Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two Minutes And Thirty Three Seconds Of Happiness

Video for February's Album Of The Month, Judy In Love.


Lois Reeves.

Lois Reeves (AKA Sandra Delores Reeves) Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, and member of the legendary "Girl Group" Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, opens up about her friendship with Judy Garland.

The women befriended each other after Judy and fiancĂ© Mickey Deans caught the Vandellas act at the Copa,  and soon after began socializing together at various New York City hot spots.

Here is her interview with TJGE member, Amber Stankoff, on those heady times with Judy.

Lois Reeves: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my deep appreciation for the Great Judy Garland. There are not many entertainers that I have met that have left such a deep and lasting impression on me as Ms. Garland. 

She was a fantastic entertainer, mother, wife, daughter, and human being who did it all! 

Martha Reeves And The Vandellas circa 1968.

Amber Stankoff: How did you meet Judy Garland?

LR:While performing in the early 70's* at the world famous Copa Cabana in New York City. She and her husband at the time came to the show and asked to meet Martha Reeves and the Vandellas afterwards. She was quite impressed with our performance.

AS: When you met Judy Garland, what was she like and how did she treat you?

LR: She was extremely gracious and although she was by far more famous than we were she was warm, complementary and even invited us to come to a club she and her husband owned at the time called Mickeys after the show. We were living in New York at that time. We accepted the invitation and on several other occasions we visited the club after our initial meeting. While there she danced with us and introduced us to many of her friends.

Mickey Deans and Judy Garland, December, 1968.

AS: In your opinion, why do you think so many people loved Judy Garland? Do you think it has to do with how she treated people?

LR: Most definitely! She was approachable and she made you feel as though she had known you for years.

AS: In your opinion, do you think Judy Garland 'the person' appeared the same as Judy Garland 'the celebrity'?

LR: Yes! In my opinion she was one in the same! She was warm. easy to talk to and approachable. She made us feel special. We were amazed that she did not have a haughty spirit or act as though she was better than anyone around her. She was very impressed with Martha's talent and performance. The picture I forwarded you shows how warm she was. I will never forget her and how she made us feel. She made us feel like celebrities.

Mr and Mrs Mickey Deans, 1969.

AS: Did Judy Garland have any impact on you? If so, please explain.

LR: After meeting her it made me realize that entertaining is what I do it is not who I am. I am just like any other hard working person, trying to make it on this earth. She showed me that no one is better than the other person and there is no need to act differently or superior toward anyone. We are all "Stars" just doing different things. If I can make someone forget their troubles for an hour while enjoying our performances than I feel blessed. Ms. Garland made so many people forget their troubles and just get happy while she was on this earth and I am truly thankful that I had the opportunity to meet her and spend some time in her presence. 

The Reeves Sisters today.

Big thanks to Lois Reeves for sharing her memories with TJGE special correspondent Amber Stankoff.

We would like to gently correct two factual errors. Ms. Reeves spent time with Judy in late 1968, not the 70's, and The Deans' did not own a club called Mickey's. They brought Lois and her sisters to a club called Arthur that was owned by Sybil Burton and where Mickey Deans was employed as the manager (although it is highly possible that Deans told Ms. Reeves that he owned the club).

Please watch the video to learn more about Lois Reeves and her career as a Vandella as well as a solo artist.

Rundown Of New Files Posted To The Yahoo Group for the week of february 24, 2013

Homepage by Allen Morris

Here is the rundown of the new audio files posted to the Yahoo version of 
The Judy Garland Experience
To access the files click HERE.

Love's Sweet Song. Judy appears on Silver Theatre and performs a song co-written by her and David Rose. Also heard is a brief bit of a scene starring Judy in a storyline she supplied to the producers. 1941.

Peggy Lee at the 1973 Academy Awards. Barbra Streisand was first asked to sing TWWW at the function but declined, so producers turned to Peggy Lee. Streisand then changed her mind but producers refused to bump Miss Peggy Lee. Stresand ended up sitting in the audience with Liza Minnelli while Lee performed.

Hosted by William Powell and starring Judy Garland, Gene Autry, Martha Tilton, George Jessel, and others. Originally broadcast on June 18, 1942.

Liza's back and Tony's got her!

Judy Garland sings her Academy Award winning theme song.

