2014-03-29 - 5:43 p.m.
Happy Endings (or at least a pretty good beginning!...
Journal exerpts from May 24th 1976:
Oh my God!... I just made the 2nd cut for Ron Field's movie "New York, New York" starring Liza Minnelli! And she's here!!!"
(Yes, back in the day I carried my journal with me everywhere!)
Later that evening I wrote...
I want to scream it out the window to the world and yet I don't dare tell even my closest friends. I'm very superstitious that way!
I went to the Disney Studio auditions with Jimmy, Skip and Monica this morning. Guys only! I think they were looking for acrobats and neither of them made it. Then Jimmy had to drag me to the MGM audition for the new movie "New York, New York." It was actually a closed audition for SEG members only, but somehow we got in anyway. I don't know exactly how many girls were there or how many were cast, but I know I was, and he liked me! I keep wondering whether Liza had anything to do with it because it seemed that she looked at me alot.. but then I'm nearsighted. Ron came up to me and asked how tall I was, then started looking around the room for someone who matched my height. Anyway, he smiled at me alot!
When he finally lined us up and told us we were the ones he wanted, I felt the most magical moment of my life. Now I'm just confused. He WANTS to use all of us but doeesn't know if he can. He can! He can! Anyway, I then went to wardrobe for my measurements and a hair sample.
None of my other friends made it which made me feel really special but I know how I'd have felt like if I hadn't and Jimmy took it really hard! It was nice to go to (Charity) rehearsal but I didn't want to tell anyone because I'm afraid of something going wrong. Ok, I did tell a few people ~ I HAD to! I have so much inside of me I feel like I could burst!
Exerpt from May 25th 1976:
Haven't heard anything yet. I stayed home all day and not a call. I should have gone to work (Disneyland) but then I'd never know for sure. It all seems like a dream now - and maybe it was.
*Note ~ This was back in the day before cellphones or even answering machines. If you didn't want to sit by the phone you had to hire a professional answering service (where a real person actually took messages and relayed them to you...)
Exerpt from May 27th 1976:
Oh Heavens to Murgatroid! I swear I'm gonna spend the rest of my life waiting for this phone call! I've felt like throwing up the past day or so I've been so nervous. Toni (cast member from Charity and one in the know) gave me the assistant chorographer's number so I finally called her this morning. She's suppose to call me back. What a fool I'll feel like if I don't get this job!
May 28th 1976:
I was feeling SO happy just 4 days ago and now I'm back to this rotten "nothing!" I've tried calling the assistant choreographer again but keep getting her service. This is probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through!
May 29th 1976:
I MADE IT!!!!!
It seems so terribly anti-climatic. More than anything I feel like I can breath again. I don't know why I wasn't contacted, unless I just wasn't home at the time, but I finally got a hold of Charlene and she said "Yes, you're definitely on my list, I don't know what happened." Anyway, I'm really glad took the initiative. I have to call her back on Tuesday to see when to go in to fit my shoes! Had a long talk with Toni last night about unions and such. It's still all so confusing, but terribly interesting. I wonder if I've done something unusual by breaking into this movie without being in SAG.
June 2nd 1976:
I went down to MGM for my costume fitting yesterday. It's so thrilling! I got my own pair of white capezios and a box labeled with my name and set on the same shelf along side Liza's! Then I got fitted for a long pleated skirt and sweater for the "Rooftop Sequence!" Oy Vay!
Anyway, Pauline from Independent Casting called me before I left for the theatre and told me my first rehearsal in Monday at 9:00 a.m. on Stage 29. So I guess it's a GO!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sometimes I'm still so very impressed by all the energy (not to mention navigational savviness) I must have had on any given day at the age of 21!
A = Home
B = Disneyland
C = Long Beach Civic Light Opera
D = MGM Studios
So I performed in "Sweet Charity" on Sunday night and started work at MGM on Monday morning!
June 7th 1976:
What an incredible day! I got to the studio so early. Everyone spent the first half-hour socializing. I didn't know anyone at all. I met Dom's roomate Stan, who is a super nice guy. How does he live with Dom? I felt terribly out of place, but I guess everyone must have their first time. He broke us up in 5 groups and everyone learned different combinations, which approximate maybe 30 seconds. That's all we did all day. Liza was there. We got put on the set and after being shifted around for what seemed like hours, I finally landed about 3 feet away from Liza! But because of the angles I don't know how much I'll be seen. Who cares! This is so amazing! We also set a little part where Liza is singing on stage and we're all sitting and swaying. Tommorrow the girls learn the next section. I hope I'm in it!
June 8th 1976:
Today we did the girls section of "Happy Endings." I'm in the back but I'm sure I'll get a few shots. The dance is really short but so hard and so fast. And SO nerve wracking! What pressure! We did about twenty takes and of course it's all about Liza being perfect in the shot (of course) so as the went on you certainly didn't want to be the one to screw something up, especially if it was a good take for HER, if you know what I mean. Plus, they have to have the crew come in and sweep up all the popcorn between every single take!
June 9th 1976:
The days get better and better. I don't want it to ever end! It'll be over in a little more than a week. I never want to do anything else for a living. I can't believe I'm getting paid for this!
*Note ~ About $50 a day. But in 1976 that was a lot!
Some lucky things have happened that I am so thankful for. They called in twenty more girls today for the staircase scene. THOSE were all the girls I auditioned with! I wondered why I didn't recognize anyone on Monday! I'm doing all these other numbers with the girls he's worked with in the past!
