"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Humble Beginnings

There is a crawl space on the side room over my parent’s garage that is filled with boxes.  Stuff from my two siblings and two step-siblings.  I have a couple of boxes of books there–some filled with notebooks, sketching pads, and others with oversized art books I inherited from my grandfather. 

Of course, I’ve got seven or eight shoe boxes full of baseball cards too.  And a crate filled with classic comics from the Eighties by artists like John Byrne and Frank Miller and George Perez.  There are a few bags filled with more drawing pads.  Growing up, drawing and painting was my thing, not writing.  Even when I kept journals, I used the pads to draw a lot.  I drew comic heroes and action pictures from my sports magazines. I also used them to give updates on the Yankees, my favorite musicians (David Bowie, The Talking Heads, Eric Clapton) and movies that I liked. 

I was up at my ma’s last week and found some of the old journals.  Here’s a couple of random entries. 

November 6, 1984. I was 13 years old.

10:00 pm. In bed. Mom came back today, very tired [from visiting her family in Belgium]. She fell asleep about 2 hours ago. Dad I think was sorry to leave. I enjoyed his stay a lot. Mondale just lost terribly and Reagan won New York state and that SUCKS and so does Reagan. I got an airbrush book from [uncle] Herve and I am thinking of something to airbrush. The Frankie Goes to Hollywood album came out today. I taped it off Gordy.

March 18, 1985.

Today I got to 3rd [base] with Jeanne. I didn’t like frenching that much, maybe because she had Dorito BREATH. Anyway it was beauty.

October 10, 1985. 

Bad week.  I was sick today.  In the last week Rock Hudson died of AIDS, Yul Brenner died of lung cancer, and Orson Welles died of old age.  

“Your mother says that it’s to [sic] late to write.  Your [sic] going to school tomorrow.” –Mom.

P.S.  Saturday is Ali (cousin) and David’s wedding.


Blue Jays   2

Royals 0

Doders 1

Cards 0

(Dodgers lead Cards 2-1 in the 4th)

The Cosby Show was GREAT Tonight.

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1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 9, 2009 3:01 pm

"that SUCKS and so does Reagan. . . . The Frankie Goes to Hollywood album came out today."

Yes, boys and girls, the '80s were really like that.

Also, nice to see Alex blogging about the '85 playoffs.

2 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 9, 2009 3:04 pm

of course I'm a big dork and had to look up what episode of Cosby aired that night, and it was the one with Cliff's parent's anniversary and the family did the Ray Charles bit....classic.

3 imaginaryrob   ~  Mar 9, 2009 3:05 pm

Yo Alex...FYI via Wikipedia...October 10, 1985 Cosby Show was:

"Happy Anniversary"

For Russell and Anna's 49th wedding anniversary, the family commissions a portrait of the couple as newlyweds, and offers them a cruise to Europe. Later in the evening, the whole family performs Ray Charles' "Night Time Is the Right Time", with Theo, Rudy and Cliff each lip-synching a solo. Earle Hyman as Russell. Clarice Taylor as Anna.

You called it....a true classic.

4 Nutball Gazette   ~  Mar 9, 2009 3:11 pm

THat is one of my favorite episodes of Cosby. I wish I would have kept a Journal of my thoughts throughout my life, But back then I thought Reagan was God, Now if you find my political Blog (separate from my Regular Blog) you will see I have changed,


5 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 9, 2009 3:20 pm

Wow, that was a good episode.

I remember being the first kid in my school to wear a FRANKIE SAYS t-shirt.

Man, I thought I was Kool.

What a dorkasaurus Rex, huh?

Yeah, I list a lot of happenings and scores of baseball games and football games. Guess it was practice for blogging years later.

6 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 9, 2009 3:25 pm

But the BIG question .... whatever happened to Dorito-breath Jeanne?
Did she move onto Cheetos?

7 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 9, 2009 3:56 pm

Oh man, Jeanne Calcutty. She was pretty too. Man, that was awful. Literally turned me off of Doritos for years...really to this day, I don't dig em. The Jeanne affair didn't last long. She was friends with my twin sister. I had zero courage with women. Oh, I was friends with tons of them. Hotter they were, they better friends we were. But as far as sex drive? Oy. My sense of insecurities almost always overwhelmed my sense of teenage lust.

8 Just Fair   ~  Mar 9, 2009 5:45 pm

As Cockroach used to say, "I love coming over to this house. You guys are always doing crazy things." Or something like that. Alex, my condolences for being turned off to Doritos. : )

9 rbj   ~  Mar 9, 2009 6:24 pm

Oh man, the 80s. The only produced at the time 80s music I liked was punk. Well that and some Billy Joel.

Fun to see Bernie playing baseball again.

10 edoubletrouble   ~  Mar 9, 2009 6:30 pm

I knew which Cosby episode before reading the comments ... was there any other truly GREAT episodes?

11 rbj   ~  Mar 9, 2009 6:34 pm

OK, Bernie doesn't have wheels anymore.

12 monkeypants   ~  Mar 9, 2009 6:36 pm

Sorry to interrupt the eighties oriented discussion, but did anyone else notice that Gardner hit another HR today?


