Once upon a time there was a precocious young woman who thought she could leave behind a promising career in journalism and return to her theatre roots. She had a vague idea that her years of writing and researching could be put to good use in the entertainment business and that she’d somehow be able to blend her logic with her creativity, a concept she’d later describe as balancing her head and her heart.
To this hard-working New York journalist came a series of nudges in the form of assignments that took her repeatedly to one location: Los Angeles. After about a year, she realized she hadn’t actually unpacked her suitcase for several months. It was then she began looking for an apartment in the City of Angels.
She found a great place that’d been built in 1937 with the sweeping staircase and chair rails, high ceilings and built-in dressing table designed for starlets of a bygone era. In those first months in her new city, she landed a job as editor of On Location Magazine, and was accepted into the NBC Actors’ Workshop. Life was good, if somewhat frantic. She balanced auditions with deadlines, spent weekends writing script treatments or performing in plays, attending screenings and creating extraordinary friendships.
One of the friends kept mentioning that she should visit a place called Cambria. Meanwhile, she fell in love with a play called Sea Marks by Gardner McKay. Then things converged in a most interesting way. She got an invitation to perform this very play in that very town, which caused her to spend an entire summer in a small California coastal town which fascinated her no end. When the play was over, she landed a part in Days of Our Lives. She learned a lot from working in a day-time serial, and got intrigued with serial story-telling. Then things converged in a most interesting way. She created her own soap opera about a small California coastal town.
The show was called Milford-Haven, and when KOTR in Cambria, California wanted to broadcast the show, it became a hit there, and later did the same in San Luis Obispo. To record the show, she found an excellent engineer who brought technical wizardry and a love of audio drama to the project. To create sound effects she found an expert who’d studied with the last of the great foley artists from the days of classic radio drama, and to create a musical score she found a pair of composers who’d scored scores of television projects and produced their own award-winning albums. About half the cast were retired professionals who’s settled in Cambria and they lent their marvelous expertise and talent to the fledgling producer-writer. The other half of the cast worked with her in L.A between their television jobs, lending their energies and creativity and good names to their colleague. They all had a tremendous amount of fun and willingly took a flyer with this young producer. The young producer knew in her heart of hearts this was work she was meant to do, and could scarcely believe her good fortune at finding such grand compatriots, all of whom are listed on the Milford-Haven website.
This all happened long ago. But today, most of the original cast members gathered together in Cambria, together with original sponsors, experts who helped her with research, reporters who’ve written stories about the show, and friends who’ve taken an interest over the years, There were even some folks who joined the party just because it’s great to be part of a good story. Because it’s through our stories that we come to understand ourselves, find our dearest friends, and have moments of joy and belonging.
On her way to Cambria for this party, things converged in a very interesting way. The producer found that, although she was no longer quite as young as she was when she started this project, her time had been well spent. Because by following her heart, she’d discovered her talents and learned how to use them. She knows she can never thank her colleagues enough for all they contributed. She also knows it’s by following our inner voice that we find our true path. And that means the end of this story isn’t really an ending, but rather a true beginning.
Photos by the wonderful photographer Dennis Eamon Young will soon be posted at her Events Gallery page. For more information on the evolving world of The Milford Haven Novels, visit MaraPurl.com where you can subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on social media, enjoy photos and videos, discover more special offers and more.