Trying To Understand "The Karen Carpenter Story" Crockudrama Companion

by Adrian "Thee Ace Man" Downing, III


First, my background here.  I was around Karen from September 6, 1978 to June 22, 1979 and from June 12, 15 to the 20th, 1981 and Karen called me on February 3, 1983.  Many times it was just Karen and I and we talked about all kinds of stuff during these times.  The 1978 to 1979 times were when Karen was just looking to get away from others and think things through as others were not making sense and Karen had some personal stuff to think about and try and sort out.  Karen and I became very close as we were a lot alike in our personalities and such.  But through these talks and such that Karen and I had, I got to know Karen very well and she got to know me very well too.  As such, I know when stuff may be messed up and why.  I was around Karen during the beginning of her solo album as well as when Karen had done her therapy as well as knowing Karen's actual medical problems and such too.  Watching the documentaries and such gives information, but is that information accurate?  Karen is not around any more, however, I was very close to Karen and I knew most of her secrets and she knew my secrets as well.  Karen passed away suddenly and she did keep a private diary, however, Karen would make notes and not necessarily explain those notes in her diary.  I have noticed that a lot of writers about Karen (books and movies and such) have got things messed up or are missing things many times (more than I can count).  I am trying to do this overview to help others understand Karen better and more truthfully.  But there are also things that I try not to talk about myself too as I see others take things out of context and such to try and further this story they want to tell.  And that is kind of the problem, the story makers and such.  Fiction.  Drama.  Not truth.  And how is anyone to know what is true or not?  I am the 'Adrian' that is mentioned in Karen's diaries starting in September 1978 (John Adrian was married before September 1978, but leave it to fiction writers...) and I was also Karen's "new manager" story in 1983 just before Karen passed away (honest Phil Ramone was a producer and not a manager but again, leave it to fiction writers to make stuff up or jump to wrong conclusions).  I am working on it (as Karen is not around to speak on her own behalf anymore which is honestly not anyone's fault including Karen herself, but again, leave it to fiction writers.  And leave it to fiction writers to make stuff up and then try and discredit others that are honest.  But when stuff does not make sense, right, fiction, as stories that are made up [fiction] soon fall apart when someone is honest.  Which leads to why these fiction writers keep trying to discredit Richard and Agnes [mom] rather than admit that these fiction writers are making stuff up based on fictional ideas from themselves and those they associate with like Karen {Ichiuji} Ramone and Steven Levenkron and Phil Ramone and...)...  And honestly, if I don't know something, unlike a fiction writer, I can honestly say that I don't know rather than create a mess with making stuff up that makes little to no sense when facts are presented.  So why not try and keep to the facts?  I am a non fiction writer and truthfully sometimes things do not always have an exact answer (but there may be clues or 'facts' to work with), and again, leave it to fiction writers to make stuff up that they hope others will believe...

I think it may be the copy that I have, but this is missing the "dramatized" disclaimer at the beginning.  This is definitely dramatized, but then too it is also a story / movie also.

This starts out with scenes relating to Karen being taken by ambulance to the local hospital, Richard arriving just as Karen was being taken away (probably true here but not sure outside that I know Richard was not at the house when Karen passed out in his walk-in closet at his parents' house on February 4, 1983), and getting Karen to the hospital and the emergency room.

At the hospital, definite fantasy / fiction scene here with a Karen actress roller skating through the hospital hallway to try and set up the next sequence I imagine.

Then the Karen actress on roller skates roller skating up to a moving truck.  "The End of the World" song that is being sung by the Karen actress was actually a number one song in 1963.  The Harold Carpenter family (Harold, Agnes, Richard, Karen and possibly cousin Joan? but thinking Joan may have been married and moved out by the time that the family moved to California, but cousin Joan lived with Harold and Agnes and Richard and Karen for many years as a kind of big sister to Richard and Karen) moved in June 1963 from New Haven Connecticut to Downey California.  The thing is though that Karen didn't actually sing loud like that and she didn't really sing until she was like 14 or 15 and Karen was 13 when they moved from New Haven to Downey.  Minor detail here.  As far as Richard wearing eyeglasses, not always, but yes, more than likely at this time.  When I knew Karen (1978-1979 at first), Karen told me that her brother wore eyeglasses and that sometimes Richard would get picked on and called "four eyes" or some kids would go, "baby talk baby talk, it's a wonder you can walk" and Karen would stick up for her brother as Richard did have a slight lisp at times too.  Richard wasn't a fighter and Karen was a tomboy, so kind of awkward at times I would imagine.  Did Karen actually wear roller skates while they were moving?  My guess would be definitely not.  Also, roller skates back in 1963 had metal wheels and a frame and fit on the bottom of shoes.  I am not sure if Karen even had roller skates as Karen and I didn't talk about that that I can remember.  I do remember Karen saying a couple times that the family did not have that much money back when they lived in Connecticut.  They weren't poor, but they weren't rich either.  I think Karen said she had a lower middle class upbringing.  Definitely a tight budget at times in the Carpenter household while Richard, Karen and Joan were growing up.

