Another round of Celebrity Butterfly Effect

I love to watch old movies, especially on TCM. One of my favourite parts about watching movies on TCM is the introduction given by Robert Osborne, complete with trivia about the actors, director and film technology. The other night I saw the 1940 movie Too Many Girls, starring Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Richard Carlson, Eddie Bracken and, making his film debut, Desi Arnaz.

A publicity still for the movie Too Many Girls- 1940

In his introduction for the film, Robert Osborne mentioned that Too Many Girls was originally a Broadway musical, Desi was one of the cast members reprising his role from the play and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz met on the set of this movie and married later that same year.

Too Many Girls was produced by RKO Pictures, the studio that Lucy was under contract to, and directed by George Abbott. Abbott had an extensive theatre background and was known for hiring Broadway actors to recreate their roles on screen.

Lucy and Desi went on to create and star in one of TV’s most enduring sitcoms, I Love Lucy and start their own production company, Desilu Productions, which, ironically, filmed on a 40 acre lot that they purchased from RKO Pictures.

Lucy and Desi’s union also produced two children, Lucy Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr.

Famous TV Guide cover with first photo of Desi Arnaz Jr.

A budding musician and actor,Desi Jr. was quite the teen heart-throb and landed quite a few acting roles, notably his guest appearance as Marcia Brady’s celebrity crush on The Brady Bunch in 1970.

Desi Arnaz Jr. kisses Marcia Brady

Arnaz Jr. loved the girls as much as they loved him. When he was 15, he got an unknown 15-year-old  girl pregnant. She gave birth to a baby named Julia Arnaz. The child was kept secret for decades and was later confirmed by a court ordered DNA test that she was Arnaz Jr.’s child. Two years later, when Desi Jr. was just 17, he began dating Patty Duke, who was then 23. A few months after they broke up, Patty gave birth to Sean Patrick Duke (now known as Sean Astin), who has gone on to become a star in his own right.

Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings

For the first 13 years of Sean’s life, both  Arnaz Jr. and Patty Duke believed that Desi Arnaz Jr. was the child’s father. This apparently, didn’t sit too well with Desi’s mother.

It was not until a DNA test was performed when Sean was 13, that it was revealed that Arnaz Jr. was not the father. (why do I have visions of Maury Povich announcing that?)

So, if director George Abbott hadn’t given Desi Arnaz Sr. his first role in a movie, Lucy and Desi would likely never have met, the landscape of 1950’s sitcoms would have looked very different, Desi Jr. would not have been born, Marcia Brady would have had a crush on an entirely different teen idol and Sean Astin might have been born knowing who his real father was.

Uninspired

 

 

Lately I have been feeling very uninspired. Oh, it’s not like there’s nothing going on in the world, just nothing that is sparking my interest. In the past week, we’ve been bombarded with a lot of “news” that I couldn’t care less about.

For instance, I don’t care if some young “actress”, that I have barely heard of, cheated on her overrated actor “boyfriend”. This only answers my question of who she had to sleep with to get famous… directors, apparently.

 

Who are these people and why does anyone care?

 

 

And pardon me if I yawn when I see yet another “story” about Tom and Katie and how they parent their precious Suri differently.

 

While Katie chooses the, down to earth, taxicab option…

Tom buys his daughter’s love with a helicopter ride.

Oh, and why exactly am I supposed to give a damn about the publicity seeking Jackson family and their so called drama that seems to be occurring just before young Paris’s first movie is about to debut?

The Jackson kids with their Grandmother/guardian/missing person/ not guardian/ co-guardian, Katherine.

Now I may be jaded, but I am just so sick and tired of all of this manufactured celebrity drama creeping into my consciousness. It’s everywhere you look. It’s impossible to escape knowing all the intimate details of these attention whores’ lives. The best part is when they say they want us to respect their privacy. Meanwhile they are tweeting, calling TMZ and giving interviews to US Weekly and People magazines.

Enough is enough. Isn’t there any actual news worth reporting? Isn’t anyone on the planet doing anything worthwhile? If anyone knows of such a person or persons, please let me know, I could really use some inspiration.

Who is… the most famous Canadian host on television?

Canada week continues with a tribute to a proud Canadian, Alex Trebek.

Trebek and one of his many Daytime Emmy Awards

Alex Trebek has been a fixture on American television since 1973 when he began as host  of the game show Wizard of Odds for NBC, though Canadians had seen him in their living rooms for a decade previous as host of a music program called Music Hop (1963-64) and the quiz show Reach for the Top (1966-1973). Trebek had a long history of hosting game shows before he was tapped as the host of Jeopardy in 1984 that included shows like, High Rollers, Double Dare, the $128,000 Question and Battlestars.

