Friday, February 13, 2009

America is Safe At Last!

Our long national nightmare is over! America is safe once again! What am I talking about? Well let me tell you a short story.

Once upon a time, on a sunny afternoon back in 1991, Little Dougie was parking his car in a parking structure on the south side of the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade, on his way to a rehearsal of a show he was directing. As he walked down from his car, he heard the screeching of tires behind him. Turning, he saw a Mercedes careening around the corner at a speed more appropriate to the Indianapolis raceway than an indoor parking structure, and then barreling straight at Little Dougie. He was seconds away from CERTAIN DEATH !!!

Thinking quickly (not Dougie's specialty, which is ironic, as the show he was directing, Fakespeare, was an improvised production of MacBeth), Dougie leapt out of the way of the speeding Sedan of Doom, avoiding becoming Bumper Kill by only scant inches, and then he saw the face of the man who had nearly killed him, as he raced by, just a few centimeters away. It was Broadway and movie legend James Whitmore.

Whitmore was known for one-man shows, particularly as Will Rogers. Little Dougie's grandfather was a personal friend of Will Rogers, so he was not impressed by Whitmore stealing Rogers's act and calling it a "Tribute". Rip-off would be another term for it. But now he understood why Whitmore did one-man shows; the way he drove, no actors in their right minds would want to risk being in a parking lot when he was unleashed behind the wheel.

Whitmore did a lot of movies, demonstrating a singular lack of singing ability when he and Keenan Wynn sang Brush Up Your Shakespeare in MGM's film of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate. Of course, he was best remembered for starring in the beloved science fiction classic THEM! Little Dougie discusses THEM! in his most recent book, The Q Guide to Classic Monster Movies, available wherever small books are sold. In the book, Dougie shows a forgiving nature that makes Jesus look like Medea, by not mentioning that Whitmore had once tried to take his life!

THEM! is about Los Angeles being terrorised by voracious, mutated giant aunts. Dougie writes in his little booklet: "This movie, which has a fairly intelligent script, featured full-sized, giant mechanical aunts that looked like crude Disneyland ride exhibits. Godzilla has better-looking special effects." Dougie finds the whole concept of giant aunts terrifying. You would too if you'd had Dougie's Aunt Evelyn, a sort-of Mormon General Patton in drag, in your family.

But notice how Dougie passed up the chance to revenge himself on Whitmore for his vicious, unprovoked attempt on Dougie's life by likening Whitmore's performance to an audio-animatronic robot. If Dougie weren't an atheist, he'd have been granted Sainthood for that one act of forgiveness alone.

Whitmore's most prescient performance was as President Barack O'Bama way the hell back in 1964, when O'Bama was only 3 years old, in the movie Black Like Someone Else.

Anyway, James Whitmore is dead now. America's highways, parking structures, highly-talented pedestrians, and giant aunts are finally safe once again.

Oh yeah, he was also a really good actor; just a lousy driver.

Actually, they've been dropping like flies again this week. Most deeply missed: the late, great Granny Goose, a.k.a. Phillip Carey, whose other credits beyond his memorable potato chip hawking included the western transvestite musical Calamity Jane, where I believe he played Doris Day, or something like that anyway. I forget. And he also spent many years playing Asa on One Life to Live. Phil has lived his one life now, and left a lot of good work behind.

And long-forgotten 1950s country-singing star Molly Bee passed away this week. She originally became famous on Cliffie Stone's Hometown Jamboree, and later on The Tennessee Williams Ford Show, an odd daytime variety program in which country music mixed with searing dramas about faded southern belles clinging to their fleeting youth and hot, paid gigolos, while tormented by memories of their dead gay husbands, and incessant backwoods ballads. Bee also co-starred on the aggressively obnoxious 1950's kids TV program, The Pinky Lee Show.

Little Dougie saw Molly Bee live onstage once, playing Irish lass Sharon McLonergan, opposite James Dunn as her dad, and Alan Young as a very large leprechaun in Finian's Rainbow, played in the round in Anaheim's infamous Melodyland Theater, back in that same 1964 when James Whitmore was singing Mammy in blackface in Not Black Like Me.

In 1960, Molly starred in Chartroose Caboose, possibly the greatest movie ever made. Possibly not. I saw it 48 years ago, but I don't really remember it vividly. I do recall that it was in color. But I am certain that it is the greatest Caboose movie ever made, except perhaps for Fanny and Ass You Like It.

Anyway, here's a signed photo of Molly's caboose. I don't know if her outfit is chartreuse or not.

Gotta run. Be sure and check out my first Survivor recap over on The Huffington Post. Here's a link to it.

Cheers darlings.


Anonymous said...

WOW, you just brought back a long-forgotten memory for me... of Molly Bee singing on the Pinky Lee show. I was the BIGGEST Pinky Lee fan in the world back in 1955. I had such a CRUSH on him... and I'm sad to say my taste in men hasn't improved much since then.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Anonymous Darling,

if I know anything, it's that one's tastes in men NEVER improve.

So are you still strongly drawn to extremely effeminate men with enormous lisps? I ask, because I married several myself.

Cheers darling.

Kit-Kat (formerly Anonymous) said...

Well, Tallulah, obviously I'm drawn to all the wrong types of men, which is why I remain single and (*wince*) celibate at 58. Pathetic, ain't it? Anyways it seems that almost all men (regardless of age and level of attractiveness) want a 26-year-old Barbie doll (then they're surprised when they later discover that "Barbie" was only attracted to their wallet).

Tallulah Morehead said...

Then be careful around here. Little Dougie is 58 also, and should have "The Wrong Kind of Man" tattooed on his forehead. Fortunately, unless you look like Huge Jackman and/or are hung like a whale, he's unlilkely to spare you a glance.

It's like the 58 Club around here. Little Kent Levine was a member, but he turned 59 yesterday.

How well I remember 58, which I was back in 1955, in the days when Molly Bee was singing beside the terminally swishy Pinky Lee. I think we've gone full circle here now.

Cheers darling.

WV: disett. What a protester with a head cold expresses.

Kit-Kat said...

Aw shucks... Little Dougie is just the right age, and so damned CUTE (love his beard)!! But I did know that he's a "confirmed bachelor" ... seems like all the good looking ones are. The rest are all members of the "beer-gut with a comb-over" club. Maybe I'll switch teams in my next life.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Dougie's beard went home to Jesus about 8 years ago, because it was turning his head into a giant snowball, though he still has the mustache.

And I'm afraid that, while he insanely never drinks alcohol, he does have a Pepsi gut. But he does still have all his own hair.


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