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Earth To Willard Scott
Written by Pat Fortunato   
willardscott.jpgI know you're out there, Willard, I can hear you blowing out candles.

Willard Scott is the guy on The Today Show who's become a minor celebrity by showcasing people who are celebrating their 100-year birthdays.

And believe it or not, there are 100,000 folks in the US alone who have reached that ripe old age. But personally, I don't think that this number will grow. In fact, I predict it will decline. The people who are now turning 100 didn't have the pressures we have these days.

Yeah, sure, they had world wars, flu epidemics, the Great Depression.

But we have telephone trees, multi-tasking (I don't even want to single task), and the heartbreak of trying to get a simple thing done: Like getting Willard Scott to mention your parents anniversary. FYI he's now also featuring couples celebrating marriages of 75 years.

joe__jo.jpgWhich is how long these two cute people in the photo have been married for. Seventy-five. Years. Really.

For some of us, seven years  — or even five — would be a record. But seventy-five? Isn't that impressive enough for Willard Scott to get excited about?

Apparently not.

After many. many attempts to get through to a human person, making a total pest of myself, and even trying to impress them with my credentials and those of any relative living or dead who has accomplished absolutely anything at all in the past few centuries, all I managed to get was the assurance that Willard himself sends letters of congratulations to everyone who calls in.

Of course, I didn't believe them, and when the anniversary date came and went with no letter, I started thinking about going into revenge mode . . .

For starters,  the name "Willard" is often associated with that cult horror film about a weird guy with an affinity for rats. Surely, I could do something with that , and hey, what's the purpose of having a blog if you can't get a little nasty.

Fortunately, that wasn't necessary.

The Units (short for parental units) finally did receive the letter, although it was a week or more after the anniversary. Exactly when they got it will remain a mystery: these parents of mine are, after all, old enough to be married 75 YEARS (no other numbers, please), and they couldn't remember when the letter had arrived. But my father, being the precise person he has always been, had kept the envelope, which was postmarked October 14. The anniversary  — THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY!  — was on the 7th. Don't you usually send cards or letters of congratulations before the date, not after?

And I had started the whole procedure of writing to Willard Scott sometime in August, although being the imprecise person I have always been, I don't remember the exact date. (The copy of the letter is in here someplace. . .)

The point is this: Although I've long accepted the fact that Nothing Is Easy (see almost any blog on this site, but particularly The Wedding Bell Blues), some things really ought to be.

If you had ‘rents  —or Units — who had been married for 75 YEARS, wouldn't you think that Willard Scott, not to mention the entire staff of The Today Show, would have jumped on the story? Even though, yes, they get hundreds of requests and have only a few slots on the air.

I rationalized that the reason they didn't announce the anniversary —  the 75TH ANNIVERSARY! — was that they were only doing 100-year birthdays that day. But still, my reaction was a resounding Harumph. What do you have to do to get a little attention around here?

Wait a minute. I have an idea. What if we created a reality show! That would create some media buzz, wouldn't it now. My parent's names are Joseph and Joesphine: how perfect is that? Plus, they are a little eccentric around the edges, have three adorable children, many grandchildren, a few great grandchildren — all of whom are impossibly photogenic — and they live in this great condo called The Bay Club, where they are the oldest living shareholders.

The Jo & Joe Show! it's got to be a hit!

And did I mention that they've been married for 75 YEARS?

Willard Scott, eat your heart out.


This is a threaded commenting system. click [Reply to this comment] for your comment to be underneath the comment you're replying to.


