BY HOWARD ARKIN
On Thursday, November
8, the North Shore Towers
Men’s Club had the
privilege of hearing a stimulating
lecture on the making of the 1976
motion picture Rocky, starring
Sylvester Stallone. I have to admit,
when I was informed the movie
“Rocky” and its star Sylvester Stallone
were to be the subject of the
lecture, I was not all that interested.
In noted film historian Clive
Young’s hands, however, the story
behind the making of the iconic film
proved quite compelling. (I have
Arnie Rabinowitz and Jerry Siegel
to thank for proving me wrong.).
Author of two books—“Homemade
Hollywood” and “Crank It
Up”—Young held the audience
in his thrall from the start, vividly
describing a young Stallone striving
for years to get his award-winning
screenplay made into a film. Turns
out, Stallone and the film’s main
character, Rocky Balboa, had a
great deal in common with many
parallels in the struggles to reach
their individual goals, both overcoming
many hurdles to finally
Stallone was down to $106 in the
bank and was in such bad financial
straits, he spent some nights
sleeping in New York City’s Port
Authority Bus Terminal. Attempting
to jumpstart his acting career, he
moved to Los Angeles. He went
on audition after audition without
success, so broke he had to sell his
dog, because he couldn’t afford to
Inspired by a boxing match he’d
attended, Stallone wrote a screenplay
about a fighter who never gave
up no matter how dismal things
seemed to be. He managed to get
the screenplay to movie producers
Irwin Winkler and Robert Chertoff,
who offered the fledgling screenwriter
$360,000 with the provision
someone other than Stallone would
play the title role. They had actors,
such as Robert Redford and Burt
Reynolds, in mind to play the lead.
Yet, Stallone identified so strongly
with the character he’d created, he
refused to sell the script unless he
could play Rocky Balboa himself.
Eventually, the three reached a
compromise, and after a substantial
budget cut, Stallone was given the
role and was on his way to stardom.
It’s interesting to note “Rocky”
was being filmed at just about the
same time Building Three of North
Shore Towers was being completed
(1975). Since then, seven “Rocky”
movies have been produced with
another (“Creed II”) just released.
The franchise has contributed
greatly to Stallone’s net worth
of $400 million—not too bad for
someone who spent more than
a few nights sleeping in a bus
BY HOWARD ARKIN
On any Tuesday, Wednesday
or Friday morning at 8:45 a.m.,
20 or so men congregate at an
elongated table at Buffy’s. These
are the early arrivals for the 9 a.m.
North Shore Towers Men’s Club
I was one of for the first time
last October. My wife Janette and
I had just moved into North Shore
Towers from Hollis Hills, Queens.
I thought by joining the Men’s
Club, I might jumpstart my social
life here. It certainly did.
Your time of arrival determines
your place at the table and what
your topic of conversation will
be. On one day, you might find
out from Murray that the price
of a corned beef sandwich at his
father’s delicatessen on Southern
Blvd. in The Bronx was 30 cents.
If you took it on rye, you could
save a nickel. Murray can also tell
you it was Babe Daikgren who
succeeded Lou Gehrig at first base
for the Yankees in 1938.
Joe DiGiovanni might tell you of
his exploits as a NYC detective or
his many successes at the gambling
trips in Atlantic City. Other stories
might be Yale Kessler’s many flower
plantings at his summer home
in Hampton Bay.
I’ve listened to Howard Kimmel’s
story about Robert Moses spilling
food on the legendary New York
City planner’s jacket at his office
under the Triborough Bridge and
then willing to pay for the cleaning
bill. Moses was quite controversial,
but this must go on the plus side
of his ledger.
I admire Paul Detkin’s stories of
his taking the QM6 Express bus
into Manhattan and navigating
the crowded Midtown streets,
especially considering Paul is
visually impaired. Ted Freidberg’s
stories range from his father’s dairy
restaurant in Borough Park to his
World War II service in Normandy.
Virtually everyone orders the
same breakfast: oatmeal, the
choice of the aged. Free raisins
are provided by Murray, who
brings his own stash down every
morning in a small plastic container.
I’ve been meaning to ask
Murray if he ever washes out that
container. Quite often, a few men
will complain the oatmeal is not
hot enough. Hercules the waiter
dutifully will return the bowl to
the kitchen and everyone is happy.
Although the North Shore
Tower’s Men’s Club Breakfast
table will never achieve the notoriety
of the Algonquin Round
Table, it’s much longer and far
more crowded. The good feeling
at the table is strong; in one year
I’ve yet to hear a word in anger.
Oh yes, the oatmeal and coffee
is only $4.30, not including a tip.
As many of the club members
must remember, “COME ON
DOWN!” The time is 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Thursday, December 6
Lunch at Hibachi Sushi Ya
2311 Jericho Turnpike
New Hyde Park, NY
Thursday, December 13
Men’s Club Meeting
Large Card Room, Bldg. #2
Mark Brier, Comedian
Thursday, December 20
Any questions please call
Jerry Siegel at 347-235-4513
Breakfast at Buffy’s
34 NORTH SHORE TOWERS COURIER ¢ December 2018