Friday, July 25, 2014

Adam West

It was the fall of 1983, (or, maybe the spring of '84.) I was hired to work on my first Hollywood movie production. A semi-awful, straight to cable, super soft-core skin flick that had a pretty impressive "C-List" cast. (A story for another day.)

And who was the first actor to sit in my chair? 

None other than my very first, (okay, maybe second, Capt, Kangaroo was probably my first,) childhood, celebrity idol. Batman, himself, Adam West. 

I was nervous. I had always heard that Adam was bitter about the fact that he was forever typecast as The Caped Crusader.

And, I had been taught, in make-up school, "Be professional. Stay cool. Never get all fan-boy when an actor/actress sits in your chair."

Man, that was some stupid advice. 

Actors live to be recognized. I learned that, eventually.

But, in this case, I struggled to maintain my cool, totally missing the signals. 

Not minutes in my chair, Adam said, "I have just one request. Could you draw a cleft on my chin? I spent three years acting with just my chin, so I like to take good care of it."

On Day Two, the make-up trailer had been improperly leveled, and, by that I mean, not leveled at all. The floor slanted at what must have been about a 30 degree grade. My rather weak filter failed for a moment as I quipped, "We had this done to make you feel at home." 

Adam laughed. 

On Day Three, I found myself having lunch with Adam. And, I could control myself, no longer. As we ate and talked, I broke out in an ear-to-ear grin. 

"What?" Adam asked. 

"I'm sorry," I replied. "But, I just can't believe that I am having lunch with Batman!"

Adam smiled, and, feeling emboldened, I went on...

"Can I tell you something?" I continued. "When I was six-years-old, you were my hero." 

Adam got all serious looking and put his hand on my shoulder. 

("Aw shit!" I thought, "I just fucked up, royally."}

"Do me a favor," Adam said, as he looked straight into my eyes. "Do not EVER tell anyone how young you were, when I was your hero."


Then, he burst out laughing. 

Relived, I followed. 

On Day Four, I took a Sharpie™ and wrote "BAM!"  on the back of his powder puff.

He loved it. 

And that was when I, finally, got up the nerve to ask him...

"I had always heard that you were bitter about being typecast as Batman. That it ruined your career. But, I'm not sensing that that is true."

His response blew me away.

"You know," he said, "For a lot of years, that was true. I was bitter. I couldn't get cast in anything. The only jobs I could book were car shows and shopping center openings, and only if I wore the costume. But, one day, I had an epiphany. I realized that I am, at best, a mediocre actor. But, for three glorious years, I got to work with some of the finest actors in Hollywood. Caesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Vincent Price, Otto Preminger, Victor Buono. I mean, who gets to do that? And now, all these years later, the kids who grew up watching Batman all want to cast me in their movies and TV shows. I mean, how lucky can a bad actor get? I realize, now, that I am blessed beyond belief. 

Which brings us to today's USA Today, ComicCon interview with Adam. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Batman Day

Today is July 23, "Batman Day," celebrating the 75th birthday of The Caped Crusader.

But, why July 23?

Batman made his debut in "Detective Comics" #27. The cover states that it is the May issue. And, do to the quirks of comic book distribution, that means it probably hit the stands sometime in February or March.

So, again, why July 23?

Because, according to a DC Comics spokesman, since The Dark Knight's actual birthday is kind of fuzzy anyway, why not make "Batman Day" coincide with the opening day of the San Diego Comic-Con?

Makes sense. Why not?

Maybe I am reaching here. But, I am detecting an historical parallel.

(I know. This is going to sound like I am stoned. I swear I am not. I have not partaken of the herb in decades. But, it would be fair to assume that I have a dram or two of moderately priced scotch in my system.)

The actual birth date of Jesus is unknown. Most Biblical scholars believe that he was born sometime between April and August.

But, when the pagan Emperor Constantine decided to organize Christianity into a thing that was, well, organized, he and his crew of advisors felt that the masses would be more accepting of new holidays if they coincided with established pagan celebrations.

Therefore, the official birthday of Jesus Christ was assigned to the winter solstice.

So there you go.

Are you seeing what I am seeing here?

Happy Batman Day, everyone!

And those of you who were lucky enough to score tickets...

Happy Comic-Con! Grab some swag for me, if you can.

Friday, July 11, 2014

How New York City Am I? How New York City R U?

Go ahead and take the test.

I'll be here when you get back.

