El Paso

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I arrived in El Paso Monday, guest of the Plaza Classic Film Festival, as part of my book tour. The airport was like a ghost town, with not a soul in sight. Families were home, grieving. It was my first time in this city. A lovely woman, Kathrin Berg, from the El Paso Community Foundation, […]

Set the Record Straight

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A grave injustice has occurred. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has failed to identify the etymology of the verb “to doodle.” They correctly define the word, “to scribble mindlessly,” but trace the origin to a 16th century noun, a doodle or dolt, or other roots. Poppycock. “To doodle” was the invention of Robert Riskin and comes from the […]

Fire and Flood

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A little more than a year ago, as I was completing my manuscript, a fire – the largest in California history – swept the hills immediately above my Santa Barbara home. The authorities ordered mandatory evacuation and taking time only to put into the car the family dog, my manuscript and computer, and a few […]

Meet John Doe

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Meet John Doe – which airs December 8th on Turner Classic Movies – represents a departure from usual Riskin-Capra films in several respects. John Doe was made after my father had gone on vacation to Europe in 1939. On his trip, he had seen first-hand evidence of the euphoria Hitler had created in Germany and the […]