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The Long and Winding Road – For Real! Part 2

28 Apr

Continuing from last week, we’ll pick back up The Now Explosion Rock ‘n Roll Miracle Story when Bob had just been given the 45 RPM record of The Long and Winding Road after he had said, “I’ll do it for free.” Genii Macaulay had responded, “You’re hired.”


Everybody always thought Bob was on drugs. He wasn’t. He was on film. Who needed drugs when you had film? The bug had bitten him very young and he had been infected with it ever since. After school he would study the craft of making movies in the FSU library not far from his home in Tallahassee. He would save his lawn-mowing money to buy precious rolls of 8mm film and make his kid brother Randy jump through hoops (figuratively and literally!) for the camera. He graduated to Super 8 a few years later when everybody thought his “hobby” should have been long gone. He had done whatever was necessary to learn how to make films and it never once occurred to him he wouldn’t eventually be successful at it.


All of that had been in preparation for this moment. He was incredibly excited, but to see him you wouldn’t have known it – because he was focused like a laser beam. There was no way he was going to blow this opportunity to shoot for The Now Explosion!

He drove straight home to his apartment on Campbellton Road, sat down on the sofa and pulled the 45 out of the paper sleeve. He knew he would never forget the feeling of pulling this piece of round vinyl out of this particular square, paper pocket. This was it.


He slid the 45 down the spindle of his record player and played The Long and Winding Road over and over again. He liked it, but thought it was an unusual piece, a little sad for the Beatles. He got out his stopwatch and a legal pad and timed out the lyrics, the chorus. He jotted down the words and the visuals they brought to mind until finally a storyline began to emerge. He could see the scenes play in his head, it was already becoming a movie. When he got to the point where the entire song was a visual in his mind, he stopped playing the record and wrote out the script shot-by-shot.

He called a friend, an aspiring actress who had been in his 15 minute 16mm epic and told her he was going to put her on TV, but she had to be ready before dawn. Alva Sanders was quiet for a second, then said, “Okay.”

ImageActual camera used!

He had just enough sunlight left that Thursday evening to get shots he needed of the flowers that were the pride-and-joy of the older lady who lived next door. She said it was fine for him to take pictures of her flowers, but she had never heard of The Now Explosion. The sun was setting, so he quickly got shots of his apartment complex while there was still enough light.

He needed a photo of a handsome young guy for the girl in the film to think about and as he rummaged through his drawer, he almost laughed out loud that the only one he had on hand was Randy’s senior high school picture.


Whether he had wanted to be or not, Randy had always been in Bob’s movies, he might as well be in this one too! Bob stuck the photo in a frame and grabbed a shot of it. The next thing was the clock on the kitchen wall. The only other thing he could shoot inside his apartment were rings on the table. Although he was about to hop out of his skin with excitement, he knew he had done everything he could that night. He set his alarm for 4:30am.

He pulled up at Alva Sander’s house at 5:30am so they could be at this open field he’d found west of Atlanta ready to shoot when the sun came up. It was too early to talk much, and besides, Bob was deep in thought about how he was going to pull this off.

He knew precisely what he wanted to do from the moment they arrived. He placed Alva at one end of the field and he was positioned on the opposite side. With a long lens, he shot a scene of her running through wild flowers, silhouetted against the rising sun. And so he continued methodically, working through the hand-written script, timing each shot with his stopwatch.


Several hours later they finished with that location and went back to Alva’s parent’s house. The light was perfect in Mrs. Sander’s bedroom, so that’s where he placed Alva, looking longingly out the window. He was finished shooting there by around noon and Alva’s mom had sandwiches ready for them. He gulped his lunch, said a quick “Thanks!” as he ran out the door and hurried downtown to get shots of people on the streets. He was a man with a vision, a stopwatch and a deadline!

He arrived at Cinema Processors lab around 2:00pm and Phil, who ran the lab, had his film in the “soup” a few minutes later. He screened it there, thought it was pretty good and was back at WATL by 3:30. Genii was too busy to look surprised that this insistent young man was back in her office already, she had two phones and three cigarettes going at the time.


She showed Bob where the editing room was and said to let her know when he was finished. There was a Movie Scope viewer with a 3″ wide screen, a single gang synchronizer for measuring the footage as he cut it, a cement “hot” splicer and a pair of film rewinds. He had no way of running the music with the picture when he was editing, so he had to rely on his stopwatch settings that he had also used when he was shooting.


