Only assholes write on walls (of the Enterprise).
Analysis of “The Naked Time,” from which these caps come, here. If Spock’s disdain for graffiti is not enough to turn your head, perhaps this helps.
A few days ago, I got the following comment to a post from alert reader R-K-A:
I am leaving this comment here, because I can’t find any other way to contact you.
[Nice stuff that came next in the comment is omitted because in addition to the virtues of beauty and wit, I am super modest, possibly the most extraordinarily modest person that you’ll ever find. When I die, they’ll probably give me a holiday for it. “In loving and eternally awed honor of E, the government presents Modesty Day: A day for being super modest.” I get teary thinking about it. Because of how great I am. Back to the mailbag.]
I was looking for information on Playmate Angela Dorian who was sentenced in September 2011 to nine years in prison for the attempted murder of her husband. Specifically, I was looking for her booking photo or photos from her sentencing, yet I can find nothing anywhere on the web.
And I was surprised as newsworthy as that was, that there was no mention of that here. It is as if Hef has exerted control over the entire interwebs to keep this story on the on the down low. Even The Smoking Gun didn’t have her recent photos. You seem to be able to unearth the most interesting stuff…anything on Angela??
Totally fair questions and observations, especially about how I write interesting things. Very astute.
Truth is, I got burned a while back by Miss November 1988 (she and I’ve agreed that I am not to mention her name any longer) when she found an entry alluding to past court troubles, and owing to the headache and anxiety of that experience I have avoided reporting on Playmate crimes — accused or convicted — as a result. While I do keep up with PB news, I don’t generally report it if it seems salacious or … how shall I put this? Lawsuit-threat-inducing.
Victoria Rathgeb/Victoria Vetri/Angela Dorian’s arrest was a strong blip on my radar when it happened in October of 2010, especially because we are both Italian-American and she’s done fun sci-fi and cult stuff, but I lost track of the story.
I’m disappointed to hear now of such a hefty penal outcome for someone of her age and moderate notoriety (which can be a genuinely dangerous liability for a woman in jail), especially considering that, though she has a history of a bad temper, she’s never attempted murder before. Nine years seems excessive to me, but I do not have access to all the facts, and, like I said, I’m Italian-American: am I not taking this seriously enough? My first thought was, “Jeez, it’s not like he’s dead. He probably needed scaring. What’d he do?”
But, lord, that’s a terrible thing to do, shooting someone with intent to kill, even in the heat of the moment. However, in this case, nine years? She’s 66. She’ll be 75 when she gets out. That’s … I don’t know. Seems disproportionately tough to me.
Detailed intel on Mrs. Rathgeb’s arrest and trial has been sparse, maybe through lack of interest on the press’s part given that, though she seriously winged her husband Bruce — the bullet remains lodged in his chest and his use of his left hand is minimal … and it probably didn’t help that she tried to stuff a plastic baggie down his throat while he was down — she didn’t actually kill him.
Or the lack of coverage is more likely due to editors’ determination that even stories about Playmates focus on modern celebutards — Hef’s recently former fiancee auctioning the ring, Lindsay Lohan completing her nude shoot before sentencing, etc. All the articles on Mrs. Rathgeb’s sentencing state pretty much the same bare facts, in limited terms, and seem to prefer to use her PMOY cover as the accompanying pic, which I agree is frustrating.
Luckily, I’m a good detective. First, here are pictures of her mostly-recovered husband Bruce’s injuries. Click to enlarge. (Raise your hand if you think he looks like a douche.)
And here are pictures from her trial. Click to enlarge. I’m uncertain whether this is her sentencing or her original trial, but looks like she’s a lefty. Who knew?
I’ve always had a soft spot for Victoria/Angela, given that she was not just a PMOY but also appeared on Batman, Star Trek, AND the B movies When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and Invasion of the Bee Girls. Perhaps a lawyer will appeal her sentence, or perhaps the sentence is just. It’s difficult to say. That’s all I have for right now, having quickly dug for twenty minutes or so. I may return to this question in the future, but for now I need to close this post so I can learn more about “chunking” on the ukulele for a lesson plan on antonyms. Also, full disclosure: I have to go to the bathroom.
Before I dash away, a quick poll: would you like a Winter Wonderland post on Ms. Dorian, aka, Mrs. Rathgeb? She is a Miss September, technically, but it would be topical. However, it would not go in to details of her trial and sentencing. What do you say?
Finally, in other news, I also got a comment from “Anonymous” on a recent repost of William S. Burroughs’ “Thanksgiving Prayer,” which said simply
stupid post – 1 minute of my life i will never get back.
