24th & 25th January, 2005
Rod in “The Best is Yet to Come” 11/6/04
Photo by Shira Greenburg ©2004 by Broadway.com. Used by Permission
A Thought for Today
One man will always make a difference.
The term legend is truly overused but it more than fits Johnny Carson,
the last face many of us saw every night for 30 years before drifting
off to sleep.
Johnny was there when I was just beginning a career and supported me
after I arrived. Indeed, if entertaining was your profession and you
appeared on The Tonight Show you were probably a success or on the
threshold. Without doubt he introduced more comedians, singers, writers,
actors, public figures and entertainers to his faithful viewers than
anyone in the history of television.
He loved talent and was justifiably proud of his ability to give a
performer that extra push that made the difference.
Johnny was a gifted comedian, raconteur and a gentleman in every sense
of the word. His death is a personal loss. My condolences to his
immediate family and to the country that considered him family.
Ken Blackie sent this along to me. Looks like I misplaced a letter and
Lisa turned to Ken for help.
Ken, I haven't heard from Rod yet, though he appears to be very busy. I
have checked the "Flight plan" regularly to see if he answered my
question there, but I have not seen it. I requested information on
My other leads have either led nowhere or have led back to Rod. Rod's
quotes are also in my book and one of the publishers "Stanyan Books"
(the book is "You're My Friend, So I Brought You This Book") appears to
be closely tied to Rod (as far as my internet searches have gone). I
have other emails out, but given that Rod appears to quote him or talk
about him regularly as well as know his birth date, I do believe Rod is
my best bet for finding out who Alexander Drey is.
I probably would not care so much if it had been easy to find out who
Alexander Drey is. The mystery, however, has caused a vendetta to find
out who this person is/was. I must know. I would greatly appreciate it
if Rod would help me out. Thank you, Lisa
Dear Lisa, Sorry I seem to have taken my time in getting back to you but
whenever the subject of Alex Drey comes up I have a hard time deciding
where to begin. While various reports site Drey’s birthplace as
Lithuania, New Jersey and other exotic locals he was actually born on
Feb 29,1936 in Alamo, Nevada. If he still seems youthful today it’s
probably because his birth date only comes around every four years.
Little is known about Drey’s early years but his friendship with Dr.
Louisa Duffy Booth, Bevins Jay and Bessie Lorraine Boles is the stuff
legends are made of. His marriage to Miss Boles lasted less than a week
and he has said of it, “I was lonelier when I was married to the bitch
than I am now living alone.” (The forgoing quote is not the kind you
might find by Drey in one of the Stanyan Books such as I Think I Love
You So I Brought You This Book, Sounds That Break the Silence or Be
Gentle with Me for I Love You as I Love the Sun).
Despite how he may have felt about the breakup Drey and Boles remained
life-long friends and it was Boles who introduced him to Dr. Booth. His
three decades of companionship with Booth is often cited as the spur
that made him the philosopher modern wits quote and so often parrot.
I don’t feel unkind in saying that being in the company of any one of
this quartet was more than pleasurable, but the four of them together?
No thanks! An evening of nothing but bon mots is as destructive to the
well-ordered head as a box of bonbons to an empty stomach. Neither
organs digestive system seems able to process the sweet and sour of it.
Jay’s wit was dry but never mean and though in her eighties Boles
remarks can still elicit howls. Drey and Dr. Booth can be Damon and
Pithias one minute and Burns and Allan the next. And, the roles are
interchangeable. One need only fall into this pantomime a few times to
automatically start declining further invitations. Wade Alexander once
remarked, “Fortunately for all of us they never need a fifth for
Drey appears often in the Stanyan Books because like Boles, Booth and
Jay he is highly quotable. Other Drey quotes that never made it into the
Stanyan Book series are quite telling.
“Get thee in front of me Satan so I can see what the hell you look like”
and “I’m tired but not too lazy to spend the next few hours listing
several hundred reasons why I loath your company.” The last remark
having allegedly been directed to the actor George Sanders. It was Drey
who documented Bevins Jay’s final remarks on his deathbed, “Hello
happiness, you’re a little late getting here.”
So, Lisa, that’s more than a little bit and perhaps quite enough about
our old friend A. D. for this time around. Cheers, Rod.
A possibly odd question - would you know anything of the singer Jobriath,
who did glam rock in the mid-70s, and cabaret in New York later? thanx.
Dear JP, Wish I could help you on this one but I'm not as up to speed on
'Glam Rock' as I could be. The name Jobriath does ring a bell. You might
try our Google search engine or perhaps one of my readers can help you.
