Thursday, May 29, 2008


I will keep this brief as I have to get to my birthday party. This is not my 111th flogging. Missed it by that much, as Steve Carell will be shortly saying. This is my 110th flogging, but it's my 111th Birthday. Yes, I am officially eleventy-one. Yet everyone is telling me I don't look a day over 97. And for my party? Well more on that in a moment. Here's a picture of last year's 110th celabation, with my ex-husband Boris burying the hatchet --- in my rum cake. Timid little Dougie looks a bit alarmed by Boris. Something about his having died back in 1969. Honestly, the whole point of the role Boris is best known for playing is being resurrected from the dead. Butch up Dougie.

I know you're all stumped by what to get me for a present. What do you get for the woman who has everything? Well here's a few gift suggestions.

Of course I am synonymous with the movies. Someone named Duncan just sent me a photo he snapped this evening of the marquee of the Hemet Theater in Downtown Hemet, California, the place where they stage The Ramona Pageant every year for no known reason. I can't think why he wants me to see the marquee. You couldn't drag me into seeing Horton Hears Doctor Who, and I can't remember who Sarah Marshall even is.

Wait a minute! What does it say there in between the two features? Let's take a closer look.

What the hell? Are they kidding me? What has happened to values in America?

Three dollars to get in? Are they serious?

My gracious, talk about
cheap! And what's that below the price? Oh my God! That's not how you spell "Tallulah Morehead"! In fact, that's --- that's Little Dougie's name! What is that doing there?

Oh sure, it is Dougie's birthday today also. He's 58, barely out of diapers. Actually, given what his health is like, he's nearly back into diapers. The only reason I even let him on my sofa is because the frequent vodka spills disinfects it. At almost half my age, most people think he's the older one. The man bats with overcooked spaghetti, although he still sees himself like this:

What would Little Dougie like for his birthday? Well he likes to travel. He particularly enjoys Europe. How about Paris. He'd love a chance to once again mount The Eiffel Tower, and vice versa. (And Dougie prefers his vice versa.)

Yes, he'd love to have what's in that picture for his natal commemoration. You know, if you take The Eiffel Tower, turn it on it's side, and insert it through The Arc D'Triomph, then Paris is fucked.

Even more than Paris, Dougie loves London. He'd be your pal forever if you'd help him once again thrill to Big Ben. This is Ben himself. My, doesn't he have a
big clock? Hey kids, what time is it? It's How'd He Do Me Time! (If you get that gag, you're over 50.)

As you can see from this psychic photo I snapped when Dougie and I were doing a bookstore signing of my beliked autobiography My Lush Life, there's always just one thing on Dougie's alleged mind.

Well, there's no help for it. Little Dougie and I happen to have, by a complete coincidence, the same birthday, so we have no choice but to celabate them together.

We are, however, receiving a lovely gift from ABC, for tonight they are giving us the three-hour season 4 finale of
LOST, our current favorite show. (Though we are both very fond of Doctor Who as well.) Normally a TV network would want such a sure fire ratings giant as the LOST season finale to air during May sweeps. So why did ABC hold LOST
back to today? So it would be a birthday present for Dougie and me, well, mostly me. Actually, entirely for me. Dougie is just tagging along, hoping Sawyer gets too drunk to notice Dougie's a guy.

So what can we expect to see on
LOST tonight? Deaths? Twists? Freighter psychos running amok? A Bekins moving van hauling The Island to somewhere else? Yes, but [SPOILER ALERT!] also, my surprise birthday party! (Little Dougie too.) And for the highlight of the party, I take on five of The Oceanic Six! (Well baby Aaron is just too young. And I'm not really sure about doing Hurley again either. The last time I did him, I lost my keys in a flab fold.) Normally I want at least 8 or more, but given that it's my lovely LOST, I'm willing to settle for five, particularly since one of them is Sayid. Mmmmm. That hot Iraqi can torture me anytime!

Now if you'll excuse me, I want to swallow some of my cake. I understand that, in honor of my being 111, my cake's Italian creme filling is going to slip me 11!

Cheers darlings.

Monday, May 26, 2008

When Lancedalot, I Camelot.

[This post was originally put up two weeks ago, but had to be removed, owing to technical problems. These have now been fixed, and I now represent my review of the Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of Camelot. Meanwhile, it's now May 27, so Happy Vincent Price's and Christopher Lee's birthday.]

You could hear his shriek from Morehead Heights to Redondo Beach. Little Dougie had just noticed online that PBS was going to broadcast a Live From Lincoln Center performance of CAMELOT, although speaking as someone who knew him intimately, I can state without fear of successful contradiction that Lincoln's center hasn't been "Live" for 140 years, and his extremities have been dead even longer. Quite frankly, the man had been shooting pool with a rope since well before Our American Cousin opened live at Ford's Theater. (Although those critics that stayed the for the rest of the play praised my performance as "The Second-Most Memorable Event of the Evening." One critic, wrote in The Washington Post: "Not even History can impede the flow of Miss Tallulah Morehead." while the reviewer for DC PEOPLE wrote simply "Sic semper alcoholus!")

