Man Metaphorically Punched In The Gut For Singing In The Rain

stomach punchIt was a rough night at The House on the Hill, Modern Philosophers, which has led to my being out on the porch, writing, and watching the pouring rain at 6AM.

After my body had its hat handed to it by my evening run, my heart took a serious punch to the gut during a phone call that I had hoped would go so much better.  As a result, I spent most of the night tossing and turning, having horrible dreams, and waking up at 5AM with serious stomach pains.

Clearly, that was some punch I took to the stomach…

Alas, my pain is your gain and I have found the silver lining to it all.  Since I can’t get back to sleep (the nightmares are just waiting for me!), I thought I’d come outside and write a Friday morning post.  The rain is an added bonus as the sound of it usually soothes me.

singingI figured I’d grab Doc Brown’s DeLorean and travel back to my NYU days for a story.  Settle in, Modern Philosophers, as this tale involves celebrities, TV, and Yoo-hoo!

I got my first paying writing job at 19.  I was going to NYU and interning at Chauncey Street Productions.  The company sold a game show idea to AMC (yes, I used to write for the channel that now brings us “The Walking Dead”!) and I was tasked with coming up with the sample shows that were used to convince the channel that the show would be a hit.

Once they bought the idea, and “The Movie Masters” went into production, we moved into a production office near the studio where the show would be shot.  It was a game show about movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, which was what AMC aired at the time, long before the Zombies, drug dealers, and ad men arrived to change the channel’s content.

I spent most of my days sprawled out on a couch, watching and researching old movies, and coming up with trivia questions.  To fuel my creative fire, my boss kept a case of Yoo-Hoo in the fridge and I was never without one either in my hand or nearby (I clearly hadn’t developed my Snapple addiction yet).

singnig stageThe host of the show was the legendary Gene Rayburn, and the celebrity panel was made up of Clive Barnes, Kitty Carlisle-Hart and Peggy Cass.  It was pretty cool for a teenage Film Major to get to hobnob with such legends.

The show’s premise was simple: there was a still from a classic movie hidden beneath the tiles on the board.  The celebrities were asked the trivia questions that I’d written, and if they answered correctly, that tile was removed from the board to reveal a portion of the photo.  The winner was the first one to guess the name of the movie in the photo.

The celebrities played for home viewers, who would be chosen at random from postcards mailed in from the people we hoped would watch the show.  Since there were no fans yet when we shot the early episodes, they played for family members of the production staff.  As luck would have it, my sister was chosen as one of the viewers for the first episode.

Cyd rainI don’t remember which of the legends was playing for my sister, but I remember that celebrity having several shots to guess the puzzle and win her the big prize (I don’t remember what that was, either, but it was cool).  The picture they were trying to identify is at the left.  Would you have known the name of the movie?

To make a rambling, ridiculous story short, my sister did not win the big prize.  Instead, she got the consolation prize, which was the soundtrack to the movie “West Side Story”.

Bummer.  I ended up winning the big prize, though, after this episode.  My boss called me into his office later in the week to watch the screening tape, and as the credits rolled, I saw that I was listed as a Writer, rather than as the lowly NYU Intern that I was.

That was pretty cool.  19, drunk on Yoo-Hoo, and a Writing credit under my belt (I hadn’t started wearing togas yet, so I still had a belt).

Movie MasterThe rain is really coming down hard now, my story is done, but my tummy still hurts.  Hopefully, this ride in the Time Machine did something for you.

Look, I managed to find a photo from the show.  What do you think?

I’m sure my heart will recover, and that I’ll be up on lampposts singing in the rain again, but for now, I’m going to be a little blue, a little tired, and wearing a toga of mourning.

In case you haven’t guessed by now, that photo that could’ve won my sister the big prize was a still from “Singing in the Rain”…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Love, Philosophy, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Man Metaphorically Punched In The Gut For Singing In The Rain

  1. grannyK says:

    I hate bad nights! It always spills into the next day, too. I did enjoy the story. I hope things get resolved fast and life gets better again.

  2. LucyJartz says:

    Tough blow. I like your writing. The movie classics game sounds interesting.

  3. Susan Sassi says:

    Hang in there my friend. Hold onto your toga, this too shall pass *hugs

  4. I wouldn’t have won the big prize, because I’ve never watched Singing in the Rain. Protect your abdomen from body blows, Rock. Get your arms up! You’re gonna eat lightning, and you’re gonna crap thunder!

    • Austin says:

      You’ve never watched Singing in the Rain? Go rent that movie. You have to. Mickey would’ve wanted you to. Apollo Creed definitely watched it…that’s where he learned all his moves…

  5. Brilliant use of old game show imagery to out the old writers out here attempting to blend in with the youthful exuberance of the younger scribes. You my good man have forced me to admit a childhood crush on Peggy Cass that extended to The Hathaways. Ah how we long for the good old days, thanks for a break from the banality of this nine to five world..Time for my afternoon martini. Oh June, where are my slippers?

  6. Whenever I’m blue I throw on an old Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie…their tuxes and glamour gowns pick me right up…(plus Ginger dances just as well as Fred…and she does it BACKWARDS)… Smile, my friend..

  7. nicoleep says:

    I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. Your best move was probably getting up to write. “Sleeping it off” is never really the answer, unless it comes to absorbent booze intake. Writing when we’re down is kind of like pulling the inside out.

    Also…. You know who sings “Singing in the Rain”? Frank. You know who I love? Frank. Your pictures make me happy.

  8. ksbeth says:

    wow, this is really a post with extreme ups and downs. first, let me say that i love the concept of the show, and how exciting for you, especially at 19. kitty carlisle was one of the original cougars too, which i’m sure was not lost on you. as for the gut-punch, it must involve love, as the only thing that can really hit you that hard, it can be so painful and powerful at times. wear your blue toga for a bit, then slowly move back to your rainbow wrap, when you are ready, it will only come with time.

    • Austin says:

      Thank you. I am working on it. Just wrote another blog post about it, which is very good therapy. Kitty was quite the lady, but Gene Rayburn was a dirty old man. Bad Gene!

  9. jaklumen says:

    I read that title, and I thought, “Oh crap! I’ve been guilty of singing ‘Singing In The Rain’, in the rain! I hope I never get punched!”

  10. Pingback: 7 Things To Do in Your Mowing Business When it Rains

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