Monday, November 03, 2008

Dear People

I've only just learned that production assistant Betty Moos died last month, on October 4, at the age of 79. I knew Betty for close to 30 years by phone as the warm and friendly voice of Joe Dante's production office. Long before the one and only time we met in person, Betty would take my calls and ask me nicely to hold for Joe, always adding a "dear" or a "sweetie." I was probably just another caller to her, certainly was in the early years, but she always made me feel welcome and comfortable -- like we had years of friendship behind us. This is a rare commodity in humanity, much less the film business, and I always hoped that Betty would somehow be part of the team behind the movie Joe and I are still trying to make together. I'm deeply sorry to learn of Betty's passing, and I've privately extended to Joe -- as I do to everyone who loved her -- my condolences on the loss of such an irreplaceable and longterm associate, confidant and good friend.

I met Betty only once, in Joe's office in 1993, around the time MATINEE was arriving in theaters. Joe and I had known each other by phone for 13 years at that point, but it was our first-ever meeting. Betty volunteered to commemorate the occasion by snapping a couple of pictures, and this is one of them. Thank you, dear.

As it happens, I went directly from Joe's office that afternoon to the Ackermansion, where I had a two-hour private visit with Forry Ackerman -- our second and last meeting. It was reported this weekend that Forry has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and isn't expected to live much longer. Upon receiving the news, he asked to be released from the hospital so that he might spend his remaining time at home, visiting with friends and fans. This thread on the Classic Horror Film Boards contains some participatory reports from this final "Open House" from monster kids Rick Baker and Bill Warren, and many others who hold Uncle 4E dear. You'll find a message there from me, too.

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