Dougie was making a tremendous fuss that a new production of
Camelot would be on TV. "There just isn't a good performance of this show on film or tape." he babbled at me like I cared, "The movie is worse than anything even you were ever in." (I'm sure he meant that caringly, and also he's right.) "And they released a DVD of a stage revival, and it still starred Richard Harris, who ought to have been playing Merlin. After all, Merlin exits 20 minutes in and is never seen again."

This new version would star Gabriel Byrne as King Arthur ("Hmmm," said Little Douglas, "Not whom I'd cast, but maybe it will work out.") and Marin Mazzie as Guinevere. Now I saw Mazzie perform onstage in both
Passion and Ragtime, and she was terrific in each, although personally, I have great trouble properly controlling my singing whenever I'm experiencing either of those conditions. (Though for the latter one, it has been a long time since I've experienced it.) "Wait a minute" said Little Dougie, "It says Fran Dresher is in it. That must be a misprint. Still, she's only playing Morgan Le Fay, a role so small, half the time they cut the role entirely. She can't sink this show all by herself."

Dougie was right. Fran needed help to turn this
CAMELOT into a total train wreck. And she got help. A lot of help.

That's Little Julie Andrews and Big Dick Burton being charming and heartbreaking in the original Broadway production in 1960. Little Dougie loves the show
Camelot. You see, 42 years ago, back when he was a mere lad of 15, Little Dougie was in a swell production of Camelot, the February, 1966, Long Beach Civic Light Opera mounting of this show, featuring Laura Killingsworth, Ed Cotter, Phil Haynes, and the original Broadway roadshow sets and costumes. Little Dougie played Lancelot's Squire, Dap (5 whole lines, including the show-stopping: "The queen is at the stake, your majesty, shall I signal the torch? Your majesty? Your majesty??"), and he sang in the chorus of knights. Here's a picture of Little Dougie in the scene that introduces King Pellinore.

All right, he's a little small in that picture. You can see him better in this program shot of the singing chorus.

Maybe it's just me, but do the two ladies-in-waiting in the front row at the far end away from Douglas look like they've been ladies-in-waiting for a long,
long time? In fact, I think those two may have been Ladies-in-Waiting-for-Gidot. Also, you gotta admire Little Dougie's 1183-style period haircut.

Dougie was a terribly ambitious young actor back in the 1960s, for all the good that came of it. He acted and sang well, and was a terrible dancer to boot. Here he is, 40 years ago this month, singing and dancing (At the same time!) with a dancer named Pepper Clyde, doing the song
Once In a Blue Moon in the show Little Mary Sunshine in Long Beach in May 1968. Dougie was playing Billy Jester, and Pepper was playing Nancy Twinkle, as well as choreographing the show. Pepper had also choreographed the production of Camelot Dougie had been in.

Let's look a little closer at Dougie in this ancient picture. Take a gander at this blow-up from that shot (taken, I believe, by Matthew Brady.),

Now you tell me how
anyone could look at this 17 year old boy, onstage or in person, and not know he was a big old homo? For God's sake, he's given himself a fake cleft chin with eyebrow pencil! He was the 1968 version of David Archuleta, only Dougie actually knows the lyrics to the Beatles's songs. And you couldn't drag Dougie's father backstage.

"Bad" is not the word for Gabriel Byrne's performance as Arthur in
Camelot this week. It's too paltry a word. Gabriel Byrne, as it turned out, is dead, and his walking corpse is not a very good actor, even by lower, zombie standards. (And my Zombie Acting Standards are low!) He could not sing, I mean at all! Next to Byrne, Richard Burton was Frank Sinatra. One might have overlooked the horrific off-key noises he was making, not to mention the invent-them-yourself lyrics he stuck in, if only he could act. If I hadn't seen him give expert performances in a number of movies, I'd think he was a homeless man pulled out of an ally and shoved out on stage with one rehearsal, as a dark, practical joke on all involved.

At least, his blown lyrics were good for a laugh. In
What Do the Simple Folk Do?, he changed the lyric "A violent trance, astounding to behold." into "A violent dance, astounding to behold." I'll bet it was. What had he seen? I suspect it was "The Rumble" from Act II of West Side Story. Or maybe he’d just seen some simple Apaché dancers.