Okay, I’m going to take a breath and say that again, just to make sure you heard me: HE HAD NO WAY OF RUNNING THE MUSIC WITH THE PICTURE! He used his stopwatch to figure out where to cut!?!! Now, keep in mind, this was the original film he was cutting, the same film that had been running through his 16mm camera a few hours before this. There was no workprint, this was newsreel style and there was no avoiding that splice marks would be visible. True guerilla filmmaking – no mistakes allowed!  Impossible to keep it in sync with the record – inconceivable!


It was about 6:00pm when he was finished cutting The Long and Winding Road, and Genii called Bob Whitney and a couple of the staff in to screen the film. There was a small record player on the conference table, they turned it on and cued the film up in the projector. I have absolutely no understanding how they got the film and the record started at the same time, but they did!

There was no reaction from the group as they watched Bob’s film. Miraculously, it was in perfect sync with the record. Bob thought it looked great and was waiting to be congratulated, but there was only deathly silence when the film ended. Everyone just kept staring at the blank screen. No one had ever seen anything quite like it and really didn’t know what to make of it. Before this, they had been primarily taping teenagers dancing with psychedelic effects in the background or dancing outside with simple outdoor scenes.


This film was something different entirely: a story showing sincere emotion and intercutting seemingly unrelated scenes that amplified those emotions. Her loneliness contrasted with the lonely, crowded streets; the beauty of her love as reflected in the flowers but contrasting with the stark and ugly apartment complex – all shot in available light for heightened realism and a more personal feel.

He had put his heart into it and now Rector’s heart was in his throat as he thought, “Oh shit, they hate it!”


Whitney looked at Genii, nodded his head, and Genii said, “Okay, we’ll see.”

Later that night the film was transferred to 2″ quad video tape and put on an individual reel ready to go into the show’s rotation. That was Friday.


Bob went home and collapsed. He was exhausted and a little confused, but still confident. How could they not like it? I did a terrific job! He would be up and waiting in front of the TV set at noon the next day.


About fifteen miles away, as the crow flies, I was waiting in front of the TV set too. The new Beatles song, The Long and Winding Road had just come out. I had heard it on Quixie that week on the Skinny Bobby Harper show and was hoping it would be on The Now Explosion. Great song and pretty poignant since the Beatles had just broken up about a month earlier.  It didn’t come on right away, but after about half an hour, I heard Skinny Bobby say in his best I’m-the-most-charming-DJ-in-the-universe voice, “And now the latest hit from the Beatles, The Long and Winding Road.”


And there it was, the film Bob had been shooting just the day before. He sat stunned, wondering how many hundreds of thousands of people were watching it. It was beautiful, he had done it, just like he always knew he would. Then the phone rang and Alva was screaming, “Did you SEE it?! Did you SEE IT?!” A few minutes later the doorbell rang, it was the lady next door all aglow, “I just saw my flowers on TV!” And then Randy called and said somebody had called him and said they had seen him on this television show and “What the hell, man?”


The break up of the Beatles wasn’t what concerned me that Saturday as I watched the images of The Long and Winding Road flicker hauntingly across the screen. It was the break-up of a much more personal nature that I was consumed with. My boyfriend and I had just broken up. We had been together for over two years and had thought we would always be together. As I watched the girl in The Long and Winding Road, that girl was me.


She even had long, dark hair like I did. And she looked at the picture of the boy she loved, just as I had done a hundred times. She was broken-hearted too, and I cried as only a seventeen year old girl can cry. I cried for her and for me.

How could I have known that it was the young man who had made The Long Winding Road, Bob Rector, who was destined to be my husband.


The Long and Winding Road was by far the most requested video of the weekend.


On Sunday afternoon, Genii called Bob and asked him how many films he could turn out in a week. “Oh, one a day,” he said, not thinking for a second what shooting five films a week would entail. Genii told him to be in her office first thing Monday morning and she’d give him the records he would shoot that week. He asked her if he was going to get paid and in typical Genii no nonsense fashion she said, “Yeah” and hung up.


Forty-three years later Bob Rector and I have been happily together for almost thirty-eight years. What’s the story behind that? Well, I’ve already written that one, in my Mutinous Boomer book!


