I am going to make a confession here I have rarely revealed to anyone:
In 1961, I was in the second half of 7th grade and my parents relocated us to a new neighborhood requiring me to go to a new school. In 8th grade, I was in homeroom with a guy I had met and made friends with during gym class in the seventh. One morning before home room started, we were chatting about movies we saw on TV that weekend and, well...one thing led to another...and by the end of morning class, I owned 20th Century-Fox, Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, RKO, and Desilu. He owned MGM, Columbia, United Artists, Paramount and a few others, as well. From then on, we both researched the film product of all the studios and became extremely well-versed in output in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. At that time, MGM and Fox were both struggling with the productions of, respectively, "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "Cleopatra". That left us to paying less attention to the 60s and the products of the past.
Oddly, weirdly and happily, we were both attuned to the music in the films and we were both very busy researching music credits, etc. That led to obtaining soundtrack albums. We were both very immersed in the careers and recordings of Alfred Newman and Miklos Rozsa.
This association led to 35 years of very close friendship and sharing until my friend's untimely death in August 1992 from a heart attack. I spent most of those years in the U.S. Navy while my friend, Jim Whaley, spent those years traveling the world and interviewing people in films for his syndicated PBS show "Cinema Showcase". Our letters to one another, especially when I was assigned overseas, were voluminous. Our telephone calls were, at that time, epic (and costly). Neither of us minded.
When Rhino began its historic issuing of titles from the MGM vaults, featuring all the music underscore and songs from MGM musicals, I grieved for Jim not being here to enjoy it all. When Film Score Monthly began its unprecedented issuing of 250 titles fromt he vaults of Fox, MGM and others, I could not listen to anything without hoping Jim was listening, too. When FSM celebrated its 100th release with a 3-CD "Mutiny on the Bounty" by Bronislau Kaper, I started a thread at the FSM Messageboard seeking closure with my friend's parting and citing all the bounties that had been bestowed upon us up to that point which Jim would have relished enormously.
If I seem maudlin, I apologize. I have moved on, with only an occasional wistfulness for Jim's having missed all the wonders we've seen the past 20 years. I have found another friend who shares many of these same interests and we are in touch weekly, but I wanted to share some of these thoughts and past memories with those of you who have the same sort of love for old films, and all the elements therein, that I have.