Good friends, a small friend, & more … much more

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2017
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blogs


Those of you who know me, and I mean, really know me, know that I move at my own pace, especially when it comes to my personal life.

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Annette Florczak after a screening of The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 75th anniversary at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Ca. She and her hubby Robert made sure that I joined them on this night. It’s Robert’s favorite film. As Annette was preparing to take a group shot I captured her. Not too long ago Annette said to me that she liked that I said what was on my mind. I hope that I’m always true to her compliment. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

I’m in no rush, for I cherish my life and attempt to enjoy each and every minute of it, regardless if it is a never-ending night as I can’t sleep or hanging out with my daughter or seeing friends. You probably don’t know this, but I intend to live to at least 120. I have books to write, people to piss off, and friends to know and enjoy.

My closest friends have all become friends because of my writing life.

Most live in other states, outside the U.S., or in that far-off land we call Northern California. Whenever I’m in the same location as them, it is pure joy regardless if it is for work or pleasure.

My daughter is my life, and luckily she lives close to me. 

Back in 2008 (I think) a group called the “Mulholland Drive Boys” was created to unite writers, artists, directors, and other people interested in Errol Flynn and bring them together. For the most part, the group doesn’t exist, or at best is dormant. No matter, for the creation of the Mulholland Drive Boys introduced me to four people, four people that have become good friends.

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From left Robert and Annette Florczak, Greg and Nam Maradei. The three kids were, along with me, Robert and Annette’s guests to see Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland as Robin Hood and Maid Marian. He tutors them in art. To my dismay I don’t have any single or two-shots of Robert on this night (he hid behind his students). Actually I don’t have any single shots of him ever—guess he doesn’t trust me (if I capture his image I’ll steal his soul). Ladies and gents, I’m not a skinwalker and I don’t shape shift. It was a fun evening. (Photo by lk on May 11, 2013)

Two fellows and their gorgeous wives (Robert & Annette and Greg & Nam). Over just a handful of years they have become my closest friends in Los Angeles.

As there is a memoir in my future, I am also using this blog to not only explore my writing ups and downs, my thrills and failures while also keeping you updated on current projects. The goal is to also figure out who I am, where I’ve been, and zero in on a past that is filled with both unsavory and golden moments. That is people, memories, flashes in time.

It’s time for you to sit down and hold on

If you’re not sitting, please do so before looking at the next image and reading the first sentence that follows the image and its caption.

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No, no, no, and once again NO—lk isn’t a convicted felon. This image was taken at the Lincoln Heights jail in Los Angeles on January 24, 1979, by Ron Batzdorff, who was the still photographer on The Onion Field. If memory serves me, this jail was not in operation at the time (don’t know if it still exists). Great film location, and honestly scary. During free time, I spent time sitting in a locked jail cell, letting my mind flow with whatever images hit me. Not something I ever want to experience in real life. The numbers you see in the image are real, Gregory Powell murdered a Los Angeles police officer in 1963. Joe Wambaugh’s best selling book, The Onion Field, documented the crime; he also produced the film. James Woods shot to stardom with his portrayal of Gregory Powell, and to a lesser extent so did Ted Danson, who played the murdered officer. Although I haven’t seen either in 30 or so years, back in those days I worked with them on other projects. My memories of Jimmy and Ted are first class, and in no way are my views of them negative. … On a side note, although I never manually worked in an onion field, I have run and crawled through them (a few years before the film was shot I did work in a cotton field in Texas).

One thing I can state clearly and honestly—I’m shy. Always have been. Those of you who know me are probably chuckling. Go ahead, make it an out and out laugh, but ’tis true. I’ve always been aggressive when I’ve played sports (tennis, football, baseball, and so on), but when interested in a lady my brain goes south. I’m lucky if I can mumble a few words.

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A publicity photo taken at Encino House on June 29, 1981. The smile was still present, but by 1984 it would be gone. (photo © Louis Kraft 1981)

I had a fairly long acting/modeling/film world career that was at best unfulfilling and at worst a waste of my time.  A very true statement, but it obscures and almost damns a multitude of truly caring and artistic people I worked with, hung out with, and have nothing but cherished memories during my time with them. Actors, directors, crew members. This was also a time of getting in sync with my inner being, understanding what made me tick, and accepting me for being me. When not working, I did this on an almost daily basis with actors (exceptional people). Most are gone from my life (but I have memories). Two friends are always with me, regardless when I see or talk to them. An actress I worked with for a few years and a costumer I met on Tucker’s Witch (we also worked on Johnny Belinda). Good friends, always.