Marin Mazzie was giving good demonstrations of her songs. She made lovely sounds, hit the right pitches, and clearly enunciated the lyrics she could remember. And to her credit, she remembered most of them. I'd even go so far as to say she remembered a quorum of her lyrics. But still, for some reason, at the climax of
The Lusty Month of May, she chose to suddenly toss in her Jason Castro impersonation, and began singing nonsense sounds instead of the proper ones. (Never try to watch a musical with someone who has been in it and knows every single line and lyric, particularly when the cast performing the show doesn't!) But there is a big difference between demonstrating a song, and performing it. When Marin sang Before I Gaze at You Again, it was very pretty. But then Nathan Gunn, as Lancelot, stepped up and sang If Ever I Would Leave You, and my God, a STAR was in the house! I'll have more to say about Nathan (A lot more) a little further down, but what is relevant here is that he not only hit every pitch, and remembered all the words, all bellowed out in the most magnificent rich baritone voice you've ever heard, but he was also acting! When Nathan's Lancelot sang, he was a man deeply, passionately in love, and in agony over it. When Marin sang, she was a very competent singer singing on TV.

Gabriel Byrne should hang his head in shame. (Actually, given his performance, he should
stop hanging his head in shame, as that's all he did for two hours.) When a movie star with a reputation as a good actor is out-acted (VASTLY out-acted!) by a baritone from the Metropolitan Opera, something is wrong somewhere.

The wonderful openly gay actor/singer Christopher Sieber, ironically one of the original stars of
SPAMALOT (And how's this for irony? Spamalot has already run on Broadway longer than Camelot did.), was wasted in the tiny, nothing role of Sir Dinadan, who gets a few lines to sing in Then You May Take Me To the Fair, and otherwise has less to do than Squire Dap. Hello? Sieber is too good for his role, while nearly everyone else is ghastly.

As it happened, the cast of Little Dougie's production, while not-famous (Although his King Arthur, Ed Cotter, went on to win an Emmy, albeit, for editing
Happy Days.), were all better than these losers at Lincoln Center. (Where was Johnny Booth when you needed him?) Except for Lancelot, that is. Oh Dougie had a good Lancelot, it's just that Nathan Gunn was great. I'll get to him. Hang on. Here are Phil Haynes as Lancelot, and Laura Killingsworth as Guinevere, showing a lot more passion than Marin managed.

Didn't Phil fill his tights well? If he's still alive, he must be 80 at least, but in 1966 he was about as dashing and handsome as you could hope for. He could act, and he sang like a dream. And he had a quality that Robert Goulet always lacked, real sex appeal. Goulet always looked lacquered and sexless, like a living Ken doll. Phil was a man well worth mentally undressing.

Laura Killingsworth was the wife of the world-famous architect Ed Killingsworth. Here's is a bit of what Wikipedia, that unimpeachable source, says of Ed Killingsworth (Who was a lovely, gracious man.):

Edward Killingsworth, FAIA, (1917–2004) was an American architect. He is best known as a participant in Arts & Architecture's Case Study program in the mid-1950s. He designed and built Case Study House #25, "The Frank House," in Naples, California. He also designed numerous luxury hotels all over the world and a large part of the California State University, Long Beach campus. In the architecture world, "Killingsworth" is synonymous with ultra-cool Southern California Post-and-Beam Mid-Century Modern.

Laura is still with us, and is still beautiful and gracious. I haven't heard her sing in years although I know she does still sing, but in the 1960s, she could give Julie Andrews a run for her money. Dougie performed with her again, a year and a half later, in Kiss Me Kate, and he ranks her performance as Amanda in Private Lives as being just a few hairs less-great than Maggie Smith in the same role., and her Desiree Armfelt in A Little Night Music and her Mame Dennis in Mame, Dougie rates as second to none. (Laura has done numerous productions of both the musical and the non-musical versions of Auntie Mame.)

Here's Phil kneeling before Ed, a pose Ed enjoyed far less than Dougie would have. Believe it or not, this is actually a picture of two straight men. Apparently they were dead set on showing who Arthur is
really jealous of. "Guinevere, hands off Lancelot. He's Mine!" Ed, I am glad to say, is alive and well as of this writing.

This is how Dougie usually saw Phil Haynes, five days a week for four years, for in addition to co-starring with Little Dougie in
Camelot, Phil was also Dougie's high school choir director, voice teacher, and director of The Choraleers, a 16-voice group Dougie sang in for two years.

That's The Choraleers, and there's Little Dougie beside the "Happiness is a piano" sign. Don't you love the hair on the girl standing next to him? That's 1968 in your face! They're actually performing the song
What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love, and Dougie had staged the number. In his heart, he was Bob Fosse. Sadly, he was someone else entirely in his feet. That was the 1968 Choraleers. Here's the 1967 Choraleers, with two of the girls missing.

Phil was a major mentor to Dougie for four years, that rarity of rarities, a "Good Influence," whatever the hell that is. A father figure who was actually interested in and knowledgeable about the things that Dougie was interested in, unlike Dougie's real father, and it didn't hurt in the least that Phil was good-looking enough to provoke naughty thoughts in Young Dougie as he watched Phil stuff himself into his dance belt backstage every performance.

Is it any wonder that, unlike many, many gay men, Little Dougie looks back on his high school days with fondness?

Here's King Arthur discussing wardrobe choices with Mordred. I've always wondered how Mordred kept his sleeves out of his food while he ate.