Best Regards, Rod
YOU CAN NEVER TAKE IT BACK
Where did you say, "if you tell someone you love them you can never take
it back"? Thanks. Mary Lou Sindlinger
Dear Mary Lou, I turned to my very own Boswell, Jay Hagan for the answer
to your query. The selection is titled “Sunday” and comes from the album
The Earth in the San Sebastian Strings Elements trilogy. Since it was
meant to he spoken and heard against Anita Kerr’s music it has never
been published in one of my books.
I consider ‘Sunday’ a stream of conscience offering, making it neither a
poem or prose. The narrator is thinking out loud without editing his
observations. Here is the text.
It's hard to believe it can be so quiet after such a noisy Saturday
night. There were so many words I wanted to use last night. Words I'm
afraid of . . . like... tomorrow... and together...and love.
If I say I love you I want it to mean more than I love peanut butter or
James Bond movies I want it to mean I'm letting go for always. That I
won't turn back. I've never used the word before. I've been afraid. Once
you say you love somebody you can't take it back.
But let's not talk about love. Let's talk about dogs or Summer time. We
can read the funny papers out loud or go to the zoo
or just stay here like we are.
Come out along the trees with me. You never knew my middle name. I
haven't told you that. Do you know that I can stand on my hands? Almost.
There is probably a mole somewhere down your back that escaped my eyes
in darkness. We need to know it all, everything that brought us to each
other’s eyes and why. All those mysteries we've saved for no one we can
give to one another.
Where did the night go? Already it's Sunday. I love you.
Words by Rod McKuen, Music by Anita Kerr ©1968 by ANRO Productions.
Copyright renewed. All rights reserved
LEAPING THE POND
Hello Rod, Hope you are well. I live near London, UK. I grew up
listening to your songs in the 70's, when I was about 10, which my Mum
played on her old record deck -it brings back fond memories. I heard
Sinatra on the radio singing Love's Been Good To Me the other day & I
thought I'd check out what you were up to these days. I was wondering
that, if & when you decide to tour again, do you have any plans to come
to the UK? (I bet my Mum would love to see you live!) All the best Tim
Dear Tim, Thanks for the thoughtful note. I am well Tim and reasonably
happy, thanks for asking.
I get requests to come back to England for concerts nearly every day of
the week. I’d do it in a shot if I had a UK sponsor. Trouble is I've
outlived all the promoters who used to present me on your side of the
ocean . . . but I go on hoping. Keep thinking good thoughts and my best
to you and your Mom. Warmly, Rod.
RUNNING BAREFOOT ACROSS HER HEART
I still have the original 33's from the 60's that you did with Anita
Kerr and I’m so glad this website is up and running. You have not only
left footprints on my heart but have certainly left quite an impact on
As a college trustee 4 yrs ago at a meeting of all state colleges in San
Francisco I found myself searching for Stanyan St. and yes I did take
the ferry out to Sausalito. Now I am 58 and still moved by your music
and your words and every now and then take them out again.
My son is now an aspiring actor living in Sherman Oaks so I do frequent
CA. Can't seem to let go of Boston. I was in the front row so many years
ago when you performed there. Many Thank You's for a lifetime of
memories. Dyan F. Salemi
Dear Dyan, Thank you. Hiking your heart is my image of the day. I
promise to tread lightly. Glad you made it out to San Francisco and with
your son living in near-by Sherman Oaks we are all practically family.
I love Boston and always have. I lived there for several months during
the seventies and found that it reminded me a lot of my old North Beach
neighborhood in San Francisco. Over the years I’ve played quite a few
Boston theatres and concert halls and if I’m back that way again don’t
forget to come up and say hello. All my best, Rod
Did you once narrate a film entitled Say Goodbye? I remember the film
detailed environmental issues / endangered species. I viewed the film in
my high school biology class and still remember it 30 years later, it
left that much of an impression on me. I have tried searching the
Internet without much luck, so I thought I’d ask you personally. Your
help would be greatly appreciated. Thank You. Donna M. Kidd
Dear Donna, the great filmmaker David Wolper produced “Say Goodbye” and
I had the good fortune to be asked to narrate it. It made quite an
impact at the time of its release and was even nominated for a Best
Other milestones in the career of David Wolper include “Roots” his
milestone series for television and staging the opening and closing
ceremonies for the Los Angeles Olympics.
I have fond memories of “Say Goodbye” and you are right, it seems to
have disappeared from the radar screen. I’ll do some further checking
with David and keep you posted. Kindest Regards, Rod.
Here’s one of my favorite Johnny Carson jokes: “An optimist in show
business is an accordionist with a beeper.”
Don’t forget to meet me here on Wednesday for Webmaster Ken’s This One
Does It for Me and I’ll have more to say on Thursday. Sleep warm.
RM 1/23/2005 8:53PM PST
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