Returning to those dark days of yesteryear, I did learn that to succeed (and I quit acting cold turkey to write full-time in the 1980s) I needed to approach what I wanted head-on. I needed to put my fears to rest and be aggressive. What I failed to do in the film/acting world (due to shyness hangups and my refusal to do things I found repulsive and/or disgusting), I have not encountered. The writing world has never assaulted or compromised my values. Never. Add the good fortune to also write for companies, and I have had the freedom to only write about subjects important to me in the freelance world.

The times they are a changin’

 Events in April 2012 made me take a long hard look at my world. It was time for a change regardless of the cost (and this would be large). That change would take time and guts for me to hold course. Fast forward a year to May 2013. I could now look back at 2011, a year that had been a wild ride of highs and deep-deep lows, but the hibernation had been in effect since late 2008 or early 2009 when my world went south. This is not quite true, for the Wynkoop book saw print in 2011 and my relationship with Marissa blossomed after a decade of darkness.

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David DeWitt at Tujunga House in January 2013. When David visited we spent good time together deep into the night (deep for me) as we shared tales from our past. For me, it was just what the doctor ordered. We chatted, we laughed, and we enjoyed ourselves. During his visit I gained a good insight into myself. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

I pretty much keep to myself. I see Marissa, but that is pretty much it. Entertain? Me? Who are you kidding? My good pal and Flynn expert David DeWitt visited for five days at the beginning of this year. Robert F. came over for dinner a couple of months later. David and Robert are two friends I can hang out with for hours on end. They are always welcome in my home (as are Annette, Greg, and Nam). I’ve been in a shell for years (except when on the road). I needed to escape from my self-imposed banishment.

An introduction to a key person in my life

In 2002 Robert Goodman, MD, suggested I see Malcolm Cosgrove, MD. Within a little more than six months Dr. Cosgrove would become responsible for me continuing to walk this earth. If not for him I would be a long-forgotten memory. I see him every three months. I saw him on June 14, and everything went according to plan. We tested and discussed two subjects important to me. Over the years I’ve grown to know and like him, so we have more than just a doctor-patient relationship. The next day, June 15th, he was flying to Israel for a family reunion and much more, and he looked forward to a great trip. He’s aware of what I do, but on this day I introduced him to the website/blog, which hadn’t gone live when last I saw him. He asked what was up next, and I told him about a dinner party on June 15, and that one of my friends was bringing a friend to introduce to me (more about this below). He asked if I had ever been married, and I replied that I had been back in the dark ages. He chuckled as he asked if my friends were married. I said yes, and he said, “Be careful; they want to make you like them.” We laughed, and I said, “Don’t worry.” I have a protective shell that is forever present—unless I want, no one enters my life.

A June dinner party

Back to the thrust of this blog. I had survived April and May bills (no easy task; actually I’ve relearned how to juggle, a throwback to the acting world). It was time to again entertain. I hadn’t hosted a dinner party in a long time. This had to come to an end, and I wanted it to happen now. Who else would I invite but Robert & Annette and Greg & Nam. Over the years following the creation of the Mulholland Drive Boys we would see each other at increasing intervals. This grew to friendship. But on this day, this June 15th day, I would have a bonus for I would also meet a lady. … Let’s call her a small friend—for now. … Patience, my friends, patience!

I don’t know enough about Annette, Greg, or Nam’s professions
to speak about their work worlds accurately.
Not to worry, for I will talk about them. 
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Annette & Robert Florczak at Tujunga House on June 15. I like this image for you can see their closeness and togetherness, which is always present. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

Robert is one of the brightest and artistic people I’ve come to know over the years. Artist-Musician-composer-singer-historian/writer-art professor-film consultant … A Renaissance Man, he’s also writing a book about Errol Flynn. I’m not going to tell you about the book, for I don’t want to give anything away. I will say this; when it is printed it is must reading for anyone interested in Errol Flynn or the Golden Age of cinema. I think I can safely say that he is probably the most knowledgable person I have ever known in regards to Flynn (and that includes people who are no longer with us). He is also the historical consultant for the upcoming film on Errol Flynn’s last years with Beverly Aadland. This project (already in the can) is first class all the way. The Last Days of Robin Hood (not my favorite title; but it may be after I see the film) stars Kevin Kline as Flynn (he was born to play Flynn), Dakota Fanning as Beverly, and Susan Saradon as Beverly’s mother Florence Aadland. From what I have heard from Robert, this is going to be a special film.

