Momentum Is a Dish Best Served Hot

Turning the tide away from MPTF, toward long-term care facility’s residents.

Last Updated: November 18, 2009 @ 12:27 PM

There was a time when you could go to Disneyland and get a guided tour of the "jungle" on a ride aptly called the Jungle Cruise. You would board a boat (really just a vessel that rode on a track a couple of feet below the surface of the water), and be guided by a seasoned jungle guide (some pimply kid from Orange County hired by Disney) who would fire a gun (a prop cap gun that made a loud noise) at suddenly emerging hippos and indigenous natives (animatronic robots) as you drifted perilously close to a waterfall (OK, that was real).

I was reminded of this ride when I read about TheWrap’s recent tour of the Motion Picture Home, guided by MPTF spokesman Ken Scherer (pictured at left, with Ellen Davis).
All Ken needed was a pith helmet and khaki shorts. The tour and his words were as robotic and rehearsed as I remember during those visits to Adventureland.
OK, I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard it before. The litany of "tears and heartbreak" when making the decision to close the long-term care unit. The "stick to the script" patter that was faithfully reported in the article.
All great stuff that will be said again for another tour, and in front of a judge one day.
What was interesting, and particularly horrifying, was when Ken broke character to admit that the MPTF did use a prop, and that the prop was "a bad idea."
WTF? So the studio prop cop car, which was painted to look like an LAPD cruiser, was an admitted ploy? Wouldn’t this qualify as intentional infliction of emotional distress?
This prop was in full view of elderly residents and family members as they came to visit, or boarded vehicles to be taken to doctor’s appointments.
To what end was that cop car there for? Intimidation? I think so!
I’ve heard that the MPTF claimed it was to protect the facility from those nasty bikers who converge on the Sagebrush Cantina across the street.
Actually, having a group of Hell’s Angels running things probably would be a vast improvement. As scary a bunch as they are, they are extremely family-oriented, know what "taking care of our own’ means" and probably would hold some great parties in the Jodie Foster Pool.
They couldn’t do a worse job than Tillman and Ellis are doing, although you wouldn’t find any of them in the company of security guards and tooling around town in tiny hybrids while they spend their lavish salaries and rub elbows with celebrities.
Tour aside, Scherer’s admonitions and TheWrap’s follow-up on the lies on closure dates started off one hell of a week for us that included the MPTF’s renewing of its operating license for another year.
Then, the MPTF published two very expensive ads in Variety. You could hear the crickets when the ads were viewed. I parodied one of the ads and gave it a more truthful ring.
What received the most exposure, however, was our open letter to Jeffrey Katzenberg. That letter was picked up by many news outlets, and added even more momentum to our quest to save the future of motion picture and television healthcare.
It’s a serious plea that should be viewed and shared, along with the stirring video of the residents and a serious response to the Variety ads that most likely cost the MPTF thousands of dollars to publish.
The gods of all that is just and holy must be smiling upon us. Family members of those who refuse to leave, and are still ensconced in the bosom of the MPTF’s long-term care facility, are about to hold their first Family Council meeting — in an MPTF boardroom, on the property! That’s got to be a major pimple on the rear of the executive board.
In effect, we are moving in and holding court in what some may view as enemy territory. I view it as where we belong.
The momentum continued as cracks in the foundation of the MPTF Board started to reveal itself. In a contentious exchange of emails between Kevin Spacey’s publicist, Nicola Hawson, and reporter Guy Adams of The Independent (a British daily newspaper), it was obvious that the actor is trying like hell to distance himself from the MPTF board and their "decision."
"I represent Kevin Spacey, who has asked me to point out that he is not a member of the Board of that organisation as you suggest in the piece, and as such has had no involvement in this decision. We would be grateful if you could ensure that the piece is corrected online ASAP and that you issue a correction in the main paper tomorrow," Hawson wrote to Adams.
Spacey is probably one of many (we can’t say exactly what we know at this point) who are following the leads of fellow actors Bill Smitrovich and Anne-Marie Johnson, among others, who are standing with the residents to keep the long-term care facility open. More are flipping, and we welcome them.
It’s been a great week. Light a cigar and pour yourself a Diet Coke. Life is good when you know you’re on the side that is right and just.


Winner of the Los Angeles Press Club's best blog award and a Southern California Journalism Award for his HollyBlogs, as well as an award for the Facebook group that helped to muscle the salvation of long-term care for the motion picture and television industry, Stellar's "vituperative blog on TheWrap" (Vanity Fair) focuses on issues related to the motion picture and entertainment industry. Stellar is founder of The Man/Kind Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to fight religious and cultural intolerance through the arts while building bridges of tolerance for all people. Stellar lives in Woodland Hills, California, with his wife of over 30 years, Nuala, and much too much Beatles memorabilia.