Working with the queen of hearts

Strictly this video should have been written last night, but do to various events, its only happening tonight. In truth, there were follow up murders on 10th August, 1969, to supposedly cover up the events of the 9th, I’m using that as my alibi. Yesterday was an event that I have so many tenuous connections to, that I had to mention it when it was pointed out to me. Yes, the murder of Sharon Tate, 4 others, plus her unborn baby (she was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time) happened 50 years ago yesterday, carried out by a number of followers of Charles Manson, as part of their devotion to him. The irony being that in all likelihood, Tate wasnt his target, she was just the person in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The wrong place was 10050 Cielo Drive, Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles.

Reading up more about it today, once I realised the anniversary, the person Manson really had the grievance with was Terry Melcher, the son of Doris Day, who was producing, and playing with the Beach Boys at the time. Basically one of the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson fell under the spell cast by Manson, and asked Melcher to help Manson to release an album. All we really know is, it never happened. There are stories that Manson sounded awful, the songs were terrible, or the fact that (quite rightly) Doris Day told her son that there was something ‘wrong’ about Manson, and that he shouldnt help him. Whatever the reason, he didnt, but between the rejection, and that fateful day, Melcher moved out of Cielo Drive, and Tate, and Roman Polanski moved there instead.

But because Manson was fixated more by the address than anything else (he probably wouldnt have the new address for Melcher) he sent a number of his followers there to murder anyone they found there. I’m not going to bore you with all the history, especially as the film, ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ has just been released, which covers many of these events.

The other connection is actually through Jean Harlow. Sharon Tate, shortly before her death is said to have visited the Bern/Harlow home nearby on Easton Drive, and saw Paul Bern’s (her 2nd husband) ghost, who warned her about events to happen shortly after. None of it is truly confirmed, but its a story that survived down the years, all the same.

Right, video time. Same song, two artists, a song that probably described Sharon Tate, in truth. Firstly, the original Juice Newton version (love some of the dresses)

Then the version of the song I grew up with

Learn how to hide your feelings.

So OK, March 3rd tends to be a significant blog date for me, so lets not be unoriginal, and mention the fact that Harlean Harlow Carpenter was born today, 108 years ago, and tragically left us again after little more than 26 years. Yes, thats right, the one most know as Jean Harlow. Yes, the amount of times I get asked to spell that first name by callers at work, or the origin of it, well if I got ten pounds for every time, I probably could retire from work already, lol! I dont actually know the origin of the name (other than through Jean), but I say its an old Gaelic name, and no one has queried that as of yet!

As with so many of the actors, and actresses who died young, because of illnesses that have either now been pretty well wiped out (TB, as an example), or as in her case, something that modern day surgery could solve, you can always wonder what might have happened with her life had she lived. Or indeed, as in Clara Johnson’s case, if she’d known how dangerous smoking would be for her life, would she have smoked like she did?

Anyway, having said most things I can about Jean over the years, lets just consider one thing tonight, the career of Mary Dees. She was the lady who stood in for Jean in Saratoga, after her death, and the whole event pretty well finished her career. Whether it was in its dying days anyway, whether it was the pain of playing someone else, or whether it was just the studios avoiding her after that, we will never know?

Oh, the other annual event, that in the true sense happens today, doesnt always happen on March 3rd. Yes, in about 3 hours time from posting this, the Iditarod race for this year, gets under way for real! And yes, again this year, that ghost town that the race is named after is getting visited this year. After that, 2 years (at least) of peace for the ghosts of those old miners there. Body, and finances permitting, in 5 years time, I plan to retire a little early (might be a lot earlier than that, in truth, but anyway) from work, and be there for the start of the race in 2024. Just seems crazy that if I am going to fulfil that dream of going to Alaska, not to be there for that. I know, it will be cold, but I’ll have to be brave, lol.

The significant factor for me in this year’s race, is the return of Lance Mackey to the field. After a 3 year gap, he is supposedly giving it one last go while he can, but then again, he said that 3 years ago! He also says he’s not trying to win, which might actually be true, but we will see. So yes, for a couple of weeks or so, I’ll have one extra website to visit, to see how he is doing, and all the other competitors too. On that trip, I would also love to be in Nome for the finish, but air fares to that remote town are crazy, so I’ll probably settle for Anchorage, and Willow only. No, definitely not doing the race!

OK, video time. The song not only mentions something that actresses need to do (see the title), it also mentions ‘Baby’ in the song, and also has a line about flying high and proud, which seems suitable for the dog race. Oh, and I love the song!

The last modern day blog?

Before anyone starts to panic, no this isnt the last one, honest it isnt, but I want to be silly, one last time before I hit 60, and as a concept title, and a play on the video, it works perfectly, so…

Yes, tomorrow, I hit 60, and officially, as far as some places see it at least, I become a senior citizen. Strictly, at time of writing, its 4 hours to go, but in a strict sense, its about 18 and a half hours yet, as I was born somewhere around 2.30 in the afternoon, I was told. But yes, as far as the records state, just 4 hours!