Sid Luft is interviewed by Tom Snyder, 1986.

Three appearances at the Oscars, 1940-1965.

Judy Garland and friends live at the Hollywood Bowl, July 20, 1946. An all star salute to Jeroeme Kern hosted by Robert Walker.. Judy doesn't only sing her scheduled songs, but the numbers originally planned and rehearsed for an indisposed Lena Horne. Other performers include Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson.

JUDY GARLAND in MORNING GLORY. Also starring John Payne and Aldolphe Menjou. Originally broadcast on October 12, 1942.

It's Anita O'Day at Fat Tuesday's!

Radio performances of songs Judy never made commercial recordings of. Part 1.

Liza and Sammy join up for one of Judy's all time classics.

Billie Holiday live at the Uptown House, 1941.

Liza at the Palladium, 1972. Royal Variety Show performance.

Homepage by Buzz Stephens and Robin D'Amato


Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland are interviewed by Bob Hope at the premier of Babes In Arms at Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theater. October 10, 1939.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Steve Sanders 2012

This page is dedicated with respect to the memory of beloved author and producer, 
Coyne Steven Sanders.

Comments, memories, poems, images, and artwork will be accepted and added in perpetuity.

From Variety:
Coyne Steven Sanders dies at 56
Entertainment journalist was co-author of books on Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, 'Dick Van Dyke Show'

Coyne Steven Sanders, an author and entertainment journalist who wrote several notable books about mid-century television, died Thursday, Feb. 7, in Chicago. He was 56.
Sanders' exhaustively researched books "Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show" (Morrow, 1990) and "Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz" (Morrow, 1993), the latter co-authored with Tom Gilbert, are widely regarded as definitive works on their subjects. HarperCollins released an updated version of "Desilu" in 2011.
He also wrote "The Dick Van Dyke Show: Anatomy of a Classic" and "Champagne Music: The Lawrence Welk Show," both with Ginny Weissman.
As a reporter, Sanders covered television for the Hollywood Reporter and Emmy magazine. He also wrote for Variety.
An expert on the life and career of Judy Garland, Sanders was involved in numerous retrospective projects involving her work. He was instrumental in the original release on CD of many of her Capitol recordings and oversaw the DVD debut of her TV shows in a series for Pioneer.
Having lived in Los Angeles for more than two decades, he returned to his native Chicago several years ago.
Survivors include two cousins.
Contact Variety Staff at

It has been two months since Steve  Sanders passed away, and in that short amount of time it is becoming more and more apparent how great the loss is to the Judy Garland community. Not only are we missing his great knowledge of all things Garland, but we are missing his generosity with and willingness to share that information. We are missing his many kindnesses. We are missing his keen mind and sharp intelligence. We are missing his great humor. We are missing his insistence in always telling and extracting the truth. We are missing his great mid-western charm and sense of decency and fair play.
And yes, we are even missing his god awful puns (For such a brilliant man he sure came up with some pretty horrific ones. My teeth ache at the mere memory of some of them).

Steve loved The Judy Garland Experience and was one of our greatest cheerleaders. Without any encouragement from me he went out of his way to promote TJGE and recruit new members, and as if that wasn't enough, he dug into his own personal Judy vault and shared some extraordinary rarities with us.

The community would not have the pre-recorded tracks from The Judy Garland Show had Steve not shared them first with The Judy Garland Experience. Nor would we have the Manhattan Center rehearsal tracks and outtakes if Steve had not first shared them with us. There are at least a dozen other examples that I could bring up, but you get the idea. Steve was a generous cat and TJGE was the happy recipient.
On a personal note, Steve’s loss is inestimable. Even though he was only slightly older than me I looked up to him as a mentor, and I loved that he looked at me (or at least treated me) as an equal. And I love that every time I asked him if I could share a recording, or if he would help me on a project, he said yes. 

Every time!

I appreciated Steve's writing style and admired and respected him as a fellow human being. I thought he was a stitch and a half too. The man never failed to make me laugh out loud! I think his ability to find humor in almost any situation is what I will miss about him most.

I already miss his reaching out to me, whether to suggest or offer programming, or just to give support during good and bad times. In that respect he was what is known as a mensch, a really good guy. 
To paraphrase John Fricke, who is fond of paraphrasing Betsy Booth, Steve Sanders was one of nature’s Noblemen. 
tru dat. 

