Murder on the Orient Express: The Fracture of a Soul

Sorry that I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I know it’s no excuse but 6 months ago I lost something very important to me and very close to me. She wasn’t old she was in great health one day she stopped eating less than two weeks later she was gone her liver had failed. Then night that she passed away I knew it was going to happen so her and I cuddled together on the floor because she wasn’t feeling well to get on the bed. We watched the 2015 version of Cinderella and directed by one of my favorite director is Kenneth Branagh. I seem to remember a line by Helena Bonham Carter who played the Fairy Godmother in it right before the perfect family was struck by tragedy…’ For sorrow can come to any Kingdom no matter how happy.’ The next morning I woke up a little bit after 6 a.m. panicked and sweating from the bad dream… I went to go give her a kiss and sure enough she had passed. I didn’t deal with it the way that I should have that day immediately I cleaned my room with everything that had reminded me of her gave away all of her stuff and sat her in her final resting place and then casually came into work. It’s not that it didn’t affect me it’s just that it had affected me so much that I had no choice but to continue everything like nothing had happened. However instead for the rest of the summer I misbehaved in every way because I was filling that void that she wasn’t there anymore. I paid the consequences for all the things that I did by the end of the summer closer to calmed down and accepted the grieving process 6 months later.

Why am I talking about this? Why am I talking about something of my personal life on a public blog about films and television shows mostly of the past? You see Turner Classic films have released Some Like It Hot back in June and I wanted to blog then but I wasn’t ready to. The blog was just simply going to be about how going to the cinema can relieve any kind of pain sometimes for the right person including grief. However at the time I still was not ready to admit that she was no longer there that I would come home and she would come running to me and that we wouldn’t cuddle together at night for in fact in my mind she was still there. All my life I had escaped to the cinema and then now I was escaping to forget that she wasn’t home waiting for me. As I said I wanted to blog about it but I didn’t I stopped myself.

Six months later it brings me to this today my mother and I went to the cinema to see a film that I had wanted to see for a while and so did she called Murder on the Orient Express. I have read the book as a kid twice however for some weird reason I couldn’t remember the ending and a lot of the other details. One of my favorite directors was not only starring in it but it also directed it, none other than Kenneth Branagh. Kenneth Banagh was the man that directed Cinderella which was the film that Pandora and I were watching when she passed away in the middle of the night. Since then I’ve watched that film every night, falling asleep to it because I can’t seem to let anything go. I especially can’t let go of that night and waking up to that film. Besides some of the sad factors I was looking forward to seeing this film because I’m also a fan of his work and did not even know that he had directed the film until quite a while after I had already seen it for the first time back when Pandora was healthy and well. Back to Murder on the Orient Express, the visuals the film was absolutely amazing the scenery, the edits, the jump Cuts edits, the acting, the score, and the overall feeling of the film was absolutely fantastic. Kenneth Branagh as the detective didn’t miss a Beat it’s almost as if the character from Agatha Christie’s book had in fact become a real live human being, it was incredible.

As the film went on I don’t mean to put out any spoilers but basically what appeared to be a simple murder on the train turned out to be a much bigger ordeal. It would appear that the man murdered was also the one responsible for the kidnapping and killing of the Armstrong child. Whomever killed this man knew who he really was and what crime he committed even though he had gotten away with it. After the Armstrong child was found dead when the mother got word she went into premature labor with her second child and died along with that child. Armstrong then took his own life for his family had all passed away within a few days of each other. Once the detective had figured this out he clearly stated ‘you never realize what the killing of one person could lead to and how it could in fact destroy the lives of so many others and what didn’t destroy them would slowly suffocate them for the rest of their lives because the grief was that deep.’

To my surprise also and one of Kenneth Branagh films, Cinderella, just like in that film there was one line that kept repeating itself ‘ for sorrow can come to any Kingdom. ‘ In this film there was one line I kept repeating itself and seem to be so much louder than the rest of the lines, ‘ the Deep poison of grief.’

In the film the detective says something along the lines of a killer having a fractured soul but he didn’t believe that he was amongst any killers on the train only people that had in fact experienced the Deep poison of grief.

