Apr 30, 2006

Suddenly That Name Will Never Be the Same to Her...

Yesterday, Chicago's very own Hollywood Boulevard hosted a truly once-in-a-lifetime event: a weekend screening of West Side Story, the 1961 blockbuster that took home an incredible 10 Academy Awards and remains one of the best beloved musicals, and soundtracks, of all time. If ever a movie was made to utilize all the glorious dimension and immense size of a theatre screen, Story is it, with its dazzling color, incredible choreography, unforgettable Leonard Bernstein score and inventive cinematography...and did we mention Natalie Wood?

Yesterday, as well, blog frequenter (and my younger sister, thank you) Kyleigh also had a once-in-a-lifetime experience: she had the great fortune to meet with Russ Tamblyn, one of her favorite actors of all time and a foremost character in WSS! Russ and former Story co-star (and rival gang member, for those enthusiastic Sharks and Jets fans) George Chakiris hosted the movie's screening and visited with fans in the lobby throughout the day. While Kyleigh didn't have a chance to speak to Mr. Chakiris, she did snatch a photo of him, and she dishes on her meeting with a movie star:

"In awe, I made my way into the line for autographs. My line moved somewhat swiftly and before i knew it I was next. My mom had to do most of the talking seeing as I was completely speechless. The Russ Tamblyn I had had the most adoration for since the second I saw West Side Story was sitting less than a foot away. My mom told him that his biggest fan was standing in front of him and at that second, he looked up from the West Side Story dvd he was about to autograph and with the biggest smile, stuck out his hand and asked for my name. Surprisingly enough, I was able (barely, but able) to tell him. My father explained that The Haunting was his favorite (of Russ's movies), and my mother's favorite was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and mine was West Side Story; once again, with a big smile, he told us how great that was. I was shocked at how down to earth he was! He asked me how to spell my name, and as I spelled it out he wrote it on my case and told me how beautiful the spelling of my name was. Thankfully my mom spoke up and asked if it was okay if I got my picture taken with him. My knees buckled as he put his arm on my shoulder and his face touched mine. I was completely numb and I walked away absolutely fulfilled...I wanted to talk to George Chakiris, but the theatre announcer told us it was time to go see the movie, so I didnt get a chance to interact with him. But I did get to see him, and thats good enough for me."

Kyleigh was at a loss for words when I asked her what seeing the film in that setting, and in those dimensions, was like, but she did say that she loved West Side Story even more after having experienced it in the theatre. And we celebrated a small victory - getting our parents to actually sit through it!

Kyleigh also adds: "Overall, I must say this was the best day of my entire life so if you get any opporitunity like this TAKE IT! Russ was unbelievably generous and the way George was giving out hugs and kisses, made me think that he was just as wonderful. This definitely proved that West Side Story is the paramount movie of all movies!"

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