Sharp turns along the journey of life...
Why do fools rush in? And why choose Vegas to roll the love dice? On December 1, 1984, I returned home to Nevada to say my vows. Ten years, three children, and a major motion picture later, "FOOLS RUSH IN" I share those reasons. At my wedding, we waited outside the Hacienda for two hours for our turn to get married. In my Great Aunts 1904 Oaxacan wedding dress, with my stepmother, Linnette Davis and my best friend/maid of honor, Sheila Walsh, (now Pappas), we walked next door to the Hacienda to play a couple hands of Blackjack. I still have the chip I won. Youre probably wondering about the fools that rush in, and why I joined the thousands that take chances on strangers?By Anna Maria Davis
Illustration by Larry Gloege
was fortunate when "FOOLS RUSH IN" was sold to Columbia Pictures. When you are analyzing every decision you ever made, take my advice and stick to traditional therapy.
Its less expensive. Sometimes there is no logic to why we choose to take sharp turns along the journey of life.
Once we made the commitment to get married and move in together, I made one request of Doug. To drive to Las Vegas to meet my family before they found out I was pregnant. I wanted them to see that the father was an all right guy. The scene in "Fools Rush In", where the brothers take Matthew Perry shooting, actually occurred. However I was there, and Doug did not fall into cactus. Years later he said, "Here I was, this Jewish guy from New York who pulls up in front of the home of his future childs grandparents, and there is a very large statue of the Virgin Mary on the lawn surrounded by roses." It made him a little nervous. We raise very bi-religious children. We started integrating our faiths as soon as we made the commitment and got married. In fact, we surprised each other during our first Christmas. He unexpectedly bought me a Christmas tree on the same day I bought him a Menorah.
Life in that first year was very intense. As a high-risk pregnancy, I was bed ridden for three months. So here am I, a young independent woman of the 80s, married to someone I dont know, having to give up working my first job out of college, to lie in a bed reading and watching movies, and totally dependent on a man for the first time in my life. Thats why it took six years to turn the story into a movie. We had to make it a comedy. It teaches you that every situation has a funny side and can still be innocent, if you look hard enough.
My husband had a producers deal at Fox Studios, a block from our first house, and he ran home to bring me lunch everyday. Marina Salvo, a close friend from the Fashion Institute in Los Angeles, where we went to college, would sit with me until Doug returned. What a way to show your new husband that you can hold your own. Ironically, our son Ryan was born on his due-date, the day after Cinco de Mayo, May 6, 1985. Doug was shocked to have a boy, and when he was born he whispered to the nurse, "my daughters got balls." The nurse replied. "No, no, Mr. Draizin, its a boy." You should have seen the relief on his face. I know that doesnt sound like the way the movie was shot, but when working with writer, Katherine Reback, I suggested the Hoover Dam scene. It had always seemed like it would be cool to have a child on top of Hoover Dam at the Arizona-Nevada line. You can imagine how much my crew from the film, "loved me," after having to spend a weeks worth of night shoots on Hoover Dam blocking the traffic crossing the Dam for every shot. Thanks to all the truckers that had to wait as we took our shots for our baby to be born. State Assembly Woman Gene Segerbloom, neighbor and former teacher reminds me that it really couldnt happen. Sorry Mrs. Segerbloom, but thats Hollywood.
We heard a multitude of jokes from family and friends and their opinions on our spontaneous marriage during our first year. Some was hurtful and some helpful, but all of those experiences helped us to set the tone for what we wanted to see come out of our story. So our vision in developing "FOOLS RUSH IN" was aimed at creating a film that was not only entertaining, but also respectful of Latinos, Las Vegas, and most importantly our children and family. It was important that the movie did not create stereotypes. We tried not to depict any one culture as perfect or flawed, as well as show the reactions of the diverse cultures from a non-biased perspective.