To you, Anonymous, I say in equally succinct reply, “Suck my modest dick.”
Miss August 1966 was the lovely and talented Susan Denberg, a cult hottie of yesteryear who is somewhat obscure today but still beloved by vintage sci-fi and Hammer horror film fans. Who do I know who is in to that stuff? It’s on the tip of my tongue …
Oh, right. Me. Let’s do this!
Ms. Denberg was born Dietlinde Zechner in Bad Polzin, Germany on August 2, 1944, nine months and seven days before V-E Day, when the Allied forces accepted the Germans’ surrender on May 8 (an inauspicious date in my book if you remember my apocalyptic ramblings).
I’m saying it was probably not the best of times to be born in Germany, what with how the country was going to be totally defeated and carved up in, like, a year. The Zechner clan beat feet to Austria (…better?), where Ms. Denberg grew up working in her parents’ appliance stores in Klagenfurt.
In her Playboy write-up, she is cited as being “born and bred” in Klagenfurt. The discrepancy could be due to a misunderstanding or wanting to downplay her German heritage for some unguessed-at reason. I think most likely she was Austrian to begin with and moved to Klagenfurt so young that it was not a big deal.
Suspect is wigless, I repeat, wigless.
Susan Denberg, our striking Miss August, joins a long and lovely line of Playmates whose centerfold appearances have preceded their cinematic debuts — a comely clan that includes such gatefold delights as Jayne Mansfield (February 1955), Stella Stevens (January 1960), Donna Michelle (December 1963), Jo Collins (December 1964) and Sue Williams (April 1965).
(“Picture Playmate.” Playboy, August 1966.)
No. Not a best-selling novel. Considered the least of Mailer’s fiction works, actually. A misogynistic bundle of bullshit — and that’s coming from me. So I’m not just whistling “Dixie.”
An American Dream is a 1966 movie based on a 1965 novel based on a series of installments in Esquire about a man and the women he kills and screws before he slouches off in to the sunset, perhaps to mine the meaning of existence, perhaps to die of an overdose of modern society. Its one mercy is that it is short. I may be oversimplifying to avoid talking about it more. Sorry.
An American Dream is a Mailer-adapted picture, sadly too crappily, or perhaps too quickly, executed to be called camp, about Stephen Rojack, a former war hero – turned also-run politician – turned call-in talk show host who murders his rich-bitch wife and basically goes on a postmodern movie-length bender with Janet Leigh (story as old as time — we’ve all been there). He spends the film in a pingballing search for the meaning of existence via sex, drugs, murder-rap evasion and jazz, pissing off underworld gangsters along the way. The story does not so much end as “halt” in what amounts to a lot of, to quote a deservedly better praised writer, sound and fury, signifying nothing. Mailer’s original source material has marginally greater depth — but only marginally.
Ms. Denberg plays Ruta, the luckless harpy Mrs. Rojack’s German maid. In his March 14, 1965 New York Times review of the book, Conrad Knickerbocker said of Ruta’s character that she “must have attended charm school with Ilse Koch.” For those who don’t know, Ilse Koch is the “Red Witch of Buchenwald,” an infamously horrible Nazi war criminal on whom Ilse, She-Wolf of the SS is super-obviously based (except Koch was not hot — and she has spent way longer burning in hell).
Koch was a fat, genuinely evil brunette who tortured and murdered interred Jews for pleasure at one of the most horrible concentration camps the earth has ever known. Ruta is a slightly mercenary, lithe blonde sexpot who is willing to screw her boss’s husband if it will get her ahead. Absolutely nothing in book or film merits Knickerbocker’s sensationalist comparison, other than both women being German. Disgusting and not at all funny, if that was the attempt. Bleah.
But then what do I expect from a rave review of a randomly constructed crock of self-indulgent shit? Knickerbocker praised the book as a modern masterpiece and said people who didn’t like An American Dream wouldn’t like it because they wouldn’t want to admit that it speaks to the true soul of America and what-have-you. All like, J’accuse, bourgeois pigs! You don’t like it because you’re judging it, and you’re judging it because you don’t understand it, and you don’t understand it because you’re afraid to.
Cool story, bro.
Yeah, there’s always been a lot of so-called values getting touted around that are hypocritical at best and hollow, tarnished, destructive compulsions at worst. But that’s not my soul, and it’s not the soul of most people I know. Most people weren’t and aren’t rich, disaffected, murdering alcoholics — most people were and are just trying to hold a job, find some love, and eat dinner. Like, Jesus. What a hopeless and lackwitted thing to assert. Not to mention, if you do want a story about rotting American dreams and rich, murdering, alcoholics, why don’t you just pick up a little timeless piece of exponentially greater writing called The Great Gatsby?
