Just now, while flicking Jungle Red fingernails through the spammed questions I receive for this blog, I noticed the sort of query I usually relish (since it would lead us straight to Kenneth Anger territory– I am worryingly familiar with that dirty turf). The question was: “Could you tell me more about classic Hollywood’s grubby underbelly?”
Why yes, friend, I could. I absolutely could be a tour guide though Hollywood Babylon, leading you by your soft hand as we stroll by the “Hollywood” sign, where Peg Entwhistle jumped from the “H” to her death in 1932. Then we’d wander near the house David Niven and Errol Flynn shared, which some wag* nicknamed “Cirrhosis by-the Sea.” I could talk about Harlow’s Hubby’s death dildo and Jeff Chandler’s yen to wear polka-dot dresses. Or about how Bogart used to hide under tables while his wife Mayo got into bar fights. I could talk about all kinds of salacious useless crap, and quite often do.
But, dear reader, not today. Today my nails are sharp but my spirit is yielding. Today I choose not to focus on the weary negativities of life, the injustices, imbalances, and the thrush-inducing mornings-after the night before. So I won’t do a tour of syphilitic Hollywood, and not only because that’d be one lo-ong essay to write of a lovely October day.
Today I want to talk about lighter and rarer things than a rollicking dose of the clap. Instead I want to discuss a truly great comic performance: A great Female comic performance that is more balls-to-the wall than any other piece of acting in that annus mirabilis of 1939, and which should’ve put all that sexist nonsense about “Are Women Funny” to rest before WWII. As if Mabel Normand herself didn’t do it decades before. . . Continue reading