PALM BEACH, MAR-A-LAGO, & TRUMP 50 YEARS FROM NOW

 

But who in the hell will even care about Trump and his Mar-a-Lago 50 years from now?

Hearing of the deaths of  Carrie Fisher, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, Zsa Zsa Gabor and other famous celebrities recently and especially all the talk about Palm Beach and the oh, so private and exclusive Mar-a-Lago these days and the “great Donald Trump,” takes me back to memories of my band and singing days at famous places and private parties of celebrities and high society, especially in Palm Beach. The high falutin’ grandiose put ons have never changed.

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Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach

All during 2016 we saw tens of thousands of people lined up for many hours to attend and/or see Trump and his multi-multi million dollar plane land at his rallies. He carried on then and still does like he is some kind of god. Likewise for personal appearances of a lot of famous people, as if they are some kind of god from outer space or somewhere and are so greatly important. When, in all actuality, we humans are all built exactly alike, physically, and have to perform the same daily duties, whether on gold plated toilet seats or mere plastic.

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Mar-A-Lago back view

Tickets to these celebrity events and/or a “look see” these days amount to hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. But some people eat it up. Lately, there was a piece about Trump’s sons, whereas a sizable contribution would bring a private audience with THE Donald. Wow!!!

My first glimpse of the phenomenon that may be called being ga ga over seeing celebrities began for me in the early ’50s, when I first moved to New York. Free attendance to radio and early television shows was my introduction to the celebrities of the day. Speaking of Carrie Fisher, her dad, Eddie Fisher, big and famous, was doing his live TV show in a theater just south of Radio City Music Hall, and I was at the dress rehearsal just before the live air show. He didn’t have a good ear for musical time and missed a couple beats on song in the rehearsal. Nobody said anything, but I heard it. I thought sure he would goof up the same on the air. So during the break just before air time, I introduced myself and we chatted about the both of us singing with the Army bands; him in DC and me in Atlanta (Third Army). We were both drafted about the same time. Then I mentioned the goof and sang the line and counted it for him. He thanked me and damn if he didn’t sing it right on the live show. All the big names, including Eddie, had their professional photos done at James Kriegsman in New York. I wasn’t a big name but I scraped the forty bucks together and had my next photo shoot there and I struck a pose just like Eddie and his poses.

I’ll never forget the words of my first bandleader I worked with in New York at that time, Harry Settle. He would always say about any situation, “It don’t matter. Fifty years from now, we’ll all be downstairs.” And there was always a laugh or two over that. Oh, but how true about fifty years from now. Who’s gonna care? And what about a hundred? Totally ancient history.

In the winter of 1956, I was fortunate enough to have a winter job in Palm Beach singing and playing at THE place in Palm Beach, Nino’s Continental Restaurant’s Moulin Rouge Room on fabulous Worth Avenue.

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Worth Avenue 1950’s

 

Worth Avenue today

Everyone who was anyone came there. The highest of high society, and the richest and biggest names with big money. And I got to see first hand how they came and danced the two step, got drunk and pigged out just like the rest of us do. The only difference was that they all had a “few” more multi-millions than the rest of us, and apparently loved to display that fact. Us lowly ones with little or no money would never see the inside of those places, nor be able to lay out the funds for the great expensive entrees of “Chef What’s His Name.” But fortunately, I was getting paid to play music and witness the events for that whole winter. By the way, musicians usually don’t miss a trick while playing and viewing the audience. We see it all.

Speaking of Zsa Zsa Gabor, later back in New York, I’ll never forget playing house parties for her in the Hamptons and sister Eva Gabor on Fifth Avenue. All their celebrity friends were always in attendance with millionaires everywhere, putting on the Ritz. I played private parties everywhere in Manhattan, Westchester County, Jersey, the Island, where you never knew who might show up. I also played and sang in all the big hotels, like the old famous Astor Hotel, the Waldorf, etc. where all the stars camped, and the Plaza, now owned by Trump, and his favorite places like the Four Seasons and not to forget, the 21 Club on 52nd Street. Some might say, “been there, done that.”

By the way, I have to mention that I lived a block from St. Patrick’s Cathedral when I first got to New York, and went every Sunday and kissed the “great” Cardinal Spellman’s ring. Everyone who was anyone had their visit with Spellman, even Presidents Kennedy and Nixon. He was high and mighty and friends with Pope Pius XII and the word was that he wanted to be the next pope.

