Left to right: Daniel Bubbeo, a happily surprised John Carpenter, Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, and Richard Ornstein. (Photos courtesy of Bernard Hennelly.)
For years, John Carpenter has kept his fellow Long Islanders entertained and informed on the classic films of America's Golden Age of Cinema.
On Thursday, February 26, it was time for The Massapequa Park Movie Man to be the star of the evening's festivities. On that night, Carpenter was happily surprised by a slew of tributes from local dignitaries. The first presenter was Richard Ornstein, the radio co-host and longtime producer of the Joe Franklin television show.
Ornstein presented Carpenter with a wall plaque from the talk show king himself. The plaque read thusly as: "The Joe Franklin Memory Lane Award Presented to John Carpenter For Keeping Alive The Golden Age Of Hollywood Film." Then, on behalf of the Nassau County Police, Ornstein made John an Honorary Member of The Veteran's Police Association.
Bernard Hennelly was also on hand to capture this moment on film for John to save for his own strolls down memory lane. In addition to the accolades heaped on Carpenter, the Movie Man served as co-host for the evening with Daniel Bubbeo, author of The Women Of Warner
Brothers. That book discussion was a side topic for Feb. 26's educational and entertaining feature, Cluny Brown, a rarely seen sophisticated comedy that came to the audience straight from Carpenter's mountain of film titles.
Hennelly, readers may recall, is a member of the local Knights Of Columbus, doing work through both Our Lady Of Lourdes Church and Adopt A Battalion, an organization that helps to raise donations for soldiers in Iraq.
Hennelly, as it turned out, had to say a fast goodbye. He later returned with a special guest that sent the audience into yet another round of applause. Hennelly's guest was State Assemblyman Joseph Saladino. The assemblyman, it was revealed, is a longtime fan of Carpenter's work and all the ventures he has excelled in throughout the world of Long Island culture. This was Saladino's opportunity to personally thank John for keeping Long Island on the map with not only his Classic Film programs that bring people of all ages together, but also for John's charity work within the world of the sick, the disabled and the wheelchair bound, namely through his award-winning documentary Smelling Like A Rose.
At these gatherings, Carpenter usually does most of the talking. But now, the Movie Man was silenced by Assemblyman Saladino's surprise visit. The assemblyman stated that all of Carpenter's goodness was not going unnoticed. Saladino added that he was honored to meet a man so tireless in his efforts to do good for others, in the process bringing pride to his hometown and to all of Long Island. In fact, The Movie Man was overcome by tears from all the unexpected praise being delivered from the array of dignitaries and artists who had traveled to Massapequa that evening.
Those in the audience at 40 Harbour Lane enjoyed the festivities, also. They never realized what a celebrity they had in their midst.