It seems so odd to me the film that brought me Comfort when it shouldn’t have was Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh. That film brought so much comfort to me because her and I were watching it as we fell asleep. The family was so happy and everything was so perfect when tragedy struck. You never know what can happen. You can be 10 years old in perfect health like Pandora and then suddenly one day not eat , you get brought to the doctors and they tell you that your liver is failing. Then not even two weeks later pass away peacefully in your sleep in the arms of your mother to a film called Cinderella. 6 months of experiencing the Deep poison of grief your mother who was survived by you sees a film that is also directed by Kenneth Branagh called Murder on the Orient Express. Watching this film for her, something suddenly made sense when he explained how the death of one person could affect so many people so drastically and how the death of one person could affect the person they love the most so drastically. Killers have a fractured soul as the detective said. He was right about that. The Deep poison of grief as he also spoke of his very real to. I can’t bring her back, I’ve tried. However watching Cinderella the past 6 months at night has brought me Comfort. Seeing the film today has brought me Comfort. Its directors like Kenneth Branagh that heal people like me that makes being a filmmaker more than rewarding.

One day at a time.


Scared, Petrified, and Somewhere In Between

The difference between fear and annoyance, between surprise and expectation, between mentally ill and purely deranged, between nervous and traped, and between scared and petrified

I know exactly what you’re thinking. The title already has you confused as its an opinion rather than a statement. However you’d be surprised to know that I am not the only one that is so insistent that horror movies, aside from the lamer B movies, are better back in the day than they are today.

Many of todays horror flicks are built for actual audiences. Meaning these films are coming in todays day and age are more linked to what real people already fear rather than creating new ones. There’s only so much one can do with someones fear that they already have. Example if someone is afraid of Clowns and a horror movie comes out about clowns, chances are that person is already going to be scared if a clown so much as appears on the screen. Also many of the ‘crappier’ horror films aren’t real horror films. . .they are simply thrillers with blood, guts, and naked women.

Though Ive mentioned his work in many blogs before lets go back to Hitchcock shall we. Though he was a master at suspense he knew the difference between a good thriller and a good scare. Before Physco and the Bird’s release not many people had a fear of shower curtains or a flock of birds. However after those films became a hit all of that changed. That’s true horror. . .transforming what someone wouldn’t have even noticed before into something that makes them shiver with our nerves.

‘Boys of the City’ and ‘Spooks on the Loose’ are two of my favorite horror films for several reasons. One reason being Im an obsessive East Side Kids and Bowery Boys fan. Second reason being they were also two comedic films. Third reason is those two films were actually in fact scary. They were in a large, old, and cold house in the middle of nowhere when people begin to die. . .they didn’t need to show naked women, use obscene language or discover the house is on an ancient burial ground like some of the other horror films of today. Even in ‘Spooks On The Loose’ they already knew the house wasn’t haunted but just someone trying to scare them out of the house and the environment itself was just scary.

One of the things that inspired me to write this blog was one night when my family and I were having our Saturday movie night and watch Svengoolie he played ‘The Uninvited’ 1944 version.  I had seen the film before and loved it. It wasn’t the best horror movie Id seen I’ll admit but even its crappy effects made it a better horror film than most of the others that are coming out today. Even in a horror movie like that I found some kind of comfort in the happy ending.

Now of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion but this old soul is sticking with hers. 9177h9pqpl-_sl1500_

Its Not Your Fault

Its Not Your Fault
A perspective into the genius mind of Robin Williams

‘Its not your fault,’ a famous line in the film Good Will Hunting where a therapist finally makes a breakthrough with his young and troubled patient. The patient played by one of the writers of the film Matt Damon and the therapist was portrayed by comedian Robin Williams. I categorize him as comedian immediately because that was his main profession but despite his hilarious skills as a comedian he was also a brilliant dramatic actor. Why am I telling you this when everyone knows who this iconic man is? Yes you know this about him. However there were many things that the camera did not let us in on his life.

The cameras stop rolling and America’s favorite funny man goes home to his family to what seems like a normal life. No…he wasn’t normal therefore there was no real normal life for him. Yes he did have a wife and kids but with the creative and genius mind like his nothing is ever really normal. For years he suffered in silence withs severe depression which sadly led to his demise. The man who once insisted that everyone live every day to the fullest and to spend every moment happy when behind that infectious smile was pain. After his death just about all his fans realized that he was trying to warn us….make your life spectacular.

