Of my collection.
Being a huge fan of Stockard Channing (as is well documented here within this blog), I wanted to start a collection of something meaningful and expressive of my respect and adoration of her. Since I have nearly all of her movies, as do many other people in the world, I wanted to do something different. So, after attending Pal Joey in late 2008, meeting Ms. Channing in person and getting my playbill signed (and grabbing an extra handful of them, just in case, on my way out), I thought it would be a great idea to collect her playbills. Of course, I have since found a playbill here and there on eBay and such, and have snatched them up as quickly as I have found them. I found one that was signed already (and yes, I compared the signatures with my original), and the cover of another that was signed. So, I had three playbills that were signed by my Lady. Since December 2008, I have been buying any playbill that I can find, so I had about six to choose from to take with me to Ms. Channing’s last two performances that I attended. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Lady Stockard after The Breath of Life (I tried to!), so they went unsigned…until now.
My very first playbill…EVER!
When I last met Stockard Channing, I had three playbills in my possession that I was hoping to get signed. I could have been greedy and taken them all, but I honestly thought that meeting Stockard would be frenzied and rushed like it had been in when I met her in NYC. But, it wasn’t. This meeting was sweet, leisurely and very rewarding. If I would have taken all of my playbills, I have no doubt that Ms. Channing would have accommodated me in signing them. Silly me, I only took three. I carried them conveniently inside of my Coach, right there with my Sharpie markers.
As I mentioned above, I had bought two playbills that were already signed, so along with Pal Joey, I already had my ‘collection’ going. The first one that I found was from Hapgood, which is one of Stockard’s favorite performances. It is signed by many, if not all performers that were in the play. I then discovered (to my delight!), The House of Blue Leaves, also signed by Stockard Channing. However, this was not the entire playbill, but merely the cover, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?
Hapgood The House of Blue Leaves
And so, I decided to take only three playbills with me to see The Importance of Being Earnest in Dublin. I had figured that if i got to meet my idol, I would already want her to sign the Earnest ‘programme’ anyhow, so I didn’t want to overwhelm her. On my first night meeting her in Dublin, I was able to get her to sign The Little Foxes (which I think my be my favorite, or at least the cover of it is), and Joe Egg, as it was one of Stockard’s best known performances for which she won a Tony award. She didn’t question me about my small batch of playbills, as I limited myself (damn it!). So, she signed these two for me (yes, with my famous silver Sharpie), while we stood and chatted for a few moments. how joyous for me to see that she wrote “Best wishes” on the both of them too! As a side note, I’m not so sure that she would have written that if she really knew what my ‘wishes’ really constist of…
The Little Foxes Joe Egg
On the actual night of the play, there was a great deal of picture taking, and autograph signing for Ms. Channing. Again, with my Sharpie, the black one this time (good thing I brought those, as nobody else had one!), she signed the programme that I bought at the play (yes, they sold them, they were not for free like in the States). This time, I got her to write my name as well (hoping, of course, that she might actually remember me just a bit for future reference, but I am not so sure that worked…hmmm)
The Importance of Being Earnest
When I handed her my last playbill to sign that night, I thought nothing of it, as it was my plan to procure for myself all of Stockard’s playbills, and get them signed eventually. This playbill, however, was a very dated one. Arsenic and Old Lace was from a 1970 performance. When Stockard looked at it, she seemed a bit surprised, and looked up at me with raised eyebrows, and in a way that she had not previously looked at me. This time, I was not just another person standing in line to get to meet her. This time, she actually saw me. As her look seemed quizzical, I replied nonchalantly “Oh, I collect all of your playbills. I want to get them all signed.” Stockard replied in a serious tone “That’s a really good idea!”
And, my latest addition that IS signed, although I have acquired quite a few (that I really coveted), including The House of Blue Leaves (two different productions! One had a ticket from the actual 1985 production inside of it!), and The Lion in Winter, and Two Gentleman of Verona.
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
I probably should have added that this might end up being quite a difficult and daunting task, as some of them are terribly hard to find, if they even exist at all! So, now that Lady Stockard thinks I have a great idea (I am quite clever), I am on a wild goose chase to find all of her playbills so that one day, I will have a complete collection of autographed playbills by my favorite person in the world (an idea, by the way, that I hope nobody else latches on to, as then it would not be unique to me, which was kind of the point to begin with). So, at this point in time, I have 13 signed playbills, 17 unsigned playbills, and about 22 (that I am even aware of) that I do not have. If anyone is willing or able to add to my collection (or know of any place where such gems could be found, besides eBay, of course), please feel free to do so. Since I last updated this page, I have found more playbills, and the last time that I met Miss Channing (which was the fourth time that I have met her, and was outside of the Mitzi E Newhouse theatre after she performed in Other Desert Cities). These are my latest acquisitions:
Other Desert Cities (January 2011)
The Lion in Winter
No Hard Feelings (1973)
Woman in Mind
The Ever Elusive; Two Gentlmen of Verona!
I just got a copy of Adaptation-Next! I am very excited to take a playbill off of my list!
I will now add a list all of the playbills that I still lack (well, those that I am aware of):
Measure of Measure
As you like it
After the Fall
Game of Adam and Eve
The innocent party
Midsummer Night’s Dream
Three Penny Opera
The Exonerated (London Production in 2006)
Arms and the Man (1966, Boston Production)
Each time that the lovely Stockard Channing becomes engaged in a play, anywhere, I do my best to attend. When I hear that she is coming (or going, in some cases), I will usually purchase my tickets early, just to ensure that I have them. This was extremely smart of me to do when Other Desert Cities was announced about four months ago. Because the play was off Broadway at the Mitzi E. Newhouse theatre, which is quite intimate and where there are very few seats to be had!
This particular theatre holds literally 118 seats (click on seating chart link)! And I had two of them. The play, written about a young troubled daughter of an affluent Palm Springs couple who writes her latest book–about her older troubled brother who had committed suicide– is one that greatly upsets her parents, younger brother and recovering alcoholic aunt. Sadly, I cared not about the plot (though it was a very deeply political drama). I merely cared that I was once again seeing Lady Channing, whom I greatly adore. Though I had a seat almost behind the stage (it was curved), my seats were, quite frankly bad-ass!