The six-year journey to create the story we hoped to depict ended up taking us on a long development process. Guiding us through many a story meeting, press junket, and just everyday conversations with individuals from diverse, professional, economic, racial and gender backgrounds. All of which supported our basic premise that none could be excluded in having walked down that aisle in one of the most glamorous and romantic cities in the world, all with just one illogical, irrational motivationtrue love. Regardless of sincere motivations, often the spontaneous decision to elope creates strong reactions from family and friends. Which is why some doubt the "fantasy," "everything goes," "quick thrill" image of Las Vegas, as truly a respectful destination in making a commitment that should be pure and last a lifetime. Why do so many lovers from all over the world choose Las Vegas as their destination?
Anna Maria and her soon to be husband, Doug Draizin meeting the family for the first time, while going shooting in the desert, Las Vegas.
Anna Maria with Elvis in Las Vegas at a wedding chapel, during the filming of Fools Rush In.
My immediate family was living in the Las Vegas area, except for my brother Antonio, so it wasnt only convenient but kept them from disowning me. Doug was in such shock that he didnt even invite anyone. Looking back all those years, I was either naive or really in Love. I can honestly say over 14 years later, it was a combination of both.
Ultimately the hope of true love is the main reason why people run to Las Vegas to get married. With over 100 wedding chapels on the strip alone, including the convenient drive-up ceremony, you dont even have to get out of your car to make the biggest commitment of your life. With shotgun in hand, half jokingly, my brother Antonio Davis, a Stanford and UCLA graduate, now a spiritual advisor for the Catholic Church and Brock Davis a mortgage broker in Las Vegas, decided to play a little joke on my future husband. They escorted him from his suite at Caesars Palace to the church in my fathers 1952 Chevy truck. Poor Doug, he had no idea if they were for real or just joking.
One last tip on those of you possibly planning a Vegas marriage. You can memorialize your commitment with a photo album that looks like you planned your wedding for months. My in-laws showed our pictures to all of their Florida friends. It looked so respectable we were off the hook for County Courthouse makes it fast and inexpensive to acquire a marriage license. They even sell flowers and rings in the shop next door. Honeymoon suites in all shapes, sizes and prices are available to fit the most infamous celebrity to the conservative couple. Internationally acclaimed restaurants and shows add to the excitement of your honeymoon. Natural wonders such as the Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam, and Grand Canyon only add to your excitement. What more could a couple ask for, except maybe to return annually to celebrate future anniversaries.
Many a small town folk have gambled on love in Las Vegas, hoping to add to the excitement and glamour of the Hollywood couples that have preceded them. Bon Jovi wed his childhood sweetheart. Elizabeth Taylor wed Eddie Fisher. Elvis and Priscilla took their vows, as thousands all over the world cried and watched the fantasy and romance of their Vegas wedding.
Well Las Vegas has it all, romance, convenience, entertainment, the list goes on. Whatever you seek, the entertainment capital of the world offers. So dont be afraid to roll the love dice. Since my divorce Im a little gun shy, but every time I look at my children and think about all of the unique experiences I have had because of it, I wouldnt change anything for the world. Writer Katherine Reback always reminds me that "FOOLS RUSH IN" was my chance to rewrite a portion of my life to fit the fantasy Las Vegas deservesa happy ending. LVN
Authors note: I want to thank Larry Gloege for illustrating this article, and his son, Erik Gloege of Tips, Tour and Management, who represents him. Larry designed and painted work for Disney, such as the Love Bug, and the Disney Train in Disney-land. He is also known for his work in the field of professional auto and boat racing, and most recently, his childrens books. If you would like more information on Mr. Gloege please contact Anna Maria Davis at (702) 868-0203 or email at: Thelatin firstname.lastname@example.org. The Latin Connection is a new organization that Anna Maria has launched for both personal and professional purposes. Anna Maria Davis and Doug Draizin also want you to know that they lived together for nine years. Look for the picture of our home in the Classified section of this magazine. You could own a piece of the romance of the FOOLS RUSH IN story.