I have been watching CNN’s series, STANLEY TUCCI, LOOKING FOR ITALY. I am in bliss for several reasons: Italy, food, wine, and Tucci himself.
The very first time I became aware of Tucci was in 1996. I must have read about the movie Big Night somewhere, because I was desperate to see it. I don’t think it played in a first-run theater in my area. But eventually it did come to the old second-run theater in my neighborhood. I convinced my husband we needed to see the film. So one winter night we drove through a lot of snow to see the film. I was enchanted.
As we were leaving the theater, I happened to look down and saw something poking through several inches of freshly fallen snow. It was an oversized key ring with several keys on it. We trudged back into the theater to turn in the keys in case someone was looking for them. Turns out someone was.
The owner of the theater was a cranky old woman who had inherited it from her parents. People who grew up in the neighborhood tell of going to matinees and have Miss DiB**** stalking up and down the aisles with a baseball bat looking for people with their feet on the seat backs or any other number of criminal behaviors. A former co-worker who knew how to run the old 35mm projectors happened to run into her one days, and her greeting was, “The first show is at 7pm on Saturday. Be at the theater at 6.” My colleague said, “What are you talking about?” She replied, “My projectionist just died, you know how to run the 35mm, be at the theater at 6pm on Saturday.” (He didn’t go.) She was a genuine character.
My story about this genuine character involved that key ring on that snowy night. I located her in the nearly deserted theater and handed her the key ring, saying, “I found these on the sidewalk outside.”
“Where did you get those!” she snarled with a glare.
“I found them on the sidewalk under the marquee,” I repeated.
“These are the theater keys and they’ve been missing.”
I didn’t like being accused of anything. I reiterated that I’d found them outside and left.
So that was my introduction to Stanley Tucci. I adored him in Julie & Julia. I wish I could remember him in The Devil Wears Prada. He was delightful in The Hunger Games series. He has a long list of credits for both movies, theater, television, but neither IMDB or Wikipedia list a short-lived public TV series he hosted called Vine Talk. Maybe because was dreadful. I wouldn’t admit I was associated with it either. But there are 13 episodes available on Amazon Prime.
Searching for Italy (Sundays at 9pm on CNN) is much better.