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201518 May 18, 2020


My Adventures with Lawrence
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    Last week Don Wynn's Movie Trivia featured a movie to which I have vivid memories. Late December back in ’63 I had my last high school date with the girl I went steady with most of my high school days.  First of all, December is not a good month to go to a drive in movie on a date, not even in the Deep South state of Alabama.  It still gets cold and I think that night was one of the coldest in Huntsville's history.  Heaters in drive in's were unheard of in the Huntsville Drive-Ins and the longer we sat there in the car the colder it got.  To make it worse, of all movies we could have picked to see, we selected "Lawrence of Arabia."  The memory survives so well because of the stark contrast between the heat and sand on the screen and the cold and frost on the car.  To sit there and watch the men sweating and getting sunburned while I could see my breath and was almost getting frostbite was such a contrast.  Thinking back about it, it was a wonder we survived the night at all.

    We really didn't have to worry about the cold but there was another, more silent, threat awaiting us that night.  I came upon a great idea of how to keep warm at the drive in in the winter.  I had a can of Sterno left over from one of my camping trips.  I decided that I could sit it in the floorboard of the car and light it and it would keep us warm.  The idea of suffocation never entered my mind.  Fortunately for us the Ford was in such bad shape that there was a big gaping hole in the floor through which you could see the street below.  I tried to cover it in the winter to keep the cold air from coming through, but couldn't.  So, thanks to the hole, we probably had enough fresh air to keep the Sterno from burning up all the oxygen in the car and suffocating us.  We could have ended up in a lifeless lump in the back seat for the owners of the drive in to come by and find after the movie was over.  What a story that would have made:  "Teenagers Die in Drive In."

    We sat watching Lawrence on the screen, as we cuddled in a blanket to try to stay warm in the car.  Starting the engine to warm up the car and use the heater was out of the question.  I didn't know if I had enough gas to do that, and besides the heater never worked that well anyway.  So, in the back seat, snuggled under a blanket, the two of us sat and watched the movie.  Of all the movies that were released that year, we had to pick an epic.  It went for hours and hours of men and sand on the big screen.

    The Ford was one of about ten cars sitting in the theater lot.  With freezing hands and freezing feet, intimate contact is not one of the prime thoughts in a person's head.  Survival comes first.  There would be other times to snuggle up in a blanket for fun, but only if we could survive the elements of that night.  It's a wonder the blanket didn't catch fire from the can of Sterno that was burning in the floorboard.  It was an experience that will always be remembered, usually in thanks for not becoming a tragic statistic.

    We missed our chance of being the only two people ever to freeze in a theater while watching "Lawrence of Arabia."  It would make a great Trivial Pursuit question when the game was finally invented two decades later.  "Who were the only two people ever to freeze in a Drive In while watching an Oscar-winning spectacular?"  It would become a famous question, one that everyone would memorize the answer to so that newcomers to the game would say in astonishment "How did you know that?"  Fame escaped us that night.  The fogged-up windows, the blanket, the Sterno, and the hole in the floor prevented us from taking our place in history.

    Later in my life I had my own “Lawrence of Arabia” experience. While serving in the Air Force I was sent on a secret deployment to Egypt. It was so secret at the time many historical accounts of the action do not even mention our presence there. Despite that, to illustrate the danger of the mission I still logged 31 hours of combat time, in a time when we were not officially involved in a conflict. While there we were able to have a little time off and visit the tourist sites of Cairo, including the Great Pyramid (which I went inside), the Step Pyramid in Saqqara, the Great Sphinx of Giza, and the National Museum of Cairo. We also rode horses into the desert behind the pyramids and swapped with our other crewmates and rode camels back to our starting place. It was one of the most memorable moments in my life to ride a camel among the sand dunes at sunset while wild hyena bayed from their peaks. After the ride we all had our photos taken sitting on a camel. My mind raced back to “Lawrence of Arabia” as I sat there with my turban wrapped around my head.

        Memphis, TN - The reunion committee will be meeting again later this month and discussing the current and future plans for the upcoming reunion. At this time there have been no definite plans set in concrete one way or the other about any idea of cancelling or rescheduling the reunion. We do want to make it clear that other classmates besides those of '64-'65 and '66 are invited as guests should they decide to participate.

    A big thank you goes out to those few of you who continue to support the Traveller though your participation in the trivia games and contributions of stories and announcements. Remember you are all invited to submit items for publication.

Last Week's Movie Songs of the Week assisted by Max Kull

Name That Movie

Max Kull, LHS '67, "Recusing myself on the last two (Midnight Cowboy and 2001 – a Space Odyssey) since I suggested them.  The others are:
1) Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's - Ended last week with Henry Mancini so good place to start this week.
2) Born Free from movie of same name
3) Theme from Lawrence of Arabia (from same) which leads to movie of the week...(side note: same composer, Maurice Jarre, as "Lara's Theme")

Jeffrey Fussell, LHS '66, "I crashed and burned on the movie theme challenge this week. I was only able to associate “Everybody’s Talking” by Harry Nilsson with the outstanding film, Midnight CowboyStrauss’ “The Blue Danube” was included in 2001 – a Space Odyssey, but wasn’t its theme.  So no points there.  Maybe next time."
(Editor's Note: The music clip does not have to be "the theme" but only music which is significantly featured in the movie, so you were right in 2001 - A Space Odyssey.")

