Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stovepipe Hat Stuffing.

Roger Ebert once wrote of one of my films (though he denies it now), "If Tallulah wants this turkey pardoned, she'll have to ask the president." Well I did, and he did. (It was Lyndon's Johnson. Let's face it, if you were married to Lady Bird, a truly beautiful woman like me could get anything she wanted out of you too. She wanted to "Beautify America." All she had to do was leave.)

I know what you are all grateful for: that after three years, I am still flogging. And here's another thing to be grateful for: that President Obama is listening my advice on all matters of state. Admittedly, he has yet to start holding nude press conferences, nor has he shot Dick Cheney in the face "accidentally," and my plan for a Public Vodka Option isn't even in the bill yet (That damned Utah is opposing it! Orin Hatch said he'd even prefer Gay Marriage to a Public Vodka Option. Who died and made Mormons king? There's another thing to be grateful for: not being a Mormon.), but you can see how highly he values all my advice he's ignoring simply by noting the portrait hung on the Oval Office wall by his shoulder in this photo. (Do you know how hard it is to find picture frames bent to fit the Oval Office's curved walls?)

He was so taken by it when he noticed I'd slipped it up there (I was able to smuggle it into the White House hidden under my breasts. The security there is so slack that reality show stars are sneaking into state dinners. I hope it wasn't Psycho Russell from Survivor: Samoa. The President could lose his socks!) as a Thanksgiving surprise for him, and as My Gift to America, that he took it down at once, personally, I'm sure to hang it in a more intimate part of the White House, undoubtedly to have something to look at to - ah - inspire him when he's performing his husbandly chore with the drab, glamorless Mrs. Obama.

Barack darling, I would never move my mother into the White House with us, even if she were still alive, which she is not. (Something else to be grateful for.) Just ask Honest Abe, he wouldn't lie to you, because I had my ankles split apart by The Original Rail-Splitter on The Lincoln Bed back while Aaron Burr was still on the five dollar bill. (Man, how it annoyed Hamilton to have Burr on his money.) The only thing I don't understand about Honest Abe is why he didn't come backstage to congratulate me on my performance in Our American Cousin, after I opened in Ford's Theater. In fact, the rude statesman didn't even stay to the end of the show. What could have been so important? The war was over! I'll bet it was that jealous bitch Mary Todd. That woman was nuts! (Too soon?)

If you want to know what I'm giving thanks for, between stuffing and dressing, you can peruse my piece Gratitude Imparting Day over at The Huffington Post. And rest assured, I will continue on here. Joy all around.

Cheers darlings

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Stealth Oscars

Shhhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet. We're giving out Oscars.

What's the biggest, noisiest, splashiest event in Hollywood every year? I mean besides Chi Chi LaRue's birthday bash. The Oscars, aka, The Gay Superbowl. "One billion people around the world are watching!" they are always trumpeting at the ceremony each year, the day before announcing that this year the ratings were at their lowest ever, out-rated by golf! Not that I ever believed that there were a lot of African Bushmen or Australian Aborigines getting up in the middle of the night to watch the Oscars on their wood-burning TVs because they wanted to make sure that Kate Winslet wasn't robbed this year. Frankly, I doubt there are many Oscar-betting-pools in Buddhist Tibetian Monasteries, although the one I overnighted in on my way to Club Med Shangri-La had one. (Club Med Shrangri-La took centuries off my face! When I left, I didn't look a day over 90.)

But the point is, Oscars are given out with pomp, circumstance, hoopla, and publicity, loud publicity, and on TV! They want everyone who will talk about them to be talking about them. So why, this past weekend, did they give out three Oscars in a ceremony so secret, they used Tom Hanks, the with-it, hot comic Oscar host of, say, 14 years ago, to emcee? Why were they keeping it secret, so secret, they were handed out before all the movies to be considered for nominations have even been released?

Embarrassment perhaps? Well, let's see who was honored.

Gordon Willis, the genius cinematographer who shot all three Godfather movies, Annie Hall, All the President's Men, Interiors, Manhattan, Pennies From Heaven, Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Presumed Innocent, and many others. The only shame here is that he's never won an Oscar before.

Lauren Becall, a screen legend, almost as beautiful as me. She should receive honors daily.

Roger Corman. Wait a minute. Roger Corman? Is that why they kept it so quiet?

Understand, I adore Roger Corman, and enjoy many of his wonderfully silly, sleazy movies, but one doesn't think of him as Oscar-bait. One thinks of him as the former king of American-International Pictures. (They also gave out an Irving Thalberg Award, but so what? It's the "Lovely Parting Gift" of the Oscars.)

Roger wrote a fun, entertaining memoir a decade or so back: How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime. In it, he entertainingly chronicles his career in the movie business, which for Roger, is a business, not art. Roger makes movies because it's an enjoyable way for him to make money. He's not about art. That's okay. He's honest about what he does, and once in a while, he makes art in spite of himself. He always tries his best to give value for money. He just doesn't understand the meaning of the phrase "Take 2." And he's never made a film one would associate with the word "Oscar." (Although he did play a senator in Godfather II, which was covered in Oscars!)

Roger himself has no illusions about this. He told the Los Angeles Times (It's a"newspaper," an archaic form of information-dispersal. You can read about them in History Blogs.), "I’m delighted, and surprised, I knew I’d been nominated [to receive an honorary Oscar], and I predicted flatly that I had no chance of getting the award, because I make low-budget films. I thought the Academy will not give an award to someone who makes low budget films."

Well, in this economy, they did.

For many people of a certain age (Little Dougie's age), two names are associated most strongly with Roger's: Vincent Price, and Edgar Allen Poe.

In the 1960s, Roger convinced AIP to up his budget and production schedule (to a staggering 3 weeks), so he could make some films in Panavision and Eastmancolor to compete with the color Gothics that England's Hammer films were minting money with around the world. Roger put Price and Poe together, and turned out House of Usher, one of the top three highest-grossing movies of 1960, and began a classic series of movies, all but one starring Vincent Price. Here's Vinnie in my favorite of the series, the hilarious spoof, The Raven, with Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Hazel Court, and some young guy named Jack Nicholson.