In the book, Rojack sleeps with Ruta after killing Deborah, then pretends to discover Deborah’s body and tells Ruta she must have committed suicide. In the film, Ruta tries to seduce Rojack after his initial fight with Deborah, but he doesn’t go for it. Then he returns to the bedroom to fight with Deborah again, which is the fight that results in her death.
I assume the change in “he-did,” “he-didn’t,” with Ruta from novel to film is an effort to make Rojack’s character seem more sympathetic in the movie, in much the same way that making Cherry (Leigh’s character) in the film be Rojack’s fallen-on-bad-times childhood sweetheart from before he “made it” — versus her role in the source material as a trashy torch singer that he just meets that night — is supposed to make Rojack’s affair with her, begun the day after he murders his wife, more reasonable. There is also the little matter of Rojack allowing his wife to slip from the balcony of her own drunken accord, falling to her death only to then be further run over by a mafioso’s limo in the movie, rather than Rojack strangling her and throwing her body over the railing himself, the corpse falling to the street only to then be further run over by an et cetera’s et cetera, in the book.
Ugh. I spent forever talking about a thing I don’t like. I guess spite is as strong a writing motivator as enthusiasm. So let’s get back to enthusiasm. Fun fact follows.
For a while … it appeared as though Susan might not be Susan at all by the time [An American Dream’s] release date rolled around. As part of a nationwide contest to find a nom de cinéma for its latest ascending starlet, Warner Bros. offered a $500 award for the winning entry and received 5,000 name suggestions from cinemaphiles throughout both hemispheres before wisely deciding to leave Susan — name and all — exactly as they’d found her.
“Some of the names submitted were pretty far out,” recalls Susan. “But the funniest entry of them all was Norma Mailer.”
She just doesn’t look like a Norma.
The main thing of it is, on the set for An American Dream, Ms. Denberg worked with Star Trek‘s George Takei (Sulu), Warren Stevens (Rojan, “By Any Other Name”), and Richard Derr (Commodore Barstow, “The Alternative Command” and Admiral Fitzgerald, “The Mark of Gideon”). Plus An American Dream’s director, Robert Gist, was involved as a director for TOS.
Ms. Denberg subsequently appeared on the then-fledgling sci-fi series Star Trek as Magda Kovacs, one of the three mail-order bride hopefuls voyaging to Ophiucus III with honey-tongued con man and Venus drug purveyor Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd (Star Trek: TOS. “Mudd’s Women.” Season One, Episode 3. Originally aired October 13, 1966.).
On their way to Ophiucus III and being tailed by Kirk and co., petty criminal Mudd pushes his little class J ship too hard and breaks down in the middle of an asteroid belt. The pursuing Enterprise has their own shields up and throws them hastily over Mudd’s ship as well, but three of their lithium crystals are destroyed by this shield extension. Scotty beams Mudd and his passengers aboard the Enterprise just as the ship is struck by an asteroid and obliterated.
The Enterprise plots a course to mining planet Rigel XII to replace the lithium crystals. It is revealed that the alluring women are being made more beautiful by the illegal Venus drug, which Mudd doesn’t want Kirk to find out. Mudd further wants to screw over Kirk and get back to peddling wives on Ophiucus III so of course the logical solution is for hot chicks to seduce Kirk; first Magda and then Eve. (Neither bid succeeds in the final aim but he gets flirty action in the short run.)
Long story short, Magda and Ruth marry miners from Rigel XII over subspace radio (and you thought internet hookups were risky), who are concerned when it turns out they’ve been fleeced by a con man and druggies, and Eve marries their boss, Ben Childress. It is also discovered that the Venus drug’s efficacy lies completely in the mind of its imbiber: the ladies appeared more beautiful because of their confidence in the drug and not any transformative elements of its composition, which is a good thing because the scenes of them not under the influence made them look pretty deliberately rough. Also, the miners don’t negate the marriage as a fraud when they find out the chicks are hot again, plus they like companionship or whatever. Still waters run so deep.
Ms. Denberg next appeared in the 1967 Hammer horror film Frankenstein Created Woman, alongside perennial Hammer favorite Peter Cushing. The film is lucky number four in the production company’s Frankenstein series.
Frankenstein Created Woman finds Baron Frankenstein (Cushing) awakened from a sort of cryogenic sleep by companion Dr. Hertz and his lab assistant Hans, the latter of whom is shortly executed by guillotine for murdering an innkeeeper following an altercation with local toughs.
