Thursday, March 29, 2007
My thanks to longtime reader Jeffrey Swanson for bringing Malakar the Martian's family roots to my attention. It makes so much sense to me now.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I realize that my judgement is occasionally a tad impaired due to the quality of American vodka, but what was I thinking when I put on that outfit? This is the last time I let the Headless Indian Brave do my make-up! And how on earth could I possibly have forgotten which end to stick the vibrator in? The last time I made that mistake, I had to have my entire upper plate replaced. But then, judging from my facial expression, I have backed up onto my back-up vibrator.
At least my hair looks nice.
Actually, if I may be serious for a moment, I understand that Sanjaya Maladroit chose this look after seeing 300. It's his Roman Gladiator Helmet look. The boy doesn't know the difference between a Trojan and a Roman, which means whatever the hell he is doing in this picture, it isn't safe sex --- or singing. I understand that, if he is finally kicked off the show - and if he isn't, I will officially become an atheist - he will get work as the toothbrush for Mount Rushmore.
Watching Little Jordan sing last night, it occurred to me that David Copperfield could just flick his wrists and her earrings would be linked. And then it occurred to me that I'd rather be seeing that. I know I've sunk to the depths when I'd rather watch a magician.
Last night Little Simon said to Gina Glockenspiel, referring to her improved performance, "It was literally chalk and cheese." Apparently this Englishman has never learned English, as he had just told her that she was, in fact, a piece of cheese, having formerly been, in fact, a piece of chalk. I'm sure he meant that she was like chalk and cheese. The man needs to look up the meaning of the word "Literally". Gina is, at worst, a bit cheesy. Maybe her scent threw him off. More than once my own signature aroma has provoked the greeting, "Who brought the Limburger?"
Understand, I only tuned into American Idol originally because I'd made the natural mistake of thinking it was a show about me, which is sole the reason it's getting those unbelievably high ratings. The show is deliberately deceptively titled to lure in my fans. But I got hooked while waiting, week after week, for Brandon Rogers to take off his shirt. Let's face it; Shirtless Night will be a catastrophe if the only men left when they get to it are Sanjaya and Chris Sligh.
After Lakisha sang Diamonds Are Forever last week, I found myself wishing they'd do a James Bond Title Song Theme Night. Aren't you dying to hear Sanjaya whisper Goldfinger? Wouldn't you like to see Tom Jones coach Little Uncle Fester Jr. on how to bellow Thunderball? Aren't you just waiting on pins and needles (How uncomfortable. I wondered where I'd left this pin cushion.) to hear Simon, after someone sings Live and Let Die, say "Sir Paul Who?" The really lyric-retention-challenged contestants (That's all of them except Melinda.) could hum the theme tune to On Her Majesty's Secret Service, while Little Blake Lewis beatboxes The James Bond Theme. Simon would assume that Nobody Does It Better was about him. (It's not. Carly told me. It's about me.) Imagine Little Nancy Sinatra coaching Gina on how to sing You Only Live Twice between Nancy's shifts waiting table down at Shakey's Pizza. And through the whole evening, I could think about Daniel Craig, and touch myself inappropriately.
Whoops. Have to go. Eddie Griffin has just arrived, to drive me to The Liquor Barn.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Specifically, she died of "an accidental overdose of prescription drugs." Darlings, what could be more natural? When a creature behaves according to it's nature, that's Natural Causes! I suppose you keep meticulous track of how much chloral hydrate, diazepam, and methadone you take each day? Let me tell you, once that chloral hydrate kicks in, it's pretty damn hard to keep track of anything, even who is impregnating you.
I try to avoid most prescription drugs myself, as you never know which ones react badly with alcohol, and I react badly without alcohol. I had a terrible Brush With Death myself a few years back that came from mixing vodka with chloral hydrate. I'd been knocking back the vodka tonics all evening with Bea Arthur (I adore all The Golden Shower Girls, although after Betty White clocked poor little Leslie Jordan with a skillet on Boston Legal, I no longer allow her near my kitchen.), and then I misunderstood my doctor's instructions, and thought he'd said I needed some "Choral Hydrate", and I ended up inadvertently drowning the baritone section of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They hushed it up, of course.
There's been a lot of ballyhoo about an infected abscess on Anna's lovely and spacious behind. Some people seem to think that Foul Play must have been involved, although, apart from Chevy Chase being in it, it's a perfectly good movie. The giant albino in that film, Whitey Jackson, always got my knockers in a twist. Anyway, there are those who ask why no one noticed that abscess and did anything about it.