Roger, Vinnie, and I did one film in the series together, Edgar Allen Poe's The Premature Climax, a film so scary that Roger pretends to have utterly forgotten he ever made it. Here's what I wrote about it in my award-adjacent autobiography My Lush Life:

"I eventually appeared with Vincent, Peter Lorre, little Debra Paget, and a very young Jack Nicholson in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Premature Climax. Poe had apparently been a very neurotic gentleman, and this story, considered by literary critics to be his Most Frightening, explored the deepest terrors a man can know. The film we made from it was a terrifying exploration of the most horrific aspects of human sexuality, especially when practiced while buried alive. I played the chilling female specter that Vincent summoned up every time he made love to Debra (As if anyone would want that drab little mouse of a girl when I was around) in order to attempt to ward off the titular horror. (Not the first nor the last time I've been called a "Titular Horror.")

The biggest problem with the picture was trying to make a feature film out of a five page short story. Poe’s original tale came to a sudden, messy end just as it seemed to be getting started. At the very point where it began to really penetrate it’s subject deeply, it was all over. We had to be sure that our movie of
The Premature Climax didn’t end too quickly also, leaving the audience unsatisfied. Roger Corman and his screenwriter, Richard Matheson, solved the problem by grafting the plot of Les Miserables into the Poe story. This expanded the running time from ten minutes to four hours, so, ironically, they ended up having to make radical cuts in the picture, to bring The Premature Climax to a head more quickly.

In the picture, honeymooning Vincent and Debra had to keep the love-making short, so that Inspector Javert, played by Peter Lorre, didn’t catch up with him. My character had been Vincent’s first wife, whom never ceased complaining about Vincent’s sexual inadequacy, until Vincent had me buried alive. Then my ghost haunts Vincent whenever he has sex. The irony is that my attempts to terrify him actually cure him of the problem I was upset with him for in the first place. Unfortunately, most of what got cut were my best scenes. All the material that explained who the hell I was, was gone, so, in the final picture, I’m really just a minor role, playing a howling ghost that materializes for no explained reason in all the love/horror scenes.

The picture made a hefty profit in spite of the butchery. Part of the reason was Roger’s notorious economic approach to filmmaking. He didn’t waste time. We shot most of the picture before lunch. A few location shots required a day on the cliffs of Palos Verdes, acting around paintings of castles, but the whole movie took only a week to shoot. With Roger, there was no such thing as "Take Two".

The critics even seemed to enjoy the picture, despite the narrative holes, and I received some of my best notices in years.
The New York Times raved, "Tallulah Morehead is also in this movie.", while Variety gushed "Others in the cast include Tallulah Morehead." Needless to say, I was flying high with reviews like that. It was as though I had been rediscovered. In France I was a genius. In America I was "Also in the cast". At last I was getting the kind of recognition I deserved.

So much fun did we have on the picture together, that I even allowed Roger and Vinnie to read an advance copy of My Lush Life, even though I was still more than three decades away from writing it, and much of the last quarter of the book hadn't even occurred yet. Why Roger denies to this day the very existence of me or this movie I can not fathom. Roger is almost always a cordial, approachable, charming, and remarkably ego-free man.

The Corman Poe series also included The Pit and The Pendulum, Poe's Tales of Terror, The Raven, Poe's The Haunted Palace (which was really H. P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward with Poe's name stuck on it), The Premature Burial (The only one without Vincent Price, substituting Ray Milland. I know, what were they thinking? Milland was a good enough actor, what with his earned Oscar and all, but he had not an ounce of Vincent Price's charisma and magic!), The Masque of the Red Death, and Tomb of Ligeia. But before Roger launched himself into American Gothic, he made movies that made these films look like Ben-Hur and Lord of the Rings.

No one watching Teenage Caveman in a drive-in 50 years ago ever thought that the man who made it would one day win an Oscar, or that Robert Vaughn, who starred in it (Hey, it's a more respect-worthy entry on his resume than Superman III) would ever be a respected actor, and then, even later, a formerly-respected actor, and finally, a what-did-we-ever-see-in-him actor. In fact, no one "watching" Teenage Caveman in a drive-in actually noticed the movie at all. They were busy in the backseat, making the next generation of movie-goers. Roger understood that the content of his 1950s, grade Z drive-in fare was utterly unimportant and irrelevant. As long as it had a title and a poster that got the kids to roll into the theater, he was going to make money.

That is 1950s Corman regular leading lady Beverly Garland being menaced by the most evil giant cucumber ever to waddle out of Bronson Canyon, in Corman's It Conquered the World, although, in the film, It only conquered one small cave, and Lee Van Cleef. Peter Graves saved the rest of the world, I think using a hand-operated salad-shooter.

Little Dougie, at the age of 6, saw the previews for a double feature of It Conquered the World and The She Creature (a movie for which Roger Corman is entirely innocent) before some Disney movie, and had nightmares for a week. He didn't know what "conquered" meant, but it sounded very bad, and while creatures were bad enough as they were, a creature that was a "she" had to be even worse. (Whether that trailer for The She Creature was what turned Dougie gay is still being debated in the higher halls of learning.) Say what you will about these two pathetic turkeys, but they were perfect for scaring the crap out of 6 year olds. However, most 7 year olds were too sophisticated to fall for them.

This poster for Roger's Attack of the Crab Monsters is of considerably higher quality than the film itself. How can you be frightened of monsters that can be wiped out by a simple creme available at any corner drugstore? Coincidentally enough, many of the teenagers "watching" this movie in drive-ins suffered actual crab attacks while the film was unreeling, although they usually didn't find this out until they got home and took a shower. Now that is a truly unique form of 3-D movie. William Castle, king of film gimmicks, must have been drooling with envy. (Bill Castle was often called "The poor man's Roger Corman," although Corman was of the opinion that he himself was the poor man's Roger Corman!)

Here's a fairly typical Corman double feature. Roger didn't direct either of these two movies. In fact, Francis Ford Coppola directed Dementia 13, which is not the 12th sequel to Dementia, like it sounds, and is actually not a half-bad film (More like two-thirds bad), but Roger and his brother Gene produced both of them. Although Dementia 13 is actually a watchable film, The Giant Leeches, a terrifying account of oversized brothers-in-law, is terrible enough for any two movies. (Yes, I've actually seen both movies.)