Again this is something that everyone knows…but there are many things that we don’t know. I could stay up all night writing about it if i could. At a very early age growing up with The Three Stooges I had a passion for comedic relief even though I never pursued comedy as a career. I became a filmmaker with a focus in comedy, mainly slapstick a more old fashioned form of comedic relief. As I got older and wrote comedy pieces myself I decided to make a documentary, which Im still working on called ‘Vaudeville: A Drama.’ Vaudeville and drama? I know right, it makes no sense. Being a huge fan of The Three Stooges I was shocked when I discovered that Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp may have been in comedy shorts for most of their career but off screen their lives were anything but funny. I then learned that many of my favorite actor/comedians had somewhat sad and troubled personal lives…Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Larry Storch, Ken Berry, Bob Crane, Leo Gorcey, Jackie Gleeson…the list goes on. I became fascinated with the fact that these people were able to be so funny while battling severe mental and physical challenges at home, (drinking, drugs, marital problems, affairs, miscarriages, stillborns, racism, porn addictions, family deaths, etc.)

Now Im able to understand a little more as to why Robin Williams truly excelled all the other.

Many fans were crushed when they learned that his early death was suicide. Myself like many others looked up to him as someone who was able to get through those bad times…so when he passed I thought that there was the possibility that I wouldn’t make it either. Then it became clear what he was trying to convey to us over the years…make your life spectacular,

I once hated him for doing what he did when he knew he had so many people who loved him. Now today though if I were to come face to face with him Id be able to look at him in the eye with complete understanding, relation, and sympathy in saying…….

‘Its not your fault.’anigif_enhanced-16874-1408070815-2_previewrobin-williamswhat-dreams-may-come-02

What I Learned Sitting On The Porch With Andy Griffith

This past Halloween I was quite ill and spent several days in bed unable to do much. In between fever spells and naps I watched some of my favorite shows such as F Troop, Emergency, Adam 12, Bonanza, Carol Burnette, and Andy Griffith just to name a few. I saw a particular Andy Griffith episode that caught my attention. In this episode after supper Andy and Barney sat outside on the porch to digest their food. Andy got a great idea to run to the drug store for some ice cream to have with their coffee. Just as he and Barney were leaving Aunt Dee came out and asked the boys why they had to ‘run’ to the drug store? Whats the rush? Why couldn’t they just simply stroll to the drug store instead of run? It was then that Andy and Barney sat back down and relaxed for a bit.

Its so sad to see that families today really take time to sit down to eat together let alone relax together after supper. Its not just quality supper time that people are missing out on anymore. Its everything in general that were missing out on. We all know that saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ . . .well no one is stopping or slowing down anymore. If we all continue to rush the way we are we are going to miss out on everything that we’ve been waiting for. I’ve said this before in many blogs. . .life is short. . .life is fleeting  and if we don’t take time to sit on the porch after supper  we are truly missing out. If we don’t take that leisure in the stroll to the drug store we are missing out. Its already begun. Yet another fault with my generation is the inability to savor time, cherish people, and be content with this short yet beautiful life.

I already knew about this. I take time to enjoy my life for I know all too well that this life is fleeting. However watching that Andy Griffith show cleared everything up more than ever.


Enjoy this day for we will never have it again. singalongs-porch-andygriffithshow-secretsofabelle

Why I Really Cried When Watching Young Frankenstein In The Theatre

Sometimes being an old soul in this modern world can flat out suck. No one understands why you are the way you are, why you speak the way you do, why do the things you do, and why you watch the movies you watch. It makes me different, weird, sensitive, but extremely happy. One of my favorite films of all time was Young Frankenstein as Ive mentioned in prior blogs as well as my web series for I did an entire Mel Brooks episode. Just before my birthday the films star and creator Gene Wilder passed away. Of course it was sad for many reasons but also he was very much a pioneer in film industry and we don’t have those kind of actors anymore. Him and Mel Brooks did films like Blazing Saddles and if a movie like that were made today everyone would be insulted beyond belief, but cool guys like Gene Wilder wouldn’t care. Fathom Events recently teamed up with Turner Classic Movies and release classic films once or twice a month. Some of my recent favorites have been Dracula, On The Waterfront, Blazing Saddles, Roman Holiday, just to name a few. An old soul’s dream come true to watch her classic favorites on screen for these films were released decades before I was born. Tonight my dad and I attended Young Frankenstein at the theatre at Downtown Disney and the coolest most unexpected thing happened just before the movie. Little did we know that Mel Brooks did a special introductory to the film. I got misty eyed when he walked around the studio backlot reminiscing over the memories of the filming days they had for this film. He pointed out the huge mural that was on the side of one of the soundstage of Gene Wilder, Terri Garr, Marty Feldman, and Peter Boyle in one of the iconic scene of the film. I held back the tears for even you could hear it in Mel Brook’s voice how much he missed them. . . for they’re all gone now. When he spoke directly to the audience is when I began to cry. As a filmmaker, film goer, and fan I cried the happy tears as well as the sad ones. The great people involved with this film may mostly be gone now but they’re work lives on thanks to the people that actually want to keep great films like this alive in this modern day of mediocre films. It only makes me even happier to be a filmmaker and perhaps even inspires me a little.