At first blush - a facial reaction outside Anna's range - it would seem that someone should have noticed, given the amount of foot traffic that butt saw. Why didn't "Prince" Frederic von Anhalt Gabor, for one, notice the abscess as he extracted his withered puss from between her cheeks? What this fails to take into account is the tremendous amount of territory that needed to be examined to find one tiny little raw, infected abscess. Are you likely to find one lone caribou when flying over Alaska in a state of bliss? Besides, in recent years, Anna's lovers, husbands, boyfriends, Gabor husbands, and delivery men were all probably keeping their eyes tightly closed all the time she was naked, out of respect. And anyone who did see it, probably mistook the abscess for Bobby Trendy. (By the way, why the hell hasn't Bobby Trendy put in a claim to be little Dannielynn's daddy yet? What is he waiting for? I'm perplexed.)
Given all the bizarre substances in her body - prescription drugs, silicone, von Anhalt sperm - I just hope little Dannielynn wasn't on the interminable list of people she was breast-feeding. Just how well do chloral hydrate, diazepam, methadone, and milk react with silicone anyway?
It was reported that she'd also been ill with the flu, the infection, and chronic idiocy for sometime, but had resisted going to a doctor because, and I am quoting Howie Stern now, "She wanted to avoid the media frenzy." That certainly worked out for her.
So now the results are in, and we need never bring her name up in the media again ever! She's been reunited in Media Hell with the man she always claimed was her One True Love, darling little J. Howard Marshall II, a fairy tale ending to one of the greatest love stories of all time. All America is now sobbing worse than darling little emotionally unstable Ashley Ferl in a Ryan Seachrest-Sanjaya Maladroit manwich. The Headless Indian Brave is beside himself. (How does he do that?)
As for me: although my personal pathologist started my autopsy sometime ago, saying "Why wait till the last minute?", the results aren't in yet. Stay tuned. Until then,
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Roger Ebert, who apparently has nothing better to do while he recuperates, struggled out of his sick bed to call me and berate my error, pointing out that Miss Hutton's tragic "Comedy", in which a poor single mother of five, the daughter of Uncle Charlie, ends up married to Eddie Bracken (Could there be a worse fate?), was written & directed by some obscure hack named Preston Sturgis, like I give a rat's ass. Stick a thumb in it, Rog. I haven't forgotten your review of my directorial debut, The Carpetmunchers. ("It reminds me of entertainment, but not often.")
The movie I was thinking of, that my divine director and friend, comedy genius Preston Sturgeon, wrote & directed, the stunning story of Morgan Kockenlicker, the first gay man to get pregnant via butt-fun, was titled The Miracle of Morgan's Crack. Now that was a great movie, unlike the crap excreted by this Sturgis hack. I believe Ebert gave his Thumb Up Morgan's Crack, maybe both, though that would have been quite a stretch. It stars Betty Hussy, Justin Thyme, Sabu, Olivia DeHeffalump, irascible character actor Wally Damitall, who was in all of Preston's movies (Guess why.), and Harry Rumpole as Morgan. Netflix it today.
I should have known something was fishy about this Sturgis.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
This time it was Calvert "Larry 'Bud' Melman" DeForest, the only man to have a Quotes Nickname within a Quotes Nickname. The late Bob "Big Republican Tool" Hope must be seething with envy in Hell, while he simmers in a lake of fire.
Calvert, like the late Vicki Lynn Hogan, aka Anna Nicole Smith Marshall Stern Birkhead Denk Hatten Morehead von Anhalt Gabor, was a celebrity devoid of any trace of talent or acting ability. Apparently, the less talent a celebrity has, the more names they require, not that I, Countess Tallulah Clytemnestra Morehead Knight Thalberg Tepes Karloff (Pratt) Towers (Suderstrombork) Herkert Borgnine Bronze Berman, have any experience being talentless. Calvert DeForest had the extra added advantage of a weird name. Who ever heard of anyone else named "Calvert"? Was he named for a sewer? How romantic.
However, unlike Miss Smith, Calvert was post-modernly, ironically-knowing about his lack of any perceptible talent. That was the whole point of him, rather like Ruby Keeler. He was an inspiration to the pointless. If he could become famous and successful, who couldn't? Next time a homeless person asks you for money or a cocktail, tell them, "Hey, if Calvert DeForest could be a TV Star, and George W. Bush could pose as a 'President of the United States', why the hell aren't you a Queen of England?" They'll stop listening to you after "If" of course, unless they are a Queen of England, but you'll just feel better getting it off your chest. I know I always feel better when someone gets off on my chest.
I met Mr. Melman-DeForest a bit over 20 years ago. He was very sweet, unassuming, friendly, approachable, and accommodating. In person, he was even less appetizing than on TV. He had soft doughy, spongy skin the color of old snow, that hung like my breasts, in loose, shimmying pouches. He looked like the Pillsbury Dough Grandfather. He was so physically unappealing that I almost didn't offer to have sex with him.
