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News Update by Diane F.

July 5, 2003

Riverside Inn June 24-30, 2003
Cambridge Springs, PA


Greetings! Another year has come and gone and my week at Cambridge Springs.


I left for CS on Tuesday, June 24 about 9:00 AM to pick up Dorothy Coats in Sylvania, OH. I ran into the usual summer construction on the I75 and was held up for an hour in lower Michigan because a truck had lost its tire in the limited two-lane detour. I arrived at Dorothy's just 15 minutes late and made sure to get my hugs! After loading her things, we were off to PA.

Traffic moved quite nicely for the rest of the trip and we arrived safe and sound at Riverside at about 4:15 PM. This gave us time to check in, unpack to prepare for our first of many wonderful meals.

Many of the happy faces from the past were there! What a thrill to see everyone. This is the time I collect enough hugs and kisses to last me another year. I was assigned room 221 this year. For the past two years, I was in 218 (Nevella's room, as I call it. Mary Fox had Nevella's room this year). My room was lovely, done all in blue with antique poster beds. I had plenty of room for all of my "stuff".

The theme for this year was "Truly Awesome-The Baritone and the Beauty". Bet you can guess that we saw a few Nelson and Jeanette films!! The evening session was an intro to fabulous musicals and we saw old clips from three of Hollywood's "best" couples, Dick Powell (OF COURSE!) And Ruby Keeler, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Bet you will never guess who we thought took the prize??

We retired early since many of us had just journeyed all day. The weather was hot and muggy–after all, it would not be CS without it being hot and muggy! The AC came in handy that night.

Wednesday morning saw us rising early to catch the delicious breakfast buffet. We were all settled in class by 8:45. It was such fun having Mary Truesdell and Diane Provan "introduce" us to Nelson Eddy. Their assignment was to give a talk with video as if we never heard of Nelson and they were introducing us to him and his work. Of course, all of our favorite movie clips were used. Diane divided her talk into five areas of interest, the last two being "sex" and "WOW!" What fun!

We were treated to luncheon at the dinner theater and saw "Over The River and Through The Woods", a comedy written by Joe DiPietro, directed by Charles Corritore and starring Mike Bush, Gerry Munn, Tracey Hall, Larry Lewis, Doris Snell and Almitra Clerkin. The play takes place in the early nineties as Nick Cristano recalls his memories of his grandparents' home in Hoboken, NJ. Lots of laughter and tears in this wonderful production.

In the afternoon, I made a brief presentation updating everyone on the effort to name a street Nelson Eddy Drive and Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I was offering a raffle on a homemade album of Nelson photos. More on the Cemetery later. That evening, we enjoyed Naughty Marietta, always a landmark film for us.

Thursday, June 26 had us investigating the Dudley Do Right cartoons, a spoof on Nelson in Rosemarie. We also saw Dudley Do Right, the film, starring Brandon Fraser. As "insiders" we found much of his nonsense very entertaining. We also saw an old B movie, Renfrew of the Royal Mounties–certainly NOT Nelson and Jeanette! During the break, we went outside for our nearly annual golf competition, sponsored by Darv and Pat Reaume. I wasn't even good enough to win the booby prize! Several balls are now floating down the French Creek. If you spot a particularly round fish, you will know why! All prizes were provided by Pat and Darv and a good time was had by all.

That evening we checked out Fred and Ginger in Top Hat and marveled at their grace and style. Nobody beats Fred and Ginger. Dr. Marsh also lectured on the club scene when musical movie stars were searching for a new venue for their talents with movie musicals being phased out and TV taking over. Kind remarks were made about my CD, Nelson Eddy and Gale Sherwood Nightclub Show and how it represented the style of shows done in that era. I am still thrilled that Gale Sherwood, herself gave her permission to have this CD produced. Sound work was done by Gloria Pollock's grandson, Paul Kavicky of Pounce International.

The final segment of the day was an introduction to Lake Tahoe and Rose Marie by Marjorie Hadlock. Marjorie sponsored an excursion to Lake Tahoe in the nineties and took attendees on the trails and byways of where Rose Marie were filmed. We were shown a video of this trip and were all jealous we were not all able to go. Two attendees of this trip were at the Inn, Dorothy Coats and Jean Bordelon. They added their photos and adventures to the presentation.

Friday, June 27 had us checking out Dick Powell in Flirtation Walk and Fred and Ginger in Swingtime. I also brought the Nelson Eddy makeup kit again this year. I received further documentation of its authenticity from Anna Michalik who found a news clipping in her vast collection showing Nelson in full New Moon costume, applying his make up from a very similar, if not the same kit!