I miss him.

Daniel Berghaus 

(added 04/03/2013).

Dear fellow Judy fans,

I can't believe it's been exactly a year since Steve Sanders passed away.  I posted a similar message on Facebook earlier today but I realized many of you here may not be on Facebook.  So I wanted to include you all in my thoughts and hope you partake with me on a toast to Steve Sanders today.

Steve loved being a part of THE JUDY GARLAND EXPERIENCE.  As I think back today, I remembered the times before I ever met him in person.  Do you recall all the great stuff Steve would wrote about -- here and on the JudyList?  Many of us long-standing members may remember how we would savor his posts, which provided such wonderful fresh insights into Garland's career…or reinforced old ones that we had forgotten.  Like his books, they were always written with great intelligence, reverence, with a dash of humor and fun mixed in.  I never counted it, but he probably wrote hundreds of posts on TJGE, on the JudyList, and in other Judy Garland online fan groups.

Think about it…what a HUGE impact and difference Steve made in the Judy Garland fan community on so many levels.  He shared many rare Garland recordings from his personal collection with us all.  He wrote Judy Garland related articles for various publications, including some Rainbow Reviews.  Then there was the "Judy Live" Capitol CD that he spearheaded.  And all his contributions to the Pioneer Entertainment releases of "The Judy Garland Show" DVD set.  Most recently, he was the co-chair on all three of Jan Glazier's "Judy in…" Festivals. But his greatest legacy will always be his definitive masterpiece of a book, "Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show".  (And his "Desilu" book, co-written with Tom Gilbert, is a close second!)  

So I remember Steve today with an abundance of gratitude for all the joy he provided in my life -- as an author, as a generous friend to our community, and a dear close friend.

Thank you, Steve, for sharing your lifelong passion for Judy Garland with us all.  You will never be forgotten.

-Frank Labrador (added 02/06/2014)

A video by Don Azars

Steve Sanders was not a friend of long-standing for me but nonetheless became a very valued one quickly. He was generous with his time and his knowledge, and I can truly say one of the few people I always found "fun" to talk to on the phone. He made me laugh ... and for me laughter and love are what we need more of in the world. 

His praises as an author have been rightly sung for many years now: how lucky we are that he did the work when he did that made RAINBOW'S END possible. It gave every serious fan the inside look at Judy's CBS series that no other publication had ever offered. And what Steve always repeated about the writing of that book was the fact that he went into it expecting to hear horror stories and came out of it with love stories for the most part. For every "difficult" moment in the show's production, Garland clearly also provided a world of unbelievably professional ones, and was loved by most of the CBS team. 
We members of The Judy Garland Experience are the keepers of the flame, and few among us have been as constant and vocal an advocate for Judy and her memory as was Steve Sanders. I will miss you, Steve ... we all will. 
David Price
Houston, Texas 

 I am kicking myself for not having corresponded with Steve Sanders more. It was really great to read his commentary and tremendous knowledge when it came to a lot of things about Judy Garland. I wish I knew him more than this one exchange I had with him in The Judy Garland Experience group page. But I will always remember it and always remember "Coyne".
C Nick Olas:  I have never heard of the name Coyne before. Is it Irish?
Coyne Steven Sanders: Yes, I'm named after my Irish grandfather. Thanks for asking. Unfortunately, when I was a sensitive child, I didn't like having an unusual name, so I reverted to "Steve" which I'm sorry, as an adult, I did, because Coyne as a name is so special. So that's why I use CSS professionally, since people know me as both. I'm called a lot of other names, but why go into that here? LOL
With much respect & affection, Nicky 

Coyne Steven Sanders. We'll remember you. At the rising of the sun and at its going down, we'll remember you. At the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter, we'll remember you. At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we'll remember you. At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, we'll remember you. At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we'll remember you. At the beginning of the year and when it ends, we'll remember you. As long as we live, you too will live; for you are now a part of us, as we remember you. As long as we live, you too will live; for you are now a part of us, as we remember you.

---Bobby Waters

Steve Sanders with John Fricke.