And then, on top of all that, he turned me down! Okay, I'm a quarter of a century older than he, and he was 65 then, but really! It's not like women were lining up for him. Joan Crawford was dead. I'll have you know, my marriage to Trevor Berman still lay in the future at that time. Trevor wasn't too proud to schtup me, and he was over 70 years younger than me, and gay, yet he still managed to hold his breath and dive in, once I told him where it went. Hell, if I was good enough for Quasimodo, I should have been good enough for Larry "Bud" Melman.
So let his Hideous Fate - dying peacefully at age 85, beloved by many for doing quite little - be a lesson to all of you out there; NEVER turn down sex with Miss Tallulah Morehead! In fact, I suggest you all hop in your cars, drive out to Morehead Heights, and shag the bloody hell out of me right now. Think of it as medicinal sex. I take all major health plans and HMOs For that matter, I've always taken, and often married, all major HOMOs.
Learn from The Tragedy of Calvert DeForest; don't wait until it's Too Late!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
During the shooting of this film, my dear friend, the effervescent stock villain Vincent Lovecraft (His catch-phrase in film after film was "Love me --- or DIE!" I never loved him, and I never died, but I adored him.), chained me to a post and flogged me within an inch of my life, and then, you should have seen what he did to me in the movie! Vincent also had to torture my then-husband Rod Towers in this film, which was just silly to anyone who knew how deeply these two men loved each other, and how often. I remember seeing Rod stretched out on the rack in the torture chamber set, his magnificent physique glistening with sweat, and, as Vincent’s oiled black henchmen (Hand-selected by Vincent. How he loved handling male talent.) turned the wheel another couple notches, stretching Rod beyond the limits of human endurance, Vincent leaned over him, and the two of them harmonized a rendition of Seems Like Old Times. It was almost a disappointment when the director and crew returned from lunch, and they took Rod down and put me up to shoot the scene that was in the script.
What has this to do with the picture of the 3 bespectacled folk that tops my column today? Well these are some of my fellow floggers, and I thought I would flog their flogs a bit today, for those of you who have devoured every word in my archives and are desperate for more Internet flogs to spend time perusing.
(By the way, don't let the minuscule figures on my new flog counter fool you. It's a Celebrity Hit Counter. It only counts extremely famous people who visit my flog. It doesn't count non-entities like yourselves because, let's face it, in Hollywood, you just don't count.)
Anyway, each of those folk have a flog the links to which are in my Social Drinking list to the right of these words. They are at the bottom of the list, because I added them first, so though they are at the bottom, they're really the top. And while I hate a top who turns out to be a bottom (Like the above-mentioned ex-husband Rod Towers), I love a bottom who turns out to really be a top. Don't you?
First off, the round-faced gent wearing a nice tie is James Diederich. Readers with long memories may recall seeing his face on TV back in the 70s & 80s, on such shows as Fernwood Tonight, America Tonight, Dinah, The Mike Douglas Show, Merv, and such like, as in those days he was half of the comedy team of Pappas & Diederich, and made the talk & variety show rounds, being just all kinds of funny and adorable.
He also happens to be an old, old friend of Little Douglas, my fatigable scribe, and wrote and performed with him way back during the Nixon Administration. (Remember when we all thought Richard Nixon was the worst president America could ever have? Those were the days. Good Times. Now Nixon is only Number 2, although he always was Number 2, wasn't he? Ironically, though President Dubya is now Number 1, he'll always be a big steaming pile of Number 2 too. He's an over-underachiever.)
Anyway, these days, along with putting his sons through college, Jim also writes the flog The JD Times. Jim's pieces tend to be short (Unlike this rambling old broad's garrulous musings), pithy, Thurberesque reflections on the daily life of a middle-aged married man in Manhattan, living a normal life. I can't relate to it at all of course, as I live the glamorous life of a huge star, but I enjoy it's glimpses into the mind-set of normal people, although in his case, it's an ordinary man with an extraordinary wit. After all, most regular guys haven't verbally fenced on TV with Martin Mull & Fred Willard.
The nun is another matter altogether. Finding a celibate on my flog, or indeed anywhere near me, is quite rare, and virgins are even rarer, but Sister Mary Martha is the exception. Her flog, Ask Sister Mary Martha, is a stern trip into a nightmarish Catholic life of no sex, and an obsession with sin. Of course, I am obsessed with sin also, but she wants to avoid it! It's a novel point-of-view, that I'm still trying to comprehend.
