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Prologue to The Bendithion Chronicles

Prologue to The Bendithion Chronicles

 

"There is really only one thing to do when everyone in one’s life expects something grand of one – and that is to disappoint them.

 Not by default, you understand, but by design. I would have undertaken this task, this mitzvah to myself, with alacrity and without compunction had I not been absolved from the effort by a chance meeting between my husband Zack and Henry David Franklin at a boring Academy[1] meeting – something about changing the dates for the Academy Awards, and the identification number system on screeners.

The fact that it was boring is significant because had it not been, they would have stayed around as is the usual habit of Academy members (you should see them after a screening), and happily, vehemently argued with each other all the points they had just finished going over in the meeting and may have ended up leaving at different times. Instead, there being no substantial or entertaining reason to join the vociferous extension of the confabulation, Henry (always called Harry) and Zack (never called Zachary), men of purpose both, made straight for the elevator to the underground parking lot, and there met for the first time (not counting the meeting) since the week we had left for Wales five years before.

They had been heads of rival studios some years back, though rival was hardly the word that characterised their relationship. At that level in the movie business (or any business really), there are very few people with the same experience, the same responsibilities, the same knowledge or the same power. Very few people who understand what a day in one’s life is like.  At the time that Zack and Harry were both at the helm of the two most successful and powerful studios in the world, that few numbered seven.

Seven men. Seven people on planet earth who knew what it was to run a mammoth movie studio, who held American entertainment in their hands and each of them had exactly six people in their lives to whom they did not have to explain anything; six people who, when they met them at various meetings and Hollywood events, didn’t want them to read a script, hire them for a part, introduce them to an actress, air a grievance, employ one of their relatives, or extract a bit of insider information that they could haggle in the marketplace of the tabloids like a cheap rug-seller in a dusty bazaar.

That was before the tabloids just started making things up. They used to be one degree less repugnant. They used to try for actual facts. "

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~ from The Bendithion Chronicles by Harrison Solow, 2011

[1] The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: http://www.oscars.org/rentals/goldwyn.html