Letters to the Editor, May 7: ‘California Split’ revisited

The final split

EDITOR: I’m Kat Walsh, daughter of Joseph Walsh, writer/producer of the classic 1974 gambling film “California Split.” For years, the film’s stars Elliott Gould and George Segal wanted my father to write a sequel to the movie and, for whatever reason, my dad couldn’t bring himself to do it. Then during the COVID-19 period while watching the movie “My Dinner with Andre” again, my father had a thought, why not “Lunch with Bill and Charlie,” where George and Elliott would be in the character of Bill and Charlie after many years apart. They would be talking old times, new times, and any other things these two memorable characters would be discussing. My dad wanted it to be a complete surprise to George and Elliott and never told them he was writing it. Now, here comes the strangely ironic part of it. The day my father finished writing it and moments before he was going to spring it on the boys, Elliott called with the news of George Segal’s death. It seemed that George had other plans. He wouldn’t be able to keep his lunch date.

My dad was saddened because the one thing the boys wanted from him was to get them back on film playing Bill and Charlie. Now that is never going to be. But my father, along with Elliott, decided the script should still be put out there as a tribute to George. Since your film critic Kirk Michael has been very favorable to “California Split” in the past (“California Split, a Win-Win,” April 1), I thought it would be interesting to you and anyone else you think would enjoy it.

The script to "Lunch with Bill & Charlie" can be downloaded from my father's website:

Thank you for supporting my father's film! It means so much!

Kat Walsh

Culver City

Jesus, the Buddha and Arnold Walk into a bar...

EDITOR: Having an ax-murderer loose in Sonoma is no small deal, even if the victim was a tree (“Community Vows to Replant After Beloved Tree Cut Down in Sonoma,” April 27). The range of human emotions expressed by Sonomans leaves one unsure of which trail of tears to follow. Anger? Hate? Grief? Stoicism? So, I decided to call in some help with this, from those far wiser than I. First along in my mind was Jesus, who, viewing the remains, responded with, “Forgive them father, they know not what they do.” Not bad, I thought — to view this act as one of ignorance, committed with one's mind made blind from the darkness, shut off from the love in the world. When the Buddha strolled in, things got more complicated. “Karma,” he said. OK, Buddha, but whose karma? The perpetrator's? The tree's? Sonoma's? Well, it turns out, it's all of the above. Karma is, taken altogether, the sum total of every human action — the cause and effect of what everyone does in life. For the ax murderer, that means everything he's done throughout his life, and... and... everything that was done to him. Yep, it's a complex answer to be sure.

Perhaps the answer for Arnold's mourners is -- no answer? Perhaps complete answers are a false idol. As physicist and Nobel laureate Philip Anderson once said: “You never understand everything. When one understands everything, one has gone crazy”.

Joe Troise


‘Ode to Arnold: A Poem’

EDITOR: As I drive by his empty space

A veil of grief adorns my face

Something at me begins to gnaw

The thought of Arnold and the saw

With every tearing ripping bite

On that dark and dreary night

A painful cry to heaven flew

“Forgive him, he knows not what he do!”

Douglas Chambers

Sonoma/Prescott Valley

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