Alex Trebek hosting High Rollers

It is as the host of Jeopardy for which he will be most remembered. Trebek has been the host of television’s smartest game show for 28 years (or 6300 shows) and counting, having recently extended his contract with the show until 2014. Jeopardy has been good to Trebek, garnering him five Emmy Awards and stars on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Trebek’s star on Canada’s Walk of Fame

As host of Jeopardy, Alex Trebek seems to take great pleasure and pride in his knowledge of all things Canadian. Both Trebek and Jeopardy have become part of pop culture. With no fewer than 26 cameo appearances as himself in his role as Jeopardy host, in movies and television shows, as well as shows like Saturday Night Live and Family Guy lampooning the show and even a Weird Al Yankovic parody song called I lost on Jeopardy, Trebek is much, much more than just your average game show host. Alex Trebek is an iconic television personality.

A clip of my favourite Celebrity Jeopardy as done by Saturday Night Live. Not the best quality, but still funny.

Trebek believes in giving back. As a spokesperson for World Vision, Trebek has travelled to many third world countries, providing aid to families battling poverty. He is also involved with the U.S.O and has embarked on several tours with the organization in order to support U.S. troops overseas. Education is another subject that is important to Trebek. He sits on the boards of the National Geographic Society Education Foundation and the National Advisory Council for the Literary Volunteers of America.

Trebek, surrounded by contestants of the 2010 National Geographic Geo-Bee

Bravo Alex Trebek. His career proves you can be successful for celebrating intelligence and that is something we need more of in this world.

Celebrity Butterfly Effect

Doris Day

Last night I was talking with my Mum about some of the odd searches that lead people to my blog. For instance, ever since I put up a photo of a man wearing sock suspenders, not a day goes by without someone finding my blog by searching for old men’s socks, men’s sock suspenders, or 1950’s men’s socks etc. I never thought that item would be such a  popular search term. Yesterday the odd search term we fixated on was ‘Doris Day slutty’. We laughed a bit because Doris Day’s image was anything but slutty. Then my Mum wondered if she was still alive. So I checked Wikipedia, and yes, she is very much alive at 88 years of age. As I was reading her entry, it mentioned she had a son at the age of 17. He was her only child and his name was Terry Melcher. That name was ringing a major bell with me, so clicked on his name and realized why.

Terry Melcher and his, then, girlfriend, Candice Bergen

Terry Melcher was a well-known record producer for bands including the Byrds and The Beach Boys… but that’s not why he was familiar to me. In 1968, he was introduced by Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys to an aspiring musician by the name of Charles Manson.

Charles Manson

Melcher was living at 10050 Cielo Drive with his girlfriend Candice Bergen at this time. He befriended Manson and had plans to produce Manson’s songs as well as film a documentary about him and the Manson ‘family’. Melcher later decided against both projects and severed all ties with Manson, a decision which angered Manson. Fortuitously, Melcher and Bergen moved from their house on Cielo Drive shortly after this incident. Unfortunately, the house was then rented to Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate. There is some speculation to this day as to whether or not Melcher was the intended victim that fateful night, or perhaps the murders were a way of sending a message to Melcher.

Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate

After reading all of this, my Mum and I went back to the fact that Doris Day had a son at the age of 17. “So I guess she was a little slutty,” joked Mum. This began a game of Celebrity Butterfly Effect.

If Doris Day had kept her legs closed in her teens (no judgement), she would not have given birth to Terry Melcher, who would not have been introduced to, given hope to and subsequently rejected Charles Manson, setting Manson on a path that culminated in his ordering a murderous rampage in Benedict Canyon that night (though it’s likely something would have eventually set him off). Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate would have become parents, would possibly still be married and Polanski would likely still be living and working in America , having never been arrested for sexual abuse of a minor (though the tone of his films might have been slightly less dark).

Celebrity Butterfly Effect, a new game created by windupmyskirt (and her Mum), fun for all ages. Soon to be sweeping the nation.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Usain Bolt

Not only is he the world’s fastest man, but Usain Bolt is one of the most good natured as well. Today, after he won yet another race in Oslo, a young girl ran directly into his path  with a bouquet of flowers, as he was still slowing down. Bolt nearly ran the girl down, but made every effort to make sure she never hit the ground, smiling the whole time. This girl ran across the lanes, directly into Usain Bolt. A thoughtless action like this could have caused Bolt a career ending injury, but  Bolt (at the risk of making a bad pun) took it all in stride and even looks as though he is more concerned about the careless girl than his own safety. He was perfectly within his right to get angry at the girl, but instead he showed the world that he is a true sportsman and a real gentleman.

