Erastus Corning, Polly Noonan: Gillibrand connection

I remember Burt Reynolds first as the “half-breed” Quint on about four dozen episodes of the TV series Gunsmoke.

Falco as Noonan
Edie Falco as Polly Noonan in The True
These are a couple things that are Albany connected, the latter, very tangentially.

The new play “The True”, written by Sharr White, “examines — and hypothesizes about — the affections shared” between long-time Albany, NY mayor Erastus Corning 2nd (d. 1983) and his confidant Dorothea (Polly) Noonan (d. 2003).

There was an article in the local paper, the Times Union, with some relatives and/or friends of the pair complaining that no one had approached them about whether all the facts were correct. As with most movies about famous people and events, I’ve never felt it necessary for the story to be I-dotted, T-crossed factual.

BTW, I didn’t move to Albany in 1979, and Corning who was first elected in 1941, was STILL mayor. The Democratic machine, which still exists in a modified form to this day. Trivia fact: the tallest building between Montreal and New York City is the Corning Tower, the 43-story building on the Empire State Plaza.

“Edie Falco and Michael McKean star in The New Group production of “the True”, which opens September. 20 at the Pershing Square Signature Center in New York City. Falco, for one, didn’t know there really WAS a Polly Noonan.

Noonan’s granddaughter — Kirsten E. Gillibrand, “once a little-known congresswoman from the Capital District — was selected to fill the United States Senate seat held by Hillary Clinton, who had been named Secretary of State.”
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I watched a LOT of Burt Reynolds. I remember him first as the “half-breed” Quint on about four dozen episodes of the TV series Gunsmoke (1962-1965), the detective show Dan August (1970-1972), then a whole bunch of movies when he was box-office champ, usually prompted by Susan, my first significant girlfriend after I first moved to the area in 1978.

We saw Smokey and the Bandit I and II, Rough Cut, Starting Over, Hooper, and the underrated The End. Later, I watched the series Evening Shade (1990-1994) and the movie Boogie Nights (1997), plus a variety of guest appearances. Sally Field, who was in at least four of those films, said that Burt “never leaves my mind.”

Here’s Jerry Reed performing “Eastbound and Down”, from Smokey and the Bandit.

Roger Answers Your Questions, Shooting Parrot, Tom the Mayor, and Rose

Albany is the right size for me.


I’ve been to the blog of Shooting Parrots, and have yet to see any dead or maimed birds. Regardless, he asked:

With most blogs, you get a sense of a life, but not necessarily a sense of place, apart from hints here and there. Could you describe the area where you live, what you like and/or hate about it, its history, the places you like to visit and things you like to do? Pretty much a blank cheque really!

Yikes, this is tough! So open-ended. Well, OK.

Albany is the capital of New York State. One of the things that kinda annoys me about that is that people from other parts of the state say we have to “fix Albany”, when they mean state government. It’s like “fixing Washington”, when referring to the US federal government.

Not that there aren’t things to fix in the city itself. Part of it has to do with bizarre urban planning. There is something generally called the Empire State Plaza, or the South Mall, which was built in the 1960s, apparently as a result of the then-governor, Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, being embarrassed by Albany’s allegedly parochial look when some Dutch royalty was visiting. This involved tearing down dozens of houses, and made the city’s downtown less walkable and vibrant in many ways, though it did provide it with its distinctive skyline. Continue reading “Roger Answers Your Questions, Shooting Parrot, Tom the Mayor, and Rose”