|Plimmerton artist Xoe Hall has completed another stunning
mural under the Steyne Avenue bridge.
|Mural celebrates Sol Weinstein (by David Weinstein posted 20 April 2013)
Plimmerton artist Xoe Hall has completed another stunning mural under the Steyne Avenue bridge. The mural is an homage to and features a large stylised drawing of Sol Weinstein, former Plimmerton personality and man about town (also man about women) who recently passed away aged 83 late last year. Xoe had a special connection with Sol, and was one of many dozens of local lasses who Sol proposed marriage to. Alas, they all declined politely. Sol is missed by all who knew and loved him (and who didn't?) but Xoe has captured his essence in the mural in which Sol is wearing his everpresent watchcap and sporting bushy eyebrows, snapping his fingers while digging some great jazz trumpet and keys (that wouldn't be Kevin Clark blowing the horn would it Xoe?). Have a peek under the Steyne Avenue bridge. Thanks Xoe. It means a lot to me. - David Weinstein
|Radio NZ interview with Sol and Kevin Clark 2011 - listen here.|
Curtain falls on Plimmerton schmoozer
Obituary: Sol Weinstein 1928 - 2012
BY MATTHEW DALLAS (from Kapi-Mana News 4 December 2012)
YOUR FRIEND AND MINE: Sol Weinstein, cocked and loaded for the next gag. "They say in cricket, 84 is a damn good innings," said his son David. "But we all wanted a little more; another joke, another obscure reference to some song from 1977."
The Plimmerton community bade farewell to one of the village's true characters on Friday.
Writer, composer, joker, jazz fanatic and flatterer of women, Sol Weinstein died last week aged 84 after a quick decline in health. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two weeks earlier.
Following a Jewish funeral in Wellington on Tuesday, Sol was laid to rest at Makara.
On Friday, more than 70 friends and family packed the Plimmerton Pavilion for a memorial service. Among the mourners were his daughter Judee and granddaughter Eleanor, who had travelled from California to be with Sol during his final days.
Anecdotes were shared and great affection shown for a man who brought showbiz swagger with him to Plimmerton in 2002.
A familiar face at the village shops and cafes, Sol could always be trusted to pull out a gag, an oddball observation or a flirtatious proposition.
When eulogising his father, David Weinstein asked who among the women at the service had received a marriage proposal from Sol. At least 20 raised a hand, to raucous laughter.
Sol was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey. In the 1950s he wrote for his local newspaper, The Trentonian, before turning his sharp wit to sketches and songs for variety show comedians.
He married Eleanor Eisner in 1955, and they had two children, David and Judee.
In 1962, Sol wrote the ballad The Curtain Falls. Bobby Darin took a shine to it and it became part of his repertoire. Bob Hope also recorded it.
The family moved to Levittown, Pennsylvania, where, among other writing projects, Sol conceived his Israel Bond spy capers, starting with Loxfinger in 1965. The four books sold more than 400,000 copies and gained Sol national exposure.
The 1970s took the family to Los Angeles, where Sol wrote for several popular network television shows such as The Love Boat, The Jeffersons and Three's Company. He continued to work into the late 1980s, writing for his friend Dom DeLuise.
In 2002, a widower and retired, Sol moved to Plimmerton to be closer to his son's family. David said his father would be publicly remembered for the Israel Bond books and The Curtain Falls, which received a second life in the 2004 Bobby Darin bio-pic Beyond the Sea.
"But what he would want to be remembered for was his big heart, his love for family and friends, and his love of Judaism."
A myriad of Sol moments were shared by his Plimmerton friends. There were his unusual dining requests at favourite haunt Cafe Vella - egg whites with milk anyone? - and the time he cocked his finger and took aim at a well-to-do lady's fluffy hat: "Watch out lady, you got a raccoon on your head!"
There was Sol's uncanny knowledge of jazz, a fanaticism sparked in the 1950s, when he tuned into the New York bebop scene.
Play Sol a jazz track and he would give you not just the title and artist, but the session players and recording location, too.
Plimmerton jazz pianist Kevin Clark and vocalist Fran Barton performed three of Sol's songs, including The Curtain Falls and the recently completed Here Come the Hobbits.
Kevin recalled his first meeting with Sol, in 2002, while playing at the Kirkcaldie & Stains department store.
"Sol was sitting on a bed listening, and then he put his feet up and made himself really comfortable. He started clicking his fingers and the bed was going up and down. We were turning to each other, 'Who is this guy?'.
"He was so excited; he hadn't heard any jazz since coming to New Zealand."
Kapi-Mana News had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing Sol in 2006 and in January this year when the Israel Bond novels returned to print for the first time in 40 years.
In typical Sol style, he would stop by our office over the years, bearing small gifts and big handshakes. His wit, enthusiasm, kindness and tendency to bounce between topics like a ping-pong ball ensured treasured conversations.
