In Memory

Robert Cassler

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08/27/09 09:38 PM #1    

Deborah Bernick

Robert Cassler passed away from a heart attack about ten years ago -- a tragic loss of a wonderful, creative man.

Bob was the most amazing lyricist - he could make anything rhyme and be set to music. There isn't a Broadway show he didn't know backward and forward, and that he hadn't satirized! We worked together on the scripts for Senior Sing and Senior Show, on songs ranging from 'They're Reviewing My Application (sung to the tune of "I'm Reviewing the Situation") to "The SAT's" (sung to "Necessity") and "Charge!" (a prescient song about credit cards, sung to the tune of "Mame").

Bob was the cleverest person I have ever known, bar none.

In high school, Bob was bubbly, red-headed, effervescent and at the prime of his musical talents and sociability. We had great parties in everyone's basements (no drinking, pot, or sex!) -- with lots of singing around the piano. He then went on to Brandeis, and continued to write plays even after going to Law School at Georgetown. I went to see his first play, about the Magna Carta, performed in Manassus, Virginia; he wrote a second play about Freedom of the Press at the time of the Revolution. He worked at the U.S. Copyright Commission, and continued to do musical revues at his workplace. He even wrote a humorous, prize-winning song about land taxation!

In Summer 1969, Bob designed a huge banner that won ten of us Lewis '68 grads a group award at Shea Stadium, the year the amazin' Mets won the World Series. It went something like this: "I like the Twins, I like the Cards, I even like the Dodgers; I like the Yanks, I like the Reds, but our Hearts Belong to Hodges!) (He meant the Mets manager, Gil Hodges).

Bob came to visit me during my freshman year at Smith College in 1968-69, when he lamented about the lack of co-ed activities at an all-women's college. How did he express his sentiments? He wrote a song! (sung to the tune of "What do the Simple Folk Do?") "What do the girls at Smith do, when with their homework they're through? It seems a bit chaotic, the school is not co-ed; the girls must be psychotic, neurotic, or dead! What if they're none of these three? What kind of girls may they be? When studying has ended, I'd like to know the facts . . . oh what do Smitty girls do . . . to relax?"

I cannot whistle a happy tune without thinking of Bob,. or sit on the #7 train and pass Willets Point/Shea Stadium (now Citifield) without smiling at memories of that dedicated Met fan. He lit up our lives at Lewis and afterward.

In his honor, we hope to post the entire script of the Senior Sing and Senior Show on this website, along with a movie about a satiric, losing basketball game that he, Steve Goode, and Charlie Rosenthal helped write and direct, for the '68 Senior Show.

Thanks for the wit and laughter, Bob. You left us far too soon.

Debbie Bernick

08/30/09 11:53 AM #2    

Penny Gilbert (Powders)

Over the years, I had often thought about Robert and wondered what this intensely talented and creative person was doing. I am in a state of shock since learning of his death. I was at all of those basement parties and will remember him fondly for all the great times at Lewis. (Chattanooga Choo-choo and the Minute Waltz have never been the same).

10/28/09 02:42 AM #3    

Marian Goldstein (Grant)

oh my God! I just learned about it right here, right now!! how sad. I spent the 1988 reunion with him. Some of us stood around the piano and sang while he played. An unbelieveably talented guy. I look forward to seeing any posts of his work. hope where-ever he is, there's a piano.

07/16/17 09:10 AM #4    

Marc Carlin

Yes, Robert had a gift.

I often think of Sing when riding the E train through Eli Ave. (now court/21st St.) . There was a song about how nobody ever gets off or on at Eli Ave.

A funny and talented guy.

I'm happy to hear that he found ways to continue to express his talents.

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