As anyone reading here might expect, it was all due to -- and thanks to -- Judy that Steve and I first met, thirty-five (...!) years ago.  That's (in Norman-Maine-to-Oliver-Niles parlance) a good, long roll of the dice.
But in the case of associations like this one, it still seems drastically foreshortened.  There's only consolation in the fact that Steve will no longer have to battle the generally, horrifically uncomfortable and often-life threatening ailments that beset him across a dozen or more years...and that his (in many cases ground-breaking) journalistic achievements will survive as accurate, important, historical documents.

Equally enduring will be the memories of those of us who "companioned" with him as friends -- this despite all of our mutual and/or individual idiosyncrasies. In cases like this, however, even those were somehow always the source for equally mutual acknowledgement, teasing, and laughter...and a special, additional kind of bonding.
After some of the truths of Steve's Desilu book, I don't know where Lucy would have stood in the group waiting to greet him.
But given the at-long-last-truth of Rainbow's End and Steve's Garland work for Capitol, Pioneer, and etc.,  you can bet Judy was right out in front.

John Fricke

CD produced by Coyne Steven Sanders

Steve was a great researcher and writer.   He was methodical in his approach and serious minded when it came to whatever he was investigating.  He is the only person to put the Garland series in its' proper prospective and give it a new slant from the slandering meanderings of Mel Torment.   As a man and friend he was kind and funny.  He is dearly missed.  There are so many subjects which I wanted to approach him with and there just wasn't enough time.   Thank you Steve for being a good friend and inspiring my own research and filling it with such enthusiasm.  This I will miss the most.  Also, thank you for uncovering so many truths and putting all the gossip to way side.  His journalistic style (developed at the Hollywood Reporter) grew and enhanced with each book he wrote.  They'll never be another like him.  I hope you're having a drink with Sid now and having a good talk.
Tom G.

Steve Sanders was part of my 'A' team. One of the people I could turn to at any moment for advice, context and sanity. His intellectual rigour and journalistic savvy were second to none. He never held back, on praise or criticism. 'This article was great; that one wasn't.' I respected his judgement and invariably modified my outlook because if it. My signed copies of 'Rainbow's End' and 'Desilu' take pride of place in my study. The latter was signed in December 2002. 'For Gary & Justin. What a pleasure to know you! With affection and appreciation.' I will always remember Steve with affection and appreciation. That December Justin was attending a cancer research conference in San Fransisco and we both took a detour to LA to have dinner with Steve and meet up with Sid Luft in LA. Steve engineered the event and faciliated an interview in Sid's favourite West Hollywood diner. It was an astounding experience tslking with Sid and Steve about Judy and his memories. At one point Joe joined his father, and I recall an incredulous Justin sat behind a Christmas tree in shocked awe at the gathering.

And of course there is the Judy Family, with Steve and the gang in NY and again in LA. Three cocktails too many...Flushed and giddy sharing a bottle of red wine or four with Elly, Joan, Steve and the gang. Joyous and poignant moments to cherish.
It was Steve who rang me one morning in NY when Justin and I were attending Susie Boyt's 'My Judy Garland Life' book launch. Would I consider returning to the fold and managing the International Judy Garland Club? I looked to Justin and said: 'Just the two of us? Me editor; you membership?' Under the advice and guidance of our A team: Steve and John Fricke. We shook on it, and the rest is history. Without Steve there would be no 'Celebration' magazine.

Goodnight Sir. With the deepest affection and appreciation.

- Gary Horrocks

I looked forward to reading everything written by Steve. This included all of his posts in TJGE and  his Facebook comments. When I saw a post containing his name in any online group or social media site, I knew it would be of substance, quality, and humor. Reading his books were epic moments in my life as a Judy and Lucy fan. I can honestly say that I've read and referenced Rainbow's End more than any other Judy book. Listening to his presentations in person at JIH and JINY were beyond epic. I was nervous meeting Steve for the first time. He was friendly and approachable and gave me a big hug. He shared so many treats with the fans those special weekends. Steve and I were not close friends, but I felt a special connection to him. I believe almost everyone in the Judy community feels that connection. Steve Sanders will always be a treasure and hero to Judy and her fans.
Hannah Brown

My copy of "Rainbow's End" has provided me with many joyful hours of reading. Thank you Mr Sanders for this beautiful legacy you left us and for putting the record straight on what really happened during this period of Judy's career. 

