Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith in the Parent Trap (1961)

The Parent Trap
There is a very famous, true story about Maureen Fitzsimmons O'Hara and Brian Keith: after their parents got divorced, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball's children, Little Lucy and Little Desi, made their parents take them to see "The Parent Trap" at least ten times; separately of course. They had a very bitter divorce. Lucy said she enjoyed the movie the first few times she saw it, and it is a wonderful movie, but even she had her fill of it. Lucy would change the channel anytime she ran across it on TV. Fortunately, she and Desi also figured out what was going on in their children's heads. For the first time since their divorce, Lucy and Desi, first with each other, and then together with their children, sat down to talk about their divorce. It was very painful for Desi and Lucy to see how hurt their children were.
Lucy once said, that it was at that moment that both she and Desi realized how much their children must have been hurting and decided after an acrimonious beginning, they were going to work very hard to have a friendly divorce. Lucy is quoted on her death bed as having said that Desi was one of the best friends she ever had in her entire life. I was so glad to hear that. Most people may not realize this, but the movie "The Parent Trap" and the explosion in the divorce happened at almost the same time. This movie changed people's lives and perceptions for the better. It is Ms. O'Hara's wonderful, convincing performance in "The Parent Trap", along with Brian Keith's, that I consider their best. "The Parent Trap" is very personal to me because my parents had a very nasty divorce at exactly the same time "The Parent Trap" came out. I always "joke" that there were no survivors after my parents divorce. The tragedy of it is that I was only half joking.
I always wished that I had had parents like Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith. As a child, this thought would always comfort me, and gave me a goal as to what kind of parent I wanted to be. A close friend of Ms. O'Hara said on the A&E Biography that that movie was closest to the real person she was and is; but I already knew that. To change people's lives for the better, and to give others a refuge from unhappiness: for this no one can thank you enough.

Thank You, Maureen O'Hara; and Thank you, Brian Keith.

Brian Keith O'Hara
That really is my name...


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Audrey Hepburn was a Great and Good Woman


Audrey Hepburn grew up in Arnhem during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Though her mother was the Baroness Ella van Heemstra, her family nearly starved to death during the war.  Her uncle was tortured and murdered by the Nazis. Her brother was repeatedly beaten and tortured as well. After her immensely successful career in Hollywood, Audrey dedicated the last years of her life to UNICEF. During her travels through some of the most impoverished areas of the world her entourage constantly warned her against hugging and holding the sick and dying, including AIDS, Malaria and Cholera patients. She ignored those warnings. Like Princess Diana she knew what was right and actually believed in what she said.

When interviewed by Phil Donahue, she spoke of meeting a little girl in sub-Saharan Africa who knew of the tradition of presenting a bouquet of flowers to important guests. Unfortunately, the only growing thing in the semi-arid desert in which she lived was weeds. She proudly presented Audrey a bouquet of weeds. Audrey had a photograph of that gift framed and had it hung on her living room wall.
Phil also asked her if she harbored any ill will against Germans considering her wartime experiences. She said no, the war was over and ended as it should. Germany had returned to the right course and she had visited the country without fear or trepidation.

It may strike some people as odd, but when I think of Princess Diana I think of Rudyard Kipling's poem, "If", written for his son Jack.  It seems to me, that logic dictates that this wonderful poem should apply equally to boys or girls. And it certainly applies to everyone in this post.

If by Rudyard Kipling 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling Nobel Prize Winner in Literature

Jack Kipling, to whom the poem was dedicated by his father, is third from right in the back row at St. Aubyn's School in Sussex, England(1909).
And again, second from right, middle row.
Jack Kipling, in a photo taken right before the Battle of Loos(1915), WWI. Jack had originally been turned down for service because of his extreme nearsightedness. Jack begged his father to pull strings so he could fight in the war.  He was killed six weeks after enlisting. His grave has never been found.