John Barry – Somewhere in Time Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1980)

Los Angeles’s oldest restaurant, Musso and Frank Grill has been a Hollywood Boulevard landmark since 1919 where it has served as the dining spot of Hollywood’s biggest icons.

If the ghosts of Hollywood exist, they would all dine at Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard.  First opened in 1919, for over a century the restaurant has hosted lunch meetings and dinner parties for colorful patrons and members of the Hollywood elite.  From the days of the silent era, to the coming of television, to the current era of CGI’d blockbusters, as Hollywood continues to change and evolves in ebbs and flows, Musso and Frank Grill has stood strong ad has remained a solid Hollywood institution that has lasted through time. 

Aron Kincaid had a career in the 1960’s in television and films, best remembered from his appearances in AiP beach party spin offs such as “Ski Party” and “The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.”

Although I had walked past it many times during my various Hollywood adventures, only once did I ever enter its hallowed doors.  It was 2009, and I was invited to lunch there by Aron Kincaid.  Once upon a time Aron was a television and film character actor, but now resided in Beverly Hills where he spent his free time painting.  With a strong jaw, blonde hair and studly looks, he was probably most famous for appearing in AiP films such as “Ski Party,” and “The Ghost in the Wild Bikini.”  Leaving acting in the 1970’s to pursue modeling, his career took another direction in the 1980’s as a popular voice actor, where he worked on favorites such as “Transformers,” “The Smurfs,” and “Batman: TAS.”  Aron and I had been brought together by actress Lana Wood, who had put us in touch in my search for a copy of an obscure film they did together called “Girls on the Beach.”  A film about the Beatles that didn’t actually feature the Beatles, (instead it featured Lesley Gore and the Beach Boys) it was something I had on VHS as a teenager but was unable to find on DVD as an adult.  Lana had told me she got her bootleg copy from Aron and said the two of us should meet.  We had a number of conversations on the phone, and as I had been a big fan of beach films from the 1960’s, I asked Aron if he would be interested in doing an interview with me about his film career.  Aron agreed to do a lunch interview with me during my next visit to Los Angeles, and said we’d be dining at Musso and Frank!

Long retired from acting when we met, Aron spent his later years as an artist. This photo is closer to representing the version of Aron Kincaid that I knew.

I remember how dim I thought the restaurant was when I was led to the table that Aron was sitting at.  A distinguished bearded man in his late 60’s, the bronze tanned and blond-haired beach stud from the 60’s had faded from his face.  Albeit it still very handsome I would not have recognized him, but thankfully he was a regular at the restaurant and the matre d’ knew who he was   He warmly greeted me with a handshake, and as I sat down Aron ordered a bottle of wine for the table.  I’ve never been much of a wine drinker, but I allowed myself to have a glass poured, and I nursed it through lunch.

A different time, a different Sam Tweedle. In Hollywood in 2008, trying to make it as an entertainment writer. I had a lot of growing up to do, but my Hollywood adventures were amongst the happiest days of my 30s.

Although I was there to interview him, Aron seemed more interested to know who I was, and what I was doing in Hollywood.  In my 30’s I tried hard to be an entertainment journalist, and I made a number of trips to Los Angeles, worked press rooms and media events and spent many long nights trying to make a name for myself.  It was an exciting time for me, and I managed to interview hundreds of movie stars, musicians, tv icons, musicians and other entertainers in the realm of pop culture.  But media was changing so rapidly in the internet era, and my methods were already outdated for millennial readers.  I wanted to be a Tom Snyder or a Brian Lyneham, and I was often compared to Elwy Yost by friends and readers.  But the readers wanted TMZ and BuzzFeed and as a young independent writer trying to make it, the odds always seemed stacked against me.  To ease my own piece of mind, I eventually refocused my energy into doing media within my own community, and as I continued to grow and evolve as a writer, eventually left journalism altogether.  Although I never truley achieved the success I had desired, I did have some good adventures and met some incredible people, and 2009 was definitely when I was at my peak.  I told Aron my story as it was going up until that moment, and he listened with great interest.

Ordering another bottle of wine, Aron began to tell me some of his stories, and he was a great storyteller.  A life long resident of Los Angeles, Aron had grown up with his widowed mother and grandparents, who were all movie fans. This meant a lifetime of visiting Hollywood hot spots, seeing movie stars in public and growing up on the movies. He told me about encounters from his youth with some of Hollywood biggest icons – Marilyn Monroe, Bogie and Bacall, Cecile B. DeMille, Marlon Brando and more and more.  As he drank more glasses of wine I loved listening to his stories.  I couldn’t confirm that they were all true, but they sounded pretty legitimate to me.  But then, hey, I had a lot of unlikely brushes with the famous too, and I didn’t even live in Hollywood, so I could relate.  

A film fan, Aron Kincaid loved to tell about his life growing up in Hollywood, but was aware that his own films, such as “The Ghost in the Indivisible Bikini” (pictured here with Nancy Sinatra), were not masterpieces.

