Tag Archives: Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson’s “Chappaquiddick”

Tim Jackson is a man of many talents. And many stories.

He sat behind the Nixon daughters when the Beatles appeared on “Ed Sullivan” in 1964 — an event that launched his musical career.

He got kicked out of the Staples High School orchestra for “not being serious.” His band, The Loved Ones, opened for the Rascals at Staples.

Jackson majored in drama at Ithaca College. He went on to play drums in several bands (and open for Bruce Springsteen).

He toured with Tom Rush and LaVern Baker, and recorded often. His ’60s band — The Band That Time Forgot — has performed for over 30 years.

Jackson earned a master’s in education, and taught film history and production. He’s making a film about Westport poet and author Joan Walsh Anglund.

Joan Walsh Anglund and Tim Jackson. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

He’s acted in enough plays, films and commercials to get — and keep — his SAG and AFTRA cards. “I’ve been in nothing you’ve ever heard of,” he says.

But you’ve heard of his latest gig. “Chappaquiddick” opened a couple of days ago. The movie explores the 1969 story of Ted Kennedy. The Massachusetts senator drove his car off a narrow bridge on an island off Martha’s Vineyard, killing Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old former campaign worker of his slain brother Bobby, with whom he had been partying all night.

Jackson plays Kopechne’s father, Joe. He’s seen at her funeral; dismissing Kennedy’s cousin and confidante Joe Gargan, in order to talk to the senator; and watching Kennedy’s nationally televised speech a few days after the accident.

Tim Jackson (center) and his screen wife at their daughter Mary Jo Kopechne’s funeral, in “Chappaquiddick.” He says he got the role because of his “mournful countenance.” (Photo courtesy of Dennis Jackson)

“I spent all day watching a fake TV, looking depressed with the woman who plays my wife,” Jackson says about that scene.

All afternoon he puffed on a cigarette that emitted plenty of smoke (but had no tobacco). He prepared by channeling his mother, a chain smoker. The cameraman wore a gas mask.

Director John Curran’s former art teacher was cast as Kopechne’s neighbor. He and his screen “wife” deliver a casserole to the Kopechnes, who shoo them away. The teacher was nervous, but Jackson — a longtime drama teacher — reassured him: “Don’t act. Just be the neighbors.”

Tim Jackson (2nd from right), and (right) his movie wife, Gwen Kopechne. The couple on the left play the Kopechnes’ neighbors in “Chappaquiddick.”

Jackson calls the film “a dark comedy of manners. It’s not absolutely accusatory about Kennedy’s criminal act. It just shows him in a situation that raises a lot of questions, in a family with a lot of questionable dealings. It doesn’t go for the jugular. It’s ambivalent.”

One of Jackson’s previous roles was in “Unsolved Mysteries.”

Sounds like a perfect description of “Chappaquiddick” — the movie, and the real life story.

(Jackson shares many more insights about the film on the Arts Fuse blog. Hat tip: Peter Gambaccini)

Tim Jackson’s Film: Joan Walsh Anglund’s Life

In 1958, Joan Walsh Anglund and her husband Bob moved to a 1750s home on Kings Highway South. The young mother began writing, and drawing small books.

Without her knowledge, Bob submitted one of her works to Harcourt Brace. “A Friend is Someone Who Likes You” soon became enormously popular.

For the rest of her life, Anglund wrote at home. Her children’s books and poetry sold over 45 million copies worldwide. Meanwhile, she raised 2 kids: Joy and Todd.

Tim Jackson dated Joy while both were at Staples High School. Her parents became big influences on his life. Bob was “the man of a thousand great stories and impressions.” Joan was “the steady voice of inspiration and reason.”

Their home was a place where everyone talked, laughed and tried to figure out life.

Joan Walsh Anglund and her husband Bob. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

In college in 1969, Tim introduced the Anglunds to his new girlfriend, Suzanne. Sixteen years later, they were still together. Joan asked if they were going to have kids.

When Tim said “probably, eventually,” Joan replied, “Well, it only takes one day to have a baby.”

Ten months later the Jacksons’ first son, Max, was born. He turned 33 this month.

Right now, Max is composing music for a film Tim is making. “Joan Walsh Anglund: Life in Story and Poem” is a tribute to thee 92-year-old best-selling author/illustrator.

It’s narrated through a series of first-person oral histories, accompanied by her art and unpublished poetry.

It also describes her own story of tragedy and triumph — one that has never before been told.

Joan Walsh Anglund and Tim Jackson. (Photo/Emily Anglund)

Jackson has had quite a life himself. He sat behind the Nixon daughters when the Beatles appeared on “Ed Sullivan” in 1964 — an event that launched his musical career.

He got kicked out of the Staples orchestra for “not being serious.” His band, The Loved Ones, opened for the Rascals at Staples (and provided the sound system the Yardbirds used there).

Jackson majored in drama at Ithaca College (and eventually left, drawn away by Rob Carlson’s Benefit Street band). He went on to play drums in several bands (and open for Bruce Springsteen).

He toured with Tom Rush, LaVern Baker and others, and recorded often. His ’60s band — The Band That Time Forgot — has performed for over 30 years.

Jackson acted (he’s Joe Kopechne in “Chappaquiddick,” due for release next month), earned a master’s in education, and taught for 20 years (mostly film history and production).

Whil teaching, he made 4 documentary films. “When Things Go Wrong” — about Robin Lane — won Best Documentary at the New Jersey International Film Festival. (He was in her group The Chartbusters, the 11th band to be broadcast on MTV.)

The Joan Walsh Anglund film focuses on a woman who, like Lane, is strong, capable, and enriches lives through the arts.

