Keeper of memories

Published January 13, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

Before you open the book, my dear, you must park it on a table because it is extremely heavy!

First time I ever got such a warning before turning the pages of a book. The instruction came from Danny Dolor, publisher and author of his down-memory-lane collection of the bits and glitz of Filipino pop culture – music, fashion, movies, stage shows, artistas and stars, star makers and producers, beauty queens and high-society ladies during a chapter of history when civilization was kinder and, what can one say but, more civilized.

Remember When? is the title of the book borrowed from his now defunct Sunday column in Philippine Star. It’s the work of a lifetime, collecting and treasuring memories of a century, but then Mr. Dolor, banker, philanthropist, builder of churches, a papal awardee and promoter of the kundiman musical format, enjoys fulfilling his self-imposed duty as the keeper of our heritage. As I have always warned him, his house is a fire hazard, filled with browned and yellowing newspaper and magazine clippings, old pictures, trunkloads of keepsakes such as advertisements and posters from way back when.

His column started in 1994 under the late Ricky Lo, his editor, and ended last year in May, right about the time Ricky chose to find his own heaven among the real stars of the cosmos. It’s a formidable book containing 465 pages, and if its natural readers are senior citizens who are expected to do most of the fondest remembering, Danny made sure the pages are not text-heavy but eye-friendly, that is, full of pictures, in the hundreds.

Those priceless fotos recording the past reveal a society whose mores and manners are sure to leave a tender bruise — misty tears as well? — on the emotions of today’s septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians, centenarians. The names of those luminaries of yore are too many to mention, even if they may continue to shine in a portion of our collective consciousness. It’s just that mentioning a dozen will mean leaving out 50 or more of them.

With the publication of Remember When? the book, Danny’s readers who identified with a bygone era of celebrities must now wonder, who will pick up where Danny left off in the time of COVID-19?