Only last week on this flog, I was bitching about all the obituaries I've been having to write as wonderful, fabulous people, lovely talents of all stripes, from Dabbs Greer to Calvin Lockhart to Betty Hutton to Gordon Scott to Kitty Carlisle to Kurt Vonnegut Jr. have all left the party within the last few weeks, each departure leaving the party a poorer event. Well I say, when life gives you lemons, make a gin and lemon. Our luck was due for a change, and relief has come. Finally someone has died that is absolutely no loss at all. In fact, his is a death that actually makes the world ever so slightly better. Jerry Falwell has died.
The Reverend Robert Schiller, the man behind the giant crystal cathedral near Disneyland, (Godland?) showed up on TV saying about the late, unlamented Falwell, that we shouldn't concentrate on the things he did that upset us, but should focus instead on the good things Jerry did. I thought this was good advice, so I made a list of all the good things Jerry did in his 73 years. Here it is:
Good things done by Jerry Falwell (full tally):
1. He died.
So the next big gay circuit party will be Dancing with the Stars on Jerry Falwell's Grave. I'm gonna miss the big lug.
No, I won't. But I'll drink another toast to his toasting. Cheers all.
Fans of the 1950s TV show The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves - and really, isn't that everyone? - will think this terrifying photograph is a rare color image of the destruction of Krypton in the first episode of that program (An episode featuring Dabbs Greer), as there is Jor-El's house outlined by a fiery holocaust of destruction.
Others will think this a shot of this past week's fire in Griffith Park. Wrong again. I snapped this picture myself, in 1939, when, during the shooting of my civil war epic East vs West, we inadvertantly set fire to Griffith Park. Fortunately we were able to shift the blame for the fire onto a troop of cub scouts camping out in the park. The scouts didn't mind, as they were all lost in the fire anyway, and it saved the studio millions in liabilities, so everyone was a winner.
Three years earlier, we weren't so lucky. In 1936, we were shooting the climax of my beloved south sea paradise adventure film, Virgins of Krakatoa, on Santa Catalina Island. You all will remember how I was acting my brains out, playing the Village Virgin Coozella, a role far outside my acting comfort zone. Playing virgins was always a challenge. It's all I can do the be in the same room with one. I know I shouldn't judge virgins. After all, it's never by choice. They are born that way. They fill me with pity and terror. Will we ever find a cure?
Anyway, at the climax of Virgins of Krakatoa, my old dear friend, Vincent Lovecraft, the villain in most of my movies (His catch phrase was "Love me or DIE!"), as the evil high priest Scatolo, is about to sacrifice me to the Volcano God Mulatto, when my boyfriend Sashimi, played by my then-future-ex-husband Rod Towers, rescues me and tosses Scatolo into the lava instead. This enrages Mulatto, and the volcano destroys the island. Shooting this complex, effects-heavy scene, featuring real lava imported from Hawaii and reheated (Santa Catalina is not a volcanic island), things got a tad out of hand, and large parts of the island, including Avalon, burned. These catastrophes are related in fuller detail in my award-challenged autobiography, My Lush Life
So last week, when I saw on TV the fires raging in Griffith Park, and then on Catalina, endangering Avalon, all I could think was: Been there! Done that! Wrote the book!
Always, I am a trend setter, and even in the 21st Century, people copy me slavishly.
I have been invited by the lovely, Emmy-winning writer Ken Levine, to be a guest columnist, covering and reviewing the Tuesday performance finale show of American Idol on his lovely flog, By Ken Levine. Many of you know that Ken wrote for years for that TV show that stole my signature signoff for their show's title, Cheers. (Where everybody knows my name.) Now, once again, he needs my help. Fortunately, I live only to help others, never sparing a thought for myself.
Therefore, you won't even need to watch American Idol next week at all, as you've all known since the stunning moment Melinda Doolittle was eliminated. I'll be watching it for you. I'm that unselfish.
It seems Ken will be vacationing in Hawaii next week, and for some reason, doesn't want to spend two of his Hawaiian evenings in a hotel room, watching American Idol and typing on his lap top. Go figure. What the hell else is there to do there? Don Ho is as dead as Jerry Falwell. LOST will be on hiatus. Jurassic Park is closed. Jack Lord is fictional, or at least his hair is. There's no point to going to Hawaii at all anymore. Whenever I'm there, all I do is lie in my room, watching some - ah - late night pay-per-view TV, enjoying a vodka martini, and typing in my laptop. Now if only I had a computer.
I am such an unselfish movie star, that I offered, out of the goodness of my heart, to throw myself on this Hawaii grenade and take the blast myself, by taking Ken's Hawaiian vacation for him; however Ken seemed reluctant to take me up on this selfless offer. Your choice, but don't say I didn't warn you when you're bored senseless in that overrated tourist trap. I went to Molokai once, and I swear, those were the homeliest natives I've ever seen. And clumsy? I've certainly seen butterfingers who simply can not hold onto the objects in their hands. I had to ask Stan Laurel to remain outdoors whenever he visited Morehead Heights, because he always reduced my house to such a wreck that it was noticable! But only on Molokai have I ever seen anyone lose actual parts of themselves. "Excuse me darling, you've dropped your left hand. Is this a nose in my soup?"
Anyway, I'll be reviewing AI over on Ken's space, Be sure to read it. Ken clearly expects a BIG spike in his hits when my legion of fan troup over to his flog. That's the way it is when you're a big star like me. Everybody wants some of your glamour to rub off on them, and are willing to rub you pretty damned hard to get it. Everyone wants a piece of me, and what can I do but what I have always done, and give a piece to everyone? Line up again, boys.
And Cheers darlings.