The best Cosby episodes were from the first season or two, if you ask me. It's hard to beat the Pilot "that's the dumbest thing I ever heard"), or A Shirt Story, when Denise makes Theo a shirt ("Denise! Denise!").

13 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 9, 2009 7:50 pm

the 80s!! Gel in my hair, "the Cult" tape in my walkman, arguing with my Mets buddies that Donnie Baseball was better than Strawberry, watching the Jeffersons re-runs on WPIX Ch.11, being impressed by Steve Balboni's power, hearing LL Cool J for the first time..great decade except for the hair gel!

lots to read on the Banter from overnight, but anyone see that Pedroia and Jeter are now buddies?? yuck...

14 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 9, 2009 8:24 pm

oh man..Graig Nettles is 64 years old and has prostate cancer..what a bummer to hear that..(actually just as stunned to read that he is 64..)

15 Rich   ~  Mar 9, 2009 9:14 pm

I just googled Orson Welles, and read that on Wikipedia that he died at 70. That doesn't seem quite so old as it once did.

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Mar 9, 2009 9:51 pm

From Lohud:
'Joe Girardi said he was “amazed” that A-Rod would be on a stationary bike the same day as his surgery. “It makes me feel that 6-9 weeks is doable,” he said.

Prediction: It’ll be a lot closer to six weeks than nine. A-Rod will get after his rehab'

I'm sorry. I like ARod. A normal person doesn't do what he does. Why should we want him to be normal?

17 Raf   ~  Mar 9, 2009 9:56 pm

It’s hard to beat the Pilot “that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard”),

That was awesome, because the crowd was like "Awww" after Theo's little speech.

18 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 9, 2009 10:13 pm

[15] Given his girth and prodigious appetite for all things rich, it's surprising he managed to live that long (and I say that being a BIG fan of his)...

19 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 9, 2009 10:15 pm

[18] oooh yeah, Welles was amazing, even Godard said "We'll always owe him everything"..but man, there are some legendary stories about sitting down to a meal..the Babe Ruth of the film world?

20 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 9, 2009 10:23 pm

[16] It's actually kind of scary how optimistic the docs and the GM/coach are being about his condition, given that they've pretty much dropped the ball up to this point. Well, Alex will do whatever he wants to at that point, and also given that his public decision-making has been highly questionable at best, I'm not expecting a best-case scenario...

21 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 9, 2009 10:29 pm

[19] In more ways than one. Welles changed film making when he came on the scene, yet he was highly resented by not just W.R. Hearst for it in the biz. Citizen Kane in a lot of ways was Welles' own biography as well.

22 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 9, 2009 10:34 pm

[21] You're hitting the bullseye as usual, Chyll. Watch Citizen Kane sometime with the sound off, the visuals and camera work are stunning..and it was 1941 and he was 27 years old! His first film!! Touch of Evil and Macbeth are faves too, never seen the original cut of Ambersons..is it out there somewhere?

23 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 9, 2009 10:58 pm

[22] From what I understand, after Citizen Kane, the studio reworked his contract so that he basically had to give back all the controls he had negotiated for the four pictures he contracted to do, and once they kicked him off The Magnificent Ambersons, they controlled all of the footage, much of it was left for dead on the floor. Many studios didn't keep extra footage around for later use as they do now, so we'll likely never see any of the originals unless some eccentric old coot happens to have it stored in his trunk.

You ever watch him in Jane Eyre? His Rochester was amazing... it was like when Brian Dennehy played Willy Loman on Broadway some years ago; this huge man reduced to something tiny and lost. Tears.

24 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 9, 2009 11:07 pm

The studios..they just throw diamonds down the well don't they? Same for Erich Von Stroheim and "Greed" (though turning in an 8-hr film I wonder what he thought they would do..)

Never saw Jane Eyre! Welles the actor though..you couldn't take your eyes off him. His Harry Lime in the "Third Man" was just brilliant..

Funny you mention Brian Dennehy, always liked him and he's another one who can liven up a pederstrian tv film, make it watchable.

25 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 10, 2009 1:25 am

Funny you mention Brian Dennehy, always liked him and he’s another one who can liven up a pederstrian tv film, make it watchable.

First Blood,, right? >;)

You must watch Jane Eyre with Orson and Joan Fontaine (as well as a really young Liz Taylor). Though it's limited by the Film Codes of the day (and a prime example of Women's Gothic), the performances are rich and though he didn't direct it, the film has Welles' imprints all over it. G'nite, buddy and let me know what you think when you see it!

26 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 10, 2009 1:35 am

[24] Yeah, and Ingmar Bergman turned out 8-hr films in his sleep (hell, Andy Worhol made an 8-hour film and called "Sleep"!... one guess as to the plot! >;)

27 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 10, 2009 2:29 am

[25] First Blood an under-rated gem! Will look for Jane Eyre.

Bergman..love some of his films, others can cause mass bouts of depression..
I saw Warhol's sleep! needless to say, it was interactive...

28 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 10, 2009 7:55 am

Re: Citizen Kane. Much of the credit for the look of the movie has to be given to Gregg Toland, the DP.

There was an appealing documentary about the history of American Cinematographers that came out in the early 90s called "Visions of Light." Worth checking out...

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