"Theatre is the primordial
ooze out of which all actors crawl, where we were all born, where the art began."
(The late Richard Kiley)
MOOSE AND SQUIRREL
Well, I've worked several days now on "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Movie" at Universal. The moose and squirrel will be animated a la "Roger Rabbit" (voices by Keith Scott and June Foray) but everyone else is "real", so after checking into my tiny trailer, I took my first peek into the mind-boggling RBTV (Really Bad Television) studio, which takes up the entire space on Stage 16 and is dominated by three humungus TV Screens. Suddenly, out walks Jonathan Winters in a modified Calvary outfit! I had a nice talk with him and his son, Jay (both FST fans).
I then joined the rest of the cast on set and after chatting up (in Russian) half a dozen Russian gals and guys passing as "Pottsylvanians", I met Jason Alexander, who is simply adorable as Boris Badenov, and Renee Russo, who is simply Natasha in a tight red dress. Robert De Niro is a riot as Fearless Leader, determined to zombify America with bad TV to get elected president; and since he's producing as well, there are lots of takes from lots of angles, each requiring a half-hour or more of setups. He's a very focused actor, kind and good-natured, rather shy between takes -- and very funny.
I'm working literally side-by-side with his comely daughter Drena, playing a shameless lackey, and that means that Des MacAnuff, is getting close-ups of us in the big scenes. Thanks, Dad!
My first day lasted from 10:45 am to 10:15 p.m. and one of the highlights was the singing of the Pottsylvanian national anthem accompanied by appropriately goofy choreography. I remember the words cause we did it 150,000 times:
Friday, we worked from 8:30 am til 11:45 p.m.; and I still have 2 or 3 more days to go -- then on to the rewrite of the April FST April touring show. Nice to have a small part in a big movie. As FL's floor manager in charge of the Big Broadcast my line is "10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1." Let's call it a "cameo."
Grammy-Award winner Carl Reiner also "cameos" as studio mogul P.G. Biggershot. Coincidentally, Melinda and I went to the MTV&R "Salute to Carl Reiner" at the Director's Guild on Tuesday, where at the end of the evening he spotted your humble editor in the audience and had me stand to acknowledge applause for the Firesign. It was an incredible evening of stories, clips and laughs with co-panelists Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Sam Denoff, Nanette Fabray and Dick Van Dyke.
In Everett, Washington "It is illegal to display a hypnotized or allegedly hypnotized person in a store window."
TEN AND COUNTING
Melinda and I also recently celebrated 10 years of living together under the same roof, by leaving the house and motoring North to Moro Bay. We were served breakfast by "Cubby" Brocoli's wife's ex-personal chef, who offered us, among other treats, a "Windbagger's Fruit Boat" leaving Melinda to comment that in Key West that would be an all-day fishing excursion.
Other delicacies from the restaurant which is located next to the Heron Rookery and National Park, were Bent-Nose clams, Ghost Shrimps, Moon Snails, Basket Cockles, Sickle Razors, Geoducks and Gapes. And those were just appetizers!
For the main course, you had your pick of Ida's Miter, Spotted Thorn Drupes, Tabled Whelks, Marbled Godwits, Emigrant Dogwinkles, Painted Sprinkles, Black-bellied Plovers, Greater Yellowlegs or Long Bored Curlews. (Tastes a lot better than the bald eagle, I can tell ya...)
"FOR SALE BY OWNER:
ACCOUNTING ON IT
A long-married accountant leaves a letter for his wife one evening that reads: "I am 54 and by the time you receive this letter I will be at the Grand Hotel with my beautiful and sexy 18 year-old secretary."
When he arrived at the hotel, there was a letter waiting for him that read: "Dear Husband, I, too, am 54; and by the time you receive this letter, I will be at the Breakwater Hotel with my handsome and virile 18 year-old boy toy. You being an accountant will therefore appreciate that 18 goes into 54 many more times than 54 goes into 18."
"There are three signs of old age.
SHAKESPEARE IN HEAT
Screenwriter Rich Demaio writes: "I must take exception to the quote in the last Planet from Marc Norman stating that 'If Shakespeare was alive today, he'd be driving a Porche, living in Bel-Air and he'd have a deal at Paramount.'
"First of all if Shakespeare were alive today he'd be nearly 500 years old. Since they took away the license of that 96 year old chippie that killed that young girl, I don't think they would even let him take the test. The eye chart is another footnote. Would he have specs? Presbyopia must be a BITCH when you're 500 years old. And with no car and no cash, he's gonna be pretty much stranded. No meetings, no deals.