Distraught over his gruesome death, Hans’s disfigured and paralyzed ladyfriend Christina (Ms. Denberg), whose father Hans was wrongly convicted of killing, kills herself.
Baron Frankenstein resurrects Christina’s body in the same way he was resurrected by Hertz and Hans, but gives her Hans’ soul and not her own. See, Frankenstein has become concerned with the question of whether the soul leaves the body at the moment of death, and if not can it be separated from a body, and if so can it be preserved and transferred to a different body after being divorced from its original corpse, and what would the consequence be for consciousness, and all sorts of similar metaphysical things pondered over as only Frankenstein would do. (The guy is simply a maniac for severing and swapping stuff around. You cannot stop him.) You get the gist.
The resurrected soul of Hans in Christina’s body results in a confused consciousness, driven by compulsions of revenge against Christina’s father’s actual killers (the three local toughs with whom Hans had fought earlier on the evening of Christina’s father’s death), for Christina’s part to avenge her father and for Hans’ to avenge himself. This is of course inexplicable behavior to the good doctors because the actions are based on information only Hans and Christina technically know, but which Dr.s Frankenstein and Hertz could have easily found out if they weren’t constantly playing God.
The struggle of living with an infant consciousness and two memories of bad shit and all the rest, and probably also Dr. Hertz’s cooking, drives Christina to kill herself again — but not before all three of the men who beat her father to death and pinned it on her lover have been murdered in return. The End.
It’s one of the most critically acclaimed Frankenstein Hammer movies because of the concern with metaphysics and the fairytale-like revenge structure, or so says the wiki. Later this week I’ll show you one of my most critically acclaimed Hammer flicks. It has nothing to do with Frankenstein, I’m afraid.
Ms. Denberg was the victim of a very weird rumor circuit beginning in the 1970’s. It was said for, like, two decades that the excesses of the Hollywood life were too much for Susan and that she either a) moved back to Klagenfurt with her parents but then killed herself, or b) took too much acid and was in a mental institution. These rumors were probably based on some stuff Susan said in the National Police Gazette in 1968.
“[I became] hooked on LSD and marijuana. It calmed me down, and I made such wonderful love. I needed LSD every day, almost every hour. I took all sorts of drugs when I was in Hollywood… I used to do wild, nude dances at parties held by big-time Hollywood stars.”
(The National Police Gazette. September, 1968. qtd. in Susan Denberg Biography.)
However, she did not die and is not in a mental institution conversing freely with invisible sentient orange juice (again, we’ve all been there).
These days, the 66-year-old Ms. Denberg is alive and well and presumably acid-free back home in Klagenfurt, where she is back to being good old Dietlinde Zechner. She has happily settled in to family life after her brief splash in films and television.
via fyeahst on the tumblr.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Uhura is sitting in the captain’s chair. She’s a girl. Get real!
“Uhura” comes from the Swahili word “uhuru,” which means freedom.
via Gorgeous Black Women right here on the wordpress.
[Nichelle] Nichols planned on leaving the role after her first season but was persuaded by Martin Luther King Jr. to stay. Dr. King felt like her character was a great role model for the African-American community.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies, because Jingle All the Way and all its ilk should burn in hell. I’m kicking things off with a little Better off Dead.
Better Off Dead (Savage Steve Holland, 1985). Maybe some forgot this was a holidayish film, but I did not. How could anyone forget when you have the following scene?
Lane, I think it’d be in my best interest if I dated somebody more popular. Better looking. Drives a nicer car.
(Beth Truss. And we’re all like that, each one of us.)
What do you do when the center of your universe walks away?
A teenager has to deal with his girlfriend dumping him among family crises, homicidal paper boys, and a rival skier.
Absolutely sick pyjamas. On the kid, not on David Ogden Stiers. Scooter Stevens, who plays the lineless younger brother, did some television roles and played “Bonnie’s Date” in She’s Out of Control. That’s his final credit, so I think it’s safe to say he went on to a life of education and handsomer-than-average anonymity.
Though his voice work in this film was dubbed by Rich Little, Yuji Okumoto, the Howard Cosell brother, has gone on to act his ass off. Seriously, you give that guy a spin on the imdb and he has a credit or ten for, like, every year since this movie was released. Very impressive. He was the one I thought was cuter. So I’m pleased. Brian Imada, who plays his brother, has done a crapload of stunt work and will be appearing in utility stunt capacity in the upcoming Green Hornet film, which is getting its own post soon as a “Hot Man Bein’ Hot” for the new Kato. Ow! I like Asian dudes. Blame Sulu and alert the media.
