Tag Archives: Jim Hutton

NY Mysteries Sept. 13, 2019

 

I’m going to the Judson Memorial Weekend. It’s been held for years near Ivoryton, Ct. Many years before I knew about Judson, I was an apprentice at the Ivoryton Playhouse. When we sweep past it on our way to the Weekend at Incarnation Center, I’m flooded with memories. Milton Stiefel, his brother Irving and his wife owned and ran the theater. Milton Stiefel had begin his career with David Belasco. 

During the summer at the Playhouse I had motley chores: clean pots for the set designer, smear soap on mirrors so they wouldn’t reflect on stage, clean the restrooms. On rare occasions I’d appear in crowd scenes. I  reported to a Syracuse senior, Jim Hutton, who had a Hollywood career (Where the Boys Are) and was Timothy Hutton’s (Academy Award) father. Of course, this fifteen year old had a crush on Jim. But Jim was more interested in the sexy girls in the Guys and Dolls chorus line. Rudy Vallée sang his last songs in a tiny nightclub across the street from the theater. In those days film and stage stars trekked around to regional theaters. After filming Julius Caesar, Marlon Brando appeared in Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Wally Cox (Mr. Peepers, anyone?) was his co-star.  Katherine Hepburn’s father was a Hartford doctor and the family had a summer house in nearby Saybrook. I think Ms. Hepburn began her career at Ivoryton. Seeing her in the audience, at intermission I crept near her to gawk. She was petite and dressed in a well cut white linen suit. Petite? you say. Honestly, she was about 5’3”. I know she looks taller in films. Maria Riva starred on  the Ivoryton stage but the real star was her mother, Marlene Dietrich. Every afternoon the crew hung around the box office phone. Like clock work it would ring at 5 p.m. Irving’s wife answering in her version of a classy accent, would hold the phone’s receiver so we could all hear Dietrich’s famous teutonic growl. 

 

Tomatoes, fresh from the garden

 

 

 

 

Flowers and tomatoes from a country garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ? His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

New York Mysteries Sept. 15— Sept. 23

 

On my way to Judson Memorial Church, I passed a performing artist circling the Washington Square Monument.

 

Washington Square Performing Artist

 

John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson are intelligent, articulate and charming in Columbus, Director Kogonada’s debut film set in Columbus. Indiana. The visually stunning city is packed with architectural gems designed by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Eero Saarinen.
Troubles with parents and a love of architecture draw the two main characters together. Imagine, no guns, no violence.

Originally it was called a retreat but now it’s referred to as the Judson Weekend. It’s at least forty years old. I know this because a gay couple who met at the retreat/weekend forty years ago celebrated their years together this past weekend. No one could tell me how long it’s been in existence. The Episcopal Camp and Conference Center is well run and in a woodsy location with a lake near Ivoryton, Connecticut. At one time, more than forty years ago, Ivoryton had a thriving summer playhouse. Ever hear of Katherine Hepburn? She lived in nearby Fenwich Point and got her start at the playhouse. Ever hear of Marlon Brando? Shortly after completing the movie, Julius Caesar, he starred in Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Wally Cox, TV’s Mr. Peepers, was also in the production. I was trying to impress some Mellennials at the Weekend by dropping famous names from the Ivoryton Playhouse past: Talullah Bankhead, Ethel Waters, Jim Hutton, Marlon Brando, Steve Cochran, Mary Astor. the only one they’d ever heard of was M. B.

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.