You wouldn't be reading my flog if it weren't for her though, as it was Sister Mary Martha who first suggested to me that I begin flogging in the first place. Or was it flagellating? Oh well, something like that. The point is, this is supposed to be my penance or pittance, which is what they pay at Disney.
Though never a Catholic myself (I am a Christian Scientist, except for all the beliefs, as my longtime readers already know.), I have found her alternate-reality world a fascinating place. Jim Diederich, himself a recovering survivor of Catholic school, tells me that Mary Martha's column left him sitting in a corner, shivering with fear. In other words, she made him feel young again!
(While I can no longer feel young myself, I can feel The Young, which is just as good, if not better.)
Some readers tell me that they detect a very faint satiric edge to Sister Mary Martha's flog, almost as though it was really a deeply-immersed and subtle, satiric put-on. These deluded people seem to think that Mary Martha is really the invented persona of some brilliant comic writer/actress who could be a veteran performer from legendary Second City in Chicago, someone Little Douglas might have improvised with on stage in Los Angeles, someone you've seen in movies and on TV a hundred times. How silly. The woman is a nun. It says so right in her flog profile, just like mine says I am a 109 year old movie star.
The fellow surrounded by lovely flora is decidedly not Catholic, nor a survivor of a Catholic education. In fact, he's a Red Sea Pedestrian if ever there was one, and Mel Gibson holds him personally responsible for starting every war in history. I doubt if Ken Levine ever actually started a war, but the comments page on his flog gets pretty heated at times. I have never met the man, so I don't really know if he's a warmonger or not.
But if he were given to starting wars, he might well have started the Korean Conflict, except that he was two years old at the time, for he made a nice living writing & producing the TV series M*A*S*H for several years. Since I have M*A*S*H film director Robert Altman's old heart, it's small wonder Ken has mine.
Another TV series he churned out scripts for, and produced, was Cheers. Now the alert among you will notice that that show ripped-off my signature sign-off for it's title. I'd have sued except, how can you hate a show set in a bar? It was about bartenders, those gallant men & women who do God's work. God bless all bartenders everywhere. Mary Martha can have Catholicism. Cheers was about my real religion.
I'm not going to list all of Ken's enormous credits here. IMDb him if you want to know them, but if you just want a good laugh, check out his flog. He has an unaccountable fixation on sports like baseball and basketcase. Jim Diederich is another baseball fanatic, What do they see in it? Now a baseball locker room is a beautiful thing, in fact, full of beautiful things, but the appeal of games out on the grass leaves me perplexed & befuddled. Anyway, most of the time on his flog, Ken shares fascinating and funny tales of life in the TV comedy trenches, script excerpts, amusing travelogues, and acerbic observations of the passing popular culture scene around us.
Ken was also kind enough to mention my own humble Internet efforts on his flog and send some of his readers here, so I'm returning the serve. Ken has spread the love, and I am a firm believer in spreading it back. In fact, I am known for spreading for love on my back at every opportunity. Hell, I'll spread for like. For that matter, a hostile shag is still fun.
Anyway, check out Ken's flog, By Ken Levine, and then turn on your TV. If it's after 11 PM, chances are, there's a Ken Levine script being enacted everywhere you click, a Frasier here, a Becker there, a M*A*S*H everywhere. You can't escape the man, so why try?
Then, when you've had the rest, come back to the best, namely the flogger whose picture lies below.
Cheers darlings, where everybody knows my name, and I'm always glad I came! That's why I came multiple times.
Friday, March 16, 2007
I saw this evening that "Prince" Frederic von Anhalt Gabor is suing the Fox News Channel and insane American TV nutcase Bill O'Reilly, because O'Reilly called him a fraud for claiming to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's final baby. Freddy Gabor is suing for $10,000,000, so I guess he's run through Zsa Zsa's money.
Since O'Reilly called Freddy a fraud, Prince Not-Remotely-Charming says people give him dirty looks when he goes to the grocery store. (What the hell is a "Prince" doing in a grocery store in the first place? Doesn't he have servants, or at least a foul-tempered, middle-aged Hispanic woman, to do for him? Even in England, where they have real princes, you don't run into Prince Andrew at Von's. I suppose you might glimpse Prince Edward entering Ralph's, but only through the rear. I've certainly never seen Prince Charles in the Piggly Wiggly, which oddly enough, is his pet nickname for Lady Camilla.)
"They say, 'Look, here comes the fraud.'," Mr. Gabor said, "I get lots of e-mails from people bad-mouthing me. It's very embarrassing." Am I supposed to believe this has only just started happening to him? I would think he'd been causing hysterical laughter wherever he went for years. Well, going public with this lawsuit will certainly put a stop to that.
