Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Caricatures Then and Now

Once upon a time (or a Russian) caricature artists, trained classically, offered fluid pen and ink lines. Here's an example: Julie (and company) immortalized before the opening of "Once There was a Russian," co-starring Walter Matthau and Albert Salmi.

The old-fashioned "flattering" heterosexual brand of caricature is now so old-fashioned it doesn't even exist.

The idea is to mix things up, bend the gender, and go for outrage. And then, as RuPaul would phrase it, "sashay away," leaving nothing but admiring gasps.

One of Julie's idols in the world of caricature is "RISKO," who dares to take conventional music and scare something unique out of it. BOO!

You didn't know Julie had pale blue icy eyes? A squidgy nose that resembles Sam "Gunga Din" Jaffe? That her mouth looks like she was eating a pint of strawberries too fast? Well, that's the NEW look, and it's bright and bold, and so clearly captures Julie Newmar.

Or does it? Well, the same artist should not be restricted to just one view.

Another conventional view of women is that they have breasts. That's a bit 20th Century isn't it?

The fact is, if a woman can be a super hero, maybe she has the same chest development as a male? That would be squared pectorals, and a flat behind. Scary? Well, that's the way caricature works. It shakes things up! BOO!

Both of the above are capturing Julie in "super hero" mode, because fans love it. This is especially true of the rabid ones who bark and pant and race over to Facebook to say "You were the BEST CATWOMAN." Their cuteness needs to be rewarded.

However, there's another side to the actress. The garden side. But again, there's no reason to be traditional about it, and shoot for any kind of glamour approach, as the Daily News artist did in promoting "Once There Was a Russian."

With full use of color, and a refusal to accept traditional proportions of heterosexual beauty, here's Julie in a shapeless dress, traditional old lady gray hair, raisin-drooped eyes, and a doleful camel-like pout, although the chin is more moose-jaw than camel jaw. The result is completely original, and can define only one caricaturist's style!

The Margo Feiden Gallery might not even exist anymore (the place where people used to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a New York Times lithograph of one of their famous caricatures. There never WAS a gallery for the Daily News item you see up top. But on the Internet, the challenging world of caricature is available all over, and open to anyone who wants to be unconventional when it comes to what beautiful women look like, or what the human body should or shouldn't resemble. Some aren't so sure about all of this (there are some that don't like graffiti, or even question why RuPaul and his fellows appear in "woman face" when there's no longer "yellow face" or "blackface" anymore. Still, art is very much in the eye of the beholder. In fact, now that there's Photoshop, people can download and alter the art to suit their own perspective. Yes, that's another challenge, but the art world is always enthusiastic about being stood on its ear. Just ask Van Gogh.

Fortunately, "Social Media" at this level doesn't matter

Here's a friendly "Social Media" post that alerts fans that if they meet Julie, or perhaps some other celebrity, it's ok to put your hand on her. Why? Because she's so desperate and insane and horny she'll respond by kissing your neck.

"Social Media" is also where people think that somebody being polite might lead to fame. A book contract, perhaps? If you can name-drop a star and give a public thanks, surely every book company in America will have a rep breathlessly asking for a copy of the manuscript.

NOT...to worry.

In the industry (ie, the business) we know what "SOCIAL MEDIA" means, in BOLD LETTERS.

It doesn't mean Facebook.

It means TWITTER, and it means A DAILY VIEWERSHIP OF A MILLION OR MORE.

What high-powered managers and agents want is for their client to always have THOUSANDS of "likes" for any comment, and a guarantee that every comment will be be viewed by MILLIONS of people.

If that doesn't happen, "it's not happening."

It's a testament to what are uncharitably called "the D-listers" that they aren't ruled by numbers, and aren't worried by the Mark David Chapmans of the world. OR worried by "what people think" when they either waste their time posting to a teeny, teeny, tiny audience, or seem to have unlimited time in responding and commenting to people who a) are not in the industry and so therefore b) do not matter.

What's the point then? The little bond between the sad and lonely fan and the star who, in a Disney dream come true, actually shines down and seems to even give a special little sparkly hello.

The high powered agent or manager might knock off a bizarre photo and comment that makes his client seem too accessible, a bit desperate, or borderline nuts, but in the little world of Facebook, everyone knows that "she kissed me on the neck" or "she liked my story" doesn't mean passion or Hemingway.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Newmar RETRO News - Trumpet Voluntary, 1956

"It's good publicity!"

BACK IN THE DAY, publicists would do anything to get coverage in one of the half-dozen (or more) daily big city papers.

Always surefire, was "get a pretty girl to promote it." Like, the Randalls' Island Jazz Festival.

Who cares about that? How many readers know or care about who Don Elliot is? We're a busy newspaper, why should we promote some bunch of guys playing jazz on Randalls' Island?

