Robert (“Bob”) Mitchell Bassing, born in Rhode Island in 1926, lived with his novelist wife Eileen and her two sons in Ajijic between 1950 and 1954. The Bassings, who had previously been living and working in Hollywood, where Bob had been assistant story editor at Colombia Pictures. In Ajijic, they were early members of Lake Chapala’s Lakeside Theatre and Bob was active in civic affairs. For example he is mentioned in the 13 August 1953 issue of El Informador as one of the two foreigners on the “Junta de Mejoramiento Moral, Cívico y Material” of Ajijic, together with Carlos Moor (= Charles Moore).
Bob Bassing wrote short stories, fiction screenplays, and worked on numerous television projects. As Michael Hargraves has pointed out, “Although none of his [Bob Bassing’s] published works uses Ajijic or the Lake Chapala area as a locale, he nonetheless was influenced by his being there.”
Prior to living in Ajijic, Bassing had worked as a writer for the TV series Studio One in Hollywood (1948). While living in Ajijic, he had a short piece entitled “Lullaby” published in Discovery, No. 2 (New York; Pocket Books, 1953), edited by Vance Bourjaily. Bourjaily had also lived in Ajijic, albeit apparently briefly, during summer 1951.
Published short stories by Bassing include “The Trouble with Arabella” in Woman’s Home Companion, January 1955, and “Summer Evening,” in Mademoiselle, May 1955.
Bassing wrote several screenplays, including that for his wife’s novel Home Before Dark (1958) and for Evil Town (1977), as well as more than 120 scripts for episodes of numerous TV series including The Millionaire (1956), Ford Television Theater (1954-1957), Harbor Command (1958), Assignment: Underwater (1960), National Velvet (1960), My Three Sons (1961) and Shirley Temple’s Storybook (1961).
Bob Bassing also wrote a book, Dr. Hudson’s secret journal: The Denby story (Los Angeles: Authors Playhouse, 1955).
Bob Bassing was the basis for the minor character “Beau Blissing” in Willard Marsh‘s Ajijic-based novel Week with No Friday (1965). Marsh and his wife had earlier been used by Eileen Bassing for two minor characters in her own novel set in Ajijic, Where’s Annie?.
After Ajijic, the Bassings moved back to California. Eileen Bassing passed away in 1977 but Bob Bassing, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is still living in Los Angeles, writing about movies. In 2016, he threatened to sue the Academy for its alleged age discrimination in changing his membership category from active (voting) to emeritus. The change was apparently part of the Academy’s efforts to (finally) become more inclusive.
- Eileen Bassing (1918-1977), author of “Home Before Dark” and “Where’s Annie?”
- “Where’s Annie?” a novel by Eileen Bassing, is set in Ajijic, Chapala, Mexico
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