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Arbitrary

Well, it’s not really an Arbitrary But Fun Friday, because there’s no “what’s your favorite Christopher Walken cameo” or “what’s your favorite Led Zeppelin time signature” question.  It’s just arbitrary.  But because mds fears, in comment 28 of this thread, that I have acquired a License to Slack, I know I have to put up something for the weekend.  Even though Jamie’s school year ended on Wednesday, and he has no summer camp this year (the local Y graciously grandfathered him in for four years, allowing him to attend a camp whose age limit was 12), which—as you will see next week—affects my blogging-and-working schedule in predictable ways.

So, here is today’s arbitrary and yet world-historically important insight, gleaned from a largely pointless perusal of YouTube the other day.  I have decided that Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D., the Nowhere Man of Yellow Submarine (voiced by Dick Emery), owes a great deal to the clown in the Twilight Zone episode “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” (played by Murray Matheson), a/k/a Pirandello-meets-Toy Story.  Discuss.

Or talk about any other Twilight Zone episode you care to name.  The series as a whole hasn’t aged very well, to be sure (and my goodness, what a lot of ham it contained!  beginning with that Shatner fellow!), but it was kinda influential in some ways, after all, and a couple of the episodes (like “To Serve Man” and “It’s a Good Life") really are Classic in that pop-culture way.  And I loved it when I was 12 or 13.  (Hey, maybe I haven’t aged very well.) My own favorite:  “The Arrival.” Why?  Just because.

Posted by on 06/19 at 12:15 PM
  1. Burgess Meredith breaking his glasses.

    Posted by Ken Houghton  on  06/19  at  02:15 PM
  2. Arbitrarily,

    “To Serve Man” and “Time Enough at Last” (the Burgess Meredith broken glasses episode) are my faves for sure--anyone who wears glasses has had that nightmare.

    “A Stop at Willougby” (Mad “Ad” Man chooses a new, odd stop on the commuter train) and “The Midnight Sun” (an early global warming horror tale) are also amusingly nightmarish, in different ways.

    Posted by  on  06/19  at  02:45 PM
  3. "Twenty Two” was doubly creepy to me because I had first heard its tagline, “room for one more, honey,” on a Bongwater album.

    Posted by Russell60  on  06/19  at  02:53 PM
  4. I’m arbitrarily departing from Twilight Zone to express my lasting fondness for the Charlie Sheen/Lindsay Crouse movie, The Arrival. Aliens with reversible knee joints that let them jump super-high! The grand unifying explanation of global warming: the aliens are terra-forming the earth and making the whole thing hot for themselves! Creepy scorpions on the prowl! Anti-truth honchos at NASA, presaging the Bush administration’s hopes and dreams!

    Posted by Orange  on  06/19  at  03:00 PM
  5. Well - I’d have to say my life-long revulsion for clowns has been vindicated.

    The ballerina, hobo and Major seem real enough, but that is No True Scotsman!

    Captcha:  Zipper - that seems somehow appropriately arbitrary.  Though Zippy would have been better.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  06/19  at  03:19 PM
  6. But because mds fears, in comment 28 of this thread,

    Thereby linking back to the important Children of Garcetti post.  Well played, sir.

    “what’s your favorite Christopher Walken cameo”

    That red wax one with him facing left while wearing the corona graminea for putting an enemy army to flight using only a cowbell.

    The grand unifying explanation of global warming: the aliens are terra-forming the earth and making the whole thing hot for themselves!

    Wait, so a Charlie Sheen / Lindsay Crouse movie, which shares the name of an unrelated episode of The Twilight Zone, cribbed its plot from an episode of The Superfriends?  I think I’ll go lie down now.

    Posted by  on  06/19  at  03:35 PM
  7. So it’s mds’s fault that The Important Children of Garcetti Post is being pushed off the front-page? Typical.

    Posted by  on  06/19  at  05:24 PM
  8. I’m arbitrarily departing from Twilight Zone to express my lasting fondness for the Charlie Sheen/Lindsay Crouse movie, The Arrival. Aliens with reversible knee joints that let them jump super-high! The grand unifying explanation of global warming: the aliens are terra-forming the earth and making the whole thing hot for themselves! Creepy scorpions on the prowl! Anti-truth honchos at NASA, presaging the Bush administration’s hopes and dreams!

    And Ron Silver, pbuh, as an alien!  He used to be a Democrat, but after he became an alien, he was really outraged by the coverup of Roswell.  A most entertaining movie, all around.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/19  at  06:12 PM
  9. Michael, are you implying that the reason the Bush administration tried to squelch scientific freedom is that they were extraterrestrial aliens hell-bent on destroying the planet? Because that makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it.

