Archive for May 16, 2022

Page Seventeen IV: Ernest Goes to Jail

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2022 by dcairns

In my earliest baby-boy memories, the man’s either looming and glum–not drunk enough–or bug-eyed and stubbly after a three-day bender, so liquored up he tilts when he leans down to snatch me off the burlap rags my brothers and sisters piled on the floor of our Kansas shack and called our “sleepy blankets.” I’d blink awake in the air, shaking cold, my face so close to Daddy’s the rye fumes burned my eyeballs. He’d rattle me till my teeth clacked, then start ranting in that high, Hoosier whine he only got when he was blotto and wanted to hurt something.

Pig had moved aside two dozen beer glasses and seated himself on a ledge behind the bar. In times of crisis he preferred to sit in as voyeur. He gazed eagerly as his shipmates grappled shoatlike after th seven geysers below him. Beer had soaked down most of the sawdust behind the bar: skirmishes and amateur footwork were now scribbling it into alien hieroglyphics.

That’s how my character was born.

Joe never tired of finding new ways to identify his Buster as an altogether unique personality in American show business. He liked to experiment with teasing tag lines to get people’s attention. One such line appeared in hundred of papers all over the country in 1909: KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE KID KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE KID KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE KID. He tried to interest the females in the audience with the announcement that Buster was “the cutest little bundle of jollity that ever wriggled into the hearts of audiences.”

3780009 Little Red Riding Hood, engraving by Gustave Doré. by Dore, Gustave (1832-83); (add.info.: Charles Perrault \’s, Little Red Riding Hood: Little Red Riding Hood with the wolf, engraving by Gustave Doré. Little Red Riding Hood sits in the bed next to the wolf, disguised in her grandmother \’s night-cap. Drawn by Gustave Doré, French artist, b January 6, 1832 – January 23, 1883. Engraved by Pannemaker. From Charles Perrault \’s Les Contes de Perrault / Perrault \’s Fairy Tales; CP: French writer, b January 12,1628 – May 16, 1703. From Cassell \’s \’Doré \’s Gallery\’ by Edmund Ollier, published Cassell & Company, Ltd., p. 106.); Lebrecht History.

Was that the way B.D. and my son, Michael, felt when they visited me after the stroke? Did I look so different and act so different that this is the mother they would remember, and not the mother they had always known. Since leaving the hospital Kathryn has told me many times about the way I looked. One of my oldest friends said, “The first time I saw you after the stroke, Bette Davis wasn’t in that bed. She was gone.” He was crying.

‘I’ll try the pills. I like that Xanax is spelled the same backwards and forwards,’ She didn’t want to have the suicide/fate discussion right now. For weeks she’d been feeling as if someone or something was fucking with her norepinephrine levels. She was exhausted from the effort to stay alive when she wasn’t motivated. Like an involuntary reflex, Kate’s face flipped onto the vid-screen she carried at all times in her head. It used to be a movie screen, but that was in the seventies.

She had been having trouble with her voice. It was never strong, and the slightest cold brought on laryngitis which lasted for weeks; but she was obliged to keep working, so that her voice grew progressively worse. She could not rely on it. In the middle of singing it would crack or suddenly disappear into a whisper, and the audience would laugh and start booing. The worry of it impaired her health and made her a nervous wreck. As a consequence, her theatrical engagements fell off until they were practically nil.

Seven paragraphs from seven page seventeens from seven books recently acquired or else rediscovered on forgotten shelves in the Shadowplayhouse.

I, Fatty by Jerry Stahl; V by Thomas Pynchon; Some Like It Hot: Me, Marilyn and the Movie by Tony Curtis with Mark A. Vieira; Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn’t Lie Down by Tom Dardis; This ‘n That by Bette Davis with Michael Herskowitz; You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again by Julia Phillips; My Autobiography by Charles Chaplin,