Featuring marvelous Curtis Armstrong as Lane’s best friend, the eccentric Charles De Mar. Doin’ whippits and trying to get a line on nosespray in a top hat.
Suicide is never the answer, little trooper.
Curtis Armstrong is so good at conveying the “cool” geek. Total old school unlikely G. In fact, I do believe he was the second subject in that category.
Steve Holland: That part when Lane does this in the garage is true. I went into the garage, and I put an extension cord on a pipe, and I’m on a garbage can, and I’m thinking, “Should I do this? Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” Anyway, it was a plastic garbage can, and my weight just, like, crashed through it, and I fell, and the pipe broke!
And it starts pouring water everywhere. And I’m basically in a garbage can, drowning. And my mom comes in, and my mom starts yelling at me for breaking a pipe, which is what any mom would do.
So I started writing down stupid ways to kill yourself that would fail after that, and I put them in sort of a diary. And that diary kind of became Better Off Dead.
(“Better Off Dead – Savage Steve Holland.” Awesome interview and article on The Sneeze.)
Lane’s suicide stunts smack a little of Harold and Maude, but only a little. Certainly Jenny Meyer is worlds away from Vivan Pickles. Taking it down the very absurd road carries it far enough from Harold and Maude that it becomes apples and oranges (with raisins). Mainly.
Holland’s vision of the cafeteria as the intersection of absurd personal fantasy time and a rigidly enforced caste system is a standout in a decade that brought us dozens of shudder-inducingly accurate cafeteria scenes (I think of Sixteen Candles, when Molly Ringwold spots Jake Ryan, dumps her tray, and runs: “I can’t let him know I eat,” or Martha Dumptruck from Heathers).
R.I.P., Vincent Schiavelli. A great character actor and kickass chef.
Charles de Mar has a hand in a jar. Say it three times fast and Curtis Armstrong will appear! He currently voices Steve’s friend Snot on American Dad.
I love the animation Scooter Stevens brings to his role — it’s a shock to realize Badger has no speaking parts, yes? His eyes on the “Trashy Women” book … priceless.
One of the taglines for this film is: Insanity doesn’t run in the family, it gallops. This is a reference to Arsenic and Old Lace, where the line went, “Darling, insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”
During a screening of Better Off Dead, John Cusack stormed out after twenty minutes, saying, “You’ve ruined my career!” He allegedly hated and despaired of the film, and told Holland, “I will never trust you as a director ever again, so don’t speak to me.”
I’m guessing that the mad science at Pig Burger was one of the scenes he found unpardonable, cause I guess if you are trying to be a cool cat, it could be perceived as kind of cheesey and out of place. But, hey, what a great anticipation of Igor. Who knew? Because that entire movie was insanely cheesey and out of place. I hold children’s movies to a very high standard and I don’t brook a bunch of shit, sorry.
And Cusack went ahead and allowed Hot Tub Time Machine to refer to the film, so perhaps time has softened his view. Or money. But most likely time, I’m just sure.
I have great fear of tools. I once made a birdhouse in woodshop and the fair housing committee condemned it. I can’t.
“I cannot do it” is your middle name. I think all you need is a small taste of success, and you will find it suits you.
[Lane’s] father is so stumped in trying to understand the confusing habits and behavior of his teenage son (and, at one point, is temporarily convinced Lane is using drugs) that he clumsily attempts repeatedly to interfere in Lane’s love life.
For half a second, the q-tip face makes me like John Cusack and start to giggle, and then I remember all the reasons I’m mad at him and I wipe the smile off my face. Spiders in the mail? So immature.
It’s kind of an interesting phenomenon. Any actor wants to play the cool guy. So playing the role of a borderline mental dork in the movie is not necessarily your first choice as an actor, however, in a way you’re kind of creating it yourself.
It’s not like you’re being made fun of, you’re making fun of yourself by creating this persona. So it didn’t bother me a lot since I was playing a character who was so far away from me.
(Interview with Dan “Ricky” Schneider. The Sneeze.)
This is similar to the kind of present-giving I did one Christmas as a child. I wrapped up things we already had and was surprised when my parents were clearly feigning their enthusiasm. I think it was very zen: I considered all of our possessions to be gifts.
Savage Steve Holland: And every day we were going, “This is hilarious. Am I wrong?” And it was like, every day anything we shot was really funny. So at my first test screening… I’ll never forget it, the movie was like five or seven minutes longer, and the audience reaction was pretty good, but it wasn’t that good.
And I remember one guy walking out, and for some reason he knew me, and he goes, “Hey, better luck next time.”
And I’m like, “Oh shit, I’m doomed.” It really hurt.
