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Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Fans' Love Story: Encore -- Part 3

Continuing from Part 1 and Part 2

The cover of Sue Tabashnik's book
The Fans' Love Story: Encore

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The book's Chapter Six is Sue Tabashnik's interview with Maurice Williams, who created the song "Stay".

Here is the interview's opening exchange:
Tabashnik
How did your song "Stay" get up in the movie? How did you gen involved with Dirty Dancing?

Williams
The writer Eleanor Bergstein, fought to get it in there.

Tabashnik
She fought to get "Stay" in the movie?

Williams
Yes, and thought it was fitting for the movie.
I speculate that Williams was misinformed about Bergstein's intentions. In Bergstein's July 1986 script, the soundtrack for that scene was supposed to be "The Duke of Earl", performed by Gene Chandler.

In Scene 35 of the July 1986 script,
the soundtrack played "The Duke of Earl" 

We do not know why "The Duke of Earl" was replaced by "Stay" in the final movie.

Maybe after the decision was made not to use "The Duke of Earl", Bergstein then fought to get "Stay" into the movie as her second choice.

Williams says in the interview that he and Bergstein met at a ceremony for the platinum album of the movie's soundtrack. So, they met in about 1994, more than six years after the movie was released. On that occasion ....
... she came down, and we talked. We talked forever. She's a nice lady, and she told me all these things ...
Of course, she did not tell him that "Stay" was not her first song choice for that scene.

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The book's Chapter Seven is Tabashnik's interview with Jackie Horner, a professional dance instructor whom Bergstein interviewed while she was developing her screenplay. Horner is said to be the model for the movie's character Penny Johnson.

I have written about Tabashnik's interview of Horner already in a previous blog article titled Penny Johnson was based on Jackie Horner, which I published on May 30, 2017. When I read the interview again now, I notice three aspects that are new to me.

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The first new aspect is that Horner mentions that four other "Catskill movies" -- aside from Dirty Dancing -- have been made.

* The 1999 movie A Walk on the Moon. I have seen and enjoyed this movie a couple of times, and I have intended for a long time to write an article about it for this blog.

* The 1987 movie Sweet Lorraine. I was not aware of this movie until Horner mentioned it.

* Horner does not name the other two movies, but I think the third must be the 1974 movie The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, about which I wrote an article for this blog in December 2017.

* I have no idea what the fourth movie was in Horner's mind.



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Another aspect in the interview of Horner that was new to me was that because the resorts' largely Jewish clientele observed Sabbath on Friday night and on Saturday, there was little activity during that periods of the week. Therefore, the non-observant employees scheduled Friday nights for their own parties.

In particular, the non-observant employees celebrated a so-called "champagne hour" every Friday evening.
We had a champagne hour that went on at approximately 9:30. All the [dance] teachers -- whether there were six in the winter or ten in the summer -- would open with a number, all together -- a big number with all of us. Then we did individual numbers, and then we had a middle number.

What we did is, each one of the dancers -- let's say  here were five males and five females -- each took one from the audience. I took a man, and another dance teacher -- the male -- wold take a woman, and each one wold do a different dance. And then those dances at the end were graded by three judges on the stage.
Horner goes on to explain that the judges of these dance contests were recruited from among the hotel's celebrity guests -- for example, Cliff Robertson, Jayne Mansfield, Shelley Winters and Lucille Ball.

In the movie Dirty Dancing, this Friday consideration might be relevant in a couple of scenes.
* On the evening of Friday, August 23, only a few guests (including Baby and her parents) are dancing in the gazebo.

* On the evening of Friday, August 30, Baby and Lisa are lounging and chatting in their hotel bedroom. Apparently, they are not involved in any recreational activities during that evening.
Apparently, the Houseman family did not observe the Sabbath strictly, but only a few recreational activities were conducted by the resort during the Sabbath.

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A third aspect that Horner mentioned in her interview was that only the hotel's dance teachers and managers were allowed to mingle with the guests.
No other staff were permitted anywhere. They couldn't even walk up toward the dining room. The band had to go through the kitchen below. They had to go through the hallways. No staff could be seen at the bar. I don't care how you were dressed. You were not allowed in the inner part of the hotel.
This strict restriction raises the question of how the restaurant staff's Jewish college boys were supposed to romance the Jewish girl guests.

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Tabashnik's book can be ordered from various booksellers, including directly from its publisher, Passion Spirit Dreams Press.

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I will continue my review of the book in Part 4.

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