put on them by the new Oligarchs that are buying property today

We dined at Jimmy’s favorite joint… El Coyote… that he has been going to since he moved from Taft California in the 50’s to LA

ALWAYS when entering and encountering a staff member he will say “I hear you serve a Wonderful Moo Goo Gai Pan” (an Asian dish)…they at first express bewilderment …but then break into a smile….realizing he is kidding them…..and when we leave…they ask “How was your Moo Goo Gai Pan???”

Jimmy shakes his head and says “It was a bit soggy…….not like what you cooked in the 50’s…when the complete dinner was 65 cents”

we talked about Sterling and the Clippers….and racism….

Jimmy’s Grand Niece talked of how she did not understand it…she was in South Carolina…when she was first exposed to it……with I think her mother driving …they were following a friend of her mother’s on a dark road…when the friend…swerved to seemingly avoid a fallen branch but heading toward 3 black kids walking in the dark….

after they got to their destination….she asked this man…”Excuse me if I am wrong …it seemed like you were purposely trying to run down those children”

He merely replied ..” a twig is worth more than 3 “N….s”

well my mouth Totally dropped to the floor in shock…she said it was the worse thing she has EVER experienced in her life…

besides…a bit later… driving down a road in South Carolina..alone…being STOPPED by a gathering of KKK …in their scarey white faceless robes…a cross burning….allowed through with that Southern Smile…as she was White

I was raised by parents without any exposure in their life to racial prejudice in the midwest

….and the first time I encountered it …I was like 12 being driven back from our weekend house in the Blue Ridge Mountains to DC …

Carlos Gibson who was Peruvian…and was one of the heads of the Peruvian Embassy in DC then..was driving…he always wore an ascot…even when he played touch football…

.I was sitting in the back seat…

my sister Daidie in the front seat …

and the road down from Blue Ridge to the main freeway…was quite windey (sp?) as a mountain road would be…

Carlos was telling my sister who must have been in her mid teens and a Knock Out physically ….(don’t know where Carlos’s wife Flo was)..how it was Important to accelerate when one drove into a curve….(he had supposedly been a sports car racer)….as it balanced out the car…

as he accelerated…all I Could see was flying off the mountain… (back then no one wore seat belts)…to end up dead in a creek…..a TOTALLY crushed car…my sister’s head through the window…….

but he said something I will NEVER forget….he said “N…s” smell….which I at the time did not understand …and due to the basket of apples in the back seat…I assumed he meant that Black people smelled like apples….

(and talk about Karma…he eventually went Mad…CRAZY…his wife Flo asked my Dad to fly to La Guardia Airport in NY as her husband had flipped and was acting like he was a CIA agent….well Dad (who worked for the CIA)…. did go and acted as if he was on Carlos’s side…pretending he had a revolver …until medical help arrived to cart Carlos off to the nearest mental hospital …he died not too long after of “pneumonia”

so the next time I was with my best and favorite friend Alice…our laundress…I kept sniffing and sniffing…until she asked me WHAT was Wrong with me…was my Asthma acting up…..

I said No Alice…you are supposed to smell of Apples…..

One Response to “The Scent of Apples”

  1. Richard said

    Good one again, loved the old stories–God they “ain’t” that old as I remember a lot of this type of thing and I certainly am not old. Hugs R&R

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