I remember the first time I went to the movies without my parents. I went to see “Babes in Toyland” with Ralph Hershberger. He spirited me away at the ripe age of six years old on a NYC transit bus to a movie theater somewhere on Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. Ralph was eight years old and very worldly at that time because he knew the bus schedule. Imagine parents today allowing an eight-year-old and a six-year-old to go to a movie 15 bus stops away?
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that movie again yet I still can hear the songs in my head, “Toyland Toyland let’s take a trip to Toyland.” I remember my amazement in the way the tin soldiers came to life. There is always some magic in seeing a movie on the big screen with a bag of popcorn and perhaps a cup of Coca-Cola. Sadly, due to Covid I haven’t been in a movie theater to see a movie in about two years. Hopefully when all those movies they are holding back because of Covid are released, I will go back.
I just love when I see a movie or TV series that was actually filmed in the Hamptons! I love watching the 1988 movie, “Masquerade,” starring Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly, and Kim Cattrall. The many scenes on Shelter Island, Southampton Village, and Sag Harbor are literally time machines. If you haven’t seen this movie go find it. It used to be at the East Hampton Library, perhaps it still is!
Another favorite is the 2003 classic, “As Good as it Gets,” starring Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Amanda Peet. I love when that one shows up on cable TV late at night, it makes me put down the remote. There are some wonderful totally Hamptons scenes.
One of the worst portrayals of the Hamptons was on the TV series “Castle,” that starred Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. In one-episode, Fillion who portrays Richard Castle, is supposedly driving on a parkway/highway from NYC to the Hamptons when he stops and gets out of his car on the side of the road. As he makes a call, in the background are snow covered mountains. Not a sight to be seen on Long Island in the summer with the highest elevation on the island being 401 feet above sea level in West Hills. To make matters worse he then says he is going to turn around and drive south back to NYC! Not quite East-West!
Having lived for a few years in Montauk watching the “Affair,” was a trip. I enjoyed that SHOWTIME series and it’s use of the Deep Hollow Ranch, LUNCH, the Montauk Lighthouse etc. Yet it drove me nuts when they were always riding bikes in the wrong direction to go to places in the other direction. However, they really filmed some wonderful shots of Montauk.
For a full decade I covered the Hamptons International Film Festival with full credentials. I actually had a few seconds on screen with the filming, “King of the Hamptons.” I am in a scene of an actual Dan’s Papers editorial meeting back in the old Bridgehampton office. It was fun watching this film get made and then to be sitting in the theater in East Hampton with the paper’s staff watching the first official presentation of the film.
My proudest personal Hamptons TV accomplishment was being the centerpiece on a Plum-TV, (anyone remember Plum TV in the Hamptons?) piece on “Marilyn Monroe in the Hamptons.” It played on local TV a few times a week for about five years. It was amazing with scenes of me sitting on a bench in the Ditch Plains Trailer Camp with the ocean waves breaking behind me. Then while talking into the camera the documentary would show numerous clips of Marilyn Monroe in the Hamptons. Watching never got old. The link was lost when Plum-TV out east closed down. Too bad, it was a great documentary.