Wait...wait...let's get JULIE NEWMAR to hold a trumpet! Give some other babe a french horn. Point drumsticks at some other starlet. NOW you've got a picture....

THIS PICTURE:

This shot ran in THE JOURNAL, and maybe it caused a few people to run to Randalls' Island, hoping a few of the girls would be there.

Julie was the star of this trio, only a few months away from her debut in "Li'l Abner," and already a cover girl with several film credits (including the "golden girl" in "Serpent of the Nile."

Ms. Nickel (french horn) was somewhere in the cast of Roz Russell's "Auntie Mame." Trivia fans might note that Lynn Dollar, decoration on "$64,000 Question," began to get serious. A mere year after this photo was taken, she won the position of weather girl at WRCA-TV.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

R.I.P. RIP

Rip Taylor.

He first achieved fame as "The Crying Comedian," doing an act that included "woe is me" one-liners that were punctuated with mock hysterics and tears. Ed Sullivan loved him, and booked him often.

He even issued an odd single, "How Does It Feel?" which had him chuckling to an ex who has endured a breakup. "Does it hurt? Heh heh. Are you blue? Ha ha ha." Chorus: "How does it feel now that it's happened to you?"

Not exactly "I Wanna Be Around," but...sort of Tony Bennett on helium.

Perhaps a few Demento trivia fans would put it on the same warped shelf as Allen Swift's cover of "Are You Lonesome Tonight," which, more in the Taylor-made vein, has him breaking out into comical sobs and rages.

We all know what happened after a while: Rip Taylor morphed into the zany, confetti-throwing kind of desperate sight gags and outrageous one-liners, his wild eyebrows matched by his mountainous wig, which made him look quite a bit like Frank Morgan's doorkeeper character in "The Wizard of Oz."

When I was editing RAVE ("the Playbill of comedy clubs") I had the good fortune to sit in with Rip as he guested on the Alan Colmes radio show, and then walk around midtown with him afterward. He was kindly, fun, and a great guy.

Julie's main connection with Rip Taylor was co-starring in a sketch with him for the hour-long "Minsky's Follies," which was released on VHS by RKO Video.

Here's Julie at a little "memorial" to Rip, with some of Taylor's friends. In the purple, to the left of Julie, is the Laugh-In legend Joanne Worley.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Noisy Leaf Blowers - YES, a BAN is POSSIBLE

Noise annoys. Julie called attention to the problem several years ago, but in this "PC" age, there was backlash. Huh?

It seemed that some were defending the noisy leaf blowers because they were being wielded by "people of color," and many were pitiful poor immigrants. Should they have to go back to using old-fashioned rakes, as people all over the world have used for hundreds of years?

The facts are that most of the leaf blowers are owned by, guess who, home owners. They have enough money for a home and a garden, and they're just plain lazy. Some get a thrill out of making noise; probably the same people who love to ride motorcycles through quiet suburbs on a Sunday morning. Those that employ gardeners, which include very rich people in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, pay very good wages.

At this point, we're seeing...what, the turning over of a new leaf? Here's an article from a recent issue of THE ATLANTIC. It's from Jame Fallows: "GET OFF MY LAWN: How a small group of activists (our correspondent among them) got leaf blowers banned in the nation's capital.

Here's the URL

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/04/james-fallows-leaf-blower-ban/583210/

HERE'S A DIRECT LINK TO THE ARTICLE on LEAF BLOWERS The articles starts this way:

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

But would they have anything GOOD to say about him?

A slight mis-communication in the booking...

Saturday, September 28, 2019

This just in from the mental hospital....

Most of Julie's contemporaries, including Ruta Lee, Jackie Joseph, Angie Dickinson, Dawn Wells, Barbara Feldon, Diana Rigg, Terry Moore and Diane McBain, either are not on Facebook at all, or post nothing but a photo once in a while or a reminder that photos are available for purchase.

Julie will give a lot more, including delving into politics. Sometimes this gets some dangerously snarky comments from people on the other side of the issue, but that's balanced by some charming off-topic cries of love and devotion.

Someone gets out of a mental hospital and first thing, posts a love letter on a thread about Trump? That's something.

Give the guy credit for openly stating that he's a mentally ill Julie Newmar fan. Further down on the thread? Some people who would tell you they are perfectly sane. They have people "liking" what they've written, too.

There's a lot of "positive energy" on Facebook.

People are positively sure that what they post is not going to raise a red flag. It's all "communication." Every picture tells a story, and every comment paints a picture, too.

If you're not on Facebook yet, get in on the fun.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

TWO WORDS: FORTY BUCKS - Sex Advice goes for less

It's always a bit baffling what sells on eBay and for how much.

