Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Reel And The Real

If you’ve wondered what happened to Hollywood has-beens you can stop worrying. They’re alive, overweight and un-masked, signing autographs at memorabilia shows.

I just got a notice for the next event at the Marriott Hotel in Burbank in two weeks. Don’t go if you need to hold on to those old icons and keep the illusions pristine as they were. Here they are down from the pedestal as mere mortals.

You will see Miss America of 1955, Lee Meriwether and Larry Hagman, still un-dead from Dallas along with Richard Chamberlain and Rita Moreno.

A few years back I spotted Margaret O’Brien, that skinny child star who often played prissy characters. She looked like her heavyweight grandmother. And there was Jane Russell sixty-five years after her role as a sexy gal in a Howard Hughes Western.

These are brave women and men saying here I am in all my flesh…just like you. I see you snickering. Get over it. What you thought you saw before was the lighting and make up, less half a century.

It may be worth attending, just once, to see what Angelina and Brad will look like in 2050. It’s not unlike going to a class reunion stunned at how everyone, except you, resembles their parents’ parents.

The Isaraeli writer, Yehudi Amichai, tells the story of giving a reading and spotting in the audience a young woman he was in love with fifty years ago. She was with an old lady. After his presentation she came up to him to sign her book. Only then did he realize that it was the elderly woman he once knew and this was her grand-daughter.

Maybe we’re better off clinging to that eternally unspoiled reel we have running in our heads as we row back to Eden

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