Your Blog is 41% NYC. Only surprised that I am that NYC.

"You don't belong in this city. Just take the Statue of Liberty tour and GTFO. And quit walking so damn slow, too!"
Your Blog has visited NYC three times in his life.

Always on business. Always at a four star hotel. (I would rather stay at Motel 6 then ever spend another night at Trump Tower. Give me the St. Regis, thank you very much.) Always with a driver at my disposal. (Seriously? We've been driving for 20 minutes and we have only gone around the block to point ourselves in the right direction?) 

I have never seen the Statue of Liberty, except from the air. I have only seen the Empire State Building from a distance. The first time I was there, I saw the WTC from a distance. The next time I was there, it wasn't.

I like Central Park, except that it covers more square miles than the city I live in. Nobody told me that when I went searching for the Alice in Wonderland statues. I should have packed a lunch. And dinner. And a compass.

Here's a crazy story.

I have used the services of NYC taxi cabs three times.

Twice, about eight years apart, I got the same cabbie.

I know this because, cabbie #1, upon learning that I am a make-up artist, launched into a story about how, in his pre-cabbie days, he was the "go-to" hairstylist, in the disco days, with a salon next door to "Studio 54."

Eight years later, I flagged a cab outside of a warehouse in some godforsaken part of town that was the site of the Spike TV "up fronts" party, and cabbie #2 told me the exact same story.

What are the odds?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Saddest Calvin & Hobbes Story You Will Ever Read

If you love Calvin & Hobbes, (and who doesn't,) this bit of fan fiction from the Redditor known as "samuraitiger19" has been making the rounds and is a must read.

*WARNING* Have a full box of Kleenex™ with you when you read this. Your Blog started reading this last night while I was waiting for KISS to hit the stage at The Forum. I stopped when I realized that I was openly sobbing in public. The people around me must have thought I was insane.

The story chronicles Calvin's last talk with Hobbes, as Calvin lays on his deathbed. It is beautiful and moving and gut wrenching.

You have been warned.

"Calvin? Calvin, sweetheart?"

In the darkness Calvin heard the sound of Susie, his wife of fifty-three years. Calvin struggled to open his eyes. God, he was so tired and it took so much strength. Slowly, light replaced the darkness, and soon vision followed. At the foot of his bed stood his wife.
Calvin wet his dry lips and spoke hoarsely, "Did... did you.... find him?"
Yes dear," Susie said smiling sadly, "He was in the attic."
Susie reached into her big purse and brought out a soft, old, orange tiger doll.
Calvin could not help but laugh. It had been so long. Too long.

"I washed him for you," Susie said, her voice cracking a little as she laid the stuffed tiger next to her husband.
Thank you, Susie." Calvin said.

A few moments passed as Calvin just laid on his hospital bed, his head turned to the side, staring at the old toy with nostalgia.

"Dear," Calvin said finally. "Would you mind leaving me alone with Hobbes for a while? I would like to catch up with him."
"All right," Susie said. "I'll get something to eat in the cafeteria. I'll be back soon."

Susie kissed her husband on the forehead and turned to leave. With sudden but gentle strength Calvin stopped her. Lovingly he pulled his wife in and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. "I love you," he said.
"And I love you," said Susie.
Susie turned and left.
Calvin saw tears streaming from her face as she went out the door

Calvin then turned to face his oldest and dearest friend. "Hello Hobbes. It's been a long time hasn't it old pal?"
 Hobbes was no longer a stuffed doll but the big furry old tiger Calvin had always remembered.
"It sure has, Calvin." said Hobbes.

"You... haven't changed a bit." Calvin smiled.

"You've changed a lot." Hobbes said sadly.

Calvin laughed, "Really? I haven't noticed at all."

There was a long pause. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds rang throughout the sterile hospital room.

"So... you married Susie Derkins." Hobbes said, finally smiling. "I knew you always liked her."

"Shut up!" Calvin said, his smile bigger than ever.

"Tell me everything I missed. I'd love to hear what you've been up to!" Hobbes said, excited.

And so Calvin told him everything.
He told him about how he and Susie fell in love in high school and had married after graduating from college, about his three kids and four grandkids, how he turned Spaceman Spiff into one of the most popular sci-fi novels of the decade, and so on. After he told Hobbes all this there was another pregnant pause.

"You know... I visited you in the attic a bunch of times." Calvin said.

"I know."