Mel BrooksMel Brooks

I Know You Can Hear me: The Story of Leo and Bernard Gorcey of The Bowery Boys

“He was killed in an auto accident. I t wasn’t a natural death. He made a mistake and hit a bus head on. And that was it. . . .he was gone.” – Leo Gorcey speaking of his fathers death in an 1968 interview.

Leo Gorcey is best known for his leading role in The Bowery Boys, The East Side Kids, and The Dead End Kids as Mugsy (in most of the films). Mugsy was a non nonsense hustler whose gang consisted of childhood friends. Though he may seem tough on the outside, on the inside yhe was all heart. As is the rest of the comedic gang, always loyal and always caring  but always getting themselves into trouble.


Gorcey himself was more than a pretty face on screen. Not only was he a star comedian, he was a writer, owned his own production company (Monogram Films), and was a down to earth family man. His father was also an actor/comedian having come from vaudeville as well as Broadway. His name was Bernard Gorcey and besides recognizing him from a Charlie Chaplin film he was a regular in the Bowery Boys films. Whether it be a brief cameo or a large supporting role Bernard soon became a familiar face in the popular franchise. No matter what role he played he was always known for the ‘little guy, big mouth’ attitude that audiences loved. (He stood at 4’10.) Being in these films was also wonderful for him in terms of his personal life for he got to work with his sons Leo and David Gorcey (also a Bowery boy) on a daily basis.


Sadly, all happy tales to tend to come to an abrupt and unforeseen ending. On August 31, 1955 Bernard made the biggest mistake of his life that not only ended his film and stage career but his time with his family. He turned down La Brea in Los Angeles (a one way road) and came head on with a bus. Just like that movie goers, vaudeville, and Broadway audiences alike lost one of their beloved performers. Now if audiences were sad, one can only imagine how the studio felt. . .how the Bowery Boys felt. . .and how the Gorceys felt. Matter of the fact this was something that no one knew at the time but this tragic event would take Leo down further than he even expected. For Leo life went on as it always will, he continued to run his studio, make hit films, and take care of his family. Deep down though the absence of his father who was his more than his on screen partner but as well as his off screen best friend continued to affect him no matter how much time went on. He began to drink outside of social events and late night sedatives. One thing led to another over the next few years he went through several divorces, his off screen friendship with his on screen partner Huntz Hall was estranged over media rights and spotlight wishes, and even worse the sweetest Bowery Boy and cherished friend Bobby Jordan passed away. Cause of death was complications due to alcoholism. At this point he had given up hope of putting the bottle down. Everyone who knew Leo could tell you that he was one of the strongest people they had ever met. . .and yet he was loosing this battle. Though he wasn’t ever going to give up (and he never did) he was in fact loosing the battle.


He sold the studio and moved his family out to the country in hopes to find a more peaceful lifestyle. When asked about this drastic decision he simply replied while always keeping his sense of humor in tact and with a slight chuckle,

The  cows don’t lie to me out here. Friends lie, producers lie, wives lie, but the cows don’t lie.”


Unfortunately like all great comedians a sense of humor covers up the pain burning on the inside. His father was still gone, his memory was still there, and the drinking continued. When the pain from the absence of Bernard went away the drinking would stop.


The pain never went away.

The drinking never stopped.

The day before Leos 52nd Birthday his liver gave out.

That’s when the pain finally went away.

For that day, June 2 1969, Leo was reunited with his father.


David Gorcey the surviving Gorcey of the Bowery Boys founded a halfway house to help recovering alcoholics in memoriam of his big brother.


On August 31st 1955 Bernard Gorcey was in an accident that ended his life. It also took the life of his son Leo even though he wasn’t in the car with him. He died years later after suffering for so long. This accident killed both the father and the son of one of History’s greatest comedy teams.


Bobby Jordan is 2 from the left.

