March 1970
Words by Alan Arkin
Photographs by Alan Arkin, Mary Ellen Mark, Bob Willoughby


Words by Alan Arkin

Our summer vacation with Catch-22 started in January of '69 and ended in the middle of August. For the first four months we were in a small Mexican town called Guaymas, whose main industry is Guayman shrimp, known the world over, but unavailable in Guaymas. The shrimp we got was imported from some other place that isn't known for shrimp. Apart from this, Guaymas was a pretty dull spot. I went down loaded with family, cameras and all sorts of cultural paraphernalia with which to finally educate myself, but after a couple of weeks I gave it all up and took to staring out the window at a mountain. I did this all day long for months except for hysterical bursts of running to the bathroom, jumping on scorpions and trying to make a phone call. I placed the call on January 6 and finally got through to my party on April 14. By this time, I had not only forgotten what I wanted to talk about, but was unable to speak any English at all, except for a few lines from the script which I had fortunately memorized. This was about it for Mexico, except that every great once in a while they let me work on the movie, which was great fun. Oh yes: one day with a big burst of energy I took a whole roll of pictures. A bird got away with most of the roll, but I was left with five shots, which I humbly present to you.


One day in Rome a terrific-looking brunette showed up on the set with about four cameras slung over her in a very provocative manner, and I chortled to myself, knowing that good photographers keep their cameras hidden, don't use more than one, and never look that good. Then she pulled out a series of stills she had done on Fellini's Satyricon, and they were the best black and white pictures I had ever seen. Her name is Mary Ellen Mark, and this is some of her work.

Here is Art Garfunkel looking like he doesn’t know Mary Ellen. This is four months after the shot I took where he doesn’t know me. By this time I don’t think he knew anybody.

Some of our girls in Rome. They all have hearts of gold.

Here is sweet Buck with his mustache gone, caught by a hidden camera with Jon Voight's dress dummy. He was court‑martialed by the teamsters and banished from the softball games.

This starlet was doing all right for herself until Mary Ellen came by. Now the boys have switched to Mary Ellen and the starlet is miffed. Mary Ellen is getting some play from the fellow on the right, eh?

Me and my youngest, Tony, with the oldest, Adam, looking on. Adam is twelve, but the uniform fit so he got drafted for the day. I don't know who the girl is, and I'll swear to that in any court of law.