I had tickets in row B, so I assumed I would be in the second row. I was not in the second row. I was in the very first row, and my knees where literally touching the small barrier that ran in a circle touching the stage. Yes, I could have simply stepped over it and stood on the stage (which I would have done, had I not been ready to stake out the back of the theatre for Miss Channing). I had an agenda. Meet Stockard, behind whatever barricades were shielding her from my very innocent self), throw her a letter from me, with a small envelope with one thing to autograph and perhaps get her to autograph a few more of those playbills that I collect. I had meant to put about two of the playbills that I brought with me into the envelope (that I addressed to myself and stamped too!), but before Stockard came out, Linda Lavin (who played Aunt Silda) came out (with three attendants) and so I asked her if she would sign the playbill (well, she was Alice for God’s sakes!), and she said she would only sign one thing, and one thing only and no picture (but she did not say it nicely). However, she did sign my playbill, and since I (had two others in my hand, I quickly slipped that one into the envelope to be signed instead of sacrificing any of my hard-to-find-one-of-a-kind playbills that I had, just in case the Channing didn’t feel like indulging my good self. So, I stood there waiting for my lady to come out, expecting her tiny little self to be surrounded by bodyguards (or at least one). She came out all right, but there were no body guards. In fact, there was one person with her to begin with, and she was hardly a bodyguard. As I was star-struck (like normal), at the Channing, I eyed her companion with a bit of knowledge. I greeted Stockard, and think I even called her that, while I usually call her Ms. Channing. After I said hello to Stockard and asked her if I could get her autograph, I greeted her friend, who just happened to be Two and a Half Men star Holland Taylor. I was like. “Holland Taylor?” And she replied “Yes,” and smiled (I have always liked her, she’s fiesty, and I love her name!). How awesome was that? Apparently, Holland and Stockard are friends, because I recall asking if they were friends and Stockard (I believe) said “Oh yes”. And Miss Taylor replied “Very good friends.” Jealous, am I! So, when I handed my playbills to Ms. Channing (there were five, yes, five! What is wrong with me?), Miss Taylor offered Stockard her back to write on. Now that is a good friend. And yes, I brought my own Sharpie’s again, good thing.
At this point my mother and I (who had the camera, and did a great job I’ve gotta say) had our backs to the door leading to the street. As Stockard approached me to get my playbills, I told said, “I am the girl you met in Dublin, who collects your playbills.” and STOCKARD SAID “I thought that was you!” (Hello! I could have fainted). She signed all of my bills and stood while I spoke to her. I know that I said “I knew that was a wig!” about her hair in the play and she laughed and said that yes it was a wig. I told her something about wanting to get a good photo of the two of us together, since we have several, but none of them are perfect. So she was going to pose with me (all this time, mom was snapping pics, props to her). So, as I was speaking to her, mother was taking photo’s and I can only imagine what I was saying (God help me). I have had this big thing about her never having said my name, I just wanted to hear her say it. So, I asked her if she would say my name (at this point we were sort of face to face). It should be mentioned that she was smiling and grinning the whole time, as she was genuinely happy (probably happy to see Holland Taylor and not me…). She said ok, and I swear she started “Sha…) but me, being, well, me, blurted out my name, so now I will never know if she actually recalled my name from Dublin, however, one can hope, right? She did say it though, and twice!
I also told her that I was getting angry at the other actors in the play who were yelling at her character and that had it been a real situation, I was about to be up on that stage in a heartbeat. She and Holland both laughed and Holland (who is fab, btw), said “I was too starting to get a little angry”. To which Stockard laughed and replied, “Well, I got to yell back a few times at least.” Then I gave her my envelope that I had brought and told her what was inside. There was a letter from myself which I asked Stockard to “please, please read it, please?!” And a series of questions that I had typed up from what all of us girls were discussing on the Stockard Channing Facebook page. I remember telling her something about the girls and “Gilly and I”, but I didn’t really elaborate. I told her that if they were too invasive to feel free to not answer them, but I thought she might find them interesting and amusing at least. I also told her (I think) that if she did answer them and didn’t want them known to anyone else, that they would never be, because I am not out to exploit her.
Then, she posed with me, and we got our best picture to date;
I mentioned something about reading an article in which Stockard referred to herself as ‘The Worst Celebrity Ever’ and that perhaps she should re-think that because she already is very unappreciated for the caliber of actress that she is (but then again, her acting speaks for itself, right? No awards needed, simply income and self gratification). She listened patiently, however, as kind as she is…
Then we said our good-byes (tears in my pretty blue eyes, Stock!) and I was left to stand alone, ponder my great fortune at meeting her (without barriers, guards, other annoying fans like that group of gals in Dublin, and bitter cold), and watch her walk out of sight. But before she left and got into the car that was waiting for she and her lovely friend, I got one last hug—and it wasn’t all me, it was mutual:
If I were Stockard Channing, I would be tired (yet amused) by me, Shawna Blake. My friends do call me ‘Stalker Channing’. Though it is in jest, it sometimes make me feel bad. The word ‘stalking’, suggests something sinister, and I don’t have any threatening or wicked thoughts toward Ms. Channing. There is a fine line between stalking someone (especially a celebrity), and just being fascinated by them and taking every opportunity that you get to either meet them or speak with them, or even get them to notice you. Stalking is no joking matter, really, so allow me to make it widely understood and very clear that I am most certainly not Lady Channing’s stalker. I am in love with the woman, yes, but in an adoring, sweet, admiring, and highly respectful way. So, when she is appearing in a play—anywhere—I do my best to attend. Though I have seen only a precious few (and all of them only once, isn’t that idiotic?), I am enamored by her performances. This time, it is with great delight that I report my experience of witnessing The Importance of being Earnest at The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. Yes, Ireland. Having never seen this play, I was very eager to, as I had heard rave reviews about it from everyone that has seen it. Before I review the play itself, I must speak of meeting the lovely (quite shy and reserved) Lady.
Did I follow Stockard around Dublin? Hell, no. Did I stake out the back of the theatre? Hell yeah! Did it pay off? Well…It absolutely did. Though I hadn’t yet attended the play, I knew what time it might end, so I got myself there on time. The plan was to wait in that alley until she came out. While I sat there, several men from inside the theatre inquired about whom I wished to meet, and I was certainly not shy about saying who I was there to adore! And, so I waited (actually, I waited for quite some time, and stubbornly, until my mother & sister forced me, yes forced me to a pub across the street with a window view of said alley to have a beer). When I finally escaped them, there was someone else there waiting to meet her as well (a nice gal by the name of Sarah, whom graciously took a photo of myself and Ms. Channing), and a picture with Stockard Channing is worth more than a pot of gold, isn’t it? And really, it could be quite rare to obtain a quality photo in a dark, dingy (urinal) alley. Yes, I said urinal, but that is a completely separate blog post (seriously).
