Francis called me and asked if I would go to Rome with him to do a few exterior pick-up shots for GOD FATHER THREE.
I had just finished directing my first feature film, ‘HUNGER’ and I was spent. Francis promised me we would only be in Italy for about three weeks; Frances is my mentor and without him I would probably be working in Spago’s as a waiter.
I have this beautiful Dalmatian and I didn’t want to put him in one of those dog hotels in Beverly Hills, so I called my brother, Ed, and asked him if he’d take care of my dog while I was away in Italy working on GOD FATHER THREE.
Ed told me he needed to make sure it was O.K. with his wife Ellen…thank God Ellen agreed to watch my dog while I finished up work on THE GOD FATHER III movie. After ten days, I got an emergency call from Ellen and I was hoping and praying nothing bad happened to my dog; like getting hit by a car or being struck by thunder. I was thinking:
“Oh God! Please, don’t let anything bad happen to my dog!”
I picked up the phone and Ellen was excited and she spoke with great urgency and enthusiasm. Ellen was calling to ask me if she could keep my dog permanently; I was quite taken aback at her request. I was really lost for words and so I put her off by saying we could talk about it when I return to LA.
Once I returned home my brother Ed came to see me and give me the Skinny on why Ellen wanted to keep my pet for herself.
One day while Ellen was in the shower the house almost caught fire, my brother, Ed had forgot he left toast in the taster and the toaster jammed and somehow caught fire. Shakespeare, my dog, who is a Dalmatian ran upstairs and somehow he turned the door knob and opened the bathroom door where my sister-in-law was taking a shower and Shakespeare began barking his head off.
Ellen tried in vain to shoo him out of the bathroom, but he continued to raise a fuss and to get Ellen’s full attention he grabbed the bottom of the shower curtain and pulled the thing down onto the floor and out from the bathroom and dragged it down stairs into the kitchen where Ellen saw the toaster engulfed in flames.
My dog, Shakespeare, he saved Ellen and the new born baby’s life and this is why Ellen wanted to keep my dog.
Several weeks later I dropped in on Ellen and Ed and Ellen had ordered a pizza pie and as we all reached for a slice, Ellen threw up her hands and proclaimed in a loud voice.
“REMEMBER…TWO SLICES FOR SHAKESPEARE!”
Read my new essay:
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. 50 YEARS LATER