This particular post is neither religious nor political. From time to time I like to take a break from the usual format of my blog, and simply share things from my life that hopefully everyone can appreciate. This is how I came to be (in a very small way) “in the movies”, as they say.
One day in the early 1960s when I was still in high school, my friend Jim and I spent the day at my older brother’s beach apartment in Del Mar, California. My brother had a then state-of-the-art stereo system and we listened to some Cal Tjader, and then Primitiva, by Martin Denny, featuring instrumentals with jungle bird calls. It was the album cover that had grabbed our attention.
This, by the way, has nothing to do with the rest of the story.
After we had our fill of listening to music, Jim suggested we revisit one of his childhood haunts — a private beach not far away. He regaled me with recollections of many happy times he had spent there, and as we walked around the now-deserted grounds he reminisced about his childhood summers.
What made our brief tour into Jim’s past fascinating for me is that the old buildings that remained were in a state of disrepair, the landscaping was no longer maintained and what I saw was a world totally alien from that which Jim recalled.
I was fascinated by the contrast of the state of things simply as a result of the passage of time. After returning home, I wrote a fictional short story contrasting what Jim had told me with what my eyes had seen. One of the contrasts in that story was of the smooth concrete of the poolside that had felt so “permanent” back then, with the walkways now, which were cracked and rippled by roots.
I shared the story with Jim, we talked about it, and then we both turned our attention to new things. And for a while, those recollections became forgotten, as time continued its passage.
Jim and I had a mutual friend, Wes. In both high school and college the three of us would serenade girls with our own variation of “Oh Dora Dear”, a song near the end of the 1942 cartoon, “The Dover Boys”.
So, naturally, we called ourselves The Dover Boys, a moniker that stuck with us over time.
That’s me on the left, Wes and Jim.
This was our version of “Oh Dora Dear”:
Oh (insert name of girl) dear,
Sweet (insert same name) dear,
Keep courage up and do not fear.
The Dover Boys from old P.U.
Will soon be there to rescue you.
P.U., P.U. We’re all for you!
(Watching the cartoon will give you an idea of how this sounded, and also will explain that P.U. stands for Pimento University. It’s all just very silly, but that was the whole point.)
To the best of my…ahem…recollections, it was sometime in 1970 that the Dover Boys reunited. Wes and I had both returned from Vietnam and Jim was in the National Guard. I believe it was Jim who sugested we make a film based on the story I had written about his Del Mar childhood memories, especially since Wes had a camera and technical expertise. So, we went down to the old beach and started filming.
Jim did the credits and wrote the theme song. Wes and I came in separate sessions with Jim to record it. It was a fun project, and a labor of love. But we hadn’t planned to “do” anything with it, in terms of finding an audience for it. Then in 1972 a local San Diego film festival provided the ideal setting for showing off our efforts to the public, so Jim entered our film, appropriately entitled, ‘Recollections’ into the festival.
The film festival (Filmmaker’s Fiesta) was produced by KDEO Radio and the Acadamy Theater, where ‘Recollections’ was shown. It was also aired on Public Television station, KPBS. It took 3rd place in the Independent category and received an award from KPBS for “most effective film for television”.
The film in its entirety has a run time in excess of 9 whole minutes. It’s G-Rated, inoffensive, unopinionated and has no hidden “message”, unless you consider family recreation at the beach morally reprehensible. So, enjoy!