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Saturday, August 31, 2019

VS Episodes (Episode 3 has been added)

To be continued?

The Fans' Love Story: Encore -- Part 4

Continuing from Part 1Part 2 and Part 3

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


The book's Chapter Eight is Sue Tabashnik's interview of Jim and Karen Myers, who worked, respectively, as the executive chef and the dining-room manager at the Lake Lure resort hotel at Mountain Lake, Virginia, while Dirty Dancing was being filmed in that location.

I will mention only a few aspects of this interview.


The filming there took place in September, which was after the busy summer season. However, the hotel hosted a bridge tournament every September. Therefore, the hotel wrote into the contract with the movie producers that the filming could not interfere with the bridge tournament.

I wonder if one of the movie's card-playing scenes was inspired by the ubiquitous presence of this tournament. Several people -- including Jake Houseman and Max Kellerman -- are playing cards on the lake shore while Penny is demonstrating wigs.

Guests Playing Cards on the Lake's Shore
The other card-playing scene -- where Moe Pressman pulls out his wallet while playing cards -- was already in the July 1986 script.

Moe Pressman playing cards

Filming the scene where Baby saw Penny crying in the kitchen lasted all night. Filming still was going on when Jim Myers came into the kitchen at 4 a.m. to begin preparing the restaurant's breakfast. The movie equipment occupied much of the kitchen space, and the kitchen workers had to be very quiet during filming.

I am surprised that the filming of these kitchen scenes, listed below, lasted so long.
Neil showing Baby food in the refrigerator

Baby sees Penny crying in a corner

Johnny picks up Penny and carries her from the kitchen
It adds up to only a few seconds.

Often Dirty Dancing tourists are allowed to see the movie's kitchen location, and they always want to see where Penny was crying. Sue Tabashnik was photographed on that spot.

Sue Tabashnik crouching down on the spot
where Penny was crying in the kitchen scene
Apparently there had been a table over the spot when the scene was filmed.


Jennifer Grey's famous-actor boyfriend Matthew Broderick stayed at the hotel during much of the filming time. He impressed the Myers as a very nice guy. Jim Myers had a long conversation with him.

Apparently, Jennifer preferred that Matthew not watch while she was acting and being filmed. During those times, therefore, Matthew took the employees' children on fishing trips.

Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey

The scene where Johnny and Baby practiced their lift movement in the lake was filmed in an unrestricted location. Many hotel guests watched. Karen Myers remarked:
… It was cold. I do remember that they had all these makeup tables and different kinds of tables set up on the beach, and as long as the guests did not interfere or come within a certain boundary they were certainly welcome to watch.

But they got kind of bored, I remember, because, as you probably know, with movie-making: it’s stop-start, start-again, retake, retake, retake, retake, lots of waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. The guests were real excited at first, and then they’re like, this is boring.
Of course, the guests did not realize that this boring scene would become famous.


Many of the filming staff were noticeably homosexual, which caused a lot of talk among the local residents of this rural area.


The Myers had lived and worked at the Mountain Lake hotel for six years, and so they knew the location very well. Since the movie was filmed at two locations -- the other was at Lake Lure, North Carolina -- they were amused by the locations switches when they watched the movie.
The first time we saw it in the theater, we didn't know what to expect. ....

It was really fun to go, "Okay, that's Mountain Lake. That's North Carolina. That's Mountain Lake. That's North Carolina."

They turn a corner, and they see Mountain Lake on approaching the corner and they see North Carolina when they went around the corner. That was kind of fun to see.

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


I will continue my review of the book in Part 5.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Miscellaneous Videos - 131

Weirdos Wasting Our Time - 38

VS Episodes

Added on August 31

To be continued?

The 1961 Movie "Susan Slade"

The 1961 movie Susan Slade tells a story about a 17-year-old girl, Susan Slade (played by the actress Connie Stevens), who unintentionally becomes pregnant. She and her boyfriend had intended to marry when they began to engage in sexual intercourse, but he dies in a mountain-climbing accident at about the same time that she discovers she is pregnant.