So, upon being forced to go ‘have a beer’, we decided on a small restaurant/bar directly across the street from the alley, that was also (conveniently) on the second floor. I made sure we got a seat by the window. Of course, I couldn’t see down the length of the alley, but I could see into about a quarter of it. I could also see the opening, and kept alert at whatever was happening below. When I noticed that the otherwise slow and empty street there were small groups of people walking down it, I assumed that the play, The Importance of Being Earnest was over. I was correct in assuming so. I left my mother and sister in my dust at the bar and ran down the stairs to wait for Ms. Channing (good thing I was wearing my Coach Flats instead of my heels). I was on a mission, and nobody, other than the good Channing herself, was going to stop me. And so I met her (for the second time in my life). And, unlike my first meeting with Ms. Channing, this time I was able to have an entire conversation with her. Unfortunately, I was so nervous that I can barely recall much of it but I do remember some of it.
She extended her hand toward me and said hello, and I told her my name, and we began to talk. I did tell her that she was my favorite person in the world (besides my family-I know, very lame, but also very true), to which Ms. Channing responded with a smile and “Oh!” I did ask her to sign two playbills that I had in my possession (yes, I was carrying them around just for the occasion), and she said sure. She felt for a pen, and looked back at the stage door like she might go back inside to fetch one, but I produced one of my two Sharpie markers (which I also had in my possession just for such an occasion). To which Channing said, “Oh! You came prepared.” And I told her yes. I know I asked her if she had gotten a letter that I had sent her a few weeks earlier, and she responded “No, I didn’t get a letter”, in a surprised and questioning manner. I can’t remember whether I got my picture taken earlier or later in the conversation, as it was a bit fuzzy, because of my nerves. But, Sarah, Channing’s other fan took a photo of me and Channing, thankfully, as my mother and sister were taking their sweet time paying the bar tab. I did tell her that my mother and sister wanted me to have a beer with them instead of waiting in the alley, and when we had finished talking to each other (after about ten minutes) she said “Now you can go have that beer”. Lol.
Though I met Stockard that night, I still hung out at the stage door the following night to meet her again. This time, however, I was with my mother, sister, and close friend, Gilly, who is also a huge Stockard fan. Gilly and I met through an online Facebook page called The Stockard Channing Facebook Group that she set up for Stockard Channing fans and we have become very good friends over the last ten months. Since she lives in the UK, and I in the States, we decided to meet in Dublin. So, technically, we had Ms. Channing to thank twice for bringing us together.
After the play, Gilly and I (knowing exactly where to go) went around the block to the back of the stage door to wait for Ms. Channing. We ended up chatting up one of her co-stars, Rory Nolan, who played Algernon (Lady Bracknell’s nephew) in the play. He was very kind, and spoke very friendly with us. He asked where we were from because he noticed our very different accents than his own, and why we had come so far to see the play, and we told him that we were enamored with Stockard. He signed my programme (as they say in Ireland and the UK), and asked us “Weren’t you two sitting in the front row?” We replied that we were, but how did he know that? He told us that he could see us from the stage. At first that excited us, but then we realized that Lady Channing could see us as well, and we probably looked silly staring up at her throughout the play (which we absolutely were, or, at least I know I was). We told him we wanted to ask Channing out for a Guinness, but we really should have asked him, because he was a really cool guy.
Then…Stockard came out. My goodness.
You would think that having just met her the previous night (and once before) I would have been cool as a cucumber. Not so much. I was still rather nervous. But, as I have mentioned in previous posts, Stockard Channing calms me somehow, so even if I run on about the mouth about nothing I am still very subdued.
Gilly was on one side of the alley, I on the other, while mother and sis were poised in between somewhere to capture us with several camera’s. When she came out, she surveyed the crowd (I was standing on the same side of the alley as the door she emerged from, but further down, so Gilly could meet her first. Gilly met her alright. Stockard extended her hand to Gilly and said “Hello”. Gilly, having her hands full, fumbled for a moment and stuttered a few words, and said that her name was Gilly, while shaking hands. Gilly, having been very nervous, had said her name a little chirpily. So, Stockard said “Hi, Gill-ay.” Poor Gilly was almost horrified that her idol mispronounced her name. But she got to talk to her and told her how wonderful she was in the play, and she thanked her for all the joy that Stockard has given her through her films. She got her picture taken with Ms. Channing several times. After a few moments, Gilly gestured to me to explain to Channing that we had met through her, and Stockard turned to me, smiled and said “Oh, yes, I remember her from last night.” (!) She remembered me from the previous night!!
I came forward, and we got our photo taken together, Gilly, Stockard and I, while talking and laughing the entire time. Stockard slipped her arm around my waist and then offered to sign our programmes. Again, I offered her my Sharpie, and she used it to sign her autograph on the items that we had brought. Gilly had brought along the DVD cover of The Girl Most Likely to… (the black cover version with Stockard’s face on it) to be signed in addition to her programme. Stockard was using the black Sharpie (I had a silver one as well), and I offered it to her for the black cover, but she had already begun to sign on the headband of the picture on the cover (I wasn’t about to argue with the Lady Channing, ok?). After Gilly’s things were signed, and Gilly told her that The Girl Most Likely to… was one of our favorites, she was set to sign my items. I had brought an old playbill (as we say in the US), and the programme from the play. I asked her to sign my name in the Earnest programme and she did so. Here’s where it gets interesting: I gave her another playbill to sign (from 1970, I collect them), and she looked up at me curiously, as it was the third old playbill that I had her sign in Dublin), so I explained, “I collect your playbills. I want to get all of them signed.” That seemed to impress her greatly as she looked at me and said in her serious tone (but with a smile) “That’s a really good idea!” And she signed my playbill for me.
We kept conversing with Stockard & my sis (or my mother) kept taking photo’s of the greatness, so that we would have them for posterity’s sake. They even got pictures with Stockard as well, even after making fun of me for following her all the way to Dublin and for being so awed by her.
