Saturday, March 17, 2012
shecket bevakasha, dig? Shut up, please." Right before Donna Kanter, the director of this excellent documentary, not that I'm biased, but I swear, it's great, got up to talk, the Cough did a slight attention grab. "Bark bark," she said. My brother John turned to me. "Uh-oh." My father turned to me. "Oh?" His girlfriend Paula touched my arm. "That sounds terrible, dear." "I'm fine," I said. "Bark, bark." John leaned in. "So what if you bother 200 people for the next hour and a half. You have just as much right to be here as they do." "Not helping," I said, and slipped in a stinky lozenge. He leaned away. The Cough subsided. Donna got up to talk. She told us what a joy it was to film these comedy legends, or as the men refer to themselves in the documentary, more than a minyan. And then it was showtime, and for the next 118 minutes, it was a nonstop kvell-o-rama, as the kids says. Funny men at Factor's. Carl Reiner, Arthur Marx, son of Groucho. Gary Owens of "Laugh-in" Fame. Hal Kanter, Matty Simmons, of "National Lampoon," producer of "Animal House." Sid Caesar. Monty Hall. Arthur Hiller, Rocky Kalish. Throughout, my dad eats the same bowl of chicken soup, over and over. They trade off telling jokes, swapping health stories, discussing life. They're interviewed in their homes, talking about their long careers. Writers get better with age, my dad says. But try telling that to a 14 year old TV network executive. Some of the men in the film have since passed on -- Donna's dad Hal and Arthur Marx -- which just adds to the poignancy. And now it's on to finding distribution. God willing, you'll be seeing "Lunch" soon, and when you do, look for the man eating the bottomless bowl of chicken soup. That's my dad.
Posted by Carol Starr Schneider at 8:46 AM