While we're here, please take a moment to admire the footware in the Arthur and Mordred picture. What the hell is Arthur wearing? Medaeval wing-tips?

This next picture captures the horrifying twist Little Dougie's production added to the ending, which certainly sent viewers home with a jolt. Arthur gets all excited about knighting Tom of Warwick, sending him back home, with instructions to:

Ask every person if he's heard the story.
And tell it loud and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory,
That was known as Camelot."

In this production, as you can see, Arthur got carried away, and stabbed Tom through the brain. He turned to the audience and said, "Oops." [CHORUS SWELLS. FINAL CURTAIN!]

I HATED this new TV Mordred!!! Bobby Steggert played him as some sort of gay Goth, with all the menace of Chris Kattan's old SNL character Mango. While he sang THE 7 DEADLY VIRTUES, he flirted with all the butch knights. Why didn't the knights just kill him? Did they think he was a girl? Did he think he was a girl? What an eccentric performance. How bad are you, when you and Roddy McDowell play the same role, and Roddy is the butch one?

People shouldn't applaud Fran Dresher's entrances; it only encourages her. She was far too busy being artificial and pleased-with-herself to bother with a performance. That Morgan Le Fey spoke with Fran's voice was funny for one line. By the time her musical number began, you wanted to see her killed. By the time she exited, you were ready to waterboard whoever had had the bright idea to cast her in the first place. I was just relieved that Robin Williams hadn't played Merlin, not that Stacy Keach smothered himself in glory. Actually, he smothered himself with ham. Instead of acting, instead of letting Merlin actually
be excited when Arthur acquires ambition, Keach merely announced he was excited, while smirking smugly, and delivering his lines in precious, cutesy ways that seemed to ask: "Aren't I adorable? You know, if something terrible and unthinkable happened to Michael Gambon, like if he died, or he had a terrible accident, like getting run down by my car, late at night, when no saw it, or the driver, you know, something like that, then wouldn't I be a perfect Dumbledore in the last few Harry Potter films?"


Here's Arthur with Little Dougie's Merlin, played by Michael Brown, who is still a good friend of Dougie's, still acting, and directing. If you live near Costa Mesa, look for the production of Del Shore's
Sordid Lives which he'll be directing down there in a few months. And if you ever see a production of a play called Earthlings Beware! advertised, go see it. Michael wrote it, and it's hilarious.

Last year, Bobby Steggert played Jimmy Curry in the revival of
110 in the Shade. Here he is being all butch while Starbuck describes his plan for a nationwide string of coffee cafés.

And here he is camping about with a girl's hat, singing about how he got this girl's "Little red hat." How gay is that? What Douglas? It means what? Oh. Douglas says the hat symbolizes getting her cherry. That a man gets a "Little red hat" on the end of his Rod of Eros when breaching a virgin maidenhead. I barely remember mine. It left this world a century ago. I recall there was a lot of blood, but almost none of it was mine.

As it happened,
110 in the Shade is another show Little Douglas did, 40 years ago this week, immediately after Little Mary Sunshine, the last weeks of May, 1968. This time, Doug was one of the leads. He was File, who gets the girl at the end, so it was still a fantasy. Phil Haynes conducted the pit band.

In this picture from that show, Dougie's character has just punched out "Jimmy Curry," Bobby Steggert's role last year. (I know. I didn't buy Little Dougie flattening this larger, tougher, butcher lad either, but Dougie swears that, when you saw the play, the punch was far, far sillier.) Anyway, Bobby, consider this punch thrown at you through the decades on behalf of poor Mordred. (Douglas is beng "restrained" by two of his fellow Choraleers, Calvin Hoff and Curt Hespe. Doug was probably yellling "Hold me back! I'm a gittin' riled now, so hold me back!")

But the news about this fresh
Camelot wasn't all bad, because there was Nathan Gunn as Sir Lancelot, and he was terrific! Not only is he gorgeous, with the body of the son of Atlas and Adonis (I know Adonis and Atlas are both male, but they can adopt in California.), and a heavenly voice, but he can act! "Big stars" Fran Dresher and Christopher Lloyd played "English" characters that sounded like they were from New York. The English accents were so absent, that Gabriel Byrne apparently hid his under the same bushel where he stored his acting ability. But Gunn, who was born in Indiana and lives in Illinois, played a French Lancelot who actually sounded French. He even has perfect comic timing. He is, and has, the full package!

Plus Nathan is the reigning king of a new type of opera divo, the Barihunk. Take a look at this picture of Nathan in the opera of
Billy Budd.

Oh my God! He should be named Nathan Gunn
s, as his are fantastic. He's a male Dolly Parton. My gracious, his tits are huge! Looks, talent, charm, I am in love! I was on a jet to his landing strip at the speed of light. Here we are making beautiful music together.

Bear this in mind; he's an opera superstar. That's right; a
nobody! I am a Big Movie Star, and I was literally throwing myself at his feet, and he turned me down! Whatever happened to respecting your elders? I'm more than 70 years older than he is. Who is he to turn me down?

