Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Vital Viewing (Girls Gone Wild Edition)



Actor Cindy Williams was best known as one half of that wacky female TV duo...

Um...Wrong wacky female TV duo.

Of course, I'm talking about Laverne and Shirley. In the following clip, Cindy (Shirley) and Penny Marshall (Laverne) talk about the time Paramount Pictures sent them to plug their series at, of all places, the Cannes Film Festival:

They seem to have been a wacky female duo in real life as well as on TV, huh? Speaking of TV, I was in a dither as to what clip to show from their popular 1950s-in-the-1970s sitcom, before I finally decided that...

...sex sells. So without further ado...

I hope nobody got the clap watching that.

Cindy Williams did have one high-profile role before taking on the even higher-profile role of Shirley Feeney. In the top half of the Mort Drucker-drawn poster above, you can see an illustrated version of Cindy in the arms of an equally illustrated Ron Howard. In the following clip, Cindy talks about almost turning down the part of Laurie Henderson:

Francis Ford Coppola! American Graffiti came out in 1973. Had Coppola shown an interest in Williams a year earlier, she may have ended up in this movie:

I mean, look at Diane Keaton's hair. It wasn't too different from Cindy's:

 Well, I guess she may have had a couple more curls than Diane. Anyway, Cindy was much more memorable as a lovestruck teenager than she would have been as mobster's spouse. See for yourself:

Oh, my, I feel like we're intruding on a private conversation. Blame the subtitles.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Quips and Quotations (Join the Side That You're Already On Edition)



I was, I guess, what would be called a left liberal, although I never thought of myself as all that left...I believed in civil rights and civil liberties, I favored racial integration, I thought responsibility for the international tensions of the cold war was equally distributed between the United States and the U.S.S.R.

--Victor Navasky, journalist, publisher emeritus of The Nation

Navasky with his protege and successor Katrina vanden Heuvel


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

File Sharing


First classified documents turn up in former President Trump's Florida resort-and-residence Mar-a-Lago. Then classified documents, dating from his years in the Senate and as vice-president, are found in current President Biden's former office at a Washington think tank as well as his private residence in Delaware. Now it's being reported that classified documents have been discovered in former Vice-President Pence's Indiana homestead. 

Enemy agents have nothing on American politicians.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Quips and Quotations (Counterculture Coiffure Edition)



I come from a school of people, folk singers, and the tradition there is troubadours, and you're carrying a message. Admittedly, our job is partly just to make you boogie, just make you want to dance. Part of our job is to take you on a little voyage, tell you a story. But part of our job is to communicate the way a town crier did: It's 12:00 and all is well, or it's 11:30 and the whole Congress is sold. It's part of the job.

--David Crosby

Establishment bitch!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Vital Viewing (If You Can't Beat the Paparazzi, Join 'Em Edition)



First off, I have to give a shout-out to Mistress Maddie because that's the blog I clicked on at 3:15 in the morning and found out of the passing of Italian actor (I was told the other night that the term "actress" is now passé) Gina Lollobrigida. Gina was a photographer as well as an actre--actor. She talks about her second career in this clip from the 1980s:

Gina mentioned Yul Brynner so let's show a film the two of them made together, 1959's Solomon and Sheba. A toupee-wearing Yul plays the former, and Gina the latter:

As Bob Dylan sang, everybody must get stoned.



Friday, January 13, 2023

Someone Turned the Lights Out There in Memphis


I've read several biographies of Elvis Presley, and one thing that all these books make clear is that at some point the King of Rock and Roll eventually came to see his throng of admirers as something of a burden. Oh, sure, he liked that they loved him--who doesn't like being loved? --but he found himself overwhelmed by fans whenever he went out in public, a situation he could only rectify by turning day into night, renting movie theaters and even amusement parks after closing hours, when the regular patrons of such places were at home in bed. Elvis' daughter Lisa-Marie, a celebrity in her own right but not so much so that she couldn't go out when the sun was still up, never felt she had to run away from her father's fans, at least not on what would have been his 88th birthday, telling the crowd at Graceland "you're the only people that can get me out of my house," and, after the official ceremony was done with, staying to mingle a bit. Two days later she was back in Hollywood at the Golden Globes, flanked by her mother Priscella and Jerry Schilling, a member of her father's fabled Memphis Mafia, i.e., his entourage. Two days after that she died of what's being reported in the media as a cardiac arrest. I remember seeing Lisa-Marie on talk shows some fifteen years ago promoting her first album, and thinking she had a kind of melancholic air about her. Call me weird, but that actually made me like this young woman when I was prepared not to, as it had seemed like she may had made this particular career choice only because, well, because she was Elvis Presley's daughter (in fact, the song I heard on the radio turned out to be pretty good.) Nevertheless, you may wonder exactly what someone born in the lap of luxury would have to feel melancholic about. Well, Lisa-Marie took a few nasty falls from that lap. The first came when she was nine years old and saw her cardiac-arrested father face down on the bathroom floor. That's the melancholy that informed those talk show appearances I spoke of. The second fall came just two years ago when Lisa-Marie's 28-year-old son, Benjamin Keough (who, had he died his hair black and combed it into a ducktail, would have looked just like his grandfather), put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. At the risk of jumping to conclusions, it would seem depression runs in this family (it runs even in the extended family, as an ex-husband of Lisa-Marie's, one Michael Jackson, died from too much chemicals in his system, just like the posthumous father-in-law he often emulated.) Of course, these kinds of things happen to poor and working- and middle-class people too. But because they're not celebrities, it happens anonymously, lending a cloak of invisibility to a mental health crisis. I wish Lisa-Marie and Elvis and Benjamin and Michael hadn't died at the young ages they did, but at least it removes, however temporarily, that cloak.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Quips and Quotations (What Hath Ben Franklin Wrought Edition)



I was interested in the electric guitar even before I knew the difference between electric and acoustic. The electric guitar seemed to be a totally fascinating plank of wood with knobs and switches on it. I just had to have one.

