Tag Archives: Bob Rector

Impakter Ezine Features My Mutinous Boomer Dog Tales & More!

1 Mar

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For several months I’ve been writing a column for Impakter Magazine called “Diary of a Positive Soul.” Not a title I would have come up with, but when they approached me about it, I found the concept irresistible! The point of the articles has been to explore not just how to be happy, but how to stay happy. Here is the latest in this series:

DESTINY AND A DOG

Remember the scene in “Young Frankenstein” when Gene Wilder is twisting fitfully in bed screaming, “Destiny! Destiny! No escaping destiny!”

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Ha! I love that! But even though it makes for a great Mel Brooks joke, is it for real? Do you believe in destiny?

This is the second of a three part series on a favorite theme of mine: dogs! The first one was about our indomitable dachshund, Zack, which you can find here:  http://impakter.com/diary-positive-soul-3/

When the next dog came into our lives, the question of destiny entered into the picture, as you’ll see.

It all started when our son Matt was sixteen. We packed up and moved 650 miles away from the home he had lived in from the time he was born and he wasn’t happy about it, to say the least! So, like all responsible parents, we bribed him into cooperating. He agreed to move without too much of a fuss if we’d get him a Golden Retriever puppy. Fair enough. However, when we actually moved, we found it was better to rent a home while we got used to the area, which meant we couldn’t get a puppy. We were legitimately off the hook!

Fast forward two years and we bought the house we were renting. Matt didn’t miss a beat. No sooner had the ink dried on the loan than he reminded us of our promise. OK, OK, we’ll do it, and promptly began looking for a Golden Retriever puppy, only to find that the price tag was no less than $1,800! But a deal was a deal and we put our names in the pot for the next litter of puppies. Shortly after that we traveled back to our original home for a big family Thanksgiving celebration. One set of cousins brought a terrific dog they had adopted from an animal shelter. Matt fell in love with him and to our delight, on the long 650 mile drive back, he said that he hated for us to have to spend $1,800 on a Golden Retriever puppy (yeah, so did we…) when we could rescue one from a shelter and have just as good of a dog. We told him it was a brilliant idea and I was calling local shelters the next week.

It wasn’t long before we found a new batch of puppies that had literally been left on the doorstep of an animal shelter. One of these was a funny looking, floppy-eared, short-legged German-Shepherd-something with an enthusiastic long tail. It was love at first sight.

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Matt named him Smokey McDoggerson!

When we brought the little fellow home it was not love at all for Zack. To him the young whippersnapper had way too much energy and was ridiculously friendly! And to make matters worse, he was already larger than Zack at only ten weeks old. Zack tried his best to ignore him. He was determined to have nothing to do with Smokey. Period.

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A few weeks later we could see Smokey was having significant problems with his legs. He was hobbling and noticeably in pain. One of Smokey’s parents had clearly been a full-size German Shepherd, but the other part of his heritage was evidently a short-legged dog because one of the bones in Smokey’s front legs was growing faster than the other. He was going to need surgery immediately on both legs, no question about it. The cost? Yep. $1,800 on the nose! Exactly what we would have paid for a Golden Retriever puppy.

Was this a coincidence? It sure didn’t feel like it at the time. It felt inevitable. It felt like destiny. When the surgeon told us the price, we were nodding our heads, yes, we know, eighteen hundred dollars…

After surgery both of Smokey’s front legs were in casts, which was too much for Zack. His big heart got the best of him. He simply couldn’t hold a grudge any longer. He licked Smokey in the face and snuggled up next to him as if he’d been there all along.

The surgery worked, but he was still short-legged and always would be, even when he filled out to his full eighty pound adult weight, which makes him very odd looking indeed (in an incredibly handsome way!).

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Now we’re back to the question of destiny. Obviously it was inescapable: we were going to spend $1800 on a dog for Matt no matter what! Ha!

Being “destined” to spend that money on a puppy was certainly not a life changing experience. It was one of those humorous moments in life when you think you’ve outsmarted fate ~ as if we could! But our personal destiny? That’s a big one for all of us. So, do I believe in destiny? Yes. And no…

In my experience it seems there can be a force at work in our lives if we let it. Call it Fate, Destiny, The Universe ~ I prefer God. I think of this force rather like a spiritual jet stream, invisible but very powerful and going in a specific direction. When I’m “riding the jet stream” as I call it, I feel completely connected to all that’s right and good for my life. When I’m not, I’m stumbling all over the place to find my way. When I lift up my spiritual “legs” and let this prevailing wind take me where I’m suppose to be, then yes, I’m in tune with destiny and it feels great!