Chatting with Channing
My sister and Lady Channing
Then my mother got into the action. She said to Ms. Channing, “My daughter is a huge fan of yours and I am supposed to tell you that you can have her.” Stockard laughed and said “I can have her?!” a bit incredulously with a chuckle. I was standing next to her when this happened so I patted her arm and said “I figure since you don’t have any children that you might want to take me.” and she laughed again and said, “Well, we’ll talk about that later.” I forgot to ask her when! Damn!
Of course, there were other people waiting to meet the lovely gracious, fabulous and cute actress, so we had to eventually move aside (reluctantly, again). But, in the meantime, Stockard used my Sharpie to sign everyone’s items (how clever of me to bring those markers just for that very reason!). When she was finished, she held the Sharpie up, and I went and reclaimed it. Refgret not hugging her though when I did this (sigh), I have got to learn to think faster on my feet. So, now, both Sharpies are encompassed within my Stockard Channing ‘shrine’ (I don’t really have a ‘shrine’, just a nice collection).
We adore you, Lady Stockard Channing, and thank you immensely for the wonderful and friendly meeting that you awarded us with.
The Best photo of the night My two mom’s (lol)
Nothing is more relaxing and enjoyable for me than sitting down and watching a movie. By this I mean a movie that I haven’t yet seen, turning down the lights, snuggling with a blanket and pillow and turning off the computer. This is especially enjoyable when it is a Stockard Channing movie (except, now there aren’t many that I haven’t seen!). Sometimes, this turns into a bad experience, as many times, mid-movie (or, even oftener, during the first few moments) whatever character Stockard is playing just dies. What?! First of all, how could anyone ever kill Stockard Channing’s character for any reason (well, other than to freak me out, make me cry, etc…)? I really wouldn’t bring this up, but it happens so often! So often that I actually wondered aloud one day “How many movies does her character die in anyway?”
The answer? Too many. No, seriously.
If I were to count how many movies Stockard Channing’s character dies in a movie, it would be…seven. Seven times dead. That is alot of ways to die…From this point forward there are spoilers, in case you have yet to see any of these movies (and if you haven’t already seen them, then shame on you!).
~‘The First Wives Club’ (1996). This one might be the most popular, actually, and though heartbreaking (yes, it breaks my heart a little each time that my girl dies in a flick, call me crazy), it might be her coolest death. Well, of course it’s her coolest death, Cynthia Swann Griffin takes a swan dive off of her fancy New York City apartment’s balcony. You see, Cynthia, though a rich, beautiful, prominent New York socialite, was dumped by her husband for a much younger woman, much like her fellow ‘First Wives’ and old college roomies. So, instead of dealing with the jerk, and letting him be happy with his new wife, she brazenly jumps from the balcony, after smoking a cigarette and swigging on what appears to be a glass of vodka. While wearing heels and a luxurious fur coat… But, without this dynamic act that Cynthia gives is approximately 5:52 minutes into the film (including credits, people, without them Stockard’s part lasts roughly 2 minutes and 15 seconds, all of which she makes you feel her pain, aggravation, pride, and heartbreak), we wouldn’t really have a movie. You see, it is Cynthia’s death that pulls her college pals together for her funeral and pushes them to exact revenge on the exes that broke their hearts and embarrassed them. Without Cynthia (Channing), the other ladies; Elise Elliot (Goldie Hawn), Brenda Cushman (Bette Midler), and Annie Paradis (Diane Keaton), may not have had a movie to star in.
~‘Where the Heart is‘ (2000). ‘Sister’ Thelma Husband (Sister is a nickname, she is not a nun) is a recovering alcoholic known as ‘The Welcome Lady’ in town because she welcomes newcomers. She is (or was, rather) friendly, and caring with a sweet (and very authentic-Julia Roberts-take note) southern accent. Sister Husband takes in little Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman) after she gave birth to her baby, Americus in the local Wal-mart. She takes care of Novalee and her baby, and seemingly much of the town, and does so until a tornado blows through town and takes her with it. Really? A tornado? What is this, Oz? That was totally uncalled for, even if Novalee got a brand new house out of the deal.
~‘The Piano Man’s Daughter’ (2003). This death, we all sort of saw coming. Lily Kilworth was a little bit…uh, nutty, and she played with fire (literally, she was awed by it). This movie followed the life of Lily, who had mental problems, and was rather uncontrollable, and her son, Charlie Kilworth (Christian Campbell), who has spent much of his life trying to tame his mother (or simply keep her out of harms way).
~‘Moll Flanders’ (1996). Ahh, a hooker and her pimp. Stockard Channing plays Mrs. Alworthy, a madame of a London whorehouse, who employs Moll Flanders (Robin Wright Penn) as a…well, a hooker. Mrs. Allworthy takes full advantage of the young woman, even selling off her virginity to the highest bidder. Moll escapes her, and begins a new life, only to get roped in once more and is then forced to travel to the States with Allworthy. During the trip abroad, the ship is caught in a storm, and Mrs. Allworthy drowns.
~Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003). It’s bad enough that we see Ms. Channing portray the mother of one of the most venomous persons alive, they had to add insult to injury by killing Hitler’s mother? Well, okay, Klara Hitler may really have died of cancer, and of course the movie had to follow the facts, but did they have to kill her off in the first five minutes? They could have at least given her a few more scenes, maybe showing what type of influence that she would have been on the dreaded leader’s life had she stayed alive. If Klara Hitler hadn’t died when her son was so young, there might never have been a Holocaust.
~Echoes in the Darkness (1987). This one wasn’t a shocker at all, as the entire story revolves around the true life brutal murder of Susan Reinert (played by Channing). But the movie is dark and twisty, and throughout, even before Reinert gets killed. The story is built up greatly by the guilty parties before the actual act happens, making it even worse for the viewer that does not love to watch the demise of any Channing character.
~Perfect Witness (1989). During the whole movie, I had this feeling that Liz Sapperstein was going to meet her maker. She did. But, she made it through a great majority of the movie, and she died a hero. Sapperstein was a NYC detective, assisting in bringing a major witness, Sam Paxton (Aiden Quinn) to testify against the mob. During a sting, Sapperstein steps in to halt an innocent passer-by from inadvertently ruining the whole set-up, only to be shot down in the process. Teary-eyed, was I when my Channing lay slain.
I must note that there are three other movies where death was trying to grasp Channing. The first, of course, is ‘The Fortune’ in which Nicky (Warren Beatty) and Oscar (Jack Nicholson) try to kill Freddie to inherit her fortune. The two men make several attempts on her life, which Freddie barely escapes. She does manage to elude them, however, which is in large part due to the fact that the two men are quite inept and foolish in everything they do, including murder.
