Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Here we are just one day after the Razzie nominations got it right, and the Oscar Nominations have come out, and gotten it wrong, wrong, wrong! (As usual.) Let's start with the most egregious (look it up) and outrageous snub of all. Here's how it was announced to the funniest family in America not occupying the White House:

Yes. Impossible as it is to believe, The Simpsons Movie was not nominated for Best Animated Movie, in favor of Ratatouille, a revolting movie about vermin running a French restaurant (Albeit, certainly true to life. They serve garden pests as a delicacy! Rats serving snails. Yum.), Surf's Up, a computer animated bore about surfing penguins that no one went to see, and weirdest of all, Persepolis, and artsy-fartsy critic's darling French animated movie set in Iran, about a girl who doesn't like being subjected to fundamentalist Muslim repression (Who does?), which isn't even in color! Who on earth besides a film critic would ever see that? For these, The Simpsons were frozen out?

The poor Simpsons Movie was merely the funniest film released all year, featured gorgeous animation far beyond what's done on their TV show, artfully satirized enormous chunks of American culture, and - what? Oh yes - Made about $500,000,000 world wide. This must be the first time the Oscars penalized a movie for making money. (And what do you want to bet that Ratatouille, which was also a big hit, and probably made more money than the other two nominees combined, wins?) But then, one can see how confused one gets when one goes to McDonald's, and has to wait to get served behind all the hoards of little schoolgirls clamoring for their Ratatouille Happy Meals of Breaded Rat Droppings (How lucky that, after serving them for years, they finally have a legitimate movie-tie-in to create a demand for them.), and to get their Persepolis black & white action figures, with the whole line of Barbie Fashion Bhurkas.

Homer Simpson is merely one of the great comic characters of the 20th Century. Of course, he's learned from the greats, as he does here:

There's just no understanding the Academy. Is it any wonder that I have nothing but contempt for these silly trinkets? I almost hope the WGA strike does continue long enough to torpedo their silly ceremony. (Almost! I still want the other 8 episodes of this season's LOST.) They deserve it for snubbing Homer. Gil Cates was sounding off on the TV today about how The Oscars will have a show, no matter what! An Oscar show with no SAG members? That will be a lot of laughs. Who will host? Carrot Top or Galleger? Because, if the WGA pickets, the only stars you'll see will be in the Dead Stars Montage. ("Accepting the award for Laura Linney will be the ghost of Suzanne Pleshette.") I see even Hal Holbrook and Ruby Dee saying "I can wait another year." Cates said we need the Oscars to feel like we're a part of something bigger than ourselves. Wouldn't it be eaier just to have sex with Rosie O'Donnell?

Could this be an x-ray of the brains of the nominating committee members? Or the mass x-ray of the brains of the AMPTP?

Let's talk about a couple nominees. Yesterday the Razzies nominated multi-semi-talented Eddie Murphy in all five acting categories: Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Couple, for playing both men and women in Norbit, all of them badly. Apparently Cate Blancett is not to be outdone by Murphy, and has been nominated for Best Actress for playing a woman, and Best Supporting Actress for playing a man. (Well, for playing Bob Dylan, but that's close enough.) Shouldn't her nomination for I'm Not There have been as Best Supporting actor? Who does she think she is, Linda Hunt? Incidentally, if the WGA strike isn't settled before the ceremony, I'm Not There will be her acceptance speech as well as her winning title.

Of course, Little Cate, a wonderful actress, won just a couple years ago for playing Kate Hepburn. How flattered, I wonder, would Kate be to know that an actress who would win an Oscar for playing her, would shortly thereafter be nominated for an Oscar for playing a man? Not that anyone who knew Kate would be at all surprised. They'd have expected a man to have won for playing her!

