Saturday, August 25, 2007

Meltdown Madness

I'm back darlings. I don't know what the hell happened. After my exhausting adventure with Doctor Who and the Daleks, I took a brief nap. It seems to have taken up most of August. I've got to remember to turn up the volume on my "Snooze" button. And when I woke up, there was no mint on my pillow. (Believe me, when I wake up, I usually need an industrial-strength mint!) It turns out that Leona Helmsley had died. Who will scream and froth at the minimum-wage help for me now?

Little Douglas was no help at all. He's all agog about his new book, The Q Guide to Classic Monster Movies. Heaven only knows why. It's not about ME, so what's the point? It goes on sale one month from today, on September 25, 2007, and you can pre-order it now from, though I have no idea why you would. If you're in Southern California - and really, why be anywhere else? - you can actually meet Little Dougie, when he does a reading/book signing at the A Different Light bookstore in West Hollywood two months from today, on October 25th. I won't be there (Halloween is my busy season.), so don't show up looking for me. And trust me; meeting Little Dougie is no big thrill.

The image at the top of this page is the cover of the issue of Entertainment Weekly that was shoved into my slot today by my mailman who, as my fans all know, always comes twice. Scandal! Celebrity Meltdowns! Lindsey, Britany, Nicolle, Mel, Tracy Morgan (How big a celebrity can you be if I have to use two names to identify you?), the list goes on and on.

As you can see, celebrity meltdowns are nothing new, but what the hell is wrong with Young Hollywood? Why just today, Nicole Richie spent the better part of an hour in jail. Thank heavens her jailhouse baby wasn't born during that part of the hour. And Lindsey Lohan faces a nasty ninety minutes in The Big House soon too, undoubtedly in the Paris Hilton Wing. Isaiah Washington can not seem to open his mouth without a "Faggot" popping out, which makes him the exact opposite of Little Dougie. That adorable little animal lover Michael Vick has been kicked out of the NFL and faces serious jail time, by which I mean longer than just the entire network run of Anchorwoman. The only job he can get now is Dogcatcher, for which, at least, he is uniquely qualified. Britany Spears & Kevin Federline's two toddlers are suing for emancipation, pointing out that, although they are both under three years old, they are scientifically proven to be vastly more mature than either of their parents. At this point, the various paternity scandals involving Eddie Murphy and Goran Visnjic (No, that's really how it's spelt.) seem refreshingly normal.

Honestly Young Hollywood, I'm no stranger to celebrity meltdowns. I've had my own in my time.

I've even been arrested, and stood trial myself (Never mind about what the charges against me were. If you must know, look it up. You've got Internet access obviously.), but I never spent long, grueling minutes in jail, or OZ as it's now known, thanks to HBO, where it was portrayed as a paradise of hot men and rough sex. (OZ was HBO's only June Foray into gay porn, so far!) In my own films, Babes Behind Bars, Infraction, and Scofflaw, I exposed as much of the brutal Sapphic conditions prevailing in women's prisons as the Hays Office would allow. My own personal research however, suggests that real women's prisons aren't nearly as much fun as they seem in the movies.

But no matter how deep the depths I sank to, my career was always resurrected, thanks to the wonders of such branches of science as biology, surgery, and public relations.

The trick is to understand how to reinvent yourself; to make a completely new you, out of pieces of the old. I've done it time and again.

The Hollywood kids today even speak a whole new language. Ever read an interview with a young celebrity? They may seem completely incoherent, until you realize that they are spoken in a special language, Star Speak.

Young stars are anxious to explain how their new vanity project is in black & white, because they saw a Three Stooges short in back & white, and once the repairman explained to them that there was nothing wrong with their TV, they loved it for it's emotional honesty and insisted that their vanity project (Stupider and Stupidest) would be even more hard-hitting in black & white. The execs greenlighting it so the star would then do Teenage Mutant Anaconda Garglers agrees to shooting the vanity project in B&W since it will be less money lost anyway.

The male celebrity will explain why leaving the mother of his 7 children for someone named "Jolie" was "Painful but ultimately positive." That while shooting Hacksaw Meets Drill Press he and Miss Jolie shared deep experiences that bonded them forever as he was pretending to snip bits off of her.

If it's Mad Mel Gibson, he'll tell how he's fused two genres, the religious epic and torture porn, to make Saw Ye My Saviour.

If the male star is Matthew McConaghy, he will explain why wearing shirts is emotionally dishonest. (He's so right.) If he's anyone else, he will be shirtless at the interview, even if it's backstage at the Kennedy Center Honors.

No matter who you are interviewing, he will take a cell phone call from Angelina Jolie during the interview. She's called me twice, just while I was writing this flog, and I'm certain I'm female.

An essential component to a celebrity interview overseas is explaining why the celeb found it necessary to adopt 20 of their country's children, and how the kids's real parents, the ones being restrained by bodyguards just outside while shouting "KIDNAPPERS!" is completely onboard with their children's new last name being "Federline".