But as we ordered lunch, and another bottle of wine, I knew that we weren’t going to get that interview we were supposed to have on tape.  I noticed when Aron talked about his own career, he seemed to be almost dismissive.  Although Aron was a film fan, he didn’t seem to have the same love for his own films, and while he spoke fondly of people he worked with, he had a bitterness on his tongue towards the industry.  As we continued sharing stories, the wine continued to flow, and as the wine continued to flow, Aron’s mood grew darker in regard to his own movie career.  But I liked Aron Kincaid, and I told him that we’d just enjoy the food, the company and maybe do the interview another day.  He thought that sounded fine.  I put my digital recorder in my briefcase next to the copy of “Girls on the Beach” Aron had gifted me (his own private copy he revealed to me – he didn’t want it anymore) and we poured more wine.

And then, of course, the conversation turned to music.  It usually does, because at some point I’m going to mention that I’m a record collector.  Aron got very excited as the conversation turned to music, and immediately stole the conversation from whatever I was talking about.

Somewhere in Time (1980) starring Christopher Reeves, Jayne Seymour and Christopher Plummer.

“Have you ever heard the soundtrack to ‘Somewhere in Time?’”  Aron asked.

I hadn’t seen the film, although it would eventually become one of my favorite films made during the 1980’s.  A strange little romantic costume drama infused with fantasy and time travel, “Somewhere in Time” starred Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer, and is a powerful and emotional watch.  But at that time, I had to say no.  I didn’t know it.

“I just love the music so much,” Aron said to me.  “The score was written by John Berry, who did all the James Bond music.  It’s the best music in the world.  I’m sure you probably have heard it, but you just didn’t know you have.”

I politely told Aron I’d look it up, but he surprised me by suddenly calling over to the waiter and asking for the check.  “I have the CD in my car.  I want to play it for you” Aron said, as he took out his credit card.  Aron said he’d pay, which was a relief because I was a broke assed writer, and I think he had drunk four bottles of wine.

The view from the Musso and Frank Grill parking lot, as shot by Quinton Tarantino in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (2019).

But as Aron got up from the table, I noticed his balance sway sharp to the left.  Aron had been drinking bottle after bottle of wine and while I didn’t notice it while we were sitting at the table, now it was pretty obvious that he was pretty drunk.  I followed him through the dark restaurant into the bright sunshine of the back parking lot, where the iconic Musso and Frank Grill sign rose high over the cars.  I was delighted to see the same parking lot years later when Quinton Tarantino shot a scene there in his film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”  Aron led me to a huge classic car.  Now I’m not a car guy, I’m a music guy, so I’m not going to embarrass myself at trying to guess what the model the car was, or the era was from.  All I knew was that it was a beautiful classic car.  It was also probably a gas guzzler and was a complete tank that probably would take up more than an entire lane on the road.  Aron jumped in the car and told me to get in to listen to the music.  He said I wouldn’t’ regret it.  I looked at him, the car, thought about the bottles of wine and reluctantly got in.  Aron started the car and from a CD player that Aron had gotten installed under the front dash the music began.  It started quietly with a soft flute solo, and then a breezy string section filled the car.  I remember Aron closed his eyes in near ecstasy and began to do a deep listen.  He was really feeling the music.  I thought it was pleasant, but I was a bit distracted.  I wasn’t comfortable sitting in a car with a drunk man at the wheel whether he was driving or not.  I thanked him for lunch and told him I should probably get back to my hotel.  Big mistake.

Composer John Barry, most famous for his music in the classic James Bond films, wrote the music to “Somewhere in Time.” If it was the music I died listening too, it wasn’t that bad.

“Where is your hotel?”  Aron asked.  I told him I had a room not far from Hollywood and Vine, by the Capitol Records building.  It was only about three blocks away from the restaurant.  “Oh great.  I’ll drive you there and you can hear more of the music,” Aron grinned.  I told him that, no, I was okay, but it was futile.  Before I knew it the huge car was rolling, and we were heading up Hollywood towards Vine.  Aron began to sing along off key to the music.  As it was an instrumental, he sang “Da da da da da, dee dee deeeeee” in his deep baritone voice as I gripped my fists together with white knuckle panic.  Were we swerving in traffic?  I could swear we were.  I mean, in Canada I knew better to not get in a car with a drunk man and let him drive.  But now we were in Hollywood and all common sense was gone.  I could already see the future headlines in the papers at home – “Local writer dies in Hollywood car crash driven by former b-movie matinee idol.”  Honestly, if I was going to die, this was a fitting way for me to go.  Nobody would be surprised.

With nothing left to do, I sat back and, for a moment, listened to the music again wondering if this might be the final music I would hear in my life.  Well, as the music went, the score to “Somewhere in Time” was actually really pretty.  Aron was right.  It was fantastic. If this was the day that I was going to die, then John Barry’s score to “Somewhere in Time” was good enough to be the final music I ever heard.

Autographed photo to me from Aron Kincaid. Aron died in 2011.

Of course, since you are reading this, that wasn’t the day that we were to meet our final fates.   Aron managed to get me three blocks to my hotel without crashing. I was pretty tense, but it wasn’t all that dramatic, and I called him later that night to make sure he got home safe, which he did.  I stayed in touch with Aron, and we often talked over the phone, but he eventually passed away a few years later in 2011.  I think of him often, and I really miss him.

Eventually I found the score to “Somewhere in Time,” and I excitedly bought it.  It always reminds me of Aron Kincaid.  You don’t need to focus on a coin to send you hurtling back through time.  Sometimes you just need the music, which will take you to a certain place and time and suddenly you are there again.

About the author