The reason for moving comment by mom is not true on the 'superstar' aspect.  Connecticut had cold winters (except 1963 of course) and California had better weather.  Richard was 16 at the time they moved and he was going to be starting his senior year in high school.  Richard did want to go into the music business but New Haven was about 2 hours from New York City with Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden and all that.  There was a music industry in California too, but the weather was probably the most deciding factor here.  Where would you rather live when you got older?  Connecticut with 32 degree weather or California with 60 degree weather in the winter?  There were several factors involved, but the deciding factor was that they did move in June 1963 when Karen was a freshman at 13 and Richard was a senior at 16.  Karen was a little shorter and younger than portrayed here (but understandable with actress situations and child labor laws and such of the day).  I think Karen also said she weighed about 120 pounds when they moved and she was probably a little over 4 foot tall.  I think Karen said at times some kids would call her "Pudge" but not in a mean way, but more as a kind of nickname for her in 1963 as Carlton Fisk of the Red Sox had that nickname later on and Karen loved to play baseball.  Karen also said that she really didn't start developing bosoms until she was about 15 or 16 which was about her junior year, and Karen did mention that she would feel kind of awkward about it at times as most of the other girls were a year older than her during her high school years as Connecticut started school at an earlier age than where they moved to in California.  But not bad so far as the actress is trying to portray Karen as smiling and joking around and such, which Karen was usually smiling and joking around.

As far as the bowling sequence, most families at the time stayed home and didn't hang out at bowling alleys.  It could have been a possible event however and in that case, Richard would know for sure here.  As far as the Karen and friends stuff, they had moved and it took a little while to adjust and meet new people and such.  But also, in Connecticut, Karen and the kids were about the same age and grew up together whereas in California, most of the kids were a year older and Karen was the "new kid" which did make it a little more awkward making new friends at first.  Karen had been used to growing up with kids and wasn't used to meeting new people in a 'strange' land and such.  Karen was also one that didn't like being the center of attention much, so it would be more chatting with kids that sat next to her in class and such instead of being a part of the neighborhood kids where she grew up.  Karen was also the type that was a bit shy sometimes when meeting new people for the first time.  But after Karen met someone, the jokes and wise cracks would start as Karen was the type that just grew on you after you got to know her.  But Karen grew up around the kids she knew in Connecticut and she didn't really know anyone when they moved out to California.  It took a little while for Karen to adjust to her new surroundings and new people after they moved.  But Karen also had her brother around too, so Karen and Richard became even closer after they moved.  Richard and Karen were always best friends with each other.  The 'bowling alley' sequence I don't think was based on anything actual here.  As not 'actual', it most likely did not happen, but a way I guess to comment about the adjusting and such by Karen and Richard at the time they moved.  Dad (Harold) was usually a 'home body' and liked sitting in his chair.  Dad (Harold) also had slow speech, so not impossible here as an event that may have possibly happened, but not very likely to have happened like this.

Then comes the "Downey Talent Contest" and this appears to be fiction as Karen didn't sing by herself at this time.  So most likely this whole sequence is pure fiction here (not even sure if Downey even had a talent contest, truthfully, but if they did, Richard would have competed, but Karen would have probably been in the background somewhere out of sight and out of mind).  As far as a trophy?  I don't remember Karen mentioning anything about something like that to me so I am not sure.  If they did win a talent contest or such and got a trophy, it would have had to have been the year 1965 or later to have Karen singing in it.  Note, it was an actual event and a little bit after Karen had turned 15 (1965?).  1966 would be the "Battle of the Bands" at the Hollywood Bowl.

Made up scene as well about the pizza and such.  The story Karen told me about what happened was that she had developed athlete's foot from gym class at age 11 or 12 and she felt it was from when she took showers after gym class in middle school.  Karen wanted to get out of gym class as she didn't want to aggravate her athlete's feet.  If Karen joined the marching band, Karen could get out of taking gym class (and she wasn't too fond of math or Geometry either).  Karen joined the high school marching band and started out playing the glockenspiel (like chimes).  After a while, Karen met a guy named Frankie Chavez who played the drums and Karen started learning how to play drums too.  But Karen kind of laughed as like she said to me probably around mid November 1978, "My music career started because I had a foot fungus and I was looking for a way to get out of gym class."  Karen didn't start singing really until she was 15 and after Richard had asked her to try singing.  Karen had been in a couple church choirs and such, but nothing by herself.  And as athlete's foot is a bit personal, that information has been hidden from public knowledge (most private knowledge too).  Even to this day most people are still reluctant to discuss athlete's feet publicly.  You know that itching, burning, dry sensation...

The marching band sequence...  Kind of.  I am pretty sure Karen's first actual boyfriend was (kind of but not official) Frankie Chavez and that I believe was around 1964.  Well, actually now I remember Karen talking about this and Frankie was actually Karen's first crush so to speak.  After about two months and the fact that Frankie had a girlfriend, Karen realized that her and Frankie really didn't have much in common outside that they loved playing the drums.  So Karen's crush or puppy love or whatever wore off after about 2 months.  Probably not exact here but fairly close.  Karen would play drums on about anything if given the chance.  As far as accordion and flute?  Karen never mentioned that to me but could have been possible, fairly unlikely though but definitely possible as like I said that Karen told me about her musical career starting because of athlete's foot fungus.  Side, side note here, in the mid 1970s I took piano lessons with Karen's and Richard's cousin Patti Carpenter with Mrs. Kelly.  I was also in school chorus from 1974 until 1977.  My sister played clarinet in the school band.  I remember Karen playing a recorder (small wood type of flute) once and Karen and I did talk about this kind of stuff, but I am still just drawing a blank here on Karen having a flute.  Karen may have mentioned having a flute but maybe not and it may just be lost in my thoughts at this time.  I just don't remember it.  As far as getting Karen a set of drums, that happened and it was just after they had purchased the Baldwin [...sonic?  I can't remember model name here] piano for Richard.  Money was tight but they did get the piano for Richard and a set of drums for Karen shortly after the piano.  And yes, in 1966, the Dick Carpenter Trio won the Battle of the Bands contest at the Hollywood Bowl (you thought it was the Richard Carpenter Trio, didn't you?  Richard was 19 and Karen had just turned sweet 16 when they won the Battle of the Bands in 1966.  Richard usually went by Rich, Richie or Richard but I think Richard thought Dick made him sound older to people at the time.  "Yeah, I'm 22." as Richard might say if he was looking to get a job playing at a bar or such).

