October 31— my favorite holiday. With the exception of October 17 — the birthday of Edward Montgomery Clift. My favorite actor. And key member of an elite crew of New York theater folk who so generously added to the warm summer glow of our town.
When they weren’t careening down Elizabeth Taylor’s tree-lined, luge-course-of-a-driveway.
This may — or may not — end up being my “Halloween” Our Town contribution. It all depends on the incomprehensibly complex, flowcharty thing that decides where and when the jigsaw pieces that make up this award-winning, historically significant local newspaper finally land.
I’m tapped out just trying to imagine all that behind-the-scenery stuff whirring about — deciding my destination — even as I write this.
So, I’ve got to cover my bases. Overthink the flowcharty thing. Which is why my spread is so vast. Border line lunacy, really. Between trick-or-treat. And a freakishly handsome, dangerously conflicted actor/genius.
Famous for fluffy, sunny quotes like these:
“The sadness of our existence should not leave us blunted, on the contrary — how to remain thin-skinned, vulnerable and stay alive?”
“The closer we come to the negative, to death, the more we blossom.”
“Look, if you’re playing Romeo and your Juliet is a pig, you find something you can love about pigs!”
See? That last one literally screams costume parade. Or after party. And just think of all the timeless trivia you are being offered — relating to both Hollywood and The Hamptons — all for $1.00.
Seriously people! A buck? That’s still significantly less than the price of a combo-pack of Extra Strength ROLAIDS® Plus Gas Relief and Unisom.®
Now on display at Starbucks® checkout counters Nationwide.
Though technically not a recognized-by-the-masses, Hallmarked-for-profit holiday — October 17 is nonetheless celebrated. (Who am I kidding? The last time I celebrated anything — it was torn from my gnarled grasp within 24 hours).
And I have no intention of falling for that one again.
On October 17, my dog might get an extra stroll around the East Hampton Springs Dog Park. And I may actually treat my cat to a meal. Or two.
Alright. Put those once clear, beveled — now scratched and cloudy Bic ballpoints down people. With me as their full-time butler, both my dog and my cat live enchanted lives. There’s absolutely no need to fire off a letter. Unless you have a problem with a neglected pothole or something. Then, by all means start posting away.
October 17, wait — just to spell that last comment out for you marks the polar opposite of the “Weekend of Unspeakably Tragic Loss.” When, in early April…or late January —1952 — Clift turned down director George Cukor’s offer to inhabit the character of Norman Maine in the infamous remake of “A Star is Born.” qTwo weeks before filming was to begin.
Look, I’ve been to MC’s gravesite at the Quaker Cemetery in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. I’ve earned the right to fabricate a date or two.
So, if Happy Halloween is in order — here are two more chilling quotes from Mr. Clift for you to chew on:
“Failure and its accompanying misery is for the artist his most vital source of creative energy.”
“The only line that’s wrong in Shakespeare is ‘holding a mirror up to nature.’ You hold a magnifying glass up to nature. As an actor you just enlarge it enough so that your audience can identify with the situation. If it were a mirror, we would have no art.”
And if Halloween has come and gone by the time you read this — feel free to bring this up at your next business function. It is a sure thing for a quick laugh:
Upon being asked if he wanted to see one of his movies on TV, Montgomery Clift’s reported last words were: “Absolutely not!”