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Man vs. Dog

June 7, 2017 by in category Eye on Hollywood by Bobbie Cimo tagged as ,

Man vs Dog | Bobbie Cimo | A Slice of Orange

Man vs DogDuring one of my Canadian vacations, I accidentally came upon a film crew shooting in the streets of Old Montreal. The movie was called  Heavenly Dog. The star of the flick was comedian Chevy Chase (known for the Caddyshacks and National Lampoon’s vacation movies) and co-starring with him was a cute little scruffy dog named Benji. The plot of the movie is about a detective who is slain in the middle of a murder investigation and is given the opportunity to come back to earth—not as himself, but as a dog, so he could solve, along with the original murder, who was behind his own demise. I think it’s pretty obvious who played which part.

With hardly any effort at all, I somehow managed to get some one-on-one time with Chevy Chase. We talked about Montreal, the entertainment business and the movie he was working on. Widely known for his comedic behavior, I was surprised how serious he was when it came to conversing in small chitchat. I guess we all have this image of how we expect someone we see on film to act when we meet them in person.

Because I was on vacation, I happen to have my camera with me. But truthfully, there’s a reason why my friends and family used to affectionately refer to me as the Kodak Kid. If there was ever an opportunity for a photo, I’d be there with my handy dandy Instamatic. ‘Cause nothing says it better than a Kodak Moment (or to help you remember those things that age has a way of making you forget).

As we were posing together, I could tell Chevy was either making funny faces or doing some kind of gesture behind my back. I told him several times to stop, because I wanted to have a nice picture of us together. Every time I told him, he would humbly agree to stop. And like a fool I believed him. I didn’t realize until after I had my pictures developed, that he had put rabbit ears over my head. At first I was annoyed, but I guess Chevy being Chevy, he couldn’t resist. And now when I look at the picture, it just makes me laugh.

Several yeas after the release of  Heavenly Dog I was at a CBS afternoon Affiliates party when I met Benji’s trainer, Frank Inn. Frank, a world renown animal trainer, got his start as an assistant trainer to Skippy, the dog who played Asta in all of those famed Thin Man movies.

Man vs Dog | Bobbie Cimo | A Slice of Orange

Besides Benji (whose real name was Higgins), Frank trained Orangey the cat, who played Cat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and  Arnold the pig who was best known for his fictional character as Arnold Ziffel on TV’s Green Acres. Frank was so fond of these animals that when he died, all three of their ashes were buried with him.

When Higgins, the original Benji retired, he was replaced by his daughter, Benjean. She was smaller than the original Benji , but fluffier, and the tips of her ears had to be dyed to match her father’s. The older she got, her own ears turned as dark as her dad’s, and dyeing them was no longer necessary. I’m sure she was thrilled. And Benjean forever became known as Benji and went on to star in the most popular of the Benji movies, including  Heavenly Dog, and then on to the popular TV shows.

Not only was Frank kind enough to have Benji perform several tricks when we met, but he allowed me to take a picture with the adorable moppet-like star.

After posing with both Chevy and Benji—man and canine, it’s hands down for me who of the two followed directions better.

Man vs Dog




Bobbie Cimo has worked in Hollywood for years. She has ALL the best stories.

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Editor Meghan Farrell at Santa Clarita Romance Writers

April 14, 2017 by in category Writing, Writing Meetings tagged as , , ,

This Saturday, April 15th, is Santa Clarita Romance Writers’ monthly meeting.

Santa Clarita Romance Writers

Our speakers will be Meghan Farrell, Executive Editor of Tule Publishing.

You might be familiar with some of the authors published by Tule: Charlene Sands, Barbara Ankrum, Justine Davis and Jane Porter. (By the way, Jane is Founder and CEO of Tule.)

Meghan’s talk is going be on the almighty “query letter”. She’ll also be giving an overall view of Tule, on how they run and what they’re looking for.

Come for the meeting. Stay for lunch.

The meeting is from 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM at The Newhall Library-24500 Main St. Newhall, CA (aka Santa Clarita). We’re in the Heritage Room on the second floor. After the meeting, we will be taking Meghan out to lunch. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome to come. This is a great opportunity to spend some up-close and personal time with an editor. The meetings are casual, and best of, they’re free if you’re a first time visitor.

More about our new chapter.

Debra Holland and Bobbie Cimo

Our chapter might be new, but the quality of our speakers is top notch. So far we’ve had Tessa Dare (2017 Rita finalist), Debra Holland, Elena Dillion, Debbie Decker, Lisa Green, Martina Boone and our own Margaret Brownley (author of over 40 books and also a Rita finalist for this year).

