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Her fourth visit to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society afforded her a chance to relive experiences she had before in the US.
by George C. Alvarez
RECENTLY coming back from her fourth trip to the United States where she filmed GM's Romansa Sa World's Fair, Susan Roces smilingly told the Weekly NATION: "It was really my fourth visit to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, but amizingly I felt like a first-timer. The Great Society is really getting greater and bigger!"
Susan's first three trips to the US were when she represented the Philippines at the San Francisco Festival twice and when she did Sampaguita's Eddie Loves Susie, with Eddie Gutierrez and sister Rosemarie.
"My latest visit afforded me a chance of reliving the experiences I had before when we filmed Eddie Loves Susie. Only this time, it wasn't Eddie with me but Bobby. Still, Bobby was accommodating enough in accompanying me to the places which has already carved a special niche in my heart in the past," she pensively recounted.
"During these memorable scenic jaunts, Bobby and I delved deep into the not-as-yet forgotten yesterdays. And our reminiscing so took us off our feet that we went into a solemn renewal of our friendship. Hearts, you know, have some common bond when they are away from home. -- and this tie that binds is loneliness. Loneliness, it seems, has the supreme power of uniting and even rejuvenating friendships," Susan continued, a friendly smile playing on her lips.
Susan and Bobby were both introduced in Sampaguita's Miss Tilapia nine years ago. According to Susan, both she and Bobby from that time on have become close friends. Their friendship, however, was apparently severed when Bobby bolted Sampaguita.
Really Got Into It
During his absence from the mother studio, Susan still kept in touch with Bobby but not so regularly as when they were still in the same outfit. Since the time she also went freelancing, they have starred in three pictures together: United Brothers' Pag-ibig, Ikaw Ang Maysala; LEA's Bayan Ko, Lumaban Ka; and GM's Romansa.
According to Susan, it was only in Romansa where she and Bobby really got into renewing a close friendship again. "Bobby, of course, is still the same sweet guy I know of yore, But he's a more mature person now," she stated.
"I had one of the greatest time in my life when I participated in the reenactment of our native Sunduan at the World's Fair. Escorted by Bobby, I was one of th town belles, the others being Gemma Cruz Araneta, Louise Aurelio Vail, ad the Miss Philippines of New York for 1965, Dr. Lourdes Ascano," Susan continued on her reminiscences.
Reminiscing further, she told us that the biggest news when they were in the US was the recent successful launching of Gemini-5, the two-man space capsule which carried American astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad for eight days in outer space. There is a huge and detailed replica of the space capsule in the Fair, Susan remembered, and she even posed in front of it, while sister Bennet, who was with her in the GM film, happily clicked away for posterity.
"This latest trip of mine to the US was the most! While we were not busy in front of the cameras, Bobby and I toured scenic spots. At night, we went theater-going or nightclub-hopping. Two of the most enjoyable plays we thoroughly relished were Funny Girl and Golden Boy. Barbra Streisand really sang, danced, and acted her best in the outstanding musicale. I could just imagine that she immersed herself in her role like a lark. And Sammy Davis again proved that he is __ all the raves he has been reaping as one of the world's best entertainers!
"We even went one night to Arthur, the instantly successful discotheque center of Sybil, Richard Burton's wife before the lissome Liz came in. Her new husband, Jordan Christopher, I think, helped a great deal in the discotherie's immediate success with the New York crowd. He's one of the Wild Ones, you know, the singing group which provides thumping music at the place. We failed to see Sybil, though -- and even Carol Channing in her smash stage Hello, Dolly!
"We also went into the Copacabana where we were greeted with a raucous "Mabuhay!" by the crowd which teemed with Filipinos. For the traditional hospitality which was exhibited to us by our fellow Filipinos, I was proud to be a Filipino myself. While I felt the same thing in my first three trips to the US, I felt doubly proud this time!"
Met Madame Chiang
Susan revealed to us that she even met Madame Chiang Kai-shek, whom she succinctly appraised as a "charming lady." She said that she looked at Madame Chiang in awe because of her stature in the world's political and ideological spheres.
"It's just great to be a part of the crowd even if only for once," said Susan. We were ourselves, we 'swam' with the crowd, and we just let ourselves get lost in the massive tide of humanity while we were there -- and we felt great! We really felt great being at the other side of the fence; that is, being the beholder and not the beholden!
"We spent our time, in and out of camera range, undergoing an actual odyssey. It wa an odyssey alright, if we are to consider that I spent most of the time walking. My latest trip in the US was the longest walk I had ever taken in all my life!" Susan summed up.
Even as she is now at the top of the local movie heap, Susan has gone a long walk into life itself, seeking new adventures and searching for new horizons of success.
- The Weekly Nation Magazine, 1965
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