As one young speaker aptly put it, Sol was "the grandfather figure I think we wish we all had".
- Kapi-Mana News (December 2012)
Story by Matthew Dallas, Kapi-Mana front page Tues 17 January 2012
"The lovemaking was profane to say the least. Totally indulgent. He was the kind of agent to be turned on by a navel orange."
Sol Weinstein is describing Israel Bond, the master spy and semitic seducer at the centre of his satirical adventure novels which are back in print for the first time in 40 years.
The titles betray both the satirical tone of Weinstein's writing and his inspiration; Loxfinger, Matzohball, On the Secret Service of His Majesty, The Queen, and You Only Live Until You Die.
"Ian Fleming and I were writing in different alternative realities at the same time. That's the line I've always stuck to - and I'm not changing it for you," says Sol, who has called Plimmerton home since he left the United States in 2002.
Kapi-Mana News was introduced to the New Jerseyan in 2006 when we learned he had composed, some 40 years earlier, the sentimental 1961 show tune The Curtain Falls. It was a stage favourite of both Bobby Darin and Bob Hope, and returned to prominence in the Darin bio-pic Beyond the Sea.
A newspaper reporter turned comic writer, the Israel Bond adventures allowed Sol to move away from writing for night club entertainers in the mid-1960s.
When Playboy magazine serialized Fleming's James Bond adventures, they interspersed them with Sol's "Oy Oy 7" series. A big James Bond fan, he added "peculiarities" from his own life and an absurdist streak to the Fleming formula.
Licensed to both kill and pray over the corpses, Israel Bond travelled the globe, protecting the holy land from criminal masterminds such as The Man With the Golden Gums and Auntie Sem-Heidt.
The spy often relied more on quick puns and his prowess in the sack than actual espionage skills. But then, who could resist the temptations of Sister Sweetcakes the swinging nun, Kopy Katz - the mistress of reproducation - and, wait for it, Poontang Plenty?
"Poontang Plenty was my Pussy Galore...I really kept[Bond] busy," Sol says.
Four volumes of Israel Bond adventures were published as $1 paperbacks by Simon & Schuster, selling between 400,000 and 500,000 copies, but later fell out of print. Sol was approached by American publisher About Comics last year to include the novels as part of its prose imprint.
At 83, Sol's wit is still sharp, fast and indulgent. He cracks wise constantly, his enthusiasm unhampered by the mild case of Tourette's Syndrome he's had since childhood, and jumps at the chance to write his own photo caption (see below).
Though no-one ever took Isreal Bond to the big screen like 007, Sol soon found success in television, writing for variety shows and prime-time series The Jeffersons, The Love Boat and Three's Company.
Folders of his scripts still stack his bookshelves, and photos from another age, of Sol with showbiz pals like Sammy Davis Jr and Dom Deluise, jostle for wall space with jazz posters and paintings by local artists.
He enjoys life in New Zealand, a quiet and charming place.
"I wonder what Oy Oy 7 could do now to take Iran out of the ballgame. Because that's getting scary. The world is in the hands of crazy people unfortunately. You have to be thankful for New Zealand's positioning.
"I try to make people laugh, but on the inside I'm just as scared as anyone else. What's more, Monk [his cat] wants me to turn over the house to him and put me in an old folks' home."
Buy the books at http://oy-oy-7.com.
Spy Spoof: In a futile bid to look the part of a sinister spy writer, Oy Oy 7 creator Sol Weinstein cocks his Cavendish & Harvey pistol, which fires 25 butterscotch pellets a second. He wears his trenchcoat and trench-hat to go along with his chronic trench-mouth.
You may have noticed posters for books starring Hebrew Secret agent Oy Oy 7 on windows of our village eateries...which also carry a photo of our off-the-wall townie Sol Weinstein, who authored the Israel Bond thrillers.
(This was a dark haired Sol before he was victimised by a news magazine and a laundry detergent...in other words Time and Tide. You may not have recognised him because he now sports a head of whiter than snow hair which could have been planted by Taleban poppy growers from Afghanistan., he says)
But he says he is still our Sol, comedy writer for Bob Hope, Anthony Newley, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior...and lyricist –composer for a song called “The Curtain Falls” recorded by Bobby Darin, Bob Hope and Kevin Spacey. Kevin Spacey sang the song in the musical movie “Beyond the Sea” when he starred as Bobby Darin.
The four Oy Oy 7 books are titled “Loxfinger”, Matzohball”, “On the Secret Secret of His Majesty, the Queen” and “You only live until you die". Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Peterson described these books as ,”possibly the funniest secret agent parodies ever written.”
You can order the series from oy-oy-7.com and they are available as single copies or the whole shootin’ match (and there’s lotsa shootin in this match, Sol tells us) called the Israel bond Omnibus.
OyOy7 says martinis are stirred NOT shaken, incidentally.
Three of these titles appeared in Playboy magazine and, yes, Sol recalls that he got to meet Hef and a bunny or two.