Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Birthday Glamour

Martine hanging out with Little Dougie in photos taken a quarter of a century apart.
A Quick happy birthday to my old friend, Martine Beswick, 75 years fabulous today. I love you, my darling. 

Cheers!

Sex, Lies and The End of Civilization

Watch it! Those fingers are loaded!
This old lady watched the debate, because this old lady would like someday to be an even older lady. Here's some random thoughts.

Lester Holt: "You have 30 seconds to reply before I make a lame attempt to stop you and then give up and let you ramble. You have been warned."

Well, Trump's quiet, reasoned, presidential voice lasted almost a full five minutes.


"Even if they're on watch lists wrongly, we'll help them get off."
That's an awfully personal approach.

Well, Trump's stand on taxes has nailed him the billionaire vote.

"I settled that lawsuit with no admission of guilt."
Donald, that doesn't mean you didn't do what they sued you for; it just means you bribed your way out of it, because you knew if you went to court you'd lose because you were guilty.

"Admirals have endorsed me, and many more are coming next week, to 'delete' this country. I was just endorsed by ISIS." .Huh? Anyway, it takes a Trump to brag about pre-endorsements.

Secretary Clinton has been fighting ISIS her entire life? You mean she's 14 years old?

"I have common sense." Possibly Trump's most transparent lie of the night.

"It was actually covered very accurately in The New York Times, which is unusual for The New York Times, to be honest."
His inability to resist any chance to deal out insults means he basically said: I'm right, because The New York Times said so, and they are liars.
Of course, any time he says "To be honest" or "Believe me," he's lying.

"I have much better judgement than she does. There's no doubt about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has."

Okay, those were his most transparent lies of the night. 

"What Secretary Clinton was saying about nuclear with Russia, she's very cavalier in the way she talks about various countries..."
He's offended by how she talks about his pals in Russia.

"Once the nuclear alternative happens, it's over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can't take anything off the table."
So, he won't end all human life unless he has to. I can not rule out destroying the earth. Thank you, Donald Strangelove.

"And also stand up to bullies, whether they're abroad or at home," or at the next podium.

Stamina is really the wrong way to go after Hillary.

"He loves beauty pageants and hanging around them.."
My favorite of Hillary's cheap shots back.

"She's spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads about me, MANY OF WHICH are absolutely untrue."
That made me laugh out loud. So which were the true ones?
(And "Hundreds of millions of dollars"? Really? For a "businessman," he's not good with numbers.)

Hillary says trump hasn't paid taxes. Trump said: "That makes me smart."
AMERICA, ARE YOU LISTENING???

Hillary prepared, and had facts and figures.
Trump didn't, and had vagaries and bullshit pulled out of his ass onstage.
Hillary is the sort of person he used to pay to do his homework for him. Couldn't do that this time.

"My father gave me a small loan."
Fourteen million dollars in 1968 dollars is a "small loan"? To paraphrase Douglas Adams: this is some new meaning of the word "Small" with which I was not previously familiar. He pulled himself up by his dad's bootstraps.

This just in: Trump DEMANDS Putin moderate next debate.

Trump told Fox News that all the polls say he won, in a statement he prepared last week.

I had no idea I was ever married to Orson Welles.
So, with the debate over, I'm returning to the Real World by listening to the Mercury Theater radio production in which Orson Welles plays my third husband, Count Vlad Tepes, under his better-known nom de tomb of Count Dracula.
Uh-oh, Dracula just said to Harker, "To tell the truth, I have no interest in drinking your blood. I would never drink your blood, believe me. But if I did, I would drink your blood so great, you'd love it. I would be the best blood drinker ever. Everyone says to me. 'Please drink our blood.' Frankenstein's blood-drinking policies have been a total failure. Transylvania is a mess now. I want to make Transylvania great again."

Meanwhile, if you need something to get you through the horror of the election, Little Dougie's new book (He calls it a novel, but every word is true), My Gruesome Life, the autobiography of my dear friend, 1960s horror movie star icon, Guy Thanatos, "The Man Who Gave Evil a Bad Name." It comes out on Halloween, so just in time for you to have a very funny book to read, purest black comedy, on election night. And best of all, since Guy and I are old, old friends (I mean it; we're OLD!), and made movies together, I pop up here and there throughout the book. You're sure to enjoy it.

Until then, cheers, darlings.

The greatest book ever written, sort of. Well, a very funny black comedy anyway.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Creatures of the Night and Other Comforts


Little Dougie has a word or two to share with you today, while I watch Spectre, and undress Daniel Craig with my eyes, because my fingers don't work too well these days. Fortunately, I can still lift a martini glass. Cheers, darlings.

