Monday, September 18, 2006

research it

I started with quite a diverse list of subjects I would like to know more about related to movies I have enjoyed. I was interested in the history and location where several of my favorite movies were made, interested because I would love to visit these places; I was also interested in what has become of some apparently very talented young actors who disappeared from the Hollywood scene after one or two good movies. I spent hours in research, an hour and a half on Friday evening, 3 hours on Saturday morning and another 2 hours Sunday afternoon. I read lots of interesting information---I enjoyed my reading on Google and wikipedia and particularly on the Somewhere in Time website--- but the specific questions I wanted to answer for myself and write about are still as much a mystery to me as when I began.

The closest thing JR and I had to a honeymoon was our R&R from his tour in Vietnam. We spent the week after our 1st anniversary in Hawaii. On the recommendation of a very dear and special friend who had also R&R'd there, I made our reservations at a truly fabulous place called the Hanalei Plantation at the north end of the highway around Kauai, "the Garden Isle." Supposedly the movie South Pacific (with Mitzi Gaynor; 1958, I think)was filmed there. The place was truly a paradise. I have always thought someday we would go back there again. Well, according to my research, we may go back to Kauai, but we will never go back to the Hanalei Plantation, because it doesn't seem to exist anymore. I researched the island of Kauai numerous places. Wikipedia was generally informative but not useful for what I wanted. Googling "movie locations" didn't help either, for altho South Pacific was listed, there was apparently no link. Finally I sent JR to the AAA office to get me a tour book and map. Hanalei Bay and its beach are still there, and now there is a town of Hanalei. The AAA guidebook does mention "the small beach along Hanalei Bay where Mitzi Gaynor sudsed her way through 'I'm gonna wash that man right outta my hair' in 'South Pacific'." But most of AAA's limited number of lodging options are condominiums. The very few hotels listed are good name chains. We actually stayed 2 places on Kauai, because our final night we moved to Lihue, to be close to the island's then only airport for our early morning flight back to Ohau. We stayed in another fancy, uniquely Hawaiian hotel that night, the Koko Palms. It doesn't seem to be there anymore either.

Next I worked on discovering whatever happened to the young actors who played Jem and Scout Finch, children of Gregory Peck's character Atticus in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Phillip Alford and Mary Badham didn't even have pictures listed. Each had done very few other things at all, Phillip more than Mary but all when he was still quite young. She,it seemed, had done some kind of an old/older woman role withing the last 10 or 12 years but it was a minor character in a movie I had never heard of and no information was given about her part but the character's name. But what I really wanted about both or either of them was a semi-current short bio. If such a thing is available, I never found it.

Finally, and with ever so slightly more success, I sought information on the Grand Hotel on Mackinac (sp?) Island, Michigan(?)where "Somewhere in Time" with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was filmed. I found a fascinating 10 to 15 page journal entry by a lady who stumbled into a job as an extra on the movie and more than a passing acquaintance with its cast. I delighted in reading every page of her journal. But I basically found out zero about the history of that hotel which had been the true purpose for my research. The reason for my curiosity is that 3 weekends ago with a group of good friends, I stayed at the Bellview Biltmore Hotel in Clearwater, Florida. No one who has seen "Somewhere in Time" can fail to be reminded of Mackinac's Grand when you visit and explore this Bellview Biltmore, built in 1896 by Henry B. Plant, the railroad magnate (sp?). This lovely, but somewhat the worse for wear and recent hurricanes, wooden structure claims to be the largest all wood building in constant use for over 100 years. I also claims ghosts. I just really wanted to read and make my own comparisons between the two lovely romantic and historical hotels, with the focus of having stayed now at the one, planning a visit and exploration of the other.

I truly tried to do this assignment. I, also, enjoyed most of my research; although I must admit to being significantly frustrated. Probably if I were younger and more familiar with research on the internet, or with the internet in general, I could have found more. I hope what I have shared is interesting to some of you and teaches you something about subjects new to you. But, truly, I didn't learn much new.


Blogger Skyelarke said...

My dad R&R'd in Australia from 'Nam. I'd like to check out Australia one day. I hope you can make it back to that place in Hawaii that has so much meaning for you. But don't be saddened (too much) at the changes; nothing ever stays the same. :-)

4:39 AM  
Blogger Skyelarke said...

Hey, what grade do you teach? I taught gr2-8 and subbed K-12 in both English & French as a Second Lang.

4:40 AM  
Blogger sundaycynce said...

Skyelark, Thanks for your comments. Yes, things do change so much, but I guess some of the magic places you always remember in such a way that you don't want them to change at all.
I have taught English for years and years and have taught every grade from 7 thru 12. I spent more than 15 years in a junior high--grades 8 & 9 only, taught more 9th than 8th. I often say I think I could teach "Romeo and Juliet" (should be underlined,or italicized, not in quotes; but I can't figure out how to get those features in my blogs or comments) standing on my head, except I can't stand on my head. My last 12 years have been in senior high, where juniors are far-and-away my favorites. I have loved teaching well, but it is getting harder to enjoy because of bureaucratic red tape and a noticable lack of real love of learning on the part of American kids. Thanks for asking.
Keep your enthusiasm. I see it in these notes and also in your researched Sunday Scribblings. Education and students need you.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Skyelarke said...

Teaching is definitely a profession one must do for the love, not the pay or the bureaucracy, that's for sure! I loved Engl. Lit. in HS. Teachers who are really into their subjects make the curriculuum come alive.

11:49 PM  

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