Rose Marie and Lake Tahoe continued with guest speaker, Marjorie Hadlock. She presented wonderful photos and memorabilia of the Lake Tahoe area. We then heard from Sargent Matt Logan of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in full dress uniform! What a site he was. Matt has his doctorate in psychology and was such an interesting speaker, pointing out the difference in Hollywood
representation of the Mounties and reality. He also remembered, with a tear in his eye, Jeanne Murphy. Such a touching tribute. Matt was very kind and patient to pose for photos with all of us individually (he was wearing a wool serge tunic on this hot, muggy June evening!) He deserves a special star on that beautiful uniform! Funds were also raised to add to the Nelson Eddy Scholarship Fund, sponsored by Gloria Pollock, with the sale of autographed photos of Matt in full uniform. Darv Reaume ran right to town to get the photos made.

Fondly, Diane F.!!

That afternoon was reserved for Maytime. Mary Truesdell lectured on her recent research into the making of the film, both versions. Dodona Kiziria spoke of the impact of seeing such wonderfully romantic movies during her tragic years living in Georgia in the USSR. You can just imagine after seeing only propaganda films of sacrifice for country, how a film such as Maytime caught the imagination of a young girl longing for beauty and romance. Thank you Dodona for your heartfelt talk.

After dinner (see I am playing down the food this year so you all won't notice the 5 pounds I gained from enjoying same!) We were treated to a live concert by Mike Malthaner, a local junior high music teacher and theater performer. He accompanies himself on piano and his tenor voice was delightful. His wife did a great job on the behind the scenes support. Mike sang many Nelson songs and we also sang along with him. The evening concluded with the annual sing-along. Lynnette played at least 80 songs and with the help of the wine and cheese, we all belted out our best renditions. It probably helped that some of us had laryngitis!

Saturday, June 28 had us investigating Balalaika. Dodona introduced the film and told us the differences in the film's representation of Russia and the Cossacks when compared with actual history. All very interesting. She did inform us that royalty would never enforce order in the streets as Nelson did. The Cossacks were the merciless enforcers. Facts such as the royalty seek refuge in Paris were true. We next viewed excerpts from Dames and Roberta. My raffle of the photo album with all monies collecting going to the Nelson Eddy Drive Fund was held. Janet Dreyer won the album. I was able to raise $312 from sales of tickets and outright donations.


Many more promised to send their contributions directly to:

Hollywood Forever Cemetery,

Attention: Linda Foster.

Raffles were a big, time-consuming effort this year. Not only did I offer that album for my project, but we were honored to purchase tickets on items from Barbara Gibler's estate, offered by her daughter, Barbara Peckstein and her daughter, Lisa Jackson. As many items were available, most, if not all purchaser's were rewarded with a keepsake. Marjorie Snook also sent items for raffle as she pares down her collection. A gorgeous quilt was won by Marjorie Provan's sister, Donna. Most of us went home with new additions to our own collections and sweet memories of the original owners to cherish.

That afternoon we had our Wreck Room session. Hollywood Greats narrated by Henry Fonda was shown and Mary Fox and I offered our Nelson music and memorabilia for sale. In the evening, we were treated to the annual talent show. Lynnette Peffley organized and presented the show this year. Lynnette must be applauded for her hard work and sacrifice of her vacation time dedicated to this show. Without Lynnette, the show would NOT go on. There was just magic in the air that night. All of the performers were having their best night and the audience was electric with expectation. Mary Fox videotaped the performance and we are all waiting anxiously to relive this special evening. Some performers included Perry Pickering and Janet Dreyer, Jean Bordelon bent to pressure from some of her "friends" and performed three songs beautifully. We were treated to a quartet of singers-Bill and Mary Truesdell (Bill was also host of this affair) along with Glenn and Jeanne Pusch. Jeanne wrote the words to their song. Bill and Glenn also reprised their rendition of Stouthearted Men on request.


The best treat of all was when newcomer, Marlene Vrscak blew us all away with her professionally trained soprano voice, with very difficult arias of some of Jeanette's most wonderful songs. Marlene did them more than justice. During one number, Maids of Cadiz, Marlene was joined by Montreal resident Raymonde Lavoie, who danced and played the castanets. What a wonderful combination. We all loved it. Raymonde and her traveling companion, Nicole Mills, of Toronto, searched the entire CS area trying to locate castanets and were successful! Nicole also performed a very sultry number in French for us. What a talented and beautiful lady! Lynnette accompanied herself for two lovely numbers. The show concluded with a "dance along" sung by Marlene of Juliette's Waltz from Romeo and Juliette. If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me. Mike and Marie Halliday, owner's of the Riverside Inn also joined us and Mike spoke of the pleasure of hosting us all these years, adding he hoped we would return often in the future.

Some of us retired to the bar and had a wonderful chat and were able to get sneak previews of Mary's videotaping of the talent show. By this time in the week, we were all truly feeling bonded to one another and it was one of the best memories I will cherish for many years to come.