Two of Roger's most enjoyable extreme cheapies were Bucket of Blood, with Dick Miller, and Little Shop of Horrors with Jonathon Haze, Jackie Joseph, Jack Nicholson, and Dick Miller again, both hilarious black comedy horror spoofs. Little Shop of Horrors was famously shot in three days. Roger must have had the flu or something, to be working at such a pokey pace. It happens that Jonathon Haze mentioned to me not long ago his having read and loved My Lush Life, so we know that he's more than a great actor. He has literary taste too.

One of the scariest of Roger's Poe films was The Pit and the Pendulum. I know that I've frightened many men into fits of terror by simply saying, "If you've got the pendulum, I've got the pit for it." Why that sends men running from the room screaming I have no idea.

As with The Premature Climax, horror master-writer Richard Matheson (you can not have a better creepy time for yourself than by reading one of his great novels, like Hell House, or I Am Legend. Do NOT judge it by the Will Smith film version.) was faced with turning a five-page story into a 90 minute film, and did so by "borrowing" certain plot elements from the classic French thriller, Clouzot's Diabolique. The climax, when Price goes very, very over-the-top mad in his torture chamber, is still scary stuff.

The lad under the swinging knife in The Pit and the Pendulum was John Kerr. Here's a bit of horror history trivia: John Kerr's grandfather was Frederick Kerr, who played old Baron Frankenstein, father of Colin Clive's Dr. Henry Frankenstein, way back in James Whale's Frankenstein (1931), which I guess makes John The Nephew of Frankenstein, a sequel they neglected ever to make.

Here's Roger on the set, making horror magic.

So iconic was The Pit and the Pendulum that a couple years later, Vincent Price himself spoofed it in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, using the same sets, costumes, pendulum, and stock shots, though Roger had nothing to do with it. This time it was Dwayne Hickman under the knife. In his autobiography, Dwayne speaks slightingly of this film, as though he didn't respect it. Okay, it's cheap, and extremely silly, and wasn't any any Cat Ballou, but it is also funny, unpretentious, and Price is a delight in it.

Roger was good at spoofs though. I've already mentioned Bucket of Blood and the almost legendary Little Shop of Horrors, which is so beloved, it was redone as a musical, and was a huge success both on stage and on film. For the fourth film in the Poe series, Roger was getting bored with recycling the same tropes with a straight face (Damn! I broke my vow never to use the word "tropes" in an essay!), that he felt a need to find a new approach. In Tales of Terror, an anthology of short horror stories, he had done one story as a comedy, and it was such a hit, that for The Raven, he went full-tilt into a hilarious parody of his previous Poe films. With Price joined by Boris Karloff, Hazel Court, Jack Nicholson (whom I hear has done well since), and especially the invaluable Peter Lorre, a master of comedy improvisation, he made this film a spooky romp that was a big hit. Mind you, you'd never know from the posters that this was a tongue-in-cheek mass of silliness.

Three or four years ago, Little Dougie and I attended a screening of The Raven, in a nice, new print, at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood, at which Corman spoke, telling stories of making the film, and expressing the affection he's always had for this particular movie. It was the first time Little Dougie ever got to meet Roger Corman, and he found him as charming, warm, and friendly as everyone else does.

One of the most famous stories associated with The Raven also illustrates Roger's unique approach to efficient film-making, and getting every penny's worth out of his investment.

The Raven was shot so quickly that Roger ended up, at the end of the shoot, with three filming days left over on Boris Karloff's contract. Not one to just throw away three days of Karloff (speaking as one of Boris's ex-wives, I might have re-thought that myself), Roger had actor/writer Leo Gordon knock out a script overnight, that was every bit as good as you would expect from a script written in about 9 hours. Then he took Jack Nicholson, Dick Miller, and Boris, and shot every shot of Boris the film required, on the sets from The Raven sort of shuffled around and re-dressed.

Once Karloff was done, Roger turned the film over to Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, and Jack Hill, some months later, to shoot various fairly unrelated scenes. Eventually the mess was cobbled toegther into the deleriously incoherent movie
The Terror. I've seen it. If you can detect the slightest trace of sense in it, you're more perceptive than I. Note how the poster tries to equate it with Dracula, Frankenstein, House of Wax, and The Pit and the Pendulum. It is like them in that, they are horror movies, and it is a horror. It's not unlike what you might get if you tossed those classic films into a blender, and pureed them.

Here's my favorite thing about The Terror. All the Poe pictures had ended up to then with conflagrations. Actually, I should say conflagration, singular. Roger burned down a barn, and used the exact same fire footage in every single Poe picture. Time and again, you wondered why all these stone castles suddenly had wooden roofs.

So Roger decided that The Terror would end with a flood, just to be different, as though being completely incoherent, and having no trace of a plot wasn't different enough. So the film climaxes with a flood in a stone crypt. The crypt collapses as it floods, and great chunks of stone fall into the rushing water --- and float! Did you know that stone floats? It does in The Terror!

Frankly, watching The Terror, you would never think: these people will win Oscars, yet Jack Nicholson and Francis Ford Coppola have, and now, Roger Corman can put "Oscar Winner" on his lengthy resume as well.

But Roger did approach art with his next Poe picture, the superb film, The Masque of the Red Death, with Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher (who was then famously dating Sir Paul McCartney), and Patrick Magee. Heavily influenced by Ingrid Bergman's The Seventh Seal (Where did lovely Ingrid get the time to spare from being a Hollywood movie goddess, to also direct masterpieces of Swedish cinema? Talk about multi-tasking!), and based on one of Poe's most allegorical stories, this is a wonderful movie.

Roger uprooted himself from Producer's Studio in Hollywood (Now called Raleigh Studios. They shot
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? there at the same time Pit and the Pendulum was shooting. Imagine the commissary during lunch that week!), and went to England (where, in those days, you could shoot more cheaply), where he used lavish sets recently made for the big budget movie Becket, with Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton. Thus he gave his film a big expensive look while spending nothing on set contruction.

Poe's Masque of the Red Death also inspired the famous masked ball scene in Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera. As a result, dear, sexy Lon Chaney appeared in Red Death drag in his famous silent classic, in a scene that was shot in early, two-color Technicolor. Here's Lon's and Vinnie's Red Deaths. Oh death, where is thy color sense?

After he tired of Poe, Roger went into all sorts of exploitation areas, psychedelic movies, biker films, all sorts of low budget topics.