I never thought someone could ever sue Fox News and Bill O'Reilly, and I would be on Fox's & O'Reilly's side, but you, my wacky darling, take the fruitcake. "Prince" Freddy dear, those people calling you a fraud, pointing at you, giggling, whispering, mocking you, guffawing at you, and rolling on the ground in uncontrollable glee, laughing their brains out at the very sight of you, may very well never even have heard of Bill O'Reilly. You couldn't pay me to watch anything on Fox News, and yet I think you're a fraud, a sad, sad fraud. All it really takes to find you hilariously revolting is to know of you. To paraphrase a beloved old song:
To know, know, know you,
Is to laugh, laugh, laugh at you,
And I do, and I do, and I do.
I'm amazed that you find your emails, or indeed anything, embarassing. You proudly married Zsa Zsa Gabor, a woman some 31 years older than you. You went on TV to announce with more pride that you cuckolded your wife, something most men prefer to keep quiet, and then told the world that you had a lengthy affair with a brain-dead, gold-digging whore whose body has now caught up with her brain, and you have now become one of a gaggle of pride-challenged men claiming paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's beleaguered infant. For Heaven's sake, you were on Bill O'Reilly's TV show to brag about bagging the buxom gold-digger-turned-corpse in the first place. Given all that, I naturally assumed that you are immune to embarrassment. Whatever your emails are, for sheer humiliation, they can't possibly compete with what comes out of your face every time you open your mouth on camera.
What did you expect? Congratulations? Envy? An invitation to mentor young sleazeball-wannabes? Did you perhaps think you'd get a ton of emails all saying, "Good going! Smear more humiliation on that Hungarian ditz you married. Cheat on her often and publicly. We know it wasn't cheap, whoring sex with Anna; well, not just cheap, whoring sex. We all know what a brilliant conversationalist she was. We love you! If my son doesn't grow up to be the next Bobby Trendy, then I hope he becomes the next Prince Freddy von Anhalt Gabor!"
You know, I also admitted in my earlier flogging (The Elusive Tragedy), that I fathered Anna's ultimate child, but I at least had the common indecency to be ashamed of it.
Poor Zsa Zsa. (Words I never thought I'd utter.) I hope for her sake that she's in a coma.
It's a long and honored tradition in Hollywood that we female stars marry European royalty and get ourselves a title. I did it myself. Since 1929, I have been Countess Tallulah Morehead Knight Thalberg Tepes of Transylvania.
My prince was the late Count Vlad Tepes, who was 500 years old, and who survived the centuries by drinking the blood of the living and serving Satan. (As an employer, Satan has great benefits, but a lousy retirement package.) He died the morning after our wedding night of a severe Sun allergy.
Clearly I did one Hell of a lot better than Zsa Zsa.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I'm sorry darlings. My #1 fan Gilmore suggested I title this flogging Betty Hutton Makes Her Heavenly Transition, but Little Douglas, incompetent boob that he sometimes is, hit the "Enter" button before the N in "Heavenly.
Betty Hutton never made me heave. Oh sure, I got a little sick in my mouth watching her kiss Charleton Heston in Cecil Blunt DeMille's grossly mistitled The Greatest Show on Earth, but Betty really got the worst of that. All I had in my mouth was a little vomit, as usual, and a quick slug of vodka or gin takes care of that. But Betty had the taste of Cheston in her mouth, and that would take gallons of vodka to wash away. In fact, the only reason I drink gallons of vodka daily is just in case I ever wake up with Cheston's tongue in my mouth. Stranger things have married me.
That's the movie where Jimmy Stewart plays a man on the lam from the cops for killing his wife, who hides out in the circus as a clown who wears his make-up 24 hours a day, like clowns do, to avoid suspicion. Perfect plan! The police should arrest all clowns, and scrub off their make-up. They'll probably find half the Taliban. In the film, Jimmy says to Betty, without any irony, "Well, clowns are funny people.", which we all know is a LIE!
Maybe that's what happened to Betty! Maybe she had an attack of Lois Lane Disease, and said to Jimmy Stewart, "Buttons! You're the man who killed his wife! That's why you wear your clown make-up 24 hours a day! I'm going to write a story about you on the front page of The Daily Planet! Buttons! Put down that gun!"? Because that's what happened to Emmett Kelly Jr!! See my previous flogging, Quit Clowning Around!
The Curse of The Greatest Show on Earth! has struck AGAIN!!! First, C. B. DeMille, then Emmett Senior, then Cornel Wilde, then Jimmy Stewart, then Emmett Junior; somewhere along the line Gloria Grahame, Dorothy Lamour and Lyle Bettger, and now Betty! When will it strike Cheston, where it's needed?
