I have a lifetime Disneyland pass owing to my having provided the voice of the Wicked Queen in Walt's Snow White sequel, 7 Brides for 7 Dwarfs, as well as playing the lead in his 1960s musical extravaganza, Mary Poppers. As a result, I am officially a Walt Disney "character;" in fact, Ward Kimball used to call me "Quite a character." They may regret having given me a lifetime pass. I'm 111 now. They're losing money on me. Here I am in Fantasyland (as usual), while a character parade is passing by the Matterhorn with their beloved Giant-Tallulah balloon float. You haven't truly arrived in show business until some minimum-wage kid plays you in a giant rubber head in a theme park.
And here's Little Dougie and I with the floral Mickey in front of the park. I must say, the crowds there are well behaved, never pestering me for autographs, just occasionally asking me where the Haunted Mansion is.
I've been so busy of late that I failed to post on one of our favorite annual holidays this past Tuesday: Barry Humphries's Birthday.
As I said, this is post number 150. What is one half of 150? I contacted Professor Stephen Hawking with this very query, but he was busy trying to make sense of this season of LOST (He's stumped!), so I had to take my question to M.I.T., where a team of Nobel Prize-winning mathematicians researched the problem for six months, with 97% of them eventually agreeing that the answer is 75. (Coincidentally enough, I used to be known as M.I.T., back when it stood for "Massively Inebriated Tallulah".)
Though Barry still faces challenges. Here he is in 1992, being put to sleep by the mere proximity of Little Dougie.
For 27 years Wayne was a staff announcer at KHJ-TV channel 9 in Los Angeles. (These days it is KCAL-TV) Wayne estimated he announced KHJ's nightly Million Dollar Movie (Which were really more often $200,000 movies) some 7550 times. He created and produced the annual TV rip-off special Your Choice For the Oscars, though of course, no one gives a rat's ass about your choice for The Oscars. This show eventually went off the air when The Oscars told him to lay off of their copyrighted trademarks. Let's face it, "Your Choice For the Oscar-Like, Generic, Pretend Movie Awards" is not a winning concept. It ranks just above "Fred's Movie Awards." (No offense, Fred.)
Wayne's most-famous and celebrated gig was as "Freight Train Wayne," the man who called out the signals in Red Light/Green Light on Engineer Bill's Cartoon Express for 16 years. Little Dougie discussed this here back in August when Engineer Bill died, on my flog entry The China Thunderdrome.
But Wayne's most important gig was as "Wayne" the off-screen announcer on Fright Night With Seymour, the TV show Little Dougie used to write.
Dougie wasn't always happy with Wayne. Wayne pre-recorded his cold readings, and often didn't bother with a second take even if he'd screwed up the copy. On at least one occasion, Dougie had to walk onto the set and stop a take, demanding Wayne be located and brought into the studio to do the copy as fucking written. He was and did.
In Dougie's next script, "Wayne" was portrayed as phoning in his performance from home, to Seymour's annoyance; Dougie's way of pointing out that Wayne was, in Dougie's opinion, "Phoning it in." Wayne's being gay just wasn't enough for Dougie to cut him slack when doing a less-than-professional job with Dougie's scripts.
When Seymour left Channel 9 for Channel 5, Dougie did a screen test to replace him as the new horror host, but the job went to Wayne Thomas, who was already on staff, and thus available cheaper. Wayne became Arach, of "Arach & Nid." Arach was Wayne in a silly spider costume, and "Nid" was his fly sidekick.
Arach & Nid was such an utter disaster that it was yanked from the air forever after only 2 broadcasts. They should have hired Dougie.
As Dougie himself put it: "I know it's been over 35 years, and he's dead and all, but still ...
Heh, heh, heh."
Sorry to be a bit disjointed, but The Huffington Post has been claiming most of my limited flogging energy. I am doing weekly recaps for them of Survivor Tocantins. My second is online now. Check it out:
The Survivor Tocantins Diet: Cut Out Candy
And come Monday, look for my Oscar Awards review there, and linked to from here of course. Meanwhile ...