Kennedy And Nixon, Presidential Candidates
UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 23: Cardinal Francis SPELLMAN greets the two presidential candidates, John Fitzgerald KENNEDY and Richard NIXON who are facing each other, at the Astoria Hotel in New York. The three men were invited for the annual Alfred Smith memorial dinner. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

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Kissing NY Cardinal Spellman’s ring was the thing to do 

 

I really didn’t know why but kissing a cardinal’s ring was the thing to do. And I did it because I saw everyone else do it. It was something to write home about. I guess it was some kind of special blessing or something about getting out of Purgatory early. I read “Cardinal Spellman’s Dark Legacy” recently, by Michelangelo Signorile and Spellman really was a gem, and now probably “downstairs,” as my band leader friend would say. Signorile wrote: “The arch-conservative Spellman was the epitome of the self-loathing, closeted, evil queen, working with his good friend, the closeted gay McCarthy henchman Roy Cohn, to undermine liberalism in America during the 1950s’ communist and homosexual witch hunts. The church has squelched Spellman’s not-so-secret gay life quite successfully, most notably by pressuring The New York Times to don the drag of the censor back in the 1980s.” So now, all those years later, knowing what I know about him now, I’m sure a lot of alter boys and chorus boys had to kiss his ass and then some.

There’ a story about a Broadway dancer in the show One Touch of Venus who had a relationship with Spellman back in the 1940s; the prelate would have his limousine pick up the dancer several nights a week and bring him back to his place. When the dancer once asked Spellman how he could get away with this, Spellman answered, “Who would believe that?”

But my main point here is just to say “so what” or another way of putting it, “who cares?” Well said, I believe. The rich used to be known as millionaires, but now, we hear of only billionaires. So here we are now, hearing all about Mar-a-Lago and the billions there in Palm Beach and who owns it and where and how Trump spends every minute with his billions and does his tweets. Next thing you know, he’ll be having everyone kneel and kiss his ring, higher and mightier than any cardinal, or Russian president.

With this in mind, and the newspapers and television channels telling us all about the Trump family, Palm Beach, and Mar-a Lago, I can’t help but remember Harry Settel’s remark, and how Trump, if his billions may be able to keep him alive, will be all of 120 years old if only his billions could keep him alive fifty years from now. But more than likely THE Donald will be long gone. And when his name is mentioned at that time, people most certainly will ask, “Who??” He’ll most probably be “downstairs” with Spellman.

And by the way, I heard that Palm Beach’s Nino’s Continental 50 or so years later is now a parking garage, and I guess he and his famous clientele everyone would read about are all “downstairs,” or at least somewhere, out of sight and out of mind.

And in fact, now, I believe we can truly say “Who in the hell cares???”

CELIBATE SECRETS OFFICIAL SELECTION of OAXACA INTERNATIONAL FILM FEST

celibate-secrets-wcontact PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE SCRIPT

DON MEEHAN’S CELIBATE SECRETS nominated by OAXACA FILM FEST 2016 – Top International Fest

Celibate Secrets is based on a true story that reveals secret and inner workings and corruption of some priests, cardinals, and bishops in the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Don Meehan

Don Meehan was very much excited for his celebrated script, Celibate Secrets, to be an Official Selection, nominated to be among the finals in the Thriller Crime and Global Script Challenge Divisions of the Oaxaca Film Fest in October 2016. 

Ernie Quinn’s story is fiction with names and places based on a true story and news reports about the woes and results of the facts regarding sexual abuse and cover-ups by priests, bishops and cardinals in the Catholic Church. It tells how a man called to the priesthood, devoted and a true believer in exposing the truth about the ill advised actions of several of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, blew the whistle on corruption and was brutally punished, silenced, and actually banished for his honesty and prudent actions.

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Since I don’t have the resources nor the industry connections for further circulation and filming, I am posting the entire copyrighted script here for all to see and read, and perhaps someone somewhere will love it and may want to film it and put it into the category of the recent Academy Award film, Spotlight.

Although that film is based on the Boston priest abuse scandal, the film closes with a list of places in the United States and around the world where major scandals involving abuse by priests took place. It also states that Cardinal Law resigned, and was eventually promoted to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, one of the biggest churches in the world. A sad story of being widely acclaimed and highly honored and promoted by the Vatican powers that be after creating the terrible Boston scandal.