The second was in the movie ‘Lucan’. Channing’s character, Mickey MacElwaine climbed atop the highest story at her fathers construction site to get attention from the unruly men. She slipped, and was close to falling several flights to her death, but Lucan used his wolf-like skills to save her just in the nick of time.
The third movie is of a far more serious nature. During the filming of ‘The Big Bus’, Kitty Baxter (Channing) was stuck in the kitchen of the big bus, when all of the soda from the machines completely emptied. During a filming of this scene, the CO2 drove all of the oxygen out of the room that she was in, causing Stockard to pass out. She later stated in a magazine interview that she had a ‘near-death experience’ that she didn’t like to talk about.
After all of this, a small consolation is that at least the characters all died in different ways, making it at least interesting to examine. Of course, Ms. Channing herself remains alive and well, which is worth far more than the lives of those whom she plays onscreen.
Amidst the speculation and swirling rumors that have erupted since Warren Beatty’s ‘unauthorized’ biography has surfaced, now is as good a time as any to discuss Beatty’s link with Stockard Channing. The link was a film called ‘The Fortune’, made in 1975 and starred Stockard Channing, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson and was touted as a dark, slapstick comedy. One of the first of Channing’s major films, this one unfortunately failed to fly too far from the ground. It is funny, and it has a stellar cast, but my personal guess is that it just wasn’t appreciated fully in it’s own time. Set in the roaring twenties, it is the story of two buddies who are forced to travel together because one of them, Nicky Wilson (Beatty) wants to marry his lover, Freddie (Or Fredrika Contessa Biggars), but cannot run off with her because it was against the law to carry a woman over state lines who was not your wife (stated by the Mann act). So, to get his lady love away from her daddy, Nicky must take along a friend, Oscar Sullivan (Nicholson) to do the dirty work. Hilarity ensues.
The story opens with Freddie running from the gated mansion of her fathers to the waiting car of her married lover (Nicky was married already). They then pick up the pal, Oscar and head to the Justice of the peace where he marries Freddie. Yes, Oscar marries Freddie for his friend Nicky. Then Oscar, though married to the lovely lady, is getting none of the perks. He doesn’t get the kisses that Freddie lavishes upon Nicky’s moustached face, not does he get any attention for his good deed, which leaves him rather sulky.
So, Nicky is a bit arrogant, Oscar is sulky and jealous (both of the affections that Freddie is giving to Nicky instead of himself and even funnier, vice versa), and Freddie is silly and girly. All of their different attitudes clashing makes for some fun times. Also, if you don’t think that Nicholson’s Bozo-like hairstyle is funny (it’s hilarious!), you will find no humor in the rest of this comedy.
The moment Freddie becomes Oscar’s wife, she faints from both the excitement of the evening and her alcohol consumption. While she is passed out, time allows Oscar to ponder the idea that he has that Freddie is an heiress and really very rich. Though at first he isn’t sure what she is rich from, he quickly recalls and has a conversation with his buddy Nick about what her refers to as ‘mouse-beds’, which is a feminine hygiene product. While the audience is both amused and confused about this awkward (and disturbing) conversation, there is a point to it; Freddie is the heir to such a product. Since her mother is dead, Freddie will have access to the fortune- as well as whomever her husband may be, which at this point is not Nicky. Oscar the con man has the unfair advantage, because he can claim the money if anything happens to the lovely Freddie. This, is something that he begins to contemplate.
So, Oscar decides that he might want Freddie to really be his wife, after all. He plans, and eventually makes a move on Freddie by insisting that Nicky doesn’t love her because he never spends time with her, and will not allow her to have a pet. He buys her a baby-chick, and then seduces her. The movie is basically based on the ineptitude of a con man and his ‘clever’ friend. Anything that Nicky and Oscar attempt to do in this movie inevitably fails. They both sleep with Freddie eventually (even within the same few minutes, unbeknownst to one of them), and both decide they want her for their own. But, Freddie is no fool, she quickly realizes that the two men may be after her fortune and threatens to give it away. To stop this from happening, the men come up with a plan; if they can’t have Freddie, (or really, her money) then nobody can. The easiest way, of course to decide which man gets Freddie and her fortune is to kill her and split the prize money.
This, however is when things get problematic; Nicky and Oscar are smart idiots. Nothing works in their favor. They buy a poinsous snake to do her in; the chicken kills the snake. They try to drown a drunk Freddie in the fountain outside of their cheap rental, but she turns over before she drowns and is found by the landlady Mrs. Gould (Florence Stanley), who alerts the men to Freddie’s near-death experience. They then stuff the passed out Freddie into a trunk and throw her into the ocean, where it floats until the tide shifts and she awakes and crawls from it.
This movie is a solid B. It has great actors, a good storyline, and strange slapstick comedy. The only thing that could have made it better was if the two seasoned actors (Nicholson and Beatty) had made it so. Channing was a mere movie rookie in this flick, and it threw a slight halt into her career when it fizzled at the box office.
In late 1978, Stockard Channing inked a few big deals for a couple of major TV appearances. One was to star in her very own sitcom entitled, ‘Stockard Channing in Just Friends’, and the other was a made for TV movie called ‘Silent Victory: The Kitty O’Neil Story’. This is based on a real life story of an extraordinary deaf woman from Texas named Kitty O’Neil who became a Hollywood stunt-woman and racer, and broke many records for women despite her “handicap”. Kitty O’Neil was deaf, but quite frankly, amazing. In 1977, Kitty made headlines by driving a Hydrogen Peroxide fueled race-car ‘the quickest quarter mile elapsed time in auto history, with a timed run of 3.22 seconds at 396 mph’ and she broke the women’s speed barrier by driving that dragster at 412 mph. Kitty O’Neil overcame her deafness to become a very remarkable person (she played piano, spoke like someone with hearing because her mother refused to teach her sign language but insisted that she be as close to normal as possible). And, Stockard Channing played her in the TV movie of her life.