--Jeff Beck

Someone told me I should be proud tonight... But I'm not, because they kicked me out... They did... Fuck them!

--Jeff Beck, upon being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of the Yardbirds.

 We have a love-hate relationship. He loves me and I hate him

--Jeff Beck, speech inducting Rod Stewart, who sang lead on "You Shook Me", into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jeff could channel music from the ethereal. His technique unique. His imaginations apparently limitless.

--Jimmy Page

Monday, January 9, 2023

Vital Viewing (As Primitive as Can Be Edition)


Actor Bob Denver was born on this day in 1935 (he died in 2005.) Though it's not his original claim to fame, Denver is by now best-known for the 1960s situation comedy Gilligan's Island.

If you've never seen the show--which at one time would have and may still put you in a distinct minority--it's about seven people shipwrecked on an uncharted South Pacific island, each person a "type": a sea captain, i.e., skipper, a millionaire (perhaps a billionaire in today's money), his society matron wife, a movie star, a science professor, a girl-next-door type, and a fuck-up. What I find particularly interesting is how six of these seven castaways clung to their individual stereotypes despite three years spent in an island setting that made such stereotypes increasingly irrelevant, if not completely ridiculous. The sea captain no longer has a ship but still sees himself in charge; the movie star has no red carpet to walk on but still dresses as if there's paparazzi snapping photos; the millionaire flaunts his money though there's no stores on the island and the coconuts and bananas are free for the taking; the society matron looks as though she's all set to attend some charity benefit luncheon though as a shipwreck survivor marooned on an island she could probably use some charity herself; the girl-next-door type has to share her hut with the movie star, technically making the latter a girl next door, too, thus rendering the whole concept superfluous; while the science professor, though he lacks a college campus, lecture hall, and laboratory, comes closest to equaling, at times even exceeding, his former life on the mainland as he basically runs the island behind the sea captain's back and solves all sorts of problems that crop up except for the number one problem of how to get off the island, as all his book learning turns out to be no match for...

 ...the fuck-up, i.e., Gilligan. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh. After all, even though he has his own distinct personality, Gilligan is the one castaway lacking in any pretense. He clings to nothing, guilelessly taking each day as it comes, with little concern that he may be deviating from some self-assigned role. He's a free spirit as well as a fuck-up. He may even be a fuck-up because he's a free spirit. Or vice-versa. Neither trait gets you all that far in civilized society so it may be the island is the best place for him. Perhaps all those "mistakes" that lay waste to the Professor's carefully laid plans and dooms the castaways to yet another half hour without phones, lights, or motor cars as if they were tropical Amish, is just some unconscious sabotage on Gilligan's part. Whether the aforementioned Denver, who so memorably brought Gilligan to slapstick life would agree with that, I don't know, but he shares some thoughts on his character and the show in general with Rosie O'Donnell in this clip from 1997:

Bob and Rosie talked about the two versions of Gilligan's opening credits. We'll show you both, first the black-and-white segregated version, in which there's no Professor and Mary-Ann, both having been relegated to the back of the bus closing credits, and the multi-hued desegregated version, in which the two have finally attained their equal rights:

I definitely prefer the second opening. It's much more egalitarian.

Oh, that island wasn't egalitarian at all!

Following in the footsteps of such classic fat guy-skinny guy duos as seen above, we now present to you the comedy team of...

...Denver and Hale!

I like the fact that someone set the above video to polka music. It makes that island seem like Cleveland.

...because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and
everybody goes "Awww!”

--Jack Kerouac

Mr. Kerouac may not have had Maynard G. Krebs in mind when he wrote that sentence, but I'm sure Max Shulman, creator of the TV series (and author of the book in which it was based) The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis no doubt had Kerouac in mind when he dreamed up Krebs, television's first bohemian, and Dobie's best friend. Why they should be best friends is a bit puzzling. I remember the high school I went to as being rather clique-ridden: jocks hung around with jocks, cheerleaders hung around with cheerleaders, nerds hung around with nerds, stoners hung around with stoners, and so on. Had there been beatniks in my school--it was about fifteen years too late for any to attend--I'm sure they would have hung around other beatniks and not whatever clique Dobie belonged to (the lovestruck kids who mope around Rodan sculptures clique, maybe? Except he seemed to be the only member.) I guess there's just an unwritten law of comedy that states that laughs are best mined from two best friends with nothing in common. Dobie and Maynard merely paved the way for Oscar and Felix. Anyway, if you haven't figured it out by now, Maynard was played by Denver, shooting him to fame about five years before achieving even greater fame as Gilligan:    

Somehow, the Establishment always gets the upper hand.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Internalizing Behavior


Good advice. 

Just don't become...


...friends with a shoplifter.