Cate hasn't a shot at winning Best Actress though. Her Best Actress nomination is just a retread. She was already nominated for playing Queen Elizabeth, a decade back. If they didn't give it to her for that performance then, they won't now. Besides, they gave The Oscar for that role shortly thereafter to Sir Judy Dench, so clearly the increasingly-gender-confused Academy prefers men playing queens. (Who doesn't?) Besides, they just gave the Best Actress Oscar to Helen Mirrin for playing Queen Elizabeth last year, and they never give the Oscar for the same role two years in a row.

However, her Supporting Actress win is probably a lock. After all, she just won a Golden Globe for playing Bob Dylan (And heaven knows, she sings better than he does.) and successfully hiding her Golden Globes. None of the other Supporting Actress nominees convinced anyone they had a penis with just acting! Her only real competition is Ruby Dee, who could get the sympathy Quick-Before-She-Dies award. I think transvestism is the way to go in the future for Cate, combined with her penchant for playing only real people. Fictional characters apparently aren't whom she plays best. I see her future nominations already:

(Cate is wearing prosthetic mantits in her Brando outfit, I hope.)

The Quick-Before-He-Dies award could go to Hal Holbrook, of course, but then, he is a few months younger than Ruby Dee, so she has the edge there. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is nominated in Best Supporting Actor against Hal, for his patented Horribly Obnoxious Guy portrayal we've all seen him trot out a dozen times before. (Remember Matt Damon clubbing him to death in one of those performances back in
The Talented Mr. Ripped Abs? Did anyone not cheer? Is killing one of Hoffman's slimeballs a crime?) I think the whole reason he won an Oscar for Capote was that, for once, he was playing a charmingly obnoxious - ah - person. ("Guy" just never seems like the right word to describe Truman Capote.) Casey Affleck is nominated simply for not being his better-looking-but-less-highly-regarded-for-acting-these-days brother. No chance. As it is, they all now regret giving an Oscar to Ben (Albeit for Best Original Screenplay, a minor, unimportant category, like Best Live Action Short Subject.); they're not about to risk giving one to another Affleck. But I think Javier Bardem is a shoe-in. I'd vote for him for ANYTHING, as he is a Sex God! Best Supporting actor? Check out this yummy picture of Bardem. If nothing else, he is the Best Supported Actor, as look at the support his tighty whitey is giving him, despite his clearly having a lot to support! WOOF!

Oh my God, that photo should be nominated for Best Picture! Who cares about No Country for Bloody Old Men? (Shouldn't Hal Holbrook be nominated for that?) And as for Atonement; it's based on a novel by Ian McEwan, who is no relation to Little Dougie McEwan, my amanuensis, but obviously, Ian has been trying to capitalize on Little Dougie's name and literary reputation for years, and I think the academy will see through this ploy and not reward him for trying to fool people into thinking Atonement is just an unauthorized film adaptation of Dougie's book, which is also my book. For shame, Ian McEwan! As for Juno, who wants to see a movie adaptation of my Internet service?

In Best Actor, Johnny Depp is nominated for playing Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which I reviewed a few columns back, in Harry Razorhands. This nomination makes no sense to me. If you play a role that is almost entirely sung, and you don't sing very well, how can it be considered for Best Performance by an Actor? I know that Rex Harrison won an Oscar for playing Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady when he couldn't sing at all well, and Yul Brynner won an Oscar for The King and I when Marni Millhouse Nixon had to dub all his singing for him, but in neither case were the roles all-singing. They had mostly dialogue to deliver, in Harrison's case, a lot of dialogue written by George Bernard Shaw. But Depp's Harry Potter only speaks about four words in the whole movie; it's all singing, and no one is going to be buying a CD of Johnny Depp Covers the Classic Ballads anytime soon. Frankly, not only would he never make it past Simon Cowell, but Randy Jackson would say, "Sorry bro, it ain't happ'nin' for me, dawg." to Depp as well. Paula, of course, would spread her legs and slur "Welcome to Hollywood, Johnny."

Tommy Lee Jones is finally nominated, after having been snubbed a few years back, for his magnificent, subtly-nuanced, underplayed performance as Two-Face, one of the tiny handful of truly great screen performances, back in Batman Endlessly, or whatever that awful movie was called. I'm sure that all academy voters who remember that performance will be marking their ballots --- for George Clooney.

