The Last Time I Looked: (Stories, Real and Unreal) -

June 10, 2013

“Hi, HOUSE OF MIRTH, please leave a message at the beep.”
“Good day, HEARTBREAK HOUSE, please leave a message.”

Answering machines sitting next to the phone, on a table in your house. Remember that scenario? Well, it was during that golden era that many deeply upsetting things were invading our life.

That was my way of showing my dark sense of humor to callers. I guess the phone solicitors were thrown off game, so it saved me a lot of magazine subscriptions.

But why am I, a relative stranger, wasting your time with trivia?

It’s taken me a lot of years to face the facts (always a mistake), and write down the dreaded words…lonely, alone, single, widow, by myself, solitude, dumped, abandoned, weary and sick of trying… o.k., o.k., I go too far.

I have not thrown out one scrap of paper, photo, notebook, clipping or anything in over fifty years. Lately I’ve been randomly going through some of that “stuff” and “Where has the time all gone to?”

Let’s face it, I could drop famous names and anecdote you until the cows come home, as Stendhal once remarked.
But that might seem frivolous and self serving…and yet how I want to be reassured that these endless years I’ve lived, and loved and worked have not all “been in vain for nothing.”
You won’t find your vacuous richies, or society wannabes (unless you really want them).
Talent, that’s the name game I want to play.
I vowed a long time ago, that I would never turn into the aging show biz lady, overly made up, dressed in one of her old ill-fitting costumes…showing her scrapbooks to some nervous kid who just came over to deliver her beloved Chinese take-out.
Who would play her? Billie Burke? No, no…what am I thinking? It has to be…Baby Jane…the gold standard of crazy old ladies.

All right, then, by popular demand I will indulge in a teeny, tiny look back, a yellowing page from the fading memory bank, I call my fading memory bank.

It was fun, it was in the late fifties, I was Judy Holliday’s stand by in BELLS ARE RINGING. Sydney Chaplin, son of Charlie was the male Lead. He was handsome, and outrageously funny. I can’t repeat most of his dialogue or his witticisms…well, they weren’t really witty. They were dirty, piercingly, honest dirty even by today’s no standard and original. My kind of guy. He was also my hub's close friend…they made each other scream with laughter and shock.


A popular hangout of the time was Goldie’s, a cozy east side boite where Goldie Hawkins and Wayne Sanders played great two piano arrangements of show tunes et al. It was sophisticated, dark and in the basement of an east side town house. It was dimly lit and very narrow, most of the space taken up by a long bar and the two pianos. There were a few tables and it had a great huddly feeling.

One night I was there with Sydney and Michelle my dressing room buddy and their great friend Gene Kelly. Yes, Gene Kelly. Now keep in mind, I was not around when Adolph was working on SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Actually I saw it at Radio City with my beau and we were making out during most of it. So this was my first meeting with Gene, and Adolph wasn’t there.

Gene Kelly with Adam, Adolph and Amanda Green at Adam’s bar mitzvah. 1974.

They were drinking, chatting and singing along with the tunes. I was busy staring, pinching myself and in pig heaven. Then, in the best tradition of the movies of that time…in walked a slender perfectly suited man…shoulders leading, head slightly forward, springy. Just like we’ve seen him walk in, all of our lives…Fred Astaire.

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Thank you for taking me out of my misery! For the longest time I thought I was the only person ALIVE who remembered Goldie's. I began to think it was just a dream I had one night. Thanks for confirming the dream was shared!
3:18pm 06/14/2013
Oh, Phyllis, how I love reading each new chapter of your terrifically entertaining memories. I'll be first in line to buy the book! Much, much love, and keep 'em coming! xxB
1:12pm 06/14/2013
Billy Stritch
Hilarious quotes! Can't wait for more.
10:44am 06/11/2013
Ron Barron
Oh come on~~ I want more.. We want MORE.. LOL got me hangin here.. I WANT MORE! .. thanks Phyllis.. I love this stuff!
9:50am 06/11/2013
Wow this will be great. As Hildegarde once
Said if I don't tell you how will you know!
I have your autobiography somewhere. Enjoyed it back in 1988 think was when it came out.
I've been thinking from fans point of view that since 1950's thru now I had enjoyed so
Many talents and I don't want to let go of memories there are so many but I can't possibly reread every book, watch every movie , play every record like Oklahoma
With you, Florence and John!!. But I'll make
Time to read your blog. Don't know when I'll get to the other things you've written though.

Keep writing Phyllis.!!
3:04pm 06/10/2013
Gay Parker