I'm still coming to terms with the fact you won't be contributing to this page anymore but I will treasure the memory of your invaluable contribution, expert analysis and above all your witty comments that used to make me laugh out loud.

Sleep tight, Coyne Steven Sanders. xx

---Sarah Westhead

Steve Sanders was considered a member of the Luft family and was them when patriarch Sid passed away. Here are Steve and Sid with other members of the extended Luft family in 2002.

As I recall, it was 30 years exactly that I met Steve.  1983 sounds about right. (I was 15, he was 12.) (Or thereabouts.)  Although I am not a professional writer, I had written a piece about Judy's TV career (in those days, virtually forgotten) for a magazine called EMMY, published by the Television Academy.  Apparently, there were folks who actually read EMMY, because I was soon contacted by Norman Jewison, Sid Luft, and a fellow named Steve Sanders, who invited me to a party of his friends.  Throughout the years, Steve was good that way, including you, which is why I ended up going to more Steve Sanders birthday parties and Judy Garland screenings than I can count.  As a lifelong Judy fan, I can say I would not have ultimately met Mark Herron, John Meyer, or Sid and Joe Luft were it not for Steve - not saying that any of them remembered any of these momentous meetings, but I did. I wanted to think he had found a new life in Chicago, and hope that was true.  He was kind to me, always, and I will truly miss him.

Randy H.
Steve Sanders with friend and collaborator Frank Labrador

I was delighted to meet Coyne Steven Sanders at the Judy in Hollywood function in April 2010, beautifully organized by Jan and Richard Glazier; and again in New York on another occasion. Steve and I had a connection and it was Judy's television series.

I was working at CBS during the beginning of her series, and I became aware that something unpleasant and dark was happening--so dark that I could not continue working there.  Therefore I rejoiced when I read Steve's book Rainbow's End: The Judy Garland Show which showed great sensitivity to the difficult situation Judy experienced while at CBS.  I was relieved someone had investigated and exposed the minefield Judy had to negotiate every day. 

Steve was a kind and helpful soul to everyone. I never heard him, in print, or person say anything unpleasant or negative. He was always encouraging me to keep on with my book about Judy and was helpful with photographs. I'm so sad he won't get to read it, I have so much respected his opinion.

Steve had a great dislike of the birthday ritual, as do I!!  But perhaps he wouldn't mind if we remembered him every year on his birthday; think it was sometime in May. He will be greatly missed by his friends and the Judy community.  

Always for Judy, Joan Coulson 

As We Remember Steve.......

To me, Mr. Steve Sanders was not only one of the two or three all time greatest authorities on Judy Garland but a dear, sweet, kind and loving friend. Our friendship went back to the late 1970s when he wrote a series of articles on Miss Garland's TV career for the London club's RAINBOW REVIEW magazine. I wrote him a "fan letter" at the time and since then we have been in constant contact and he has always been there for me and I hope I was half the friend to him that he was to me. I remember in 2007 when both of our mothers, (ironically both named Margaret), were suffering from cancer and both passed away the same year. I loved his insights in all things Garland and adored his writing style. His great book RAINBOWS END is "the bible" of THE JUDY GARLAND SHOW and I know he was greatly loved and respected by most in Garland Fandom. I loved his wit and humor and he always loved to joke with me about my obsession with house cleaning. I will cherish my friendship with Steve and always remember him very fondly with much love and respect. I will also cherish what he wrote in my copy of RAINBOWS END, "To dearest Charles - with great affection, appreciation and respect for who you are and all you have done for me, and so many, over the years. I cherish your friendship - love, Steve", Well, the same to you my dear friend. Charles Triplett

Steve and I had some great times over the time that I knew him.  There was a very "wet" night in Grand Rapids and alot of laughs as we viewed clips of Judy in preparation for a Q & A at JudyFest when I realized I couldn't connect any of his clips with a specific memory.  I used to kid him that he knew more about the gangs time at CBS then we remembered. 

So many small memories.  A great guy and I will miss him terribly. 

Eleanor Lyon

I believe that Steve did more to eradicate the harm done by others for the legacy of TJGS & for that, alone, he will always be cherished. There is so much more, of course. Until now, I hadn't thought of "the stars have lost their glitter" since the day that Judy passed. Gods speed, Steve. You did a lot of good things in your lifetime. You will be missed.