But he also had begun what became known as the University of Corman. At A.I.P. and later at his own founded studio, New World, he was the entry-level studio where ambitious filmmakers and actors got their starts and learned their crafts, before going on to stellar careers elsewhere. Some producers might have felt agrieved that they had trained young talents only to be deserted by them, but not Roger. He expected them to leave, before they got too expensive. He knew his place on the ladder, and accepted his role with pleasure and his usual good grace.

You've already noticed the names of some famous Corman graduates, Jack Nicholson and Francis Ford Coppola. In this movie below, Bloody Mama, with Shelley Winters as Ma Barker, a little nobody named Robert DeNiro got his screen start.

Other University of Corman graduates include Martin Scorsese, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern, Sylvester Stallone (well, they can't all be gems), Jonathon Demme, Joe Dante (who wouldn't dream of making a movie without Dick Miller in it, and who can blame him?), John Sayles, Ron Howard (All right, Ronnie already had a career as an actor, but Corman was the first to let him direct, at which he has done well since. Who would have expected Grand Theft Auto would ever lead to Frost/Nixon?), Bill Shatner, Penelope Spheeris, and still others.

Take this tale: a young writer who had worked on some of Corman's film crews, wanted to direct. Once again, Roger had three days of work owed to him by Boris Karloff, who was just too speedy an actor in his 80s. So Corman offered the three days of Karloff work to this young man, along with the raw footage of the abominable The Terror, telling him he could shoot 20 minutes of Karloff in those 3 days, and use 20 minutes of Karloff from The Terror, giving him 40 minutes of Boris Karloff. He then gave him a small sum, something like $100,000, to shoot another 40 minutes with other actors.

This young writer went home and wrote a very smart script, shot his scenes, including a climax filmed at the quintessential Roger Corman location, a drive-in theater. In fact, the drive-in was the Reseda Drive-In. Though gone now, like most other drive-ins, it was located not one mile from where Little Dougie now resides, when not rattling around here at Morehead Heights. The movie was sold to Paramount, for twice what Roger Corman put up for it, so Roger was happy at a 100% profit. Paramount didn't do as well with it, and it made little money. But this most-excellent low-budget film, Targets, went on to cult glory, and this young director, Peter Bogdanovich, went right on next to direct The Last Picture Show, and that film won two Oscars, and was nominated for 6 more, two of those nominations being for Bogdanovich.

So perhaps, after all, Roger Corman does deserve an Oscar, not for directing and/or producing great classic movies, though he has made many, many very entertaining, beloved films, but for finding, discovering, and nurturing so many Oscar-winning talents who have vastly enriched the industry. So congratulations Roger. Well done. You deserve to have your Oscar awarded in a real Oscar show, not in this back-alley presentation.

For shame, Oscar producers, and Adam Shankman, if you can tear your eyes away from Ryan's and Legacy's abs on So You Think You Can Dance? (They are eye-catching!), I'm talking to you!

On another topic altogether, about the tween sensation Twilight: New Moon. No, I haven't seen that movie, nor it's prequel. I'm not 13, and I don't like un-sexually-threatening men. Still, there's a lot to say in favor of hunky, shirtless werewolves, which is why I am here with a whole pack of them.

There's a wild irony involved with these movies. Stephenie Meyer, who wrote this crap, is a Mormon. Okay, gay boys, every time you buy a ticket to one of these movies, or buy one of her Godawful books, some portion of your money goes to her, and then, some portion of that money gets tithed by her to the evil Mormon Church, which in turn, uses some of it to fund fights against gay marriage rights across America. So anytime you spend a cent on these films, you're helping fund the fight for anti-gay intolerance.

Okay, that's bad enough. But where's the irony? Simple. These Twilight movies are almost indistinguishable from soft-core gay porn.

So spend no money on these movies or books.

I must admit though, I find it's new taste in what werewolves look like intriguing.

If only they didn't fund Mormons, I'd slather myself in wolfbane, and go a-howling.

On to minor matters. This Saturday marks the third anniversary of this flog. This, my 171st flogging, is the last one of my third year, though I will be continuing on. To all who have enjoyed all or part of this three year journey, my thanks. Who knows where we will travel on to as we sail into our fourth year?

Meanwhile, I continue flogging Survivor: Samoa over on The Huffington Post. Last week's was From Russell With Love, and this week's is Lord of the Gnats. Enjoy.

Now grab a Roger Corman movie and stick it in your DVD player and think, this guy's got an Oscar. There's hope for me yet.

Cheers darlings.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Barack to the Future

It was just a year ago that America bounced back, and sent that piece of excrement George W. Bush, and his Dark Lord of the Sith, Dick Cheney, packing. To remind ourselves of how happy that day was, take a listen to my old, old friend (I mean it; he's old!) William Wixon's musical celebration of Obama's victory, Yes We Can.


Cheers darlings.

Monday, November 2, 2009


For Halloween, this year, I visited the Dilfy Resort in Anaheim, mostly to see the Halloween attractions at Dilfyland, like this big Mick O'Lantern on Main Street.

What? "Disneyland"? Well yes; that's what I used to call it, but I have changed its name to Dilfyland. Why? Because the place was full of prize DILFs. What is a DILF? Well, the first letter stands for "Dads". Yes, a DILF is a "Dad I'd Like to Fool-around-with-naked."

Dilfyland this last Friday was packed with DILFs, sadly, all dragging around one to five noisy rugrats, often pushing some in strollers. Single, or at least childless, hot men were in short supply. How is a grown man supposed to enjoy riding on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride or The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh if he's stuck with kids? They ruin it!

I was seated next to a particularly adorable DILF on the Finding Nemo submarine ride. He had this two year old boy with him, and the boy just wasn't having it. He kept complaining all through the ride, "Fish don't talk!" He didn't know much, but he knew fish don't talk. You'd think his DILF could have explained to him that I'm not a fish, I just smell like that sometimes in a closed environment like a submarine, or whenever I'm going down. The boy would look at me, and then hide his eyes in his hands. His DILF would say, "Where's Jack? I can't see Jack!" and he gave me a weird look when I helpfully piped in with, "Well, Jack's usually at a Laker's game."