Quoting from Wikipedia: Spotlight is a 2015 American biographicaldrama film that follows The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States,[6] and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests.

Latest reports from the Vatican, and continued news of how certain cardinals globally continue to sidestep the issues of survivors of sexual abuse by the clergy, merely amplify the notion that it is business as usual with the centuries old device of protecting the Faith and the money at all costs.

Celibate Secrets – A synopsis

(Please read complete script at celibate-secrets-wcontact)

by Don Meehan

Ernie Quinn’s story reveals deep dark secrets of some Catholic priests and bishops. He was nearing his final studies at a seminary, preparing to become a priest. At the welcoming speech to all the men by the seminary President Father Murray, the scene is set for some fun loving, practical jokes, and later some signs of errant behavior among the seminary’s teaching staff of priests.

Ernie becomes friends with Bobby, Henry, Joey and Burt. Talk among the five has been about mandatory celibacy, and rumors about a double standard disregarding that rule by their instructors. Henry tells of rumors about instructors frequenting a brothel and a gay karaoke bar a couple hours away. The five go there one night to see for themselves, and are shocked to see their priests there. Henry secretly gets a photo that winds up on the front page of the town newspaper. It is of two seminary priests lovingly hugging, and leaving the gay bar. The five are blamed and threatened about he photo. Henry dangles another one to their seminary president, Father Murray, of him  leaving the brothel. An authority battle ensues with a standoff when summer comes and students going their separate ways.

Ernie is assigned to a parish for the summer near his home, assisting an alcoholic and drug addicted gay parish priest who is also a pedophile. He orders Ernie to leave on weekends and he has also propositioned Ernie. Ernie blows the whistle to the bishop who  covers it up and punishes Ernie, banishing him from the diocese and seminary. Ernie’s seminary friend, Bobby, now a priest in California, sets him up in his diocese to come to a parish consisting of real weirdo priests, under the command of bisexual Father Richard (Sharpey Dick) Sharpe. One of the priests there looks like and wears his hair just like Jesus. Dick, the “boss” is another alcohol and pill addict, who is making it with a man and a nun and whose drunken stupor also lands him in the hospital. When Ernie visits him he witnesses more unacceptable acts and reports all about him to his bishop. The bishop covers it all up and orders Ernie to “forget” everything as if it never happened and to leave the diocese.

Ernie files a $50 million lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act, naming priests and bishops all the way up to the pope. But the well paid diocesan lawyers almost totally bankrupt Ernie and his attorney forcing a very small settlement. Ernie becomes friends with Don Wright, from far away, who sympathizes and has offered to help Ernie through his trials. Years later, Ernie’s priest friend, mentor, and counselor at the seminary, Father Armand Raymond, is named by the pope to be bishop of Huntsville, Alabama, and invites Ernie to his ordination. This leads to a renewed friendship and he invites Ernie to come to Huntsville and finally be ordained.

Ernie rents his house out and moves his furniture in a rented van across the country from California, but Bishop Armand Raymond is nowhere to be found. He has suddenly been called to the Vatican. Ernie is now living in his car in mid winter and when the bishop returns he turns Ernie away. Although Ernie has told him everything about the lawsuit, he lies that he didn’t know about it and throws Ernie away to live in his car with a cold winter arriving. Ernie returns to California heartbroken, and even suffers with PTSD over the heartbreaking experiences, but time goes by. He luckily lands a job, settles down and finally meets and falls in love with Doris, buys a ring, and is all set to ask her to marry him when he gets a phone call from his friend, Don, who many months ago, has written and complained to the pope and cardinals getting no response. Now Don, with the four friends gathered in Vegas, is calling Ernie about a letter he says he has now finally received from the Vatican. It comes just as Ernie is about to propose to Doris. Don tells Ernie of an apology from the pope and an invitation to be ordained. The story ends with the phone in one hand and ring in another and Ernie giving his final decision what to do.

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I invite one and all to read the script and I invite you to pass it along to your friends. And please submit a comment. Hopefully, it may ultimately land on the desk of an interested party to take it into production. Please read it HERE  and comment. I am so excited about the subject matter that I have already written a sequel with Ernie serving justice on the offending hierarchy in most unusual unorthodox ways.