Despite the obscurity of this film, it was quite well made, and worth a little digging to find. Now, we all know that I am in love with Ms. Channing. However, if I hadn’t been before I saw this performance, I would have fallen deeper in love with her than I am now (in fact I did fall deeper, if that’s even possible). I knew going in that this was going to be the ultimate test of her acting ability; to speak like someone who is deaf. I have a cousin who is completely deaf, and I know that she speaks is well for someone who cannot hear, so that was sort of what I based it on. I have also known the basics of ASL since I was a child so that I could communicate with Tammy, and while growing up I was astonished that other children didn’t know sign language like myself. Though Kitty never knew sign language, I could still relate her to my cousin. Stockard Channing did this very well. Knowing that Kitty herself didn’t speak that much differently than those that could hear, Stockard truly sounded as if her hearing was a bit impaired. She also played Kitty O’Neil from the time that she graduated high-school, until she broke world records in 1977.
I fell in love with Kitty O’Neil, and her stuntman husband Duffy Hambleton. But it was Stockard Channing that made me do so. She brought the passion, the bravery, the struggles, and the emotions to the story of Kitty’s life. I cannot imagine anyone else ever playing this part. It wasn’t just her ability to act like a deaf person, it was that she made me believe that she was Kitty herself. I felt for her, and I cheered for her, hoping that she would overcome her disability and take over the world. While she didn’t exactly take over the world, she certainly took it by storm. There were parts in the movie where Kitty was taken advantage of, and it broke my heart. I couldn’t feel sorry for Kitty, though, because she was strong and she was one of those people that you can’t help but love, admire, and respect.
Since this movie is so old, I realize that alot of people haven’t seen it. To me, it is a hidden jewel. It is a movie that I could watch often because of the strong performance that Stockard gives. She is just loveable in it. And she is very attractive, in fact she is cuter in this movie than in any other one that I have seen (which would be 99.9% of them). Her eyes are bright, she has a positive attitude, and she makes you love her. When she plays a part, the effort that she puts into it is overwhelming. Now, whether or not it is difficult for her to become these characters is another thing; she certainly doesn’t make it look hard. She is good at what she does, and it seems to be completely natural for her. It was genius casting, really, because nobody could have delivered a more compelling performance than she. Stockard’s performance was better than even the outstanding performances that her co-stars had given. This is one movie that attests to the incredible talent that Ms. Channing has.
If I were to grade this movie, in conjunction with some of Stockard’s other performances, I would absolutely give this one an A+. I even asked my 18 year old cousin to watch it to get her very critical (and sometimes mean) opinion of the flick. She really liked it, and I don’t think it was just because Stockard/Kitty drives a dirtbike many times in the film. Considering this was one of her first films (well this was a TV movie, but you get the idea), it proved her talent greatly. It is a talent that has not diminished through the years but transcends the acting ability of many of her peers.
Abigail Bartlet is, perhaps, one of the greatest television characters of all time. For me, personally, she even beats out reigning champ Lucy Ricardo as my favorite character ever. That, my friends, is no small feat. Perhaps I love Abbey so much because she was immortalized by Stockard Channing, because if not for Channing’s incredible talent, Abbey would never have gained any depth. Stockard Channing made Abbey just as Martin Sheen made Jed, that is just how it is. Since I love Mrs. (Doctor) Abigail Bartlet so much, I am going to discuss each scene that she had in the beloved ‘The West Wing’ series. I am doing this for a multitude of reasons. First, I love to sing the praises of Miss Channing, obviously. Secondly, I feel that someone needs to reflect upon Abbey the way that the rest of the characters have been lavished upon with attention throughout the years. Third, well, I’m just good at it, and I want my feelings out there for everyone to see. Fourth, I am practicing for when I write Stockard Channing’s biography (okay, so that last part is more of a very big, very real dream that if the stars are smiling upon me-literally- it shall happen). Also, I just love watching Abbey Bartlet!
I have seen each episode of ‘The West Wing’ at least twelve times (except the ones that were Santos laced in season seven that were done without the main characters of the Bartlet administration, those I can not, and will not watch), and the ones that contain Abbey, hundreds of times. I am going to rewatch these scenes before I write about them, though so that my description of the details is sharper, more focused, and fresh. I will try not to make my observations too scattered, but, of course, being me, they might be. I will, of course, tend to my pages regularly and update them and edit them so that they don’t look ridiculous (or…sound ridiculous, rather). I will also be adding photo’s from the scenes, and perhaps some video.
Abigail Bartlet didn’t appear, at least not physically, in the series until episode seven ‘The State Dinner’, in season one. We had been hearing and learning about The First Lady from episode one, however. This served to build our anticipation to meet wife of one of the greatest men that we had ever encountered, because by this time, we were already completely enamored with President Jed Bartlet. Bartlet was a great man, in every sense of the word. Jed had already mentioned his wife, and with great regard (mostly) many times within the series. He gives us clues as to what his marriage is like, what it is based upon, how much he loves his wife (and their daughters), even how long they have been married. In fact, episode four (‘Five Votes Down’) is the one that gives us more insight to the Bartlet marriage. While leaving a very successful speech, we are awarded the following conversation;
Charlie: (the Presidents very new, very wet behind the ears body man): “Oh, Mr. President…”
President Bartlet: “Yes, Charlie. By the way, did the First Lady call?”
Charlie: “The First Lady called at eight forty, sir. She wished you luck and told me to tell you to take your back medicine…”
Presisent Bartlet: “My back is fine”.
Charlie: “I have it here, sir”.
President Bartlet: “Those damn things make me goofy.” (Which later prooved to be very true, especially when the President takes too many at once and is indeed a bit incapacitated in a weekend staff meeting).
Charlie: “Mrs. Bartlet seemed quite adamant. I’d describe her tone as being…”
President Bartlet: “You don’t have to describe her tone to me, Charlie. I’ve been married to it for 32 years.”
Of course, this conversation is particularly telling because it tells us that the President and First Lady have been married for 32 years already (which is roughly about a year into his first term?). This created the opportunity for a huge backstory for both characters. we have 32 years of history between the Bartlets, just within marriage alone, not including their courtship and or engagement. With the addition of the scenes between Abbey and Jed Bartlet, we are allowed many glimpses into their passionate, loving, respectful, ideal, admirable, adorable, and wonderful relationship.
‘The State Dinner’
The first time that we meet Abbey Bartlet is in season one, episode seven. Abbey shows up amid a flurry of varied crisis’ one being a strike within the trucking industry, another a hurricane that is headed straight for a Naval submarine, and another is an FBI negotiator’s being shot after Bartlet sends him into a hostage situation. Among this, Bartlet’s staff is fumbling with their government ball (per usual, and doing a fine impression of an old ‘I Love Lucy’ episode in which several people are engaged within a line, each of whom spoke two different languages) and a huge state dinner where they are hosting the leader of Indonesia (whom is not a talkative man). Bartlet, the leader of the free world, is feeling something that he is not eqipped to feel; powerlessness. Here, Abbey holds his world together for him, and reminds him of the man that he is, while putting things into perspective for him.
