One of the habits I have developed here in Key West is a late afternoon nap. One to two hours. Rejuvenating!
As I climbed in bed yesterday, I flipped on the TV. There was a rerun of Caddy Shack. The film is 28 years old. It starred Rodney Dangerfield.
I actually met Rodney Dangerfield. Spent a whole week with him.
Back in the mid 1970s to mid 1980s, I had a weight problem. Still do.
Once or twice a year I used to go to La Costa for one to two weeks. La Costa was located just outside San Diego. It was a health spa.
Spas are plentiful today. All kinds, all sizes. However 25-30 years ago there were very few. I do not think even Golden Door existed then.
La Costa was the place to go! A 400 to 800 calorie a day diet. And organized exercise and body treatment sessions from 9 to 5. You did it all!
I used to go on an 800 calorie a day diet. Not much food. Celery soup at lunch was a perfect example. Just hot water. No celery. I think they poured hot water in a dish and ran a celery stalk quickly through it!
The diet and exercise worked however. For me, it was good for a pound a day. And I would develop religion which was good for 2-3 months afterwards when I returned home. I would not continue to lose. However I did not gain.
I met some very interesting people at La Costa. The whole world went there!
Watching Caddy Shack yesterday brought back memories of La Costa. It was at La Costa I met Rodney Dangerfield.
We met for the first time jumping back and forth together from the hot to cold and back to the hot pool. I never understood this activity. I used to think the shock to my body could cause a heart attack. But the spa people said it was good for me. So I participated. Fortunately, I never saw any bodies carried out!
Dangerfield and I became friends for that week. We exercised together, ate together and in the evening each smoked a big cigar together.
He was for real! What you saw in the movies or on the TV screen was him. No acting! He was that dunce! No insult intended. But he was in real life as he was when acting. And he dressed the same! This guy got paid for being himself!
My week with him was a pleasure and will always be imbedded in my mind.
Then there was William Holden. My hero! Everyone’s hero!
Holden was always at La Costa. Apparently he had a drinking problem and used to go to dry out.
He was the humblest of men! A gentleman!
One of the organized exercise classes was water volly ball. We used to play bare ass one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. 20-30 guys in the pool at the same time.
At some point all of the volley balls had been hit outside the pool. Some one had to jump out of the pool and retrieve them. No one wanted to do it. We all hesitated. Pure laziness. However not Holden ! He was always the first to do it. Without hesitation. Said a lot about him!
The other thing I remember about Holden was how short he was. No more than 5′ 6″ tall!
I asked how he could be short of stature and still look so big in movies, especially the love scenes with women. He said simple. For the love scenes, they would pile a couple of Coca Cola cases on top of each other and he would stand on them. For real! Coke came in bottles in those days and was shipped in wood cases.
Arlene Dahl was a Hollywood beauty who frequented La costa.
Dahl was a major star in the 1940s and into the early 1950s. A knockout! High cheekbones.
I never got to talk with Dahl. She was a loner. Mysterious. I always thought she was as a veil floating through a haunted house.
Dahl is still alive. In her early 90s at least. Unfortunately, Dangerfield and Holden have passed on.
There were more.
Evil Knevil. The guy who drove motorcyles over cars and fires and whatever. A daredevil!
I first met Evil during my Jockey Club days in Miami. We both had condos at the Club, met at the bar and became friends. A wild man!
One afternoon I was sunning myself on my tenth floor balcony overlooking the pool. The telephone rang. It was Knevil. He wanted to know what I was doing. He said throw on some clothes and pack a small bag. We are going to the Bahamas for the weekend!
Evil had a 145 foot yacht. Big! Elegant! Always impressed me. Not only did he have a small motor boat and two motor cycles on the back, he also had a helicopter perched on the back. Like a butterfly. I was really impressed!
We did the Bahama weekend thing. A great time! Enough said!
Anyhow, one time that I was at La Costa, Evil showed up. Said he needed some good healthy living. Not him! I think he lasted a half a day on the diet. Drank. And chased women!
So much for Evil and good living!
Unfortunately Evil has passed on also. His son Evil Jr. does the same cycle tricks for a living that his father did. But a bit more dangerous. I think he once tried to jump from one cliff to another on a motor cycle. My recollection is he did not make it. Survived, but broke a few bones.
And then there was Jackie Cooper.
Cooper was a child star in the 1930s. Of Our Gang fame. I remember seeing him also in films with Spencer Tracy and Victor McClauglin. When he was older and mature, my recollection is he played Commmissioner Gordon either on the original Batman TV show or in an early Batman movie.
I enjoyed Cooper’s company also. By La Costa time, he was a Hollywood producer and owner of race horses. The race horses were the thing that really interested him. That was all he talked about.
Such was La Costa. Every one was friendly. It was easy to do. We walked around all day bare ass. The commonality factor overcame everything else.
And you have been subjected to all this La Costa stuff this morning because I saw Rodney Dangerfield in Caddy Shack yesterday afternoon.
That is what happens as one gets old. The past becomes as clear as today!