The Sneeze: Do you know where he is today?
SS: He’s probably running Paramount with my luck.
The Sneeze: I was just hoping he was homeless.
SS: No, because mean people always get the good jobs.
(Aforementioned The Sneeze interview.)
I’ve been going to this school for seven years. I’m no dummy. I know high school girls.
John will never talk about Better Off Dead, and One Crazy Summer, and I read something recently where he called me “the director.” He wouldn’t use my name, and he said, “the director wanted to do absurdist comedy and that’s just not the thing I like to do,” or something like that.
I feel like I let him down. And it totally surprises me so much because I have to say the most important person to me about that movie, was John. I really wanted him to love it as much as I loved it. And once he said that stuff, it was like a girlfriend who breaks up with you. You can’t fight with her. It’s like everything is so great, and then they say “I hate you!” out of nowhere. There’s really no argument you can have. I had my heart broken. That was the second time my heart was broken since that girl that Better Off Dead was about — honest to God.
(Steve Holland, Ibid.)
Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we’ve raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.
That’s actually a line from one of the car race scenes, but it’s my favorite. Challenge: call someone “a study in moppishness” this week — to their face!
I really thought as time went by, [Cusack] might feel differently. But I read one other article that he got jailed for something. Somebody in his car had something, I don’t know what, but he got jailed for something. He said, “Jail sucked the most because everybody kept coming up to me going, ‘I want my two dollars!'”
(Steve Holland, Ibid.)
The buttrape, on the other hand, was “pretty okay”.
Look, Charles, I’ve got to do this. If I don’t, I’ll be nothing. I’ll end up like my neighbor, Ricky Smith. He sits around crocheting all day and snorting nasal spray.
He snorts nasal spray? You know where I can score some?!
I do love the wink, here. It always comforts me to know that there are other people on the earth who are as truly bad at winking as I am. Not a lot of other people, but a few.
Sure, you can park your Camaro on the lawn at Dodger Stadium. Happens all the time. Goddamn if that is not the most eighties-riffic thing I’ve seen all week. Ski rack, saxophone, mom jeans, and John Cusack: winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Hope you’ve found the inaugural edition of 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies enlightening. And now you’re armed with this very sad backstory of the dissolution of the friendship between the star and the director — because nothing says the holidays like, “You are dead to me.” So cue it up, grab your gelatinous raisin-riddled mass, and bask in Better Off Dead’s warm 80’s glow.
Sharon Tate’s agent, Marty Ransohoff, had a very specific plan for Sharon’s path to stardom. He wanted her to have acting lessons and cut her teeth in small parts on television, growing accustomed to being before the cameras. Mr. Ransohoff chose for Sharon to appear in series in which he himself was involved in one way or another so that he could continue his supervision of her career.
Ransohoff insisted that Ms. Tate go uncredited in these roles — that way, when she was ready for the big time, he could spring her on Hollywood as a breakout smash. Because of this long-term plan and careful keeping of her under wraps, Sharon could pop up repeatedly on the same show, slowly gaining experience and getting more lines, and the audiences would be none the wiser.
Wearing a black bobbed wig, Sharon anonymously portrayed Janet Trego in about fifteen episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and appeared in another, wigless, as “young girl” at a garden party. (She showed up first as “Sharon,” in a different hairpiece.)
Star Trek: TOS actress and small-screen beauty Grace Lee Whitney — you know I will always find a sci-fi connection — recalls hanging out with Sharon as aspiring actresses in L.A. in her autobiography:
I was in make up with Sharon Tate a number of times, and I remember her as a very friendly, sweet girl in her early twenties. We used to gossip like schoolgirls about how cute Troy [Donahue] and Chad [Everett] were.
Like me, she was doing a lot of episodic television–shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I vividly recall how shocked and horrified I was a few years later when I heard that she [died].
(Whitney, Grace Lee. The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy Clovis, CA: Quill Driver Books, 1998.)
Besides a guest spot on The Man From U.N.C.L.E and her more regularly featured role of Janet Trego on The Beverly Hillbillies, Sharon also appeared in a 1963 episode of Mr. Ed as “Telephone Operator.”
Had a great weekend up in the great white woods with the fabulous friendohs, other than the kidlet being wretchedly sick; if she dies of double-pneumonia-screaming-meemies-and-bad-hair (very common and tragic disease) it is sure to be my fault for falling prey to her “I’ll be fine, Mommy, please please please let me go to the snow!” baloney sauce and not just keeping her home like I ought to have. The only component missing that would’ve made the weekend even more perfect were Paolo and Miss D, who’d sadly decided, with greater wisdom than the kidlet and me, to stay home so Paolo did not compound his cold. We are hoping to do a follow-up trip in the Spring and I can’t wait for them to come along and appear in my annoyingly copious pictures (my friends are kindly tolerant of my photographic shenanigans, but I’m very lucky they’ve never seized the camera and thrown it off a cliff).
