SHERMAN OAKS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / April 27, 2021 / “Are You Afraid”is the title and words in the poem of legendary lyricist Leo Robin. This would be a fair question to ask the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce: “Are You Afraid” to honor your obligation to install the star, (“#leosloststar”), on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that was awarded to the legendary lyricist Leo Robin more than 30 years ago? After all, there’s an ongoing controversy between Leo Robin Music and the Hollywood Chamber because the Hollywood Chamber is not honoring the decision made by the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee to award a star to Leo Robin.
In the 1937 drama Make Way for Tomorrow, Lucy, the mother character played by Beulah Bondi, recites a poem from memory that she used to read to her husband, Barkley. The couple take delight in the poem because it gives them hope in the twilight of their lives. He mentions very distinctively that, “[she] used to mark that page with a rosebud” and she recites, “…’Are you afraid?” said the man to the maid. She raised her eyes and spoke at last. “My dear,” she said, “the die is cast….’With you,” said the maid, “I’m not afraid.”
A tender scene from Leo McCarey‘s 1937 film Make Way for Tomorrow about an elderly couple played by
Victor Moore and Beulah Bondia where she recites a memorable poem “Are You Afraid,” written by lyricist Leo Robin
Presidents of the United States of both parties have inspired a nation during trying times with messages of hope just like the poem “Are You Afraid.” While the country is battling an insidious virus, US President Joe Biden reassures little girl afraid of getting Covid-19, “Don’t be scared, honey.” The President said this on February 16, 2021 at a Tuesday CNN town hall sought to reassure a second grader worried about getting Covid-19, telling her that young children are the “safest group of people in the whole world.” “You’re going to be fine, and we’re going to make sure mommy’s fine, too,” he said. Former President Donald Trump on October 5, 2020 said, “Don’t be afraid of COVID,” when he left the hospital and returned to the White House. “Don’t let it dominate your life.”
This harks back to when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in as the 32nd president of the United States on March 4, 1933, the nation was in the midst of an economic crisis unmatched in its history. After taking the oath of office, Roosevelt delivered his inaugural address with this memorable phrase, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” These wise words by the Presidents and the poem “Are You Afraid” will help people to tackle whatever challenges lie ahead.
Ashley Lee from the Los Angeles Times first broke on May 23, 2019 this intriguing story, Leo Robin never got his Walk of Fame star. Now his grandson is fighting for it, about the grandson’s serendipitous discovery on July 6, 2017 of Leo’s long-lost star which he believe got lost because “[The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce]…made this 30-year-old mistake,” Ms. Lee quoting him. In 1988, both Robin’s wife, Cherie Robin, and actor, Bob Hope, sponsored Leo for a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They followed the instructions and mailed in the application approximately five years after Robin’s passing so that he would be eligible to be nominated for a star as soon as possible. But all too soon after that, Cherie, herself, already grief-stricken, was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Tragically, Cherie Robin never received the good news about Leo Robin’s star because she passed away on May 28, 1989, a little over one year before the letter from the Hollywood Chamber was sent out on June 18, 1990 announcing that her husband had been awarded the star. As a result of these ill-fated circumstances, Leo’s star was never installed. “I do think it was meant to be,” said the grandson of discovering the star. “It’s important to me because it was important to my grandmother to pay tribute to Leo’s career in this way. And she took the time, she followed all the rules. My grandmother did everything right except live long enough.”
In the wake of the release of this story last year by The Times, Leo Robin Music was outraged to learn that the Hollywood Chamber made a mistake with handling their own mail more than 30 years ago. Ms. Lee reported, “The envelope was returned to its sender and has since remained in the Chamber of Commerce’s records.” She also tweeted, “at first I didn’t believe that Leo Robin’s star had really slipped through the cracks” with a photo of that acceptance letter and the envelope stamped “RETURN TO SENDER.” Ms. Lee explained the Chamber’s view, “A mistake it was not, noted (Ana) Martinez to The Times. Back in 1989, before the ease of email and cell phones, honorees were not as repeatedly and actively pursued to secure their star as they are today. That means no follow-up letters and no calls to co-signers, even if Robin’s application was co-signed by (Bob) Hope, who has four stars on the Walk.”