If you can’t make this month’s meeting, here’s list of some of the upcoming speakers for the rest of the year, Mia Hopkins, Judy Duarte, Linda O. Johnston, Susan Squires and Liz Donatelli of Liz D Publicity Promotions. The name of Liz’s talk is, “Authors Meets Reader: Engaging in a Real Life Love Affair”. She’s going to explain why it’s important to make personal appearance, along with book signing events. Knowing how most writers are introverts, she’ll also be giving out pointers on how to feel comfortable at these events, even when they’re not buying your book.

Santa Clarita Romance Writers Meeting
If you want to know more about our chapter, check out our website. Santa Clarita Romance Writers. Hope to see some of you this Saturday–don’t worry taxes aren’t due until the 18th this year.

Bobbie Cimo

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April 7, 2017 by in category Eye on Hollywood by Bobbie Cimo tagged as , ,

Sandra Dee and Sonby Bobbie Cimo

The first time I saw the movie, Gidget, I was hooked on Sandra Dee. Not only did I think she was cute and spunky, but she ended up with Moondoggie. And who wouldn’t want to end up with James Darren? I’ve seen the original Gidget movie so many times that I’ve lost count of just how many times. And even to this day, although I have the DVD, every time the movie comes on TV, I can’t help but stop whatever I’m doing and watch it again. I found out I wasn’t alone in this weird addiction when at a recent concert I overheard a woman confessing to a friend the same thing–only she admitted to knowing the movie’s dialogue verbatim–whereas I can only paraphrase it. Oh, and by the way, headlining that concert, was none other than James Darren, looking as gorgeous as ever, which has me thoroughly convinced there’s a Dorian Gray painting somewhere in his attic, aging by the minute, as I’m writing this.

By the time I was old enough to move to Hollywood, Sandy had reached early adulthood and her promising career seemed to have come to a complete standstill. Either because the parts weren’t there for her, or she had decided to become a full-time mom to the son she had with Bobby Darin. Whatever the reason was, I missed seeing my favorite actress on the screen–and the chances of ever seeing her in person seemed even less of a possibility. And outside of being mentioned in a song from the movie, Grease called Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee, it was as if she had disappeared–or at least she had from the Hollywood scene.

It wasn’t until the early nineties that Sandra Dee, now in her late forties, resurfaced into the public eye by making the cover of People magazine and sharing with the world the story of her childhood sexual abuse. Later that same year, she made what many thought, including myself, a comeback to acting when she did a play at the Canon Theatre in Beverly Hills called Love Letters. Co-starring with her was another teen idol by the name of John Saxon. The two, many years earlier, had shared billing in the movie, The Reluctant Debutante. It was heartwarming to found out that the two were being teamed-up again. And I became ecstatic to learn as a birthday gift, I was being treated to the play. Finally, I was going get to see Sandra Dee in person. And what was even nicer is when I spotted James Darren in the audience. How sweet was that? Moondoggie there to lend his support to Gidget. Because I was on a date, I was forced to behave…no ogling in public, I could only admire Mr. Darren from afar. Darn it! I work so much better when I’m on my own. But I did have a seat close enough to the stage to see that although she was now older, Sandy still had a sweet face and the sparkle that she had possessed in her eyes during her youth was still there.

Even though her performance in Love Letters got rave reviews, she once again disappeared from the limelight. It wasn’t until 1994 when her son, Dodd Darin wrote a book about his mother and father’s life called, Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, that she came back onto the scene. The book was well written and gave a true account of his parents’ lives, including his mother’s sexual abuse, eating disorder and her bouts with alcoholism and depression. He also wrote about his father’s drive to live every moment of life as if it was his last (the result of overhearing a doctor telling his family he probably wouldn’t make it to adulthood, due to a heart ailment).

When I got word, that Sandra Dee was going to be at a book signing with her son at Brentano’s bookstore at the Beverly Center, I was thrilled, but not really certain she would show up. But I was wrong. They were both there for the signing and to greet their fans.

Like all good mothers, she stood in the background and let her son enjoy his moment of glory as an author. And Dodd, like a good son, seemed protective, loving and respectful of his mother. It was obvious, together, they were a team.

Sandra Dee at the book signing was in her early fifties. She had led a difficult life, but there were no telltale signs showing in her face. And when I talked to her, she was just as down to earth as the girl next door, who was now grown up. I’m sure she had heard it a thousand times how much her movies had impacted a young girl’s life, but when she heard it from me, she pretended like she had never heard it before. Happily, I walked away with my dual autographed copy, signed by mother and son, of  Dream Lovers and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon over lunch with my own mother, who I had dragged with me to the signing. At last, I had met my girlhood idol and the real Gidget.