Recording studio time.  I think it was Richard, Karen and Wes Jacobs that won the Battle of the Bands in 1966.  After that they had a short recording session with RCA records and cut a small demo that I don't think has ever been released.   Wes played Tuba and bass.  Rock tuba or even jazz tuba didn't seem like something that was going to catch on so they did the short demo and then RCA cut them loose.  Afterwards, Richard knew a local guy named Joe Osburn who had just started his own record label, Magic Lamp, and Joe had let Richard and Karen use Joe's studio to cut some tapes.  A 500 unit pressing of a 45 rpm single was mastered and cut in 1966 but no exposure or publicity or such so that was that.  This was done in 1966 outside the RCA deal and done under Karen Carpenter (not the Dick Carpenter Trio).  Magic Lamp was a small and private label and I believe it folded within a year as without publicity or distribution, sales went nowhere for Magic Lamp.  Karen was 16 so either Harold or Agnes signed the recording contract for that one single.  I am very sure that scene about the recording contract signing is a bit off there as far as the Richard / Karen talk.   But yes, the first release was for "Karen Carpenter" and not "The Carpenters" in 1966.  It was a start but it would be a while from 1966 to 1969 with Richard and Karen using Joe's garage studio here and there between 1966 and 1969 to make demo tapes and such.  Karen did go on a diet for a short while sometime during this between 1966 and 1969, but Karen also had a little growth spurt too around age 16 or 17 I believe which helped a bit (sticky note here as Karen preferred shorts and a T shirt usually when exercising, no biggie though.  Cynthia Gibbs voice is a little high but remember too this is an actress which is fine too.  Cynthia is doing well so far I feel in trying to portray Karen Carpenter as being cheerful and such).  Magic Lamp went bust around 1967 I believe so two years later would be 1969 and when Richard and Karen signed with A&M Records (Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss) in April 1969.  About twenty minutes into this so far and not as bad as I remember this being.  A couple slight fictional scenes, but nothing way out of whack yet with reality.  Karen was known for just going in and doing it in one take in the studio.  Also, personal side note, Karen told me that Herb Alpert liked being thought of like family and Herb would ask Karen to call him, "Uncle Herbie", at times in private.  A&M Records liked thinking of the business and its artists as a big family and Karen said it was like a family atmosphere with A&M Records as everyone tried to look out for each other instead of the 'cutthroat' business mentality of most other places.

Of course, "The Offering" album was made and produced in 1969 and the album made the charts and a single (45, "Ticket To Ride") made a dent on the charts too.  It sold more than 500 copies, but nothing major or big which usually if a first release doesn't do too well, the artists get cut loose.  But this was A&M Records and a family and Jerry and uncle Herbie still had a lot of faith in Richard and Karen.  Enter 1970 and the part about 'a song for a charity' with Burt Bacharach is true.  It was an opportunity for exposure for Karen and Richard and the song "(They Long To Be) Close To You" didn't really stand out to Richard at first.  After playing around with tempos and such, the song started coming around and Richard started noticing that the song had some potential, but it was still either this is going to be a big hit or a huge flop as it was a bit different than what others were doing and what was getting played on radio stations at the time.  The charity event happened and then the album "Close To You" was released and it started selling and getting radio airplay.  The Carpenters were off and running finally.  And as Burt Bacharach has said elsewhere, "I completely missed that" as far as the "Close To You" song.  The lush backing vocals and the accentuated piano playing helped set the Carpenters' sound as it later became known (and was developed during the Joe Osburn then "The Offering" days, but refined a bit too as Richard and Karen were definitely more comfortable in the studio now and Richard liked bringing in different sounding instruments like a coronet or a bugle or an oboe or... during the middle instrument breaks).  And yes, Karen was the drummer until around 1971 when they asked Karen to sing out front and they had another drummer at first for a short while, but by 1972, Carl 'Cubby' O'Brien was the Carpenters live drummer (and one of the original Mousketeers too).  But we haven't got that far yet.

Sherwin Bash around 1970.  Yup.  Then Richard and his mom (Agnes) talking.  Honestly, if anyone had a problem, Agnes was all ears.  Karen always told me how her mom (Agnes) enjoyed trying to help people solve problems after I met and talked with Karen in September 1978 and onwards.  I am not sure if 1970 or 1971 is accurate here though.  But most likely this talk probably happened between Richard and his mom.  I am just not sure of the time frame here.  Also, Richard was not really popping pills at this time steadily or such, but maybe on an occasion but maybe not.  I do know that Karen knew of Richard taking pills after Richard had a motorcycle accident in 1973, but I don't think Karen knew about Richard taking pills before 1973 (Karen and I talked about this in early December 1978 before Karen left to do the Bruce Forsyth Show in December 1978).  But yes, there was a lot on Richard's mind and it was difficult to relax (especially with schedules and ideas and such).  And then the TV has the Crocker Bank commercial come on with Paul Williams' and Roger Nichols' version of "We've Only Just Begun" which was definitely not at the same night as mom offering Richard a sleeping pill for the first time, but still it happened.  And for the 'experts' here, yes, I know in this movie that it has the Crocker Bank commercial and the first taking of the sleeping pill at the same time, but this is a movie and not exact here as they have film and time constraints and such so this was run together.  In real life, Richard took a sleeping pill on a different night than the Crocker Bank commercial.  This is a movie and not meant to be exact here.  And someone thinking that because it shows it this way in the movie is the way it happened in real life is not not realizing that they are watching a movie here.  This is a movie and not meant to be exact.  Information is given, but sometimes things are run together to put more information in a shorter time frame.  So to answer that, no, Richard did not take his first sleeping pill while watching the "We've Only Just Begun" Crocker Bank commercial.  This would be someone being anal's (thinking everything is always exact as shown's) fault and not the fault of the movie makers here.  This stuff happened, but... (well, butt is kind of spelled wrong here, but...).  No, Richard didn't call Paul Williams at 2 am that I am aware of in front of his mom while taking a sleeping pill (quaalude) for the first time, yes, all this stuff happened but absotively posolutely mostest likely not at the same time, sheesh...

