Isn’t it funny how life can be just like in the movies? But not all have happy endings.

Names are changed here to protect the innocent.

Back in the ’70s there was Jack and Jill (names changed for safety).

Jack and I met at the Columbia Studios’ Comedy Workshop and decided to be a famous comedy team like Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis in “Some Like it Hot.”

But his Jill didn’t think it was funny to work for small change, so she left him for a rich producer. Based on a true story.

So Jack remarried and swallowed his dream, and now (I’m told) is an unhappy, rich lawyer who tells jokes to girls in bars and drinks way too much, like Dean Martin in almost everything.

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One of our gang was Billy Gleason. His girlfriend, Joyce, thought she was going to be the wife of a powerful television producer like Billy’s dad, and would have a big house in Beverly Hills and have the Kardashians over for dinner.

But one year after they were married, Billy changed his mind. He wanted to raise chickens, like Fred MacMurray in “The Egg And I,” who got into the egg business, raised a family and chickens, like in the movies.

“See, there’s good money in eggs,” Billy told Joyce.

“Do they allow chickens in Beverly Hills backyards?” Joyce asked.

“Of course not. We’ll get a farm in the country, and you can help me gather the eggs. It’ll be fun,” he said.

Joyce left tire marks on their driveway.

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Then there’s my movie.

After a lifetime of war movies, I joined the Air Force, who sent me to college in South Carolina where I fell into what I thought was love with Betty Jo, a girl whose father was “The Rice King” of the South. Betty Jo looked just like Elizabeth Taylor and drove a pink convertible, like in “A Place in the Sun.” I was in love.

Like all Southern girls in the ’50s who fall in love with handsome lying Yankees in blue uniforms, she started picking bridesmaids out of her sorority.

“And then you can be ‘Rice King’ of the South, like Daddy. You like rice, don’t you J.P.?”

“Sure,” I said, inhaling her White Shoulders perfume in the moonlight. “Who doesn’t like rice?”

Rice to me meant what was in the white bowl in Chinese restaurants, Rice Krispies, and the stuff they throw at weddings, like in “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

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“You do know I’m gonna be an actor when I get back from Korea?”

She clutched her pearls. “You mean like in the movies?”

“No, a real actor, like on the stage in New York.”

Betty Jo drove off in her Caddy and married a Cadillac salesman. True story.

I guess Betty dreamt that we would be like Paul Newman and Liz Taylor in “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof.” I liked the movie, but I hate grits.

I wrote a different script. I married a swell-looking dancer/actor who happened to be the daughter of a New England judge, who said I could do whatever I wanted to do. Imagine.

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“I can be a movie star?”

“Sure.”

“A painter?”

“Sure.”

“Raise chickens or grow rice?”

“Sure, whatever.”

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“I think I’m gonna be a writer,” I whispered.

So here we are, in a big white house on a hill in New England, like in “On Golden Pond.”

See? Happy ending.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 


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