Category Archives: Al-Anon

Look Where They Started…

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In the fifty years since the soap opera, “Another World,” was first

filmed, there have been a half dozen of major actors and actresses

whose acting talents sprang from there. The soap opera began on

May 4, 1964. It remained a popular culture favorite from 1964 until it

filmed its last show in 1999. It had a ‘good run’ of thirty-five years.

I found this interesting entertainment news in my AARP News Bulletin.

I receive this every month, along with the “AARP Magazine.”

I like the way the article phrases this: “A lot of now-famous

stars cut their acting teeth on the show.”

I am not sure if you have ever watched this soap opera, if you did,

these names won’t be quite the same surprise as they were to me! I

was, during my college years, addicted to “The Young and the Restless”

and a short half hour soap opera called, “Ryan’s Hope.” I see a few

of those actors and actresses in Hallmark movies and playing character

roles in movies and television shows.

Here are the Alumni’s from “Another World:”

Morgan Freeman played “Dr. Roy Bingham,” a fine architect in the

fictional town of “Bay City” where the soap opera takes place,

from 1982-1984.

Morgan’s most notable, Academy Award nominated role was in “Driving

Miss Daisy,” which was filmed in 1989. I enjoy him in all of his roles.

He has been recently in “Last Vegas” with the other three iconic legends.

Morgan plays Johnny Depp’s mentor in, “Transcendence,” at age 76!

Brad Pitt played “Chris,” a high school basketball player in 1987. He

played in his ‘breakout’ role (let’s fact it, as a shirtless ‘hunk’

in, “Thelma and Louise,” in 1991. At age 50, Brad was the producer,

along with played the role of an abolitionist-carpenter in, “12 Years

a Slave.”

Kyra Sedgwick, played murder-for-hire victim, “Julia Shearer”, from 1982

until 1983. She has been in several movies, along with her role as the

lead on a police force, “The Closer,” on television. My favorite movie

with Kyra is, “Something to Talk About,” where she plays Julia Roberts’

sister. They have very similar facial details like their beautiful eyes

and smiles. Wile 48 years old, she plays along side of Sylvester

Stallone in “Reach Me.” It is a ‘feel good’ Indie film, getting a lot

of critical acclaim and notice. (She is also in “Door to Door,” with

William H. Macy, check this movie out, later in the list…)

Kelsey Grammer was in “Another World,” as an emergency room physician

named, “Dr. Conrad,” from 1984 until 1985. There are several shows that

I remember on television with him, but mainly his role in “Frasier,”

is my favorite. He is 59, in his character role of a human villain,

“Harold Attinger,” in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

William H. Macy, played “Frank Fisk,” for the year of 1982. He is one

of my favorites in the movie made for television, “Door to Door.”

In that movie, he plays an inspiring man with an indomitable spirit,

who has Cerebral Palsy. He also plays a rather hapless ‘would be’

kidnapper in that strange movie, “Fargo.” His ability to become a

variety of characters is amazing, if you ever wish to see his long

list of movies and ‘resume!’

At age 64, William portrays the head of the dysfunctional family

on the television show, “Shameless.”

*I am weird, but like the television show, “Fargo,” with Billy Bob

Thornton, by the way.*

Although, definitely NOT AARP material, Lindsay Lohan, was discovered

on “Another World,” in her role as a mischievous teen, “Alexandra”

or “Alli” Fowler, (1996-97). My family enjoyed her in the remake film

of “The Parent Trap, 1998. She has portrayed Elizabeth Taylor in a

television movie and recently was in one of my posts about Garrison

Keillor, in “A Prairie Home Companion.” She is probably equally famous

as Justin Bieber, in her crazy antics, partially due to addictions.

She is at age 27 star of a reality TV show, “Lindsay,” about her post-

rehab life. One of my personal favorite Lindsay Lohan movies is with

Jane Fonda, called, “Georgia Rule.” She has talent and will overcome

her problems, which I do believe stem from family, biology, and money.

Have you ever been a fan of a soap opera?

If not, were you a fan of any of the night time ones, like “Dynasty,”

“Falcon Crest,” “Dallas,” “Knot’s Landing,” “Brothers and Sisters,”

or any newer ones, like “Nashville?” I am a fan of Sunday’s “Revenge”

and also, do sometimes watch “Parenthood.” They consider them “serials.”

