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Posts Tagged ‘Idaho’

Back in 1984, after graduating from film school in Los Angeles, I decided to finally take the solo cross-country trip I always wanted to take. While working as a freelance assistant photographer in school, another assistant told me that if I didn’t do it after I graduated I’d probably never do it. It was great advice because life (and bills) have a way of quickly altering your life.

So I put my stuff from my Burbank studio apartment into a small storage unit in June knowing I had some freelance photography opportunities to come back at the end of August. It was a wonderful trip that took me to the east coast and back over a six week period. One of the great stops was in Ketchum, Idaho. I remember looking up at the Sun Valley ski area and saying that someday I wanted to return and ski the area that was a favorite of Hollywood elite going back to the 1930s.

Keep in mind this was 1984. That some day finally happened on the last day of 2021. That’s 37 years in the making. I was only able to get a half-day in skiing, but it was a glorious blue ski day after a light snowfall the night before. On the first ski lift I met a man in his forties who been coming to Sun Valley every year since he was five because his family had a home there. I was content to get in basically 24-hours total in Ketchum/Sun Valley.

My wife was able to see the New Year’s eve fireworks from our hotel room, but I was fast sleep after my few hours on Bald Mountain and a trout dinner at The Sawtooth Club where Hemingway used to hangout in his later years. On New Year’s Day, we had breakfast at Gretchen’s at the Sun Valley Resort and walked around a bit to get a teaspoon taste of the world that’s attracted John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Demi Moore, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Lucille Ball, and many others over the years.

The bottom line is some hopes and dreams take a little longer than others to fulfill.

Happy New Year.

Scott W. Smith is the author of Screenwriting with Brass Knuckles

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No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
—John Donne (from the poem For Whom the Bell Tolls)

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Yesterday I visited Ernest Hemingway’s grave in Ketchum, Idaho. After college I did the drive around the county and find yourself thing and made a stop in Ketchum. This was in the days before cell phones and points of interest were harder to gather and I missed seeing his grave.

I read my first Hemingway book when I was 17 years old. Not because I knew he was a literary giant, but because The Old Man and the Sea was the thinnest book of the selection that my American Literature teacher offered us to chose to do a report on.

A couple of years later I visited Hemingway’s house in Key West and wondered what Key West was like back before it became a cruise ship tourist mecca. I wonder the same thing about Ketchum. It’s a much more refined town than when I visited back in the ‘80s. It’s more like Aspen than Ketchum of the 1950s and 60s when Hemingway liked to rub shoulders in bars with everyday people. But it’s a fine mountain town that I’d love to call home.

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The Sun Valley Lodge is just a mile or so from downtown Ketchum and is said to be where Hemingway finished writing the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

P.S. Here’s the view looking west from Hemingway’s grave. Fitting for a man who had a love for nature going back to his younger days spent in northern Michigan.

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Scott W. Smith 

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I took this photo of the Liberty Theater yesterday morning in Lewiston, Idaho. I don’t know how many of these postcards have been photos of classic main street movie theaters in the United States, but this isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

Scott W. Smith

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Postcard #169 (Lewiston Hill)

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I took this photo today overlooking Lewiston, Idaho. 

According to Wikipedia, “Lewiston is located at the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River, thirty miles (50 km) upstream and southeast of the Lower Granite DamBecause of dams (and their locks) on the Snake and Columbia River, Lewiston is reachable by some ocean-going vessels.”

This is the region where the Lewis and Clark expedition passed on its way to finding a passage to the Pacific Ocean.

Scott W. Smith

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There are two performances by actors that stick in my mind as transcending acting. In both performances I had not see the actors before which helped bring a sense of heightened reality to the roles they played. And both come down to a single scene that burned into my memory. One was Denzel Washington and his role in Glory when he was being whipped, and the other was Scott Glenn’s role in Urban Cowboy when he drinks from a bottle of tequilla and eats the worm.

Glenn had actually been kicking around Hollywood for 15 years by the time he played the tough ex-con in Urban Cowboy.  But as he approached 40 he had given up on Hollywood and moved to Idaho with his wife and family. His agent talked him into auditioning for the role and the rest is history. From then on the former Marine was a Hollywood movie star.

What I remember when I watched his performance is that I thought, “This guy isn’t an actor, he’s a real bad ass.” Glenn has said he picks roles not for the story but whether or not the character interests him as something he wants to spend four months doing. But there is a Glenn quote I remembered reading years ago that I thought would be a fitting quote of the day.

I couldn’t find the original quote but did find one in the same vein where in speaking about his decision to move to Ketchum, Idaho back in 1978 Glenn said:

My plan was to get a job as a bartender and apprentice myself out as a cross-country ski guide for hunting and fishing and do Shakespeare in the park in Boise during the summer until the kids were older.”

That’s a spirit I can appreciate.

 

Scott W. Smith

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