--Kenneth Young

Steve Sanders, Jan Glazier, and Albert Poland. Co-Chairs of Judy In New York, 2011

i am so grateful for the time we had with him, knowing him and being embraced by his love and wit.  he had the kind of savvy that great journalists have but not the cynicism.  on a personal note, i am so glad he was able to come here for a visit and he was enormously helpful and supportive of my efforts to write a career memoir.  there is an unreality to the thought that he is gone.  I hope judy is singing to him.

Albert Poland

I first met Steve at Feinsteins-at-the-Roosevelt in L.A. in the early 2000s.  Lorna Luft was performing in a a one-woman show, and when I discovered that this was who authored Rainbow's End, I said, "No way. You wrote that definitive book on Judy?!"  I actually got on one knee out of disbelief and respect.
"That's me," he said, and chuckled. "I'm flattered, but get up, please." I would come to find that Steve was never attention seeking, nor given to hero worship. He loved talent, he was a romantic. Besides being a great writer, he was a fantastic historian --- interested in the facts about his subjects, one of whom was Judy Garland.  Steve always sought to document facts directly from first-hand sources, he wanted facts.  He gained access to and interviewed many of Hollywood's greatest talents. Talented entertainers were just that: talented entertainers.  Steve didn't subscribe to Hollywood's celebrity A-List codes of behavior.
As we continued talking, I remember how he laughed and occasionally guffawed -- Steve's wit, always present, sometimes acerbic, cut through the awkwardness of ordinary convention, it bulldozed through introductions and first impressions, with tact and occasional camp.  Our friendship and shared love of Judy Garland's work closed the deal that night at the Roosevelt.
Some backstory:  I'd had a premonition since I watched the 70s' "60 Minutes" biopic on Judy, that I would meet Sid Luft.  My kindergarten teacher, Jane Munsey, grew up with Sid, who considered Jane's father to be a mentor and surrogate dad (Jane's dad was Sid's football coach).  Having explained to Steve that I had met many of Judy's collaterals, like Bobby and Dolores Cole and their son Chris, Liza Minnelli as well as John Carlyle and Dr. Marc Rabwin's daughter-in-law, George Cukor, etc., Steve welcomed me to hop on board the network of "family" he had cultivated.  His constituents weren't "Friends of Dorothy," but were made up both from Judy's actual family and friends, as well as wonderful folks far and wide who were Steve's friends.
Steve, Frank Labrador, and Tracy Terhune and I were piled into my Jetta to see the late Jack Klugman in his one person show in Studio City.  The subject turned to Judy and the American Songbook, and I mentioned that I had always loved the song, "Howdy Neighbor, Happy Morning!" from "Summer Stock."  "I love it, but I don't know the lyrics," and then I started singing:  "Howdy Neighbor, happy harvest!  May your forty acres soon be fields of clover...." and then stopped.
In unison, in my Jetta -- Steve, Frank and Tracy picked up where I left off, word for word, verbatim:
"Yes indeed and plant a wish with every seed and by and by
The sun and rain will make an etching
Of a million little green fingers stretching to the sky
Howdy neighbor, happy harvest
Get your rocking chairs for all your cares are over
Clap your hands and lick your chops your bumper crops are on the climb
Hey we're gonna roll in plenty spend a $5 or $10 or $20
And those happy harvest bells are gonna chime
Remember neighbor when you work for Mother Nature
You get paid by Father Time!"
"Unbelievable!," I chimed.  But there was no pause.  They kept singing:

