For the second time in as many years, I had a terrific time at the Aero Theatre last night signing copies of Lee Marvin: Point Blank for a Lee Marvin double feature, courtesy of the good graces of the American Cinematheque and Larry Edmunds Book Store. The event came out of the blue last month when programmer Grant Monniger contacted me and asked if I wanted to do it as part of their John Boorman retrospective.
Naurally, I jumped at the chance. When I asked what I had to do in terms of getting the books, how many, time to arrive, etc. I was told the time and the rest would be done through Jeff Mantor at Larry Edmunds Bookstore. I had no idea how right Grant was. Jeff did indeed do it all….
I arrived, schmoozed with Jeff a bit and watched the crowd shuffle in. Met some folks I knew, some I’ve been meaning to meet via Facebook, and heard a lot of people say nice things about Lee Marvin but they’d buy the book after the first film. Jeff told me “Yeah, let’s see about that.” I was asked to introduce Point Blank, which I dutifully did (I could kick myself for not remembering more interesting anecdotes…oh well). Then came the screening…..
True to their word, those who said they’d buy the book did indeed do so after the movie, which was quite a relief considering the schlep to get there from Long Beach during rush hour traffic on the 405. What was interesting were some of the comments made to me, en masse about Marvin:
“What was the year of his birth?”
He was wounded on Guadalcanal, right?”
Where did he do most of his drinking in Malibu?”
“Oh 1924. Yeah, but what was the date?”
“Didja ever see Prime Cut?”
When did he die?…No, the actual date.”
You know about him and Capt. Kanagroo, right?”
“Yeah, I met him a few times….Real asshole.”
And on it went. In fairness, those were the choice ones that stuck out the most in my memory. Most of the other questions & comments were actually pretty encouraging in terms of both Marvin and several folks who read the book and went out of their way to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Then, Hell in the Pacific, which I really was looking forward to finally seeing on the big screen…..
It was not as late as I thought it would be by the time the film ended so going home was a breeze. I’m only writing this to say such events are always a pleasure and a surprise when they occur and genuinely hope they keep happening.
Oh, and for the record: He was born 2/19/24, he drank at a bar called The Raft in Malibu (among others), he was wounded on Saipan not Guadalcanal, and Yes I’ve seen all of films which includes Prime Cut ….. oh, and for umpteenth time, Captain Kangaroo did NOTsave Lee Marvin’s life on Iwo Jima. Geez!