Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, September 29, 1966. Intended for Apa L, 102nd Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1520, Sept. 29, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 3-6321.
|New York in 1967!||Los Angeles in 1968!||Salamander Press #205.|
It is my sad duty to report that the Lamplighters' performance of "The Mikado" last Saturday was the least of any of their performances that I've seen to date. It wasn't bad, but not nearly as good as it could've been, or as we'd expected it to be. Because of this, most of us are now ready to see the Savoy-Artes' production of this operetta, to compare the two and hope that they do better. The four Savoy-Artes performances will be on tomorrow and Saturday evenings, and next Friday and Saturday evenings. Most of us are planning on attending next Friday's performance, at 8:30 p.m. at the Robert Lee Frost Auditorium at 4401 Elenda Street in Culver City ($2.50). As I recall their theatre party arrangements, you pick up your tickets at the door; however, if as many of you that want to go will let me know by tonight, I'll phone in tomorrow and ask that a bloc of that many tickets be set aside in the LASFS' name, so that those who do attend should all be seated together.
I hadn't originally planned on getting up to see the Limelighters at all, but Ed Baker's decision to move into 1825 Greenfield Ave. saved me the necessity of having to spend my next few weekends in packing and househunting, so that when the invitation to see the Lamplighters came, I was free to go. The trip had three purposes: to see "The Mikado", to begin the moving of the Trimbles up to Santa Cruz, and to get Tom Schlück to the Bay Area for the beginning of his trip home. All were events I wanted to be in on, so after work last Friday, I loaded a number of boxes of the Trimbles' belongings into my car, and Lois Lavender and I began the drive North.
Though I've been up to the Bay Area a number of times, this was the first time I've ever driven up myself, rather than being a passenger in someone else's car. Even though it was after dark, and we ran into some mildly thick fog in a couple of places, the drive was hardly anything troublesome at all; I guess the TriCon trip has developed me into a distance driver. Without overly hurrying, and with a couple of rest stops, we made the drive from Westwood Village to Santa Cruz in just a little over seven hours. The road is almost all freeway now, with the exception of that abominable strip just below King City, where John Champion was killed in '62. I drove up as far as Buellton, then Lois took over the wheel for the drive to Soledad, and I finished up the remainder of the trip to Bĵo's mother's house in Santa Cruz, arriving at about 2:15 a.m., almost on the heels of the Trimblewagen itself. Bĵo let us in, and we immediately collapsed in our sleeping bags on the floor. I was so tired that I barely noticed the resident cat climbing over me for most of the rest of the night.
Saturday was a full day, and included such events as visiting the Heinleins, who're building a new house in approved Howard Roark fashion, though Ginny said that after all the trouble they had with the local designers (they finally fired them and are building the house themselves, to Robert's own plans), she's lost a lot of the sympathy she'd had for independent-minded architects since reading The Fountainhead; and watching Tom put his foot through the ceiling of Bĵo's mother's kitchen, as we arranged boxes in the attic and he stepped on a spot where there were no floorboards, leaving a rather large hole just over the stove (Luise let out a shriek from below that made us think she must have been buried in debris). By the time we all rendezvoused at the Rolfes' in Palo Alto, our party consisted of Joe & Felice, John and Bĵo, Luise, Al Lewis and Len Bailes, Tom, Ron Ellik, Jerry Jacks, Lois, and myself; and, after sorting ourselves into some sort of coherent order, it was too late in the day to show Tom much of San Francisco as we'd originally planned. We did manage to get to Fisherman's Wharf for dinner, riding the cable cars there and back from where we'd parked in Union Square.
The production of "The Mikado" that followed was marred principally by a weak Nanki-Poo, an undistinguished Yum-Yum, and a mediocre Ko-Ko, all of whom were recently decent except when they had to sing; and bad (piano) orchestration. Balancing this to some extent were a competent Katisha, a very good Pooh-Bah, and a superb Mikado; the second act generally made up for the flaws of the first. We were all disappointed that the Lamplighters stuck to their standard rule of no encores, as the few numbers that were done well were very well done indeed. (Ko-Ko came alive for "Here's A How-De-Do".) Larry Niven, who joined us at the theatre and who'd never seen any Gilbert & Sullivan before, was very favorably impressed with the whole thing, and may wind up becoming a regular member of the local G&S production attendees. We found out after the performance that the cast had recognized us; they said that they'd been spotting quite a few s-f fans in the audience since their production opened. The Mikado spoke German, which pleased Tom no end.
We next all drove over to Bill Donaho's in Berkeley for a party, though by the time we got there I was so tired that I didn't even go in, but just curled up on the front seat of my car and went to sleep. It turned out the next day that Johnny Chambers had done somewhat the same thing going home from the party, except that he'd been driving at the time and the car didn't survive the experience. Johnny got out okay, though, except for his parents' reaction at having their car demolished.
We spent Saturday night camped out on the Rolfes' floors, as usual; and after a late breakfast the next morning, we split up to take our various ways homeward. Lois stayed behind with Ron to visit the Tournament that afternoon, and Larry Niven drove back down to L.A. with me as relief driver. We arrived just after dark Sunday evening, completing another fannish weekend. I'm going to have to do something fannish here in town some weekend just to break the routine. How about scheduling that proposed group to see the Busch Gardens for Sunday, Oct. 9? Does this conflict with anybody's plans for that weekend?
|- o0o -||- o0o -||- o0o -|
I suppose everybody's seen the preliminary sketches for the animated feature-length cartoon version of "The Hobbit", in the Oct. issue of DIPLOMAT, by now. What do you think of them? In my opinion, the movie will run up against the same problem that every illustrated version of Tolkien's works (saving his own) has: the art may be good, but it just isn't Tolkien art as it should be. I'm very fond of Jiří Trnka's art; I have been since seeing his animated puppet feature of "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream", and I've been looking forward to seeing the Czechoslovak Pavilion he's designing for the World's Fair in Montreal. I like his sketch of Smaug, too -- as a piece of art. But it looks more like a dignified griffon than a sly dragon; it certainly fits nobody else's preconceived image of Smaug that I've ever heard of. Oh well, at least with Trnka handling the art, we can be pretty sure that the film's plot will follow the book's as closely as possible. Who's this William L. Snyder who's producing it; the name means nothing to me.