When I'd had enough of the little brat, whom his DILF had seated between he and I, where the boy was very much in the way, I tried pointing out that toad's don't drive motorcars, birds don't sing words, and the flowers don't croon, so when at Dilfyland, why carp about singing carp? But little Jack wasn't buying it. Fish don't talk! On the good side, if he stays this hard-headed, religion will have a hard time sinking its filthy claws into him.

There was a really distasteful spectacle around 9:20 PM, in and over Fantasyland. Let me put it this way. Mickey needs to watch his diet and mind his manners, because when he lights his farts, it's spectacular, but I could hear even Mel Brooks saying, "That's in questionable taste."

Along with DILFs, there was also a lot of MODs. Those are Morbidly Obese Dads. The MODs were almost always accompanied by moms who were MOMs. How these paired porkers ever managed to get their genitalia close enough to each other to spawn their hoards of MOKs is a mystery to me, but I'll bet it always occurred in extremely dark rooms.

Actually, Dilfyland is a good place for MODs, MOMs, and MOKs, as the food is so extremely expensive that they can't possibly afford to gain any more weight while there. For the price of a hamburger, a coke, and fries, you can buy an annual pass to the park. And you can't buy alcohol at all! Some Happiest Place on Earth.

Is Halloween scary at Dilfyland? Well, when you're about to ride "Soarin' Over California" in California Dilfy Adventure, and a 350 pound MOD sits down next to you, with his 300 pound MOM and their gigantic children, while the ride attendants use a crowbar to pry their flab away from over the safety belt buckle long enough to fasten it, it becomes very scary indeed. The whole row sagged when we took off next to these ginormous human slugs. Who knew Jabba the Hut and his family vacationed at the Dilfy Resort? On the other hand, when there's a family of the morbidly obese in your bobsled, you shoot down the Matterhorn much faster! We were even passing bobsleds on the same track we were on! (I'm told there were survivors.)

After riding Ghost Galaxy (Space Mountian with a Halloween overlay, although I don't see how one can ever be over-laid!) with gross fatties, Jack Skellington in the Haunted Mansion is small potatoes. Say what you will about Jack, he's skinny!

The guests at the Dilfy Resort were almost too polite! I was in the parks for 12 hours, and not once did anyone ask me for an autograph! True, I was "incognito," but that just meant I didn't have Little Dougie walking ahead of me shouting "Make way for Miss Tallulah Morehead, the Nearly-Living Legend" through a bullhorn. (The security people confiscated the bullhorn at the park entrance. Some excuse about "noise pollution," whatever that means.) Oh, I got recognized once, but somehow a man saying "Wow! You stink worse than your films!" isn't what I had in mine. How can I announce in a lordly manner "No autographs today! I'm just a touristy nonentity like all you nobodies." if no one asks for one?

And then there was the kid who, on seeing me exiting the Haunted Mansion (so reminiscent of my own palatial home, Morehead Heights), shouted "Hey look! One of the robot spooks got loose!" That kid found himself swimming in the Rivers of America but fast.

But beware of some false promises there. One sign proclaimed I could ride "Big Thunder." That sounded like my kind of a good time, but when I got there, it was just a roller coaster in Bryce Canyon. When I go on a "Jungle Cruise," I expect large black men to be lining up to violate me. All this had was a lot of robotic animals, though the Woody Strode androids were all kind of hot. And the young man piloting our jungle boat wasn't so much Humphrey Bogart, as an African Queen. Well, he was white, so he was more of an Anaheim Queen.

At least when I rode "Dumbo," he was hung like an elephant!

For "Trick or Treat," they played quite a good trick on everyone. Although Dilfyland stayed open until midnight, with the big shows, Mickey's Sky Farts, and in Frontierland, out on the river, the extravaganza called Orgasmic, all in the night time, the park next door, California Dilf Adventure, closed at 6 PM, so everyone who was in that park came over into Dilfyland to see Orgasmic and watch Mickey light his farts. Suddenly it was so crowded, you could barely stagger around the park. I didn't mind getting pressed up against the DILFs, but getting pressed into the MODs was no fun at all, and impossible to avoid.

California Dilf Adventure's primary function is to give you a place to get away from the crowds. They have shorter lines than EuroDisney! That's not to say that there's nothing any fun there. I enjoyed Soarin', and I loved riding California Screamin', which the ride operator ever-so-kindly allowed me to ride without using the dress-crushing safety restraints. After all, restraint is not something I have ever been known for, either in life or on screen.

And as for scary Halloween decor, the big Ferris wheel, Mickey's Fun Wheel, had had attached to it the terrifying visage of The Giant Rat of Sumatra, the biggest and most-vicious rodent in the world!

So all told, if cruisin' DILFs is your idea of a good time, Dilfyland is the place to go. As I said to one very hot DILF, when he asked me if I'd like to ride Splash Mountain: "If you'll do the mountin', I'll do the ridin', and we can both splash out!" His rather odd reply was; "Security!!!"

How can it be "The Happiest Place on Earth" if I can't get a drink or a tumble from a hot DILF?

Speaking of which, from my last visit, here I am in The Tragic Kingdom with the hottest DILF on earth, whose son is wisely showing fear of The Giant Rat of Sumatra.

Just a quick reminder. I am sill flogging Survivor: Samoa over on The Huffington Post. Here's a photo of me over on Samoa. Allow me to correct a silly misinterpretation of this picture. Several people have thought that in this picture, Rocket Scientist John, and my Future Ex-Husband Jaison are fleeing from me as fast as they can. Such nonsense. I'd mentioned that my cocktail was nearly finished, and they are racing each other to get me a fresh vodka martini. Such sweet boys.

Anyway, my latest posting there is titled Here's to the Pirates Who Lunch. Read and enjoy.

Cheers darlings.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Butler Did It and The Soupy is Served.

Two men are the topic of what may well be October's only posting here. I apologize for my postings here being so infrequent, but I've been busy over at The Huffington Post, which pretty much eats up all my flogging energy, and Little Dougie has been (and still is) occupied writing a musical with a songwriter friend of his, and has little creative energy left over for here. So sorry, but what you see may be all you get, barring a rush of time, energy, and vodka.

So my topic tonight is about two guys, hyperhunk Gerard Butler, and divine funnyman Milton Supman, better known as Soupy Sales.