We first see Abbey in a crowded hall wearing “a Badgely Mischka silk Shantung gown with a beaded bodice” that barely covered her decollatage (which even some female viewers appreciate nearly as much as the males). Her hair was shoulder length, and auburn with light highlights. She was not the picture that one would expect a first lady to look like. She was sexy. The first thing she did for us, was solve a problem for CJ, or more descriptively, Abbey gives a comment for some protestors over Vermeil (which is guilded silver, and is entirely a story for another time. Abbey’s comment for CJ, shows us her intelligence, as well as her honesty. Upon asked about what she thought of the Vermeil, Abbey replied “I’m not embarrassed by the vermeil*. It’s not like we spent new money on it.” CJ reminds her of it’s notorious history, still Abbey is unfazed “It’s our history. Better or worse, it’s our history. We’re not going to lock it in the basement or brush it with a new coat of paint. It’s our history.” An answer which CJ is most impressed with, and Abbey advises her “You know, the truth will do it almost all the time.” The second thing she did was to check with her husband’s Chief of Staff, so that she would know what her husband would be dealing with, and what his mood might be. Throughout all of this, of course, she was playing the perfect hostess. While her husband dealt with one crisis after another (none of which he had any control over at all), she was making sure that the dinner was being held well.
While the President is slowing going mad over his loss of control, Abigail Bartlet is in pursuit of her hubby, and must track him down so that she may give him a well deserved ‘pep talk’. While looking for her wayward husband, she asks numerous persons where he may be, though she suspects exactly where it is he is at; in the Roosevelt room (which, by the way, is my personal favorite room in the west wing, it’s just so classy and pretty, and laced with grand columns…).Abbey stumbles upon Sam Seaborn, where he is in the midst of a heated conversation with his ‘friend’, Laurie who just happens to be a female escort (that’s fancy for hooker) with whom he had shared a night with once, and kept up the acquaintance While Sam offers this info to his prestigious first lady, he doesn’t quite understand why the President would waste his time on such, and admits that thought in other phrasing. Abigail knows exactly why Jed is and we soon find out why;
Sam : “He had to step out to the West Wing.”
Abbey: “Oh.” (nodding her head knowingly)
Sam: “I’m not sure why, but I could…”
Abbey: “To pistol-whip the trucking industry.” (fiesty little creature!)
Sam (confused): “Why would he?”
Abbey: “Because he can’t save a gunshot victim and he can’t stop a hurricane.” (such wisdom!)
One point I need to make here is that was never even mentioned in the series that the First Lady met a hooker. Abbey’s meeting a hooker in the White House, at such a large, important function, always struck me as odd, and could be thought of as scandalous. Abbey being seen with, or speaking with a prostitute, being of the second highest title in the free world, would have been worse than a mere ‘Deputy of Communications Director’ (fancy for speech-writer). Yet, in later episodes, the threat of a large expose’ of Sam’s friendship with Laurie causes a big stir in the White House, but Abbey’s meeting her is of no consequence? Just a point.
Anyway, as Bartlet gives the poor (literally) truckers hell, and storms from the Roosevelt room, he is deep in thought and agitation as he storms past his wife, who is waiting for him in the door frame of the Oval office. This, is the very first scene between the President and his lovely wife, whom, by her dress and her affection for her husband, we instantly like. She is sweet, loving, warm and level-headed as she reminds her husband that he can’t control everything. She does take some of the blame for his lowly state however, as their conversation is as follows:
Abbey: “I shouldn’t have stayed away so long.”
Bartlet: (surprized that she is there waiting for him, but so happy and relieved to see her, and so intimately) “Hey… I’m all right.” (but is he? he grabs her hands very fondly, and if you watch closely, her rubs his thumbs over them lovingly)
Abbey: “I shouldn’t have extended the trip. I’m sorry.”
Bartlet: “I approved a plan for an FBI negotiator.” (his guilt overwhelming him now almost)
Abbey: “I know.” (of course she does)
Bartlet: “He’s in surgery now.”
Abbey: “I know. You know, one of the things that happens when I stay away too long, is that you forget that you don’t have to power to fix everything. You have a big brain. And a good heart. And an ego the size of Montana. [They both snicker.] You
do, Jed. You don’t have the power to fix everything (here she pauses and smiles in a most proud way). But I do like watching you try.” (Jed smiles and the most adorable couple in fiction hug each other sweetly . Thunder strikes, causing the lights to flicker, and the couple to reluctantly pull apart and take notice.)
Bartlet: “What the hell? Well, if this isn’t a metaphor for powerlessness, I don’t know what is. We better get back to work, huh?”
They then walk down the hall, hand in hand to try to contact a naval ship that is destined to lose a war with a hurricane. While Bartlet speaks to a young man on a Hamm radio that is about to die due to a force of nature, Abbey places her hand squarely on her husbands shoulder to keep him from crying. The love of the Bartlets, the support and the open relationship that they share, is shown, quite easily in this short scene. This episode is the beginning of soft caresses, flirtatious teasing, sexy banter, intelligent conversations, unrequited love, and undying devotion between the two. Throughout the series, Abbey is Jed’s backbone, his strength, his love and his life. She awards him with soft kisses to his lips (after which she swipes her lipstick from them with her thumb), sassy wit, and she teases him, and questions him as only she can do, in order to keep him humble.
Abbey, though hardly regarded as an important character throughout the run of the series, just may have actually been the most important character of all.
*Vermeil is gilded silver (which means silver covered in gold). During the 18th century, Jean-Baptiste-Claud Odiot designed many objects of this sort (he was a noted silversmith). These objects were made in England, and during the process, many of the workers were blinded by the Mercury used in the process. Louis XV, had these objects melted to pay for wars against his people. Thus, they are seen as symbols of the oppression that goverment places on it’s people, and the White House has a large collection of the vermeil, which is quite used, hence the protestors.