Actually, Tommy Lee Jones aside, look at the other nominees in this category: George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Johnny Depp, and Viggo Mortensen. This category should be renamed Dreamiest Actor! Hubba! Hubba!

In Best Direction (Much as I love West, North, and Up, I prefer "Down" for Best Direction, as I am always happiest when going down!), should No Country For Bloody Old Men win, the big question will be, who will win: Joel or Ethan Coen? Nominating brothers against each other for the same film; this should spark some nasty sibling rivalry. My pick for this award is Paul Thomas Anderson. Oh, I haven't seen There Will Be Bloody Old Men (Make up your minds, guys!), but Anderson's father was Ernie Anderson, and among his other gigs (Such as his years as the guy no one had heard of whom Carol Burnett pointed out in her TV audience each week.), Ernie was a TV horror host. Back in 1963, when Ghoulita was entertaining Little Douglas on Jeepers' Creepers in Los Angeles, Ernie Anderson was Ghoulardi in Cleveland, Ohio. So all power to Ghoulardi Junior. And also, back in his film Magnolia, he actually made me forget how insufferable I find Tom Cruise for a bit, and that takes a Master Director. Stanley Kubrick sure didn't manage it back in Nose Clamped Shut.

I'd discuss the screenplay categories, except that 1. They're all on strike, so they won't be there anyway, and 2. There's nothing less important in a movie than a writer.

How's this for destroying The Oscars's illusion of honoring quality? Norbit has a nomination! And it's for make-up, when we all know Eddie Murphy did it all with acting!

Best Song has three nominees from Enchanted, none from Sweeney Todd or Hairspray. Maybe if Johnny Depp had starred in Enchanted, those songs wouldn't have sounded quite so good. Speaking of Hairspray, that delightful musical received no nominations at all, not even a Best Actress nod for John Travolta, although he's not as convincing as a man as Cate Blancette is. What about poor Zac Efron? The boy has managed the impossible; he's become considered a heart throb to teenage girls and taste-free gay boys despite the hideous bangs he insists on wearing. He's done everything he could to win favor. In fact, just this month, he had an emergency appendectomy just because Barry Humphries had just had one, and Zac wanted to jump on the Gigastar-appendectomy bandwagon. Zac darling, what you really need is a bangsectomy.

Maybe I'm missing something, but aren't the nominees supposed to be current? Peter and the Wolf is nominated for Best Animated Short. Excuse me? Disney made that animated short in 1946. Keep up.

Well, this year, if there are no SAG members participating (Unless some SAG members are so hungry for glory that they will cross the picket line and become industry pariahs just to accept their Oscar.), and Seat Fillers are elevated to Award Acceptors, what the show consists of will be vastly more interesting than who wins.

But to raise interest in this increasingly irrelevant award show, I propose adding a new category. We're all agreed, aren't we, that the above photo of Javier Bardem is the Best Picture, but I think we should add the category Best
Pecture, and there's no question who the 300 nominees should be: the greatest, if the goriest, softcore gay porn movie ever made, 300, which should also be the winner. I'm going to enjoy a fifth of vodka now, and then watch my DVD of 300 again, while touching myself inappropriately. Busy hands are happy hands.


About Heath Ledger: If you've clicked onto my flog to read some snarky, insensitive jokes (Admittedly, my stock-in-trade) about the sudden death of this talented and beautiful young man, you've clicked in vain. Unlike the death of Brad Renfro, which everyone saw coming miles down the highway, this is a total shock, and no aspect of it is anything less than tragic.

This summer we will have one more performance from this gifted Australian actor. He joins the line of actors who have brought to life Bob Kane's bizarre psychovillain The Joker.

