Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Patrick Swayze: Thinking of You on Valentine's Day

I think of Patrick Swayze as a romantic at heart and of course that came through loud and clear in his movies Dirty Dancing and Ghost. I just know there will be multitudes of fans watching his Dirty Dancing and Ghost movies for Valentine's Day.

And of great significance, I think of how he treasured his wife, Lisa. Remember his vows he recited at his "second wedding"?

As we all know, Dirty Dancing is slated for a re-make movie and continues to play as a stage favorite, and Ghost plays on stage and is slated to be a television show. On the one hand, it is distressing that there are these "imitations" and "re-dos" of these classic works. Yet, on the other hand, one can view it as a testament to the awesome work Patrick Swayze did in the iconic, original movies.

I thank you Patrick Swayze for being such a romantic and touching our hearts in so many ways.

Friday, January 10, 2014

More Dirty Dancing Music Trivia

  1. The original soundtrack of Dirty Dancing was released in 1987—at the same time as the movie. It was #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart for 18 weeks and went multi-platinum.
  2. By 2007, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack had sold more than 42 million copies. It continues to be one of the best-selling albums of all time.
  3. "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" was performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. This performance was the first time they sang together.
  4. "She's Like the Wind" was originally written for (but never used in) the movie Grandview, U.S.A. (1984). The inspiration for the song was Lisa Niemi, Patrick Swayze's wife.
  5. "She's Like the Wind" is only one of many songs written by Patrick Swayze. Other songs include: "Cliff's Edge" (used in Road House), "Brothers" (used in Next of Kin), "Finding My Way Back," and "When You Dance" (both used in One Last Dance).
  6. In 1960, Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs recorded Maurice's song "Stay." The song went to #1 on the national charts and remained there all summer.
  7. "Be My Baby" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 1999 and Time has the song on its list of the ALL-TIME 100 songs.
  8. Michael Lloyd was the producer for "Yes," "She's Like the Wind," and "(I've Had) The Time of my Life."
  9. Reportedly, the television show E! True Hollywood Story episode of September 3, 2000 quoted Franke Previte as saying that, before a single from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack had even been released, there were a million albums on backorder with RCA.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Patrick Swayze: My Hero

Johnny is Baby's hero in Dirty Dancing. Patrick Swayze continues to be my hero in real life. Recovering from an unprovoked physical assault in the workplace takes all one has and some. And guess what? While I have been going through recovery from a fractured back vertebrae (including a surgical procedure) and from stress and anxiety from this near-death experience, my hero has been such an inspiration and help to get through.

Thinking of how Patrick went back to work while undergoing intensive cancer treatment and his entire battle against this horrific beast is very powerful and moving for me. Thinking of Patrick's plane crash (2000) and accident on set while filming Letters From a Killer (1998) reminds me that Patrick did not give up flying and obviously did not give up going on set to make movies.

Johnny says to Baby: "I've never met anyone like you." "Ditto" is what I say to Patrick. I am so grateful to have met you and to have your amazing spirit whose light shines so bright as such an inspiration.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Mom: My Warrior Hero

I might digress a little bit from Dirty Dancing. However, looking at some of the themes in Dirty Dancing that include living for the now and fighting for what you want, and my yearning to get this down on paper, I will proceed.

My 82 yr old Mom had her second mastectomy this week. Even her surgeon said she was tough. She went in and did what she had to do and didn't look back. I will tell you what--losing a breast at 82 is still losing a breast. When the surgeon called with the positive results, my Mom said: "I am lucky," She is healing fast and getting on with life. I look up to my Mom: My Warrior Hero. Sometimes it takes a health scare like this to once again live in the moment and enjoy everything we are blessed with!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dirty Dancing Music Trivia

1. In 1988, "Dirty Dancing: Live in Concert," the musical tour, featuring Bill Medley and Eric Carmen, went to 90 cities in 90 days.

2.  "She's Like The Wind" was #3 on Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Adult Contemporary in 1989.

3.  "She's Like The Wind" was originally written for but never used in the movie, Grandview U. S. A. (1984).

4.   "She's Like The Wind" is only one of many songs written by Patrick Swayze.

5.   "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"  was performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.

6.  "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" won an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe in 1988.

7.    Sylvia Robinson and Mickey Baker recorded "Love Is Strange" in 1956.

8.   "Love Is Strange" was inducted in to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004.