    Posted by Orange  on  06/19  at  06:18 PM
  10. The non-scifi episode “Jeopardy Room” (with Martin Landau) has always been my favorite.

    Posted by BrianK  on  06/19  at  06:42 PM
  11. William Shatner may be one of the finest actors of his generation. Along with Dennis Hopper.

    Ham? Phooey

    captcha “support” as I’m on my way to my Boston Legal Withdrawal Support Group right now.

    Posted by  on  06/19  at  08:58 PM
  12. Michael, are you implying that the reason the Bush administration tried to squelch scientific freedom is that they were extraterrestrial aliens hell-bent on destroying the planet?

    Yes.

    Also, they had reversible knee joints that enabled them to make extraordinary interpretive leaps in reading the Constitution.  After all, you can’t come up with a theory of the unitary executive unless you can jump really high.

    William Shatner may be one of the finest actors of his generation. Along with Dennis Hopper.

    Ham? Phooey

    Oh, good, an Arbitrary argument!  Shatner is almost sui generis in this respect:  no one, not even Robert Goulet, has scored higher than he in the Late-Career-Comeback-Tongue-in-Cheek-Self-Awareness category.  The point, of course, is that it’s unfair to use Late Shatner to vindicate Early/ Mid Shatner, because Late Shatner is predicated precisely on the excesses of Early/ Mid Shatner.  See Shatner, William, ”Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (1968).

    But Elliot, I dare you to watch this episode without cringing at the ham content, especially in the final 4-5 minutes.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/19  at  11:13 PM
  13. So it’s mds’s fault that The Important Children of Garcetti Post is being pushed off the front-page? Typical.

    Oh, now it is on, math man.  Cowbells and broken eyeglasses at mumble paces.  Inside a hallucinatory aircraft.

    I dare you to watch this episode without cringing at the ham content

    Again with the kashrut?

    Posted by  on  06/19  at  11:43 PM
  14. Love love luv TYS. Made sure my daughter saw the video at nearly a 1:1 Disney ratio during those formative-window years.
    Resemblance of J.H. Boob, Ph’d to the TZ clown is indeed remarkable; good call.

    Posted by  on  06/19  at  11:55 PM
  15. i liked it when christopher walken showed up in misty mountain hop.

    oh, wait, i think i misunderstood the question.

    best twilight zone episode that was never on the twilight zone was a recent dr. who episode called “midnight” where the doctor was taking a vacation on the planet midnight, taking a land-rover (w/other tourists) across hostile terrain to see the crystal caves.  the land-rover is attacked by an unseen alien force, the tourists spend the time becoming more panicked, as they realize the alien may have taken over one of their own.  they eventually decide it’s the doctor and want to throw him out of capsule to certain death (tho we assume otherwise).  it’s very rod serling/the monsters are due on maple street, and indeed is a closed room/paranoia type mystery.

    Posted by skippy  on  06/20  at  12:10 AM
  16. sorry, forgot the link!  midnight.

    Posted by skippy  on  06/20  at  12:11 AM
  17. Arbitrary, or perhaps only semi-arbitrary, feeding off comment #6 in the previous thread ("FYI") where Poicephalus expressed a desire to discuss “Lettermangate”: Here’s Sam Seder on the ground interviewing the outraged masses few

    It’s a short video, but if you’re in a hurry jump to 2:34.

    captcha: serious, as in, you can’t possibly be.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  01:59 AM
  18. Actually, I love most of the Twilight Zones and believe they continue to be powerful and relevant.  I think if we watch them too many times, we take the episodes for granted.

    I find particularly powerful, more than I did at 13 or 14, those episodes exploring themes of thirty something and forty something men who detest their jobs and wonder about an idealized past.  One that comes immediately to mind is where the businessman ends up back in time to see himself as a child--and where the businessman’s father scolds the businessman to leave his boyhood self alone and face life in his time.  The Willoughby episode alluded to above explores another aspect of that theme.  And it is doubly ironic because those of us who cannot escape our jobs due to technology, speeded up work requirements, etc. recall with nostalgia the simple days of those men’s work days…

    There is another episode not remarked upon hardly at all, a one hour episode, that should be required viewing for every CEO.  It is about a CEO of a real estate investment company who screws over his final partner and wishes he could have screwed all his partners over from the beginning.  He then gives the usual Republican-Cato Institute speech to a lowly janitor about hard work and how he deserves so much money compared to the janitor.  Then, after hours, as he is leaving his office, out pops Julie Newmar as the Devil (she is radiant as usual!) and gives him his wish.  Except this financial oriented guy screws himself because, when he goes back in time and buys the land himself, he failed to realize he had to hold the land for 20 more years until the oil deep beneath the surface could be extracted.  His would be (no longer) partners laugh at his stupidity, proving that they had brought something to the business table, an understanding of technology among other things.  It also shows they were jerks too, as our first impression of the last partner screwed over in the beginning of the episode was that he was a nice fella.