In a sense at least, I’m actually winding the years back tomorrow, to about minus 30! Flapper babe, dont you know, darlings! oh fine, its an act, its a role, but if I could…

I must admit, short term at least, I’d love to go back, for a week or so at least, and live life as Clara did in the late 1920’s. Or even the early 1930’s, as long as she provided me with her dancing skills! Yes, and of course I want to be her age, so I can have all that fun, darlings! Wouldnt that be the Cats Whiskers! So all I need is a mad scientist, with a rejuvenation machine, and a time travel portal, and then…?

I wonder what it would be like, if it happened? I guess so much depends on whether I then remembered this life, or not? If I didnt, and was left a young, pretty lady, in the late 20’s, with good dancing skills, in Hollywood, or Broadway, I could probably make a pretty decent living! Clara seems to have done OK, lets face it!

Might be weirder if I remembered modern life as well, trying to get by without the blessings of internet, long distance flights, and the like! I guess if it was only for a week, I’d survive, but if it was forever? I guess I’m guilty of getting used to the benefits of modern life, even if I do still avoid ownership of cell phones whenever possible.

Oh, on the latter, I’ve had orders, due to my health issues, from tomorrow onwards (assuming I dont find said mad scientist, and get whisked back to the 1920’s, as a young woman), I will own one. Mainly because as it has been pointed out to me (by several people) that given my health issues, I really ought to have one, in case of emergencies, if nothing else. Of course, if you look at pictures, it looks like some of those stars of the past had phones…

Fine, I’m sure they’re compacts, but at first glance…? 😉 So fine, maybe it wouldnt be out of place in 1928 lol?

So yes, if a mad scientist, or someone else turns me into a young, pretty, all dancing talent Clara Johnson lookalike tomorrow, and finds me that time travel portal, then this might be the last blog you ever see. But lets face it, the chance of that is about 0.0000000001% lol! But, I can dream…?

OK, the video. This video is quite something, almost Kraftwerk like in style. Sadly, they pretty much had a couple of hits, and that was it!

A softly, sighing lament

No, not a real blog, just something I wanted to post for obvious reasons, and cant do justice on the day, as I will be working.

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the date in 1937 when Jean Harlow last lived on this planet, and obviously I want to remember it.

Despite all the stories, and there are plenty, she died of kidney failure, and back then in 1937, there wasnt a thing that could be done. 10 years later, early dialysis, and transplants might have saved her, but that at that point, was not possible.

Oh, the other story that needs quashing, her mother did arrange medical staff to look after her, there was just nothing they could do.

Rest in peace, Baby, as you’ve done for 80 years now

xxx

The number 1 actress all over heaven, and it might not be Harlow?

Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…

As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.

After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.

No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.

So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.

Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.

Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?

After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!

Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…

A group of actresses

Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like a firm of solicitors!

In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.

I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?

In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.

There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.

Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!

The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…

I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!

The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.

So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.

The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.

Only in my imagination?

I suppose its fair to say that however minor an actress you might be, and I am pretty minor, especially nowadays, you always dream of getting that big break. Yes, the one linked to Hollywood is the movies, but in truth, given the way they make movies nowadays, with all that CGI and everything, it appeals to me less than TV, or Theater would, in truth. But yes, if you’re going to Hollywood, the dream that some studio is going to take you off the street, and make you a star, well, it was prevalent in the 20’s, and 30’s at least.

There is a well told story that Jean Harlow got her big break, albeit only in bit parts, was when she was dropping off a friend in her car, and got invited to an audition. The rest, as they say is history, though it was 2 or 3 years before the opportunity to be more than a bit actress came along.

Sadly for me, I have absolutely no idea how my past life self, Clara Johnson took that first step into acting. But given she arrived in LA in 1925, its quite possible she just joined the corp of bit part actors, working where she could, or its possible that she was spotted, invited in to said group, and just never went further than bit part acting, and chorus line dancing. I suspect back then that even that provided a decent, if not excessive lifestyle, hopefully at some point I can find out more, by one means or another.

Lets say I’ve tried twice before to be plucked off the streets of Hollywood, and offered work in small roles, and it hasnt happened. Fine, the fact I’m in my late fifties, and Harlow was 16, and Clara was 20, might play a part in that! But one thing I can try to do again, is at least be on TV, as part of an audience. Both trips previously, I’ve applied for tickets to go to the Jimmy Kimmel recordings, and not had any success. Anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I’ve tried again today, for both him, and the James Corden recordings. Whether I have any more success, who knows, but I’ve tried. Yes, I’d love to be being interviewed about LGBT issues, and my hopefully revived acting career, but not going to happen, lets face it.

But yes, now I know, just once (and ideally more) I’d like to let my inner Clara come out, and appear on stage, or more, just somewhere in the US. Ah well…?

Right, video time. A little glorious bit of 80’s doo wop for you. Sadly for us, and for him, this group arent on the retro circuit, as the lead singer suffers from MS nowadays. Rocky, you are sadly missed from music.