Then the #7 scene here and 'chubby sister' comment from Billboard?  Really?  Yes, scenes and information run together again.  We are about 28 minutes into an hour and 28 minute movie here.  There is only about an hour left.  Condense as there is a lot more stuff to look into yet and time is running shorter here as each minute of movie means less time remaining before the movie ends.  Lake Tahoe in Nevada in 1970.  Manager Sherwin Bash has the Carpenters doing concerts now.  Nice, now we see a poster for the album, "Made in America".  Oops.  1970?  Rehearsal scene after that.  Ok all you 'anal' people, butt... (oops, I spelled but wrong again didn't I?  But yes, the Made in America album cover was done in 1970 and not 1981 as I saw it that way in "The Karen Carpenter Story" movie.  It must be true.  No one that ever makes a movie ever makes a mistake, ever.  Just ask the anal people.  Anal butt true here [dang but spelling again.  Why can't I ever get that right?  What is my analogy of this situation with anal people where everything has to be exact?  It is a good thing that I am sitting while typing this or the anal people would probably have a field day with me over this]).

The moving Karen up front scene.  Not an actual recreation here but happened between 1971 and 1972.  Cubby was brought in in 1972 to play drums but there was a guy before Cubby but I can't remember his name now, Jim Squeglia?.  But it was after the Carpenters album (tan album or their 3rd album) was released.  The original agreement was that Karen would only come out front to do the ballad and slow numbers, but the rest of the numbers Karen would do from behind the drums.  In 1972, Karen was moved completely (except for a drum segment during the show) out from behind the drums.  Did Karen want to do this?  Nope, but she understood and did it because of the audience and "the show must go on".  Karen was not one that liked being the center of attention and it wasn't so much playing the drums as it was Karen not wanting the attention placed on her.  Technical notes, Karen didn't sing Superstar from behind the drums.  I am also not sure about Karen having an exercise bike either, but she more than likely did have one.  As far as the eating scenes, the tour schedule started catching up to everyone in the band, not just Karen, around mid to late 1974.  Around September 1975 was when Karen ended up in the hospital and the remaining shows for 1975 for the Carpenters were cancelled.  Note too, Karen was not dieting or such much before 1974 or 1975.  Karen would diet a little, but the 1974 and 1975 tour schedule was what caused Karen's 1975 hospital stay and the whole band had been having problems with eating and such during that tour as it always seemed to be rushing from one place to another with little sleep and not much time to eat scheduled in.  As far as I know here, they are up to about 1971 or 1972 here, but maybe a jump in time as the movie is getting farther along.  Karen did do the Stillman diet when she was younger, but really the tour schedule in 1974 and 1975 was a bit much for everyone involved.  In 1975, Sherwin Bash was removed as manager and Jerry Weintraub became the manager.  Jerry was more oriented towards television and such unlike Bash who was more of a rock band and tour type manager.  Karen and Richard were looking more into possible TV exposure and such and moving away from concerts and such.  Records were the primary income and you could reach a larger audience with TV over concerts.  So it wasn't a "you did a bad job" type problem but more of a desire to change direction for the band which was why Jerry Weintraub was brought in and Sherwin Bash let go.  And yes, Randi Bash (Sherwin's daughter) was Richard's girlfriend for a bit, but that wasn't a factor either.  Jerry was a TV promotion type manager whereas Sherwin was a concert type promoter.  Different arenas so to speak.  But yeah, that kitchen table scene there is dramatized a bit.  Karen didn't know about Richard taking any pills until Richard's motorcycle accident in 1973.  So Karen bringing up Richard not sleeping and pills and such at the kitchen table is false there.  This scene at the kitchen table where they talk about dieting and taking pills is made up and fictional.  Not sure what time frame they are trying to be at here but I am guessing that they should be moving towards the 1975 time period.  Note too, 1972, Karen was front only and not behind the drums any more.  Karen would do a short drum solo bit during the performances, but Karen sang front and center and Cubby played drums on stage from 1972 and onwards.  A Song for You was released in 1972.  As noted, some 1975 and such stuff mixed up in here during this.  There wasn't any concern about Karen dieting before 1975 just as Karen didn't know about Richard taking pills until after Richard had a motorcycle accident in 1973.  Some stuff here out of time sequence.  The hotel room sequence is starting to get into the fiction department here.  That hotel room sequence definitely did not happen and most of the talking in that sequence didn't happen either like that.  Also, Karen was a TV junkie.  Then the hotel room fades out and.

