Thursday, January 5, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part XCIII

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

My dear friend, Katia was giving a cocktail party.
Katia is like a sister to me and still calls me her "brother!"

This characterization goes all the way back to our UCLA days when, learning coincidentally that Paul Bartel was a friend of someone I knew from Fresno High School, I had an idea for a prank!

Katia.
Our mutual friend Cliff had married a young woman from Montclair, New Jersey (Paul's hometown), and she'd gone to school and kept in touch with Paul.

I suggested to Paul that he casually stop by Katia and her husband Daniel's apartment and I'd be there as Katia's "brother" from France.

Cliff would be startled seeing "someone from France" who looked so much like someone he'd known back in Fresno, California and finally, after all the confusion would subside ... SURPRISE! I'd admit the deception and hilarity would ensue!

BUT, Cliff didn't appear to notice anything and I, not yet being able to even speak French, was forced to sit in embarrassed silence — the ridiculousness of the ruse becoming embarrassingly obvious to me. After this short and tense visit, Paul led them out and Katia and I were left wondering!

I never saw Cliff again and Paul told me finally that he'd tipped them off thinking it would double the fun if Cliff didn't recognize me! It didn't double the fun — it was painful and humiliatingly pointless.

But Katia and I believed it and to this day we are "brother and sister!"

So Katia was living in New York and was giving a cocktail party in her apartment on the Upper East Side.
The drawing above appears to indicate that I'd had a few drinks there!

After the guests had gone, a few of us piled into a cab and went down to Max's Kansas City. It was becoming a ritualistic habit!
There was always something interesting to see although on a night like this, coming from an elegant Upper East Side party, we were probably the anomalous attraction that night!
The next day I met Paul and his aunt Connie for lunch at The Blue Ribbon Restaurant, a German restaurant on West 44th Street near Times Square. Connie, having been the editor of GLAMOUR magazine and now doing HAIR TRENDS was always interested in whatever trendy spot was worth knowing about so I regaled her with stories about Max's and the previous evening.
Then Paul and I visited Pattie and Philip, being married now, at the apartment they shared.
Pattie was now in HELLO DOLLY with Betty Grable as Dolly Levi.
Pattie even had her name on the marquee — not "up in lights" but impressively featured!
The next day I was with my cousin Adrienne Albert visiting her husband John McClure at Columbia Records in "Blackrock," the CBS Building. I was thinking it couldn't hurt to be seen there so I was delivering in person the artwork I'd done for an LP of Julie Andrews in "CINDERELLA" — reminding the Art Department that I was available for more work!
My first Columbia LP cover.
Buddy Felio had invited me to a new club room at the restaurant, Soerabaja. Steve Jones, the owner and host, had been an extra in the Plaza Hotel sequence of our movie, THE SECRET CINEMA.

This shot has the reverse with "Dick"/Philip and "Mr. Troppogrosso"/Buddy at the other background table.
He had come with a date and a bottle of scotch and since he and the young woman didn't have to be anywhere the following day, we placed them at the next table for the medium shots of "Jane" and her mother.

All the other "guest extras" were allowed to leave and we prepared to shoot late into the night!

Since the scene was not shot in sequence, I always smile when watching Steve and his date onscreen at the adjoining background table; they are speaking seriously and then in the next scene, shot when the scotch had kicked in, they're laughing drunkenly but then, the next scene they're serious and sober again! It continues like that: serious, drunk, serious, drunk!
So I went to Soerabaja with Bobby Waddell.
Contrasting with all the Puccis and Guccis was this young woman — not quite Downtown but not really Uptown!
A few days later, my friend Vick Vance arrived from Paris and I invited some friends to meet him. He was a well known journalist for PARIS MATCH and it was he who'd told me at the Cafe Flore in 1963 as he ran upstairs for the phones that Kennedy had just been assassinated!
My friend Gary Van Kirk had been invited and was thinking of moving to Paris.
On Sunday, Barre Dennen and I stopped by Philip and Pattie's apartment.
And later, met Bob Stone and his wife at P.J. Clarke's.
Lisa had been designing and making paper dresses and HARPER'S BAZAAR had commissioned her to make a clear (transparent) plastic dress which was featured on the cover. We were congratulating her and she said, "unfortunately, just because you have the cover of BAZAAR it doesn't mean they leave a bag of money at your front door!"

Words to live by!
The next day I took Amy Vane to lunch back at Clarke's to meet my UCLA fraternity brother Jerry Proctor and Jim Butler of ABC-TV for whom I'd been doing illustrations for newspaper supplements. Jim invited Amy out and they had a few dates — but nothing serious.
Afterwards I met another friend from Paris, novelist and TV writer Aubrey Goodman, and we went to the Oak Room for drinks.
I'd been doing a series of illustrations also for BMA, a company way downtown, and it was there that I became friendly with Rita Gardner, a woman with an outsize personality wearing colors just this side of fluorescent, thick, long false eyelashes and hair that was Lucille Ball Red! It was perfect for her personality!
She had a marvelous sense of humor and my business visits always became social calls!
Finally tearing myself away, I took the subway home to get some work done. People wondered why I worked on deadlines all night long. The way the days were filled it was the only time I could get anything done!
Contact Bob here.
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