HELLO AMERICA!—Looking all the millions of protesters from all over the globe also forced me to be aware of all the famous, iconic artists and stars who seem to fill the obituaries week. Many who had opened doors for me and so many others in the entertainment world generally. Then about 3 a.m. early Monday morning I switched on the tube and watched THE KCET CLASSIC ARTS SHOWCASE.
The orchestra performed a magic production representing a cast of older people who had passed away, but when waking up they were all sitting at tables. As the music ensured each of them opened their eyes and looked at each other; realizing where they were, began to examine themselves, looking at each other, those were in wheelchairs or walking with a cane and even those who had lost their sight, suddenly became alive again and began to dance as if they had been given another chance for life.
The music was captivating, nearly brought me to tears. It was quite a moment, forcing me and I am quite sure so many other viewers to remember their loved ones who had died. We are so lucky to have such an outlet as KCET that has never stopped presenting to the world, performances which gives us hope about who we are as creative human beings.
Joan Sutherland followed with one of her great operatic performances. It was even more compelling to me because I interviewed the lady many years ago when I was a director at NBC in Burbank. She might have been recognized for her operatic performances, but away from the stage or camera, the lady was completely real, fun, and even naughty at times when discussing several of her leading operatic male co-stars.
We became even closer when she found that Metropolitan star Marilyn “Jackie” Horn and I went to USC together and not only that we both worked in the Otto Preminger film “Carmen Jones,” she was the “voice” of Dorothy Dandridge’s ‘Carmen.’ Later, at U.S.C. we both performed for Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovitch. It was quite a compelling moment for both of us. Watching her being slowly recognized as one of the top-rated divas of the Metropolitan Opera was quite thrilling. My love and respect for those who could master beautiful works of music on many exciting artistic levels became even more intense.
It was so gratifying to discover that even though many of the noted artists, especially, during the early 40s and 50s were so natural, warm, and easy to connect with professionally as well as socially. It inspired me to emulate them in the most human way. Since my time before the camera and microphone had given me the advantage of feeling extremely comfortable in being a round so many luminaries of that period. it was easy for me to approach the likes of Bette Davis, Agnes Moorehead, Lionel Barrymore, Orson Wells or Lucy Ball and so many others even as a young student at the university.
Quietly, I was soaking in so much about the professional responsibility to one’s audience as a performer. However, when the curtain closed and returning to one’s dressing room, that is when all of them sat back, taking a big breath and became quite normal or regular like millions of their fans. Of course, I worked with a few who were worshiped by their fans when viewing them on stage or film, but once they took their bows and threw kisses, the worship audience returned to their dressing room and undressed their real personality as an evil, swearing and a person who only wanted to be alone and letting the entire cast know it. Then I quickly had to understand and face the fact this is s everyone tried to tell me: “THAT WAS SHOW BIZ.”
Arts supporters from cities as San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston have quickly informed me if more financial support came from the federal government, even more schools would be able to support and introduce even more artistic programs which might capture the interests of millions of students in a positive way. Currently, much of federal support has ended which effected minority and troubled areas of our country.
Even during and after World War II, there was a tremendous level of support for all types of artistic endeavors. Concerts presenting some of the most gifted and exciting artistic talents were being given tickets by social groups, determined it would effect young people with exceptional talent. Otherwise, I would not have been able to view some of the greatest talents in music or the theatre, generally. I suddenly hungered to study drama, classic dance as well as voice and piano. Having this type of exposure, it gave me a more positive view of a world that was struggled for normalcy after the heartbreaking, bloody war. The arts are a fantastic panacea to any kind of human rebuilding struggle.