a H.E.A.L.T.H `y trepidation
There they were — standing before me in GRANDIOSE SPLENDOUR. A young and handsome James Garner. A self-confident and breathtaking Carol Burnett. The magnificent and sophisticated Lauren Bacall. Dick Cavett, Glenda Jackson, Henry Gibson. Right before my very eyes.
Robert Altman’s satire Health was filming at the pink palace on St. Petersburg beach. The resplendent Don Cesar hotel was just a stone’s throw from home. It didn’t take long to coerce my best friend into journeying down to this lustrous location. After all, this was a highfalutin’ bombastic locale. It was a hotel for the incredibly rich and now the powerfully famous!
The majestic staircase overlooking the splendid pool was filled to the brim with gawkers. I was overwhelmed with the number of folks that lined the stairs to get a glimpse of the stars. Look out crowd. The locomotive was coming through. I managed to steamroll over the people and nestle my friend and me right smack dab in the center of the stairway. We had the perfect spot to be the top star-gazers. UTOPIA at last!
Lickity split the announcement came…..the finest proclamation I had ever heard. It was clamorous, it was boisterous, it was strong. I feel certain it was an invitation just for me. The verdict was in–Mr. Altman needed two extra’s. WAHOO! Stand aside everyone……nobody and I mean nobody could out speak my speed of sound. This was to be my greatest moment in life – the beginning of a career in film. There I was with my friend……walking along the poolside as an integral part of this soon-to-be infamous movie. I ask you, could life be any better than this? The moon was shining off the beachfront, the lights were rolling beside the pool, the breeze was slightly blowing, and I was on the set. This was about to be my BIG break.
“HEALTH” never made it to the big screen in St. Pete. Several years later while channel surfing I stumbled upon a showing of the illustrious film. There I sat on the edge of my seat. I was finally going to view myself on the big screen. Lo and behold to my utter amazement, my famous stroll around the Pink Palace pool was AWOL. Somehow the most accomplished scene in the movie had been left on the editing floor.
Live life to the fullest and follow your dreams!
In loving memory of my dear friend Janet Jocelyn, May 1994
~Though noone can go back and make a new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end….Carl Bard