Schulenberg’s Page: The Times They Were a-Changin’

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May, 1974. Things were changing and would continue to change! The small social rules that were modified during the ’60s continued to be modified and were ultimately discarded as we moved on!

President Nixon had evidently broken rules so since we were living in a democracy, why couldn’t we? So we did! And once we did we just kept going!

It appeared to be an action whose time had come!

If it’s true that movies have an influence on our lives possibly Roman Holiday, the 1953 film starring aristocratic Audrey Hepburn as a princess and Gregory Peck as a journalist, had a popular idea in it.  In the film, Hepburn is a princess bored and annoyed with the controls involved with being a royal.

She is on a state visit to Rome and slips away to have a bit of freedom where she meets Peck, who, without her knowing, recognizes her and doesn’t let her know what he does for a living. He’s hoping for an exclusive story. To sum it up (spoiler alert) they have a major flirtation, a minor romance (it’s 1953) and she, sadder but wiser with a little experience, goes back to her princessing!

Three years later, Grace Kelly, Hollywood’s other “aristocrat” became a real one, a princess, by marrying Prince Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi, aka Rainier III.

They had a son, Prince Albert II and two daughters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie, who appears to have been a bit of an enfant terrible, a wild child!

To move forward beyond movie inspiration, Princess Stephanie had an affair and two children with her bodyguard, then married him for a year before divorcing him in 1996. And then in 1998, she had another child with an unnamed father. A few years later she began an affair with an elephant trainer and with her three children moved into his circus caravan. It soon ended and she married a Portuguese acrobat from the circus ensemble. But it also only lasted a year.

Mama Kelly might have raised an eyebrow or two.

The times were indeed changing! Now today that old world seems remarkably quaint and old fashioned.

But life went on and I went about my business — as usual.

I was meeting my friend, Miles Kreuger, whom I’d known since my first days in Manhattan.  He is a collector of American musical memorabilia with a collection so vast and all encompassing that he established The Institute of the American Musical.  He is known as “the foremost expert on the American musical” and later moved with his collections to Los Angeles where he and the Institute occupy the whole of a large two-family duplex from the late ’20s.

Miles was always fascinating with an encyclopedic knowledge of things other than musical subjects like …

Years ago, Treva Silverman and I thought up a Monopoly-type game called “Periphery” about being in and around Show Biz!  Streisand was just beginning to be noticed for her evenings at The Bon Soir in Greenwich Village and we were all intent on having some kind of big-time career!

Treva Silverman back in the day.

Our group of friends got together to initiate our game at my apartment on Gramercy Park since I had a large living room — not that we needed a lot of space.

It was an exciting time in the early days of the Kennedy administration with new possibilities and unusual things happening every day. Years later Treva would move to Los Angeles and write The Mary Tyler Moore Show becoming the first woman to earn an Emmy without a male co-writer!

Treva was winning “Periphery” and Barre Dennen and Miles Kreuger were both losing.

David Shire would go on to write musicals, music scores for films and popular songs even winning an Academy Award for best song of 1979, the theme song from the film, Norma Rae. Interesting, he was Barbra’s accompanist for several years.

New York felt like a small town during those days.

Rachael Waters came to Manhattan from Los Angeles, too.  She was still considering moving east but wasn’t sure.

Bill Rilling and I took her to Ruskay’s as there was nothing like it in L.A. and I thought that might sweeten the deal for her making for an easier decision.

Mirrored tables with candlelight and a piano tinkling Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and George Gershwin? If that didn’t do it nothing would!

One last word: stay safe, become a bit of a hermit and stay isolated. There are wonderful old movies to watch — even on YouTube. Also old fun television shows like Carol Burnett. Do you have a book you haven’t had time to read? Now’s the time!


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