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Am I able to live like that all the time? Of course not. Invariably I choose to put my feet down, stubbornly stand my ground, refuse to feel the flow and BAM! What was that thing called “destiny”? It’s gone because I’ve obstinately chosen to do it all myself. The flow is still there somewhere, but I’m not part of it.

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Today was one of those magnificent days that I was riding the jet stream. It feels wonderful and it’s my intention to ride it again tomorrow. It makes me extraordinarily happy when I’m carried along by my destiny, I feel connected to The Universe ~ to God. And that’s the point of it all, isn’t it? Figuring out how to be happy and stay happy. But that’s just me.

This isn’t the end of our destiny discussion, just the end for today. Next time you get to meet the funniest dog I’ve ever known: Shadow. AKA Stinker Bell! Until then, be as happy as you can possibly be ~ I insist!

Marsha

Marsha Roberts, Author of “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant” which can be found on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H0RS60

More information about Marsha and her book can be found on her website: http://www.mutinousbabyboomer.com/

 

Memories are for Christmas

23 Dec

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I was rummaging through the garage the other day looking for some Christmas decorations when I stumbled upon a long forgotten box of story notes, scripts and sketch books, primarily belonging to my husband, who is also a writer, Bob Rector. You might have read some of his WordPress blogs ~ he’s RectorWriter. Anyway, I picked up a sketch book and a priceless piece of paper fell out. It was written by Bob in 1993 and stars the indomitable Zack, our dachshund from years ago, who I’ve often written about.

Reading Bob’s brief account of our household twenty-one years ago was like time-traveling for me. He gave a crystal-clear description of each person caught in an instant of time and I was moved to happy tears by the memory. I would like to share it with you here, just as I read it, in Bob’s handwriting, in Bob’s words and complete with an hysterical sketch of Zack’s face.

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The thing that caught me off guard was the date, June 5, 1993, because as I read it I could have sworn this took place at Christmas. There was no mention of Christmas, but it just felt like it: warm, joyful, loving and deeply personal. I could almost hear wood crackling in the fireplace and see the reflections of lights and decorations in the window. And I wondered why this brief chronicle of our lives would automatically make me think of Christmas. And I decided it’s because every good, beautiful memory is like a gift, a Christmas gift that can be opened over and over again.

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Now there are many writers, philosophers and psychologists who say that we should leave our past behind us. Some great thinkers tell us that if we hold on to our past, we are doomed to have old baggage drag us down, and negative triggers continue to plague us with repeating unhealthy habits. According to them, we should practice present moment awareness.

I beg to differ. I believe that who I am is a conglomeration of a bunch of present moment awareness events: memories, good and bad. Yes, we all have things we’d like to forget, painful recollections that make us wince when we’re reminded of them. Wince or worse. But for me, those are a part of who I am too, I just don’t want to dwell on those. I want to focus on what went right in my life, those moments that stay with me forever because they are so vibrant that they have imprinted me in every way that’s lovely. SnowMatt-IMP

I can still see, smell, taste and feel those precious bits of time as if they were literally yesterday. I’m sure you have those too.

As for me, I’ll go with a pretty solid thinker by the name of Dostoevsky. You see, next to the page with Bob’s story of our household was another piece of paper with this quote printed on it:

“You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since childhood, is perhaps the best education of all. If a man carries many such memories into life with him, he is saved for the rest of his days. And even if only one good memory is left in our hearts, it may also be the instrument of our salvation one day.”

“The instrument of our salvation.” A powerful statement.

What a wonderful gift I received when I opened that box from the past. When Bob wrote it so long ago, he had no idea it would mean so much to me to find it decades later. It made me wonder what I am doing today that will set up good memories for those I love in the days and years to come. For me, that’s where the importance of living in the moment comes in, the significance of every single day. We never know when we might do some kind gesture for someone that might be their “instrument of salvation” at a dark moment.

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So Merry Christmas to you. May you find the gift of cherished memories tucked under your own little Christmas tree inside yourself. It is my hope that the coming days bring you opportunities for more exceptional memories to be created. But if for some reason this Christmas isn’t full of all that’s positive and encouraging for you, don’t forget the treasures that are with you still, inside your heart and mind. After all, Christmas is for memories.

Until next time.

Marsha

Marsha Roberts, Author:  Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant

http://www.mutinousbabyboomer.com/

CROWD FUNDING FOR A BOOK — CASE STUDY

13 Nov

Ever thought about launching a crowd funding campaign? Curious about how it works? Then this blog is for you!

