Sunday, November 22, 2020


[If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways.]

Jaws was released in the Summer of 1975. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie almost never made it. The mechanical shark would not work, the movie was way over budget. "We started the film without a script, without a cast and without a shark," said Richard Dreyfuss on the film's troubled production.

When the screenwriter of Alien was pitching the studio for the movie (the soon to be sci-fi classic) he described it as "Jaws in Space."

Jaws was the prototypical summer blockbuster, regarded as a watershed moment in motion picture history. It won several awards for its music and editing. It was the highest-grossing film in history, until the release of Star Wars in 1977.

Ah yes, Star Wars also almost died in production. In 1971, George Lucas wanted to film an adaption of the Flash Gordon serial, but could not obtain the rights. NO. That was a big no. If he got a yes, there might have been no Star Wars. After directing American Graffiti in 1973, Lucas wrote a two-page synopsis, which 20th Century Fox decide to invest. By 1974, he had expanded the story into the first draft of a screenplay. Today the Star Wars franchise total value is estimated at $70 billion. 

This: I watched the most recent episode of The Mandalorian last night, as they roll out a new episode every Friday on Disney+ 

Also this: Baby Yoda is selling at Kohl's this Christmas Season for around $24.95

Disney paid more than $4 billion in 2012 to acquire LucasFilm, the production company responsible for the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" film franchises.  At the time, Lucas was getting ready to retire, and Disney, led by then-CEO Bob Iger, was taking aggressive steps to broaden its appeal to consumers. In 2009 Disney bought Marvel Entertainment for about $4 billion. I guess if you have something to sell to Disney, you should put a price tag of $4 billion on it to speed up the negotiation. 

In 1996 Marvel was mired in bankruptcy, and a decade later banked its nascent film franchise on a second-tier superhero called Iron Man. The film helped to pull Robert Downey Jr. from a scandal-ridden career, and went on to make $585 million worldwide. Stanley Martin Lieber (aka Stan Lee) you shall be missed. 

OK, Tom. Pivot! 

My son Tommy is getting married in two weeks. Two Sundays from today. And the COVID-19 pandemic is raging. It is getting worse, not better. Last night we did a Zoom meeting with the family to talk about the wedding, and how every day is making the events of December 6th, 2020 a "game time" decision. What we do know: On December 6th, I'll have two daughters, not one. And the Capone name shall grow (again) by one. But that's about all we know for sure. There WILL be a Wedding Ceremony. Everything else: ask me on the evening of December 6th and I'll give you a full report. 

On November 13th, I got a Friend Request on Facebook. I'm close to 5,000+ friends, and I really don't accept friends to my personal page very often. In fact, I purged many over the last year. I ignored the friend request, but they persisted. "Hey Tom, we used to be best friends, don't you remember? You drove me around in your Formula Firebird and drove me out to PURDUE one time and taught me how to drive and...and......and...."  

Oh, wow. A kid that I mentored when I was in my 20's. I accepted the friendship, but he wanted to talk on the phone. I'm kinda busy. I told him via chat that we would talk one day soon.

"Well, hopefully one day soon because I was given six months to live about a month ago. I would love to hear from you. The only reason I am active on Facebook is to connect with some old friends and stuff. Unless I get a new heart I don't have much time."

We spoke for an hour. I was blown away, as the last time I saw or heard from this kid (kid?) was at my mother's funeral in the early 80's. It turns out that after we lost touch, he went to PURDUE like me. Suffice it to say that he led an AMAZING Forrest Gump life. For at least an hour, he spoke and I listened. I felt like I was the one listening to someone pitch "Forrest Gump" to a Hollywood studio.

"Tommy, I hate being sick. I hate not knowing if I'm going to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle one day, or see my grandkids. Talking to you makes me feel like I'm 16 again and that I have the best 21 year old friend in the world. You never treated me like a kid - you always respected me."

I was a mentor and I did not even know it. So many times in life, we no have idea how our words, our actions, our behavior will impact others. Today, the Facebook "brand" has some repair work to do. Did Mark Zuckerberg have any (any) idea what the future held for THE FACE BOOK when the social media platform was born in a Harvard dorm room? Could anyone predict that in the year 2020, Baby Yoda would be the must-have toy? Or COVID-19?

Jaws. Alien. Star Wars. The "kid" from Newark, New Jersey who followed me to PURDUE. You never know how things are going to turn out. You cannot control the future, but you most certainly can control the present. YOU CAN control how you treat other people - today. 

I have two amazing sons, Bobby and Tommy. When growing up, Bobby was called "Baba" and Tommy was called "Tommy Baby". TAH-MEE BAY-BEE has been my battle cry since March 2nd, 1990. And now, on December 6th, 2020 no matter HOW MANY (or few) people attend the COVID compliant wedding ceremony, I'll be there. And there shall be a TAH-MEE BAY-BEE shout out. 

Tommy Baby. Baby Yoda. From this day forward I'll never see or hear "Yoda" again, without having an instant mental flash of my two sons, their wedding days, and our amazing growing family. And I'll smile. 

I guess THE FORCE is with me, eh? 

Guess what - it is with you as well.

Baba and Tommy Baby

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