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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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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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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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Looking For Harry

October 13, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as ,

by Bobbie Cimo

Last week while I was on my lunch hour taking my daily siesta in my lounge chair that’s comfortably situated on the helicopter pad at CBS, I got a text from one of my co-workers that read “Harry Connick will be at the Grove at 4 today.” My response was simple, “So will I.”

When I got back from lunch, all my other co-workers excitedly asked me if I got the text about Harry. It was easy to tell by the smile on my face, I had. When 3:45 PM rolled around and I was about to leave for my clandestine meeting, my working cronies cheered me on, like I was the lead-off batter at a baseball game.

As I walked through the turnstile that connects CBS to the Grove, I wondered how many people were going to be there. On a normal day, when Mario Lopez of “Extra” does these interviews, it’s to a fairly small crowd. I was hoping that today, it would be even smaller. I wanted to get as close to Harry as possible. It isn’t that I haven’t been close to him before, because I have. But to me he’s like a drug that you can’t get enough of. Like the song said, “The more I see you, the more I want you.”
I cast my eyes on the spot in front of the three story Barnes and Noble, where these little interviews are customarily shot. No cameras, no crew, no Harry.

I took out my cell phone and called my office. My office posse assured me they saw the sign, announcing Harry’s scheduled appearance. They even told me where the sign was. Not that I didn’t trust them, but I had to see it for myself. They were right. When an unsuspecting security guard passed in front of me, I pointed to the sign and asked, “Where’s Harry?”

He looked just as confused as I felt when he looked towards Barnes and Noble and saw there was no action in front of the bookstore. And then, as if a light bulb went on over his head, he said, “They probably moved it to the front of the fountain”. Not that I needed it, but he offered to escort me over. But again, there was no Harry nor any evidence of any sort of production going on.
So what does a security guard do when he can’t find an answer? He gets back-up by calling over another security guard. This other guard was more creative in his thinking, he was sure that “Extra” was doing Harry’s spot in the park next door.

I looked at him incredulously and asked, “Are you sure?” I think I scared him because he responded with, “Let me take you to the concierge.” Yes, the Grove does have a concierge who dresses in a suit and stands behind an outside desk. As a matter of fact they have several. As helpful as he tried to be, the concierge did’t have an answer for me, so like the guard, he called over back-up, another concierge, who knew even less than he did. I should have walked away then, but it was too late. They had now called over a PR person for the Grove. And in a matter of moments, I had several guards, a couple of concierges, and a PR person, all looking for Harry Connick, Jr. It’s when they pulled out the walkie talkies that I knew that this had gone way too far. But it was too late to walk away, they had me surrounded. Finally, with three security guards, two concierges, a PR person and a partridge in a pear tree, they had an answer for me. Harry had canceled his visit.

My office gal pals all shared in my disappointment when I told them of my defeat. The ironic thing about all of this was, that very night Harry Connick was less than a football field away from me, appearing on “Dancing With The Stars”. Since DWTS is an ABC show, not a CBS one, and because of the threats made against some of the celebrities on the show, it’s practically impossible to get onto the set. To put it bluntly, a terrorist has a better chance of getting passed customs, than a CBS employee has of getting on the set of “Dancing With the Stars”. That is unless you have a special badge, that’s only given to people at certain levels. And I’m definitely not one of them.

As I sat down at my desk, I mumbled out loud of my discontent and how unfair I thought it was to be so close to Harry, and yet not be allowed to see him. Then I heard someone in my office say, “You’re right”, and the next thing I knew, a manager who owns one of those special badges handed his over to me. He then got on the phone and called the head stagehand of “Dancing With The Stars” and asked if he could find a space for me in the audience.

In less than thirty seconds, I was out the door, without my purse, no lipstick on, but a special badge around my neck.

Not only did I get to see Harry Connick, but I also got to hear him sing in person, as well. So I’m happy to report I went looking for Harry, and finally found him, too.
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September 13, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

by Bobbie Cimo
With the end of summer near, I realize two things; One, I hate to see the summer end and two; I grew up loving those teen beach movies. Don’t know why, since I couldn’t swim or surf. However, I did manage to learn how to float on my back in case of an emergency, like if I were lost at sea and had to wait it out to be rescued. Luckily, I never had too.
I guess the real draw about those movies for me, were the cute guys who played in them–because it certainly wasn’t the plot or storyline, since most of them didn’t have one.
Like all people, who didn’t grow up near an ocean, the first thing I wanted to see when I moved out to California was Malibu. And with all the enthusiasm of a seasoned swimmer, when I did see it, I ran out to sea. I got about knee high into the water, when I felt my lips turn blue (okay you can’t actually feel your lips turn a color), but if one could… Nobody told me that the Pacific Ocean was freezing, even in July.
If I couldn’t enjoy the ocean, I could at least enjoy the sunrays and work on my tan, by basking in the California sunshine. Well, I could if it wasn’t for the fact that with every initial sunbathing session, I tend to break out with a zillion red dots on my legs (maybe a zillion is a little bit of an exaggeration). But enough red dots to make my legs look like I went stomping in a vat filled with purple grapes. The doctors call it sun poisoning. I call it annoying. Once the purple fades away, I usually end up with a pretty good tan.

Ah, then there’s all that lovely beachy air–unfortunately, I have a problem with that too. It seems whenever I’m near anything that has to do with humidity or dampness, my hair comes down with a terminal case of the frizzies. In other words, if I had red hair, I could easily be mistaken for “Little Orphan Annie”
So just because I couldn’t be a surfer, didn’t mean I couldn’t like those silly beach movies or have my picture taken with a teen idol, like Frankie Avalon, who played in them. And I could do it, without the blue lips, blotchy skin, and frizzy hair.

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