"But I couldn't see you. All I saw was a stuffed animal." Calvin voice was breaking and tears of regret started welling up in his eyes.
"You grew up old buddy." said Hobbes.
Calvin broke down and sobbed, hugging his best friend. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry I broke my promise! I promised I wouldn't grow up and that we'd be together forever!!"

Hobbes stroked Calvin's hair, or what little was left of it.
"But you didn't."

"What do you mean?"

"We were always together... in our dreams."

"We were?"

"We were."


"Yeah, old buddy?"

"I'm so glad I got to see you like this... one last time..."

"Me too, Calvin. Me too."

"Sweetheart?" Susie's voice came from outside the door.

"Yes dear?" Calvin replied.

"Can I come in?" Susie asked.

"Just a minute."
 Calvin turned to face Hobbes one last time.
"Goodbye Hobbes. Thanks... for everything..."

"No, thank you Calvin." Hobbes said.

Calvin turned back to the door and said, "You can come in now."

Susie came in and said, "Look who's come to visit you."

Calvin's children and grandchildren followed Susie into Calvin's room. The youngest grandchild ran past the rest of them and hugged Calvin in a hard, excited hug. "Grandpa!!" screamed the child in delight.
"Francis!" cried Calvin's daughter, "Be gentle with your grandfather."
Calvin's daughter turned to her dad. "I'm sorry, Daddy. Francis never seems to behave these days. He just runs around making a mess and coming up with strange stories."

Calvin laughed and said, "Well now! That sounds just like me when I was his age."

Calvin and his family chatted some more until a nurse said, "Sorry, but visiting hours are almost up."
Calvin's beloved family said good bye and promised to visit tommorrow.
As they turned to leave Calvin said, "Francis. Come here for a second."

Francis came over to his grandfather's side, "What is it Gramps?"

Calvin reached over to the stuffed tiger on his bedside and and held him out shakily to his grandson, who looked exactly as he did so many years ago.
"This is Hobbes. He was my best friend when I was your age. I want you to have him."

"He's just a stuffed tiger." Francis said, eyebrows raised.

Calvin laughed, "Well, let me tell you a secret." 
Francis leaned closer to Clavin. Calvin whispered, "If you catch him in a tiger trap using a tuna sandwich as bait he will turn into a real tiger."

Francis gasped in delighted awe. Calvin continued, "Not only that he will be your best friend forever."

"Wow! Thanks grandpa!" Francis said, hugging his grandpa tightly again.

"Francis! We need to go now!" Calvin's daughter called.

"Okay!" Francis shouted back.

"Take good care of him." Calvin said.

"I will." Francis said before running off after the rest of the family.

Calvin laid on his back and stared at the ceiling. The time to go was close. He could feel it in his soul. Calvin tried to remember a quote he read in a book once. It said something about death being the next great adventure or something like that. He eyelids grew heavy and his breathing slowed. As he went deeper into his final sleep he heard Hobbes, as if he was right next to him at his bedside.
"I'll take care of him, Calvin..."

Calvin took his first step toward one more adventure and breathed his last with a grin on his face.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Best If Used Before...

Today, Joan Rivers lost her sense of humor during a CNN interview.

Your Blog knows Joan. She is a really nice lady. I mean, really nice.

That said, I have not found her to be funny in decades.

I have a theory about comedians.

They come with expiration dates.

Think about all the comedians who used to be funny, until they weren't.

Some old. Some not.

Billy Crystal.

Milton Berle.

Chevy Chase.

Even the PC's own, personal, comedy god, George Carlin, in his last days went from funny to pissed off, cranky old man.

Some will call me a heretic and a blasphemer for this, but...

With the exception of a couple of iconic scenes...

                                                                   "I Love Lucy."

Not funny anymore.

They have passed their expiration dates.

Some years ago, Eddie Murphy skewered expired comics, (when he was still funny.)

                                                                "I'm Gumby, dammit!"

Your Uncle PC guesses that Eddie misses that bit of irony.

Sadly, some comedians die before their expiration date. But, at least, they went out still funny.

Richard Pryor.

Lenny Bruce.

Bill Hicks.

Jonathan Winters.

Your Blog is still mourning the death of his friend...

                                                                     John Pinnette,

Who somehow managed to die at the healthiest point in his life.

Ain't that some shit?

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule...

                                                                        Tim Conway


                                                                      Bob Newhart

... are still going strong and as funny as ever.

Don't believe me?

Send both of them "friend requests" on Facebook.

You can thank me later.