And his excuse was so lame! He kept saying his "wife" didn't allow him to have sex with other women. How flimsy. How transparant. Heaven knows that never stopped any of the handful of straight husbands I had when no gay men were available for me to marry.

Oh wait. I see now: a big, muscular, butch man who loves opera, takes his shirt off a lot, has a (wink wink) "wife." I get it. He's gay. Of course. I understand. After all, more than half of my husbands "Loved opera." Well, at least this way I won't run the risk of suffering the catastrophe that befell Nathan's co-star in the opera of
An American Tragedy. Now that was an American tragedy!

Barihunks aren't new, of course, just the term is. 17 or 18 years ago Little Dougie and I saw the premiere Barihunk, Rodney Gilfry, play Figaro in
The Barber of Seville at the LA Opera. (Stop laughing. There is too an LA Opera. Yes there is. They're very good. No, really! They are! I saw Flacido sing Otello there. I tell you, they're good.) Anyway, we saw lovely, gogeous Rodney come on shirtless, and dress as he sang the famous Figaro aria. Woke me up, which isn't easy when there's an opera playing. Dougie loves opera. (Gay! The prosecution rests!) He also saw Rodney play Mozart's Don Giovanni live, despite Mr. Gilfry remaining overdressed, that is, dressed, throughout the whole performance. No such blunder occurred when Rodney played Stanley Kowalski in André Previn's sadly unmelodic opera of A Streetcar Named Desire on TV. The opera was lousy, but Gilfry, a boyish, extremely likable lad, made a perfect brutish Stanley. It would make for a very different Night at the Opera.

Here's how I imagine it went when Mrs. Claypoole invited Rodney to thrust his way deep into her private box at the Streetcar premiere. Otis B. Driftwood can't seem to escape fast enough. I'm with Mrs. Claypoole on this one. Rodney could clear my table anytime.

But Rodney, though still beautiful, is fast approaching 50. his barihunk roles are passing on to new singers. Our adorable Nathan Gunn has absorbed his
Billy Budd, for an opera production so homoerotic, it married Liza Minnelli, and tongue-kissed her on The Larry King Show.

Nathan has not as yet played Stanley in Streetcar. Perhaps he heard the score, or maye he's just too nice to play that brute. (Although you can't get much nicer than Rodney.) However a half-Maori Barihunk named Teddy Tahu Rhodes is tearing up the stage as Stanley in Australia these days.

As long as gay men and wealthy, widowed courgars make up the bulk of opera audiences, the Barihunks will flouish. To hell with the fat ladies singing, it won't be over until the hot baritone disrobes! This will
make Mozart!

Some things, like Barihunks, are eternal. Other things, like youth, are ephemeral...

... at least, for YOU!

Cheers darlings.

No More Dick!

First off darlings, my apologies for not posting for so long. I posted a piece on the TV broadcast of a live production of CAMELOT two weeks ago, but some sort of horrid computer glitch caused it to completely screw up my flog layout, and I had to delete it to get my page back to normal, and then flogger was utterly glitched up and refusing to let me post at all. It only just cleared up today, in time for me to post this short, very sad piece. I hope to repost the Camelot piece later on this evening, if Little Dougie can stay awake long enough. It's dated now, but it contained some material that was very personal to Dougie, so he'll try to put it up again.

The horrible-sounding title of this entry certainly expresses my feelings, for sweet, wonderful, funny comic genius Dick Martin has died, and there's nothing funny about that. Longtime readers of this flog know that often, when people die, I post their picture with a circle with a diagonal line across it, the "NO" symbol, slapped across their faces. I just couldn't bring myself to do that to Dick's picture, because I loved him just too much.

Dan Rowan and Dick Martin were one of the greatest comedy teams ever! Dan was a world-class straight man (in every possible sense), and Dick was an inspired comic, a naturally funny man, with flawless timing. And of course, 40 years ago, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In utterly revolutionized TV comedy. It's been 20 years since Dan died. (The man was never without a cigarette!), and now, with Dick's passing, the team is gone forever.

When he was 18 years old, Little Dougie had a real privilege. His friend and mentor, "Sweet Dick" Whittington, was added to the cast of
Laugh-In, then the number one show on television. In the cast picture above, that's Sweet Dick at the top of the ladder and the picture. As Whittington's guest, Little Dougie got to come down to NBC in Beautiful Downtown Burbank, and hang out on stage 4, where Laugh-In was shot, every Wednesday and watch the show being shot. Here's a picture of Little Dougie with Sweet Dick in 1972, when they invaded and conquered Santa Catalina Island, Dougie's sole military service.

