Friday, April 5, 2013



Friday, April 5, 2013
by Liz Smith

"I'M not a film fanatic. If I never saw another movie in my life, it wouldn’t bother me. Acting is what I do to make money, but it’s certainly not my life-style. Compared to world affairs, to peace conferences, making a movie is absolutely nothing!”

Who said this? Do you give up? It was none other than Marlon Brando, one of the now long gone true kings of film-making.

Reading The Hollywood Reporter, dated April 12, makes one wonder at Brando’s blatant disregard for the invention of film. He was already feted as being perhaps the greatest actor on the American stage, but Hollywood movies made him internationally known.

And reading the currently hot Reporter this week, it seems life its own self, is totally concerned with “film” — new and old movies, documentaries, movies for TV, real live TV which is “saved” on some kind of film or apparatus, reality TV, competitions of all kinds from drama to comedy to sports, and huge on-going lawsuits concerning Internet rights.

Big money competing for more control to offer and own entertainment that people can personally watch on machines, or hand-held gizmos, or via your special eyeglasses!
FOR instance, thousands are geared for the return of Matthew Weiner’s “Mad Men” this Sunday at 9 in a two-hour premiere on AMC. Mr. Weiner is reported as having hired Michele Robertson, who oversaw the Oscar-winner-of-best-movie for “Argo,” in order to make sure he scores once again for “Mad Men.”

(His four-times winning Emmy streak was beaten out by “Homeland” and Mr. Weiner wants to win big again before his “advertising” drama says ta-ta.)

There is plenty being said about his star Jon Hamm before we even see the show start up again. Linda Stasi of The Post writes that the character of Don Draper is “A big drunk, huge bore and louse to everyone who loves him ... every woman’s nightmare of a husband and a man ... selfish, self-involved and totally humorless ... a giant pain-in-the-ass who hates himself while thinking he’s better than everyone else ... he’s a guy whose life is devoted to making detergent look sexy.” Irresistible? Right.

The Reporter notes Weiner hasn’t lost his touch and is “impressively weaving Don Draper’s past back into the series.” For those who have forgotten how it all began, Draper’s entire life has been a lie. He stole a dead man’s identity in the Korean War and he has been play-acting ever since.
Mary Wells in her office.
MY GOOD friend Mary Wells Lawrence who actually lived the surprising (for a woman) advertising life with Wells, Rich, Greene back in the day when mere females had a hard time getting anywhere, is the first person I ever talked to about “Mad Men.” I told her that such a show was coming and she’d be fascinated.

Mary finally saw “Mad Men” and seems to have been appalled by its inaccuracies and ruthlessness. She said, “All that smoking, drinking and sex! We were too busy working so hard to think much about anything like that!” I found this remark sweetly touching.

Although Mary invented the dramatic “I Love New York” campaign — among many other well-remembered ads — Mary has had her real triumphs in real estate on the island of Mustique and on the Riviera. She now does good works and enlivens the lives of the needy world-wide. She is a co-founder of Wowowow and Pure Wow on the Internet.

This very year on Nov. 12th Mary Wells will be made into a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, at a re-creation of Truman Capote’s black and white ball at The Plaza Hotel.
Mary Wells with her daughter Kathryn Bryan.
MICHAEL'S Restaurant causes traffic jams on 55th Street in Manhattan almost every noon. This so-called media-VIP café was the scene of the Literacy Partners cocktail party kick-off this week, with Michael himself flying in from his famous Santa Monica eatery of the same name to give the event a touch of class. Now that he has changed and improved menus on both coasts, Michael's is more popular than ever, when the Literacy crowd departed the other eve, it was already packed for dinner.

Literacy Partners, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is a great charity, attempting to teach thousands of adult New Yorkers how to read and write. It happens May 1st at Cipriani 42 Street. So far we have Bill O’Reilly as one of our readers. (By the end of this year O’Reilly will have three books — Lincoln, JFK and Jesus — on the best-seller list.) We will also have two Pulitzer Prize readers in Jon Meacham, of Thomas Jefferson fame, plus the wonderful Elizabeth Strout whose new fiction “The Burgess Boys” is the talk of people from Maine to NYC and points west.
Alina Cho, Liz Smith, and Jacqueline Weld Drake. Lesley Stahl and Elizabeth Peabody.
Our honorees are Tatiana von Furstenberg (child of the fabled Diane and step-child of Barry Diller) and suspense writer Patricia Cornwell, who will have three tables cheering on her fight against over-anxious author-managers. This night is turning into a really hot ticket.

The gang at Michael's included the pert Alina Cho of CNN, 60 Minutes ace Lesley Stahl, PR expert Susan Magrino, novelist champ Barbara Taylor Bradford, singer Yanna Avis who opens at the Carlyle Hotel on May 9 and 10 and also May 16-17th, John Dobkin of the Nat’l Academy of Design and the Historic Hudson Valley, fashion’s Mary McFadden, who is off to Bhutan near Nepal and China, our Literacy chiefs Mark Jackson, a mover-shaker at Dow Jones, and our new managers in charge of everything Anthony Tassi and Mary Vinton, man-about-the-wide world Peter Brown, who began his life with The Beatles, philanthropist Elizabeth Peabody.
Mark H. Jackson, Robert Bradford, and Barbara Taylor Bradford.
And let’s not forget Jackie Weld Drake of NYC and Palm Beach who will take home “The Lizzie Award” that very night of May 1. (Call Buckley-Hall at 212-573-6933 if you’d like to help in this effort and have some fun.
William Bernhard, Iris Love, and Mary McFadden. Peter Brown and Ted Hartley.
Jacqueline Weld Drake, Mark H. Jackson, and Suydan Lansing
Yanna Avis, Debbie Bancroft, and Felicia Taylor.

Contact Liz Smith here.

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