Today in My History2001: Celebrations
2002: Things I Can't Say
2003: Getting By with a Little Help from My Friends
2004: Crazy Mum
2005: Off the Top of My Head
2006: What Went Wrong?
2007: Save the Children
2008: Home Sweet Home
IN MY OPINION
The Winter's Tale
Books Read in 2009
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THE BIRTH OF AN IDEA
26 February 2009
It's funny how ideas just grow the longer you let them germinate.
I had that interview with Mitch Agruss the other day and I've been transcribing the interview, still not really sure how I was going to shape the article itself.
He was a beloved children's television icon here in this area in the 60s and 70s, but he was so much more before he arrived here.
I had taken his photo before I left his apartment and printed it as the Photo of the Day a couple of days ago. He promised he would dig out some photos from his son's garage and drop them off at the newspaper office.
Well, apparently the photos weren't really all that great so I contacted the TV station where he worked for many years and they sent some photos which also weren't that great. My editor and I had a bit of a dust-up over photos, which I now regret.
But all the while the back of my mind is trying to find the "hook" to get this article started. Someone else had done an article on him 10 years ago and I didn't want to read it because I wanted to do my own, but I also didn't want to do a poor repeat of what he had written.
I finally decided to start my article with our arrival here in Davis and how Cap'n Mitch was already a TV celebrity for children's television. I thought I'd ask our kids what, if anything, they remembered and sent off messages to them.
Then I decided to send Facebook notes to all of their friends who are on my friend list and post a status notice about it as well, hoping to attract some that I don't know about.
I couldn't believe when I had my first response literally within five minutes. And over the next half hour I had more than half a dozen people contact me with comments about their memories of Mitch, some of which are usable and some of which are not, but they changed the whole focus of my article and all fit together as neatly as pieces of a puzzle.
In the meantime there was still that nagging photo problem. Derrick was actually thinking of using my snapshot, because it was one of the best quality photos he had. I said I'd try calling other venues where Mitch had performed and then I had my "Doh!" moment. Heck..we could set up a photo shoot at Mitch's apartment and take photos of him with his memorabilia -- the loving cup from Katharine Hepburn, the floor to ceiling poster from the American Shakespeare Festival, the autographed photo of Moss Hart, the wall of program of productions he'd been in, the floor to ceiling painting of himself as Cap'n Mitch.
We've set up the photographer and now the photo problem is no longer a problem. And thanks to the contributions of all these adults who were kids when Mitch was Cap'n Mitch, I have the direction of my article and I'm not concerned about it any more. Once I got the "hook," the ideas began to flow. I still have to write it, but I don't think that's going to be the problem that I was afraid it was going to be after all.
It's a good thing, too, because I was hoping to get some quotes from another theatre (which shall forever remain nameless because I don't want to give it any publicity) where Agruss performs and possibly see if they have a photo to share, but when the guy I spoke with heard that I am not allowed to review shows there because we have no more space to add another theatre, he said that he loves Mitch to death and knows more about him than anybody in the area, but he refused to speak with me unless my editor calls and explains to him why I can't review their plays.
Never thought offering to give a theatre company some publicity would cause such an outpouring of anger and refusal to cooperate in any way whatsoever. I think he pretty much guaranteed that I will never review one of his shows, especially in these times when newspaper space is shrinking rather than expanding. I've been a critic for 9 years now and this is the very first negative reaction I've had. I didn't like it.
For all who followed the ups and downs with Nicki, I want to share the most wonderful e-mail that Ashley shared with me, from Nicki's new mom:
Nikki is doing really well. She is coming when I call her, she is
taking treats - I have to let her smell it in my hand, then I set it on the floor in front
of her and she takes it right away. She and Pokie are best friends, they play really well
and even with Pokie's cousin Bruno - when he visits, although he is short she does not
growl at either of them anymore.
Isn't that FANTASTIC? I knew all it would take is someone who
could look beyond her shortcomings and see the wonderful little puppy that was underneath.
I couldn't be more thrilled to know that she is in a place where she is loved as
much as she was when she was here.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Everybody say "Happy Birthday" to Walt!
or, if you feel so inclined, sing along...
MILES TO NOWHERE: 96.5 miles