Having never been to a play on Broadway (or in this case off Broadway, because the venue was just slightly smaller to accomodate the size of an audience that is considered to be a Broadway play), let alone the city of New York, I decided that my desire to see Stockard Channing live and in person far outweighed my anxiety and fear of a huge, unknown, strange place. So, I bought a few tickets, with every intent of going to this fascinating city, and becoming more experienced and worldly, and… meeting my favorite star. Yes, that was the goal of the entire trip, to meet Stockard Channing. Though the play is no longer, my experience that night was so gratifying, I must relate one of the greatest nights of my life. So, here goes…
Do not allow the title of this blog to mislead you, Joey was most definitely not a pal of mine. In fact, Joey wasn’t even a pal of himself! He was a cad with big dreams, a wild imagination, smooth moves, fancy dance steps, and most importantly good looks. Oh, he was also a smooth talker, too, because that was how he got most of what he wanted. What Joey wanted, you see, was to own his very own nightclub in the fab 40’s in Chicago. Since Joey was such a cad and basically a jerk, he has burned many bridges in his young life. In fact, the very first scene in the play is Joey being thrown out of a club. Due to this, he finds it difficult to both find-and keep- jobs, even with his smooth steppin moves. He does find a job, as an entertainer in a night-club, where he runs into a former friend (girl-friend, perhaps), turned foe, fast talking, street-wise, aging dancer, Gladys Bumps. While Joey imagines that this could be a new start for him, he screws it up again! This time, after a performance, he engages in a little risque conversation with a wealthy older woman (Vera Simpson), in which he makes a few over the line sexual comments toward her that causes her to storm out of the slum establishment where he is employed. The ‘proprietor’ of the club fires Joey for running his most prestigeous customer from the club. In pursuit of keeping his job, Joey chases after Vera, making her promise to return, because he made a deal with his boss that if she returned, he would regain his job. Meanwhile, he has also met and is romancing a sweet simple girl, Linda English (played by newcomer Jenny Fellner).
Joey the cad becomes Vera’s lover, while her husband is in absence, and begins weidling her money all over town. He pretends to love Vera, encased in her swanky mansion between satin sheets, and pretends to be falling for Ms. English, who is stuck working for a tailor’s shop where Joey’s sexy, older lover furnishes him a new wardrobe for the club that he will be opening on Vera’s dime.
It’s a classic love triangle, though nobody is really in love with anyone. Vera and Linda eventually catch on to Joey’s game, and plot against him, leaving him in ruins, and right back where he started, as the play draws to a close.
Now, Stockard Channing is 65 years…young (or, she was during part of the run of this play). But one certainly wouldn’t know that looking at her, in fact, people argue that if mentioned to them. She is beautiful, her figure is svelte, her waist slim, her decollatage overflowing, her acting abilities are impeccable. In short, the woman is amazing. She is a five foot 3 (if that) powerhouse that has a presence of some sort of immortal stage goddess. She sings, and though that is not her specialty, the woman can do it quite well. Her voice does not waver, her pitch flows with the instrumental music, and she hits her notes quite on cue. Personally, I love it when she sings (I hope for it in all of her performances, but sadly, do not always get rewarded with it). She very perfectly brings to life Vera Simpson, and quickly endears her to the audience. She is, after all a victim. Albeit tantalizingly or smartly dressed, but a victim nontheless.
Stockard Channing is just plain amazing.
After the show, during which I sat, mesmerized and awed by Channing’s amazing talent, my cousin and I slipped out a back door and raced to where we would, in fact meet Stockard Channing. I was fortunate enough to get her autograph, get my picture taken with her (for posterity’s sake), and hug her like a foolish little stalker. It was quite frankly, amazing. For me, not likely so much for her (how humbling for me).
After I got home, with my prized autographed playbill clutched tightly to my side during my trek, I decided to write her a letter. So, I gathered a few small momento’s (another playbill, a copy of the 8×10 photo of she and I together, a ‘West Wing’ DVD insert), along with a small token of my affection, and a very short, but sweet nicely written letter of thanks, and mailed them along with a self addressed postage paid envelope to the Roundabout theatre to Miss Channing requesting those items to be autographed. A month later, I was shaking with excitement as I opened the envelope that she sent back to me, with all of my items autographed. That was nearly a year ago, and I still shiver with excitement of the thought of that magical weekend, and the once in a life time opportunity that Pal Joey afforded me with.
Man, I love New York. But, I love Stockard Channing more.
Jed and Abbey Bartlet are the fictional President and First Lady of the United States of America, from television’s ‘The West Wing’. Portrayed delightfully by actors Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing, this First Couple enamored its audience with charm, grace, intelligence, sass and wit. With the creation of these characters, the world was presented with a refreshing change at the way we look at the leader of the free world and his wife. With the installation of these two actors to play the parts, we were awarded with the hopeful and entertaining prospect of a fabulously decorated duo. When Stockard and Martin began to breathe life into their on-screen alter-ego’s, they bestowed upon us an awed sense of wonder. Some might claim that Aaron Sorkin is a genius for dreaming these characters up. Perhaps he is, but Martin and Stockard are the reason that Jed and Abbey are as spectacular and perfect as they are; they created their own backstories. Now, I know that the Bartlet’s are fictitious people, but damn do I love them!
Jed Bartlet might be the greatest President we have ever seen, but, who on earth would not want to be First Lady to his Presidency?! It’s the perfect part for an actress, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s not perfect until we match a face to the character. Ahh, now it gets even better. On top of it all, we have sparkling hazel eyes, flowing auburn hair and a body made for sin. With the birth of Abbey Bartlet, filled the role with ease, grace, skill, class, intelligience, and yes folks, attitude. She was a sassy little firecracker that made the audience take another look at how we view our First Lady. For God’s sakes, she had more cleavage in the first season alone than all of the real life FLOTUS’s combined!? All American woman, successful thoracic surgeon, Harvard graduate, three beautiful children with a handsome husband who has been terribly faithful to her for thirty-something years? On top of that, she is the
For a long time I was afraid to watch ‘The West Wing’ because I thought it would be too ‘smart’ for me. When I decided to give it a try, I had stumbled upon a re-run, and only tuned in to catch a glimpse of Stockard (whom I had always loved). It was during a time in my life that was particularly wretched (I had just quit a terrible, low paying job, and no idea what to do with myself…), and it brought joy, humor and interest back into my world. ‘The West Wing’ made me strive to be a better person, and Stockard Channing played a key part in bringing me back up to the road I should have been traveling. I was hooked on this show within one episode (ironically enough, the ep I watched was sans Channing). Thus, began my infatuation with the show and it’s characters.