Page Four, THE HILLTOP, February 18,1977
Books in Review*
‘Rice Paddy Debates,’ Sid Finister
Offer Unusual Reading in ‘Class’
by JOY BRIDGES
What Really Happened to the Class of ’65? by Michael
Medvel and David Waliechinsky
In 1965, Time magazine did a story on the graduating
seniors of Palesades High School in Los Angeles. The
class was selected as an example of American youth with
a golden future. The children of affluence were supposed
to have the best of everything. At the time, no one could
have imagined the upheavals in the lives of the students
of that school, and in the rest of the United States.
Ten years after this Time story, Michael Medved and
David Waliechinsky interviewed thirty members of that
same class, and sought to find out what had happened
tothem and howthey had changed.
There were a lot of surprises; the quarterback of the
football team had become a Hollywood masseur; the
high school gang leader had built a million-dollar cloth
ing business: the head cheerleader had become a profes
sor of women’s studies at a college; the intellectual had
become a John Bircher who had run for Congress; and,
the handsome boy who had been voted “most popular”
had committed suicide.
The authors used oral history techniques to get a feel
for the way these people were, the way they were seen
Death Strikes at
In Our Last Episode:
When last we left the residents of Magnolia Hill, Stella
and bridal company were at mid-altar, her potted poin-
settia swaying in the breeze. However, attention was
not focused on the nuptuals but rather on a figure in the
back of the church who had interrupted the ceremony.
The man’s revelations not only threw the services into a
frenzy but completely changed Stella’s life. The man:
Harold Finkk. His story was one of unrequited passion
told to a captive Free Will Pentecostal Orthodox Church
audience. He told of his adolescently-awkward love af
fair with the former Pauline Grunch (now Pauline Pratt);
"Pauline was the most beautiful wo—man I ever laid eyes
on. Why, when she used to come over to Daddy’s feed
store after school, we'd have the best time drinking our
orange pop and playing footsies in the peanut pile. (As
you will undoubtably recall, Harold’s father was owner
of Finkk’s Feed Store, Inc.) It was always Pauline's toes
that overheated my engine. But one passionate moment
behind the No-Grow Weed, Ant, and Praying Mantis
killer display, our toes interlocked, and so did our hearts.
I didn’t see Pauline for nigh-on nine months, until one
day she dropped by the store with a little goober in her
arms. Why, it was the ugliest little thing I'd ever seen:
Stringy hair. Inch-thick glasses, big lips, with a Magnolia
Hill College tee-shirt reading “Blossoms or bust!" on the
front, on. Yet I fell in love with that young-un. And I
have continued to love you, Stella, and I can’t let you go
through with this weeding not ever knowing the truth.
You see, Stella, I am your father, not Barney."
A gasp spread throughout the church as this long hid
den secret was revealed. Bobby huddled in a corner
moaned: "No one will come to the reception now. What
ever will we do with five gross of petit fours?” Almost
at the same time. Flora Lou Belle shouted: "I knew it
from the very beginning. Both Pauline and Stella take a
second rinse to get all of the shampoo out." From the
far side of the church, a different reaction to the news
was taking place. Bombarded by this string of shocking
revelations, P. Dexter’s heart just couldn’t take anymore.
However, all eyes were focused on the back of the church
so no one noticed P. Dexter’s struggle to palpitate. The
reaction of Pauline, though, was the most vivid of all.
Rising to the occasion, she flung open her bulging
pocketbook stuffed with imported Dreama Creama Cream
puffs and began hurling them at the accusing onlookers.
"Wipe that holier-than-thou look off your face, you nasty
Namibian coastal shrimp," Pauline was heard to say
to one of the be-tuxed pygmies. And, to Bertha Bartalski,
by others, and the way they had changed into what they
were today. They interviewed members of the class;
each person talked about themselves and also gave their
opinions about the people with whom they had gone to
One of the most interesting studies was that of one of
the authors, Michael Medved. In high school, Michael
was famous for the “Great Rice Paddy Debate.” He took
the position that the football field should be planted with
rice. Football, he felt, costs the student body money,
whereas a rice paddy would earn money for the benefit of
all the students. After high school, he attended college at
Yale. He graduated from that university with honors,
and then proceeded to work as a speechwriter and con
sultant. Medved was in the crowd at the Ambassador Ho
tel when Bobby Kennedy was shot. This trauma commit
ted him to literal politics, and he worked on many dif
When he tired of politics, he went back to his literary
interests. He began to read a great deal about Judaism
in the meantime. His parents were Jewish, but they
thought of themselves as “free-thinkers.” He taught in a
Jewish parochial school in order to avoid the draft. Ali
this exposure to the values and practices of his Jewish
forefathers impressed him and became a large part of
him. He married a Jewish girl and for him, the last ten
years were a journey back to his roots. Consequently, he
(parliamentarian of the Magnolia Hill Missionary Society
and president of the local ‘Search for Yesterday’ fan club),
Pauline shrieked: “Don’t look at me like that, you self-
righteous bag and local missionary fund embezzler. ”
Admist all the furor, Harold continued his saga: “You
see, Stella, I couldn’t claim you because no future feed
store magnate could possibly maintain the respect of the
community, much less his peanut peddling license, under
the shadow of such a scandal as this would have caused.
So, one night while driving to New Rurubomba to the
drive-in, we passed through Magnolia Hill. Your mother,
well, she just couldn’t wait any longer, so we stopped off
at one of the buildings on campus for her to tinkly-wink.