I'm a strong believer in playing to your strengths. Gerard Butler's strengths are showing the pecs, and ... ah ... script selection? No; that's definitely not it. He can sing a bit, as he proved when played the title role in the movie of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. No, he didn't play Lord Lloyd Webber. He played the other hideously repulsive title character, The Phantom.

Except that, as played by Gerard, The Phantom was a dreamboat whose mask was just a fashion accessory. Even unmasked, he was far hotter than Raoul. He had a tiny disfigurement, like a fashion model with a zit. "Don't look at me! I'm hideous!" No one would mistake him for the great Lon Chaney. And there's nothing like two hours of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "music," to make one long for the blessed silence of Lon's wonderful movie.

Gerard's biggest (only) hit movie so far is 300, which presented the story of the 300 Spartans defending Sparta against Persia as softcore gay porn. It was a rigorously historically inaccurate presentation. Any trace of historical accuracy in any corner of the film was terminated with extreme prejudice. For heaven's sake, the movie presented the Spartans going into battle against swords and spears, not only not wearing armour, but with completely exposed, exquisite bare torsos. As battle gear goes, it's a deathwish; as movie costuming, it's $300,000,000 at the box office. The picture required Gerard to show his tits from beginning to end, and to shout stuff like "We are Sparta!" and "Tonight we dine in HELL!" Well honey, "Tonight we dine in Denny's!" The movie is so stupid and silly that I haven't watched the DVD I bought of it more than 7 or 8 times. Well, 9. Well 15. Okay, I have it on again right now. My fingers have to do something while Little Dougie types this up for me.

Gerard has also done a string of romantic comedies, that have grossed a combined $67.98. He has proved in his comedies that he is great at - showing the pecs and shouting "We are Sparta!"

So what possessed him to host Saturday Night Live last week? I know I make comedy appear effortless, but I'm drunk. Here's what I was expecting.

If only he had actually been that amusing, or at least, had been dressed like that.

They did do a 300 parody sketch, which of course was about how all 300 Spartans were gay. What else could it be about? But they had all the Spartans wearing breastplates. Since when is an SNL sketch more authentic than a big hit movie? In any event, they were parodying the movie, and the defining characteristic of the movie, and the biggest factor in selling its tickets, were all the exposed abs and mantits.

Understand, I'm not complaining about the guys hiding their pecs (except for Gerard). The current crop of SNL men are not guys I've ever sat around mentally undressing. In fact, should Bill Hader or Keenan Thompson or that Moynahan person appear shirtless, I'd be mentally dressing them. But they were parodying a movie where the men were all shirtless all the time. Where's the authenticity? Where's the commitment to doing the parody they'd written?

Remember the "Penis Song" nudist colony sketch when Matthew Broderick hosted SNL a bit over 20 years ago? You had that cast, including Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, not to mention adorable guest host Broderick, all stark staring naked, wearing only conveniently placed bits of scenery, some pixilation, and a guitar, in a sketch that used the word penis over 30 times. Funny how vividly I remember that sketch. Oh right. I still have it on tape. But those men committed to their sketch. This current group, required only to show the manboobs, all copped out. So this picture is not from that sketch.

Honestly, how, and for that matter, why have Gerard Butler on the show, and also include James Franco and The Rock, and not have any of them shirtless? The closest they came were some glimpses of The Rock's oversize physique through the ripped shirt in his Obama-as-The Hulk sketch. Do they think we watch these men for their talent? Well, maybe Franco. He's a pretty damned good actor, as he showed in Milk. (And that's not all he showed in Milk. I mean, the man had to kiss Sean Penn and make it look like it was pleasurable. He should have gotten the Oscar!)

Well enough about Gerard. If he wants more coverage here, he needs to show up in my boudoir for some uncoverage, and pleasure my brains out. Until then, he will remain what he has been for sometime now, the guy you use when you can't afford Huge Jackman.

Now to discuss someone who was funny, very funny, if perhaps not someone I particularly wanted to see shirtless. Milton Supman, better known to baby boomers everywhere as "Soupy Sales."

That's Soupy, pretty much flying through the air on his classic 1960s kid show for adults that was hip, stupid, smart, corny, sophisticated, ridiculous, and unaccountably funny.

When Walt Disney's The Mickey Mouse Club went off the air at the end of the 1950s (probably because Annette's "development" had reached the point where her name on the front of her tunic looked like it said "ANNETTE," and made a generation of young straight boys long for 3-D TV.), in Los Angeles, where Little Dougie was growing up with zero interest in Annette's tunic (Tim Considine was another matter though), the famous kid's show was replaced by a performer imported from Detroit where he had done a nationally syndicated kid's show called Lunch With Soupy Sales, and if that lunch included a pie, you could bet Soupy would end up wearing it on his face before long. His new show on KABC-TV Los Angeles, The Soupy Sales Show, was basically the exact same show. Here's Jimmy Dodd, the star of The Mickey Mouse Club, pretty much handing over the timeslot reigns to Soupy.

Little Dougie, just 11 years old, became Soupy's slave. If Little Dougie's mother were to catch fire, and needed him to save her life, she'd have been well advised not to do so while Soupy was on, because Dougie was busy watching the Soupster, and laughing until he could not breathe.

In the 1961 Malaga Cove School sixth grade talent show, Little Dougie auditioned for the humorless principal, and even more humor-challenged vice principal, basically doing Soupy's act, with a friend playing Soupy's sidekick, White Fang. The school administrators sat there stone-faced, not laughing at a single borrowed joke, looking grim. That is, looking grim until Dougie got a pie in the face. WHAM! To this day, Little Dougie vividly remembers seeing those two grisly would-be educators busting a gut with laughter at the oldest slapstick gag in show business. A few days later, the whole school repeated that laugh, when Dougie took his pie in the show.

Whether Dougie was (or is) funny is arguable. Whether Milton Supman was funny is not. Soupy Sales was a riot. And here's the real proof: most of the gags and jokes he told were ancient, corny and unfunny. Here's a typical Soupy "witticism": "Show me a novel that is caught in a tornado and I'll show you a book that is gone with the wind." Soupy's material wasn't funny. Soupy was funny. Soupy was riotously funny. He had charm, crack timing, a sense of utter silliness, and the illusion of completely undisciplined chaos, when he was actually fully in control of a show that was just plan hilarious. Surrounded by the silliest band of puppets ever, led by Pookie the Lion, and White Fang, the paw of a giant dog that always sounded like someone throwing up, Soupy's show was a wild, unpredictable melange of jokes, sketches, gags, and ad libs.

