Thursday, June 20, 2019

"Whatever Happened To Baby Tina?" Goth Grimness Could be Good

Some "Catwoman" fans, who appreciate the comedy of the "Batman" show, and who take happy snapshots with a seemingly joyous Julie at memorabilia shows, are surprised by the grim portraits taken of her over the past few years.

One fan gave a "What's going on? Is that a hairstyle or mayonaisse?" on the latest highly stylized portrait. "Is their method to the madness?"

There might be. First off, not many women would dare pose opposite a photo taken over 50 years earlier. The years have been kind. Yes, onne image is soft, inviting, and passionate, while the other is severe, stark and grim, but roles for senior citizen actresses rarely involve sex appeal. Look at what Bette Davis did in her later years. So this type of photo serves as a reminder to casting directors that Julie could be hired for drama.

The black backgrounds are a trademark, apparently, underlining the last name of the photographer involved. The fact is, the happy "Batman" fan world is shrinking, but the gay and drag communities are not. Ever since "To Wong Foo," Julie's fan base has attracted more and more gays and drag queens.

At the same time, gay icons have disappeared; Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Joan Crawford, Carol Channing. It's a perfect opportunity for Julie Newmar, who has been in Gay Pride parades with her brother, and recently endorsed the only gay candidate for President, "Mayor Pete."

While Julie's forte has been comedy in the past, she recently voiced a character in the revived "Dark Shadows" radio soap opera. Face it, "The Good Witch" (Billie Burke) is not nearly as popular as the "Wicked Witch" (Margaret Hamilton). Gays who chortle over Joan Crawford in "Strait Jacket," Tallulah Bankhead in "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte," and the formidable Bette Davis in "The Anniversary," would LOVE to see Julie as a scary mommy. Women ARE scary, aren't they? That's why drag is so often spooky looking, and why gay icons are either bizarrely campy (Channing) or androgynous (Garland) or have a delicious secret sadism as a "Mommy Dearest" (Crawford).

The picture of grim goth Julie with her fingers poking into her chin is the "official" portrait of her at IMDB, not a cheerful Catwoman shot, or anything from hetero hero photographers such as Peter Basch or Peter Gowland. So, with that image in mind...

How about a revival of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," featuring grim, goth helpless heroine Julie Newmar, and the evil and temper-tempestuous Tina Louise?

It's a gay dream come true.

The line in front of the theater would be huge, with drag queens, gays and quite a few Goth boys and girls (junior Asrael Abyss wanna-be's and Circe Nightshade clones).

All it needs is a script by John Waters, and, hey, he could direct it, too. ANYBODY but Mardi Rustam. (The last time he worked with Julie and Tina? "Evils of the Night." Ooof!)


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