But we will always remember his Oscar-nominated Ennis Del Mar (Yes, if this were a different posting, on a different day, I'd probably wring some sort of variation on the joke that name screams) in Brokeback Mountain. He truly touched our hearts in a way that his earlier, more boisterous, exuberant performances in A Knight's Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You never suggested he could do. He was in other Oscar-bait movies, such as the acclaimed Monster's Ball, and his Terry Gilliam movies, The Brothers Grimm and the unfinished The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Good Heavens, that title. Terry darling, do you want your movies to fail? That would explain a lot! Are you trying to be confused with that unwatchable Dustin Hoffman bomb?), not to mention Brokeback Mountain, showed that Heath was willing to make daring, risky choices. And here's an odd irony; he is also in I'm Not There. Maybe Cate Blancett can win that Oscar for him.

So we have all suffered a terrible loss, though none more so than his two year old daughter Matilda, whom he clearly doted on. There are no jokes to be made here.

Farewell Heath, farewell Ennis. You will live on in our hearts. Sorry you couldn't stick around longer.

Sad Cheers darlings.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Razzie to Death.

That beloved friend of the working tranny, Eddie Murphy, has ended The Great Romance of the 20th Century, bringing to a halt two and a half weeks of marital bliss. Well actually, if he felt a need to dump his wife of less than a month, one suspects that the entire two and a half weeks weren't all that blissful.

What could have happened? Never having met either of them, I have no informed idea what went wrong, but my working hypothesis is simple; he found out she was actually a woman. Nothing disappoints a tranny lover more than not finding a penis in his bride's panties. I've divorced men for less! In one case, a lot less!

Fortunately for poor, lovelorn Eddie, he had great news this week also: not only has he been nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award, an award more regarded than even The Golden Globes or The People's Choice Awards, but he has set a new world record, by receiving 5 nominations in a single year! Congratulations Eddie! Well deserved all!

Of course, he's a shoe-in for Best Worst Actor, but who could have anticipated that he would also be nominated for Best Worst Actress? And not only that, but he's nominated for Best Worst Supporting Actor and Best Worst Supporting Actress as well. Certainly, when the great screen actors are listed, Eddie is always there, counting.

(That's Vivian Leigh with Larry Olivier. She'd been dieting.) For Best Worst Actress though, Eddie has never-stiff competition, as the other nominees are actually female, which I think gives them an unfair advantage. The smart dumb money is on Lindsey Lohan, whose film I Know Who Killed Me has a fantastic 9 nominations overall. Besides, like Eddie, she plays a dual role, but unlike Eddie, she does it without elaborate prosthetic make-ups. It's like the film equivalent of Eddie Murphy, only without Eddie Murphy, so everybody wins!

But I believe, that when you think Great Actresses, Lindsey Lohan staggers to the front of the line. She has everything I've ever found essential for a Hollywood career: she dresses like a slut, is always drunk, and has "Unprofessional" tattooed on her butt. Welcome to the pantheon, Lindsey.

But Eddie and Lindsey are going head-to-head-to-head-to-head in another category: Best Worst Couple! In fact, since Eddie is nominated for playing opposite himself in three roles, he's really up for Best Worst Three-Way, which reminds me all too well of that torrid night back in 1932, in my Morehead Heights steamroom, when I became the "and" in "Laurel and Hardy". (Actually, I was more of an "End" rather than an "And".) But Lindsey aimed low. She's just repeating her The Parent Trap trick, stolen from, Haley Mills, of playing identical sluts. Eddie played lovers. He's out to be the new Peter Sellers, only without Sellers's tiresome gimmick of being funny. I don't see how we can fail to add Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy to the list of great screen romantic couples.

But a terrible cloud hangs over The Golden Raspberries this year: the WGA Strike. If the strike isn't settled in time, they'll be no Bruce Vilanch writing lame banter, the Screen Actors Guild will refuse to cross the picket line, and there will be no stars picking up their coveted awards. Poor Eddie and Lindsey, whose year this surely must be, will stay home, trophy-less. Please AMPTP, settle this strike before the Razzies are reduced to just Billy Bush reading out the winners on Dateline NBC, ending with him awarding himself a Razzie for Lamest Host!