Summer 1974.  Richard had his motorcycle accident in 1973 and had both wrists in casts and one leg in a cast.  This was during the recording of the Now & Then album in 1973 and the touring started with Richard still having a cast on his wrist but the shows went on.  Summer 1974?  This was after Now & Then and The Singles 1969 - 73 releases and before Horizon.  A bit of touring during the summer of 1974 and things were getting fairly hectic during this tour.  Will have to try and see where this might be heading here.  But it was more the touring schedule and not dieting that had Karen collapsing in September 1975.  Definite made up scenes here.  Peter Howard?  In 1971 and or 1972 Karen had a boyfriend named Nicky Chinn and Karen and him broke up.  Nicky and Mike Chapman were the writing duo that came up with "Little Willie" and "Ballroom Blitz" for the band The Sweet and Nicky also produced The Sweet.  Karen and Nicky broke up around 1972 and then around 1973 Karen met a guy named Mike Curb (who had a sister named Carole) and Karen and Mike were together for a little while from 1973 to maybe 1974.  After Karen and Mike broke up I believe Karen went back with Nicky Chinn and of course Karen and Nicky broke up again.  Karen referred to Nicky as Mister Know-It-All and he was the only guy that Karen broke up with twice (1972 and either 1974 or 1975, twice).  I don't remember hearing about a Peter Howard, but who knows but does sound like a substitute here for Mike Curb.  Yes, Richard and Randi Bash were a couple for a while, but I knew Karen not Richard and Karen really didn't talk to me too much about Richard's love life or lack thereof or whatever.  Karen and I did talk a bit about some stuff like Tony Danza and Mister Know-It-All, I mean Nicky Chinn and Steve Martin and such, but we didn't talk in detail about Karen's love life (or lack thereof) either, but Karen and I did talk a little.  But anyway, the Peter Howard scene I guess one of those "I'll have to take your word for it" type deals.  Karen really was touring or recording most of the time so a long-lasting relationship wasn't going to work for her or Richard.  They each did try, but with gold diggers and people living in foreign countries and such, it wasn't much for 'settling down' for Karen or Richard.  As Karen told me in 1979, "...foam and rubbers as there are enough gold diggers in the world as it is and we don't need any more."  And since they brought this up, some stuff about Karen's boyfriends over the years here (Karen was definitely a lonely clown and was a little girl blue and had definitely said goodbye to love and while we're at it is anyone interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge?)  Anyway,
note, looking at Karen's time line of boyfriends, Mark Harmon (acquaintance?), Bill Hudson (acquaintance?), Nicky Chinn (1971-1972? and 1974 / 1975?), Alan Osmond (1973), Mike Curb (1973 - 1974), Terry Ellis (1975), Tony Danza (1975?), John Adrian (1976 - 1977), Steve Martin (1977), Tom Bahler (1979), Thomas Burris (1980 - 1983), and probably a couple others here (I know the names of three others at least between the 1978 and 1982 time frame, but not listing for personal reasons here, I will also mention that people keep mentioning David Alley, but I'm not sure on that as I don't remember Karen mentioning him to me.  I am sure there are at least three others that Karen did have sex and / or a relationship with that I know of not listed here between 1978 and 1982), Karen also told me stories of Alan Osmond, Nicky Chinn, Terry Ellis, Tony Danza, John Adrian, Steve Martin, Tom Bahler, Thomas Burris and I did meet Thomas Burris in June 1981.  Peter Howard would be in the Mike Curb, Nicky Chinn number 2, Terry Ellis, Tony Danza era I guess if true here.  So anyway, yeah Karen and Richard had a house together and it could be a bit awkward with bringing people around.  Karen never mentioned anything like this scene happening, but I can't say it did or did not.  I do know that after Richard started seeing Randi Bash, that Karen moved back in with her parents around 1974 after Richard started bringing Randi over to their house.  So Pete Howard I guess would be between Mike Curb and Terry Ellis here.  Karen did date a guy that had another girlfriend once and that was a mess which is why I don't list that guy here but he is one of the unmentionables (he was 1978 - 1979) and the other two unmentionables above were around Thomas Burris, one in 1981 and another in 1982.  So anyway, that scene in the movie between Richard and Karen.  Karen did move out and back with her parents.  As far as the forgetting and pills talk, not likely then.

But so far it is starting to get into more serious stuff and the scenes are starting to get fictional now.  How fictional, not totally sure here, but just some stuff is not making sense here and there.  The condo, Avenue of the Stars, was around late 1979, early 1980 I believe.  1974 or 1975?  Time line is very messy here now and Lucy which would have to be before 1975 as Sherwin Bash was let go in 1975 and his assistant went with him which would be Lucy's husband?  Note too, the box of pills scene here, total fiction.  Laxatives yes and maybe an aspirin or Midol or Pamprin, but Richard took pills not Karen.  X-LAX was little chocolate squares and not a pill.  A box full of pills here from Karen's mom?  Really?  Not even close to reality here.  Never happened.  Not even a small box.  Karen kept her stuff in her purse except for a bottle of Midol, Pamprin or aspirin.  Karen's medicine cabinet had an aspirin bottle, Pamprin or Midol bottle, false eye lashes, mascara, dental floss, toothpaste, shaving razors for her legs, eyebrow tweezers, bandages of various sizes but not any prescription bottles or such.  Karen was living with her step cousin Wendy B[censored]k from September 1978 to June 1979 and the only prescription bottle there was an old bottle that Wendy used for aspirin as Wendy bought aspirin in bulk and the bulk bottle was too big for the medicine cabinet so Wendy used an old prescription bottle she had for aspirins.  Like I said, this scene is totally false and fiction here.  Note also, yes, if Karen or Richard had EVER thrown a fit like what was shown, they had better have their own place as Agnes did not raise any spoiled brats and fits and emotional outbursts were not tolerated in the Carpenter household by Agnes (mom).  Only about a half hour left here.  Here we go...

