Friday, March 29, 2019

JULIE becomes JULIA thanks to..."DARK SHADOWS"

Just as Diana Rigg won new fans thanks to "Game of Thrones," some new blood will be dripping in Julie's direction thanks to..."Dark Shadows."

Yes, the vampire soap opera from the 60's is alive, and, well, the latest incarnation is on radio.

The last time Julie's expressive voice was part of spooky radio doings was a role in an episode of "CBS MYSTERY THEATER" in 1974.

Really scary stuff, kids. Julie even performed her part under somewhat eerie conditions...

Julie plays Julia Hoffman. On the original TV show, the late Grayson Hall played the part of the scientist who sought out vampire Barnabas Collins and, like Catwoman and Batman, developed an interesting love-hate relationship.

According to the website, which obsesses on all things "Dark Shadows," the producers of the radio version often thought of reviving the iconic character. Co-producer Joseph Lidster noted that there were several script ideas for bringing back Julia, but the question was who could play the role:

"“Julie agreed to read the scripts and we think she fell in love with the character. Trying to sum up Julie Newmar is pretty much impossible. She’s an actress/singer/dancer/writer/lingerie inventor/real estate mogul/gay rights campaigner and so much more, so we’re thrilled that she agreed to take on the role.”

"Dark Shadows : Bloodline" is going to be available both as a download and on CD. For more information:

The BIG FINISH website

Saturday, March 16, 2019

"You Are the Best Catwoman"

There are few things that are CERTAIN in this world.

One of them is that whatever Julie Newmar posts on Facebook, whether it's political, or a promotion for a gay artist or gay photographer or a gay pride parade, the response will have almost nothing to do with the subject.

It will be a shout out about how she's the best Catwoman.

Depending on whether it's 30 or 60 or 90 comments, there will be room for: "You were my first crush" and "Wow, what legs."

Another thing you can count on, is for gay artists to have hilariously insane ideas about how a woman's body is shaped and what is attractive about it.

Social media is a great way to spend the day.

Another fine thing that Facebook "friends" so, when they ignore the celebrity's statement and message, is post a picture of the celebrity. The thinking here is to show that no matter what the celebrity is trying to do, the celebrity will always be liked for something from the past. This is a comfort.

Also, in case the celebrity has forgotten what he or she looks like, familiar images are posted in place of any kind of intelligent remark.

Yes, ye, social media is a fine idea when you have time to kill.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

"Gay Interest"

Before the drag queen comedy "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" came out, Julie was not a "gay icon."

Her film roles made her an awesome symbol of female perfection...for men. Her first fame with "Stupefin' Jones," in "Li'l Abner." Men's magazines of the day featured her constantly, in "cheesecake" and "bathing beauty" poses from some of the most red-blooded heterosexual photographers of all time, including Bernard of Hollywood, Peter Gowland and Peter Basch.

Of course, she had a percentage of gay fans, but it was "To Wong Foo" that brought more gays (and heterosexual transvestites) to see that there were more women to sigh over and emulate than just Bette Davis, Judy Garland and Carol Channing. Unlike those women, who were almost caricatures of certain types of females, Julie's main distinction was her height. Tall men could become a Julie. Her voice was not ridiculous, like Bette's, Judy's or Carol's. No outlandish frocks. No bitter campiness or "Yellow Brick Road" vulnerability. Just height. But after the movie came out, rumors circulated that Julie was born male.

While Julie, beautiful as ever, continued to pose in lingerie and even ran a campaign to call attention to the fact that older women can still be active in the boudoir, the "To Wong Foo" element gained traction. She was asked to appear at Gay Pride Parades amid the outrageous drag queens and jeering leather boys in their backless outfits. Having a gay brother, she had every reason to be interested in gay rights. She once went to San Francisco to pick up an award at a screening of "To Wong Foo" and it was a gay audience. Gay artists began to draw bizarre caricatures of her.

One of them devised a mocking new character for her to play: "Pussy." This would be a take-off on Catwoman. A premiere of the artwork for this endeavor brought an all-gay crowd screaming with laughter.

While memorabilia shows and comic-con crowds continued to be mostly heterosexual, with their "Catwoman" fascination, the gay element continued to grow, and "gay icon" became a familiar way of describing Julie Newmar. It was certainly not the way her contemporaries, from Brigitte Bardot to Tina Louise were described. Gay photographers photographed her looking ghostly and mourning AIDS victims, and a gay fashion designer dressed her in bizarre outfits. Gay George Michael featured her among the drag queens in a rock video in which she played a jealous older model with jet black hair and anger in her eyes.

Even on Facebook, amid a few nostalgic older photos posed by hetero photographers for hetero viewers, the slant became more and more gay, with promotions of gay photographers and designers. So it wasn't that much of a surprise to note that on eBay, images of Julie now bear the "GAY INTEREST" tag. Sellers use it because gays have come to "surf" for that catch-phrase. "GAY INTEREST" could mean drag items, magazines such as Honcho, or "campy" nostalgia which some think must include Julie Newmar.

Here's an eBay dealer who makes part of his living doing cheap computer print-outs and mailing them to stars so they can autograph them and he can sell them. The gimmick for a dealer is to get bang for his postal buck, and send in a half-dozen different photos, as if he's SUCH a big fan, he needs a whole set for his wall. Another gimmick is to pretend to be a teacher: "Please sign these 8 pictures, as I will give one away each month to the student who has the best reading score." Another gimmick? Well, a dealer at a memorabilia show had a stack of Robert Stack photos for sale, and ALSO was selling the "hand signed letter" he received. The letter to the dealer said: "Here are the photos you asked me to sign. You sure have a lot of cousins."

Stack didn't disappoint. And Julie? One of the half-dozen or more print-outs included a label on the back, noting that she has autographed photos for sale on her website. Just in case the six free autographed ones weren't enough.

Here's a random bunch of the items the dealer has on eBay at the moment. Note the ONLY star with "GAY INTEREST" after her name:

To quote the Seinfeld show's catch-phrase, "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

When I began Julie's website years ago, and handled the e-mail (before she learned all the Internet ropes herself), I noticed the gay fans mirrored the gay population in general. Maybe one in ten. There was also a transsexual who enjoyed dressing up as Catwoman and even strolling around memorabilia shows while people took her picture, delighted by seeing a Catwoman as tall as Julie herself.

Today, the link between Julie Newmar and "gay interest" is much stronger, and she's affirmed it on Facebook. Why be concerned that this may turn off some who think "gay" means "pervert?" Those types need to be educated. Dropping away, too, are those who are insecure ("why do I like a woman GAYS like? I would never have attended a Judy Garland concert!") With the passing of Carol Channing, Julie is probably THE gay and drag icon for fans of Hollywood glamour.

"GAY INTEREST" as a selling tool for dupe-photo dealers? That's just another example of gay pride.