Suzan began her presentation by holding Excalibur aloft and giving what was, in legend, the rally before battle of King Arthur. Pretty cool touch. She then moved into the various works out there..As mentioned, a wonderful job was done blending historical facts with the legends. Was Arthur Roman, Celtic? Guinevere & Lancelot - did they or didn't they? Legends from both the U.K. and France were covered to show how each culture affected the story. Suzan's personal thoughts were interjected, and has us laughing. DO NOT use flaming arrows in any Arthur/Camelot film you may ever make and show it to Suzan - she will retaliate by shooting you with one!! At this point, Steve S, very deadpan, says "blame Kirk Douglas"..we lost it! Another pet-peeve of Suzan's was the scale of the artwork of the time - she showed us a painting, simply said "arm" and passed the book around. Holy smokes - the arm of the figure was about 8 feet long!! Yikes! Fascinating fact we learned - members of the royal family, even in this day and age, all use the name Arthur somewhere in their long string of names. Why? So if they usher in a new age, they are Arthur reborn! No kidding. Those wacky royals! Suzan ended her presentation by discussing the dreaded condition acute, excessive Arthurania. Warning signs - if you excessively compare versions, match history to legend, name your dog Cabel (Arthur's white wolfhound), you are clearly suffering from Arthurania. As she's giving us the signs, she's looking at her mountain of books, movies, artwork scattered all around her (literally, the pile got so big it toppled over during the meeting). The cure? Suzan picks up two coconut halves, claps them together as we all cried "RUN AWAY!" Yep, get thee over to Monty Python's Holy Grail for some fun. After a lot of clapping, we let Suzan pack up her things ( I think our grabbing her gown had her frightened..lol)..
The night continued at the diner complete with our guest speaker. She thought we were fun and had good questions. Conversation flowed non-stop until well after 1:00 am and covered everything from Camelot/Arthur/Merlin, recent movies seen, Aurelia's dinner selection and Bill W turning into a troubador to tell Remy a tale of yore (who knew). Nancy Denker saving the night by giving troubador Bill her Tide Stain Stick. The Simpson's..and the funniest of all, Aurelia "opening her eyes" at both Remy & me (we were too behaving!!)..this, of course, from Denzel Washington in Man on Fire..I'm opening my eyes at you!! Good, good fun. Join us in December for folklorist/author S.E. Schlosser. Her works include the Spooky Series of books that cover local lore/legend: Spooky NJ, Spooky NY, Spooky PA, Spooky New England, Spooky South, and more. Presentation begins at 7:00pm. Following her presentation, we will invade a nearby restaurant for some holiday fun with friends. Be there or receive a flaming arrow!! You know me, I mean it!!!
Our guest speaker arrived shortly after your humble correspondent (Steve Spinosa) did to act as pinch-hit moderator for the evening. After roughly an hour of meet-and-greet chat, I introduced Suzan Longo, our "in-house" Arthurian expert who gave a wonderfully well-prepared talk on the subject, discussing first the novels, then the scholarly works and lastly the films related to King Arthur. Suzan was dressed in the appropriate royal garb for the occasion (as were Mistress Ana & Sir Wilhelm of Keveney -aka Brian). Among the books discussed were The Once And Future King, The Mists of Avalon, Le Morte De Arthur, etc, as well as the films Excalibur,Tristan and Isolde(which was roundly panned), Merlin and, of course, the one and only MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. A great evening for all who attended!!!
I forgot to add that we also discussed the films PRINCE VALIANT (1954) & KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE (1953) which featured Robert Wagner (Bill's relative!?!} and Robert Taylor respectively. During the pre-meeting discussion it was mentioned that an episode of the TV Show THE TIME TUNNEL entitled "Merlin The Magician" had Merlin appearing in the tunnel itself,suspending everything, then yanking Doug and Tony back to the Middle (Dark?) ages to help Arthur drive the Vikings (er Norsemen) out of England & retain his throne. This episode had battle footage from PRINCE VALIANT. Also: * We discussed CAMELOT, the Broadway & later Movie Musical by Lerner & Loewe. Suzan preferred the Broadway cast recording to the actual movie on the grounds that Julie Andrews is a better singer than Vanessa Redgrave. It should also be mentioned that The Living Strings recorded an instrumental version of the Broadway score in 1961/62 and released an album LIVING STRINGS PLAY ALL THE MUSIC FROM CAMELOT (which was reissued in 1999 on the Collectors Choice Music as a CD twofer).