The pinching her sides scene with Karen.  The old Special K cereal commercial of "You can't pinch an inch on me".  Did Karen pinch her sides to see if she could pinch an inch?  Not that I remember.  But also, skin is skin and not fat.  And a sidetrack here.  After Karen went in the hospital in 1975 after collapsing on tour in September 1975 (and the rest of the tour was cancelled), Karen was in the hospital and the doctors had diagnosed her with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and Karen's EKG was a complete mess and was never steady.  The tour was cancelled so that the doctors and such could run tests and scans on Karen to see if they could find out what was causing Karen's arrhythmia.  After the scans and tests and such, they could not find anything physically wrong with Karen's heart or her brain.  The doctors asked Karen if she would wish to have a pacemaker installed.  Karen absolutely refused on her grounds that if God gave her a bad heart then Karen felt that she was supposed to have a bad heart and if God wanted Karen to have a good heart that beat steady, Karen would have a good heart that beat steady.  Nothing was found wrong with her heart or such, but Karen was very adamant about not being kept alive by a machine.  No pacemaker.  It had nothing to do with electronic microphones possibly causing interference or such or anything like that but it was Karen's firm belief that if God wanted her heart to beat steady, it would beat steady.  Even the "well maybe this is God trying to give you a chance to correct this problem" could change Karen's mind.  Karen was NOT going to have a pacemaker and be kept alive by a machine.  That was that.  And why wasn't this made public?  I think that others forgot about this as people started focusing on anorexia in 1977 and later and except for Karen (and me in 1979 when I saw Karen hooked up to an EKG in a local hospital) I think everyone else kept focusing on Karen's anorexia and forgot about Karen's separate arrhythmia diagnosis in 1975 and 1977.  The two were not related actually as doctors felt the arrhythmia had probably been with Karen since birth as Karen had been born premature at about 5 pounds.  But the EKG machine sounded like a game of Pong and the machine never beat steady the entire time I was there.  Karen honestly did not take prescription medications or such.  The arrhythmia was why Karen exercised after 1975 and Karen would also on occasion check her neck or her wrist to check her pulse if Karen had been sitting for a little bit.  Exercising was not a side affect of anorexia for Karen.  Karen exercised after 1975 regularly to try and keep her heart rate up and see if her arrhythmia would go away through exercise.  It never did.  Karen also was reluctant to go to a hospital as any time Karen went to a hospital, they would hook her up to an EKG machine and then keep bothering her about how she needed a pacemaker.  And as far as Karen's therapy and such for anorexia, that was a complete and utter disaster and Karen and I talked in detail about that mess too, but back to the movie here which is about two thirds over now and getting to be a fictional mess now.

Karen collapsed on stage in 1975 and later Karen collapsed in 1977 (not sure if on stage in 1977).  Both times, Karen's heart stopped.  Arrhythmia.  Both 1975 and 1977 Karen went in the hospital and both times doctors bugged her to get a pacemaker installed and Karen refused.  Not sure if they are referring to 1975 or 1977 here in this scene in Las Vegas.  I do know that the anorexia stuff was brought up after 1977 (after Ev Wallace saw an article, I believe July 1976, in Reader's Digest about eating disorders).  But even with the anorexia brought up, in 1975, 1977, mid May 1979 (I was there for this and I don't think Richard or mom knew about this one), September 1982, and finally February 1983 and except for the final time, each time Karen was in the hospital, doctors bugged Karen to get a pacemaker installed and Karen refused all times.  There was also another time when Karen was with Phil and Karen (Ichiuji) Ramone in 1979 and Karen collapsed and an ambulance was called, but Karen refused to be taken to the hospital (and especially Karen did not want Phil or Itchie to know about Karen's arrhythmia and the pacemaker stuff).

The hospital stay, still is this 1975 or 1977?  Anyway, all about gaining weight which Karen was honestly very underweight in both 1975 and 1977.  1975 was due to the extreme schedule of touring but 1977 was probably because of Karen dieting and not as much with the tour schedule (but I am not ruling out touring again).  I know in 1975, none of the band was eating properly as it was just go one place, play the concert, maybe rest a little and then off to the next place.  No real time set aside to eat and such during the 1975 tour and it wasn't just Karen but the other band members and Richard were all a bit thinner.  Karen happened to be the one that collapsed first in 1975.  Sherwin Bash was let go and Jerry Weintraub was brought in in 1975.  And yes, Richard and mom and dad did all see Karen in the hospital in 1975.  I am not sure about 1977 however.  I am almost positive that they were all there in 1977 but I can't verify that.  As far as the hospital scene, kind of bogus there.  Karen was kept over for a bunch of scans and tests and such in 1975 (Japan then Europe) and the tests didn't turn up anything outside of Karen's heart not beating in rhythm at all.  1977, same only I don't believe there weren't the Japan then Europe in the 1977 cancels.

Then we skip to September 1978 (which would be probably September 3, 1978 as I first met Karen on September 6, 1978 in New York State but not the city).  I know most of the stuff from this era including the secret stuff too.  Um, Richard falling down.  OK, I thought that was in December 1978 according to something else, but I am figuring that happened in September 1978 as Richard had cancelled the shows after September 3, 1978 and then Karen did a disappearing act on Richard and mom and dad.  Karen started living with her step cousin Wendy B[censored]k on or around September 4, 1978 and Richard and them found Karen through the family grapevine in either late September or early October 1978.  I actually first knew Karen as Miss B[censored]k until around mid October 1978.  After the problems in 1975 and 1977, Karen wanted to have a break for a bit and sort all that had gone on since 1975.  So Karen disappeared not because she felt treated badly as Karen didn't feel controlled or any of that.  Karen disappeared because she had an idea and wanted to try something different for a little bit and see if maybe that might help with all the arrhythmia and anorexia mess.  Some place "off the radar" and away from the press and all that.  So Karen stayed with her step cousin Wendy out in the middle of nowhere New York State with a few people around but kind of a new start or such.  You know that mid life crisis type thought of "am I really doing what I feel the need to be doing with my life?" type thing.

