Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Do Not Make Fun of Stroke Victims--Mostly.

Remember me as Spartacus, dammit!

Several people seemed to think that I was making fun of Kirk Douglas yesterday in my review of Sunday's Academy Awards.

That was certainly not my intention but I did enjoy being called "snarky," so thank you. Oh, now hold on...WHAT? They're telling me snarky isn't a good thing....what the heck?

Actually, I love Kirk Douglas. Growing up, watching old movies galore with my movie-obsessed mama, he was a favorite of ours.

Although he was actually older than my mother, she did reserve her true passions for the matinee idols of her younger years: Clark Gable. Gary Cooper, Fredric March, John Garfield....even a young and dewy Henry Fonda. She was very old school.

 She taught me to love movies. And their stars.
My mother had....
...good taste, no?

Old movies were on the screen of our black and white constantly when I was a kid. We'd scan the TV page in the Daily News and mark them in red crayon so we wouldn't miss them. There was no cable on-screen programming that you young whippersnappers enjoy today. In fact not only did we have to rise from our seats to adjust the volume but we had to wait for the set to warm up. Even I--Dinosaursus Susanicus--had forgotten that. It took about less than a minute but seemed like an eternity as we waited for the picture to appear.

The movies themselves, with Jean Harlow's tortured eyebrows and Marlene Dietrich's menacing sex appeal were, even in the 60's and 70's, distinctly of a bygone era. Yet "Dirty Harry" movies are as far away, on the timeline, from me today as those were when I was a kid.

The movies we enjoyed then (catch 'em on cable channels today) were casually referred to as "old." I never refer to Clint's 60's and 70's filmography, or any others from that period, as "old."
Dig those crazy eyebrows.

But maybe that's just me---perspective is a strange lens through which to peer, ain't it?

Movies were our hobby. And Kirk Douglas, in his broad-shouldered 50's suits or period costumes, was always a highlight. 

Often, we'd would take the train to the Regency Theater on the west side of Manhattan and sit for hours in the dark enjoying the revivals that movie house was famous for.

We'd enter in the daylight and emerge after dark, giddy and starving because the budget only included the price of admission, not the snacks. 

Afterward,we'd walk to a cafeteria on Broadway called Hector's and eat hot turkey sandwiches because the carts, being pushed back to their garages by the outstretched arms of vendors--heads down in effort--were trundling home from their corners about then.

It was too late for our favorite dinner--dirty water dogs and a rubbery pretzel eaten on the street, white geodes of salt decorating our collars as we ate.

My question about Kirk, is why they thought bringing him out in that condition was any way to honor his legacy and his work. 

Yes, he's a legend and, clearly, a survivor but allow his legacy to be the thrilling vision of him as Spartacus the Roman slave or the fine actor who portrayed Vincent Van Gogh in the great "Lust for Life." Or even the glittering Hollywood "playa" he was in his sexual heyday. Not the leering performing seal he is encouraged to be in front of a nervously smiling crowd in the Kodak Theater.

Also, it's not my style, typically, to make fun of old people and certainly not stroke victims. Unless, of course, fictional older stroke victims count. If any of you saw Anthony Hopkins in "Legends of the Fall" after his character had a stroke and took to wearing a small chalkboard around his neck and dragging his leg, I dare you not to laugh.

I also tend to make fun only of older people I know, especially if they're dead.Take my grandfather. He used to chew clear broth and melted ice cream, for the love of God. How can you not make fun of that??

Also, may I point out---digging stem cells out of Kirk's epic, bottomless cavern of chin cleft with an iced tea spoon is a lot funnier than what they really used--a knitting needle. Now that's gross.
If you don't laugh at this, you are officially a saint.

1 comment:

  1. Don't feel bad love, I laghed at a girl who fell down the stairs yesteray. Not in front of her of course, but all day afterward.

    You have to find humor in tragedy to make it through life! Weather that tragedy is the loss of shockingly good looks to time or the tragedy of not being smart enough to watch where your going and nosediving down some steps.