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June 27th, 2008 fri FINITO
June 27th, 2008

On Thursday we put the finishing touches on the last episode of the first season of CLICK & CLACK'S AS THE WRENCH TURNS. I began work on the project in late January 2007 and have been at it almost constantly since, in snow and heat, on the East Coast and West. Meetings, recordings, fires to put out, arguments, disappointments and triumphs. Planes, trains and automobiles. Late nights, early morning meetings.

We're done, and now it's up to the public.

It's funny, when it's all over, you feel like a toothpaste tube thats been rolled up to the nozzle and squeezed empty.

But the strangest feeling of all, is the quiet. I am never quite prepared for that part. Oh sure, if you are lucky there is some kind of officially scheduled wrap party or ceremonial launching premiere. But I mean the actual day you stop. For a creative person it's a strange experience. One moment going at full speed surrounded by co-workers, the next at a complete stop.

Owing to my sense of the melodramatic, one would expect the end of such an epic two year effort to come to a crashing climax, massed drums, the orchestra booms, the conductor snaps his baton, the crowds erupt, the rocker smashes his guitar.

But nothing like that happens. You stand up, shake hands with the mixing editor, pack your briefcase and hail a taxi.

I remember my last day at Walt Disney's, how quiet it was as I walked to my car with my box of belongings. Almost no one was around to say goodbye. After 8 years, Mermaid, Roger, Lion King, Aladdin. I was alone with my thoughts.

Same at Warners and Dreamworks. No one raises you on a shield to the cries of Roma Victor! You don't get to toss your laurel wreath on to the spearpoints of your cheering legions.

In filmmaking, as in death, at the end you are alone.

But there is that warm sense of satisfaction of a job done. Something that will be around making people smile, long after you've moved on.

I like an anecdote German director Fritz Lang once told:

"We once wrapped up a picture by shooting an all nighter in the streets. As the first rays of dawn appeared over the chimney pots, we packed up our filmmaking equipment for the drive home. We were all exhausted, cranky, dirty and irritable. All we wished was to be done and in bed. We sullenly drove through the dark streets, when we came upon another location crew toiling away.
Suddenly, all pain and fatigue left us and our hearts jumped at the thought- Oh look! They are making a movie...."

Quiz: If a puta is a prostitute, what is puttanesca sauce?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: What is a coup d’ etat?
History for 6/27/2008
Birthdays: Swedish King Charles XII "the Madman of the North", Helen Keller, Norma Kamali, Charles Stuart Parnell, Bob" Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan, Emma Goldman, Walter Johnson, Ross Perot, Isabella Adjani is 53, Lauren Hill, Alice McDermott, Tobey McGuire is 33, Tony Leung Chu Wai is 46.

1542- Juan Cabrillo set sail from Mexico to explore the unknown California Coast. He was told he might find a magic kingdom of Califa, a land of brown amazons with golden swords. One reader said he must have arrived in West Hollywood for the Halloween Parade.

1787- English historian Edward Gibbon completed his most famous work-"The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". The massive history ran thousands of pages and took twenty years to write. When he presented the first volume bound in gold to mad King George III, the King said: -" What's this? Another damn big, black, square book, eh Mr. Gibbon? Scribble, Scribble!! "

1804-The Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr challenges former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton (the guy on the ten-dollar bill) had slandered Burr in the press and on previous occasions he had also challenged James Monroe and General Charles Lee (a critic of George Washington’s). Between this challenge and the duel on July 11th, Aaron Burr fought another one with his cousin. The two men still had to sit side by side at an Independence Day banquet on July 4th.

1829- James Smithson died. The English scientist had amassed a huge fortune from patents yet was snubbed by polite London society because of his illegitimate birth. So he turned his back on his mother country and willed his money to the United States, specifically asking a museum be set up in his name. The Smithsonian Institute was the result.

1844- Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother Hyram were killed by a mob in Illinois. After being shot down Smith was propped up and used for target practice. A man drew his Bowie knife to decapitate the body but Mormon folklore says his hand was stopped by a thunderbolt.

1876- Major Gibbon's column discovered the remains of Custer and the Seventh Cavalry at the Little Big Horn. It was near one hundred degrees Fahrenheit in the dry sun. At first from a distance they thought the naked bloated bodies were skinned buffaloes. Custer’s men had all been paid their monthly wages before riding out of Fort Lincoln. The Indians were uninterested in paper greenbacks, so among the carcasses little piles of money were blowing through the greasy grass. Because hostile Indians were still in the vicinity Gibbon's men hastily buried the soldiers where they fell. A few years later when a proper burial detail arrived to re-inter the bodies and remove Custer's remains to West Point they had trouble telling just who was who. So they shoveled a few bones and some yellow hair into a box and called it Custer. As late as 1991 Gen. George A. Custer III has refused to have the West Point tomb opened for DNA testing.

1949 - "Captain Video & His Video Rangers," debut on DUMONT-TV.

1966- TV soap opera Dark Shadows premiered, starring Barnabas Collins the Vampire.

1973- Senior White House Counsel John Dean testified to the Watergate committee that President Richard Nixon maintained an Enemies List. The list ran from Senator Ted Kennedy to journalists like Daniel Shore to June Foray who did the cartoon voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel.

1984- Hollywood introduced the PG-13 rating to indicate graphic violence, invented for the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

1995- Boyishly proper British actor Hugh Grant is busted for soliciting sex from a Sunset Blvd. street hooker named Divine Brown. Grant had just released a film called the Englishman " Who went up a Hill and Came down a Mountain". Pundits had fun changing the title to "The Englishman who went to L.A. a Hugh and Came Back a John."

2007- British Prime Minister Tony Blair stepped down after ten years. His first nickname in office was Bambi.
Yesterday’ s Quiz: What is a coup d’ etat?

Answer: An overthrow of a government by force. Literally “to strike a blow at the state.”