Jill: It’s been a while since I posted a Memory. This is because I’ve been hoping to make contact with Jill Baskin, who over forty years later is still plugging away as a professional actor.
I have loved many people in my life in many different ways. Jill Baskin has a place in my heart very high among the four women with whom I “fell in love.” Over the six years that we knew one another, our relationship evolved into many expressions; but in the end when we parted ways, it was an act of love. She’d found someone who she wanted to marry; but there was no way that he could deal with me in any part of her life, so she asked me to let go. We said good-bye, parted ways and that was that.
Last month I found her agency, called, got their email and asked them to forward this message:
My but you've been busy in these last few years. I have to say I'm quite impressed with your performance credits. After all this time I feel pretty sure that you probably remember me; but I'm not so sure that you may want hear from me. For the past eighteen months I've been posting my Memories on a site called Our Salon - mostly for my niece, nephews, step-son and their kids - and after 117 posts I'm finally up to that point in 1970 where you and I are about to start getting to know one another.
Tom L. has been a huge help in my recollections from our time together at the Odyssey; and I've touched bases with Norbert Weisser, who, in turn put me in touch with Susie, Alan and Jacob. I sent them all links to my posts about the Odyssey at the Our Salon account JMac1949 - Memories. http://oursalon.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2bjp4sb2j2wk7
Susie got back to me and set me straight about some stuff and Jacob has replied as well. In any case, click on the link or copy and paste the address into goggle and you can read what I've written about my time with the Odyssey so far.
Again, I'm not sure of your situation or inclination; but if you're up for it, I'd love to have the chance to sit down and chat with you the next time I'm down in Southern California on business - which will most likely be late August and again in September. I'm really hoping that we can at least talk over the phone. Every time I talk with Tom or Norbert, some new old memory gets uncovered in the cluttered attic of my brain and I find more grist for the mill. Hoping to speak with you soon,
This is my contact info:…
So far Jill hasn’t replied to my email, and that is as it may be. As I wrote this, I recalled a very short poem that I composed about Jill around 1972. I don’t remember if I ever showed it to her:
My lover has a mirror
on the ceiling
over her bed.
It was a gift from her lover,
or her lover’s lover,
I’m not sure.
I think she is my lover.
…Kent State…: “On Monday, May 4, 1970, a group of 77 Ohio National Guard troops from A Company and Troop G were ordered to disperse students at Kent State University who were demonstrating against the invasion of Cambodia during the war in Vietnam. They fixed bayonets on their M1 Garand rifles, began to advance upon the hundreds of protesters. The students retreated, throwing rocks and bottles at the troops. According to eyewitnesses, at 12:24pm, a Sgt. Myron Pryor turned and began firing at the students with his .45 pistol. A number of guardsmen nearest the students also turned and fired their M1 Garand rifles at the students. In all, 29 of the 77 guardsmen claimed to have fired their weapons, using a final total of 67 rounds of ammunition. The shooting was determined to have lasted only 13 seconds, although John Kifner reported in the New York Times that ‘it appeared to go on, as a solid volley, for perhaps a full minute or a little longer.’ The question of why the shots were fired remains widely debated.” - edited excerpt from Wikipedia.