I’ll never forget the day Sandra Dee died, it was on Feb 20th (2005), which coincidentally happens to be the date of my own sister’s birthday. We were on our way home from celebrating when the news came across the car radio. I didn’t cry, I didn’t gasp in shock, I just kind of went numb. The way you do when you hear of the unexpected death of an old friend–one you hadn’t seen in a long time, but still considered them part of your life. The news is so surprising you can’t immediately register your emotions. I will always feel sad about her passing, but luckily, I can say, “Look at me, I met Sandra Dee.”

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FIFTY SHADES OF STUPIDITY (What It Takes To Go To An E.L. James Signing)

October 13, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

By Bobbie Cimo
What made me think I could just wander over to Barnes and Noble, like a cowboy moseying over to the local saloon, for my wristband to meet E.L. James and be back at work in ten…twenty minutes the most? Stupidity, that’s what!

Until the night before, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to meet her. Was it really worth my time and effort to meet someone who wasn’t my favorite author? It wasn’t like I loved “Fifty Shades Of Grey”, as much as I love the fact that her writing (regardless if you want to call it good or bad) had reintroduced the world to romance again. A love story (a little kinky at times) but still a love story.

People I knew who never read a “romance” in their lives couldn’t put down the book, and once finished with the series, were anxious to read more romance novels. Not necessarily with all the erotic stuff in it–just a good romantic novel. So for that, I wanted to meet the woman who had people wanting to read more.

On a Friday morning, after being at work for about half an hour, I decided to take a walk over to “The Grove”, which is right next door to where I work. There was no need to announce to my office where I was going, as I was sure I’d be back in no time at all. When I rounded the corner and saw that there was a line outside of the “American Girl Store”…a block or so away from the front door of the book store, my heart didn’t want to believe what my head was telling it. This was the line to get the wristbands. But like a fool, I still had to ask the security guard, “What’s this line for?”. His answer was simple, “For Barnes and Noble, and the book signing tonight at 7PM”. It was now 9:40AM. “You’re kidding”, I said. Wearing his “Dudley Do-Right” hat, he looked me squarely in the eye and said, “No Ma’am.” He then offered, “They’re moving about forty people every ten minutes, and there’s about a hundred and thirty of you”. I thought to myself, this is ridiculous. I stepped outside of line to assess the situation for myself. The line wasn’t as long as I had thought it was. It didn’t take away that there were a hundred and twenty-nine people ahead of me. If I went by his calculations, this shouldn’t take much more than half an hour or so. I got back in line and called my supervisor. She giggled when I told her where I was. Luckily, she was one of those who had zipped through all three of the “Fifty Shades’” books. By the way, “Dudley Do-Right” wasn’t too far off the mark. It took me about fifty minutes to get my little silver band with a “G” on it. Later I found out that they section the groups off by alphabet, stopping after the letter “I”. All others would be considered as stand-bys and not guaranteed a spot.

While in line I met a young woman named LuAnn, who worked as a chef in one of the Disneyland Restaurants. Not only did LuAnn have in mind who should play every character in the up-coming movie, including the minor roles, but she had photos of each of them on her cell phone–which she happily displayed for me. Behind us in line was a begrudging male nurse who was only there to please his wife who couldn‘t get away from work. The more we talked to him, the mellower he became, until he finally confessed that this was pay-back for the time she stood in line for Bruce Springsteen tickets for him.

When I got to the cashier’s counter, I was given a list of guidelines. Here are a few: * “A limited number of RED wristbands will be reserved for “B&N” members and will designate priority placement in line”. They didn’t bother to mention there were only about twenty-five to thirty of these RED wristbands to be distributed. Needless to say, even though I am a member, they were out by the time they got to me. But since I wasn’t one of those who had been camped out since 4AM, I didn’t protest (too much). * We could come back as late as 6:45PM once we had our bands and our new books which we had to buy from “B&N”. No electronic books were welcomed. * “No personalization for signing, and no posed pictures”. The only pictures that were allowed had to be taken while standing in line. In other words, no close-ups.

Because I didn’t trust we could get in line at 6:45PM and still be safe, I got in line at 5:30PM like the rest of the people. And to my surprise I met up with my Disney chef friend, who now had her friend Esther with her. We shared more stories on “Fifty Shades” and made more new friends in line. Like the forty some-thing year old social worker who let us use her husband as our own personal scout to check out the action inside the store, while we stood outside. He kept us informed of every in-house move by phone. There were some acts of kindness, too. A woman who had traveled two and an a half hours to get to the event was sadly disappointed when she found out there were no more wristbands left. But coming to her rescue was a young girl who had an extra one. She willingly gave it to the woman who didn’t have one. However, not everyone was so generous. A woman who saw an opportunity to make some money, offered to sell her special “Red” band for the right price. I’m happy to say there were no takers.