Well, on to a cheerier subject: Death.

First off, let me relieve your mind, the John Stewart who died today is not the Jon Stewart who hosts The Daily Show. Rather than the brilliant and sexy man who makes American politics worthwhile, because it creates fodder for his comic genius (The "H" in Jon makes all the difference.), this John Stewart was just a singer-songwriter from the 60s. He was a member of The Kingston Trio, but not one of the original members. He was a mere replacement; sort of The Kingston Trio Shemp, or worse, The Kingston Trio Curly Joe De Rita. As a songwriter, his biggest hit was Daydream Believer for The Monkees. Maybe he died of shame.

That's some of the good death news. More in a minute, but first the bad news:

Beautiful, sexy, funny, throaty-voiced Suzanne Pleshette has died, at the obscenely young age of 70.

In a career that stretched back to the 50s, Suzanne appeared in many, many movies, almost every TV show, and achieved immortality with a single guest shot on Newhart. (I'm told she also appeared on the old The Bob Newhart Show. Anyone know who she played? When that sexy dreamboat Bill Daily was onscreen, I couldn't see anyone else!) Who can forget her amazing performance in 40 Pounds of Trouble? I know that you, like myself, can quote whole passages of her dialogue from that picture from memory, and I don't even remember all of my husbands. In Alfred Hitchcock's nature documentary The Birds, she died (See above. That's Rod Taylor checking hand-eye coordination.), while Tippi Hedron lived, an event now repeated in real life. So unfair. Suzanne never punished World Culture by giving birth to Melanie Griffith.

That's her with one of her husbands, Troy Donahue, a marriage that was so brief, you'd almost think she was married to Eddie Murphy. Little Douglas wants me to share with you a story about Troy:

Back in 1974, Little Douglas was - hold onto your hats folks, this is really hard to believe! - still having sex with women! Welcome to Bizarro World friends. It's a good thing I didn't meet him then; I might have married him. One day that year, Little Dougie's girlfriend attended a party in Hollywood where she met Troy Donahue, and Troy hit on Little Dougie's then-girlfriend, and tried to get into her panties. Now get this! She turned down Troy Donahue, an internationally-belusted sex symbol, for Little Dougie! Well it's no wonder Suzanne dumped Troy. Would you marry someone who was coming in second to Little Dougie, the homo's homo?

Darling, talented, beautiful, and charming Suzanne did finally find True Love, with Tom Poston, the great comedy actor who sadly died last year. Clearly she found being funny sexier than being sexy. I like that. Look at them together, and then you tell me why their sex tape never sold as well as Paris Hilton's, or Pamela Anderson's, or even Screech's. In any event, who else would find True Love in her fake husband's dream? "And Emily, there was this weird handyman. I think you'd like him." I'm sure she was lonely without him, so maybe her passing was a blessing to her, however hurtful it is to us who loved her.

But she was only 70. What could possibly have killed her so soon?

Also departing earth last week was the wonderful comic actor Allan Melvin.

In a number of his obituaries I've seen this revolting headline: Brady Bunch Actor Allan Melvin Dies. Folks please, if you must speak ill of the dead, then save it for someone terrible, like the man we'll get to next. Why bring up an insulting and shameful credit like The Brady Bunch? Why not write: Allan Melvin dies; Co-Starred on Sergeant Bilko? Or headline with All in the Family? Or With Six You Get Eggroll? Or even being the voice of Magilla Gorilla, as well as one of the later Bluto voices in the Popeye the Sailor cartoons? Why dredge up The Brady Bunch? Let his shame die with him.

I owe Allan Melvin an apology. Last year I bought the Best of Bilko DVD set, which every lover of great TV comedy must watch and love, and for which Allan Melvin recorded introductions to every episode, in which he gave away the premise and spoiled some of the gags. When I watched this set, I just routinely skipped all of Melvin's intros. I'm sorry Allan. I'll go back now and just listen to your intros, and skip the shows. You gave us a lot of laughs Allan. We'll miss you.

