Thursday, March 15, 2007

Betty Hutton Makes Her Heave

No Douglas! No! No! No!

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!

Cheers darlings.

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