I met many people, each one with an opinion on who should play who in the leading roles, which book they liked the best of the series, and what other authors they considered their favorites. Each one of these people were different, each with a different take. But the one thing they all seemed to have in common was their love of reading this book and the love story in it. E.L. James may not be the best writer in the world, but she did manage to bring a lot of people together. And along with this block party atmosphere, there were camera crews covering the story for the news. And of course, they sent out the cutest reporter to cover the story, which just added to the festivities. I later learned from the news that there were between seven hundred and fifty to a thousand people who showed up for the signing. Not everyone got in.

By the time I got to meet E.L. James it was around 8:30PM. When she said hello, she called me by my name, which she had learned from one of her handlers, who had asked what it was, moments before. In her British accent, it came out sounding charming. My meeting with the famed author must have lasted all of ten seconds. They moved us along like “Lucy Ricardo” on the candy assembly line. And after waiting so long to see her, the most hard hitting question I could come up with was, “Have they cast Christian, yet?” That was it? It had to be the same question that hundreds before me had asked. Obviously, a Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer, I am not. By the way, her answer was, “Not yet. It’s too early. And there’s a lot of rumors out there.” As far as her autograph…trust me, no one would ever know whose it is, because it looks like chicken scratch.

Would I ever do this again, wait in a line three hours for an author’s autograph? Probably not. Am I glad that I did? Definitely. I had fun meeting some nice people and talking hours about books and writing.

As I got ready to hit the escalator heading down, I was stopped by a photographer and a young woman, who asked if I would pose for a picture, holding the “Fifty Shades” trilogy CD. When I asked what it was for, the lady introduced herself as the narrator on the “Fifty Shades” audio books. Her name was Becca Battoe. She said she wanted a picture of me to post on her website. I’m not sure if she’ll use it or not. But, of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity of telling her about OCC and asking if she’d ever consider visiting with us and perhaps even sharing what it’s like to be the voice of “Fifty Shades”. She said she would love to.

And to borrow a phrase from E.L James’ novel, “Fifty Shades Of Gray”,
“Laters, Baby”.

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December 13, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as ,

by Bobbie Cimo

The other morning while on the freeway driving to work, my cell phone rang. Normally, I won’t answer it without using my Bluetooth. But sometimes the contraption creates more trouble than it’s worth–it always ends up messing up my phone connection.

Nobody ever calls me early in the morning, unless there’s an emergency or it’s a wrong number. Because my curiosity got the best of me, I picked up the phone.
It wasn’t an emergency, just my co-worker calling me to let me know that the Shell station, down the block from where we work, was giving away free gasoline. She promised it wasn’t a joke and the lines were moving fast.

When I arrived at the gas station, there didn’t seem to be much of a commotion going on, so I was sure she had gotten her facts wrong. But when I tried to pull into the driveway, it was blocked off. A nearby attendant, directing traffic, indicated to me that I should go around and enter from the other side.

After taking a shortcut through the parking lot of my friendly bank branch, next door, I ended up at what I thought was the end of the line…only to find I had accidentally cut ahead of a dozen or so other cars that were already there. Can you say the word “riot”? Well, luckily there wasn’t any, just another guy directing traffic, and telling me I had to go around again, only this time not to use my shortcut.

As he was talking to me, an angry young man who had apparently made the same mistake I did, was also being told he also had to go around again. Only this guy a wasn’t taking it well. He stepped on his gas peddle and went barreling out and almost collided into me.

My first instinct was to slam on my horn with one hand and to give him some unlady-like gesture with my other hand. It was a good thing that I didn‘t. Because who do you think was in front of me, the second time that I went around? Mr. Cool, himself.

But my friend was right, the lines did move fast and the offer for free gas was for real. After pulling up to the pump, I got out of my car but was quickly told it wasn’t necessary. They would fill up my tank for me. I could feel a lump forming in my throat. Somebody was serving me? And what’s more, they seemed happy to be doing it.

I was told that the limit for each fill-up was $20.00. But if one needed to, they could go around for a second time. I was good at $19.67

Just as I was about to pull away, a young lady with a welcoming smile came up to my window and handed me a free bottle of water. “Have a nice day”, she said cheerfully. Without any warning, my eyes welled up with tears, and all I could do was choke out a weak “Thank you”.

This act of kindness with no strings attached, was hard to believe. But it was true. So sometimes when things seem too good to be true…you’ve got to trust that they are and go with it.

I later learned that the reason for the free give-away was to promote an upcoming episode of the TV show called “Gold Rush” that airs on the “Discovery Channel”. But regardless, it didn’t take away the fact that it made my day. Not to mention brought back memories of when we use to get service with a smile.

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