Betty played a lot of real-life people, Annie Oakley, Texas Guinan, Pearl White, herself, and they were all, living and dead, including Betty herself, aghast to find themselves portrayed as a loud, brassy blond screaming songs at folks. How do I know that even the dead objected? My Longtime Spectral Companion, the Headless Indian Brave, told me. He's dead, and he hangs with quite a glamorous dead crowd. Of course, he has no head, so he can't speak, but he's a wiz at sign language. That man is a chatterwrist. He's always running off at the hands.
Betty's best-remembered movie, Annie Get Your Gun, which came out the year Little Dougie was born, is a film of a great Broadway musical which should never be confused with the horrifically awful Broadway musical Annie. They are often mistaken for each other as, whenever Annie is mentioned, people generally reply, "Annie? Get your gun!" In that movie she got to kiss a young Howard Keel, which was a tremendous improvement over Cheston.
Her best movie, in my own humble and always abject opinion, is the Preston Sturgeon classic, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. If you've never seen it, do so. It's got to be the only unwanted pregnancy farce of the 1940s. Darling Pres directed my classic transvestite farce, The Lady Steve, the movie responsible for the undying rumor that I am really a man. If only I were! At least I'd be able to lay hands on a penis when I want to, and when don't I want to?
They say that celebrity deaths always come in threes. They say this because, after every third celebrity death, the Celebrity Death Meter is set back to 0. Well, along with Betty, last week we lost British actor, comedian, drag performer, and homo John Inman, the man with the most appropriate last name this side of my own.
I never met John Inman myself, although a mutual friend relayed to me a year ago a request for a copy of my nearly-adored autobiography My Lush Life for him, as a present for hospital reading, and I was delighted to send him a signed first-edition. I like to think of John spending some of his last year reading my adventures, just as I have spent many a pleasant evening enjoying his antics as Mr. Humphries on the eternal Brit-com Are You Being Served? I was amazed to discover that he wasn't playing Barry Humphries, but just some other Mr. Humphries, always verbally fencing with Mrs. Slocum's pussy.
If you've never seen it, he plays a men's wear department store salesman who is just the merest whisper of a homosexual. Coincidentally, Mr. Humphries and I have the same motto/catch-phrase: "I'm free." It's true. I've never charged for it in my life.
John was a sweet man, a pioneer in playing gay characters in mainstream media (Are You Being Served? goes back to the 70s.), and, in England, a renowned pantomime dame, which is a stage drag queen for kids at Christmas. You see, in England, at Christmas, children are traditionally taken to see jolly holiday drag queens for merry laughter. This is why every Englishman except Daniel Craig is gay. (Daniel my darling, call me! And the rest of you, read my previous flogging, Craig's List.) Last year, John married his longtime boy friend. They'd been together over 30 years, which means his cry of "I'm free!" was another LIE!
Kenneth Williams, the primary poofter of the Carry On movies, referred to John Inman in his published diaries as "That Inman Creature". Ken wrote of him derisively because he felt John was doing Ken's act, as though Ken invented homosexuality. Sorry Kenny, but Franklin Pangborn had the patent on being a homo. Williams always played snotty, superior, prissy old queens, even when he was young, while John always played sweet, charming, friendly nancymen, who were smarter than everyone else, and trying to hide it. Also, Kenneth Williams, by his own testimony, died a virgin. John did not, and I never trust a virgin, even if that tragic birth defect isn't really their fault. (Well, would you want to boff Ken Williams, even back when he was alive? I rest my case.) In any event, we need more creatures like That Inman Creature.
Well, that's two down. Who will be number 3? Ennio Morricone just won an Honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar. I'll bet he's sweating bullets.
But not me. I'm a screen immortal!
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
No dear, the ones with the phrase are the erroneous ones.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Disney’s uniquely butch movie was released in a DVD 2 disc edition today, so that all of you with the single-disc version can now throw them away, because you can not adequately present this 75 minute movie on fewer then 2 discs, preferably 5.
I say "uniquely butch" as Disney made an astounding, transgender casting choice for a film aimed at children. As everyone above the age of two is aware, Peter Pan is the story of a middle-aged lesbian cross-dresser living with fairies and battling with seamen, who kidnaps a pubescent girl, and carries her across state lines, to be her love slave, while selling her brothers into white slavery for blackguards. Why on earth Walt Disney cast a teenage boy to play a middle-aged dyke I can not imagine! You don’t tamper with a beloved classic like that.
I can state Jimmy Barrie’s artistic intentions with authority because he explained them to me at length over our long lunches, upstairs in our little secret love nest in the Algonquin Hotel during the rehearsals for the original American production of Peter Pan starring Maude Adams back in 1905, long before she played the title role in Octopussy opposite Roger NoMoore. I absent-mindedly forgot to mention in my narrowly-beloved autobiography, My Lush Life , that I was in the original American production of Peter Pan. What an oversight! Well, when you keep your brain as well-lubricated as I do mine, things will slip your mind.