But, now we find ourselves thrust unexpectedly into the world of The Now Explosion once again. How in the world did that happen? Well, I’ll tell you…

Last October, our son Matt, who just so happens to be a musician himself, emailed his dad, “Get ready for a trip back in time, I know how you don’t like time travel but I think you might like this. Click on the link to be transported.” Bob didn’t think anything about it because Matt is always sending us movie trailers and such, and everybody knows Bob isn’t fond of time travel. But, Matt was right, he was instantly transported when he clicked on the link and saw Alva Sander’s face.


He called out for me, his face was flushed – he had been hit with a bolt from the blue. I stood behind him, my hands on his shoulders and we both watched as forty-three years melted away, our eyes misty from the sheer power of the memories.

The Long and Winding Road indeed.


By Marsha Roberts

Author of Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer


The Tiny Wizard Miracle – or is it? You decide!

31 Jan

Have you ever thought something so random that it occurred to you an angel might be whispering in your ear? Ever felt the hair stand up on the back of your neck and thought something special was about to happen? Did you wonder what it meant and try to listen or did you just brush it away?

Well, for me, I’ve been trying to figure out how to listen better. Whether it’s angels or what, I know we are given clues about the right path to take. When I’ve ignored those clues, I’ve always regretted it. But whenever I listen to them, better yet, acted on them, it’s always worked out for the best. And sometimes it’s worked out astonishingly well! In little ways and in big ones.

Case in point. This is a little one, mind you, but it reminded me in no uncertain terms to PAY ATTENTION!

Several months ago we moved to a house with lots more room, so I was able to get many things out of storage and in the process had the extremely fun experience of discovering treasures I hadn’t seen in years. For once I had the luxury of a little time in the move and I could sort through all the boxes to see which of my prized possessions would be a part of my life again, what would be thrown or given away and what would go back into a box for another time.

When that job was done I realized I was missing one cherished piece: a tiny 2″ tall pewter figurine of a wizard holding a small crystal in his left hand and a staff in his right. He had not been in storage over the years; for more than 25 years he had been on my mantle wherever we lived. He had been a gift and was symbolic of many things – I loved that little wizard. But now, after sorting through every single box, I had no idea where he was.

One morning about two months after the move, I was reading an inspirational book to get my mind focused on the day’s tasks. It was an early one by Wayne Dyer. I was at the end of the book and he was talking about how important a spirit of generosity is in finding your own spiritual path to manifesting your dreams and desires in life. It suddenly (randomly!) occurred to me I needed to write down the address of a woman I had recently been put in touch with. She is very active in helping the military, and I had a huge batch of letters I needed to send to her that I had collected for American troops stationed overseas. She had the contacts to get the letters in the hands of our soldiers.

OK, now pay attention (which is what I was being told to do!). This was something good I was supposed to do. I wasn’t thinking about it at all, but it was put on my mind while I was reading about “a spirit of generosity” and I didn’t think a thing about it at the time, except to find her email before it got buried in the mass of contacts I had recently made. I didn’t think about it having to do anything with what I had just read. I just acted when I felt the urge. I found the email and as I was printing out her address I thought I should go ahead and weigh the letters to see how much it was going to cost to ship them, so I could plan for the expense.

I had put the boxes on the shelf in my office closet. They were so heavy that I didn’t want to haul them into another room to weigh them on a table like I normally would. I just wanted to do the quickest, easiest thing and plop them in front of the closet. So I placed the scale on the floor and pulled a couple of big boxes down on top of the scale. The thing is, the boxes were so large that I couldn’t see the reading on the scale. I had to get down on the floor, with my face laying on the ground to see what the weight was. I turned my head to the side to get around the bulk of the boxes and what did I see on the floor behind the closet door? My beloved Wizard!


He was in such an odd, hidden spot, I don’t think I would have ever have seen him if I hadn’t done this specific action, with my head on the ground, turned sideways – the action that some sort of instinct had lead me to.

I happily greeted him back into the fold, checked to see how much it was going to be to send 50 pounds of letters and went back to my reading, with my little Wizard now on my desk. I had finished that first book, but wanted to continue reading that morning, so I started a more recent book by Dyer, “The Power of Intention.” Right up front in Chapter 1 it says, quoting Carlos Castaneda, “Intent is a force that exists in the universe. When sorcerers (those who live of the Source) beckon intent, it comes to them and sets up the path for attainment, which means that sorcerers almost always accomplish what they set out to do.”

I was taken aback by the reference to the sorcerer when I had just found my Wizard! Clearly some sort of communication or connection was happening! Several pages later… “Activating intention means rejoining your Source and becoming a modern-day sorcerer. Being a sorcerer means attaining the level of awareness where previously inconceivable things are available.”

