(This Op-Ed by yours truly, appears in Florida Today, 20 October 2019, under title “I Got The News Families of Addicts Fear.”)


In 1972, a flower-child, divorced mother of a 12-year-old named Bennett introduced her son to marijuana. Pot use had been common in the household, so she said to Bennett, “Here. Try this. You don’t have to do this behind my back.”

So he did. Not only that, he found her secret stash in a closet and brought a pocketful to school, which turned out as a lucrative endeavor, hoisting his status to a seventh-grade drug dealer.

Not only did his mother ignorantly and wrongfully teach him that drugs were harmless, the subliminal message was worse, as he wondered why the one person who is supposed to protect her child from wrongdoing, actually encouraged it. So he wondered: Why doesn’t my mom love me?

Fast forward to age 18. After several episodes of runaway behavior, minor crimes and shifting residences with his single father, Bennett began showing signs of mental problems. A prominent psychiatrist diagnosed him as “manic-depressive,” which entitled Bennett to Social Security disability income from the government. Bennett spent three months in a treatment center

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“JUDY” – 9 out of 10

     In a word:  Depressing


     I can see it coming …“And the Oscar goes to – Renee’ Zellweger”…

     She carried the entire movie. Zellweger wasn’t just playing the role of Judy Garland, she WAS Judy Garland. This is a one-woman show in which the now-deceased actress/singer was the complete center of attention in nearly every scene. Without doubt one of the best female performances in Hollywood history. When the movie ended and the credits were rolling on the screen, audience members remained glued to their seats, many wiping tears. Students of theater and motion pictures would to do well to see this film, maybe more than once.

     Judy gives us a stark background of the arduous life led by this tiny bundle of talent that most of us, from her era, knew little about. My succinct “in-a-word” label: Depressing, is not attributed to the movie as a whole, but rather a take-away denoting the highs, lows and misery endured in the constant conflicts within Judy Garland’s life.

     Those of us who are old enough to recall Judy Garland’s movies, from Wizard of Oz to the second edition of A Star is Born and more,

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A Frank movie review

“Downton Abbey” –  9 out of 10.

In a word: Exquisite     

     I never watched the TV series (same name), so I bring an independent assessment of this movie untainted by past images, stories and opinions.

     I wasn’t going to see the movie either, as I admittedly pre-judged this film as just another turn of the century British drama, where the elite are stuck-up, condescending, proper and boring.  But a little arm-twisting by my dear wife of 32 years convinced me to acquiesce and give it a try.

     I’m glad I did. This was an extraordinary film with plenty of sub-plots and interesting characters that kept me glued to the story, enhanced by a talented array of class-A thespians such as Dame Maggie Smith, Mathew Goode, Elizabeth McGovern and many more. If you need sex, foul language, violence and guns to spice a story, you’ll learn that good movies can be produced without those elements. Yes, it’s rated PG, a rarity these days.

     Set in early 20th century England, most of the film is centered within on the great Downton mansion amid the sprawling countryside, from which the photography is utterly captivating. The movie offers a

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(This Op-Ed was published in Florida Today, Sept 24, 2019.)


Out of sight, out of mind.

That adage applies to many entities or programs throughout our land. The most visible of professions are public servants who make society a safe place to be. Naturally, we think of police officers, firefighters and military, plus many skilled workers who ensure our power lines are functioning, roads are repaired and pilots are flying airplanes that carry people 2.7 million people daily in the U.S.

They, plus many more, are heroes. They’re out there in plain sight, and greatly appreciated.

There is, sadly, one exception.

The most underappreciated public servants in America are corrections officers or jail guards. Unless we have a significant friend or relative in prison, we rarely give a second thought to one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet. Out of sight, out of mind.

In my 30 years as a Miami-Dade County cop, I often met with corrections officers and wondered how they were able to maintain a positive attitude, managing inmates and coping with the pall of danger from the moment they arrive at work to the minute they finish their shift. I recall many officers

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Born on the 11th of September 1960, during the waning winds of Hurricane Donna in Miami, Bennett Arthur Frank would be 59 years old today. His life, not surprisingly, came to an end earlier this year. He had one lifelong adversary, which in the long run, could not be overcome, despite endless offers of love from family members and all the programs, experts, doctors, counseling, medicines and even a couple short-term incarcerations.

There was not an evil bone in his body. He harmed no one deliberately, but himself. Yes, we all tried to help, we all sacrificed and watched, we all suffered with pity, anger, anxiety and hopelessness. He tried, now and then, to shed the monster, but the monster would forever prevail. Sadly, he lived so deep in the muck, he never realized how much he was truly loved. Finally, we came to learn that he saw love from others as a weakness upon which to prey.

His poetry came from the heart. And, rightfully, his book was published. His poems should be a text book for psychologists, recovering victims and well-meaning family. It’s titled “Black Hole,” his abode, indeed. 

I will forever remember that 9/11 day

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OVERCOMER  –  7 out of 10.

     In a word: Tear-jerker

If you like movies that have lots of action, violence, guns, bombs, racism, sexual references and bad language, DO NOT see this film. There’s none of the above. Ergo, it’s kinda refreshing to see a “clean: movie these days.

     This is a good story with an emotional plot about a small town high school basketball coach who loses most of his student players when a major industrial plant is closed and people have moved to new towns where the local economy is better. Coach John Harrison (played by Alex Kendrick) then meets up with a young girl student, age 15, who shows some interest in long distance running, though she is the only runner remaining from the “team.” Harrison, by necessity, reluctantly accepts the job as running coach.

     Played by Aryn Wright-Thompson, runner Hannah Scott had never known her father which was clearly a void in her life. Now living with her grandmother, she is torn between expectations of her school, her friends, her grandmother and her coach. Struggling with a history of rejection, the movie follows the path of young Hannah and Coach Harrison who becomes her mentor and

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My Stories “Before They Go Untold”

Five years ago, I was contacted by a media/videographer who was interested in my background. She wanted to conduct a 15-minute interview about life as a kid, as a stepson of mobsters, then a career cop/homicide detective, and some of the stories that might be of interest to others. The name of the program was “Before They Got Untold” – with Molly Park. 

Though the video is 5 years old, and with time on my hands waiting for a visitor named Dorian, I thought it might of interest to some of my fans and friends.  So…here is the link:

Marshall Frank, 75, Talks About Becoming a Detective in Miami, FL – YouTube

While I am at it I might as well plug my book of memoirs, “From Violence to Violence”…which chronicles a difficult childhood, living with gangsters, music, police, multiple marriages and kids, and much more. Signed copies are available, just e-mail me at  Books are $15 including shipping.
(Books have had two different publishers….same content)


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