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Cammareri Brothers, Made Famous in ‘Moonstruck’ by Brooklyn Eagle (edit@brooklyneagle.net), published online 08-02-2007Narrows Botanical Garden Hosts Screening August 9th

By Odelia Bitton

Brooklyn Eagle

Ronny Cammareri was a frustrated baker who wanted to end his life. "They say bread is life. So I bake bread, bread, bread," he angrily chanted."And the years go by! By! By! And I sweat and shovel this stinking dough in and outta this hot hole in the wall and I should be so happy…?" he fumed.These are the words uttered by actor Nicholas Cage in the hit 1987 movie Moonstruck who passionately plays the part of an eccentric baker.. The film will be showing on August 9 at the free, outdoor cinema series presented by the Narrows Botanical Gardens in Bay Ridge.And the real Cammareris, presumably less frustrated with their work than Cage’s depiction would suggest, will be on hand to sell their delicious bakery goods.

The Cammareris owned the Cammareri Brothers bakery on Sackett and Henry Streets in Downtown Brooklyn where part of "Moonstruck" was filmed."Cher was very friendly," Paul Cammareri, grandson of the bakery’s originator, fondly recalled. "And Nicholas Cage had breakfast with my mom." In the movie, Cher plays Loretta who is engaged to Johnny Cammareri, but soon falls for his quirky, wooden-handed brother, Ronny. "Moonstruck" won Cher an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.  A location scout for the movie was a local Brooklyn Heights resident who also happened to be a customer of the Cammareri Brothers bakery. It was this connection that offered the bakery its claim to fame. But the bakery is also known for something else — its hand-rolled, brick-oven bread it had been feeding the neighborhood since it opened its doors in 1921.While the original movie script contained another name for the characters played by Nicholas Cage and his on-screen brother, Johnny, played by Danny Aiello, it was soon replaced by Cammareri. Indeed, it was already plastered on the bakery’s trucks and store sign. Also available were two real-life bakers at Cammareri Brothers who got to play those roles alongside Cage.

Nicolo Cammareri opened Cammareri Brothers Bakery in 1921, offering an array of pastries, Italian ices made with all-natural fruits and, of course, their popular bread. The bakery stayed in the family until shortly before the movie was filmed there, when the Cammareris sold it to Gilbert Godoy, one of the two bakers who had a role in the movie. So when the Cammareri brothers visited their bakery, it was not to pound on dough, but to watch as Cage and the others rolled up their sleeves. Joan Regan, coordinator of the event, said "Moonstruck" garnered the most votes from the Narrows Botanical Gardens film series committee.