Several months ago I realized I had taken my book as far as I could without some marketing money. People really love it, but as you know, it’s hard to stand out in the crowd of so many ebooks without placing ads, etc. So after a great deal of research as to what worked and what didn’t with other campaigns, we launched “Marketing the Miraculous Mutinous Boomer Book!” on IndieGoGo. In this RectorWriter blog post, Bob shares what went into the making of the pitch video.

If you’ve ever thought about doing a crowd funding campaign yourself, this should interest you very much! We are now full into the project and I’ll be blogging on my experiences in researching how best to go about this, putting together all the initial material and the follow through that has to be done daily. It’s quite an undertaking! But I’ve always believed that I was given the lessons in “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant” to share with as many people as possible. And I intend to do just that! Hopefully, this Indiegogo campaign will give a real boost to our efforts. You’ll find a link to our Indiegogo campaign in Bob’s blog and we would very much appreciate it if you would take a moment to go there, Like & Share it, etc. ~ thanks in advance!

Click the link below for Bob’s blog.

CROWD FUNDING FOR A BOOK — CASE STUDY.

PLAY NOW AVAILABLE

4 Oct

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Letters From The Front. the play we toured all around the world for 15 years entertaining hundreds of thousands of people, is now available on the Kindle and in paperback!

We had the special experience of watching our show touch the audience deeply and bring them to their feet in standing ovations night after night. Click below to read what it was like from the author’s point of view: Bob Rector.

PLAY NOW AVAILABLE.

SO YOU WANT TO MAKE AN AUDIOBOOK

21 Jul

MBBAudioB-Promo1FBSO YOU WANT TO MAKE AN AUDIOBOOK.

This terrific article first appeared on the RectorWriter blog and it describes a great deal of what we experienced once we decided to turn my “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer” book into an audiobook. Although we are seasoned production professionals, we ran into unexpected problems and wanted to share our experiences with you. Hope they are helpful! Just click on the above link & you’re there. Enjoy!

Marsha ~ The Mutinous Boomer!

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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By Marsha Roberts

Author of Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer

http://www.mutinousbabyboomer.com/

The Long and Winding Road – For REAL! Part 1

18 Apr

I’m starting a new series today and you might wonder what it has to do with “Angels, Miracles & Dogs!” However, let me assure you, the story I will begin telling you today is nothing less than a miracle – a Rock ‘n Roll miracle!

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I was seventeen in 1970 and what I was watching on TV that Saturday afternoon was pure magic. It was also history in the making, but I didn’t know or care about that at the time. All I knew was that it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. My favorite music, Top 40 hits, with neat psychedelic effects, everybody dancing. I just couldn’t sit still and watch – I had to dance too! 

It was The Now Explosion. Perfect title. It exploded into our lives, changed the landscape of television programming forever and was gone as fast as a stick of dynamite, altering everything and everyone it touched. I know, I was one of them.

Fast forward forty-three years and there I was, sitting in the room with four of the original innovators:

ImageBob Whitney – whose brain had imagined The Now Explosion and whose charm had sold it.

ImageGenii Macaulay-Leary – the woman who had played Den Mother and Drill Sergeant to a talented bunch of renegades (AKA the Producer!).

ImageBob Rector – the filmmaker whose distinctive vision brought a new form of story-telling to music “videos.”

ImageBob Todd – one of the two original DJ’s whose enthusiasm was so contagious that he kept us glued to the TV set for hours on end.

It was a little surreal to see these four together after so long. Each had their own memories to share, experiences that had been separate and quite different, but a part of the same whole. I listened, mesmerized, as they started assembling the puzzle pieces of this brief, shining moment that had left such a distinct mark on so many. Yes, it had been a brief, shining moment – our own Rock ‘n Roll Camelot. 

I realized I had been placed in that room with these people for a reason: I was supposed to write about it. Not only had I been a huge fan in 1970, but I had gone on to be a Producer myself and knew very well what it took to get an extraordinary program like this off the ground.

This is not a story that can or should be told in a linear fashion. It is as free-flowing as the songs of the time. Our time. After the three incredible days I spent with these bigger-than-life personalities I was left with one overriding question: Why had it stayed with us after all these years? It only lasted a few months, but we never forgot it? Just like Camelot, it lived on in our hearts and minds. Why?

I’ll attempt to unravel that mystery in the coming weeks and months as I write about the phenomenon of The Now Explosion. If you experienced it for yourself you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, then take a moment and think back to 1970, the year after Woodstock. America was in the middle of a sea change and we, the Boomers, just big kids at the time, were riding the crest of our own wave…

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On most Saturday mornings my dad would have to practically drag me out of bed to get my chores done. Sometimes he even tossed a cup of water in my face – seriously! (Full disclosure here, he was laughing when he did it!) But the spring of 1970 was different. I bounded out of bed and tore into my chores with a vengeance. I had to get them done as quickly as possible so I could be sitting in front of the TV set at precisely 12:00, tuned to Channel 36.

