Saturday, May 3, 2008

California dreamin'

It's almost time for me to go back to San Diego to see Leonard Pennario, so I am wondering about what movies are going to be playing. Leonard always likes to go to the movies, and I do too. On the phone yesterday he seemed more concerned about what movies would be showing than about how the book is going. He said, "I hope there are some upbeat movies we can see."

That is sort of a joke with us. All last winter when we were going to the movies, so many of them were so bleak.

Pennario is a lifelong movie expert. He told me has seen every movie worthy of note that has come out since 1940, and I believe him. He knows everything about them -- the actors, the directors. He can sing you the themes. Since he was a kid in Buffalo, he has automatically remembered every theme from every movie. We went to see "Atonement" and a few hours later, in a restaurant with rock blaring, Pennario started singing the theme from the movie. I'm sure it's still in his head.

One of my best experiences with Pennario involves a movie theme. The night I met him, when he came to Buffalo, a bunch of us were sitting around the Hyatt lounge. And Leonard and I were talking about movies and we wound up singing together the theme from the 1939 "Wuthering Heights." He asked me how it went. Which, now I know he was horsing with me, because there is no way he would have forgotten it. Or maybe he was testing me. Oh, who knows, as our friend Dick says. Remember Dick? I mentioned him a few days ago.

Anyway, I started singing the "Wuthering Heights" theme and then Leonard joined in. What a moment! What a theme! I have never seen a more recent version of "Wuthering Heights" because I can't stand the idea of not having that music to go with the story. That's how much I love it.

There are other romantic movie themes I love though I do not have anywhere near Leonard's storehouse of knowledge. "Gone With The Wind" -- thrilling to see that sky-high title as that "Tara" theme plays. I can actually call to mind all the lesser-known themes from that movie, too. (Geek!) I loved Randy Newman's score to "Ragtime." "One more hour... one more day...." I was just singing it to myself yesterday. "Moon River," from "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The song is greater than the movie.

I will add to this list as new themes occur to me.

"Wuthering Heights" reminds me: Leonard has a less-than-flattering story about how Merle Oberon looked without her makeup. But that is another story for another day.

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