I played Wendy’s great-great grandmother, Sylvia. Originally Sylvia Darling was just going to be Wendy’s grandmother, but when they saw how I looked on stage in 1905, her age was moved back a hair, though they did manage to shave off a third "Great" by keeping me in dim light. The alert among you will have noted that I was 8 years old at the time. I was remarkably mature for my age, probably due to my youthful heavy drinking.
My performance as Old Sylvia Darling was so popular, causing riots in the theater at my first entrance each show, that Barrie "Retired" the character from the play when we closed, saying: "After having your performance seared into my mind like scar tissue, I could never bear to hear anyone say those lines or act that part again. It would be physically painful to me." What a beautiful thing to say to an 8 year old's face. How fitting I was too drunk to hear it. It actually says in the Peter Pan rights contracts, "Reinstatement to the text or portrayal on the stage of the character of Sylvia Darling is punishable by DEATH!", an unusually strict condition for a Hospital for Sick Children to insist upon enforcing. Yet another unique tribute to my thesbic genius.
But Walt Disney had a male performer play Peter, turning her into a boy-playing-a-woman-who-dresses-like-a-boy, making the whole thing too confusing for children to follow. Is this Peter Pan or Victor/Victoria? (Be very grateful you've never seen Julie Andrews's Peter. I have.) And once Peter is no longer a middle-aged, sexually-ambiguous woman, the whole relationship with Wendy becomes meaningless! Mary Martin, always a maverick, took the additional transgressive step of playing Peter as a nun. And they broadcast that sacrilegious version on television in the 1950s!
But the Maude Adams production of Peter Pan was not my only appearance in the play. No, I never played Peter myself. I’m afraid the world was robbed of ever seeing my amazing, enormous Peter. Remember, if someone ever tells you they have seen my Peter, they are lying. However, in 1966 I was persuaded to appear for two weeks at Melodyland Theater, in Anaheim, in a Yuletide production of Peter Pan, in a different role.
Since Peter had always been played by a woman, the decision was made to experiment with some cross-dressing, and I was cast as Captain James Hook, the physically-challenged ship’s captain plagued by an anarchic middle-aged lesbian who thinks she’s a juvenile delinquent, who has maimed him and is trying to kill him. It is an heroic role, this brave, one-handed seafarer, battling a tribe of vicious, homicidal, feral children, and one gravity-free lesbian, and who himself eventually meets a Tragic Fate.
(In an amazing display of virtuosity and versatility - I am known for my versatility, though I no longer top, thanks to Anna - I also played Mrs. Darling, Wendy's mother. Thus the audience was not robbed of my beauty during Hook's long absences from acts one and five.)
The titular thug Peter Pan, who battled my beleaguered Captain Hook, was stage legend Ethel Merman. Getting Merman was a lucky break for me, since audience sympathy for Hook, often irrationally considered an unsympathetic role, was much easier to arouse. From the moment Merman first sailed onto the stage, suspended from chains, the audience was firmly on my side.
And she had a ways to go, I might add. Melodyland Theater was right across the street from Disneyland. It was a theater-in-the-round, an insanely designed gimmick that was nothing if not egalitarian, since every seat was a bad seat, and it didn’t allow for any scenery taller than ankle-high. Consequently, there were no windows for Ethel to fly through. She had to be soldered into her chains out at the room’s rim, and then flown, squawking, all the way down the long aisle and onto the stage. She built up such a head of speed that, at some performances, she sailed right across the stage and up the opposite aisle, to collide with the room’s far rim. Since, in order to avoid any chance, however tempting, of dropping Miss Merman, thus damaging the theater, she was, as I said, soldered into her fly-chains, and had no choice but to wear them throughout the entire performance.
Miss Merman was an unforgettable Peter Pan. Even now, over forty years later, her forceful Peter remains deeply embedded in me, and in the memories of even the youngest child who had the traumatic joy of enduring a performance, no matter how much therapy has been applied. Everyone enjoyed her exuberant renditions of I Gotta Crow and I'm Flying, both the audience members proper, and the people riding the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland across the street, as well as the people trying to enjoy the saloon show at Knott’s Berry Farm, six miles down the freeway. I’m told the last note of her crooning of Neverland could be heard on the moon, and it’s a vacuum. I myself suffered significant hearing loss that has been traced back to the punishment my ears received each night during act two. However, when Ethel sang I Won’t Grow Up, nobody challenged her.