I believe the Topeka Kansas meeting for admiitting Richard into the clinic happened on December 12, 1978 and I know Richard started the clinic on January 10, 1979.  Like stated, a 6 week program for drug dependency.  Another thing.  I have heard elsewhere that I believe Richard went back in the clinic around June 1979, but I have never heard anything definite on that, so may be just a rumor as I know I saw Richard with Karen in mid May 1979 and I saw pictures of Richard, Karen, Olivia and the Bee Gees from early July 1979, so if Richard did go back in June 1979, it had to have been only a short stay and not another 6 weeks.  But yes, Karen and Richard were together for Richard checking into the Topeka Kansas clinic.  As far as the check in scene itself, Richard checked in and it doesn't need to be perfect word for word really, just the general idea that Richard admitted himself into a drug rehab.  Um, that solo album stuff is totally fictional.  The solo album wasn't thought of until around late March or early April 1979 and the first producer thought of for the solo album was actually Eddie Kramer.  Eddie Kramer was the one who recommended Phil Ramone to Karen.  I was actually in the room with Eddie and Karen when this meeting took place.  The argument or disagreement or whatever mentioned in Karen's diaries for January 1979 was because Paul Williams had brought Karen's new recording contract in mid October 1978 to Karen and Karen didn't sign the new contract so Jerry Weintraub brought the new contract out to New York State and Karen signed it finally in January 1979.  Richard was pretty upset as that was important and why didn't Karen sign that back in October 1978 and what was Karen doing that she forgot all about that important paperwork and did Karen need to go back home where she could be kept an eye on and...  And Karen, "Oops, I just forgot, I'm sorry."  BIG argument or confrontation or whatever as Richard had a reason to be upset and Karen agreed that Richard had a reason to be upset about Karen not immediately signing her new recording contract.  But Karen was also hesitant as the new contract had a recording a new album clause and with Richard saying "I quit" on September 3, 1978 Karen was a bit worried about that album clause in the new contract.  I was around and I know that at no time were Richard or mom (Agnes) ever against Karen doing a solo album and that the solo album wasn't even thought of until late March or early April 1979.  Wait a minute, in arguments or confrontations or whatever aren't people supposed to disagree with each other?  Leave it to Karen and Richard to bend the rules a little (oh wait, Karen actually as Richard was usually a stckler for following rules and Karen was usually the one to bend the rules passed the breaking point if possible).  And while they brought this up, only two people knew the stories about how Karen's solo album came about and I was one of those two (Karen being the other).  So...

The actual start of Karen's solo album (non fiction version, late March, early April 1979)

In the beginning there were 7 people that knew about Karen doing a solo album.  Those 7 people in order of knowing were Jerry Weintraub, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Karen Carpenter, step cousin Wendy B------k, me, Richard Carpenter.  Agnes Carpenter found out that Karen and Richard had an argument which was how Agnes (mom) became number 8.  Then Eddie Kramer became number 9. 

Karen and Richard were both wanting to take time off from the music biz but what good is a manager "twiddling his thumbs" with nothing to manage?  Weintraub came up with an idea for Karen doing a solo album and he presented the idea to Alpert and Moss (as the Carpenters were A & M's biggest sellers and A & M was looking for more product to sell and not 'time off').  Alpert and Moss were OK with it as it would possibly be more product and more money for A & M.  So Jerry Weintraub mentioned it to Karen and Karen said NO!!!

And cousin Wendy and then I got an earful.  Karen wanted time off and Karen was busy doing something not music related and Karen was living in New York State (not the city) with her cousin Wendy and working weekdays with a couple week long vacations while staying with her cousin and working on her arrhythmia and anorexia problems.  Karen was not wanting to go back to work before her 7 to 3 job ended on June 22, 1979.  Karen said NO!!! to Jerry, Jerry, and Herb. 

Jerry, Jerry and Herb next approached Richard and Richard and Karen had an argument and Karen said NO!!! yet again and why should Karen give up her time off and why didn't Richard do a solo album or greatest hits album or such and why did it have to be on Karen's shoulders?  Why did Karen have to sacrifice her time off especially since Karen was the one who sacrificed with the Bruce Forsyth show and such. 

Karen was livid and fuming.  Mom found out that her son and daughter were having an argument and intervened.  Richard was out getting groceries one day and mom called Karen up at Karen's work and mom had a talk with Karen about what was going on.  I was in the room with Karen, so I heard this call.  Anyway, mom asked Karen to do this as a favor for her brother ("whatever it was" as mom put it) and that mom would make sure that any favor that Karen asked for in return would be granted from Richard. 

Mom told Karen that Richard wanted time off as Richard had just started seeing Mary Rudolph and that was all it took for Karen to agree to do 'her' solo album.  Karen was tired of her brother meeting all these "gold diggers" and Mary was an adopted cousin (not blood relation) and not a gold digger.  Karen LOVED playing match maker.  So Karen jumped on board for her solo album and the primary favor Karen asked for was that she finish her job until June 22, 1979. 

The finishing job favor was kept (there was a problem in mid May 1979 and the favor was kept as Richard intervened and Richard got to meet me, the reason why Karen was wanting to finish her job.  And Richard also kept me a secret as me was 14 years old at the time and Karen and I were spending time together but Karen and I had also agreed that we would wait till I got older as my age was a bit of a legal problem so Karen and I had a rule of no physical touching.  And imagine the mess if the press got a hold of Karen around a 14 year old and Richard with his adopted first cousin.  Yes, goody four shoes had some possible publicity problems at this time).  I was around Karen and Karen was in the local hospital on one day, but that was the only day she missed on her job and Karen finished working that job on June 22, 1979. 