Now the good death news: The Good Riddance List has acquired another name. Crazy-as-a-loon anti-Semitic chess genius Bobby Fischer, the man who thought Hitler had been too lenient with the Jews (Despite being Jewish!), has done us all a favor and died. He was known for his catchphrase: "Checkmate," but I prefer to remember his memorable quote when asked to react to the destruction of The World Trade Center on 9-11-01, which he called, "Wonderful," adding that he hoped "To see the U. S. wiped out." Here's loony Bobby from his later days:

Hot, baby. He was one hermitic wackjob who didn't go into seclusion far enough. He could play chess really, really well. That doesn't make up for his being a shithole. Thanks for dying, Bobby. By the way, the United States is still here. Suck on that, dickwad. When I think of you (Against my will), I'll think of the opening scene of From Russia With Love, when the Satanically evil chess master is interrupted during the International Chess Championship, to go tell his evil plan to Blofeld, only if he were you, he'd look like Howard Hughes in his last days. Maybe you can beat Satan.

But let's close today thinking of Love, True Love, like that of darling Tom Poston and wonderful Suzanne Pleshette, forever joined with the Great Lovers of Hollywood.

Cheers darlings.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Taking the "Un" Out of Undead.

Well now we've lost someone in 2008 that I'm sorry to lose. (Not that I'm not saddened by the loss of Brad Renfro, but really, did that one surprise anyone? Sweet Emily Perry, at 100 years and counting, was a better life insurance bet than Little Brad, the poster boy for Hollywood self-destruction.) Vampira died today. Now I know it seems odd to say someone has died when they've been a walking corpse for more than half a century, but it turned out, I learned today from Little Dougie, that Vampira wasn't a real vampire at all, but an 86 year old actress named Maila Nurmi, and she was the very first TV Horror Movie Hostess of all time. She invented ghoulish horror movie hostessing, a genre of entertainer now sadly extinct, that was particularly dear to Little Dougie, who is, after all, the author of the pointless (i.e. not about me) book The Q Guide to Classic Monster Movies, which was basically Little Dougie doing all his horror hosting all at once in book form, and even dedicated to the master who perfected the form Little Maila created.

Little Maila was born Maila Syrjäniemi (No, I haven't a clue how to pronounce it either.) on December 11, 1921, in Petsamo, Finland. One can easily see why she spent most of her life telling people she was from Transylvania. She spent most of those years telling people she was undead too, so they should have known better than to believe her. Her uncle was a multiple Olympic medal runner Paavo Nurmi, although whether his name was really Syrjäniemi, or Vampiro for that matter, I have no idea.

Mike Todd first dug her up somewhere, and the great film master Howard Hawks saw her in Todd's show Spook Scandals (naturally), and brought her to Hollywood to star in one of his upcoming film masterpieces. (Masterpieces were pretty much all old Howie made, except for Land of the Pharaohs, and Howie should have known better than to cast Joan Collins in the first place, so he has no one to blame but himself. He was trying to make what he called "An intelligent Cecil B. DeMille film", and everyone knows there's no such thing.) Howie planned to make her "The next Lauren Bacall," although the original wasn't worn out just yet. Demonstrating the patience, wisdom, and sound career sense that made her the obscure Hollywood hanger-on she was for 5 decades, she grew restive waiting for Hawks to get his film mounted (Whether there were similar delays getting Maila mounted, I have no way of knowing.), and walked out on her contract, apparently preferring to host cheap, old horror movies (Several starring me as it happens) on local Los Angeles channel KABC 7 as Vampira. Was she beautiful out of her ghoulish make-up? Well let me put it like this: she was personally fired from the Broadway play Catherine Was Great by Mae West herself, and dear, frumpy, chaste old Mae only fired women from the cast if she feared people would be looking at them instead of her. On the other hand, by 1944, when this incident occurred, looking better than Mae was not much of an accomplishment, and I knew Munchkins that towered over tiny Little Mae.