Robert is charming and bright and I enjoy every minute I spend with him. Oh, I should add that his sense of humor is in line with mine—a little twisted. Whenever one of us has the chance we try to pull each other’s legs. Great fun!

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Annette & Robert Florczak at Tujunga House on June 15. Someone said something that was really funny (wish it had been me, but it wasn’t). Perhaps Greg M., for he was also shooting pictures at that moment. Annette is really enjoying what was said, and in a moment she would be totally bent over, and Robert, who has a nice smile here would also be laughing all out. A first class moment! (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

I can’t say enough about Annette. She is friendly, open, and caring … and is always a delight to be around and speak with—I’m at home with her at all times. She is a perfect hostess, so much so that I drag my heels when leaving her and Robert’s home. She’s German, and yet a marvel with the English language. If she didn’t tell me that she was German I would have never guessed. Amazing! Like Robert, she can talk about anything, and do it in a knowledgable way. I think she enjoys Flynn; at least I have not heard her complain when Robert and I talk about him and Olivia de Havilland (more about this below). … As I have told Robert more than once, he is one lucky fellow.

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Greg & Nam Maradei at Tujunga House on June 15. As you can see they are close, and I think had a good time. Certainly their smiles are nice in this image. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

Greg is a Flynn fan, a big Flynn fan, and this interest has brought me together with him and his pretty wife Nam. We all should have his enthusiasm and curiosity. He has the gift to make people—certainly me—feel like I’ve known him all my life. It’s a good feeling. Certainly he is a hard worker (as is Annette and Nam … Robert is like me, and we live in a different world work-wise—I’m not saying Robert isn’t a hard worker, for he is, … it’s just different). Not only is Greg outgoing and fun-loving, someone I enjoy hanging out with, but he is also a fellow I know I can count on. A good feeling.

Nam is a mischievous charmer who I have an absolute blast teasing (and she gives as good she gets). She keeps me laughing at her antics. Like Annette she is caring, giving, and a good hostess (including when she and Greg visit). But her talents continue to amaze me—she even knows the sword (when she shared her native knowledge with a blade my jaw almost hit the ground). If I haven’t told Greg how lucky he is, I should have, and if not, I’m saying it right here. He’s a lucky fellow that Nam is his wife. I should add that her concern for my welfare is touching. Realizing an emptiness in my life, she asked if she could do something. I gulped and hesitated, but luckily said yes (more below).

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Nam working with the blade at Tujunga House on June 15. All I can say about her impromptu performance is wow! Unfortunately I ran out of film before she finished (which doubly hurt, for right after Greg performed a funny skit with the sword, and I couldn’t capture it. … Not a good ad for a 35mm film camera. (photos © Louis Kraft 2013)

Before moving on, I want to say one final thing about Robert & Annette and Greg & Nam. I have never seen two couples more devoted to each other and more in love with each other than they are. In our day and world this is wonderful to see.

A small friend

When I announced the June 15 dinner party, Nam asked if she could bring a friend to introduce to me. I hesitated, and I think she was hurt or worse mad, but Greg told me that she doesn’t get mad. We’re back to the “shy” thing. You know my world now—it’s me and my fantasy life that spends fully 85-90 percent of the time in my house studying or searching or dreaming or writing. My social life? Robert & Annette, Greg & Nam, Marissa … and my gym (but here I have tunnel vision). It took me a while to say yes to Nam. After she asked the lady and the lady said “yes,” I felt good. Nervous, but good. Nam asked what her friend could bring, and I replied, “The fish, veggies, and salad.” She chuckled online, “Ha-ha. Very funny.” I told her that all the lady had to bring was herself.