Did You Know? This beautiful child is actually a festering harbinger of plague and germs that can singlehandedly fell a houseful of hale and hearty adults in Just Two Days. “Think I’m cute, do you? Enjoy the bronchitis, suckaaaas!”
Poor Corinnette, who rode with me and Gorgeous George and the kidlet, was probably sick to death by Sunday night of Elvis, which we bumped in the car nearly the whole weekend, partly because we’re both huge fans and partly because Gorgeous George was the driver which left me as the passenger with way too much time to look over cliffs and dread death at the hands of unknown reckless drivers (I trust Geo implicitly: it is those loose cannon other sons-of-bitches that I fear will careen around a corner and cost me my child’s life), so we played tunes that I could stare out the window and sing “Little Sister” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” along to, giving me something familiar to focus on rather than hairpin turns and speeding Subarus.
At one point along Highway 140, when we were on a straightaway and I was feeling less Nervous Nellie —had my eyes open and everything! just like a big girl!— I remarked to Geo, “Elvis Presley really was a great performer. It’s too bad he wasn’t more popular,” which we thought was hysterical.
Gorgeous George’s wonderful parents were as wonderful as they always are, and Saturday night, after playing word games and bullshitting over beers and barbeque for a few hours, Pam-tastic and Senior (Geo’s folks) screened this nothing-less-than-cool-as-shit movie for us about the early career of Shirley Muldowney that seriously revved me up.
Still from Heart Like A Wheel (Jonathan Kaplan, 1983), starring Bonnie Bedelia and Beau Bridges as Shirley Muldowney and Connie Kalitta. Anthony Edwards (pictured) plays her grown son, who is on her pit crew. It’s a really great, great movie. I sat next to Pam-tastic, who had posters of Shirley all over the den we were watching the movie in, and she filled me in on extra details while we watched. Amazing experience. They’re so great.
Shirley Muldowney was the first NHRA female champion drag racer; her struggle was totally engrossing, and a story I’d never even heard of, which I love finding out about all new shit when it comes to deeply detailed sports, and for it to be a lady driving fast on top of it just sealed the deal. I am going to try to find more screencaps and factoids to share more about her in the coming days. Pam and George even know her. They are rad. Kick ass, I’m serious. Best in the West!
Lo-Bo and the Gentleman when we’d finally stopped trekking past protected meadows (normally I’m all in favor of those but cheese-and-rice, I had a sick kid and it was really coming down; it was a great relief to stop walking). They are watching Corinnette gather the materials needed to demolish the Great Dane’s mini-snowman. All respect due to Niels and his snowman, I need to say that for being built by an engineer, that thing sure went down like a bitch.
As a follow-up to my last entry before leaving town, on the bookfoolery front: I took neither Vonnegut short stories in the wake of Jonohs’s novel-loans nor Panda’s much-maligned copy of Oates’ Zombie up with me to read while on our weekend Yosemite retreat. (Although I did let kidlet bring her comic book, and I did not at any point attempt to swipe it: I can be taught!)
I realized the only logical choice to take for a trip to the snowy woods with friends was a book about a trip to the snowy woods with friends: Dreamcatcher, by Stephen King. It was perfect to sink in to bed at night and re-live the highs and lows of that admirable group of old friends after spending the day having so much fun with my own.
I really dearly love every one of the four lead characters in Dreamcatcher and will happily tell you all about why I think they are some of the best and most shining examples of King’s already-wonderful pantheon of character creations if we are ever stuck on a tarmac at the end of a runway while they repeatedly de-ice our plane; lord, how a real estate secretary from Miami wishes this were just a random example of a situation and not pulled directly from my real life.
Jonesy and the Beav (Damian Lewis and Jason Lee) attempt to hail a helicopter in Dreamcatcher (Lawrence Kasdan, 2003). This movie is jam-crack-packed with hot men bein’ hot. And nice and brave and heroic. Great book, great flick.
Anyway, snow and friends in the novel. Snow and friends in my life. Synchronicity. Except we did not encounter aliens. That I remember. Moving along, the free time I have today while watching my little sicklet means I have almost no choice but to pass the time between making her food and giving her cold medicine by finally crack-a-lacking on posting up the undone Valentine Vixens. Come sail with me. HMS Sexytimes, ahoy!