    In any event, now having spent all his money and unable to secure financing because nobody wants to invest in oil too far deep underground in the 1920s, he ends up giving the deed to the property to a lowly young man as he is now desperate for money.  He then yells for Newmar and she grants him his other wish, which is to return to the “present.” When he does, HE is the janitor and the lowly young man turns out to have been the janitor--and is now the CEO.  And of course, we get the same Republican-CATO Institute speech from the former janitor-CEO.

    I am quite surprised, Michael, that you are defensive about your feelings regarding The Twilight Zone.  Of course there are clunkers, but watch it on one of those holiday marathon days on Sci-Fi and perhaps with someone who is not familiar with the shows already, and watch their reaction.  These are powerfully written and directed stories.  The Zone remains for me the most amazing show ever on television, right up there with “The Prisoner” from the lamentably late Patrick McGoohan.

    Posted by Mitchell Freedman  on  06/20  at  09:08 AM
  19. Hey, Mitchell, I’m defensive about pretty much everything I liked when I was 12 or 13.  But really, I watched “The Shelter” last weekend and was disappointed.  As for Willoughby, I dunno—there are those episodes about 30 and 40something men deeply dissatisfied with their lives, and there’s also that episode of the kid who flees his bickering parents by disappearing into the swimming pool ("Bewitchin’ Pool,” the very last episode).  And all the time-travel variations, as well.  But I’ve never seen the one you mention here, and now that I’m going over the whole entire episode list on the Internets, I’m finding a bunch of good ones I’d forgotten about, like “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up” and of course “The Hitch-Hiker.” But “One for the Angels”?  “Mr. Dingle, the Strong?” “People Are Alike All Over”?  Not. Aging. Well.

    Still, was TZ better than most of the stuff on the teevee in the early 1960s?  No question.  And as for its influence, hey, without TZ’s “Little Girl Lost” we could never have had the world-historically mind-bending “Homer3,” the 3d Simpsons episode that closed ”Treehouse of Horror VI.”

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  10:09 AM
  20. Cowbells and broken eyeglasses at mumble paces.  Inside a hallucinatory aircraft.

    That sounds a lot like the climactic battle of Pixar’s Up.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  10:18 AM
  21. I like the episode where the bumbling middle-aged man returns from a week out of his home country to find that the laws had changed such the state could deny inmates access to DNA evidence, so long as the state provided procedures that allowed access to DNA evidence. You know, the one where those unpleasant Garcetti kids were running around the airport chanting “You will shut up and obey if you know what’s good for you.”

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  10:42 AM
  22. best twilight zone episode that was never on the twilight zone was a recent dr. who episode called “midnight”

    Hey, that’s a good point, Professor Bush Kangaroo!  That’s what that claustrophic set + people behaving badly under pressure reminded me of.  Very much a Twilight Zone vibe.  TZ could probably have also done something with the bare bones of “Fear Her” or “Blink” or “Father’s Day,” but “Midnight” genuinely resembles a superior homage… now that it’s been pointed out.

    And The Venerable Ed, thanks for the extremely soggy blanket.  Don’t forget the egregiously deliberate distortion of plain legislative intent in the age-discrimination case, either.  I will repeat my frequent plea: Is there no way to encourage Justice Kennedy to retire in order to spend more time with his ego?

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  11:17 AM
  23. I like the episode where the bumbling middle-aged man returns from a week out of his home country to find that the laws had changed such the state could deny inmates access to DNA evidence, so long as the state provided procedures that allowed access to DNA evidence.

    Oh, now we’re just talking crazy talk.  You wouldn’t even see a premise that loony on Outer Limits.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  11:40 AM
  24. Well, there’s also that really weird episode where a minority in the CA legislature, supported by a robot from the future, literally condemns people to death for no apparent reason. Good times!