Susan confides her pregnancy to her mother, Leah Slade (played by the actress Dorothy McGuire), who informs her husband, Susan's father, Roger Slade (played by the actor Lloyd Nolan). Although the pregnancy is discovered very early (in the second month) and although the Slade family is wealthy, abortion is not considered by any of the characters for even one second.

Instead of aborting the pregnancy, the Slade family moves to Guatemala for two years. Mr. Slade works for a mining company that is happy to transfer him to Guatemala immediately.

During the family's two years in Guatemala, Susan gives birth to a son, but Susan's mother Leah pretends that she herself was pregnant and gave birth. Therefore, when the Slade family returns from their two-year stay in Guatemala, everyone who knows the family thinks that Leah is the mother and that Susan is the sister of the baby boy.

Through a series of events that I will not recount here, Susan eventually reveals that she herself is the mother. The movie ends with Susan falling in love with a struggling writer, Hoyt Brecker (played by the actor Troy Donahue).

I am pointing out this 1961 movie in my blog because abortion is NOT considered as an option for dealing with the unintended pregnancy of a 17-year-old girl when marriage is not possible. Her pregnancy must be concealed forever because of the social shame, but she must give birth to the child.


The movie was released in November 1961 -- about 21 months before the Houseman's summer vacation at Kellerman's. In November 1961, Lisa Houseman was about 17 years old -- just like Susan Slade. For sure, Lisa -- and most of her girlfriends -- watched the movie in a movie theater.

Perhaps 15-year-old Baby Houseman watched the movie too.

The movie was a big hit among teenage girls. The Amazon webpage about the movie reports that (on August 30, 2019) 76% of the customers rated the movie five stars and 14% rated it four stars. Having rated the movie five stars, one nostalgic commenter recalls (emphasis added)
This is one of my all time favorite movies as I will never forget back in the 60's what a controversial movie it was. Connie Stevens had an outstanding role! Every teenage girl wanted to see this movie in it's day,

Oh, how times have changed. My parents would never have been as broad-minded as the parents in this movie.

I have shown this movie to both my 24-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son, they both look at me and say "Mom, how many years are ancient".

I just smile! Times were so different back then.

I still enjoy watching this movie and always will. Troy Donahue was one of my all time favorite male actors, sooooo good looking and charming!
Aside from the attractiveness of the movie's two leading actors -- Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue -- the movie was popular among teenage girls because it portrayed a family dealing rather calmly and reasonably with a 17-year-old daughter's unintended, unmarried pregnancy.

Of course, moving to Guatemala and pretending that the teenage girl's mother gave birth to the child was a bizarre solution. Nevertheless, the parents' conversations with their 17-year-old pregnant daughter are charmingly reasonable and intelligent. Every teenage girl would have wanted to have such broad-minded parents.

Finally, the movie presented the possibility that a never-married young mother might end up being loved and married by a man as handsome and adorable as Troy Donahue.


Another reason why Susan Slade was such a popular movie was that it followed the 1959 movie A Summer Place, which likewise had starred Troy Donahue and Dorothy McGuire.

In A Summer Place, Troy Donahue played the son of Dorothy McGuire. Although she is married, she is having an affair with a previous boyfriend, who is the father of a girl played by Sandra Dee. Eventually the Troy character and the Sandra character engage in sexual intercourse, and the Sandra character becomes pregnant.

In 1959, this movie was supposed to be watched only by adults, but of course all the teenagers wanted to watch it too. The movie was notorious.

So, when Susan Slade -- again starring Donaue and McGuire and again featuring an unintended teenage pregnancy -- was released in 1961, all the teenage girls wanted to watch it, especially if they had been too young to watch A Summer Place in 1959.

In neither movie did any character ever express any idea of aborting a pregnancy.


Swayze Family Feud Explodes

The September 9, 2019, issue of the Globe tabloid features an article titled "New Patrick Swayze Family Feud Explodes".

Globe cover, September 9, 2019
The article's left side

The article's right side
Basically, the article says that members of the Swayze family were outraged by some remarks made by his widow Lisa Niemi that were included in the new documentary I Am Patrick Swayze. She said that Patrick Swayze's mother was occasionally violent toward him. In particular, Lisa recounted an incident when Patrick's mother was attacking him in the basement and his father came down and threatened to divorce her unless she stopped.

