Monday, January 31, 2011
Norma DESMOND Magazine, March 1952
Lolly Parson's called it the publicity stunt of the ages - a bit of Kabuki theater designed to put famed silent screen star Norma Desmond back on the public radar screen, and boy did it ever. She shoots this guy for running out on her, and then her butler Max calls up silent screen comedian Harold Lloyd and asks what to do.
"Well," says Lloyd, "its a good thing she grabbed that prop gun that you keep in the house or you would have to buy stock in Bon Ami to clean up all the guts and blood. First, I'd get the slob out of the pool before he ruins the water, nurse him back to health in the maid's quarters. Next, call up Stretch Longstreet, no one remembers him or his films. Invite him over for coffee near the cabana - when Stretch's enlarged heart gives out from the caffeine, shove him into the pool and call the cops.
And thats what happened. And then there was all that emoting on the TV screens with Hedda reporting in the background and Lolly Parson's grinding her teeth at home. You know they got Miss Desmond off on a technicality, but by then she was wildly popular with everyone in the country, except Rose Kennedy.
And then, before you know it, Norma Desmond is back up on the screen; she's making movies and selling out theaters, and then launches her own monthly rag. It was so lush - measuring two feet by eighteen inches. Large splashy images, interviews with all the people that one would need to know to get ahead in the film business, and then there were the coupons! Who can forget those!
Even though she's been dead for forty years - she fell out of her famous bed and drowned in a dishpan of water and Epsom salts that she had been soaking her feet in before retiring for the evening - the magazine continues in a sort of sorts.
Sold to Faversham Magazines, and renamed DESMOND, it continued along being the fashionable publication that Norma had hoped it would be. Things changed in 2006 when Faversham was taken over by some lout from London who declared that print was dead. He spent down its capital on foolish things like sub-prime mortgages designed to give value added income to his share holders, and cheap Albanian hookers (as if there is any other kind) for his staff writers. Eventually milked drier than one of Miss Desmond's breasts, its remaining assets were sold to Drinnan Woolens who relaunched the magazine, sans the DESMOND name, as a site for people who loved to knit and Mitten Drinnen it is today.
Of course, Norma would have been philosophical about it. Yeah, shooting that Joe guy was one smart move, but nothing beats a good dying scene in a movie.