Sunday, June 29-Nelson Eddy's Birthday!! A memorial service was given by Dorothy Coats and Jean Bordelon in honor of Jeanne Murphy who left us to join God on Sunday, June 22. We will all miss Jeanne and her wonderful stories of having met Nelson. I am sure she joined us in spirit this year.

I was so happy that Dr. Marsh presented the opera version of Girl of the Golden West written by Puccini in a 1992 telecast starring Placido Domingo. I have always been curious about the opera and this was my first opportunity to view it. Although John planned just a short clip to point out the melodrama, we insisted on watching the opera to the end.

We all dressed up for Birthday dinner that evening. I was sidelined because I had locked my keys in my trunk earlier that afternoon. A man from Erie had to come to the Inn to rescue this poor damsel in distress. My car was valiant in its efforts to turn this "intruder" away. The alarms were sounding loudly and when, after 20 minutes he was able to enter the cabin of the car, all of the power locks were in anti-theft mode and we still could not pop the trunk! Luckily I have a hatch from the back seat through to the trunk, and a golf club was used to release the lock! Upon entering the dining room, all applauded the sight of my car keys! Believe me, I got many suggestions on keeping a spare set of keys and not gabbing so much and paying closer attention to what I am doing!! Points well taken, all!

Later that evening, we viewed Nelson and Jeanette's enjoyable version of Girl-start to finish! Wine and cheese followed and we all realized that this was our last evening together. Many took photos and exchanged hugs and kisses.


As an overview, might I add that I was very generous this year and brought along with me a sore throat and laryngitis which I shared with a good third of the people! Poor Dr. Marsh had to try to lecture the last few sessions
without a voice! I hope all have recovered well from this gift of mine!

Monday, June 30 had us eating a bittersweet breakfast as we all prepared to go home. A few were left at lunchtime, and Marie Halliday made sure boxed lunches were available for travelers. Dorothy and I had a safe and uneventful drive home. She is the best co-pilot and companion a driver could have.

Thanks, Dorothy.

Upon my arrival home, I checked on my 300+ emails and saw that the contract for Nelson Eddy Drive was about to expire that evening! I frantically called Linda Foster, who I was unable to reach before my trip, and left both phone and email messages for her marked URGENT. I also learned that the Mac/Eddy Club had also met that Sunday, June 29 and were able to raise funds through an auction and donations. I was on pins and needles until I received an email from Rachanee Clovis, many of you met her last year when she attended the NEAS meeting at CS. She informed me that she too was anxious about all of the money being relatively lost for Nelson and just going into a general fund. She wished to protect the generous donators and made arrangements to attend the Mac/Eddy meeting at which Linda Foster was due to appear. After much trouble with reservations and such, Rachanee arrived in LA just in time to cover the  balanced owed on the contract to make Nelson Eddy Drive a reality! Thanks to her generosity and determination, we can now go ahead with plans for the program and dedication on September 27, 2003, from 12-4 PM. All money collected from June 29-the end of July, including the money I collected for this project and anything you may have sent personally, will be placed in the Nelson Eddy Trust Fund at the cemetery and used to reduce Rachanee's outlay of over $15,000!

Depending on the amount received, Rachanee advised that we may be able to go with the larger street segment nearest Nelson's grave. Linda Foster has offered to try to get the price reduced. So, we shall see how it all ends up, but rest assured that the event WILL be taking place. Now work begins on all the details. If any of you are interested in coming, I would appreciate knowing as we have talked about the possibility of reserving blocks of rooms in LA. I make no promises now, as I have yet to check with Helen Crawford and don't know if this service to you is possible, so for now, count on making your own travel arrangements.

I heard that Sharon Rich has arranged for an organist and singers to perform Nelson songs and anyone who has connections is working on attracting Hollywood celebrities to join us. This event will be covered by the media and I am in the process of contacting the gentleman who may video tape the event and make a DVD available. I will keep you posted on all further details, especially if you are planning to come out to LA and join us for this wonderful event. All clubs have contributed to this becoming a reality and we look forward to a fabulous, congenial meeting of fans to honor our dear Nelson Eddy.

Well, your eyes should be exhausted by now. Thanks for taking the time to read about this delightful week.

Fondly, Diane F.



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Jeanette's List of Songs JMFC Library  Photo Gallery     Jeanette's Birthday Page  Nelson Page
  Tips and Tidbits -- Helpful Things From A to Z  Links to the World  JMFC's Tribute Memorial JMIFC Clara and Tessa Page
 THE QUOTABLE JEANETTE MacDONALD  Pet Hall of Fame Page   What's On TCM  Quiz Fun  
G. D. Hamann Page           The Things Actors Say  Sweetheart Treasure Shop  Contact Us


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