Secondly, I don't think he'd drive a Porche. I see him in more of a VOLVO kind of thing. It's closer to Denmark. In fact, Shakespeare would more than likely be on WELFARE. He has no skills except 'Bard,' (and go put THAT on a resume), is completely unfamiliar with a fax, office equipment, cell phones- ANY phones for that matter, which would render him useless in that environment. Face it. Shakespeare can't even sling hamburgers and unless you have a job in L.A. you're gonna starve.
As for the deal at Paramount? Sorry. What would he submit? His stuff is too long. And agent would take one look at, say, Hamlet at 1,046 pages and have his assistant send it back. Or maybe not, because postage to England is expensive and everyone in Hollywood is downsizing these days. No one reads sonnets, his plays wouldn’t work on Broadway (too long) and none of his stuff has cop chases, doctors, lawyers or Will Smith, all of which seem essential for a successful flick or in copping a deal (or a feel) in Hollywierd. So frankly, I don't think he'd stand a chance. But that's just my opinion."
"I liked Marc Norman's OTHER comment re Shakespeare: "He was just like today's Hollywood writers: broke, horny, and searching for a new idea." -- Hank Rosenfeld
"Sir, I was shocked by the language of Molly McAnailly Burke's piece on lesbian rockers, and your allowing it in a family newspaper. The offending phrase "five writhing beauties hot for each other" should be "five writhing beauties hot for one another," since *each other* applies only to two." -- Letter to the Editor of Dublin's "Sunday Independent" (Thanks to Gary Margolis)
"My mother used to warn me to beware of Irish Alzheimer's disease.
That's where you forget everything but your grudges."
IT'S GEEK TO ME
A recently discovered translation of the first virus alert is going around the net:
Warning!!! If you receive a gift in the shape of a large wooden horse -- do not download it!!!! It is EXTREMELY DESTRUCTIVE and will overwrite your ENTIRE CITY! The 'gift' is disguised as a large wooden horse about two stories tall. It tends to show up outside the city gates and appears to be abandoned. DO NOT let it through the gates! It contains hardware that is incompatible with Trojan programming, including a crowd of heavily armed Greek warriors that will destroy your army, sack your town, and kill your women and children. If you have already received such a gift, DO NOT OPEN IT! Take it back out of the city unopened and set fire to it by the beach. Poseidon
FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!
FROM: email@example.com TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laocoon, I hate to break to you, but this is one of the oldest hoaxes there is. I've seen variants on this warning come through on other listservs, one about some kind of fruit that was supposed to kill the people who ate it and one having to do with something called the "Midas Touch." Here are a few tipoffs that this is a hoax:
1) This "Forward this message to everyone you know" crap. If it were really meant as a warning about the Greek army, why tell anyone to post it to the Phonecians, Sumerians, and Cretans?
2) Use of exclamation points. Always a giveaway.
3) It's signed "from Poseidon." Granted he's had his problems with Odysseus but he's one of their guys, isn't he? Besides, the lack of a real header with a detailed address makes me suspicious.
4) Technically speaking, there is no way for a horse to overwrite your entire city. A horse is just an animal, after all.
Next time you get a message like this, just delete it. I appreciate your concern, but once you've been around the block a couple times you'll realize how annoying this kind of stuff is. Hector.
"If you can't beat them...
In Pocatello, Idaho a law passed in 1912 provided that " A person may not be seen in public without a smile on their face."
STANLEY KUBRICK: EYES WIDE SHUT
He didn't live to see "2001, but he is a lionized master of whose films my personal favorites (besides "A Space Odyssey") will always be "A Clockwork Orange," "Lolita" and "Dr. Strangelove." Known to be tough on his actors, there's a story from "Full Metal Jacket" that when he asked for volunteers to be killed off early, almost every actor raised his hand. Those selected soon discovered that they had to lie around in the mud as a corpse for three months.
"A film is -- or should be -- more like music than like fiction.
WHAT, QUIT SHOWBIZ?
And the late mad genius and father of modern improv, Del Close, has bequeathed his own skull to the Goodman Theatre to be used as "Yorick" in their productions of Hamlet. Indeed, the day after he died, his wife, Charna, was on the phone making arrangements with a local medical school; and a ceremony to turn Del over to the Goodman will be scheduled soon.
Although I heard that a British actor did the same thing in Stratford several years ago, it seems an appropriate move for Del, who as a young man joined a carnival group in which he learned to dodge knives and eat fire, calling himself "Azrad the Incombustible", and later threw spaghetti "worms" at moviegoers during late-night horror shows.
But "Now rises the larger question," notes actor Tom Tulley, "When next the Goodman theatre does Hamlet, shall the melancholy Dane say, "Alas poor Yorick. I knew him... Del?!"
"Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die."
(C) 1999 by Phil Proctor