The latest in the world of Julie Newmar?

A simple file card with Julie's autograph on it went for $40.

Some people don't know Julie has a dot.com and a personalized signed photo can be had for not much more?

Selling for less was a full letter from Julie.

How is that possible?

Some autograph collectors prefer 3x5 cards. Their fetish is to have a neat little metal box to file their items. Anything that isn't 3x5 won't be purchased.

On Facebook, fanboys often try to get a celebrity's attention. Aside from "liking" any remark or any photo that is posted, the fanboy will post an inane question: "What beach was that photo taken at?" "What brand of lipstick were you wearing in that picture?" "You filmed that on location on New York? I'm in Asbury Park, only 4 hours away. Next time you're in New York leave a message on my page and I'll drive in and treat you to lunch!"

This type of thing is usually ignored. But when somebody takes the time to send in a fan letter and asks a desperate question or seeks advice, he might...MIGHT...get lucky.

Don't strain your eyes.

"Jim" on September 22, 1983 (why, a mere 36 years ago) asked Julie what characteristics turn her on in a man. Her reply:

"The characteristics that turn me on most in a man, only its hard to explain, is the ability to communicate and listen, and communicate how one realy is, and to be able to hear how the other person really is. That's all."

One hopes that this helped Jim out. How the letter came into the position of an auction house, one can only speculate.

The auction included a signed picture of Julie and James Mason from the film version of "Marriage-go-Round." I can only add one piece of trivia from personal experience: James Mason was a cat man!

Julie was not yet "The Catwoman," but James Mason was always a "cat man." I only met the man once, and it was at a cat show. Wearing a fedora and a bright colored fuzzy sweater, he was among the thousands attending a combination cat judging show and cat-product display held at a now-defunct convention center on 59th Street. He showed pure delight in beholding every different breed in each cage, taking a lot of time to admire each animal.

He was not with a lady friend (I was, so we had other things to do besides glom James Mason). Perhaps he found a new companion at the show? A cat he named KATRIN after Julie's character in the film? Maybe he noticed a young kitten and pronounced, "A Star is Born!"

Lastly, who knows why this item fetched $200. It probably is a combination of being a rare "high grade" trading card from an old set of Batman art AND having Julie's autograph on it. It's always a bit comical when Julie's asked to sign a comic book featuring a Catwoman that doesn't look like her, or that Funko "Catwoman action figure" with the square head that doesn't even look like a human. Just a reminder...you can get FOUR signed and personalized 8x10's of Julie in various Catwoman poses (and many others) at JulieNewmar.com!

True Love is Greater than Trump

In the world of gays "witch" can be an epithet applied to a man. Julie's got a very strong gay cult following, so it's not a surprise she'd ding dong a "WITCH IS DEAD...nearly" on Donald Trump.

A lot of guys got a special snicker and chortle over Catwoman calling Mr. "Gray the Pussy" a WITCH.

Is it dangerous to talk politics on social media? A lot of Trump's supports, who love his rude and arrogant bullying, instantly posted their chiding and insults. A lot of others cheerfully wrote "You're right, Julie!" and hoped a 2/3 majority will send Trump packing.

Then again, any post is going to be an excuse for a sudden overboard attention-grabbing declaration of devotion.

As for the response photo, it's hard to read the face of a plush animal, and know for sure if the feeling is one of confusion, agreement, or "somebody needs to be on stronger meds."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Genius I.Q. and The Great Unknown

Julie has collected a lot of Einstein quotes, but why stop there?

All seriousness aside (as Steve Allen used to say), it's a bit of a surprise that Einstein didn't go the cryogenic route. After all, whose head is better off frozen and possibly thawed one day, his dome, or Ted Williams?

I was told that my I.Q. test ranks me in the 98th percentile of the country.

It's a bit depressing to think there are six million people smarter than me in America. It's six million isn't it? What percentage voted for Trump?

I'm not sure I counted right. You can be close to a genius and still have problems with math. You can also be a genius and not be able to play a Chopin etude. Or paint.

Julie can play a Chopin etude. She can paint. She is the ultimate combination of brains and beauty. Did Einstein play the piano and paint? Or get a Tony Award while speaking in a Swedish accent and wearing nothing but a towel?

I only know one anecdote about Einstein, and it was told to me by my good friend Theodore Gottlieb. He performed on stage and in films as "Brother Theodore."

Theodore managed to get out of Dachau and make his way to America thanks to Einstein, who was a family friend.

Theodore's anecdote:

Einstein was at a party in New Jersey, and it was filled with the usual guests who wanted to get their chance to meet The Great Man. Some offered compliments, but one grand dame shook his hand, and said, "Oh Professor Einstein, please answer a question for me. Is there life after death?"

Einstein said, "How the hell should I know?"