    Captcha: “costs”, a.k.a., “waste, fraud and abuse”.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  01:03 PM
  25. pisodes not yet mentioned that I found memorable at the time were two classics, “The Eye of the Beholder” (the “pretty” woman in the land of pig-like people) and “The Invaders”, with Agnes Moorhead silently hamming it up for the whole show as a peasant woman fighting off miniature space invaders revealed at the end to be ... wait for it… US astronauts. So yes a bit predictable in its twists once you got the hang. (And I must say Michael, I watched “The Arrival” with two teens based on your recommendation and we were all saying, “If this is just going to be the investigator being delusional, it is teh lame”, so no accounting for tastes. Although I guess the multi-layered nature of the delusion is something.) One I only watched in recent years that I do like is “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” with a neighborhood turning on itself in fear.

    CBS actually has a good chunk of the episodes available for watching in higher quality than most of the YouTubes here. (Although there are commercials and you may need to turn off your ad-blocker for the site.)

    I will say that as a kid I found massively disquieting the episodes like the Burgess Meredith one where an individual seems to get massively punished (at least in my interpretation at the time) for displaying the slightest bit of hubris, arrogance, what-have-you. Watching them with a typical week’s worth of deceptions and youthful misdemeanors weighing on my conscience put the fear into me far more than any religious threat of judgment or hell. If I had died and heard Rod Serling’s voice, it would not have surprised me in the least.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  02:39 PM
  26. Well, there’s also that really weird episode where a minority in the CA legislature, supported by a robot from the future, literally condemns people to death for no apparent reason.

    Sheesh, The Venerable Ed and christian h. are hereby banned from the funeral of any member of the Pessimists’ Club.  They’d bring everybody down.

    Seriously, though, Constitutional Reform In California, and Kennedy Off the Court (CRICKOC).  Both SCOTUS and CA’s hodgepodgery are hurting too many people.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  03:14 PM
  27. And I must say Michael, I watched “The Arrival” with two teens based on your recommendation and we were all saying, “If this is just going to be the investigator being delusional, it is teh lame”, so no accounting for tastes.

    I’ll say!  I thought the way the narrative gradually unravels was fun.  But then again, maybe I’m just aging badly, because I haven’t seen it in almost 30 years.  Where did you get a hold of it?

    And when I was a young thing, “The Invaders” was one of my faves, too.  IIRC, 25 minutes without a word of dialogue.  Now that’s pushing the boundaries of TV-land.

    The Venerable Ed and christian h. are hereby banned from the funeral of any member of the Pessimists’ Club.  They’d bring everybody down.

    I’ll say!  This should be a happy time—let’s not bicker and argue about ‘oo keeps citing that line from MP and the Holy Grail.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  07:55 PM
  28. Happy time? It’s arbitrary Friday, not arbitrary but fun Friday. Now suddenly we are told to have fun anyway. Outrage! Oppression!! I’m being censored in my entirely reasonable views!!!

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  08:09 PM
  29. When the Sky Was Opened, Eye of the Beholder, and Obsolete Man penetrated deep into my memory when i was a pubescent teen in junior high school in 1959-1961.  There were so many episodes on the “dangers” of space travel during those early space exploration years.  When Spinrad published his collection of short stories in 1968 including “No Direction Home” the “Eye of the Beholder” was reiterated and normal never seemed normal again.  “Obsolete Man” was clearly a homage to Serling’s close friend Ray Bradbury; indeed many of the LA sci-fi community of that time provided stories and screenplays. 

    29.1-self stroking ego massage note: i attended All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills with Rod Serling.  My brother and i both often talked about how weird it would be if he did an episode about something really weird happening at church.  And yes, as soon as the service was over he lit a cigarette.

    29.28.ch: ABnF arbitrary and appropriate Grateful Dead reference: Yes the Grateful Dead provided new theme and some episode music for the Twilight Zone series of the mid-1980s.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  08:38 PM
  30. "When the Sky Was Opened” was great too.  I think I’m a sucker for episodes involving airplanes but not involving Shatner. 

    Just watched “Person or Persons Unknown” and “A World of Difference” on the YouTubes to refresh my memory of who I am.  Variations on a common TZ theme, and both of ‘em pretty good.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  09:47 PM
  31. Where did you get a hold of it?

    At the <a href="http://www.cbs.com/classics/the_twilight_zone/">CBS link I posted above. It is on the second page of Season 3 videos, episode 67. They have most of the more well-known ones.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  09:50 PM
  32. This link.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  09:52 PM
  33. Sheesh, The Venerable Ed and christian h. are hereby banned from the funeral of any member of the Pessimists’ Club.  They’d bring everybody down.