After the documentary was broadcast, Patrick's brother Don Swayze wrote on social media:
Lisa Niemi is a liar!!!!
This is just beyond hurtful. My poor mother is not alive to defend herself.
Globe reports further:
It [Niemi's remark] has reignited allegations that she faked Patrick's will, which left his family members without a dime!

"Nobody got anything," one member tells Globe. "the family is so upset about Lisa's despicable comments, they're thinking about going to court to challenge the will.
According to Globe, at least two people have claimed that Patrick Swayze's signature was forged on the will that was accomplished on July 27, 2009. (He died on September 14, 2009.)

One of the two persons who claims the signature was forged is handwriting expert Peggy Walla.

The other person is described in the Globe article as "a close pal" who told Globe that on that day Swayze was in a hospital and "too weak to sign it".


The "close pal" reminds me of the source of another article -- published in another tabloid, Closer -- that I summarized in a previous blog article titled Patrick Swayze: I was born to be a dad". The Closer article identified its own source as Frank Whiteley, "Patrick Swayze's longtime bodyguard and friend".

I am merely speculating that Whiteley is the source likewise for the Globe article. I have no evidence at all.

The Closer edition that used Frank Whiteley as a source
The Closer article focuses on Whiteley's statements that his friend Patrick Swayze had strongly desired to be a father.

I speculate as follows. If indeed ...
* Whiteley is the source for both articles

* Some Swayze  members want to contest the will

* Jason Whittle is Patrick Swayze's biological son
... then Whittle's existence might provide the disinherited Swayze relatives new grounds to contest the ten-year-old will. The argument might be that since Patrick wanted so much to be a father, he surely would want to leave some of his wealth to his belatedly identified illegitimate son. Therefore, the will should be revised.

Another argument for revising the will is the allegation that Lisa physically beat cancer-weakened Patrick into agreeing to the will. That allegation resonates -- perhaps relevantly somehow -- with Lisa's allegation in the documentary that Patrick's mother beat him into complying with demands.

The Globe tabloid -- the original and only reporter about the Swayze-Whittle relationship -- might be developing a new story along those lines. We will see.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Expression "Pro-Abortion"

Two days ago, a commenter named truthspeaker wrote a new comment to an article that I published in this blog two years ago. The comment ended with these sentences:
I ... have to comment on the continuous commenting on Dirty Dancing being a "pro-abortion" movie??!? Seriously? Come on!

All players in the film were against the abortion but the character had to work to survive, so she made the hard choice. It's clear no one wanted it.

So drop that commentary and realize that this was a movie about financially poor but talented people vs. rich elites who don't care. It's about class, not abortion.

Think more deeply and realize this was a great classic film about real life.
For many years -- long before I began writing this blog -- I have used the expressions pro-choice and pro-life when discussing the two main sides of the abortion debate. It is politically civil to call political movements by the names that they call themselves.

I made exceptions to that civility rule when I have written the expression pro-abortion in my blog. Now that truthspeaker has challenged me about the expression pro-abortion and now that I have thought about my exceptions some more, I have decided to change the following two passages in my blog.
The Whittle Family of Morgan County, Missouri (July 28, 2017)
An interesting movie -- an anti-abortion movie a pro-life movie -- could be made about the life of Bonnie Kay Whittle and her affair with Patrick Swayze, who became world-famous for making a pro-abortion movie a pro-choice movie.


No More News About Jason Whittle (August 31, 2017)
There is an ironic contrast between Patrick's becoming famous because of the pro-abortion pro-choice movie Dirty Dancing and Jason's living to become wealthy (and I hope happy) because he himself was not aborted.
As far as I can determine with Google searches, those were the only two passages where I used the expression pro-abortion in my blog.

I am happy that I made those improvements, because I do recognize that my pro-choice readers might feel offended by my implication that they perceive abortion itself is a simply positive act. As truthspeaker wrote, an abortion often is "a hard choice".


Now I challenge truthspeaker to "think more deeply".
All players in the film were against the abortion ... It's clear no one wanted it.
Seriously? Come on!
Penny was against her abortion?