0 # Diana 2009-12-16 00:41
Hey Pat, sign me up for the Jo and Jo show. I didn't sleep with Tiger, but I sure could use that 15 minutes of fame.
FYI, I think Willard and his Smuckers are weird.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
0 # Pat F 2009-12-17 03:32
If you really want that 15 minutes of fame, pick someone with a few less women to share the spotlight with. George Clooney? (I said a few.) Daniel Craig? The other hunk from that play? Just saying.
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0 # Cris 2009-12-16 03:58
Pat - What a great photo of your parents! They are adorable . . . and I think the Jo & Joe Show would be a hit!!!
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0 # Pat 2009-12-16 04:16
Do you think that the Jo&Joe Show might be TOO real?
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0 # Kim Zarro 2009-12-16 11:47
Hi Pat and Jo & Joe:-)
What a great accomplishment...75 years married...how sweet and long...best wishes and fabulous luck & love!!!
xox Kim & Tony...30 years together:-)
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0 # Lisa Pet 2009-12-17 05:34
Hey Pat,
Congrats to your adorable parents!
Good luck with Willard!
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0 # Mr. Gar 2009-12-18 06:26
I have been watching Willard for years and seen a million...maybe even a jillion 100 year olds but very very few 75 year anniversaries...so come on Willard...wake up...get with it. How many couples are married that long and as cute as Joe & Jo...although I might be somewhat prejudiced being their son and all...GEEZ
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0 # Teresa 2009-12-21 04:34
I totally agree and am totally prejudiced as well!! I'm sure if Willard met Grandma and Grandpa he would be as smitten as we are and would understand why they are such amazing people!
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0 # Lou 2009-12-19 08:58
It's hard enough to get to 75 years of living, much less living together! Jo & Joe deserve a show.
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0 # Nancy Lombardi 2009-12-20 05:45
Congrats to your parents! How inspiring! My fiance's grandparents are married 61 years, but your parents have them beat. Do they have second honeymoon plans :)
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0 # Pat Fortunato 2009-12-20 10:20
Hi, Nancy: My parents went to Cuba at the outbreak of the Revolution. I don't think they better take another one!
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0 # Barbara Ehrentreu 2009-12-21 14:05
Your parents are adorable and totally deserve to be featured on The Today Show as well as have their own reality show. You know there is a slot where Jon and Kate Plus 8 is no longer. Maybe they can take over that time slot.:)

Happy Anniversary to Pat's parents!!!!

I don't have any parents and neither does my husband.
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0 # Pat Fortunato 2009-12-22 02:19
Jo & Joe Plus . . . 3(Children) or 7 (Grandchildren) or 7 (GreatGrandchil dren)?
Or should we just say A Cast of Thousands.
Yes, Barbara, we are lucky to still have parents, although, of course, we all drive each other crazy, which IS our job.
Thanks for your comment.
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0 # Lauren 2009-12-21 15:49
Congratulations on your parents milestone!! You'll have to excuse Willard. He's been a little off these days. I've heard him ramble at times about anything but Smucker's. The fact that the letter went out at all and was only a week late is a milestone in itself. : )
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to Amazon, where you can  get your very own copy of 

 Just as I posted
I found a website called The Ghost Who Blogs about The Phantom comics:


Writing Comics. . .
Was a small but wonderful part of my checkered career, and doing a post about it  brought back a lot of great memories. If you know any other women in NYC who wrote — or are writing — comics, tell me how to get in touch with them. 

 I'm on a watching-old-movies kick these days.
Great way to lose yourself.
If you're lucky, you'll never be found. 


I'm All Right, Jack:
"Jack" is not just all right, it's totally delightful and fresh as a daisy after all these years (made in 1959), with Sellers, although not technically the lead, giving the brilliant performance that launched him as an international star. He plays an all-too-zealous union leader and father of a blonde bombshell who falls for Stanley, the British Upper Class Twit played, also to perfection, by Ian Carmichael, who you might remember from the Lord Peter Wimsey series. The makeout scenes between the the Twit and the Bombshell are priceless. But what is Stanley doing in this working class atmosphere anyway? Working. And too well at that. Forced by financial circumstances too dreary to discuss, he gets a job in his uncle's factory and messes things up for the other workers by, well, working, and thus making his fellow employees look bad. The film takes a big shot at unions — but also at management: they are manipulating white-collar thieves who'll do anything for a buck. Or a pound. Except for the ones, like Major Hitchcock, played by Terry Thomas, who are just plain lazy and inept. Needless to say, Stanley foils everybody's plans, labor and management alike, to my great joy and delight. Oh, and on top of everything else, Margaret Rutherford plays dotty dowager Aunt Dolly. Delicious!