Linda Collinsworth Provost, LHS  '66, named all the songs and got four out of five movies correctly. She commented on a couple. 1- Breakfast at Tiffany's (Audrey Hepburn was so lovely.  and so was George Peppard) and 4-Midnight Cowboy (in my mind's eye I can still see Brad Pitt's ex-wife's father (Jon Voight) walking along side Ratso Rizzo, so wonderfully played by Dustin Hoffman.)

Lynn Vanpelt, LHS '66, Got all but the last one.

This Week's Movie Songs of the Week 

    This week's list of five songs all come from movies popular around the time we were at Lee (based upon the multiple class years some may have already graduated). See if you can identify the movies by these songs. Remember, this time you need to name the MOVIE and not just the SONG, even though they may be the same. Anything personal you wish to share about any of the movies is highly encourage. Also, remember the song may not have the same title and may in fact be only one of several hit songs used in the movie.

Name That Movie

This Week's Movie Trivia

This week's Movie Trivia is also from one of the five films featured in the movie music trivia.

 Scene: Two ethnic gangs in New York City agree to ‘rumble’ under an over-pass to settle a turf war.  They have agreed in advance that it would be a fist fight and weapons will not be used.  Just as the fight is starting, a former member of the gangs, arrives and tries to stop the fight. Released on October 18, 1961, through United Artists, the film received high praise from critics and viewers, and became the highest-grossing film of the year in the United States. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10, including Best Picture.

What was the movie?
Who was the breakout star of the movie?
What were the names of the rival gangs?
Two cops play integral roles in the movie, what were their names?

Last Week's Movie Trivia

The film opens with the title character being killed in a motorcycle accident. 
 It was nominated for ten Oscars ; it won seven, including Best Picture and Best Director
Take no prisoners!

What was the movie?
Who had the staring role?
Name one of the other primary players.
Who's life was the movie based on?
What era did the movie cover?

John Drummond, LHS '65, writes, "The movie is 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia", starring a then-unknown Peter O'Toole.  It chronicles the life of British Lieutenant T. E. Lawrence in 1917, during World War I.  He united the warring Arab tribes to fight as one against the Turks;  their victory signaled the end of The Ottoman Empire.  Alec Guinness portrayed Prince Faisal.  Other Arab leaders were played by Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif.  The British General Allenby was portrayed by Jack Hawkins.. The David Lean-directed epic film (almost four hours, complete with intermission) won seven Oscars, including (as Tommy noted) Best Picture and Best Director.  Other David Lean films include 1957's "Bridge on the River Kwai" and 1965's "Dr. Zhivago."  Arab leaders referred to Lawrence as "OAR-renz"  because there is no "L" sound in the Arabic language."

Max Kull, LHS '67:
What was the movie?
Lawrence of Arabia directed by David Lean
Who had the staring role?
Peter O'Toole
Name one of the other primary players.
Omar Sharif, Obi-Wan Kenobi (a.k.a Alec Guinness), Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quinn, and Claude Rains (near the end of a long and distinguished career - 'The Invisible Man', Captain Renault from 'Casablanca', and many others)
Who's life was the movie based on?
T.E. Lawrence
What era did the movie cover?
World War I

Lynn Vanpelt, LHS '66, "The movie is Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter OToole, set in WWI. based on T.E Lawrence's escapades.

Linda Collinsworth Provost, LHS  '66 got all the answers right.

Lawrence of Arabia


From Our Mailbox 


Subject:    Robert of The Magnificent 7

Spencer Thompson

LHS '64

I must make one correction to my ole friend John Drummond the Robert in the Magnificent 7 was Robert Vaughn and not Robert Culp.

Subject:     Leiningen and the Ants

Max Kull

LHS '67

    Just now reading Curt's note.  I was not familiar with that title but the plot sounded just like an old Charlton Heston movie I saw.  I googled it and, sure enough, that story was the basis for the movie, "The Naked Jungle".  With that in mind, I think Mrs. Witch can be somewhat given a pass for being enamored with Leiningen.  A single ant was not so tough but together, they were *NASTY*!.

Subject:    Curt Lewis's Story

Jeffrey Fussell,

LHS '66

    It was a very entertaining read this week from Curt Lewis recalling his English class experiences.  What makes it resonate with me (and probably others as well) is that we all have encountered an instructor or two with some remarkable eccentricities. 

Subject:    Curt Lewis's Story

Linda Collinsworth Provost

LHS  '66,

Curt Lewis is just full of surprises, isn't he?  Keep those articles coming, Curt.

Save the Date!
September 25 & 26, 2020
LHS Reunion
The Westin at Bridge Street
Huntsville, AL

More Information to Come Later
Reunion Contacts
Ann Wilson Redford (
Niles Prestage (
Sarajane Steigerwald Tarter (
Linda Taylor (’64)
Kathy Harris Jones (’66)

This Week's Name That Tune Group



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