There was no real studio audience (Shooting was slow, and often lasted well into the night.), just guests who stayed for as long or as short as they cared to. Dougie always stayed until the bitter end, as there was no where else on earth he would rather have been. He was soaking up knowledge, and hanging out with the funniest and most famous folk in show business. He got to see such guests as Jack Benny (or as Dougie sometimes called him, "God"), Laurence Harvey, Sammy Davis Jr., Victor Borge, Flip Wilson, Sonny & Cher, Paul Winchell, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gina Lollobrigida, and many, many others shoot guest spots.

And he got to hang with the Laugh-In cast. On the rare occasions when he got up the nerve to speak to Dick Martin, he found him approachable, affable, friendly, charming, and funny, funny, funny. Anyone who ever saw him perform knows that he was a consummate comedian. And Dougie has never forgotten his kindness and generosity to the star-stuck 18 year old comedy groupie that Dougie was then.

After the completely amicable break-up of Rowan & Martin in 1977, Dick Martin made the game show guest star rounds, but quickly found that boring to his far more creative mind, so he went into directing. Check out his directing resumé: 17 episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, episodes of House Calls, Flo, Archie Bunker's Place, Family ties, Mama's Family, The Redd Foxx Show, Brothers, Newhart, Sledge Hammer, Bob, In the Heat of the Night. He was a comedy powerhouse.

And he didn't stop performing, doing many guest shots on many different shows. Little Dougie has a close friend who spent five years on the writing staff of The Nanny. (There's 5 years in Hell!) When Dick Martin shot a guest role on that show, Fran "The Harridan" Dresher ignored the "Has-Been," when she should have been sitting at his feet, absorbing anything he had to say. Dick Martin forgot more about comedy than Fran ever has or ever will know. Dougie's friend understood the unique privilege of working around Dick Martin, and soaked up all she could from him.

And if his work as a comedian, comedy writer, and TV director weren't enough, do you know what his job was before he became a comic? He was a bartender! This wasn't a man. This was a God! It was realized that he was a gifted comic when Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis played the club where he bartended, and Dick behind the bar was getting more laughs than Martin & Lewis, not that there's much difficulty being funnier than Jerry Lewis. Naturally Jerry wanted him fired, but Dean, a far more generous and selfless man than Jerry "World's Biggeest Ego With World's Smallest Justification" Lewis, helped him connect with a partner and launch a career.

I realize that Dick was 86, but so what? I will be 111 on Thursday (Address your gift bottles of vodka to "Tallulah Morehead, Morehead Heights, Los Angeles, California."), and you don't see me dying do you? Dick has had only one functioning lung since he was a teenager. Organs are like that. Do you have any idea how many livers I've gone through? When Robert Altman had his heart transplant some years back, I got his cast-off one! Dick did just fine with one lung until the last few years, when the one he had left began giving out. Finally, day before yesterday, he took his last breath. Well, it's only fair I guess. I've long ago lost count of how many times he made me laugh so hard I could not breathe.

So now, one last time, let us "Say Goodnight Dick." You were one hell of a funny man.

Cheers darlings.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mrs. Peel, We're Needed.

Why is there a picture of a shirtless Matthew McConaughey at the top of this column? Well, for starters, have you ever tried to find a shot of Matthew with a shirt on? They don't exist. Nor should they. With tits like his, it should be illegal to wear a shirt. Fortunately for all concerned, Matthew doesn't own any shirts. Or, if he does, he's too stoned to find where he stored them, or remember how to put them on. Matty put the "Wowie" in Maui.

The fact is, Matt has nothing to do with anything in this column. I just wanted something eye-catching to grab the casual websurfer's eye, and Pec's Bad Boy fits the bill. You see, in a mere four weeks I hit my eleventy-first birthday. Yup. Come May 29, I will be 111. Have you ever read The Lord of the Rings? What a silly question. It's the 21st Century. No one reads books anymore, let alone novels so gigantic they have to be spread out over three volumes. But you may have seen the very good movies made of it, which I was almost in, as you can read all about in my earlier column: Tolkien Resistance. In the first chapter of the first book, A Long-Expected Party, Dildo Faggins is celebrating his 111th birthday, which is a big deal with hobbits. Now admittedly, humans don't set as much store by them. I mean, when was the last time you were invited to an Eleventy-First Birthday Party? You see? My point exactly. But as I have many bad hobbits, I intend to make a big deal of mine.

My old friend Little Jobie Gayer (Who is named quite truly, as nobody could be gayer than he, except perhaps Little Dougie.), one of the stars of the 1976 movie Carrie (He plays "Plump Boy Who Dies Horribly at the Prom") emailed me one of those nosy email questionnaires recently, and to help you readers and fans prepare for my birthday and decide what to get me for a present, in addition to vodka, I thought I'd share my answers with you here.

Facts about me...........
3 jobs I have had in my life:
1. Actress
2. Movie Star
3. Goddess

3 places I have lived:
1. Morehead Heights
2. Inside a vodka bottle.
3. My Own Fantasy World.

3 TV Shows that I watch:
1. LOST.
2. Doctor Who.
3. Gay porn DVDs.

3 Places I have been:
1. Transylvania.
2. Cary Grant's Pants.
3. Through the Desert on a Horse With No Name. (Well, he was hung like a horse, and he didn't tell me his name.)

