Thursday, January 8, 2009
Billy Ray Barnwell here, the late Wendy Bagwell who I told you about in an earlier chapter, I mean whom I told you about in an earlier chapter, I mean about whom I told you in an earlier chapter, thank you Mr. Morris, lived over in Smyrna before he went on to his great reward, I believe I already told you that, and so did Mr. Claude Akins of B-movie and early TV fame even though you might never have heard of either one of them and so did the great Julia Roberts who is a graduate of Campbell High School which isn’t there any more, gosh I wonder if any of them ever ran into Myrna and Verna and Horace Earl Triplett, I suppose it’s more likely that Horace Earl Triplett might have run into them, anyways getting back to what I was about to say, I guess every place tries to claim someone famous, for example right next door to Smyrna is Marietta Georgia where the famous country singer Travis Tritt and the famous I-don’t-know-what-he-is celebrity carpenter Ty Pennington both attended Sprayberry High School at the same time. Marietta also claimed actress Joanne Woodward in the dim distant past, and if you are reading this several years down the road and have no idea who any of these people are then it just proves that the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is true, and also sic transit gloria mundi, a Latin phrase which loosely translated means by the time Norma Desmond said “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” she was not only bonkers but had not been mentioned in the tabloids for a very long while. Somebody from my old hometown of Not Grapevine Texas went to Hollywood and gained fame and fortune way back in the 1940’s, her name was Ella Mae Morse, okay, so she may not have been up there with the likes of Virginia Mayo and Betty Hutton and Veronica Lake and Thelma Ritter but she did appear in several B-movies just like Smyrna’s Mr. Akins. I prolly shouldn’t talk about show-biz celebrities because they come and go so quickly, they flare up like a supernova and then they disappear altogether, they strut and fret their hour upon the stage and then are heard no more as Mr. William Shakespeare once said or maybe it was Mr. Christopher Marlowe, they pass off the scene and are forgotten, out out brief candle, for example there used to be a joke that would prolly be considered politically incorrect these days but I still think it’s funny, what’s black and white and has three eyes? and the answer was Mr. and Mrs. Sammy Davis Junior, this was way back when he was married to a blonde from Sweden named Mae Britt which is pronounced My Brit as the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Warfield Simpson might could have referred to the Duke, this was before he was married to Altovise, Sammy Davis Junior I mean, not the Duke of Windsor, and there was another joke that went did you hear about the guy who was half black and half Japanese?, every December 7th he attacked Pearl Bailey, well that’s enough of that, these put me in mind of the King of One-Liners, Mr. Henny Youngman, but there are people today who don’t know these names or they know them only because their local TV anchor person trots them out during Black History Month, not Henny Youngman of course, and that’s a crying shame, the part about their not knowing, not the part about Mr. Henny Youngman not being trotted out during Black History month, of course it works in the other direction too, for example I haven’t learned the names of most of today’s singers and actors either because they come and go so quickly, why even bother. Someone, not me, summed it up really well by coming up with The Five Stages Of An Actor’s Career, which are who is Hugh O’Brian?, get me Hugh O’Brian, get me a Hugh O’Brian type, get me a young Hugh O’Brian, who is Hugh O’Brian? and besides thinking A how that is right on the money and B the public can be really fickle, I bet some of you older readers are picturing Wyatt Earp right about now and some of you younger readers don’t have a clue as to why they would be doing that, for all I know you younger readers might be picturing J. Lo’s “spectacular derriere” as one weekly glossy magazine once referred to a part of the former Jennifer Lopez’s anatomy that has also disappeared thanks to the modern miracle of plastic surgery, which proves that although some things may be gone they are not always forgotten, and this is Billy Ray Barnwell signing off.