We gathered the afternoon of Nov 8th ready to share time with each other and see the sights of the Richmond - Petersburg area as arranged by our tour guide Daphne. Thursday night we assembled at Daphne's home where Phil presented her with a token of our thanks - an autographed playbill of "Purlie Victorious" signed by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee (amazing what you can find on EBay). This was the first play we all saw on Broadway together with Mr. Braunstein in 1962. Frank then gave all the classmates an official Hell's Kitchen tee shirt and we posed for our first (of many) class photos. Daphne then gave us a great slide show of what she's been doing the past 40 years.
Friday started with a specially arranged tour of the Virginia Statehouse. We did all of our touring in vans with Daphne's friends Robert and Rodney who quickly were assimilated into our group. Stanley seemed most interested in the magnificent transparent elevator (a long story that Stan will be glad to share with you - Stan, Stan the elevator man !) . In the PM we had a tour of the Petersburg Holocaust museum, a sobering tribute to those who perished and those who survived. Then a van tour of the Richmond Petersburg area.
Saturday included a tour of the Jamestown settlement and their wonderful educational center which featured a movie with narration by Daphne and Tim, and Colonial Williamsburg before a lunch at the Kings Arm restaurant where that great Revolutionany war general KOOP gave us a lecture on how Greeks helped us defeat the British. Dennis who joined us for his first reunion, Steve (Susan's husband) and Daphne's friend Robert posed as Red Coat supporters during the revolution and while waiting for the parade, we had time to get Frank a head buff for the reasonable fee of 10 pence ( I know I saw that woman doing windshields near the Lincoln tunnel a few years ago) !
Next was our tour of New Millennium Studios which Daphne and husband Tim Reid started up several years ago. We toured the star dressing rooms, the cabinets of all the awards they have won and saw the sound stage where numerious movies and commercials have been made. My personal favorite was the description of how they shot the porch scene from the Steven King movie "Hearts in Atlantis".
At this point I must stop and point out something that many of you recall from the old days.The Actors studio on 44th street drew a lot of the top talent of the day to our area to study with Lee Strasberg. In fact, 3 foot 10 inch Michael Dunn, who played Dr. Loveless on "Wild Wild West" and won an Oscar for "Ship of Fools" lived right there amongst us at 414 West 44th. Well, a poorly kept secret, was that we had our own "vertically challenged" friend - "little Nickie". As we posed for our obligatory group shot at the New Millennium Studios we tried to find a stepstool or milk box for the now old "little Nickie" to stand on, but alas, there was none. You see little Nickie straining to peer over the top of the reception desk. Although only 4 foot tall, "little Nickie " stands as a giant amongst his old friends.
On Sunday, we had a canal boat tour of the lower James river and had a great lunch at a little Irish pub and later in the day posed for our departure shot at the Hilton Garden Plaza hotel where we stayed.
Till next year when plans are to meet back up in NY with Frank as the host .......hopefully with newly found Eugene and Carole !