Usain Bolt shows grace under pressure

Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have yet another entitled rant from Charlie Sheen.

Charlie Sheen

Also, in today’s news, actor Charlie Sheen blew a gasket during the Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center. After he left the venue to smoke he was denied access back into the arena. Apparently Sheen was not aware that the Staples Center has clearly designated indoor smoking areas, or that the policy of the venue clearly states, if you leave, you are not permitted back in (no matter who you are or how much you swear). He also forgot negotiation rule number one. When you are trying to get someone to do something for you, you don’t yell expletives at them, you charm them and perhaps, slip them some cash. This entitled bad boy routine was tolerable when he was in his twenties… but now that he’s nearing 50 and has children of his own that he should be setting an example for, it’s just pathetic and sad.

Charlie Sheen’s temper tantrum- courtesy of TMZ

Rebel

James Dean- Iconic Rebel

I’m a rebel *(and I’ll never, ever be any good). Which basically means I don’t do what I’m told and my opinions usually differ from those of society at large. Politically, I lean more left than right, but my feet are not firmly planted on either side. I prefer to make up my own rules than go by the ones the government, (either a conservative or a liberal government) has laid out for everyone. Spiritually, it’s the same thing. I do not need some made up man in the sky threatening eternal damnation in order to be a decent, if a little odd, human being.

Even my taste in celebrities isn’t what the media touts as desirable. I’ve never gone for the traditionally handsome leading man and the seduction fantasy.

George Clooney- leading man

Or the non- threatening, baby faced teen idol types and the adoration fantasy.

Justin Beiber- teen idol

Instead, I go for men who can be the on screen personification of evil with a sly smirk that belies a filthy secret.

James Gandolfini and his naughty smirk

Not your typical brooding bad boy, more like evil with a touch of dangerous insanity thrown in.

Malcolm McDowell from A Clockwork Orange

Robert DeNiro in Cape Fear

Michael Clark Duncan in Red Scorpion

Don’t get me wrong, these are not the type of male characters I would enjoy spending time with in a real life scenario of any kind. They are simply some of my on screen fantasy men. I think the fantasy for me is the challenge that getting such a dangerous man to fall for me would present. It would be akin to breaking a wild stallion. Although, once broken, the attraction would be gone.

Yes, I am a rebel, even in my dreams.

*Refers to lyrics found in the song He’s a Rebel by the Crystals

Hamm Fisted

I’ve never seen an episode Mad Men. I can’t recall seeing Jon Hamm act in anything, but I am a recent fan. This past month Jon Hamm was quoted in an Elle UK interview as saying,

“We’re at a place where the idea of being ‘elite’ is somehow considered a negative.

“Whether it’s Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian or whoever, stupidity is certainly celebrated.

“Being a fucking idiot is a valuable commodity in this culture because you’re rewarded significantly. And incuriousness has become cool… It’s celebrated. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Bravo, Mister Hamm for speaking your mind and speaking the truth.

A few days after the quote was made public, as is to prove his point, Kim Kardashian tweeted this,

“We’re all working hard and we all have to respect one another. Calling someone who runs their own businesses, is a part of a successful TV show, produces, writes, designs, and creates, ‘stupid,’ is in my opinion careless.”

Apparently, Ms. Kardashian isn’t aware that, in a free country you don’t HAVE to respect anyone you don’t want to respect or that working hard and being intelligent do not necessarily go hand in hand.

Oh, but the drama is not yet over. When pressed, Hamm did not back down from his original statement. On a recent Today show appearance, Hamm responded to Matt Lauer’s bringing up Kardashian’s rebuttal to his comments thusly,

“I don’t think they were careless; I think they were accurate, It’s a part of our culture that I certainly don’t identify with, and I don’t really understand the appeal of it other than in a sort of car crash sensibility, and it’s not something that I partake in or enjoy, but it is what it is, and here we are.”

Again, Bravo to Mister Hamm for not backing down from his opinion just because someone took offense.

I may never see Jon Hamm in an acting role, but I will remain a fan if he continues telling it like it is and battling against the celebration of ignorance in American society.

Ironically, Paris Hilton wisely chose to keep her mouth shut on the matter.

*Note- All puns were intended.

Marriage is for Men

 

It seems there’s been a rash of celebrity engagements this past couple of weeks. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Drew Barrymore, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Mario Lopez, John Legend and even Aretha Franklin all announced engagements. Even Sinead O’Conner is staying married, after announcing a split. With all of this attention put on marriage, I thought I’d take a look at who really benefits in a traditional marriage.