This fabulous new book, Creatures of the Night That We Loved So Well: The Horror Hosts of Southern California by James Fetters is now available by clicking on its title above. My interest is not "Disinterested" as they say. You may notice my name on the front cover as author of the Forward. Actually, I wrote over 100 pages of this book's content. No, it's not "The Longest Forward Ever Written," but among this book's treasures are a 20 page essay on my relationship with Larry "Seymour" Vincent, some material I wrote for a comedy album Larry did not live long enough to record, and over 90 pages of scripts I write for his TV show, all produced some 42 years ago.



"Seymour" and I and "The Slimy Wall" at KTLA-TV in Hollywood, back on January 11, 1974, the day we shot my first TV script. The inscription over Larry's right shoulder says "Good show, Doug, Seymour. (I'm on the left.)"
The "Horror Host" these days is mostly a relic of a bygone era. Oh, we still have Svengoolie, but sadly, he's a pale shadow of the brilliance that was Seymour. (When I watch Sven, which I do less and less, I find myself wishing I could enjoy him more. I like the way he offers real information about the pictures and the people who made them, but I seldom laugh. His material just isn't very good.)

But in the 1950s, '60s and 70s, we had ghoulish giants. This book details all the ones who haunted the TV stations of Los Angeles and San Diego, from Vampira to Elvira. 5 years ago, Jim put out the first edition, but this new edition is MUCH larger, and contains a tremendous amount of new material, new pictures, and including a chapter on a host utterly overlooked the first time, whom I, a dedicated horror host fan in LA in that era, had never heard of. There are scripts, not just mine, but from some of the other hosts as well. If you loved the great horror hosts of half a century ago, you will want to have this book.



"That Leech Woman is my kind of guy."
A happy day that was.
Just for the record, I'm not making any money from the sale of this book. My interest is in preserving this small corner of show business history, and of sharing it with those who share my love of it and who retain happy, fading memories of those wonderful entertainers.

In a way, it almost preserves too much. My scripts (And the other scripts in it) are not reset for publication, but are scans of the originals. I made the scans of my own myself, scans of the actual papers that rolled though my 1973 & '74 typewriter. (They would be Xeroxed for the cast and crew, but I retained the originals.) This was before spellcheck and auto-correct, so my spelling errors and typos of 4 decades back are now preserved for prosperity.

The now-rare first edition commands a high purchase price these days. Get this new, better version now for its original price. Enjoy.




Monday, February 29, 2016

"Spotlight" on the White Oscars


Hello darlings. I know I haven't posted in a while. Did you think I was dead? Well, I was briefly, but it was strictly for tax reasons. When you're 118, you tire easily. Anyway, Little Dougie got me to sit through the Oscars, and I had few quick responses. Not a whole review, but a few observations. 

I thought Chris Rock did a terrific job. It was certainly lucky for him that no black people were nominated, as otherwise, he'd have had to talk about these movies. If Hattie McDaniel had been nominated again, he's have had to scrub his entire act.  

"It's this big."

Nice to see Andy Serkis in the Oscar show. Was he really there, or was he in New Zealand in a motion capture suit? And am I crazy to find Andy Serkis a bit sexy? 

Where do you wear your Precious, Gollum?

I know what motions I'd want to capture.

If you are accepting an award for Costume Design and you show up dressed like a member of a Lesbian biker gang, they should take back the award


You do know it's a formal event, right, Jenny?
Given how far away from the stage the Production Designers were seated, they really should have been provided with a tram to the stage. I was able to go the kitchen, mix a martini, and return to the living room in the time it took the winners to get to the stage. Their speech was was shorter than their travel time. The band could have been playing them off before they got on.

So the guy with the horrible hair who performed the song from 50 Shades of Gay is just called "The Weekend"? What is he, a Time Lord? He sang well enough (Is that a crazy vibrato waver or was he just nervous?) but it would have been more respectful if Cirque Du Soliel hadn't been upstaging him. Couldn't they have gone on after he finished? Suddenly I felt like I was Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey: What is a Weekend?



Suddenly I'm glad it's Monday.
In just exactly what way did Damian Martin's one-week old baby daughter contribute to her dad's winning an Oscar for a movie completed before she was born, or probably even conceived?
New Rule: No thanking anyone who was not yet alive when you did the work that won you the award. Leave it on the bottom-of-the-screen thank-you-crawl that no one on earth is reading.

They only performed some but not all of the Song nominees? Well, way to let two of them know they don't rate.

That's the second consecutive Best Song win for a Bond movie. And of course, I loved Sam Smith's speech! You go, girl! 

They're asking "Does it vibrate?"

The appearance by C3PO, R2D2 and BB8 was cute and all (How the hell does BB8 work?), but since they presented nothing, what did it add to the show besides a gratuitous two more minutes to an already too long show?