All the puppets were played by a former (and future) film editor named Clyde Adler. Here he is playing White Fang with Soupy.

After two years in Los Angeles, Soupy packed up his puppets and moved back east, to do the exact same show in New York City on WNEW-TV, this time with a little guy named Frank Nastasi playing the puppets. To Los Angeles boys like Little Dougie, Frank's Pookie the Lion never sounded right.

Soupy had famous adventures in New York. The most notorious of which came one New Years Day, when he told his kid viewers to sneak very quietly into the bedrooms where their parents were sleeping off their New Years Eve celebrations, and take out of their parents' wallets and purses the "little green pieces of paper with pictures of men with beards. Send them to me here at WNEW-TV, and I'll send you a post card from Puerto Rico."

Did Soupy get money in the mail? He sure did. He got almost $80,000, most of it Monopoly money. What actual cash he did receive went to Jerry's Kids. One guy in his 20s sent him a dollar bill with a note which said, "I've seen your show, and you ought to go to Puerto Rico."

And no one enjoyed telling that story more than Soupy.

However, if there is anything you can count on finding everywhere, it's humorless asses. Kids know a joke when they hear it, but a certain class of adults are always morons. The morons complained to the station, the morons running the TV station suspended Soupy for two weeks, and found their station besieged by crowds of kid picketers, throwing paint. The station begged Soupy to come back, or at least call off the paint-throwing kids. Soupy let them stew, and came back after his two weeks. Screw 'em if they can't take a joke.

Little Dougie was heartbroken when Soupy deserted Los Angeles for New York. They had Broadway, did they have to have Soupy too? In the summer of 1965, Little Dougie's family went back to New York City to see the New York World's Fair and see some real Broadway shows. Little Dougie was glad to see the fair, and excited to see actual Broadway shows, but he was thrilled to be able to see Soupy again, even if only for two weeks. Here's a photo of 15 year old Little Dougie with his family at the fair. Only a true Soupy geek-level fan would go out in public to the fair wearing that badge. I hope he didn't wear it when seeing Hello Dolly, but he couldn't swear to it today.

It took Dougie 33 years, but he finally got to meet the Soupster. In 1994, Little Dougie went to see Soupy do his live stage act in San Clemente. It was a revelation. Soupy had over 50 years in show business as a top professional comedian by then, and his act showed exactly what 50 years of comedy performing could do for you. He was masterful. It was jokes, puns, cornball gags, long-shaggy dog stories, and personal reminiscences. On paper, it would have been deadly. But Soupy was a master, I repeat, a master, of timing, pacing, and audience manipulation. The structure of the routines was breathtaking. The way he would pile gag on gag, rattling out one-liners one after the other, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, building the pace, until the sheer momentum of the routines forced you into hysterical laughter. Then he'd break it up with long shaggy-dog stories (some literally shaggy dog stories, as you had to hear about White Fang.), and then tell some middle-length stories. It was pure structural genius. He was a total pro. Any young comedian learning their craft could have learned a world of craft from Soupy Sales.

And Soupy loved his fans. He was someone who didn't mind middle-aged people coming up and telling him they'd loved him when they were children. He took it as a badge of honor.

That night Little Dougie saw him work, after his show, Soupy spent over an hour with his fans, signing every bit of memorabilia they brought, some of it quite old. (Little Dougie had brought Soupy record albums he'd had since 1961.) Soupy had a Polaroid camera with him, and on his own dime (no one was charged anything, unlike at modern has-been conventions, I mean autograph shows, where people who played tiny parts in old movies sign pictures at $20 a pop) saw to it that everyone who wanted one, got a picture taken with him, that he could sign for them right then, like this picture from that night with Little Dougie, looking like a rather large Dougie.

Soupy's old TV show was revived for one season, as a national network show in color in 1979. Clyde Adler returned to play the puppets. (In the opening credit film sequence of each episode, a building Little Dougie lived in from 1986 to '89 could be clearly seen in one shot.) The show came to an abrupt end though when Clyde Adler suffered a heart attack on the set. Although Clyde survived, his performing days were over, and he returned to editing film in Detroit, and died in the early 1990s.

Soupy must have been on every game show that ever used celebrities. He was very smart, and played games well. A close friend of Little Dougie got him for a partner on The $25,000 Pyramid, and Soupy took her all the way up the pyramid and won her the money.

He guested on dozens and dozens of TV shows, from Burke's Law to The Carol Burnett Show, to The Beverly Hillbillies to Wings, with many, many others. Movies weren't really is forte, but he made a few, co-starring with Tab Hunter in a silly fantasy called Birds Do It, as well as Critic's Choice and Two Little Bears. More recently, he appeared with several of my friends, playing himself playing Moses, in And God Spoke, a faux-Chris Guest-type mockumentary, a movie that would be worth seeing even if only to see Lou Ferrigno beat the crap out of Andy Dick (That's entertaiment.), but which is very funny beginning to end. Soupy, carrying the Ten Commandments and a six-pack of Coca-Cola down from the Vasquez Rocks makes for Comedy Heaven. And God Spoke, and some of Soupy's old TV shows are available on DVD.

Here are pictures of two famous actors playing Moses in the movies, one is a hopeless buffoon, and the other is Soupy Sales.

Not long after Little Dougie saw Soupy work live, he took a fall, and broke something, and his days of performing live were over. Dougie saw him just in time, but he continued to love his fans, and to delight all who had the good fortune to encounter him. He wrote two books, an autobiography, Soupy Sez: My Life and Zany Times

And Stop Me If You've Heard It: Soupy Sales' Greatest Jokes, a collection of gags, a majority of which would only work if Soupy were telling them.

When Soupy died last week, at the age of 83, the world became a little less funny. It wasn't just that Marie Callandar now stopped making shaving cream pies (Soupy's pies - he was hit with over 50,000 of them over the years - were made with shaving cream because it didn't spoil or turn rancid under hot studio lights); it was that White Fang and Black Tooth and Pookie and Hippie all died with him. Soupy had been in failing health for some years, and his death was doubtless a mercy to him, but it is greiving a whole generation of former-kids who never lost their love for the zany guy with the face full of pie. Soupy's death made me sob. I think White Fang himself said it best when he said: "Oh rih o rah!"

