by Norman Horowitz
George Blaud died a couple weeks ago. He was my friend and colleague for over fifty years.
The fulcrum of our relationship was probably Screen Gems/Columbia, but our relationship transcended these organizations.
I want to tell one particular story about George that took place in London about thirty five years ago.
Herb Lazarus and I were living at the time in either New York or Los Angeles. George worked in London with Ann Stewart and Ken Page.
Ken had worked previously for CBS, and it was his custom to hold a Christmas party for a few hundred of his associates, competitors, and UK-based clients.
Ken brought this traditional party to Screen Gems. It was a real “in the spirit of Christmas” party. He invited everyone who had been or was in the business of television in England. The party was always held in the Inn On The Park Grand Ballroom.
To add to the festivities, Ken always hired two models to greet each guest who entered and pin a boutonnière on the jackets of all the male guests and a small corsage on the dresses of the women.
On this particular year, one model was a late-20-ish, well-proportioned, blonde woman. While I can recall her body, I have no recall of her name. The other was a stunning large, black, Jamaican woman named Pauline Pert. She was a bit over six feet tall, but in her heels she was probably six-three or -four. A real stunner.
As was the tradition set by Ken, after the party we would take the London programmers and their wives and any other out-of-town people to the very fashionable White Elephant On the River for supper and dancing. As a rule, we would arrive after midnight.
There were about twenty-five or thirty of us at the supper party. The wine and champagne flowed. A grand time was had by all. I danced once with Pauline, and I remember saying to her that, if we were to ever sleep together, I would need to bring a pen and paper. She was stunned and asked why. I told her that there was so much of her that I would need to keep track of where I had left off.
George was a sensational dancer. He was no more than five-seven or -eight. After awhile, he started to dance with Pauline. They did so well together that they just kept dancing. When they finally finished, George sat and talked with Pauline.
Around four in the morning, Ken had arranged several cars to return our guests to their homes. Twinkle-toes George volunteered to see Pauline home, and we all smiled as they said their goodbyes.
About six or seven of us remained, and we began speculating about “the next day” in the office. We imagined the following scenario:
By one in the afternoon, Ken, Herb, and I were in the office…but no George.
At about three, we began to be a little concerned. We tried calling George at his home, but there was no reply.
At about seven, we got really worried and went to Pauline’s flat. The landlady allowed us to enter. There, on Pauline’s bed, was George’s horn-rimmed glasses and his pipe. George was never to be seen again, having been “consumed” by Pauline.
While I never did find out what really happened, George arrived in the office around two in the afternoon looking “much worse for the wear.”
All of that ended with our departure from Columbia Pictures.
Herb and I survive. Many like George have left us.
As the song goes, “Those were the days, my friend. I thought they would never end.” But they did.
George, we love you. Wherever you are, we hope you’re still dancing.
I wonder what happened to the blonde with the big boobs.