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|Unfinished Mural -detail 4
This section of the mural panels shows Elvis Presley (who with Paul McCartney was serenading Louis Armstrong on the next panel), Dean Martin (he became "Dean" in Cleveland), Officer Russ, Woody Allen, Gracie Allen (George Burns wife; no relation to Woody), and Cleveland's film critic David Moss.
This ensemble of personalities is a good example of how to portray groups of people in an interesting manner. Instead of simply "posing" they are interacting with each other. The centre of attention in this grouping is Woody Allen. But the stimulus to the others reaction is what Woody in doing -posing as John Travolta (from movie Saturday Night Fever).
The idea to have Allen came from David Moss. A fan of all things movie, John asked David to pose for the painting because, aside from being a Cleveland celebrity -how could David pass up such an opportunity to hang out with such greats?
David had interviewed everyone in Hollywood for his television segments but John got curious as to who was his favourite interview. David answer: "-I know he has been getting a bad rap in the press, but it has to be Woody Allen". John, who is also a big Woody Allen fan and has seen all his films, took off with the idea.
Officer Russ was a special case. He represents the many security officers at Playhouse Square, most of them from the Cleveland Police Department or the Sheriff's Office. Officer Russ became paralyzed and retired from service so, at the initiative of Mrs. Deam (mother of little Catherine -shown with Ringo Star), John did this homage. The idea was to surprise him at the unveiling.
John believes that this addition to the Thinkers Coffeehouse Mural would have been his best work. Unfortunately, as we have seen, it never came to pass. This series of photographs is all that remains of Chuck Diamond's dream.
Not many people today dream this big. It is a pity that in a time with so much wealth many are more content with acquiring than with giving. Some put their names on buildings while others donate millions to the charities of the anonymous -which is fine, but not enough.
Unlike the philanthropists of old they have failed to give their communities something of their own desire, something personal that can be enjoyed by all: the beauty of art. Art, like libraries and parks, is one of those things that makes us richer and better. But above all, art is the best gift because it belongs to everyone but never in the same way.