When a celeb couple is interviewed together overseas, they will adopt an additional child during the interview, ordering off the desert menu. In my day, we stars just adopted our own, natural children. (Not that I did that. My Pattycakes was a bastardess, I swear!)

There are terms you must learn the meaning of. "We grew in different directions." means the now-divorcing male celeb just made a film with Angelina Jolie, or his wife just made a film with Anne Heche, who is due to swing back again now.

"He/she's a genius!" means "We just worked together."

"It's all about the craft." means "It's all about the money and publicity."

"It's a difficult work that looks at uncomfortable truths." means "No one will see it."

"It's a searing indictment of human bigotry." (Not to be confused with animal or vegetable bigotry. I hate bigoted kumquats!) means "It's about kids in bathing suits having sex at the beach."

"It's incredibly honest." means "I did my own nude shots."

"It really opened my eyes." means "I'd never heard of World War II until the script treatment was read to me."

"This was the most difficult movie I've ever done." means "This is the most recent movie I have ever done."

"I reached deep into my soul and found out things about myself I never knew." means "That bastard director insisted I memorize my dialogue! I had him fired."

"It was written for me." means "I screwed the writer." (Rarely if ever does this actually happen. Smart starlets screw the editor.)

"I turned down three other movies because I wanted to work with him. His movies illuminate The Human Condition." means "It's another Woody Allen movie no one will see."

"I really grew making this movie." means "I just aborted my co-star's baby."

It occurred to me that I should stop giving this precious knowledge away. Little Douglas suggested to me that I hold a seminar. Well I liked the sound of that, until Douglas explained to me what "Seminar" actually meant. But it still sounded like a good idea, so I have decided to hold a seminar in Celebrity Stardom. I will be opening Pigzit's Academy of Stardom, admittance limited to genuine stars. Tuition to be paid in vodka.

At Pigzit's, I will share my voluminous knowledge and experience in How To Be a Successful Star: how to handle the press, how to party non-stop, pantyless and drunk without getting arrested, how to combine hedonism and professionalism, and all the other essential items of information you never receive in acting workshops and university theater courses. And we'll have sports as well. What would Oz be, without Quidditch?

Where to hold my seminar was a challenge. My friend Ken Levine recently held a writing seminar of some sort at a hotel near the airport, where one can get out of town quickly once the checks have all cleared. Unfortunately for me, I am persona non grata at most of the hotels and motels, no matter how seedy, near LAX, Burbank Airport (Recently renamed for an unfunny dead comedian. Much as I wanted to celebrate his death also, I felt renaming the airport for this schmuck was in bad taste. It's Burbank. They should call it the "Laugh-In Airport".), and even Van Nuys Airport, owing to a string of unsavoury incidents that date all the way back to Orville Wright's embarrassing itch.

However, I have found a location for my Academy: The tunnel where Sherman Way goes under the Van Nuys Airport runway. It's central, easy to get to, and best of all, closing it down for my seminar will inconvenience hundreds of thousands of nobodies. That's real Star Behaviour. Look at Little Will Smith; to make his movie I Am Legend, he had major thoroughfares in New York City closed down, bringing the great metropolis to a standstill day after day, so he could do the important work of filming this hard-hitting, human drama of major significance, in which Will plays the last man alive in a world of vampire zombies. Now, this very day, for the second weekend in a row, Will has closed down a major Los Angeles freeway, creating gridlock over 200 square miles, to film another important movie. (I think this one is Candyland the Movie.) Will is a Real Star! But when Will takes my workshop, he'll learn how to bring an entire state to a halt, just to record voice tracks for an animated movie.

As the date for my workshop grows closer, and I develop my syllabus, I'll include more details. For now, register early and often. But, you MUST be a Star! Nobodies are not allowed. You must have an impressive résumé and rap sheet to qualify. I'll keep you posted. For now...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Cheers, Daleks

Welcome to the dog days of summer, my darlings. Are you all relieved now that my 2-part Doctor Who & the Daleks story is concluded, and I, of course, survived? If the daleks had killed me back in 1930, I'd have a hard time flogging in the 21st Century.

So, how true-to-life was this adaptation of an unpublished chapter of my memoirs? Well, as I pointed out last week, it presented me as a stage star in New York City, when I was actually in Hollywood that entire year, shooting my first three talkies: The Godawful Truth, An Affair to Forget, and Dancing in the Drink; the latter film a musical not released until 1931. And by no stretch of the imagination did I ever speak with that accent, but then the actress who played me, Miranda Raison, is English, and was faking what she thought of as an all-purpose American accent. Also, I have never found it necessary to repeatedly tell people "It's Tallulah; three Ls and an H." to distinguish myself from all the Talulas out there.