    I guess I will refrain from posting the bumbling middle-aged man’s reaction to the Froomkin news, also. Suffice it to say said bumbler is questioning why he bothered to return (to the homeland, not the blog comments).

    captcha: face, as in the music

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  10:18 PM
  34. Froomkin was a bad man.  He was a very bad man.  He kept having bad thoughts about Fred Hiatt and Deborah Howell.  You can find him in the cornfield if you like, V. Ed.  Is that what you want?

    Posted by Michael  on  06/20  at  11:28 PM
  35. I’d just like to assure Fred Hiatt of my unbridled admiration. How that man has changed the Post from an establishment newspaper into an establishment newspaper in a few years deserves nothing but praise. Together with the state-run media of Iran, Hiatt stands tall in the lonely defense of the status quo. Bravo! Bravo, I say!

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  11:39 PM
  36. Next day it snowed they published total BS on Iran, and killed off half their crops readership--but it was a good day at the Post.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  11:42 PM
  37. 36: Extended version here.

    Posted by  on  06/20  at  11:44 PM
  38. JP @ 31-32:  oh, that link.  The one you provided when you said, “CBS actually has a good chunk of the episodes available for watching in higher quality than most of the YouTubes here.” I really ought to read my own blog sometimes.

    Anyway, so:  just finished “The Arrival.” I still like it, because the allegedly delusional character whose delusions create the ghost-plane narrative doesn’t show up in the narrative until the plane has already landed, so it takes some work to focalize (pardon the barbaric narratological jargon) the narrative as being his interior monologue all along.  Either that, or Serling is just cheating, which is also possible.  Also, I like the way it implicitly incorporates “When the Sky Was Opened” as everyone in the hangar disappears.

    Still, you’re right—the whole thing winds up as a variation on “it was all a traumatic traum.” So now, 30 years later, I think one of my college-era girlfriends was right:  I said that “The Arrival” was the most unfathomable episode, and she insisted that “Shadow Play” was way more inscrutable.  Maria, if you’re out there somewhere, er, well, I don’t know how to say this, exactly, but, um, I was wrong.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/21  at  12:38 AM
  39. I found the episode about the CEO and janitor:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Late_I_Think_of_Cliffordville

    It was in season 4, where most if not all the hour long episodes aired.

    I would ask Michael, is there any show where looking back twenty or forty years where we don’t wince at some episodes?  I am even finding that Mary Tyler Moore’s show has some aging problems, for example, but still...It’s the Mary Tyler Moore show--Ted Baxter, Lou Grant, Sue Ann Nivens.  I mean, really!  Sue Ann Freakin’ Nivens!

    Posted by Mitchell Freedman  on  06/21  at  12:58 AM
  40. The cornfield, eh? Might not be too bad—is King Harvest coming?

    Posted by  on  06/21  at  07:43 AM
  41. is there any show where looking back twenty or forty years where we don’t wince at some episodes?

    Yes.  The Monkees. Sheer unadulterated genius in every episode—and they helped pave the way for imitators such as the Beatles.

    Seriously, the classics—MTM, Lucy—hold up pretty amazingly well whenever I catch them on the TV set.  What doesn’t age well in the TZ canon, I think, are all the one-act moralizers (like “The Shelter") that for some reason I associate with the great era of radio drama, and many of the Ye Olde O. Henry Twists (like “The Rip Van Winkle Caper").  The best of these, I admit, transcend the limitations of their genres:  “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” from the former, “To Serve Man” from the latter.  But I think there are more clunkers in there than there are in The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Still, now that I’ve spent a couple of hours with the series, refreshing some old memories, I think my initial judgment was a bit harsh, and my adolescent self was entirely right to say, 35 years ago, “whoa.”

    Speaking of Serlingiana, does anyone know the story “The Thirteenth Story”?

    Posted by Michael  on  06/21  at  09:19 AM
  42. and they helped pave the way for imitators such as the Beatles.

    The top movie on my Netflix queue right now is Head, which I’ve never seen. Got interested in it when I found a clip while cyberstalking early Teri Garr (she was also a dancer in a number of Elvis movies).

    Posted by  on  06/21  at  10:32 AM
  43. You got me on “The Thirteenth Story.” Don’t know it.  I thought it was the mannequin story, which is a wild one. 

    Still, thank you for revising your initial tough opinion.  I won’t try to tell you I still like even The Rip Van Winkle Caper, though admittedly not as much as To Serve Man.