“O, frabjous day! Calloo, callay!” (Carroll, Jabberwocky.)
Computer is fixed!, day off with the littl’un!, Spring Training has begun! and it’s my favorite day of the year — 2/22! Historically, this is my lucky day. I’ve always liked this date best out of the rest of the calendar. Twenty-two is my lucky number from very, very far back, followed closely by two itself (twenty-two trumps just-two because what’s better than one two? two twos. three twos, as in two-hundred-twenty-two, are okay but still inferior because they are three and not two in number. do not attempt to unravel this logic) and this was also the birthday of my first friend, Alex; feeding ducks with her by the little pond at Noble Library in San Jose is one of my first memories of laughing just from being happy. I wish it stopped there with the whyness of twenty-two-ness, but I get kind of …. into numbers.
See also: my lucky time (10:22 PM, or 22:22); the pages of Treasure Island and Wuthering Heights on which I hide money (222 and 22, respectively); the exact uniform number of Robinson Cano and less auspiciously Roger Clemens.
Ask me someday about my theory that he is two people, one the familiar Texan do-gooder and all-around nice fellow Roger Clemens we came to love, and the other an evil, lying, cauldron of seething rage named Rogero Clemenzetti. A wicked and long-dormant personality who will stop at nothing to satisfy his creepy id-like aims, Clemenzetti emerged after a rat bit Clemens in an otherwise empty subway car between Long Island and New York, and he has never been successfully suppressed ever since — it is a very sad case of Jekyll-and-Hyde and I’m surprised no one else has caught it.
Picture from Star Trek Movie Night at the Giants’ AT&T park via Trek Movie.com, taken 4/27/09. I did not attend, as I was at the zoo with my kidlet for her 5th birthday — but we went to the movie later that week and we both cried at the beginning; we are diehard fans of Treks TOSand TNG (not so much the soapier others), but we looooved the reboot and did not find it sacrilegious at all (hot boys don’t hurt neither, and it’s about time we got some girl fan service up in this piece!).
In other thrilling baseball connections, 22 is half of the jersey number of Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson (4’s and 44 are goodish numbers because of their relationship with 2, being both the square of it and divisible by it, but 8, despite being not just a multiple but its cube is not as good, I feel less comfortable around 8 because it’s just getting too far from 2); 20 (an also-very-very good number because 2 + 0 = 2) less than the number of one of the sport’s greatest heroes, Jackie Robinson (being 42 which is a super-very good number because of DA); and, best of all, it is 20 + 2, 20 being Jorge Posada’s jersey number, though he wore 22 for a few weeks in 1997, before the re-acquisition of Mike Stanley (meh), when Posada switched to 20 so Stanley could once more wear 22 (again, MEH).
As you can see, 22 is the best number there is, 20 and 2 being close seconds, and therefore 2/22 is the best day of the year. Period. Also: baseball.
Sorry for the long and pointless diversion but if nothing else, I hope this has proven to you the depths of my numerical mania, and the next time I scoff at the zodiac, feel free to remind me that I have insanely detailed schools of superstition of my own and would do well not to throw stones.
via Michael Leget on the photobucket.
If you think all that was bad, you should talk to my husband, who is medicated for obsessive compulsive disorder, some time about the Importance of Doing Things By Three. He will make a believer of you or die trying. It’s a passion that probably frightened away other, wiser girls, but actually endeared him to me.
Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) and Adam West (Batman) goofing around on a publicity shoot.
Batgirl appeared only in the final season of the Batman series, 1967-68, but Yvonne Craig stayed attached to the character. The Joker shot Barbara Gordon, paralyzing her from the waist down, then kidnapped and stripped her father, forcing him to view blown-up shots of his suffering daughter (also mainly undressed) in Alan Moore’s 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke — over which people are often divided; I think it’s a masterwork — in order to prove to Jim Gordon and Batman that all it takes is “one bad day” for a man to be driven mad. After reading The Killing Joke for herself, Yvonne Craig complained to DC about what she viewed as the character’s egregiously cruel fate (the wiki).
Bonus Trek connection:
Yvonne played Marta, the Orion asylum inmate with green skin and sexy dance moves, in “Whom Gods Destroy,” Star Trek TOS, Season 3, Episode 15 (1968).
“Uhura” comes from the Swahili word “uhuru,” which means freedom.
via Gorgeous Black Women right here on the wordpress.
Nichelle Nichols played Uhura (Swahili for “freedom”) on Star Trek. Nichols planned on leaving the role after her first season but was persuaded by Martin Luther King Jr. to stay. Dr. King felt like her character was a great role model for the African-American community. (source)