First off, thank you, once again, Wayne Dyer for sharing your incredible insight and wisdom with us. And secondly, OK, I’m really paying attention now! This was no coincidence. Call it angels whispering in my ear, call it the continuing but often unrecognized miracles that are happening all the time, all around us, but when I listened, acted on what I “heard” it was then confirmed to me that the whole process of PAYING ATTENTION is not only valid, but can change our lives if we let it!

To remind you, this blog is based on three premises:

– Angels are real.

– You can live as if everything is a miracle.

– And there is a good reason that “dog” is God spelled backwards.

I think I covered angels and miracles here, but what about dogs? Well, my ever curious shaggy-haired sort of a little black lab named Shadow, was on the floor with me, his nose on the ground, looking to see what in the world was Mom doing? Keeping me grounded to reality and that life is ever so much fun are always my dogs. Shadow is one of The Dogs I’ve Loved – the subject of my next blog.

May all those who read this be blessed with joy and the awareness of all the miraculous things happening around you every moment of every day!


Marsha Roberts

Author of “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer”

Angels, Miracles and Dogs – Getting started on Halloween…

31 Oct

Today is 10-31-12 which, besides being Halloween, is Dale Evans’ 100th birthday. And since I was a Baby Boomer Cowgirl, complete with a Dale Evans skirt and hat, it seems fitting that I begin this blog by honoring Dale. Thank God I was a kid when the likes of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were on TV. 1A-MCU-CowgirlPlus, Dale’s first book in 1953 was entitled “Angel Unaware” which touched the lives of millions of people. Need I say more.

If you don’t know who Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are, you might not like this blog, because I’m a Boomer through and through. I like to think of myself as a Mutinous Baby Boomer. So, perhaps, even if you aren’t a Boomer, but are feeling a little mutinous, you might enjoy joining me on this blog from time to time.

This blog is based on three premises:

– Angels are real.

– You can live as if everything is a miracle.

– And there is a good reason that “dog” is God spelled backwards.

Why? Because I’m tired of zombies, dark themes and everybody talking about how tough times are. Yeah, times are tough, but the more we talk about it, the tougher it all seems. I for one am tuning out all of the negativity and am focusing on the happy. Hence angels, miracles and dogs! It’s that simple!

Now you might think that with this premise I’m going to be writing about religion in some form or another. Nope. This is not about religion, it’s about life. Living every day as if it were the greatest gift you could possibly receive and getting a kick out of the fact that we are spiritual beings at the same time that we are human beings. We don’t have to pretend to be mystical and invent romantic vampires, we actually are mystical and magical!

Instead of thinking about the possibility of some kind of zombie apocalypse, why don’t we imagine an Angelic Revolution or a Bombardment of Miracles? And how do dogs fit in? Well, I’ve sure had encounters with dogs that seemed like they were angels in disguise – haven’t you?Smokey6-03porch

Case in point. I saw a great story the other day on YouTube about this dachshund who adopted an abandoned baby kitten. We’ve all seen these types of stories before, always very heartwarming, but this one had a different twist to it. A family found this tiny speck of a kitten in a shoe box at a recycling center. You might say that this was sheer coincidence, but in my world, an angel had protected that little fellow in the box and pointed it out to the family so this miracle could happen and remind us how special life can be.

When they brought this half-dead, teeny kitten home, their three year old dachshund immediately took him in. This sweet dachshund had never had puppies before, but when she started taking care of this sick little kitten, she spontaneously began to make milk to feed him! Think about that for a second. Never had puppies, her body had never gone through the process of producing milk, but her deep desire to help this kitten caused a miracle to happen in her body – that’s what it was, a miracle of love.

And there you have it, angels and a miracle and a dog, all in one story!

By the way, as you may know, I took my miracle line from Albert Einstein. I mean, if you’re going to take a line from someone, he might as well be brilliant! What Einstein actually said was, “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Obviously I’ve chosen the latter.

I’ll be writing as often as I can. Please feel free to share your own stories about angels, miracles and dogs. We’ll mutiny against all of the negativity together and smile our way to better times ahead.

Oh, and by the way, Dale Evans had a great dog: Bullet The Wonder Dog! He was actually her and Roy’s pet and he starred in their TV show with them. He always seemed to know who the villains were, tackled them when he needed to and could even untie Roy and Dale when the bad guys got the best of them. What a dog!Bullet_Dale

Marsha Roberts

Author of “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer”

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