The other favors were between Karen and Richard (and the "we split the cost" favor was brought up between Karen and Richard a couple times and the end decision was between Karen and Richard themselves, but Richard was asked to pay half as it was only fair since Richard was the one that wanted time off to be with Mary, but Karen was almost to the point of "why don't you pay all of it Richard since you want the time off so bad?" but I am pretty sure Karen did stick with half as "that was fair" but Karen would write the check and Richard would put half of that amount in Karen's account [shhh]). 

Then they contacted Eddie Kramer...  (And I was there when Eddie Kramer came out to New York State and talked with Karen and asked Karen to try someone else as Eddie was used to artists that did their own material and Eddie would feel like a "fish out of water" just like Karen would be a "fish out of water" without her brother and Eddie mentioned that he usually inspired his artists to write their own material with the "raison d'etre" [reason of being, purpose] speech which was where Karen had the melody of "I wanna uh with you, uh, uh, uh, uh" pop into her head which later Rod Temperton and Karen turned into the "Rock with You" song in May 1979).  Eddie was the one who recommended Phil Ramone as a producer.

So anyway, that argument scene at the clinic, nope, fiction.  Kind of.  Richard did get help and actually Karen weighed about 106 pounds of muscle when Richard was admitted in Topeka Kansas.  Karen was doing better and Richard was working on getting better.  That's the truth on that which of course, people keep trying to say that Karen was doing horrible in 1978 and 1979 yet Karen wasn't even around Downey California much and Karen was staying mostly with her step cousin Wendy in the middle of nowhere New York State but try and point that out to fiction writers looking to break this big story they just made up and it gets messy...

Bob May at a fundraiser for Abbott for Senate rally.  Is Bob May supposed to be Thomas Burris here?  Oops, this is like in another universe here.  Holy Cow Plops Batman.  Spok?  Twighlight Zone anyone?  This Masquerade, excellent choice as Karen and her husband Thomas pretty much hid honesty from each other all the time.

Um, really?  That argument about the family talking Karen into getting a divorce is fresh from a conglomerate of fertilizer factories as that amount of bull**** could not possibly come from less than 100 fertilizer factories working together and around the clock for at least 100 years.  Anyway, Karen needed a divorce and her family was honestly behind Karen getting a divorce.  The reasons for Karen and Thomas getting a divorce are NOTHING like what is presented here.  It wasn't just money or that.  There were a whole lot of reasons and actually, in I believe October or November 1981, Thomas walked out on Karen and Karen really didn't want him back either in any way shape or form.  When I saw Karen and Thomas in June 1981, Karen was staying physically distant from Thomas and I can say that Karen did honestly say that Thomas had never physically hit Karen, however, Karen was worried that he might try to hit her so Karen kept her distance from Thomas.  Karen told me the reasons why they were having problems and it was definitely over between them.  When I first saw Karen on June 12, 1981, Karen weighed 94 pounds.  When I last saw Karen around June 20, 1981, Karen weighed about 110 pounds.  Wendy's home cooking again.

Oh boy, New York City, Levenkron clinic.  Karen checked in in January 1982 weighing 78 pounds.  Karen was put in the Lennox Hill Hospital in September 1982 weighing 77 pounds.  Karen (Ichiuji) Ramone recommended this place to Karen as Karen's favorite book was "The Best Little Girl in the World" by Steven Levenkron.  Steven Levenkron ran this clinic named after himself.  I have never heard nothing but piles of bullsh*t come out of this.  Honestly from 78 to 77 pounds in over 8 months, Karen didn't get better here.  And yes, Karen (Ichiuji) Ramone recommended this to Karen so a great friend there, can't you tell?  Lattimer?  Um, OK.  Like Bob May there, the name is apparently hidden and really I can see why you wouldn't want to advertise for Thomas Burris or Mr. Lattimer or whatever here.  Good choice.  Who was Peter Howard in real life anyway?  Oh well.  I almost liked the doctor talk there except for that blurb about control which wasn't accurate.  Karen thought that being straight as a board was what people thought was what a woman should look like.  Karen was a Carpenter woman and Carpenter women were known for having broad shoulders, thin waists and Crisco (fat in the can) or a big bottom.  As stated, Karen was 78 pounds at check in and 77 pounds at check out in Levenkron's clinic.  After Lennox Hill Karen weighed 104 pounds and on the day Karen passed she weighed 108 pounds about three and a half to four months later after staying with her mom and dad.  I liked this as it is correct in not blaming others, but it did miss the mark on the control remark as that was not accurate.  Oh yeah, and Karen definitely did not confide anything with Levenkron.  So that comment about "Karen told me..." was complete fiction as well.  Really, just like always, toss that stuff in the trash about Lattimer / Levenkron whoever.  Yes, Karen did do needlepoint, but she also knitted and crocheted as well.  Note too, I believe the song Now was recorded in April 1982 and was Karen's last recording.

On her last night, Karen and her mom and dad went out and Karen had a salad and then two tacos later.  Karen was on the telephone quite a bit and I was a long call that Karen made on February 3, 1983 around 5 or 6 pm Pacific time (8 or 9 pm Eastern) and about a half hour long phone call.  Like the rest of this, the scenes really were kind of made up and not actual word for word scenes and such.  That was fine, but about two thirds of the way through, this just fell apart.  I feel Cynthia Gibbs did a great job and what she was asked to do but this was a poorly researched story (especially towards the end).  And yes, a story.  This movie ended up to be more fiction than fact unfortunately.

Anyway, for stuff about the Goodbye To Love Crockumentary feel free to go to this page and for what I wrote about Karen and my times together try here .