‘…See What I Hear’: Tom Sullivan’s Story
By Brian Covert
Headlight Feature Writer
To most of the approximately 3,600 South Bay runners who recently took part in the Tom Sullivan St. Patrick’s Day 10-K Run on March 14 in Torrance, there must have been some sparking curiosities (as was the case with this writer) about the identity and background of this character named Tom Sullivan.
Wonder no more. Tom is a successful musician, singer, athlete, husband, father and talk-show celebrity, to name just a few. He also happens to be blind, and a newly released film, If You Could See What I Hear, is his story.
Based on the autobiography of the same name published in 1975, the movie takes the audience back in time to the East Coast, where Tom’s seemingly harmless antics keep his college authorities, his peers and the local police on their toes. The only one who seems to be able to handle Tom’s ego and strong Irish pride is his best friend Sly, played by R.H. Thomson.
Together, the team of Sullivan and Sly work and play in various pubs and clubs around the outskirts of Boston, until Sly must leave for Europe. Tom’s new love and later wife-to-be, Patti (played by Sarah Torgov), then gets the spotlight in Tom’s life and together, the tender love they share leads them through the ups and downs in both their lives.
Although the story loses some of its originality in the switchover from book to silver screen, the splendid actors and extraordinary cinematography carry the weight of the movie with ease from start to finish. The opening and closing themes, sung by the real Tom Sullivan himself, add that extra touch of class that delivers the film into the very hearts and souls of the viewers.
Today, the real Tom and Pat Sullivan live high above the Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes with their two children, Blythe and Tom, Jr. No doubt it hasn’t been an easy road to where the Sullivans now stand at this point in their lives, but nevertheless, one that deserves much respect and faithful esteem, not pity.
If You Could See What I Hear is an Eric Till-Stuart Gillard production and is rated PG, and stars Marc Singer as the illustrious Tom Sullivan.
On a scale of one to ten, this film gets a “13” from this writer. Touching and often hilarious, If You Could See What I Hear is almost guaranteed to have the viewers close their eyes for a few minutes, take a couple brave steps and receive the enlightening answer to the deep-rooted question: What would life be like being blind?