MRWonOpel-SMIt was May 9th and I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk to keep me company as I waited impatiently for the-best-show-in-the-world (as far as I was concerned!) to start. Later that evening some of my friends would join me, but until then, I was happy to be by myself, so that nothing would disturb me as I soaked it all in.

I had no idea how lucky I was to be living in Atlanta, Georgia. Because of that quirk of fate, I was able to experience the magic from the very beginning, which had been March 14th, and I didn’t want it to ever stop.

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Across town, a young man who worked in the stock room at Lord & Taylor’s was also waiting for it to start. Bob Rector wanted to shoot film more than anything else in the world. Always had. He had heard about The Now Explosion and was interested because it was being produced in Atlanta, but he had never seen it. He had recently finished making a short 16mm film of his own called “Farewell Performance.” He had convinced family and friends to chip in ten to twenty bucks a piece so he could buy the film, get it developed and finished. His entire budget was about $250.00 to make his 15 minute epic. It had been shown on the local PBS station a few times, part of a support-your-local-filmmaker sort of thing. That was good enough for him. As far as he was concerned, he was ready for the big time now.

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They had been on the air for eight weeks, but nothing was routine. It was always flying by the seat of their pants, hoping that it would all come off once again, using equipment that was never designed for this type of non-stop, live, request-driven video programming.

Behind the stately columns of a dignified looking building on Briarcliff Road, a handful of people were running at a frenetic pace, getting ready to put twenty-six hours of music on the air. But not just any music, the best, the most popular, the Top 40 records. The songs we listened to over and over again like it was our job. But now, we didn’t just listen to it, we could watch the music. The music came to life!

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Making this “life” happen on the Saturday marathon were two technicians, one at the board and one ready to switch the 2″ video tapes of each song as they were requested; several kids manning the phones, ready for the requests to come in; and of course, you have to have DJs! To introduce the songs and keep us captivated while the tapes were being changed out were Atlanta’s two most popular disc jockeys from the #1 radio station: WQXI – “Quixie in Dixie!” Skinny Bobby Harper and Bob Todd were preparing to be tele-jockeys for the weekend. They were our VeeJays. The resident grown-ups, Bob Whitney and Genii Macaulay, were somehow holding all of the pieces together when the clock struck 12:00.

What made this weekend different? They didn’t know it, but lightning was getting ready to strike once again.

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As Bob Rector watched what was happening on his television set, something clicked. He wasn’t up dancing like us teenagers, he was studying it, thinking, visualizing. What he saw that weekend was fresh, modern, even ground-breaking, but it was also the catalyst for his fertile imagination. His twenty-two year old brain was percolating and by Sunday night he knew this was what he was going to do: The Now Explosion. But he was going to do it differently.

He promptly quit his job at Lord & Taylor’s. After all, he had better things to do with his time – he was going to make movies. He announced this fact to family and friends, who looked at him a little mystified, but he hardly noticed. There were things he had to get ready for the next step.

Thursday morning he tucked a 16mm copy of his 15 minute epic under his arm and walked confidently into the Channel 36 reception area and asked where the office of The Now Explosion producer was. The secretary, presuming by his manner that he had an appointment, told him the office was upstairs. Without hesitation he leapt up the stairs, barged into Genii Macaulay’s office and announced, “I want to shoot for The Now Explosion.”

Unfazed, Genii looked up from a desk stacked with papers, records, index cards and an ashtray. Her big, intense eyes glared at Rector and, as was typical, a cigarette dangled from her lips. “We don’t need anybody.”

“But I’ve got some great ideas.” She repeated, “We don’t need anybody.”  

“But I can do it better than those guys and I’ll work cheaper.” She sighed impatiently, “We don’t need anybody.”

“I’ll do it for free.”

“You’re hired.”

And with that, she pushed around the stack of 45 records and pulled one out, “This is the new Beatles song, see what you can do with it.” It was The Long and Winding Road. She went to a large closet where the film stock was kept and tossed him three rolls of film. Then her phone rang and she waved him out of the office. And he was off!

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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.

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That’s it for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!

Part 2 of The Long Winding Road – For Real! will be posted next week, so stay tuned! That’s when you’ll hear how Bob Rector actually made the film, meet Alva Sanders of 1970 and more! I would love to hear from any and all of you, your thoughts, your feelings…

Marsha

 

Marsha Roberts

Author of Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer

http://www.mutinousbabyboomer.com/

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