Posts Tagged ‘forgetfulness’

Thanks for the Memories

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

By Jeffrey Page

Denholm Elliott

Denholm Elliott

A bunch of us got together to watch the terrific film farce “Noises Off!” which gave me a chance to see Denholm Elliott, my third favorite character actor.

The late Denholm Elliott was terrific playing an aging actor with the wonderful name Selsdon Mobray. Yet even during the movie, I started thinking about my second favorite character actor, someone else whose career I had followed.

But I couldn’t figure out who he was.

In my mind’s eye I could see this other actor perfectly. I would say he was older than Elliott, and seemed taller, grayer and with a deeper voice. Like Elliott, British maybe. But his name escaped me, and the harder I tried to come up with it the more elusive he became. I couldn’t even think of some films in which he played.

Several times, I had a wisp of a sense of understanding and had a physical sensation of something about to gallop out of my mouth. But it passed and this third favorite remained a mystery.

Incidentally, my first favorite was the late Charles Durning. I had absolutely no problem at all in conjuring his face and voice. But No. 2 remained a problem.

The slipperiness of memory as we get older has been the subject of studies and jokes. Such as:

Guy complains to his doctor that he’s getting more and more forgetful.

“Like what?”

“Did I pay the phone bill? W here did I park the car? Am I 60? Or am I 61? Doctor, what should I do?”

“First thing,” the doctor says, “pay me in advance.”

Clearly, this is a joke composed by someone in his 20s or 30s.

Finally, a full 24 hours after we watched “Noises Off!” I turned to my wife.

“Philip!” I declared rather loudly.

From there it was a breeze. Not Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not Phil Hartman and certainly not Phil Rizzuto.

A moment later I had it. Philip Bosco and I went on to say how good he was in the movie version of “Lend Me a Tenor.”

One problem. It turns out there’s never been a movie version of “Lend Me a Tenor.” But if there had been, Bosco would have been perfect for the lead.