I know it's Halloween week. For some Halloween postings may I suggest clicking on these links to some of my past Halloween tales.

Mister Halloween is always worth reading. It's Little Dougie's account of his relationship with Larry "Seymour" Vincent, the Greatest TV Horror Host That Ever Was.

A Halloween Memory is a chapter from my award-challenged autobiography, My Lush Life, recounting my spooky marriage to Count Vlad Tepes of Transylvania. You may think that, because you've seen a movie with Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee or Frank Langella (Richard Nixon isn't the only scary monster Frank's ever played) or even Gary Oldman, that you know the true tale of this nocturnal nobleman on the liquid diet, but I was married to the man!

For that matter, Little Dougie's book, The Q Guide to Classic Monster Movies, is a perfect Halloween read. You can order a copy on that link, just don't be too dispapointed that it's not about me.

And over at The Huff Po, I'm still recapping Survivor: Samoa each week. My most recent posting there was No Fruit Cup. Thanks to Halloween (my busy season), my next Huff Po column will not appear until Sunday. In fact, if you you happen to be at Disneyland on Friday, keep an eye peeled for me. I'll be there, but incognito. If you recognize me, don't be afraid to ask for an autograph.The worst thing that can happen to you is my demanding Security have you arrested. I love my fans.

Cheers darlings.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Atkins Die It!

In my last flogging, I dealt with a recent death I found personally heart-breaking: my darling Henry Gibson. Well this week Death has struck again, only this time he's done some good, and taken a tremendously evil creature to a long-deserved demise. Susan Atkins, aka Sadie Mae Glutz, has died. There's no way that's anything but good news. She died slowly of cancer. Hopefully it was excruciatingly painful. With any luck, she died in agony and despair.

Now why am I, normally the kindest, most compassionate, most utterly-selfless person on earth, doing a Fred Astaire tap dance special on the grave of Susan Atkins? Look at this picture.

That is gorgeous Sharon Tate Polanski. In 1969, she was a budding movie star. She'd made a splash in the slick trashy soap opera movie Valley of the Dolls with Patty Duke and Susan Hayward. While making The Fearless Vampire Killers, aka Dance of the Vampires, she and genius director Roman Polanski fell in love and got married. Roman went on to have his own sexual and legal troubles, but if it hadn't been for Susan Atkins, those aberrations in his life would probably never have happened.

One night, some 40 years ago last month, on August 9, 1969, pregnant with her and Roman's first child, she pleaded for her baby's life to Susan Atkins. And what did poor little "I had an unhappy childhood" Susan Atkins reply to Sharon?

"I have no pity for you, bitch!" And then she stabbed Sharon 16 times, many of the knife wounds stabbing into the fetus as well. Then Susan wrote "Pig" in Sharon's blood on the front door of the Polanski house. She also took time from her busy night to stab Voytek Frykowski to death as well. Busy knives are happy knives.

What terrible thing had Sharon and Voytek done to Susan to provoke such a terrible act from her?

Nothing at all. They'd never met before. She'd never heard of them, and they'd never heard of her. In fact, Susan and her companions in murder, Charles "Tex" Watson, Patricia Krenwinkle, and Linda Kasabian, thought other people lived there, but since they'd gone to all the trouble to drop in uninvited, why not also kill Steven Parent, Jay Sebring, and Abagail Folger? And the next night, along with Leslie Van Houten, they killed Leno & Rosemary LaBianca, two total strangers of whom they knew nothing at all. It was something to do. Apparently there was nothing good on television, although the newscasts had been pretty lurid that day, and the next day, even more so.

So fuck this evil bitch. She's died of a horrible cancer. Good. Thank you, Cancer. Munchkins: commence singing!

She was acting under the orders of Charles Manson. Charlie's hideous death is a pleasure that still awaits us. But Charlie's orders in no way expiate Susan even a quark-sized iota. Fuck her. Fuck him.

Let's be clear, though hardly guiltless, Linda Kasabian didn't kill anyone, and her testimony was crucial to sending Susan to prison until her parole into hell yesterday.

Sharon wasn't even Susan's first murder. She'd earlier killed a musician named Gary Hinman, as a favor for Charlie. She was thoughtful that way. Always willing to slaughter someone for a friend.
Here she is with Krenwinkle and Van Houton, three little maids from hell indeed, and now Susan has gone home again.

In prison. Susan embraced Christianity, often the last resort of the truly insane, evil, or frightened. They usually then try to claim they are now good people, having become Christians; never mind that Christians have committed many of the worst mass crimes in history. Adolf Hitler was a Christian, after all, as any Jew can tell you.

But the good thing about Susan's alleged conversion is that she'd then believe in Hell, and could be good and terrified of spending eternity roasting on a spit. I almost wish I could believe in it too. Oblivion is letting her off too easily. On the other hand, Poor Hell. Susan Atkins will lower the tone of the place.

She got married twice while in prison. Her first husband, Donald Laisure, had been previously married 35 times! Good lord, he makes me look like an old maid! He dumped her when wife number 37 sashayed into his life. Till lunch we do part.

Then she married her lawyer. I knew defense lawyers could be scuzzballs, but can you possibly sink any lower than marrying Susan Atkins?

She applied for parole again and again, but was always stymied by one simple question: Are Sharon Tate and her baby still dead? They are? Well then, Susan, fuck you. Her last time up for parole she asked for "compassionate release," since she was dying of cancer.

Compassionate release? Perhaps the parole board remembered her answer when Sharon Tate pleaded with her for mercy and compassion, because freely translated, the parole board's answer was "We have no pity for you, bitch."

And we can only look forward to the deaths of her accomplices as pleasures yet to come. It's kind of nice that they've had long lives, because I don't believe the dead suffer.

When I find out where the evil cow is buried I'll let you know, and we can hold a grand ball. We need a lot of people dancing on this evil creature's grave.

On a lighter note, I am flogging away at The Huffington Post, recapping Survivor: Samoa. Catch the latest one: Law & Order: Samoan Psycho Unit. Enjoy.

Cheers darlings.