Make Way for Tomorrow is a 1937 drama film directed by Leo McCarey. The plot concerns an elderly couple, Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi, who are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents. There is a memorable scene from the film where Beulah Bondia recites a heartwarming poem “Are You Afraid,” written by songwriter Leo Robin. McCarey believed that it was his finest film. When he accepted his Academy Award for Best Director for The Awful Truth, which was released the same year, he said, “Thanks, but you gave it to me for the wrong picture.”
The poem “Are You Afraid” and the film where it was introduced, Make Way for Tomorrow, have had great influence on the arts. In Citizen Kane, Kane’s final utterance of “Rosebud” has been referred to as “the greatest mystery in cinema,” and to this day there is plenty of conjecture but no definitive answer as to where that name that was on Kane’s childhood sled came from. Now, however, this film with the poem “Are You Afraid” may provide the answer. The husband mentions very distinctively that, “[she] used to mark that page with a rosebud.” Owing to the fact the screenplay for Citizen Kane wasn’t written until after 1940, and that Make Way for Tomorrow was a particular favorite of Orson Welles, along with the heavy nostalgic symbolism of the rosebud marking a couple’s favorite poem, it is very probable that the term “Rosebud” came from this scene with the poem in Make Way for Tomorrow.
Leo Robin’s wife, Cherie Robin, and actor, Bob Hope, sponsored Leo for a star because they wanted to see to it that Leo would be acknowledged for the legacy that Roy Trakin, who is the crème de la crème of entertainment journalism, reported on September 30, 2019, in his crisp and inimitable style, in his Variety article, “Thanks for the Memory: How Leo Robin Helped Usher In the Golden Age of Song in Film.” Many young actors got their big break when they were given a Robin song to sing such as Bob Hope, who got his six months after Leo Robin wrote the poem “Are You Afraid.” Bob Hope credited Leo’s heartfelt lyrics for launching his career, saying on January 2, 1985, “I owe an awful lot to Leo Robin. He and his partner gave me a memento that I’ve been carrying around me for 46 years. It’s a melodic masterpiece called ‘Thanks for the Memory.’ No one works alone in this business. We all stand on the shoulder of giants and Leo was a giant who came along, just when I needed a shoulder to stand on. I came to Hollywood and was handed a song like that for my debut. How lucky can a guy get. ‘Thanks for the Memory’ won the Academy Award that year and I’ve had a pretty exciting ride on its coattails.”
The Hollywood Chamber appears to be afraidto honor their obligation to install the star that was awarded to Leo Robin more than 30 years ago. In contradiction to its mission, the Hollywood Chamber is not doing justice to the nomination of Robin. Instead we are witness to the injustice of Leo’s long-lost star and the Hollywood Chamber’s refusal to honor their commitment to Robin’s memory. It has always been true when a letter has been “Return to Sender,” the sender will verify the address and resend it. In 1990, the Hollywood Chamber obstructed installation of the star when it placed the acceptance letter that was returned to sender in its files and made no attempt to resend it. The Hollywood Chamber made no attempt to notify the sponsor, Bob Hope, who was one of the most famous entertainers in the world at the time. The Hollywood Chamber must have had Bob Hope’s number from their own dealings with him. What the Hollywood Chamber did after the letter was “Return to Sender” was not customary practice but smacks of disregard for the individuals honored by the Walk of Fame Committee.
Throughout the past sixty years, the Hollywood Chamber has successfully kept track of 2,694 honorees and has seen to it that each and every one of them received a star, which was then successfully installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – except for Leo Robin. One would think that today’s Hollywood Walk of Fame would honor the decisions made by those who served before them. At this point, one can’t help but conclude that Robin, his sponsors, his family and the 1990 Walk of Fame Committee, itself, have been treated unjustly by the Hollywood Chamber. It’s now time for the Hollywood Chamber to stop being afraidto honor their obligation to install the star that was awarded to Leo Robin more than 30 years ago and put Leo’s long-lost star in its rightful place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
For more information, visit the official website of Leo Robin at http://leorobin.com/
About Leo Robin Music
Leo Robin Music manages the copyrights of songs written by Leo Robin, who was known as the “Dean of Lyric Writers.” He created lyrics that have inspired popular music and become part of the fabric of our culture. Considered to be one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th Century, he wrote many of the country’s most popular jazz standards including “Blue Hawaii,” “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Easy Living,” “If I Should Lose You,” “My Ideal,” “Prisoner of Love” and “Thanks for the Memory.”
SOURCE: Leo Robin Media