3 of my favorite foods:
1. Vodka.
2. Champagne.
3. Manmeat.

3 Places I'd rather be right now:
1. In that chair over there, with my feet up.
2. Under a naked Hugh Jackman., with my feet up.
3. Alcoholic Bliss.

3 Things I am looking forward to this year:
1. The end of the Bush Administration.
2. Living through the year.
3. My next vodka martini. Oh look. Here it is now. Thank you darling. (That adorable Headless Indian Brave always anticipates my needs. He is uncanny!)

You'll notice that I did not list
American Idol under TV shows I watch. Oh, I'm still watching it, but I'm not proud of viewing this year's train wreck of a season. Paulagate this week, when Nostroabdullus was able to criticize a performance of Jason Castro's before he gave it, and do so with complete accuracy (She'd said he'd be lousy, and he WAS!), has been dissected to death. She was thrown a "curveball," that is, asked a question she wasn't expecting, you know, what other people call "Conversation," and she panicked, and started blathering. She said she read her wrong notes. Please! This raises two questions:

1. She needs notes to remember to say, "You are who you are. Your fans love you. You're a star. I applaud you."? and

2. Paula can read?

Nostroabdullus said of her idiocy: "This is hard!" Since she had both her hands where we could see them, she must have meant sitting there watching other idiots sing, and then blabbing the exact same thing to each of them. No, Nostroabdullus; roofing in 100-plus degree heat is hard. Brain surgery is hard. Little Douglas walking in on a naked Javier Bardem is hard. What she does is easy. Really, really easy. So easy, even Randy Jackson can do it. Well, almost do it.

Last week, I said, "How are you today, Paula?" to Nostroabdullus when she wasn't expecting it, and she went nuts. She began telling me how LOST was going to end. When I mentioned that this wasn't going to happen for another two years, she said, "I'm sorry. These are my notes on The X Files."

At least Ryan has stopped saying "This is the best group of finalists we've ever had." No one is buying that crap anymore, not even Randy Jackson, and that boob can believe anything. He even thinks Nostroabdullus has talent.

Certainly the funniest moment of the season was excruciatingly stupid Little Jason Castro saying he didn't know Memory was sung by a cat. Actually, it's sung by an old pussy. It would be a purrfect song for me, if I had bad enough taste to sing Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's music. But there's nothing quite like hearing a 19 year old boy with the skin of Joan Crawford in the 40s singing the lyric "I was beautiful then." Yes Little Jason, remember long, long ago, many hundreds of hours ago, when you were a lovely lad of 17? And here you are now, a dried-up old loser of 19. What will he sing next week? September Song? How about It Was A Very Good Year? I can hear him now: "When I will be thirty-five, it will be a very good year."

You may notice that I selected the withered old Harrison Ford for my Studly Hunk of May. Now he at least, could sing Memory or September Song without looking ridiculous, if he can sing. (I've never heard him sing. Have you?") This is because, besides being sexy and adorable, he is also starring in this month's other important event: the release of Indiana Jones and the Retirement Home of Doom.

Okay, he's an old man, a sexy old man, just as I am a sexy middle-aged woman. But here's a couple more pictures of him looking great, and young.

Please ignore that Feiffer woman usurping my rightful place in this next picture. This shot is from
What Lies Beneath. As it happened, I was what lay beneath. Michelle burst in, uninvited, while I was toying with Harrison's laptop, and I hid underneath him, while he fingered his laptop. Lots of people complain about all the ass-kissing in Hollywood, but then, they've never had Harrison use them for a mattress. Mmmmm. Forget Starbuck's. Give me Starbutts! Once Harrison got Michelle to leave again, it was all he could do to pry me out from under him again. I was comfy where I was - and I found a lost ark in there. And when I pried it open, I saw God.

Another big thing that happens this month, a week after Little David is given the title of this year's American Idol (Which Little David, you query? Ask Nostroabdullus.), will be the climax of season 4 of LOST! It's been great this year, as it is every year. Remember Benry going into that secret room in the closet of his other secret room? (Secret rooms inside secret rooms? That's LOST in a nutcase.) Remember the door covered in Egyptian hieroglyphics? In case you don't, here's what it looked like:

As soon as Benry came out of the closet (And about time too.), Smokey the Monster showed up. I guess it's the smoking room. Anyway, as you all are aware, I played Cleopatra many years ago, in my classic film The Revenge of Cleopatra, about the terrible vengeance Cleopatra wreaked on Octavius after the asp venom was sucked out of her wound. (Sucking asp seems to be the theme of this column, doesn't it?) Believe me, her vengeance was terrible. Every single critic who reviewed it emphasized how terrible it was. Some called it "Ghastly," others said it was "Unwatchable," one even called it "The Greatest Crime in History." Anyway, since I was the queen of ancient Egypt for five months back in 1934, I can, of course, read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. What this door says is "Men". Apparently seeing the girl he'd kidnapped as a baby shot in the head made Ben need to go right now! I have the same problem after too much vodka. (Just kidding. There's no such thing as "Too much vodka.")

