Archive for Charles Wagenheim

Better Wed Than Dead

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by dcairns


Norman Lloyd, 98, enjoyed perhaps the most successful and certainly the longest Hollywood marriage — 75 years. So when he mentioned at the pre-Telluride Film Festival dinner that he could marry people, we jumped at the chance. We’d been thinking of it anyway, and doing it while in Hollywood seemed a way to keep it simple, oddly enough, purely because very few people we knew would be around. As it turned out, most of the half-dozen people we knew in LA couldn’t make it, so it was just me, Fiona, Norman, and Randall William Cook as combined photographer/witness.

What started as a rather unromantic idea, to sort out our legal status and provide security in encroaching old age, became extremely romantic as one half of a genuine great love story gave us his blessing, after a wondrous tour through his gallery of memorabilia, which took in collaborations with Welles, Hitchcock, Renoir and Chaplin.


“I knew the Telluride Film Festival could do just about anything, but I never knew they could do this!”

Norman ended the ceremony, which he wrote himself, by saying something along the lines of “I think there’s a bit of mischief in both of you, and I think you’re going to cause a lot of trouble, and I hope you do.”

He also told us a story about his friend John Houseman, which wasn’t part of the actual ceremony but has stuck in my mind.

“He used to visit here and he was a great addict of the morning paper. And he used to sleep in just the top half of a pair of pajamas. When the paper was delivered he would run down the drive to collect it without stopping to dress, and would bend right over to pick it up. Drivers in the street would get a distracting sight. Finally I said, John, if you keep doing this, somebody’s going to mistake you for a tunnel. And you’ll get a Ford up your ass. But nothing could stop him.”


Norman in Hitchcock’s SABOTEUR.

Other business:

The ’68 Comeback Special continues at Apocalypse Now with THE CASTLE, a Kafka adaptation staring Maximilian Schell.

New limericks on HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN: One, Two, Three, Karloff’s beautiful dream of human-canine brain transplantation may be the best limerick subject ever conceive, but I take leave to doubt whether Charles Wagenheim’s strangulation has ever been celebrated in verse before. All the lims have editorial enhancements by Hilary Barta: this one is pure collaboration.