Billy was against Penny's abortion?

Johnny was against Penny's abortion?

Baby was against Penny's abortion?

Robbie was against Penny's abortion?
I invite truthspeaker to write an article -- which I will publish in my blog -- providing her evidence from the movie that any of those characters were against the abortion and did not want the abortion to happen.


Now I will address truthspeaker's subsequent sentences.
So drop that commentary [about the "pro-abortion" movie] and realize that this was a movie about financially poor but talented people vs. rich elites who don't care. It's about class, not abortion.
In my blog article titled My Sociological Criticism of Dirty Dancing, I summarized my main analysis of the movie with these words:
The established, professional and prosperous Houseman family interacts with some struggling artists.
However, I never would say that the movie is "not about abortion". The screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein has said that that when Ronald Reagan became the US President in 1981, she was afraid that he would fill future Supreme Court vacancies with justices who might reverse the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling, which struck down all the states' laws prohibiting abortion. Part of Bergstein's purpose in writing her screenplay during the first years of the Reagan Presidency was to warn the public about consequences of such laws. I think that Bergstein set her story in 1963 because that year was one decade before the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

In other words, Bergstein intended her movie to affect significantly public opinion about abortion laws.


I tell my own opinion about the abortion issue in my blog article Pro-Lifers Can Appreciate Dirty Dancing.


I do appreciate truthspeaker's thoughtful comment. I agree with some of it, and I disagree respectfully with some of it.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

I Am Patrick Swayze -- Re-Broadcast on August 31

The documentary I Am Patrick Swayze will be rebroadcast on the Paramount Network on Saturday, August 31, at 11:30 p.m. ET.

The lineup for that evening is:
6:30 p.m. -- Grease

8:30 p.m. -- Dirty Dancing

11:30 p.m. -- I Am Patrick Swayze


When the premier of I Am Patrick Swayze was broadcast on August 18, there was a huge spike of pageviews for my blog.

Apparently, thousands of people were searching for articles about Swayze while they were watching the show.

Miscellaneous Videos - 130

Miscellaneous Videos - 129

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


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:
How did your song "Stay" get up in the movie? How did you gen involved with Dirty Dancing?

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

She fought to get "Stay" in the movie?

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


Dirty Dancing Filming Mistakes

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Fans' Love Story: Encore -- Part 2

Continuing from Part 1

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


In her book's Chapter 4, author Sue Tabashnik tells about her visit to Madame Tussauds wax museum in Hollywood to see the wax statue of Patrick Swayze. The statue is seen in this video.

Tabashnik interviewed the museum's marketing director and asked the following questions:
Who decided to make a statue of Patrick? Is there a committee who nominates and then votes for various stars?

Why was this particular scene from Dirty Dancing chosen for the statue?

How long did it take to make the statue, and how many people were involved in making it?

Was it an emotional experience for the people on the team making the statue, and had any of the team met Patrick or Lisa (Patrick's wife)?

What was the hardest part of making the statue?

How much of a role did Lisa have in the creation of the statue?

What kind of feedback have the fans given about Patrick's statue?
Tabashnik's essay about her visit includes the following passages:
... and then all of a sudden I saw straight ahead of me: Patrick's statue! It was positioned right next to Sylvester Stallone from Rocky and kitty-corner to the Star Trek figures. I just stopped in my tracks and stared. I knew right away that this was a huge and so well-deserved tribute to Patrick. ....

The statue of Patrick as the character Johnny in Dirty Dancing was so true to life. I felt overcome with emotion: if only Patrick were really still here. I could only speculate that somehow Patrick knew about this statue and enjoyed it. ....

I took this opportunity to enjoy this tribute to Patrick and also to say what I wanted to say to Patrick. I thanked him for all that he was still doing for me by his portrayal of the character Johnny and, most important, by the way he lived his life with boundless passion., spirit, courage, and dignity, which serves as great inspiration to me.
The book includes a photograph of Tabashnik posing with the statue.