How about an Oscar for Best Awards Show Editing, for whomever can get the show down even to it's supposed 3-hour running time, let alone down to a more reasonable 2?

Dear Jared Leto, there is no such movie as "Magic Mike II." It is Magic Mike XXL. I may have inadvertently seen it a few dozen times, and have done my best to try and have it nominated for Best Picture. It may still be on my DVR right this moment. But your pretending you didn't know this was cute, though it fooled no one.

THIS is entertainment!
Jarad, while I have your attention, I'm glad you're so proud of your new dictionary, but I already knew what a merkin is: He's the villian in my book Tallyho, Tallulah!, actually named "Harry Merkin." You can read all about him, his wife, Minge Merkin, and their daughter, Fanny Merkin, just by clicking on the book's title.

So Matt Damon's beard in The Martian was CGI? Can't Matty grow a beard? I'm almost certain he's gone through puberty. Or is his only beard Mrs. Damon? (They've never heard of crepe hair and spirit gum, which I'm certain is cheaper than CGI?)


Poor Matt, trapped on a planet without me, 
doing a remake of Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

Academy, do you really want to play off the Iranian woman as she's saying how her short documentary has actually gotten laws changed and genuinely made progress in ending an ongoing atrocity? Her film has actually done something more important than make a few studio executives able to buy themselves third homes in Mazatlan. All by itself, it's done more good than Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenent ever will or can accomplish. Unlike most of these movies, A Girl in the River is genuinely important. Stop playing her off. Play off actresses thanking their kindergarten teachers and their craft services people. Play off anyone thanking "God," but leave her alone.

Well, Alejandro Iñárritu outlasted the band. For once, the winner played off the orchestra.

Couldn't "Joy" put the baby down before screaming at the guy on her sofa? I was distracted by being worried for the baby "actor," who only knows that a loud mad woman is screaming angrily in its ear. The kid's distress wasn't "Acting"; it was real. You can't explain to a baby "It's only a movie."

I was amused when they cut directly from Mark Ruffalo to a shot of the guy he plays in Spotlight. "Yes, you can trust the veracity of our docudrama. We only made the lead character 400% more gorgeous than he really is, not 1000%."


Hollywood would cast Henry Cavill without make-up as Quasimodo. 
Why did the band play off Brie Larson with "Goldfinger"? I could see doing that for Sam Smith, but what did it have to do with Brie Larson? Was the room she and the kid were imprisoned in made of gold?

"Gender CONFIRMATION Surgery"? And Political Correctness creates another bizarre euphemism. I still haven't processed "Handi-capable" (Maybe it should be "Happy-capped"), and now "Gender Confirmation Surgery."

During Leo's speech, was the audience clapping for Global Warming?


Well I was shocked and delighted when Mark Rylance won. My suddenly shouting "Yes! Yes!" startled Little Dougie's cat Barrymore. And even after Sylvester Stallone, the odds-on favorite, had gotten himself freshly Collagened and Botoxed for the occasion. (Compared to his face in the movie, in the audience his skin looked freshly ironed.)


Little Dougie's cat Barrymore, who outweighs me. Here he's recovered 
from the shock I gave him, or else he's drunk. (He is a Barrymore, after all.)
Watching the clip, I could hear why hot little Tom Hardy lost. I couldn't understand a word he said. He sounded more marble-mouthed than Stallone.

Well, Best Picture was a pleasant surprise. After Best Director and Best Actor, I was expecting the bear rape movie to win, or barring that, given it's earlier sweep, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Max: Furry Road. But the "Let's Take Down the Catholic Church" movie won. I'll bet they're seething in the Vatican. Good. I liked that.

You can't say the Oscars had no surprises this year, except one: It was actually mostly entertaining for once. And best of all, I was still absent from the In Memorium montage, which means I'm still alive, just like that sex god Abe Vigoda. What a relief! Now excuse me while I drink myself into a coma. Cheers, darlings

Lube it first, darling, please. I'm old.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Jane Eryehead


I know I haven't posted anything in a long while, but I’ve been reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Or is it Charlotte Bronte by Jane Eyre? Hard to tell from some of these book covers), and it's a long book, and I have old eyes. Having seen all of Dickens’s movies and mini-series (Not to mention reading his books, chapter-by-chapter, as he wrote them. "Ellen Tiernan" was the name he used for me to protect his name from being associated with mine when his infidelities were eventually reported in his biographies), I figured I’d seen all the primary brutal-childhoods-of-19th-Century-orphans, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Smike in Nicholas Nickleby, Judy Garland at Metro in the 1930s, etc., etc.. But Dickens’s pathetic orphans are always enlivened by his wit and humor. And however bad being an orphan must be, it's still got to be better than having my mother. How I remember walking past the orphanage when I was a little girl, and envying them. Miss Bronte doesn’t seem to find any humor in - well - anything. So, here’s my impression of the early chapters of Jane Eyre.