The institution of marriage predates reliable recorded history. It was the norm for all marriage to be arranged, sometimes at birth. The parents would pick a spouse based on purely economic factors. Families joining to become financially and socially stronger. Whether the groom’s family paid a bride price, or dower, or the bride’s family paid a dowry, the melding of families was very much for power and economic reasons and had nothing to do with love. It was a purely secular union put in place to help each family move up in society. Brides wed out of obligation and duty and were expected to be virtuous and faithful to their husbands, who, in turn were expected to provide financially for their wife and children. However, sexual monogamy was never expected for the husband. It was assumed that his sexual needs would be met both inside and outside the marriage bed. Great deal for him, but what about her?

These women went directly from their father’s home to their husband’s home and were expected to be obedient in both surroundings. They never enjoyed the luxury of personal freedom and exploration. Even in North America, women weren’t able of choose to be single without fear of societal backlash until the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. Women were expected to subjugate their personalities in favour of the path their husband chose… even when marrying for love. It was 2006 when the Church of England officially took the word OBEY out of the marriage vows. Yes, women were expected to OBEY their husbands. That one four letter word gave men all the justification they needed to abuse their wives for centuries.

In the 1960’s women in western civilizations seemed to have had enough. There was an uprising of women who were demanding their human rights. The right to choose what to do with their own life. It sure took us long enough, but once we started tasting freedom, it became more and more widespread. The church was still doing everything in its power to keep us barefoot and pregnant, from not allowing birth control use and abortion to shoving the institution of marriage down our throats at every opportunity.

There was a perceived danger in women choosing to be single. The erosion of the family unit. Traditionally, parents would take care of their family, then later in life, the family of their children would take care of the parents. If a woman chose to be single, how could she possibly afford to take care of her parents in their declining years? Would she even want to? If she is choosing freedom, what does obligation even mean to her? These were some of the questions at the root of society’s fear of the Women’s Movement.

Indeed marriage rates did decline and divorce rates went way up.  Men went from “Honey, I’m home. What’s for dinner?” to wondering when the delivery guy was coming. Something else of importance  happened during this time. In 1965, in the United States, medicare and medicaid became available. This took away the need for children to take care of their elder parents. This changed the economic family dynamic.

Unfortunately,  there was a backlash to the feminist movement. It seemed to create a generation of men with severe Peter Pan syndrome. These adult men, not only want their wife to be a partner, but also a mother. It seems that these liberated feminist mothers didn’t think to teach their sons how to be liberated, strong men. This, along with the media (magazines, movies etc.) telling women that they are not complete without a man, created a surge in marriages. .. marriages that didn’t last. After all, what liberated woman wants to be mean mommy to her husband? And let’s face it no man (unless it’s his fetish) wants to have sex with mean mommy.

Women who choose to be single, have reproductive freedom like never before. Now medical science has made it possible for women to have babies without benefit of marriage, or even a relationship. It’s easy to understand why there are so many heterosexual men out there who seem to genuinely hate women. They fear they are being rendered obsolete, and that is a legitimate fear. Successful women are choosing to be single mothers.

As Gloria Steinem once said, “Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.”

Yes traditional marriage was great for men. They had a subservient wife who took care of hearth and home, their every need and want, with no expectation of sexual fidelity. The pendulum travelling inexorably to the other side now. Even in the non western world we are seeing another women’s revolution. Here in the west, there are women who choose marriage just to have a companion, knowing full well that it can be as permanent as they want it to be.

This attitude has spawned another type of man. I have seen it in generations Y and Z. This young man is looking to be kept. They are male gold diggers, looking for an older, successful woman to marry.

I suppose marriage hasn’t changed that much after all. After a brief flirtation with love, it’s still all about money and power.

 

 

Public or Private? Make up your mind.

It really puts the wind up my skirt when celebrities leak news about their private lives to the media, then have the audacity to say, we ask that you respect our privacy in this difficult time. If you really wanted your privacy, then why are you telling the world about your private life to begin with?

We had two examples of this kind of behavior this week.

First, the announcement was made that Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa were getting a divorce. The following is a quote from their publicist.

“The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a Judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012,” their publicist said in a statement, to which the duo added, “We ask that in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season the public respect our privacy during this most difficult time.”

The second example happened just today when it was announced that Chaz Bono and his long time girlfriend were splitting up. Here is the quote from their publicist.

A publicist for Chaz Bono says the relationship between the author and activist and his longtime partner has ended. Howard Bragman says in a statement that Bono and Jennifer Elia “leave this relationship with great love, respect and affection towards one another.” He adds that the two are seeking privacy in the matter.

Seriously, if you are truly seeking privacy you’d just keep your big, fat, narcissistic yaps shut in the first place.