Aside from that, after he set the staircase scene, he pulled out about 10 girls, half of them it being their only number. I stayed in and got placed right next to Liza at the top of the stairs doing all these turns and lunges which scares me to death!
I loved rehearsal today. We heard the tape of the title song "New York, New York" from Liza's cassette recorder. She just recorded it last night and we all sat right there watching her listen to it.
*Note ~ Never imagining it would be New York City's OFFICIAL SONG several years later!
It was so embarrassing today! I didn't know they were going to run the combination, I thought they were just working out Liza's bit. So I just stood there staring at Charlene doing the part and all of a sudden Ron says "Jannet, why are you the only one not dancing?" Then outloud to everyone... "I guess she was wondering what it would be like to be front and center." Haha. True! True!
Fred Ebb has been here the past few days!
Some more journal exerpts and things I want to remember:
I am going to write this right now. I've been putting it off for days and its been weighing heavily on my mind. I guess I've been partly afraid of saying how much this means to me. I feel I should be saying all sorts of incredible things. In other words, things that will be worthy of my best selling biography one day, but the truth is I really don't feel any different! A bit more happy and secure about everything and now I know what I want to do with my life. Only I want to be a STAR! There's just too too much to say! I see Liza 8 or more hours a day and what can I say?... I've gotten over it... But she's a dear! As concerned as possible for everyone around her and an A-1 pro all the way. Working with her has definitely been a dream!
I've learned so much, met so many people. I can't believe that Susie Donovan once kicked Thom and I out of Liza's dressing room when we tried to sneak backstage at the Riviera and now I'm friends with her! I've seen Vincent Minnelli, Jack Haley Jr and some more of the greatest people this week. The dance segments are over today but I'll do some extra work on the film next week. It's sad. I just want more and more!
Laszlo Kovacs our camera man. What a sweetie!
On The Set
Here's the "Happy Endings" number (which was actually a "movie" within a movie.) You'll understand once you watch it. If you were me you'd be able to spot me right away in all the sections, but since you're not... hope you have lots of fun trying!
And here are some journal exerpts while doing extra work the last two weeks of June:
I never want to do extra work ever again! The difference between this week and last is like Le Jardin on a Saturday night compared to a Sunday afternoon tea for two...
There is a comfort though in having the production staff smile at you when you walk by. Haven't gotten close enough to Liza this week to even see her face. Last week I stood next to her 8 hours a day!
I enjoyed yesterday when Charlene bought a little cake for John (Calverts) birthday and the few of us dancers left & Ron went into Liza's trailer to sing him Happy Birthday! It was something at least.
I hate doing extra work! Isn't it funny how everything is relative? But I want to keep working on this job simply because it keeps this life in my reality. The day it's over, my film career terminates too! Chris, one of the director's assistants has told me that I can maybe work on the film when they shoot in New York. Ron and Liza were talking about me the other day... ???
I think I've gained like 20 lbs since this job began. It doesn't show but I can feel it. Must be all those free Egg McMuffins and donuts from the food cart every morning!
I've made a vow to write every day that I'm on the set from now on ~ it's just too amusing to pass up. Today marks the fifth day on this one scene. Five days of confetti throwing, lacquered hair and wierd, wierd people! I wish I could write everything down but I can't possibly, there's just too much!
I'd fall apart if it weren't for the little group the dancers have wound down to. The troupers! We'll probably all stay until the jobs done. But we have a ball. We have to or go crazy. I haven't giggled as much as I have the past few days. Yesterday we made a G-String out of streamers for David Nichols. He loved it! The crew is getting to be more and more familiar with us and we with them. It's like family! I wish Ron was still here!
Me and my old dance partner Gene taking a break outside from the confetti.
Michael, the A.D. is driving me nuts! I don't think I can listen to his voice for another hour. Everyone's a little irritable. We were in until after 11:00 last night after 16 hours and then back again this morning. Today will probably be the same. I can only imagine how silly we'll be by the end of the night. I've already ingested way too much confetti, convetti & spaghetti!
The next thing I'm going say is gonna sound really silly, but dammit, she looks at me! Liza looks at me ALL THE TIME and I don't think it's my imagination. Maybe it's because I look at her all the time. But I don't think so. I love to watch her, yes. She amazes and amuses me. She has a style of acting that is so uniquely her own, something I could never copy or would ever want to copy, but by just watching her I think I can learn so much. The scene they're doing right now is mostley ad-libbish and different every time and yet each time so fresh. I wish I could watch every little thing she does but I can't because every time she glances away from Bob (Robert DiNero.. yes first names now haha!) her eyes go directly to ME. It's embarrassing! I change positions and it STILL happens! Maybe I'm cuckoo! Or maybe she just thinks I'm really weird for some reason!
I worked Friday on the new set and we're back today but all the confetti is gone, Hallelujah! We just get to sit (or stand) and watch Liza perfrom the title song (and brilliantly I might add!) What an experience this has been and how much fun will it be to see her do this song in her nightclub act years from now!
Here's "New York, New York" from the Starlight Terrace scene. You'll definitely want to focus on Liza here of course!.. but you can still see me for a couple of seconds directly in the front (meaning the back) wearing the light beige dress with the coral waistband and my hair in a bun. I'm also somewhere down near the stage later on at the end of the number, but I've never been able to spot myself...