Monday, August 18, 2008

Carson Grant'’s brief encounter with Al Martino

‘By the (Providence) river of the roses’, on a beautiful ‘summertime’ morning, in front of the festively decorated stage with the backdrop of the renovated old train station, now the RI Foundation, I sat with ‘the man from Laramie’ the legendary Al Martino while the surrounding park was being prepared for the first “Providence Italian Arts and Music Festival”.
A kind gentle man, Al Martino has earned his status throughout many decades in the ears and hearts of millions of international fans, as a true Italian American crooner. As a US Marine in World War II, Al Martino served his country, then went on to lift the spirits of a worn nation by serenading with his renditions of ‘Here in my Heart’, ‘Spanish Eyes’ ‘Volare’, ‘Al Di La’, and many more memorable songs one ‘can’t help falling in love’ with. (

As an actor and GIAA councilor, I spoke to Al Martino about the work being done by the NY chapter of Guild of Italian American Actors, GIAA’s film festival and the new age of digital filmmakers. And of course, I shared with him that ‘Mary in the morning’ was one of Mary Ferri, my Italian grandmother’s favorite songs, and at this moment, she must be smiling from the other side of the grave.

Earlier that same day, I was a guest speaker at the Rhode Island International Film Festival’s film forum “Directing Actors and Creating Exceptional Characters” moderated by Andrew Lund, with the other panelists John Ratzenberger, Kevin Sheridan, and Dan Ragussis. This year’s RIIFF program offered among their 300 screened films, numerous original Italian feature and short films.

Laughter and ‘Fascination’ from the young and old, all enjoying this wonderful Italian arts & music festival, and with vendors announcing ‘Come share the wine’, the pasta and the Italian delicacies, such as, biscotti, cannoli, zabaglione, zeppole, frutto assortimento, bomboniere, liguirizia alla menta which lined the trays of traditional carrelli venditore. The seats were being filled with generations of adoring fans arriving early, the orchestra tuning their instruments, and the festival organizers busy finalizing last minute details of the program and security; all to promote this joyous week of Italian heritage celebration.

For now, arrivederci to Rhode Island, and to your silvery silky voice, Al Martino, not a ‘stranger in the night’, I ‘can’t get you out of my mind’ nor can the world, you ‘embraceable you’.

Written by Carson Grant and published with the courtesy of Published on