Monday, January 18, 2010

Award Night

With the Golden Globes last night and Oscars soon to follow I come away wondering why Gable and Grable weren't there or Carrie and Gary. Even secondary actors were household names back then. What ever happened to George Tobias or William Demerest? They were true supporting actors….which reminds me of that all-time great, Zasu Pitts.

Oh, Za Su, Zasu, some said Zazu, your sound alone sends me back to a Hollywood still in its teens before studios dared mess with a name. If they had their way you might have become Carrie Grant or Roberta Taylor and we'd never had plucked you from re-run heaven. Oh dear, Oh my, you declared in quavering vibrato and fluttering hands. You old biddy, you, named for Aunts Eliza and Sue. I'll bet no one had your pizzazz. Too bad Norma Jean didn't learn from you and say, "un-hand me", trading her icon for a lesser banana but longer life.

Competition among artists or even just celebrities seems to me a foolish proposition; a tribute to hype, box office, distribution and networking. Yet I watch it to confirm how out of touch I am from the buzz and occasional true artist.

I couldn’t help thinking about the eighty percent of nominees who were losers and the crumpled acceptance speeches in their tux or purse. All those impromptu words withering now in the waste basket.

Since we are all the stars of our own movie I thought I’d write my own spontaneous acceptance speech in case I get a phone call...

I want to thank everyone in the crowd scenes of my life, that cast of thousands, the best boy, the gaffer and the grip. the caterer and the man who waters the lettuce, the un-sung who collect shopping carts in the parking lot and the lady who let me in front of her in line since I had just one item and no coupon. I’d also want to thank all the disembodied voices who are away from their desks rights now but will handle my call in the order given because it is very important to them and the doctor who never answered my call but I got better anyway and the “d” in Wednesday and all other silent letters who know enough to keep quiet when they have nothing to say. And thanks, too, to my mother who finally figured out not to argue with the checker over the price of lemons and that trucks were not assassins out to get her. And to my father who played and hummed Tumbalalaika on his mandolin in a soft celebration of all things inarticulate and to Peggy with whom the air is so charged we know when not to speak.

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