Tuesday, October 30, 2012


This Friday marks the seventh year of Rick’s passing. I didn’t get to say the things I would like to have said at his memorial service. In fact, I couldn’t say anything at all. Now that time has passed and I have a blog, I’d like to use it as a forum to pay tribute in a way I was unable to at that time.
            Rick was more than my husband. He was my partner, my soul mate, my cheerleader, and my best friend.  Those who had the good fortune of knowing him will attest to the fact that although he could, at times, drive you crazy, you had to love him and his ‘eccentricities’ (he was so efficient and organized he was sometimes referred to as Mr. Quick-Quick and trash cans were emptied before they were half filled). And he had a nick-name for everyone.
            He was said to have been a musical prodigy at a young age, his first instrument being the trumpet. (Later, he taught himself to play piano by listening to his sister, Robyn, practice her lessons).  In his musical career, he traveled the country with a band called Wonder and was a magnet for investors who believed enough in his talent to back him when he performed in concerts and put out his own recordings. He played various clubs in the Los Angeles area, performed at weddings, and was, with The Rick Rhodes
Band, the house band at Mountaingate Country Club here in L.A.
            I introduced him to the world of soaps when I was writing for As The World Turns; he turned to the TV one day and asked who wrote the music for ‘this junk”.  He worked his way onto the staff of the show, Santa Barbara (sitting in for no pay at the beginning as he learned what was to be expected of him).  He composed music for other television shows as well (including the theme for Guiding Light) Throughout the years, Rick earned 6 Emmy awards and was nominated 24 times. He was also a pioneer in the ‘music library’ business.  Not long ago, ASCAP informed me that Rick was so prolific he had well over a thousand pieces of music registered with them.
            It was Rick who mentored me when I  first wrote lyrics (I still recall his crumpling my first efforts and telling me it was ‘a good start’) and eventually two songs we co-wrote were nominated for Emmy awards. I think some of his best music was that written for a musical we worked on together called UG – A CAVEMAN MUSICAL.
            Rick was more than merely talented; he was very entrepreneurial and had the knack of getting those inclined to say no to say yes.  He was fiercely loyal and trustworthy; he had integrity and would be hurt and dismayed when he found these qualities lacking in others.  His generosity extended not only to me and to his children but to friends and strangers as well. He gave financial and emotional support to many who needed it. One of his proudest contributions was being on the ground floor of the creation of C.L.U.’s Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival, something that is now entering its twelfth year.  He also took great pride in starting Oak Park High School’s drama department, which flourished under his leadership. After his passing, I received numerous letters, some from people I’d never met. They’d begin “You don’t know me but your husband was responsible for giving me my first break in my career”.
            Rick was not perfect.  Who among us are?  But he left an indelible mark on those he met. He cherished his kids and played a huge part in their lives. So much so that I think perhaps my children will have more vivid memories of their father than those whose fathers may have been physically in their lives, but emotionally absent.
            I still find it difficult to listen to his music, but one day I hope that I’ll be able to do so. In the meantime, he remains with me in the anecdotes I still hear told by friends, in the humor and expressions I hear echoed by my daughter, Allie, and in the voice I hear when my son Adam sings, The Wanderer.
            In fact, Rick’s legacy lives on not only in his music, but  in his children as well. He will live in my heart always.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I was reflecting recently on the demise of the world’s fair.  World’s fairs were once held as regularly as the International Olympics and were looked forward to with the same anticipation.
            The only world’s fair I ever attended was the one held in New York in 1964/1965.  The site was Flushing Meadows, New York and it was one of the largest world’s fairs ever to be held in the United States. (The 1939 world’s fair was also held in New York).
            The theme of the 1964/65 fair was "Peace Through Understanding", dedicated to "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe".  This was somewhat ironic since the fair was to come into conflict with the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), the international body headquartered in Paris that sanctions world's fairs: BIE rules stated that an international exposition could run for one six-month period only, and no rent could be charged to exhibitors. (In order to make a profit, it was decided that the fair had to run two years). Because of this controversy, many European nations, Canada, Australia, and the Soviet Union did not have an exhibit at the fair.
            Controversy aside, the fair was an incredible and most memorable experience. Just ask any baby boomer fortunate enough to be living in or visiting the New York area at the time. I was pretty young, but I have vivid memories of the fair. I confess, though, I had forgotten about several of the exhibits. Some things I remembered, some I had to be reminded of.

.  The 12-story high, stainless-steel model of the earth called the Unisphere.
.  Getting off the subway station and seeing the fair to the right and Shea Stadium to the left.
.  My first taste of Belgium waffles.
.  My first viewing of “La Pieta” (I saw this again years later when visiting the Vatican).
.  The Clairol Pavillion: (one of my favorites) Women only were permitted in this exhibit. A round glass structure called the “Clairol Color Carousel” had 40 private booths which rotated on a slowly circling turntable. “During a six minute ride in one of the compartments, each of our visitors will be given a complete hair-coloring analysis. Special devices on the Carousel’s steps will show “the ladies” how they would look in various hair shades and styles”.
.  "Dinoland", sponsored by Sinclair Oil, featured life-size replicas of nine different dinosaurs.
.  Futurama: a show in which visitors, seated in moving chairs, glided past elaborately detailed miniature 3D model scenery showing what life might be like in the "near-future"
.  IBM ran a program to look up what happened on a particular date that a person wrote down—for many visitors, this was their first hands-on interaction with a computer.

            The fair also is remembered as the venue Walt Disney used to design and perfect his system of "Audio-Animatronics", in which a combination of electromechanical actuators and computers controls the movement of lifelike robots to act out scenes. (From this came the idea for Ira Levin’s “Stepford Wives”.)
            Some Disney exhibits:
.  At the Illinois pavilion, a lifelike President Abraham Lincoln, recited his famous speeches in "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln".
.  In "Pepsi Presents Walt Disney's 'It's a small world' - a Salute to UNICEF and the World's Children" at the Pepsi pavilion, animated dolls and animals frolicked in a spirit of international unity accompanying a boat ride around the world. The song was written by the Sherman Brothers.
            (Both of these exhibits would eventually find their way to Disneyland).
            So why no world’s fair any longer?
            The world’s fair presented visions of the distant future: electronic gizmos and appliances that might some day become reality.
            Nowadays, the speed at which one technology replaces another is so great that an exhibit would become obsolete before it opened.
            Those who have visited the New York World’s Fair should consider themselves lucky to have done so.