Rest In Peace

Bernard Gorcey

January 9, 1886 – September 11, 1955

Leo Bernard Gorcey

June 3, 1917- June 2, 1969

Mother of Tara by Scarlett O’Hara


               In my mind it was only yesterday when I went running through the fog calling for him to come back to me, as I had dreamt years before. He never did return though. Yes its true I did finally see him at our home as he packed his bags for his trip back to Charleston. Odd because we spoke and cried over many things yet I cant remember the actual words. Then I watched him dissapear into the fog once again. Everything is silent in my memory of that day seven years ago except for one sentence.

‘Take care of my son for me, as you did once before.’

Mel’s dying words repeat in my head every evening as the dusk blends with the nightfall. Now its time to go out to the porch to see where that boy is as its almost time for supper. There he is, Mels precious boy reading under the largest tree in all of Tara. Its always the same tree yet always a differeng book. Oh Mel how I wish you could see him today. There is so much of you in him. The easy smile, the hint of yellow in the iris of his right eye, and the heavenly heart. Its all you, Mel, its all you. At so many times throughout the day I long to trade places with you. I pray every night that youre loving my blue eyed girl as much as I wish I could love her.

My Bonnie…my sweet Bonnie, I never deserved her to begin with. So it seems only natural that she was taken from me much sooner than a mother and child should ever be parted. Yet Mel, you were perfect and you were also parted with your child. Strange to me still this day that you died and I lived. Yet you were good and I bad. I must stop thinking about who lived and who died, who is good, and who is bad. Ill think about that tomorrow for tomorrow is another day. Right now I must get this boy of hers inside before supper gets cold.

           The moment I step further onto the porch the evening breeze pulls apart my perfect bun into an imperfect mess.

‘Fidely dee.’

Its no matter for I have no one to impress upon at this hour.


My heart stops as I squint my eyes at the tree at the top of the hill. Where is he? He was there only s moment ago. Panic runs through my body as I rush up the hill. I feel as if Im not getting there fast enough so I lift ny dress as high as I can so I can sprint if need be. Where could he have gone?!

Arriving to the top of the hill he emerges from behind the tree with a small kitten in his arms. Casually he meets me at the edge at the hill where the shadow of the tree ends.

‘Aunt Scarlett, Im so happy youve come. Look what Ive found. Isnt she sweet? She holds onto me as if I were her mother. Perhaps when father returns from his trip he will allow me to adopt her!’ He exclaims with joy.

The young kitten grasps on his strong fingers with love.

‘How she ever made it on her own up here at her size is baffling to me. Its appears that shes on her own. How sad.’

He cuddles her closer to his chest as he looks around for the rest of her family. As he continues to look in every direction except for my own Im hoping that he can pick up on my negative vibe. How dare he wander off out of my sight, he knows better. My right fist tightens in preparation to remind him to never let this happen again. This fist is supposed to swing at him but I force myself to keep my arm at my side.

‘The hour grows late and itll be too dark soon to go looking for her family Im afraid. Come now Aunt Scarlett lets enjoy supper with our new friend!’

There he goes walking down that hill, cradling that feline, acting as if he had done nothing wrong. I had a mind to straighten him out but I cant. For i remember every time I become angry with him I think of how Mel could easily become angered with my child in heaven. Mel, unlike myself, could never have a temper for her heart is made of gold and has no room for anything ugly in her soul. My Bonnie however is much like her mama and has a temper especially when she doesnt get her way. I didnt have her long enough on this green earth to teach her how to calm her temper. Thank the Lord that she didnt spend enough time with me to adopt any of my other ways of life as deceitful and selfish I can be. Even I can admit that.

‘Aunt Scarlett, make haste or Mami is going to start her holerin.’ He calls back just before he reaches the house.

That boy is not my son but quite unfortunately he already bares many of my traits. My anger dissolves but where I had clinches my nails into my first begins to bleed softly. My scarf had become unraveled on my way up this wretched hill. I turn around, rewrap my scarf over my chest, and begin the hike to the house.

‘Oh my…’

Standing here at this spot at the edge of the incline makes everything that once seemed hard, comfortably easy. In the sky above this house of mine, is where the dusk runs away and the starry night takes its place. I cant help but wonder whats in between the dusk and the starry night. Where the pink, purple, and orange end and the midnight blue begins …is that heaven? Is that where Ma and Pa are taking their long strolls? Is that where Mr. Kennedy is sipping his iced tea? Is that where the fallen soldiers sing their song of victory? Is that where dearest Melanie is summoning my blue eyed Bonnie for supper?

Empty questions for empty answers, empty sky for the empty night, and empty thoughts for the empty mind.