Thanks to a great post by David Hudson, which I really hope you read, I’m  aware that today is a big birthday for one of the talents that made me want to become involved in this whole show business thing in the first place.

I’ll start off a couple of clips from my personal pet Woody Allen film, 1984’s underrated “Broadway Danny Rose.”

The philosophizing comes after the flip.

Listening to the recording of Judd Apatow discussing his changing feelings about Allen over the decades that David included in his post, I couldn’t help but nod my head. For me, it wasn’t only the scandal with his family, or rather Mia Farrow’s family, that altered my feelings about a guy who, whether we liked it or not, became the onscreen embodiment of the neurotic, overthinking Jew. There was also a much earlier trip to New York where I and a buddy paid too much to eat bad Italian food at Michael’s Pub and watch him play traditional jazz with a bunch of guys who were all manifestly better players than him.

He had admitted as much, and it wouldn’t have been a problem, except he took nearly all the solos. It would have been nice to hear more from the other, better players. No. The audience and the other musicians were all there to watch Allen’s clarinet practice — the fact that he was charging people for the pleasure didn’t seem to enter into it. In some way it’s possible to relate that to why he came across almost puzzled that the public was offended when he started a sexual relationship with his long-time girlfriend’s adopted daughter. I personally wish we could all ignore the personal lives of the famous but at the same time, once you know something like that, as Apatow alludes to, it’s impossible to unknow.

Even so, I mourn that today Woody Allen does not seem even remotely like a happy man. For him the fact that we all get sick and die seems to ruin everything else. Unlike his fellow secular Jewish philosophical materialist, the late Irvin Kershner, perhaps a lesser talent but maybe a wiser man, he says bluntly that creative achievement hasn’t brought him any satisfaction. As he said so brilliantly a long time ago, he doesn’t want to achieve immortality through his work, he wants to achieve it by not dying. I can definitely relate, but that’s not the whole story.

I’m sure Allen would dismiss Danny Rose as just another comic creation but, as Apatow says, a writer’s work is at least 40% a reflection of the person you are in some way. I hope Allen can learn to listen to the Danny Rose inside himself. I wish Mr. Allen acceptance, forgiveness, and love. And, as I’m sure his ex-costar Mia Farrow would agree, maybe also a little guilt.