    My final thought is this: The Twilight Zone gave us the ability to transcend at least a portion of the episodes that we first found profound in our youth or teen years.  It pushed the envelope of the genre of time travel, robots, good and evil and of the socially oriented stories in science fiction in general.  The show also changed the way we look at irony and deepened that sensibility so that we recognized it in life as well as in later screenplays or stories.  The way we even talk about the episodes we may no longer have that same thrill about shows us how deeply the episodes were wired into our minds.  Perhaps it is because they were individual shows, and not a continuing show like MTM, but that does not in my view explain enough.

    Thank you for a great discussion that was a nice diversion from my work today! Yes, Father’s Day, though I did spend some time with the family today, too…

    Posted by Mitchell Freedman  on  06/21  at  09:12 PM
  44. Perhaps one of the scariest of realizations on this second day of Summer 2009 (post Fathers’ Day) is being able to say i actually watched, at the very least, a part of all of these shows. And it was no better the first three or four years of the 60s either.  Only consolation was the arrival of color TV with larger screen sizes.

    Posted by  on  06/22  at  04:48 PM
  45. Head is Awesome! Jack Nicholson, Frank Zappa...oh, and The Monkees! Porpoise Song (the movie’s “theme") is, by light-years, the best Monkees track evar.
    Here ‘tis:
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xraeg_the-monkees-porpoise-song-from-head_music

    And should anyone doubt the hipness of the TV show:
    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=2699300

    Posted by  on  06/22  at  05:49 PM
  46. In the wayback machine of Sherman and Mr. Peabody (complete with a Bullwinkle sculpture on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood in 1970), i was motivated by circumstance to accept employment as the executive personal assistant for Ward Sylvester (CEO).  My graduate fellowship at UCLA didn’t quite cover the costs of the life to which i had become most comfortable, so for the only time in my 40+ year career of employment i worked for a corporation.  It was my first paid gig in helping produce rock-n-roll live performances, including such lovely acts as the Monkees, Bobby Sherman, the Partridge Family, etc.  Nothing that can be said about the quality of these performers can begin to express the absolute bizarreness of my time with them.

    Posted by  on  06/24  at  04:52 AM
  47. Nothing that can be said about the quality of these performers can begin to express the absolute bizarreness of my time with them.

    The writer of a sentence such as this one has a moral obligation to at least give a sampling, even if it is an anonymized one.

    Posted by  on  06/24  at  09:05 AM
  48. It will surprise no one here that I think this TZ episode is the most refulgent with meaning, in the usual “The Waltons"/Mahabharata mashup sense.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  06/24  at  01:03 PM
  49. For JP, who asked, i offer this brief synopsis.  BSE, later CES, in partnership with Screen Gems provided management and other duties for teen idol television stars of the 60s.  Essentially, i would arrive at work and receive a legal pad paper filled with the day’s agenda of my to dos which included everything requiring physical contact with the outside world for my boss (unless it was schmoozing with the industry elites, though i did get my share of that).  We helped arrange, construct, and produce public performances (as lame as opening supermarkets and interstates to large concerts) of the stars to their fans. 

    Now, keeping in mind the mass of fans were pre-tween-young teens whose idolization and ideation of these popsters was manufactured, for the most part by us (without TMZ and Perez, i would actually go into the offices of various Hollywood media and present the rumor or story, or confirm or deny same).  So our/my goal was to keep the public cash machine functioning while trying to hide the classic dirty laundry of drugs, alcohol abuse, sexcapades and sexual appetites, etc.  While we may remember the 60s for the psychedelics and hippies, most of Hollyweird was strung out on amphetamines, valium, and seconal mixed with large amounts of alcohol. 

    I also had to hide actual relationships (especially marriages) as well as the actual factual ages of some of the stars.  At times this wasn’t easy, nor unlike borderline pedophilia.  Keeping it anonymous, certain stars were much older than they were constructed to be perceived, and to see them being fondled and intimately but innocently touched by young fans was stressful in the least; and by much older we are talking 20 years beyond the ten and twelve year olds.  I got paid very well, but i was happy to get a TA job and leave after a couple of years. 

    Perhaps the one thing better about today (and probably just as bizarre behind the scenes in different ways) is that the popstars are generally more the same age, with the same interests and behaviors, as their loyal fans (teens for teens, tweens for tweens, preteens for preteens), except they also have huge draws from the much older weirder ones (Brittany anyone??).

    Posted by  on  06/25  at  11:04 PM
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