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Nam Maradei and a small friend in the living room at Tujunga House on June 15. I had missed an opportunity when I opened the door, but I would not miss it twice. Here you can see Pailin’s eyes and smile that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

On June 15 Robert and Annette arrived first. Robert knew the house but Annette didn’t. As we walked through the rooms, Robert paused and said, “I think I heard a knock.” I went to the front door. Greg was at the door, with Nam below him, and a small lady farthest away. She was holding orchids and smiling. With eyes drawn to her my heart skipped a beat or three or five. I should have had a camera in my hand, but didn’t (story of my life—read into that whatever you want).

I had promised Nam and Annette that Flynn wouldn’t dominate the conversation, and that if Robert and Greg got too bad that I’d send them to the corner of the room while the ladies and I retreated to another room. Of course the ladies had to remind me of this. The fellows were understanding, and without being exiled to the corner of the room they placed Mr. Flynn on hold more than once.

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Nuch in the backyard at Tujunga House on June 15. She has an open warmness that drew me to her immediately. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

Nam had told me her friend was shy and she was. Her name is Pailin Subanna. “Nuch.” Nuch had a quiet presence, a quiet control of what went on around her. She’s a good listener and she fit in. Robert later told me he thought she was poised, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m a gentleman (probably some people might disagree with this; all I can say is that I try). On this day I was definitely on good behavior, and when combined with my shyness, it guaranteed I wouldn’t say too much. Which was good, for it meant I couldn’t stuff my foot down my throat.

I enjoyed this day and evening.

Alas, the time for everyone to leave came too quickly. But by this time I knew one thing—I wanted Nuch to enter my life, I wanted her to become my friend.

We had talked about our social media, and later that night connected. Social media gave us the opportunity to share our thoughts and set a time for us to meet.

__________

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This was a special day for we had the opportunity to walk and talk and get to know each other. The day ended too quickly, but I drove home knowing one thing–I wanted to see her again and again and again. All these images are from Nuch’s camera (and she shared them with me). She did the design of the portrait of her within a film strip.

And the good news is that we are getting to know each other while enjoying each other’s company. Exploration and learning are always fun. She has a good sense of humor, is very feminine, and has a sensitivity that I have not seen in many people. She likes to explore, and from what she has told me, she has the adventurous spirit of some of the men that have caught my interest over time, … Francis Drake, Kit Carson, Ned Wynkoop, and Errol Flynn. I’m not joking here, for she has no fear to set out into the unknown. Nuch is a brave person.

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Nuch & lk at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, Ca., on June 27, 2013. Like the following image, it captures two people enjoying the closeness of each other. Nuch took this photo, did the art work, and turned it into a postage stamp. I like it, for it gives us good hope for our future. (photo & art © Pailin Subanna 2013)

She also has a tender touch. Physically and inside her. She has an intimate feel for the moment, and is in tune with her inner being as well as what is going on with us. Her openness to what she senses and reacts to is something that has been with me since those long gone days of the acting world, something I haven’t experienced with another lady in decades.* When someone has this gift, and Nuch does, culture and language are not barriers. For me culture and language are a lure, an enticement to know another human being. It has always been this way with me, and I think for Nuch, too. It has, in a very short time, given us a closeness that is special.

* Acting training includes exercises wherein you get in tune with another human being. Facing each other, and without doing anything you react off what you see, feel, and sense. The goal is to make you open to what is happening around you so that you can grasp it, understand it, and react to it. Everyone should go through this type of training.
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Nuch & lk at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, Ca., on June 27, 2013. I like this image as it captures the joy at the beginning of our relationship. (photo & art © Pailin Subanna 2013)

My life has been out of balance for years now. I have my writing, my friends, and Marissa, but there has been a missing piece. But no longer, for Nuch has opened her heart and become my friend. And listening to her words and knowing what is going on inside me, I think that our friendship is going to grow. My life has suddenly found a new balance.

lk: “นี่คือผู้หญิงที่สำหรับฉัน” .และเธอเป็นผู้หญิงของฉัน” (khụ̄x p̄hū̂h̄ỵing thī̀ s̄ảh̄rạb c̄hạn .Læa ṭhex pĕn p̄hū̂h̄ỵing k̄hxng c̄hạn)

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