The book's chapter 5 is a one-page essay written by Joshua Sinclair, who directed Swayze in the 2008 movie Jump. The essay includes this passage:
In all my career, I have never met such a dedicated and passionate human being -- on and off the set. ... Patrick Swayze was the sort of miracle that comes along only once or twice in any given generation.
Swayze won the award for Best International Actor for his leading role in the film.


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


I will continue my review of the book in Part 3.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Miscellaneous Videos - 127

The Fans' Love Story: Encore -- Part 1

I recently published a series of articles -- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 -- about the book The Fan's Love Story, which was written by Sue Tabashnik and was published in 2010.

Now I beginning another series of articles about Tabashnik's sequel book, titled The Fans' Love Story: Encore, which was published in 2013. In this series of articles, I will call this book simply Encore.

Cover of The Fans' Love Story -- Encore
The first chapter of Encore is the same as the first chapter of the previous book. This chapter tells how she fell in love with the movie in 1987, joined the Official Patrick Swayze International Fan Club in 2000 and subsequently attended the Club's events, became acquainted with fellow fans, and wrote articles for the Club's publications.

The second chapter of Encore tells the developments between the publication of her first book in 2010 and the publication of her second book in 2013. This second chapter of Encore is divided into the following sections:
Screenings, Festivals and Events

Dirty Dancing Stage Show

Jennifer Grey and Dancing with the Stars

The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack

The Dirty Dancing Remake

The Patrick Swayze Statue at Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Dirty Dancing in Popular Culture

The Dirty Dancing Legacy
I will not dwell on this chapter.


The third chapter is a 13-page transcript of Tabashnik's interview of the movie's producer Linda Gottlieb. This interview was very interesting, and so I will summarize it.

Linda Gottlieb, producer of the movie Dirty Dancing
Bergstein met Gottlieb "many years ago" when they happened to be dating two men who were roommates. In 1985, when Bergstein was beginning to develop her screenplay for the movie that became Dirty Dancing, she learned that Gottlieb was working as a producer at the MGM movie company. Bergstein called Gottlieb out of the blue, reminded her that they were acquainted, and asked for help in developing her screenplay.

Gottlieb invited Bergstein to lunch at a sandwich restaurant called Between the Bread. Bergstein explained that her screenplay was about two sisters, one of whom is a natural dancer. The story took place in a Catskills resort. The dancing in the proposed movie would be Latin dancing.

Gottlieb was attracted by the idea that the proposed movie would feature Latin dancing. In the Tabashnik interview, Gottlieb explains:
Tango Argentino had just become a big success as a theatrical show in New York, and I thought, "Well, maybe there is something out there in the zeitgeist that says there's time for Latin music."
According to Wikipedia's article about Tango Argentino, this show premiered in New York in October 1985. Therefore, I figure that this lunch conversation between Bergstein and Gottlieb took place in the last months of 1985.

During that lunch conversation, Bergstein still (according to Gottlieb) did not have much of a story for her screenplay. Rather, Bergstein had merely an idea that included the two sisters, the Latin dancing and the Catskills resort.

Since Bergstein still did not have much of a screenplay story, Gottlieb asked Bergstein to tell about her own life.
She [Bergstein] said, "I grew up in Brooklyn. My father was a doctor. You know, I was a natural dancer. I was one of those girls who used to go dirty dancing with the guys from the wrong side of the tracks."

And I [Gottlieb] literally dropped my spoon and said, "That is a million-dollar title!"

She said, "What is?"

I said, Dirty Dancing.

She said, "But that has nothing to do with the story I want to tell."

I said, "Eleanor, that's the title, and now we're going to get the story."

So at lunch that day, we invented the character of Johnny over this lunch at Between the Bread. In other words, it was not ever in her original thinking, but it came from the title of Dirty Dancing.
Gottlieb asked Bergstein to define her expression "dirty dancing". Their discussion led to an understanding that the expression encompassed both dancing and music.
I said, "You know, if there's dirty dancing, what's the other kind of music?

She said, "You know, it's clean teen music."

And we realized there was a musical clash between the clean teen music (which begins the movie) and the dirty-dancing music.
Gottlieb claims in her interview that the Johnny Castle character was "born" at that lunch discussion.