"Chicks are gonna cackle
And every burlap sack'll be full of 'tatoes and tobaccos
And dozens of different good and healthy greens
And if the weather man won't upset us
Mister you can bet us they'll be lots of crispy lettuce in your jeans
If you're into livin' find out just what livin' means
Howdy neighbor, happy harvest...!"
I simply couldn't believe it.  These convoluted, complicated lyrics, and all three guys singing in key.  I was flabbergasted.  They had done some considerable homework!  We had so much fun, and Steve had pitched us on the idea of going to see Jack Klugman, who had appeared opposite Judy in her last film, "I Could Go On Singing."  The drive was as entertaining as the show. 
Steve was inclusive, and mobilized us to get out and have fun.
Arriving separately with Steve in Brentwood on Gorham Avenue to meet Sid Luft.  Steve knew that I had been burned on EBAY having purchased some Garland collectibles w/ dubious origins and he knew Sid had items to sell.  Boom.  Steve's attitude regarding the selling of Sid's memorabilia was, "Let's keep it in the family," and by that time we recognized each other as part of a broader family of choice.
Buzzed in, we took the elevator, kocked on the door, and walked in, and there was Sid with his wife Camille, and greeting us at the door was Joey Luft.
Steve had suggested that I bring an "ice-breaker" present for Sid, which turned out to be a bottle of Dewar's Scotch Whiskey.  Sid had us over that night for dinner and cocktails, and I was made to feel so welcome.  We all hit it off, and when Steve later begged off to leave and before Sid and I went into "The Vault" as I called it, his private office replete w/ various signed letters and notes from Judy.
I told Sid that I was a singer, and I loved to sing Judy's songs.
"Sing us a song," Sid asked.  So I sang "The Man That Got Away," and "Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe."  Sid appeared pleased, and from that moment on, we met up regularly for dinner, and Sid had a "call or drop-by anytime" policy, and so up until the day he died, Sid and I were friends. 
Steve called to invite me and others to a screening of the most recently restored copy of A Star Is Born at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. as a part of an entourage that included Sid and Camille Luft, Joey Luft, and some of Steve best friends.
Need I say, it was a once in a lifetime experience.  It was to be Sid Luft's last public appearance.
The night before he passed, I called him.  He always voiced concern about Steve's health and well-being, and asked about him.  I said everything was A.O.K., and Sid said, "Call me when you get back to L.A., come over."
The next afternoon, I got a call from Steve.  Sid had passed away in the night after our phone call, and Steve included me in Sid's wake at the Riviera Country Club in Beverly Hills in the weeks that followed.
One anecdote from that evening: as I was leaving, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I want you to know that we all loved Sid."
"I'm George," I replied.
"I'm Angie," she said.
"Angie as in Angie Dickenson?!  JFK?  "Police Woman?," I asked.
"I can't talk about that, but I just wanted you to know that the women in Hollywood ---  we all wanted to be with Sid.  Everyone adored Sid."
I could write endlessly about Steve -- about how he was nailing me on one of his last Facebook strings about Judy's recordings from the "Harold Arlen" tribute in '68, pressing buttons per usual.... about meeting his "Desilu" co-author, Tom Gilbert, at Sid's digs in Brentwood and watching yet biopic on Judy alongside Sid while the program weighed the pros and cons of the Garland/Luft marriage on Judy's life and career (oy)..... I could talk about my pet peeve with Steve, that when we went out to eat together, he <always> sent the dinner back for some reason ("too hot, too cold, overdone, underdone, not medium-rare, soggy lettuce, too spicy" -- you name it!)..... and then there are the stories that are private, that I can't tell.  Steve was adamantine about confidentiality, if he told you something that he said was off-limits for others, you damn well better keep your mouth shut.
I just celebrated a birthday on 1/26/13, and Steve's last biting comment on Facebook to me was, "You've had more birthdays than almost anyone I know!", which pissed me off, but it was so Steve.  And not true, I might add;) 
Steve Sanders was a hopeless romantic, and I hope that he finds the sense of completion in love that eluded him in life, IMO, in this sphere on his many travels far and wide in the afterlife.  I am confident that while we're after the same rainbow's end, Steve will find his.
I love you, Steve.
"May your forty acres soon be fields of clover
Go on puff your corn cob pipes
And no more gripes and no more groans
No mortgages or loans
And you won't see a trace of worrying on the face of Farmer Jones
Howdy neighbor, happy harvest
Get your rocking chairs for all your cares are over
Clap your hands and lick your chops your bumper crops are on the climb
Hey we're gonna roll in plenty spend a $5 or $10 or $20
And those happy harvest bells are gonna chime
Remember neighbor when you work for Mother Nature
You get paid by Father Time!"
Pittsburgh, PA

Steve Sanders surrounded by love.

Image by Allen Morris



The Judy Garland Experience

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