9.    "Hungry Eyes" performed by Eric Carmen was #4 on the billboard Hot 100 Charts in 1988.

10.     In 1989, "She's Like The Wind" won at the BMI Film & TV Awards for "most performed song from a film."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dirty Dancing Character Penny Was Based On A Real Person Jackie Horner

The Dirty Dancing character Penny was loosely based on the real-life entertainment icon, Jackie Horner. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Ms. Jackie Horner during the summer of 2009 for my book: The Fans' Love Story: How The Movie 'DIRTY DANCING' Captured The Hearts Of Millions!

Jackie spent the summer of 1985 telling Eleanor Bergstein (writer of Dirty Dancing) her story--including going through photos of the era, clothing, and hair styles and telling her various anecdotes from her experiences as a dance pro at Grossinger's from 1954-1986. Check out the Dirty Dancing screen credits and you will see Special Thanks to Jackie Horner.

Here is one anecdote from Jackie: "Shelly Winters, bless her heart, was a dear friend and a Grossinger guest so often. One day she said, 'Jackie, you are going to get hurt practicing your lifts on these hard wood stages. Why don't you come down to the lake with me on Sunday and practice your dance lifts in the lake?'" Jackie was involved in stealing vodka-spiked watermelons for staff parties. Jackie taught a couple who was stealing and her partner was blamed for it. Sound familiar? Note though that Penny had an abortion and Jackie did not have an abortion--although per Jackie, there were other staff at the hotel who did.

Presently, Jackie continues her illustrious career/her life's work--in fact she doesn't seem to be slowing down at all, and is such an inspiration. Jackie has a dance studio in the Catskills, teaches at Kutshers Hotel (one of the few remaining great Catskills' resorts) and at many various dance workshops; including her annual Spring Dance Festival. She has recently been filmed in two documentaries on the Catskills. She gives lectures on Dirty Dancing and has a special Dirty Dancing weekend coming up in November. And these are only some of the activities she is involved in.

Regarding Jackie's dance background, Jackie began taking dance lessons at the age of four and started as a touring professional at fourteen. She was a Rockette and a member of the June Taylor dance company. Here is an excerpt from "Biographical Sketch--Jackie Horner."
"Ms. Horner has danced throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America in night clubs, theaters, and television's top variety shows . . . At present, she teaches dance here in the Catskills, collges, regional theaters and choreographs musical theater productions as well as appearing in some . . . The Catskills are her magical mountains, where her happiest moments have been spent teaching the Stars of Hollywood, television and all the guests who come on vacations these many years."

Jackie met her husband of fifty years, Lou Goldstein, at Grossinger's. He was the entertainment and sports director there and became known as "Mr. Simon Sez."

A big thank you to Jackie for her 1985 consulting work on Dirty Dancing and her activities that help keep the film alive in so many people's hearts.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs and National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month: November

Steve Jobs will be greatly missed! Amazing legacy! Steve Jobs:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Let us honor all of those who have fought and who fight now by getting involved with Naitonal Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Let me share something that I received a few days ago that says it all.

October 4, 2011

Dear Sue,

The past doesn't drive me—it's the present and future that inspire me.

My name is Greg Petrosewicz. I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer in 2001. I can't change that, but I can work to make sure that nobody else loses his or her mother to this deadly disease. That is why I am a Volunteer for Progress with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. I know I am making a real difference through my volunteer efforts to advance research, support patients and create hope.

As the volunteer Affiliate Coordinator for the Austin Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, I can tell you I am encouraged to meet people from my community who are passionate about making a difference and want to fight hard to change the course of history for pancreatic cancer.

Will you join me as a Volunteer for Progress? Pancreatic cancer still has a five-year survival rate of just six percent. That's almost the same deadly statistic that it was 10 years ago when I lost my mother—but even worse, that statistic has barely changed in 40 years.

Together we can change that. Let's start by standing up for the estimated 6,996* people who will be diagnosed from today to the end of National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month in November. YOU can be one of the 6,996* people to join the fight and make a difference—the more of us there are, the more progress we'll make.

Visit and add your name to the list and be a Volunteer for Progress—when you do, you can immediately begin to make a big difference: by raising awareness in your community, calling your members of Congress and urging them to pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act, or participating in a local event like PurpleStride.

Get involved and be one of the 6,996 to stand up for every person diagnosed between now and the end of November. Be a hero in the fight against pancreatic cancer. Volunteer for Progress.

Thank you,