Killed (and approximate distance from the National Guard):
- Jeffrey Glenn Miller; age 20; 265ft (81m) shot through the mouth; killed instantly
- Allison B. Krause; age 19; 343ft (105m) fatal left chest wound; died later that day
- William Knox Schroeder; age 19; 382ft (116m) fatal chest wound; died almost an hour later in a hospital while undergoing surgery
- Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20; 390ft (120m) fatal neck wound; died a few minutes later from loss of blood
Wounded (and approximate distance from the National Guard):
- Joseph Lewis Jr.; 71ft (22m); hit twice in the right abdomen and left lower leg
- John R. Cleary; 110ft (34m); upper left chest wound
- Thomas Mark Grace; 225ft (69m); struck in left ankle
- Alan Michael Canfora; 225ft (69m); hit in his right wrist
- Dean R. Kahler; 300ft (91m); back wound fracturing the vertebrae, permanently paralyzed from the chest down
- Douglas Alan Wrentmore; 329ft (100m); hit in his right knee
- James Dennis Russell; 375ft (114m); hit in his right thigh from a bullet and in the right forehead by birdshot, both wounds minor
- Robert Follis Stamps; 495ft (151m); hit in his right buttock
- Donald Scott MacKenzie; 750ft (230m); neck wound
Those were the facts, but hardly the whole story. On May 14, ten days after the Kent State shootings, two black students were killed (and 12 wounded) by police in Mississippi at Jackson State College under similar circumstances - the Jackson State killings - but that event did not arouse the same nationwide attention as the Kent State shootings. What followed was a spontaneous nationwide student strike on college and high school campuses, which after five years of combat and protests, forced the Vietnam War back onto the front pages of America’s newspapers. In 1970 the toll of the Vietnam War was significant: 6,081 of the 335,790 American soldiers who served in Southeast Asia that year came home in body bags. That brought the total US dead to 53,840 and now almost everyone in the country knew someone who had died in Vietnam. There were virtually no degrees of separation. Hundreds of thousands more had been wounded and the estimated totals of the dead and wounded Vietnamese and Cambodians exceeded two million.
Neil Young wrote and composed “Ohio” and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded the song on May 21, 1970, at in Hollywood. It was released as a single, backed with Stephen Stills' "Find the Cost of Freedom", and peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
…Leaving the Odyssey…: Amongst that year’s protests were the guerrilla theater performances by the Odyssey and The Company on the streets of Los Angeles. I chose not to participate for fear of arrest and being exposed as a federal fugitive. My ignorance of Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera wrapped around my unrequited love of Jill Baskin to put me off the Odyssey’s performance agenda. THE SERPENT was one thing but, times being what they were, the revival of what I regarded as a dated Broadway musical seemed to me a waste time and energy. My most personal reaction to what happened in 1970 was a daydream in which I held a loaded semi-automatic pistol and reflected: “This weapon is a thing of exquisite beauty elegantly designed for a single purpose, but of itself, it has no power of life or death– only potential.”
Instead of buying a gun and getting stupid, I chose to leave the Odyssey to begin work on a speculative fiction novel about an inadvertent combat fratricide in the jungles of Guatemala and the ironic political intrigues of a war crimes trial set in post-revolutionary Austin, Texas. I’ve still got a copy of the first draft that pretentious fantasy floating around somewhere. It was my very first attempt at writing a novel.
… “A Continual Roar of Musketry.” : Here’s the IMDb link to A Continual Roar of Musketry, www.imdb.com/title/tt0528647, where, if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the cast you will see my aka: James MacHeath. Finally, Boland had come through and I was summoned to Universal Studios to read for a small part: Student #2 in an upcoming episode of the TV series starring Hal Holbrook The Bold Ones: The Senator. It was five days work and paid SAG minimum which as I remember was a bit more than $800 at the time. To my surprise when I read the script, it was a two hour fictionalized presentation of the events at Kent State, a completely scary crazy thing to put on network television in 1970 a few months after the actual event. I had to get this part and apparently my passion showed because I was cast.
The part had another advantage in that because it was a five day shoot, it fell under a Taft Hartley provision in the SAG contract, and I was exempt from paying the chunky union membership initiation fees until thirty days after the date that Universal cut the check. Otherwise I’d have to come up with big bucks and join the union before I could set foot on the set. All in all it was a blissful Karmic alignment of the powers that be.
An ironic side note: The Senator, which lasted for only eight episodes,] earned nine Emmy nominations in 1971, winning five, including best drama, best "continued performance" by an actor (Hal Holbrook), and three additional separate awards for outstanding achievement in direction (for which I got no credit as a technical advisor), film editing and Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama.
Next up on JMac1949 - Memories, 1970 – My First Day on the Set, the Big Speech and finally, Action.
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