But shocking as Alex's sudden murder was, an even worse horror awaited us in the opening scenes of the following episode, when we saw Jack wake up in Kate's bed, and some Evildoer had waxed his chest! Those bastards! As this comparison shows, Jack looks much better with his normal, hairy pecs. Only we women should wax our chests. I know it stings a bit when I do it, but believe me, given how low my poor titties hang these days, they would really look grotesque if they were hairy as well.

Actually, we saw Juliette, the Former Other, shave Jack's chest before she performed an appendectomy on him. Since she's an obstetrician, Jack wanted to talk her through it as she operated on him, but it turned out that "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" wasn't really very helpful. And after all, she did have a dentist assisting her. But his concern was proven well-founded when Juliette performed an epesiotomy on him. In fact, when Jack woke up, Juliette's first words to him were, "I had to perform a C-section."

But the flash-forwards were set three years in the future. Why hadn't his body hair grown back? What the hell did she do to his follicles? Fortunately, I think Desmond can heal him. Take a look at Henry Ian Cusick, who plays Desmond, in another TV movie he starred in. Let's just say that, if it were a musical, and Carly Smithson sang the title song, she'd be voted off The Island. And in this movie, he kept calling everyone "Brother" just like he does as Desmond.

Little Dougie has been occupying himself watching DVDs of The Avengers, The Complete Emma Peel Megaset. Dougie loves this quintessential, mod-60s, swinging London, silly spy TV series, which was great until Dame Diana Rigg left, and the show fell apart.

Patrick MacNee as John Steed and Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel (Emma Peel = M[en] Appeal. Get it? Got it? Good.) were the world's two most perfect people: stylish, witty, sophisticated, glamorous, smart, never-at-a-loss, and always drinking champagne. Who wouldn't love them? Sure the show followed a rigid formula: A bizarre murder, Steed and Mrs. Peel interview amusing eccentrics played by world-class character actors, assassination attempts by the henchmen of the special guest villains, Emma captured and threatened, Steed arrives and sets her free, Emma karates the hell out of the villains, repartee is exchanged and more champagne consumed. But the wonderful guest stars, the sparkling wit, and the great chemistry of MacNee, Rigg, and champagne keep these shows forever fresh.

Ten years ago some numbnuts tried to make a feature film of The Avengers. Man, did it suck. One critic said the movie was so extremely bad, he thought I was starring in it! (I'm always being mistaken for Uma Thurman, or Eddie Izzard, depending on what gown he's wearing.) No such luck. Now for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost AARP, they simply set the movie as far after the last one as the actual amount of time since the last movie was made, and let Harrison Ford play Indy as his real age. But with The Avengers, instead of setting the movie 30 years after Rigg left the series, and having Dame Diana and Patrick dodder through their aging paces with style, they instead recast the roles. Patrick MacNee's unflappable, insouciant, always-amused John Steed was played by Ralph Fiennes, a man who couldn't smile or display charm if his life depended on it. For Heaven's sake, Fiennes is best known for playing Nazis and Vodkamort. He could not be more wrong for John Steed. And then Uma Thurman as Mrs. Peel? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Plus, they wasted the divine Eddie Izzard as a thug, and the villain was Sean Connery. Sean Connery? Indiana Jones's dad must be a good guy, not a villain! Talk about backwards casting: they cast Vodkamort as the hero and James Bond as the villain. How did they aim the cameras with their heads stuffed so FAR up their butts?

Little Dougie, all his life, has only wanted to be John Steed. It's his lifelong ambition to be witty, unflappable, and wear 1960s Pierre Cardin suits. Little Dougie, who is about as British as Jack Benny, feels he should have been cast as John Steed.

The problem, aside from Dougie's utter lack of Britishness, is that in a bowler or a derby, Little Dougie looks more like Oliver Hardy than John Steed. And walking about carrying an umbrella in California in the summer, just looks affected. No. Strike that.
IS affected.

However, I would be perfect casting as Mrs. Emma Peel. True, I'm from Idaho, and I'm even a month, or possibly two, older than Dame Diana, but darlings, when it comes to looking good while guzzling champagne, I wrote the book. (The book, by the way, is My Lush Life, which you can buy by clicking on it here. More fun than a box full of The Avengers!.) And I will peel at the drop of a zipper.

Well I think I would be an improvement over Little Uma, don't you? Wait a minute. What's this? A note at the bottom of my martini glass. What does it say?

"Miss Morehead, We're needed. To get more vodka." Oh my God! Some supervillain has drunk all my vodka! I must mount my "Steed" (Patrick loves it when I do that.) and race to The Liquor Barn. England must be saved! After a cocktail. That's how The Avengers do things.

Cheers darlings.