Afterwards, Gottlieb pitched the screenplay concept to MGM producer Frank Yablans.  He approved MGM's payment for a screenplay. Gottlieb claims in her Tabashnik interview that she collaborated with Berstein to write the script.
They [MGM] funded the cost of the script -- you know, the first draft, the second draft of the script -- which Eleanor developed with me. I was totally involved in the development of the script.
By the time Bergstein and Gottlieb completed the script's second draft, however, Yablans had been fired from MGM. This unexpected firing gave Gottlieb the opportunity, according to the MGM contract, to buy the script's rights for herself.

Since Yablans was gone, no MGM producer intended to develop the script further into an MGM movie. If Gottlieb could convince another producer to take over the script and give her enough money to reimburse MGM (within one year) for its payment to write the script, then Gottlieb would free herself and Bergstein from all her obligations to MGM in relation to the script.
I [Gottlieb] then took it [the script] and shopped it around to every major studio -- all who turned it down I think I had something like 43 rejections. I mean, I looked everywhere. Nobody wanted to make that movie.

I was trying to raise independent money to do it. A little company, called Vestron, called [in February 1986] through my agent. .... Vestron said they were interested in meeting with me about producing it. There were two people there -- Mitchell Cannold and Steve Reuther. Mitchell himself had grown up in the Catskills, and so the story resonated for him .... They took the title of executive producers on the movie and basically came up with the financing, provided that I could figure out a way to do the movie ... for about $4.5 million.
Unfortunately, Tabashnik did not ask Gottlieb to elaborate about the ownership of the movie's rights, but I speculate that Gottlieb ended up with essentially the entire ownership.

Keep in mind that Gottlieb was an experienced movie producer, whereas relatively Bergstein and Vestron were just novices in the movie business. Perhaps Gottlieb arranged for Bergstein to earn just a flat fee for the script writing and arranged for Vestron to earn a guaranteed but limited return on its investment. (I am just speculating; I do not know.)


When Gottlieb was shopping the script around to various producers, she still had not established the participation of any specific actors. After Vestron provided the $4.5 million, Gottlieb began to hire the cast.

The Gottlieb family and the Grey family were acquainted, because their children had attended the same high school. Jennifer Grey was the first actress who auditioned for the Baby Houseman character. Jennifer came to the audition with her father, the actor Joel Grey.
He [Joel] sort of pushed her [Jennifer] forward. She was stammering and scared.

The first audition was just dancing. All we wanted to do was just turn on some music and see how you move. She clearly moved well. She's a good dancer.

And then she stopped dancing, and she turned to us -- the director, myself and Eleanor. And she said:
I just have to say something. I know I shouldn't, but I have to say something. I'm just like this girl, Baby. I talk too much. I care too much about everything I do. I so understand this girl. I'm exactly like her.

Oh, I shouldn't have said it. Forget I said that.
Of course, we fell in love with her.

Then we saw 150 other girls, and we cast Jennifer. She was the first person we saw.
Years earlier, Gottlieb had considered casting Patrick Swayze in a movie about ballet. She never made that ballet movie, but she kept him in mind. When she began casting the Johnny Castle character for Dirty Dancing, she auditioned him and watched the previous movies that had featured him.

Gottlieb worried that Swayze was too old for Dirty Dancing. He was 37, and Grey was 27. Despite their ages, however, they eventually were selected, because "they both looked much younger".

Gottlieb told Tabashnik that the alternate selections for the leading roles were Billy Zane and Kyra Sedgwick.


The above summary covers the first five pages of the 13-page transcript of Tabashnik's interview of Gottlieb. The remaining pages include the following tidbits:
* A stunt-double performed part of the log scene for Jennifer Grey.

* The "Love is Strange" scene was improvised by the director Emile Ardolino.

* Gottlieb considered casting Swayze's wife Lisa to play Penny, but ultimately decided that she was not as "strong" an actress as Cythia Rhodes.

* Gottlieb had to assign several people to get Swayze out of bed in the morning.

* A scene was shot with Jennifer bare-breasted, and Vestron intended to include it in the movie. Eventually, though, Vestron changed its mind and removed the scene.

