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A voice from the cinema at home, a salute in the Covid era – Deadline

Thursday night at 8:45 p.m. came one of my favorite regular reports on the state of the entertainment industry and its people. That is, a “blog” emailed by lawyer and friend Robert Mirisch about life in retirement residences at the Wasserman Campus and skilled nursing facilities managed by the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

“OH HAPPY DAY!” wrote Bob, whose special charm is that he wears his very big heart on his sleeve. “This week, for the first time in a year, I was able to eat a meal seeing people in person.”

It was, as Bob described, an alfresco lunch on the Woodland Hills campus, with maybe a dozen people at individual tables. “We were allowed (even encouraged) to take off our masks to eat.” Talking, but not visiting, was allowed. “At first I was taken aback by the metal utensils in our cutlery,” Bob wrote. “We even had glass glasses. Everything was lovely.

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So it’s springtime, residents have been vaccinated and a year of Covid lockdown in what is colloquially known as the Motion Picture Home has finally calmed down.

The viral thaw comes just in time for the Oscars next month. With a little luck and a lot of caution, who knows, those on campus may even be able to manage some group viewing changes when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents the fund with an unusual Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The honor is usually reserved for individuals (including Tyler Perry, who also gets one). But this time, and this time only, a special waiver allows the film industry charity to receive an award.

Based on the Mirisch reports (which Bob has graciously allowed us to cite), recognition would be in order for having seen the residents go through a year of soul-damaging isolation, not to mention the many charities performed by the fund. over the past hundred years.

It wasn’t until the first week of March that the ban on outside visitors was lifted for months. In his March 5 missive, Bob described the shock of seeing strangers suddenly appearing at the house. “People were actually visible (in 3D),” he writes. “Many did not wear uniforms that denote their function. Civilians. Unbelievable.”

Bob the blogger did not hesitate to share his feelings about his son’s visit: “I had the best hug in a year. It felt so good to have a body near me. To finally let out a big ‘Ahhh’.

Of course, the staff had done what they could to fill the hours. There was an internal radio performance of Dracula, with plans for future audio pieces based on scripts from the Mercury Theater of the Air and Lux ​​Radio Theater. Streaming allowed quick access to movies. (Bob especially liked Carey Mulligan in Promising young woman. “She’s charming, mysterious, intriguing, sexy, humorous – all in one part,” he wrote in his mini-review.) And some employees have bonded with residents in both a human and professional way. .

Retired Recreation Director Sue Schubert, who left home after 47 years, Bob wrote: “For me his greatest trait is his deep and constant love and compassion for the hundreds of residents who have passed his way during his tenure. . “

But with the doors closed for a year, even the brightest minds darkened. “I’m sick of the news. I can’t wait with the streaming, ”Bob said in his Feb. 25 report. Others at home must have felt the same.

More so, the Mirisch blog began to dwell on personal aches and pains. On March 11, he recounted picking up a copy of Joan Didion’s “Play It As It Lays” from the library, only to find on the card on the back that it was last checked by “my Anita”. It would be a resident, whom he had met at home. They fell in love and held a commitment ceremony, but couldn’t get married because she was an Alzheimer’s patient.

Bob explained in a separate account – a 28-page account, titled “My Miracle” – that Anita died shortly before the lockdown began. It’s a different story, almost a movie.

Last Thursday, after reflecting on the recent death of a friend and table mate at home, Bob’s report returned to “Play It As It Lays.” The writing on the library departure card was too scuffed to be Anita’s, he said. In fact, he now recognized it as his own. He had already borrowed the book in his name, when he used to read aloud at his bedside. But the story seemed too dark for an Alzheimer’s patient, especially his own; so he had given up.

This time, however, he read Didion’s novel and loved it. “Thanks, Anita,” he said.

“It reads like a glimpse of his soul.”

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