Shallow soundstage set with a cyclorama backdrop at 20th Century Fox in Hollywood? Don't be silly. It's Joan Fontaine on a Yorkshire moor. Is that Basil Rathbone in the background, chasing a big dog?

Book 1. My Wretched Childhood.

Chapter 1. Today’s Beatings.

My cousin, being a large, strapping, not to say morbidly obese, boy of fourteen, and having arrived home from a stroll past the lone flower in the "Garden," and the single tree in the "Woods" of our Yorkshire neighborhood moors, took a deep breath and began giving me my afternoon beating, employing a thick wooden cudgel for the irksome task. I was a particularly weak, grossly unattractive and sickly weakling of a ten year old girl at the time, so my cousin was obliged to beat me two or three times a day, for my own good.

Nanny and Bessie the Mean Maid explained to me that it was my own fault for being so ugly. "If you were only a pretty child, like your cousin Georgiana, we should feel some natural sympathy for your plight, friendless and alone, trapped in a household where all, even the dog, hate you, and given beatings more often than meals," said Bessie, as she kicked me, "But you are so very, very ugly, such an offense to the eye, that we have no choice but to beat you severely every few hours, in hopes that the bruisings and swellings will conceal your more repulsive features from view."

"Burn her arms with coals from the fire!" said Nanny, lovingly.



"Jane Eyre" and Little Liz Taylor, pretending to have rotten childhoods.

Chapter 2. Mrs. Reed Punishes Me.

Mrs. Reed was in a foul temper. Apparently, though I had spent the night locked in my late uncle’s coffin with his corpse, my endless screams of terror had been loud enough to penetrate the oaken coffin lid and disturb the thoughts of my Aunt, Mrs. Reed, as she counted her late husband’s money and ate bon-bons, until I passed out from the lack of Oxygen. She had me dragged before her by Bessie.

"Jane," said my stern aunt, "Your screaming all night has vexed me sorely."

"I am most sorry, Auntie dear, but you had me locked in a small coffin with the corpse of the last human being who ever loved me, and I was very much afraid."

"Do not sass me back, you young beggar. First you force your plump, handsome cousin to beat you for your ugliness, and now you dare answer me back, exposing all those ugly holes in your gums where we’ve knocked out your teeth? How dare you? You must be punished for this."

"Auntie, you are most unpleasant, and I hate you."

"Is that the gratitude you show me? I am all that stands between you and the workhouse."

"At the workhouse, I’d eat better."

"That is it, young mistress. You do not like it here? You shall go to school. Tomorrow, after your three cousins, plus Nanny, Bessie the Mean Maid and I, have all beaten you farewell, you will be shipped off to the Lowood School For Masochists, where they will put an end to all this mollycoddling you’ve enjoyed here." Then Auntie hung me upside down with chains over the dinner table for the rest of the night, where I could watch them eat dinner. Fortunately, I had eaten a small, damp sponge I'd stolen from the kitchen two weeks before, so I wasn't as hungry as usual.

Not, I think, one of my weddings, though I could be mistaken.
(Little Johnny Abbott, the least famous person in this photo, once appeared on the same bill with Little Dougie, who's even less famous.) Abbott is playing "Bernstein," Welles is playing Mr. C. F. Kane, and Joan is playing the sled.
Chapter 3. Lowood School.

At school, I quickly learned what actual unkindness is, and realized how gentle my auntie and my cousins, and Nanny and Bessie the Mean Maid, had been to me in the past.

"Miss Eyre," said Mr. Sadism, the horrid headmaster, "It was reported to me that you were shivering during the night, contrary to our rules. Is this true?"

"Well, sir, you obliged me to sleep naked out on the roof during the blizzard last night. I was very chilly indeed."

"You dare answer me back, you repulsive troll of a girl? You shall be hooked up to the battery electrodes and taught a shocking lesson in manners. But first, religious instruction. Read this aloud, Miss Eyre," he said, holding open his large, wood-covered Bible for me.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Love thy neighbor as thyself," I read.

"Correct, you hideous young crone. And now, to make sure it sinks in, I shall impress you with the Bible," he said, as he began striking me over the head with the wooden Bible, drawing blood on its sharp-edged cover jewels...

                                                                          ***

And people thought the characters in The 120 Days of Sodom were somewhat unpleasant.

Well, cheers, darlings. And for a more-cheerful time, read my new book, Tallyho, Tallulah!

What my book would look like if it weren't funny.