Friday, August 07, 2015


I never saw my Dad cry.  His generation was tough. He fought in the Korean War.  His best friend was killed beside him. He suffered what would now be called PTSD. The medication he was on stabilized his emotions, kept feelings frozen.

When I was seven and I cried when a car hit our dog, I asked Mom a question.  "Does Daddy ever cry?" I said. 

"I only saw him cry once," Mom said.  "Although he didn't really cry, he fought it and kept from crying. His eyes were a little wet."

"When was that?" I said.

"When his father died."

I didn't think much about that through the years until I was at Quentin Tarentino's theater, a pet project of his that he and I both refer to as "our film school." It's a place that is like heaven on earth to me called the New Beverly Cinema.  They've shown my movie there and they show independent and classic films.

On this particular fall night, the film was "Somewhere In Time" a love story with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve.  The haunting score and the desire to go back in time washed over me and I had a strange compulsion, an inner voice giving me the oddest message.

"Show this film to your father.  Right away."

The intuition was so overpowering, my wife and I went home three thousand miles to Pittsburgh.  My Dad's health wasn't well.  I asked him if I could rent the film "Somewhere In Time" and show it to him.

"What's it about, Richard?"

"Going back in time.  How love transcends death.  This playwright goes into the past to a woman he loves."

"Okay.  I'll watch it."

My mother and father watched the film with my wife and I.  When the beautiful score played and the film concluded, something happened that shocked us.

My dear father was weeping, sobbing uncontrollably.  My mother couldn't bear to look.  She told me she'd never seen him like that.  My wife didn't look either, she said she didn't want to embarrass my father.

I looked at him, I felt like I had to, because I was seeing something so rare.   Through his tears he thanked me.  He cried for what seemed about fifteen minutes, and I don't know all the details but something very heavy and oppressive was released from him.  Maybe he knew his time was short.  He died shortly thereafter.  Remembering it now, now that he's gone and buried in the Veteran's Cemetery, makes me tear up to even type this note.

But it shows me the power of music and story and film.  It makes me committed to my work to hopefully make movies and music that touch people and help them to feel.  I think I'll watch that film again now.  Call me a sap.  It's just nice to feel feelings sometimes, once in a while, even though it might be hard to feel certain intense feelings all the time.

If you're not familiar with the film's score and images, here's a link:


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