 The Big Lebowski:
What can you say that hasn't been said before: brilliant, inspired, with some of the most memorable lines ever to come out of a movie, the most quoted being "The Dude abides." Oh yes. For anyone who hasn't yet seen the film, and it's now out in a special Blu-Ray edition if that floats your bowling ball. The Dude in question,  played to perfection by Jeff Bridges, is an out-of-work pothead who is roughed up and has his rug destroyed by some thugs mistaking him for another, bigger, Lebowski. The Dude is really upset about this because, man, "that rug really tied the room together," which The Dude says with all seriousness and not a trace of irony, a great comic touch considering the condition his condition is in.  Oh, and besides "Just Dropped In," all the music is perfect for the film. The plot, according to Wikipedia, which has been known to be wrong, is "loosely based on Raymond chandler's novel, The Big Sleep." Could be. But who cares. It involves a bowling competition, "the occasional acid flashback," a trophy wife, a group of German nihilists, a kidnapping gone awry, a mad millionaire and his lackey, in another great performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Actually, they're all great performances. Never a fan of John Goodman before or since, he is brilliant in this film. And so are John Turturro, overacting his little heart out, Steve Buscemi in a nerdy, needy role that makes you marvel at his star turn in Boardwalk Empire, and even the actors in the smaller parts, especially Julianne Moore and Sam Elliott. Elliott plays The Stranger (God? Everyman? The part of us that roots for the bad boy?) who elicits from Bridges the immortal words, "The Dude abides." Which prompts The Stranger to comment to the audience: "Don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals." We'll never know about the bowling trophy because there's never been a sequel to this 1998 film by the great Coen Brothers, and I hope there never will be. It just abides, as all great films do.

Prince of the City:
Okay, the criticisms of this movie are not totally unfounded: it's too long, and Treat Williams may have overacted a bit, although I found him so deliciously charming I couldn't care less, and there's one part concerning the Jerry Orbach character I just didn't understand. But get over it, The New Yorker, this is one powerful movie. And yes, Dog Day Afternoon it isn't, but what it? The DVD has a great special feature with Williams (I so want to call him Treat) and Sidney (what the hell: I once made a meatloaf sandwich for the man) that explains a lot about filmmaking in general and this movie in particular. Also, Sidney's views on good and evil, and how things are not so black and white as you think. I loved it.

Bad Day At Black Rock:
Recommended on TCM by Robert Osbourne as a film he originally had no interest in seeing, then loved it, and by Alex Baldwin, who pointed out the great actors in the cast, including Lee Marvin, Ernest Brognine and Dean Jagger. Well, after all that, I had to like it, right?  I did. A lot. It was a Good Day On My Couch.
Behind the Scenes Stuff: Spencer Tracey was off drinking and wouldn't commit to the film until the producers (who wanted him desperately) told him that they had Alan Ladd, at which point Tracey grabbed it.  He was perfect for the part, wearing a dark suit and tie the entire time in a western setting,  pulling it off perfectly. Other than that "fashion statement," the film makes a strong case against racism: the hatred of the Japanese during WW2. See it.

Song of The Thin Man:
I usually like these frothy, silly, suave, utter unrealistic films from the 30s and 40s, with William Powell and Myrna Loy as the couple we'd all like to be — if only we had the looks, brains, money, a huge capacity for drinking and a dog like Asta. But this one was a stinker, rather than a stinger, or maybe a sinker, because  it turned out to be the last, not to mention the least, in the series. Watch any of the others four sequels, but not this one: Even the pooch jumped the shark.

The Children's Hour:
It had its moments, and just looking at Audrey Hepburn makes life worth living, but mostly I kept thinking that the play, by Lillian Hellman, was so much better. It's about two young women runing a school for girls, who are accused by a hateful little brat of being (GASP!) lesbians. And although the closest we get in this 1961 production to using that actual term is the word "unnatural," it's enough to ruin their lives.  A young Shirley McClaine is worth seeing in this, and James Garner, and Audrey Hepburn is, well, Audrey Hepburn. The rumor of the love that dare not speak its name is totally untrue — or is it? And I'll say no more, because you should see the movie for yourself, imperfect as it may be, as is Life Itself.

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and because woman does not live
by martinis alone,
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