* Part of the requirements to get a PG-rating was to remove the word shit, which had been said twice in the dialogue.

* Gottlieb, her children and her sister appeared as extras in the movie, because the local population did not have enough people who looked Jewish.
Jewish-looking Linda Gottlieb unloading her car trunk in an early scene

Previous articles in this blog that discuss Linda Gottlieb:
Re-Watching Eleanor Bergstein's Earlier Movie It's My Turn

The Re-Writing of Eleanor Bergstein's Script

Patrick Swayze: One Last Dance

Linda Gottlieb's Article About Producing Dirty Dancing

The Blockbuster Film That Almost Wasn't Made
For some more articles, click on the Linda Gottlieb tag in the right margin.


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


I will continue my review of Encore in Part 2.

The Blockbuster Film That Almost Wasn’t Made

Excerpts from a article, titled Dirty Dancing Turns 25: The Blockbuster Film That Almost Wasn’t Made, written by Laura Rowley and published by Huffington Post in August 2012.
In the 1980s, Linda Gottlieb, an East Coast producer for MGM Studios, had lunch in New York City with writer Eleanor Bergstein, who had an idea for a movie about two sisters who are dancers, based in the Catskills.

“I said, ‘Well what’s the story?’ And she said, ‘I don’t really have a story, but it should involve Latin dancing…’” Gottlieb recalled. “So I switched the subject and said, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ She said, ‘I grew up in Brooklyn, my father was a doctor, I was one of those kids who used to go across the tracks to go dirty dancing.’

“I said, ‘That’s a million-dollar title! Now we’ll figure out the story.’ We invented Johnny Castle at lunch.” ....

I spoke with Gottlieb in the light-filled, two-story living room of her 10-room co-op on the Upper East Side of Manhattan –- the pad that Dirty Dancing bought. Petite and chic in cropped white denim jeans, white tee and a lace-collared, three-quarter-sleeve jacket, she bears a slight resemblance to actress Diane Lane, and appears more late 50s than early 70s. Warm and funny, Gottlieb is a natural storyteller.

MGM initially agreed to make the film, but the executive who signed the deal was fired two weeks later — and the rights reverted to Gottlieb for a year, Gottlieb said. She pitched everyone in Hollywood — and was rejected 43 times.

“What they all said was, ‘It’s small and it’s soft.’ These are all men — just think of sexual organs, they don’t want small and soft, they want big and hard,” said Gottlieb, cackling with laughter. “They said ‘it’s a girls’ film, it’s a historical film and it’s about Jews.’ They weren’t wrong logically, but I always saw it as a very sexy movie.” ....

The next challenge: Convincing the studio to go with a different kind of lead. “They wanted a terrible blond bimbo for the part,” Gottlieb recalled. “And I said, ‘It has to have a less than perfect girl in center. Basically if that woman gets the handsome guy, then you have created the archetypal fairy tale that gives us all hope.’”

The casting director looked at 127 people before choosing Grey, who was 27 years old at the time, and Swayze, who was 37. (Billy Zane and Kyra Sedgwick were the other finalists screen-tested for the roles.) But Grey and Swayze, who had worked together in Red Dawn, disliked each other.

“He felt like she was a wimp,” said Gottlieb. “She was genuine, na├»ve; you would do a take eight times and Jennifer would do it differently every time. Patrick was a pro; he would deliver the same thing again and again. She would cry easily, she was emotional and he sort of made fun of her. He was a macho guy.”

Friday, August 16, 2019

Grab your tissues: Five Patrick Swayze moments

Here I am following up my recent post I Am Patrick Swayze, about the documentary that will premier on the Paramount network on Sunday, August 18.

USA Today has published an advance review, written by Carly Mallenbaum and titled Grab your tissues: 5 Patrick Swayze moments in the new documentary that'll give you all the feels.

The five moments:
1. The future "Sexiest Man Alvie" overcame bullying.

2. He had to convince filmmakers to cast him in Ghost.

3. He won over Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing.

4. Horrific sports injury drove him to work harder.

5. He shot a TV series in between treatments.
Mallenbaum elaborates on these five moments. Read her entire article at the link.