But they did get my hair color right, they got my age about right, which is more than I ever did, and they portrayed me as single, which I was in 1930. Of course I was never engaged to anyone named Lazlo (Who could love a man named Lazlo?), but Lazlo was played by Ryan Carnes, who is best known for playing Justin, the gay lover of Andrew Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives. Further, the character of Lazlo was genetically crossbred with a pig by the daleks, and turned into a man-pig. Tallulah loved him anyway. Hmmm. A gay man who turns into a pig, and I just ignore it and go on loving him just for the fine porkings. Darlings, that is the story of about five of my marriages, so that was very true to Life.

And of course, The Doctor and I did defeat the daleks, and prevented them from mutating the population of America into daleks. At the end of the show, the last dalek transported itself away, to try their fiendish experiment somewhere else. So where did it go? Hmmm. 1930, humans turned into racist monsters claiming to be The Master Race, and exterminating anyone who was different from them. Well we all now know that the daleks went to Germany. Fortunately, we still defeated them in a little skirmish called World War II. You may have read about it. It was in all the papers, and I think they made a movie about it.

So did any of the human/dalek/Nazi hybrids survive the war to this day? Only one that I know of.

But Lazlo was a fictional character, a composite of a few of my husbands. Actually I was on a heteroll at the time. In 1929, I was married for about 10 hours to Count Vlad Tepes, who had many faults to be sure, but was certainly heterosexual, if a bit kinky. Sadly, his fatal Sunlight allergy killed him on the morning after our wedding night, leaving me with only a couple world-class hickeys and the need for an immediate transfusion to remember him by.

I married again in 1933. I don't remember the wedding or courtship, as I had been celebrating the end of The Great Evil [Tallulah's term for Prohibition. She still refuses to use the word. She seldom displays inhibitions either. - Douglas] , and I lost a few months. When I woke up, I was Mrs. Boris Karloff. I took the professional name Karloff-Morehead, as Boris always said that was what drew him to me. Here's a photo from our wedding night, as I showed Boris just what Morehead was all about. Did you know he was a Shriner? And I had to teach him the value of moisturizing.

The marriage was a short one, though it was considerably longer than my marriage to Vlad. It lasted only until late 1934. It ended due to a silly misunderstanding. I was never going to slice off his penis and keep it in a jar with all those others. I'm 87% sure those were fakes, props from a movie I'd been in years before, Bluebeard's Daughter. Even after Boris realized this, he was too traumatized to return to Morehead Heights, or ever again enter any room I was in. Honestly, I have never intentionally decockpitated any man. Defrocked? Yes. Decocked? Never. I live with a Headless Indian Brave, not a dickless one. Lorena Bobbitt's statement that she was only following my example was pure poppydick. I learned early in life, that a penis that is not attached to a man is semi-useless. When I'm singing "When the red, red hobbit comes bob, bob, bobbitting along, along," it's just a children's song.

But these little misunderstandings happen in every marriage. What wife hasn't chased her naked husband around the house with a butcher knife, screaming "I'll slice it off and feed it to the dog, you bastard!" once or twice a year? We're always sorry afterwards. Who knew a second circumcision was a bad idea? No matter what you've heard, I don't have a penis myself, so I had no way of knowing that foreskins don't grow back. I thought that maybe they had to be pruned periodically. Good lord, that pesky hymen of mine tried to grow back twice. I finally had to have it cauterized. Anyway, there was almost no harm done. I would point out that he sired his daughter after his marriage to me, so maybe I did it some good.

I made my most expensive movie, The Revenge of Cleopatra, during the time I was Mrs. Karloff-Morehead. Here's a lovely shot of Boris visiting me on the set. As you can see, he came straight from his lodge, and still hadn't moisturized.

[I must reiterate here that the Karloff Family stoutly denies that Tallulah was ever married to Boris Karloff, and clings to the story that he was married to Dorothy Stine Karloff, the mother of Sarah Jane Karloff, at that time. I wasn't there, or even born yet, so I don't know if that's true, or if it was just a desperate delusion born of deep denial by the traumatised Karloff. - Douglas]

Sad though it was, it was my last marriage to a truly hetero male for 20 years, unless I was married to one (or 2 or 3 or 4) during my wartime blackout. And those two marriages acquainted me with fear. I'm The Lady Who Terrified Boris Karloff! I can, if I choose, concoct horrors to freeze the blood in your veins. Want proof? Look at this:

Just keep telling yourself, it's only a joke. Unless you're Zsa Zsa, poor Thing.

On another subject just for a moment, I read that Ingrid Bergman died again this past week. She was of course, the legendary director of such classics as The Seventh Seal of Dr. Lao, The Virgin Sprung, Alexander's Fanny, Scenes From a Divorce, Through a Shotglass Darkly, Wild Razzberries, Nattvardsgästerna, and The Nutty Professor. She was a genius. Who else could have made a whole career out of being depressed while speaking gibberish? She will be missed, especially by the manufacturers of Prozac.

Cheers darlings.