Jul 05, 2023, 05:55AM

Hooray for Hollywood

The mysterious case of overtly polite, polished knobheads, pearl-clutching bluebloods!

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Why do all those old-timey actors and actresses in moldy Hollywood flicks talk like sniveling high society snoots? For example, any given day on the Turner Classic Movies channel has a bunch of ritzy cornballs. Like it’s always happy hour at the cocktail lounge or some Great Gatsby mansion parlor with a built-in bar. Everyone’s bored to tears, with too much old-money hobnob snobbery getting in the way of their good times. Well, I never! May I fetch you another drink, my lord? Yes, Snidely, please. Ah, Miss Swillington, may I offer you a cocktail? Yes, please, and thank you ever so much. Snidely, another highball for the lady, thank you. I’ll have another gin rickey. Yes, my lordship. Would you care for a cigarette, Miss Swillington? Oh yes, please, thank you. The mysterious case of overtly polite, polished knobheads, pearl-clutching bluebloods!

Crazy Hollyweird! The dream machine that made neurotic people feel better. Those trite, minuscule, boring, and trivial people live in tedious, podunk towns across the country. They'll pay for a ticket to ride. While blasting obnoxious, in-your-face orchestrated background soundtracks at ear-splitting volumes, while all your dreams come true in living color. You might forget all your troubles for a little while. In so many ways, the Hollywood show-and-tell parades, mincing, and prance-dancing around fake movie set scenes instruct the viewing audience on how to act and react in the movie of their lives. A surreal soap opera with commercial interruption. It’s a tough act to follow. Are you the hero in your movie or the villain in somebody else’s story? Sometimes it’s both. When the culture devolves into a cheesy infomercial and everybody’s an extra, playing a bit part in each other's reality television epic story. It’s all in the act. The trick is that all you have to do is act naturally.

In the early years, movie productions were low-budget, had no budget. To improvise with good old-fashioned American pluck and ingenuity. It wasn’t a corporate industry yet. Nothing glamorous was glamorous while it was still in its infancy. Where vaudeville mingled with burlesque queens, artists, ventriloquists, dancers, musicians, circus acts, sideshow grifters, petty criminals, clowns, singers, and other theatrical riffraff.

It was more of the carnival-come-to-town atmosphere for the hayseed gawkers and curious. Much more than a regular workplace occupation. It’s called acting. Everybody does it. Some better than others. Everybody had a role to play. The silent film years gave way to talkies and a new genre for the lifestyles of the rich and famous, where anything goes. It’s certainly gone. It's the standard today for mega-budget blockbuster hits. From the impossible perspective to the extremely possible realities. The big money talked, and the old monied men walked away with wheelbarrows full of cash.

The wicked and the damned rub elbows with the greedy and powerful. Independent films emerge from the celluloid heap of too much money. Trying to avoid the monopolies created by Thomas Edison and his patent-pending rip-offs. The inventor taking credit for others' inventions. Also, sex, booze, and drugs fed the tabloids and played a key role in making Hollywood the latest and greatest Sin City of the modern world.

Movies evolved into a parody of the popular unconscious medium. A public mockery of morality plays on the original intent. The epitome of boredom-inducing entertainment. The grand illusion’s usual cinematic content is a cathartic anti-climax public image experience. Often, it’s a stale, formulaicmess. Television was the beginning of the end for Hollywood studio dominance, and they couldn’t top their last film. The over-budget sensational epic extravaganza flopped. The first time I went to the neighborhood movies, I was transported to a parallel universe of made-up places and possibilities beyond my dreams. It was nowhere near close to the living room television shows, with only three channels, very limited access, and too many commercials playing in black and white. The movie theater was a magic Time Machine in living colors.

Just being part of that dream reality puts you in the show. A realm of fantasy meets make-believe in a fairy tale place of intrigue, murder, romance and horror on a celluloid one-dimensional screen. The truest sense of mass hypnosis and out-of-body experiences. Movies transport us through time to new visions. Become the character you saw up there on the screen or read about in the pages of a fan magazine. Love them or hate them, you can’t rewrite the script or change the scenery. Skip the drama, go for the guts.

Don’t like the view? Change the channel. There’s a never-ending supply of bad movies. Turn it off. Providers of high-frequency hallucinatory programming to distract viewers entertainment needs. All the heroes are dead and live forever. Way ahead of time into no time at all, with time to spare. 


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