November 19, 2018

Singing the Composer’s Praises

“Air Force One.” “Basic Instinct.” “Poltergeist.” “Planet of the Apes.”

Just a sampling of the more than 175 motion pictures bearing the distinctive imprimatur of master film composer Jerry Goldsmith, (left) who was recently honored by the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. The Regent Beverly Wilshire reception was part of the Chamber’s 75th-anniversary Diamond Jubilee.

Looking hip in thin-framed glasses and long, white hair that was tied back in a tail, the tuxedoed Goldsmith could not be missed as he worked the room with the vim of a pro at the peak of his creative powers. Indeed, the Oscar-winning composer (for “The Omen”) was nominated last year for “L.A. Confidential.”

Director and past Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President >Arthur Hiller, who worked with the composer on last year’s Oscar telecast, shared with the Circuit his esteem for the artist.

“Jerry has made an individualistic contribution to the music score,” Hiller said. “He gives you something you weren’t expecting.”

Also honored at the banquet was a man who makes the front page of the >Beverly Hills Courier every single week: high-profile Editor and Publisher March Schwartz, > known for his front-page columns.

Goldsmith’s candid remarks no doubt spoke for Schwartz as well.

“Any honor is important, especially from your own community,” the composer told The Circuit. “I like being honored, let’s face it!”

B’nai B’rith Salutes Entertainers

So there’s this organized bus tour in Israel. And the tour guide directs everyone’s attention to some famous landmarks — the Knesset , the Hadassah hospital…and the Irving Lefkowitz building.

Confused Tourist: Who’s Irving Lefkowitz?

Tour Guide: A writer.

Tourist: What did he write?

Tour Guide: A very big check.


Comedian Dave Barry’s monologue set the Borscht Belt-flavored tone for the B’nai B’rith Salute to Israel, recently held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Hosted by Israel Today’s Phil Blazer, the show was a tribute to the memory of musician/comedian >Mickey Katz and The Barry Sisters.

Co-sponsored by >Mount Sinai Memorial Park and Mortuary and >Jewish National Fund, the lively mix of Catskills comedy and old-school Jewish music catered to a lively senior set.

There was no lack of entertainment. Among the highlights: A high-energy set by >The Golden State Klezmers > and the bizarre, albeit captivating, histrionics of bluebeard Russian vocalist >Yacov Yavno (who, in his strange black garb, resembled a villain from “Superman II”).

A remembrance of Katz by his widow, Grace Katz, > was punctuated by the unbilled appearance of their son, “Cabaret” song-and-dance legend >Joel Grey. (Grey and Katz, pictured at right) Grey praised his father — a tailor’s son who left his Orthodox Jewish Cleveland, Ohio, home by age 15 to hit the road as a working musician. Gushed Grey, “One of the greatest things in my life was being, and is being, the son of Mickey Katz.”

Ventriloquist act >Rickie Lane and Velvel (right) > capitalized on Grey’s surprise appearance. Velvel, a well-coifed dummy, claimed that he was “wearing Mickey Katz’s >sheitel (“toupee”), but now that I see Joel Grey….” The duo then launched into a routine loaded with racy, unprintable double-entendres, handily winning over the audience.

The evening culminated with a strong performance by surviving Barry Sister >Claire Barry, who opened with a >Yiddishkayt version of “My Way,” followed by a repertoire that yielded poignant memories of her late sibling, >Merna.

But it was little Velvel who imparted the audience with some parting words of wisdom: “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you!”