She was so relieved . . . to find the perfect surroundings
for her daughter’s upbringing, that she decided to leave
you in the lavatory. We both knew you would get the best
of care, what with quality Charmin in such abundance in
At that moment, Barney broke into tumultuous tears,
recalling the night, long ago, when he had discovered
Stella wrapped in layers of kush (alias tissue), and cry
ing in the basement lavatory. At the sight of Barney’s
tears. Stella, who had been languishing over the story
came to believe that in a rootless generation, this wastfi®
greatest gift he could have received from life.
Dave Waliechinsky, the other co-author, was known 8®
David Wallace in high school. He was the son of nov®!'
ists Sylvia and Irving Wallace. At Palesades High, he wa®
the classic underachiever, known mainly for playing cards
and shooting pool. He won four hundred dollars playinS
poker during school hours alone.
With a great deal of creativity, Dave made up a
tional student named Sid Finister and enrolied him in se'|'
eral classes. Dave and his friends look tests for him, an°
answered the roll call for him also. In later years, a nuir'"
ber of people took out a telephone in Sid’s name. Lin'
fortunately, Sid never paid his phone bills, so he ran a'
foul with the telephone company.
After graduation, David drifted and became involved
in the hippie movement which had geared up in the eanr
1960’s. He took mescaline and had strange reactions'®
it. Under its influence, he felt a great deal of respect f®'
Lyndon Johnson. This fact alone made him fear for I''®
sanity. Asa consequence, Dave drifted, getting involva®'
to one degree or another, with most of the experienc®’
in the 1960’s. Finally, he settled into writing as a ®®'
reer. In addition to What Really Happened to the
of'65?, he also co-authored The People’s Almanac. ,
After writing What Really Happened to the Class ®
'65?, the authors arranged a ten-year reunion for the cla®®.
It was a great success and many in the class were able'
come. One of the most gratifying results of the reunio®'
however, was the realization that most of the
were much more accepting of the differences in
than they had been in high school. Maturity had gi"®(
them more self-confidence, and the security to accsP
of her rejection, fainted. As all of the wedding g"®®'!
gathered around Stella to revive her, Barney recogni^®
that P. Dexter had taken what would be his final tumW®;
Once Stella was revived, she was immediately confi'®®,
ed with the even more devastating fact of P. Dext®'
sudden demise. , ‘
In a maniacal frenzy, she dashed out of the church.
backto home and hearth in the basement bathroom i®'’ y
Administration Building where she had spent many i
moments as a child. With both guilt and humilia'g,],
weighing heavy upon her, a distraught Stella i
her future admist Charmin and liquid plummer, l®®'^'(j/'
Mike Machonelli weeping uncontrolably in the arm® ■
or bosom of a Namibian coastal shrimp, (alias pyg"®'®''
What future plans does Stella ponder?
Will Pauline now change her name back to Grunch?
How many rinses will It take Flora Lou to get the cre^^' \
puffs out of her hair?
Find out the answers to these and other important
tions as you continue to follow the newspaper ser'®
Pauline Pratt, Pauline Pratt.
Watson Reveals Holmes’ Secret
Addiction in ‘Solution’
by JONATHAN RIDDLE
NBC’s Gene Shalit called it “one hundred per-cent
entertainment”, and after seeing The Seven-Per-Cent So
lution, one cannot help but agree. Based on the best
selling novel by the same name, the film combines humor,
psychology, and adventure to both dazzle the eye and tan
talize the mind. Because of its practically flawless quality,
The-Seven-Per-Cent Solution smells of a classic.
All too often when books are made into movies they
lose something in the transition. This cannot be said of
The-Seven-Per-Cent Solution, for the movie truly captures
the feeling of Nicholas Meyer’s book. (Perhaps Meyer’s
writing of the screenplay helped.) Set up as the memoirs
of John H. Watson as edited by Nicholas Meyer, the
book is a narrative of Watson’s attempts to cure his pro
tege Sherlock Holmes’ addition to cocaine, (who took a
seven per-cent solution of the drug every day). The whole
affair is based upon Meyer’s contention that Watson had
covered up this very sordid episode in Holmes’ life and
that Meyer had discovered the truth in Watson’s iost mem
oirs, (“only the facts are made up”, of course). At any
rate, Watson gets Holmes to dash off to Vienna by trick
ing him into thinking his arch-enemy Professor Moriarity
has left for the continent. Little does Holmes know that
he is going to see Sigmund Freud who has agreed to help
him through withdrawal. The fun really starts when these
Obviously the story of The Seven-Per-Cent
itself would be enough to entertain. But the a®* J
themselves are what make the story come alive ^ Kp
there is hardly a weak actor in the cast. Nicol Willi®'''
as Holmes, Robert Duvall as Watson, and Alan Ark'® ^
Freud are absolutely scintillating. Neither one of 'b, |(
really stands apart from the rest, (though each
need be), but rather they act as a team; just as the ^
acters they portray, each learns something from the o"
Vanessa Redgrave as Lola Devereaux reflects all the j
and quiet grace of the character she portrays, wbil®
supporting cast with such standouts as Sir Laurence O'
ier, Joel Grey, and Samantha Eggar, contributes imr"®
Production and direction are also excellent. Sets ®
costumes of the period, camera angles and special
(especially in Holmes’ withdrawal from addiction), ®b s
immense technical talent and imagination. Certain sce
are especially memorable — Holmes childhood expeh®
the ride on the “Orient Express”, the concluding sc®''® gfi
the Danube. The music is also rather effective,
overpowering at times. Some would say it is
matic, particularly near the beginning, but in this v"''gd'
opinion it seems to add to the feeling of suspense
venture that is so dominant throughout the movie. ' jt
Seven-Per-Cent Solution is, therefore, one of the
films of the season. In a year where mediocrity is the" ,
it is refreshinqly unique and entertaining.