A Joan Walsh Anglund drawing. (Photo courtesy of JWA Archives)

Jackson’s documentary uses storytelling, illustration, animation, poems, music and rare home movies to convey her eccentric upbringing, 3 childhood tragedies, 6o-year romance with Bob, and unexpected success.

“Our world is in turmoil,” Jackson says. “We need stories of personal triumph and celebration.”

He hopes to appeal to Anglund’s worldwide fan base (which included, in its heyday, Eleanor Roosevelt and Queen Elizabeth).

“This oral history honors the wisdom of age,” he notes. “It will encourage people to tell their own stories.”

It could also spur the publication of many short poems she wrote — only a fraction of which he includes.

Next year, Houghton Mifflin releases a special 60th anniversary edition of her first book. It will coincide with the completion of Jackson’s film.

He’s got a unique Westport perspective on Joan Walsh Anglund’s life. And now he’s ready to share it with the world.

(Tim Jackson is raising funds for his editor, composer, animator, Photoshop artist and a producer’s honorarium. He also needs to pay for stock footage and post-production, including color correction and sound editing. All contributors receive screen credit. To help, and for more information, click here.)


Happy 90th, Joan Walsh Anglund!

Damn! “06880” missed Joan Walsh Anglund’s 90th birthday by a day.

I’m sure she’d have something wise, clever — and very, very soothing — to say about that.

The poet/author/illustrator — who spent many years in Westport, and raised her children here — wrote over 120 children’s and inspirational books. They’ve sold more than 50 million copies, and been translated into 17 languages.

Joan Walsh Anglund quote

Among her most famous quotes:

  • Do not be sad that you have suffered. Be glad that you have lived.
  • Life is in the living. Love is in the giving.
  • Where is the yesterday that worried us so?

Wikipedia says that last year, a US Postal Service stamp commemorating Maya Angelou contained Anglund’s quote “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song” — seemingly tying it to Angelou.

That’s not the first time. President Obama wrongly attributed the sentence to Angelou when he presented the 2013 National Medal of Arts and Humanities to her.

“I hope it’s successful,” Anglund said of the stamp when it was issued.

In the 1960s and early ’70s, Staples High School principal James Calkins — who spoke often of the importance of love — frequently quoted Anglund to the student body.

"Do You Love Someone?" -- one of Joan Walsh Anglund's many illustrated books.

“Do You Love Someone?” — one of Joan Walsh Anglund’s many illustrated books.

When Calkins left Staples, Anglund’s daughter — a student there — thanked him using her mother’s words: “I did not hear the words you said. Instead, I heard the love.”

A website dedicated to Anglund lists a few of her famous fans: Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth, Cary Grant, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Ethel Kennedy, Carol Burnett, Helen Hayes, Phyllis Diller, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Rosemary Clooney, Shirley Jones, the Emperor of Japan and Elizabeth Taylor.

And, it adds helpfully, “etc.”

“06880”  joins Joan Walsh Anglund’s many admirers — in Westport, and the world — in saying: “Happy 90th birthday!”

Or, to quote herself: “A (person’s) health can be judged by which he takes two at a time: pills or stairs.”


Tim Jackson, The Beatles, And The Nixon Girls

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, here’s one more Beatles-50th-anniversary-with-a-Westport-twist tale.

Today, Tim Jackson is an assistant professor at the New England Institute of Art’s digital film and video department. He’s a musician, actor and film director.

But on Sunday, February 9, 1964 he was a 14-year-old taking the train from Westport to New York, to watch this new, wildly popular British band perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Tim got his tickets from the father of his best friend’s girlfriend, who was in advertising. “While hysteria was in the air, and lots of jealousy among our classmates, it didn’t actually dawn on us until decades later that we had witnessed a pivotal moment in American culture,” he writes this month in The ArtsFuse, a Boston online magazine.

When Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles to America, it was a really big show. (Photo/The ArtsFuse)

When Ed Sullivan introduced the Beatles to America, it was a really big show. (Photo/The ArtsFuse)

It’s a remarkable story. Tim roams from duck-and-cover drills at Burr Farms Elementary School and an 8mm film he made called ‘The End of the World,” to being kicked out of the Long Lots orchestra for not being serious enough (he was a drummer).

He “barely” remembers the other acts on the Beatles’ “Ed Sullivan Show” — which included the Broadway cast of “Oliver!” with future Monkee Davy Jones (who knew?), singer Tessie O’Shea, the usual Ed Sullivan acrobats, and actor Frank Gorshin (who later moved to Westport).

But he does remember the stage as “vivid shades of blue and black and gray” (and “smaller than our school auditorium”). Ringo “looked precarious on that tiny riser.”

And there, sitting right in front of Tim, were 2 teenage girls, screaming just like all the others. Their names: Julie and Tricia Nixon.

Tim Jackson playing drums with Abraxis, in Ithaca, NY.

Tim Jackson playing drums with Abraxis, in Ithaca, NY.

Tim went on to have more memorable experiences. In 1965 he was at the Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan plugged in his electric guitar. At Staples, his band opened for the Rascals. When the Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page) played Staples, they and the Chain Reaction (with Steve Talerico, who later changed his name to Steve Tyler) used Tim’s band’s sound system.

Over the next 10 years Tim played in bands that opened for BB King, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Iggy and the Stooges, the Chambers Brothers, Aerosmith, J. Geils, Manfred Mann, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat and Grand Funk Railroad.

Tim still plays drums at occasional gigs. Music has influenced his life in countless ways, he says.

And it all started when he bought that ticket to ride a train from Westport to New York, 50 years ago today.

(To read Tim Jackson’s entire story in The ArtsFuse, click here.)

Tim Jackson today.

Tim Jackson today.