Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stories, Stories, & More Stories

AFI Dallas is naturally heavy on Texas natives. Even more interesting to me than their stories on film, however, are the stories being told everywhere else. Of course, it's BECAUSE stories are told everywhere else that films get made at all.

We all have stories complete with peculiar moments, near misses, and chance meets. Sure, some stories are better than others and I can think of a few that I wish I had never heard (one in particular about a penile implant gone horribly wrong) but when I think of all the witnesses there are to remarkable, terrible, and magnificent things in this world, I wonder how anyone can NOT want to write?

Jack Valenti,former president of the Motion Picture Association of America, was scheduled to speak at the Nasher Sculpture Center on Friday. He didn't appear. The official word on March 23rd was that Valenti had a family emergency. He sure did. The 85 year old had a stroke and is hospitalized at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore. We're told the prognosis is good. Of course, we were told he had a "family emergency".

But that's not the story I want to tell. You see, Valenti was an aide to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and was aboard Air Force One in Dallas on November 22, 1963. That's him peeking over the flowers as LBJ is being sworn is as president of the United States. Look at his career and then look at the photo. What a story.

As an eight year old boy, Bill Paxton was in Worth with his father and brother at the Hotel Texas on the morning of November 22, 1963 when the president was there. Paxton, seen in the upper right hand corner of the photo, says he was lifted on the shoulders of a man he didn't even know because the man offered a kid a chance to get a better look at John F Kennedy speaking in the parking lot. Look at his career and then look at the photo. What a story.

So what, you say? Everyone has a Kennedy story? That's right. Everyone has a story.

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