But Little Maila created Vampira, by basically stealing the look of Charles Addams' cartoon character whom came to be known as Morticia, invented Horror Hostessing, and went on TV, where she was enormously popular, and even garnered an Emmy as "Most Outstanding Female Personality." 1954 was one hell of a year for her. She even became good friends with delectable Little James Dean. Sadly, James, and her career both died in 1955. Her TV show was off the air again so fast that it's amazing it's as remembered as it is, particularly since no copies of any of her broadcasts survive.

But her true screen immortality lay shortly ahead, in the notoriously worst motion picture ever made, the Citizen Kane of crap, Plan Nine From Outer Space, directed by the beloved transvestite incompetent Ed Wood, the movie Bela Lugosi made some 3 years after his own death. (Talk about procrastinating!)

That's Vampira herself in Plan Nine, sharing the screen with the most magnetic actor of all time, Tor Johnson. Talk about sex appeal and talent. Tor had seen both! I may be the only person to have seen Tor's Hamlet, a performance that surpasses even Mel Gibson's! I'm sure others would have enjoyed seeing Tor play Hamlet as well, but there was only room for the one chair in that kitchen, particularly once Tor himself entered. He displaced a lot of air. And as for sex appeal: no one else on earth had the sex appeal of Tor, which was fortunate for the survival of the race. With actors like Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, and Vampira, it's small wonder that Plan Nine has the reputation it has today. It's what the Royal Shakespeare Society would be like, if only they were all incredibly untalented and inept.

Maila went on to do several other unforgettable forgettable films: The Big Operator (Which, despite it's title, is not about a well-hung surgeon, more's the pity.), The Beat Generation, an educational picture called Sex Kittens Go to College, and I Woke Up Early the Day I Died, which means she hasn't slept in this week. She also reteamed with Ed Wood for Night of the Ghouls, although without Tor and Bela, the magic didn't repeat, and it is merely awful, rather than spectacularly ghastly.

Her most widely seen screen appearance isn't even really her. Lisa Marie played her in Tim Burton's wonderful romp about the notoriously untalented film folks of the 1950s, Ed Wood. What greater monument to a career well-spent can there be than to be played in an A-Film by Tim Burton's girl friend? Fortunately for Sweeney Todd fans, these days Tim is nailing an actual actress, Helena Bonham Carter. Of course Tim maintains that he doesn't cast his main squeezes in his films because he's sleeping with them. It's just a co-incidence that his current bedmates are always in his movies, whether they are actual actresses, like Helena, or striking-looking mannequins like Lisa Marie. Conversely, Little Douglas actually met Maila a couple times, and he says Lisa Marie caught her distant, other-worldly self-involvement quite accurately, along with her two inch waist. Here's Lisa as Maila

Never adverse to publicity, Maila filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against sweet, talented, and charming Cassandra Peterson, best known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, for stealing her character, look, and act. And this, after Charles Addams did not sue Maila for blatantly stealing his character!

Well here's Addams's Morticia, Carolyn Jones's authorized version of her, Anjelica Huston's authorised version of her, Maila's Vampira, and Cassandra's Elvira, to compare for yourselves.

The only one of the bunch to have worked a variation I can detect is Elvira's quite different bouffant hairdo. Of course, Jones and Huston also brought charm and tremendous talent, attributes that Maila didn't really have in spades. But on the whole, they look like a row of paper dolls.

But she did invent the horror host. Soon after, John Zacherley in Philadelphia began his ghoulish hosting duties as "Roland". He soon went on to New York City, where, as Zacherley, he a achieved national fame and popularity far surpassing Vampira's brief flame out.

In 1962, Little Douglas fell madly in love with Jeepers, played by Bob Guy, on Jeepers' Creepers on KCOP channel 13 in Los Angeles. All Dougie wanted in life was to grow up to be a horror host, just like Jeepers. This picture of Jeepers, who was only on the air a single year, still hangs in Dougie's home. Pathetic, isn't he? Of course he has my picture up too. Hmmm.

