Seniority/ Writer works on 'great American musical'
Published 3:00 pm, Thursday, September 1, 2011
Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of chats with local seniors about their lives, youthful aspirations, sources of pride and regret, plus a bit of wisdom to share with younger folks.
The following is an interview with John Franklin, 74, who wrote for premier ad agencies in New York City for 45 years. He valiantly continues to work on his childhood ambition: Writing the great American musical.
Q: How long have you lived in Westport?
A: 46 years.
Q: Are you married?
A: Yes -- to Jeanne.
Q: Children? How many?
A: Yes. Three.
Q: Grandchildren? How many?
A: Yes. Two.
Q: Are you retired?
Q: What did you do when you worked full-time?
A: Advertising agency work in New York for 45 years. But I came here to write the great American musical. I am still trying.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: Singer, actor.
Q: What was a significant memory or defining moment in your childhood?
A: In Chicago, my parents taking me to see a young Ethel Merman belting out "There's No Business like Show Business." That put the American musical bug in my head, and I couldn't shake it out.
Q: What are your main interests and hobbies?
A: Continuing to write.
Q: Do you have a favorite work of art?
A: It's a musical -- "Finnian's Rainbow."
Q: What music do you listen to and what is a favorite piece?
A: American musicals. Favorite piece is "Old Devil Moon" from "Finnian's Rainbow."
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: "State Fair."
Q: Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
A: Helen Mirren.
Q: Who do you think was the best President of the United States?
A: Abraham Lincoln. He faced up to so many problems and handled `em fairly well.
Q: If you could tell the President of the United States one thing, what would it be?
A: Get up and start leading.
Q: What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: The Tea Party.
Q: Do you have any regrets in life?
A: Not having written "The Great American Musical" yet.
Q: What achievements are you most proud of?
A: I was honored with a service award from Northwestern University for writing and staging 17 fund-raising Christmas shows in New York. Many New York celebrities took part. I also was given a state of Connecticut arts award for trying to save the Westport Arts Center.
Q: What, if anything, are you greatly concerned about?
A: The direction of the country. It's a cliche, but it's true.
Q: Best piece of advice for the younger generation?
A: Do what makes you happy.
Q: What brings you your greatest joy?
A: My family.
Q: If you had a magic wand what would you wish for?
A: To make sure that my family continues to be happy, healthy people -- that's my legacy.