Grampa's Golden Pond

                    Grampa Jenkins

Oh happy day, that's what I say, Oh happy day, hey hey hey hey, I can't get no, say happy day... Excuse me for singing folks, but I'm as lit up as Liza Minnelli at an all-you-can-drink happy hour. And that's pretty lit up. Excuse me while I make me a drink.

Ah, that hits the spot fine and dandy. There's nothing like a nice cool tumbler of bourbon to extend that happy glow. I just got my tickets to see 'Liza With a Z' at the Zigfield and I'm pretty darn pumped up. Hey, I know what you're thinking, who wants to see an old bag like that hoofing it? She's old enough to be your daughter.

A fine way to talk about one of the all time greats, I must say. That lady can really light up a stage, and she's still got the flashing eyes of a twenty year old. And besides, it's a movie, a restoration of her 1972 award winning television special. Oh my, what songs she sang that night, strutting that stage like some fur-covered gazelle, her eyelashes stirring the breeze, and her magnificent voice stirring your heart.

It's a big charity event with the profits all going to 'Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS'. Like I give a fig. I figure if I don't have AIDS at my age, I'm never going to get it, but that's no reason to sit out a special show like this one.

I called up Craig Zadan - as you probably know, he was the executive produce for 'Liza With a Z' - and asked if he could comp me a couple of free tickets, but he pretended that he didn't know who I was.

"Grampa Jenkins," I shouted at the senile old bastard. "I worked with you on the 1963 revival of 'Paint Your Wagon'." Then he had the temerity to ask me what part I had played. "Slim," I replied, quickly losing my patience. "Slim Hawkins. I was the lead wagon painter." When he still didn't recall me, I hung up on the old coot. Once you lose your memories, you've lost everything.

I haven't seen Liza since 1997, when she replaced Julie Andrews in the Broadway version of 'Victor/Victoria'. I had been with the play since it opened in three months earlier, playing one of the major leads (old man on the corner). Her being the new-comer and all, I decided that I would show her the ropes. I turned up at Liza's dressing room door on her first night, armed with bagels, vodka, and a parcel of good advice. "Don't mess with Sam in wardrobe," I told her. "He'll make your pants too long." Oh, how we laughed. The show closed the next Tuesday.

Well, that's about it.


2006, Mark Hoback