Though Bob Guy left after a single season, Jeepers' Creepers continued, hostessed by Ghoulita, played by the delightful Letitia Harvey. Quickly Little Dougie was even more enamoured of Ghoulita than he had been of Jeepers, though he never gave up hope that Jeepers might one day return, even if only for a single guest appearance. It was never to be, although a single Jeepers episode still exists, which Dougie cherishes. Bob Guy himself is long dead. All that remains of Ghoulita's giggling low comedy is her audition tape, which Dougie also hoards with glee. About seven years ago Miss Harvey, who still graces the planet, sent him an email that made him ridiculously happy.

Like Jeepers before her, Ghoulita was on the air but one year, but during that year, Little Dougie saw almost every single one of her broadcasts. They were his favorite 90 minutes of each week, and he laughed and laughed. But then she left, and was replaced by Jeepers' Keeper, played by the late Fred Stuthman.

Dougie, who was now on the sunny side of puberty, never developed the fondness for Jeepers' Keeper that he'd had for Jeepers and Ghoulita. JK was more heavy handed and less charming. but he never stopped watching, and Jeepers' Keeper kept the show running another two years.

It wasn't until 1970 that Little Dougie, and indeed all of Los Angeles, fell in love with another horror host, but this time it was the man who was to be the King of All Horror Hosts, Seymour: Master of the Macabre, the Epitome of Evil, the Most Sinister Man to Crawl Across the Face of the Earth.

I won't belabor the Seymour story again, as my loyal readers all read Little Dougie's account of his love of Seymour, and how Dougie came to actually write for, and befriend the beloved TV star right here, back on Halloween. If you missed that posting, Mister Halloween, just click on this link and read it. Seymour and Dougie became close personal friends, and Seymour became the Best Horror Host That Ever Has Been. Others have come and gone, Grimsley, Arach Nid, Moona Lisa (Another Vampira-ish charmer, Little Dougie worked with her once, and found her a delight.), and of course charming Elvira came and has never really gone away again, but Seymour is ever the gold standard. His tragic death from cancer at age 50, at the height of his popularity, is a wound that Dougle still feels, and his new book is dedicated to Larry Vincent, the man in Seymour's hat and cape. If this odd little nook of show business interests you, there's a very good book out called Television Horror Movie Hosts by the late Elena M. Watson, published by McFarland & Co. It exhaustively chronicles dozens of horror hosts from all over America. Vampira quite deservedly is chapter one. The chapter on Seymour, good as far as it goes, oddly omits any mention of Little Dougie, despite his being a vital member of the creative team during the show's final season, as well as actually appearing on the final segment of the final Seymour show. Writing Seymour's stage and TV shows, and that appearance was as close to realizing his boyhood dream of being a horror host himself as he ever got.

What happened to the horror hosts? Well, home video hurt the market. If you want to watch Bride of Frankenstein, or The Wolf Man, why not rent or buy the DVDs, and see them uncut. commercial-free at your leisure? But what really killed them was Saturday Night Live. Late night on Saturdays was the prime Horror Host time slot. Seymour's last time slot was exactly that which SNL took over a few months after Larry Vincent's death. It occupied that slot in every market, and drew the exact same audience. Both Grimsley and Elvira battled SNL, but you'll notice that they're no longer on the air, and SNL sails on, as impossible to kill as Frankenstein's monster himself.

The great horror hosts are a joy that is over, and with the death of Maila Nurmi, the minor-talent who as Vampira, created the niche in the first place, that adorable, enjoyable era is truly, finally dead.

Unless someway, there's yet a sequel? Are horror hosts dead, or are they, as Henry Frankenstein said of his creation back in James Whale's Frankenstein, over the head of my own then-future husband Boris Karloff, "He's not dead; only waiting, waiting for a new life to come."

Cheers darlings.