Slurred Speech

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The Dark Side of Comedy

While laughing and coming up with a wide selection of old time shows

that were either variety and/or talk shows, we came upon a somber

moment. My coworkers and I had listed The Jackie Gleason Show, which

included a funny character named, “Crazy Guggenheim.” We had also talked

about how many of the talk show ‘hosts’ or ‘hostesses’ held cigarettes

in their fingers or had a amber colored beverage in their glasses.

Who doesn’t remember Dean Martin, for example, having a drink in

his hand?

By the way, Frank Fontaine portrayed Crazy Guggenheim on both the

Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny shows. He died of 58 years old, about

to donate a check for heart disease studies. His heart attack was

a shock to those who loved him. He knew how to sing well, having

filled a whole album of the songs he sang, while Jackie G. portrayed

his famous alter ego, “Joe the Bartender.” Frank F. was famous for

his slurred speeches, his drunken behavior and his bug-eyed look

and facial expressions.

We thought that it was interesting how times ‘had changed’ and

decided there were “pro’s” and “con’s” to the past.

Let me insert a famous line from the movie, “A Night at the Opera,”

(1935):

“Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and

necking in the parlor.”

This line was spoken by Groucho Marx, in his portrayal of the film’s

character, Otis B. Driftwood.

We know now that famous people are just like us, in many ways.

We also realize that, although there were “Time” and “Newsweek”

magazines trying to bring to the forefront of the population,

the downfalls of alcohol, drugs, gambling and smoking, there were

many disregarding the after effects, side effects and we did not

have such a stigma attached to these ‘bad’ habits. Two of us at my

lunch table on Thursday, became rather sad and quiet. They were

reflecting on recalled deaths of family members due to smoking and

cancer. One of us had experienced abusive, “mean drunks” for parents.

We decided that addictions, such as these, are still not considered

as ‘big of a deal.’ Society, in some ways, continues to ‘brush them

under the table.’

Even the subject of rehabilitation has had its lighter comedic film

moments. People either laugh, due to the antics and situations that

don’t seem real or out of being uncomfortable. It is hard to explain

why we laugh when someone runs into a wall, falls off a roof, or

trips and does a pratfall.

Treatment for the addictions, in the form of actually facing that

these ARE diseases, is important. Still, we felt a little sad

about the fun we had, when young and felt ‘invincible’ and our

lives, for the most part, had been impermeable to the aging

results of sometimes almost impossible challenges.

Slurred speech, in the ways a person sometimes cannot help it,

while in persons who have had a stroke, live with the challenge

of disabilities and speech delays are NOT FUNNY! We would not

laugh, hopefully, when someone has a speech ‘impediment!’

We still felt a little ambiguous, as we thought back upon the

variety of comedy skits that made us roar with uncontrollable

laughter. Melvin admitted to sometimes, while in the armed

forces, being drunk and thinking it was funny when his buddies

and he pulled pranks while drunk. It is considered a serious

offense, and if caught, these days, you could be court-martialed!

Melvin remarked, that in the ‘old war stories’ of the past, often

there would be stories of men ‘letting off steam.’ We also agreed

that the Viet Nam war movies, seemed to include a prevalent use

of drugs.

Who can forget Crazy Guggenheim’s humorous lines, his leaning

into a person, while breathing out his alcoholic breath? Who

cannot forget when there have been famous movies, with drunken

scenes, sometimes with innocent types of sloppy behaviors?

Who can forget the drunken orgies in “Animal House?”

Who has seen and enjoyed some teenaged or college-aged

movies (or personal memories) where it was very funny being

drunk or being around people who were high?

Who did not laugh (if they are above 40 years old) at Cheech

and Chong’s movie, “Up in Smoke?”

Adding, “Arthur,” with Dudley Moore and The Benny Hill Show,

to the mix, we had international connections of drinking in

movies and television shows.

I have seen Doris Day, Sandra Dee, Humphrey Bogard, Elizabeth

Taylor, Richard Burton and other classic actors and actresses

who have done scenes where they portrayed alcoholics. Some

were quite dramatic and serious roles with “mean” and “sloppy”

drunken roles as their focus. Yet, some were fun ‘romp’ movies

where the drunks were silly.

A lot of comedies include either drugs, alcohol or addictions,

going over the top in their portrayals.

There are also famous movies with the dark and angry side of

the picture:

“Days of Wine and Roses” and “Leaving Las Vegas” come to mind.

We have moved forward in some ways, then stepped back, too.

After all, we still have three “Hangover” movies…

I still will watch comedy sketches with the Saturday Night

Live crew, some who are great at making me laugh, acting

silly while stumbling around and falling down drunk.