Similarly to when I’d see my son get standing ovations at SUNY Geneseo, my Burns Court experience last night provoked me to turn around and think, “Why the heck aren’t there even more people here to witness this marvel?”
Not only is the film The Buddy Holly Story a super quality film (tightly written by the trio of Alan Swyer, John Goldrosen and Robert Gittler) and directed by Steven Rash, and Holly expertly portrayed by Gary Busey, but Burns Court CEO Trish Calandra got and up surprised the sparse crowd with a special guest Jeff Nicholas, who owns the farm and Surf Club where Buddy Holly last performed.
What an amazing night. I was minus 4 when Holly died, so I forgive myself for not ‘getting’ his relevance. I was also only 15 or 16 in ’78 when this film came out. And upon investigating who won the Oscar over Busey (who sang all the songs VERY VERY well with his won voice), I had only seen 1 out of the five films/actors (Jon Voight won that year for Coming Home). The one film I saw of the list was Heaven Can Wait (I had a crush on Beatty AND Charles Grodin, not to mention wanted Julie Christie’s hair).
I was moved by The Buddy Holly Story film and thought there wasn’t any scene that felt dated. Don Stroud and the super earnest Charles Martin Smith were terrific as the Crickets and Marie Richwine was precious as the Mrs. Buddy Holly.
My only previous knowledge of Holly (besides music I didn’t really know he wrote) was when Graham Nash came to The George Eastman House with his photography exhibit which included one shot of Buddy looking glumly out his tour bus window. NOW, thanks to Jeff Nicholas, I know why. Conditions on the bus were barbaric, no heat for one, which caused one band member to miss the last fateful concert due to frostbite. And if the bus had not broken down, he surely would have become a Brian Wilson level musical genius treating us for many more years.