I was relieved when I learned that it would not be considered necessary for me to amputate my right hand to accommodate the prosthetic hook I wore as the salty seaman with the coincidental name, which was fortunate, as otherwise I would have had to wear gloves as Mrs. Darling, to fake the missing hand. Dodged a sawblade that time.
Frankly, I thought it a bit over the top, and V-U-L-G-A-R, when, a few years ago, Robert DeNiro played Captain Hook for a two week Christmas pantomime engagement in London, and had his hand amputated for the run, stored in ice, and then surgically reattached at the cast party. Poor, show-offy Bobby. When he awoke from the first surgery, he found the doctors had mistakenly taken off the wrong hand. Since switching hands would necessitate altering his costumes, reblocking every scene, and rechoreographing several musical numbers, he had them reattach the left hand and amputate the right. When we last met, backstage at the Golden Globes, I said to him, "Bobby darling. You only had it removed once? I had it done nightly when I played Hook." He seethed with envy as he massaged his wrists. Watch him on award shows. He never applauds any more.
The hardest thing about doing this play live, was the lack of stunt doubles. I was required to do all my own stunts, as well as do all my own acting, sometimes concurrently! I was multi-tasking my brains out. Fortunately, vodka makes multi-tasking much easier. Imagine trying to fence, with a broadsword in a fake hook instead of your hand, and a completely het-up Ethel Merman in drag, whizzing around your head on lethal-looking chains, swinging wildly and blindly with her sword. To hell with staying in character, I was just lucky to get out alive, as were those members of the audience that did. Thank God I was drunk every show. I don’t know how I could have done it sober!
All in all, it was an interesting experience. I got good notices as Hook, with critics saying things like "Born to the role," "Fits Hook like a glove," "Now it makes sense!" and "More camp than a decade with the Boy Scouts." I’m not certain what that last one means, but the critic clearly loved me in the role, even suggesting that a more appropriate title for the production would have been The Killing of Sister Peter. I was a bit miffed that most of the reviews were about my secondary character, Captain Hook, while my primary achievement, my daring Mrs. Darling, was mostly ignored. Has any other actress ever taken the risk of playing her as openly gay? (I mean besides Janet Blair! Don't be so obvious. Goodbye Janet, my wee one.)
I’m told (I don’t really remember anything between 1969 and 1980.) that I ended up returning to the same part in the same theater ten years later, which is much easier than learning a new play. The second time around was a little bit different, as we had quite a different Peter. But then, I like a different Peter now and then; don’t you? A sudden change of Peter can really liven things up.
This time out the little thug who won’t grow up was definitively delineated by Miss Carol Channing. Certainly, Carol’s renditions of the songs were wholly different from Ethel’s. She also had a couple of songs from her previous Broadway hits slightly altered and inserted into the score, so that, on arriving in Neverland, Peter and the Lost Boys did a huge production number of Hello Peter, and later, Peter sang Diamonds Are a Pre-Pubescent Boy’s Best Friend. Carol also had the play’s title changed to Gentlemen Prefer Peter. The critics said my Hook was completely of a piece with Miss Channing’s unique interpretation of Pan, and equally masculine.
Carol did not require chains to get hoisted aloft. Quite the contrary. The thinnest of wires, barely a thread, was sufficient to propel the skeletal Miss Channing to the stratosphere. In fact, they eventually sewed weights into her costume, to keep her anchored on the stage.
Watching the Disney cartoon with Little Douglas today, I was struck by the Fairy Dust. Peter Pan can fly when he shakes a load of Fairy Dust off of Tinker Bell onto himself, and/or anyone else he wants to fly, and then thinks Lovely Thoughts. Okay. But what exactly is Fairy Dust? Well, it falls off of Tink in flurries when you shake her or spank her. (That's the derivation of the term "Spank Your Fairy".)
Oh my God! Fairy Dust is Tink’s old dead Fairy Skin!!! It’s like Magic Dandruff.
Wait a minute. Little Douglas has a skin condition … I’ll be right back.
I’m back. Eureka! It works!
Little Dougie is, let's face it, a big old fairy, and he has this yucky old skin problem. Keep him away from moisturizers, his medicated skin cremes, and soap for more than a day and his face turns as white as an Alabaman draft board, and great, huge flakes of his old, dead skin cells cascade off of him at the slightest breeze or facial agitation.
Well, I kept his face moisture-free for two days, and then I slapped him around for a while (He loves it. Stop whimpering Douglas!), while luxuriating in a Niagara of his dead epidermal cells, like a blizzard of powdered cadaver, until I was coated in authentic Fairy Dust. Then I began thinking Lovely Thoughts, thoughts like vodka, throbbing erections, gin, forced felching, Matlock with cupcakes and margaritas, while enjoying a lively beverage.
Darlings, I’m flying!