LLOYD THAXTON, THE THIRD
Have you ever wondered what a big movie star thinks about when he watches his or her old movies? I have. When I see a movie like “The Graduate,” I wonder what Dustin Hoffman thinks when watching himself 40 years after the movie was made.
Or, the great Kirk Douglas viewing “Spartacus,” filmed 47 years ago. Does it feel strange?
I’ve been experiencing strange feelings myself as I edit the DVD, “My Name is Lloyd Thaxton – So What.” Believe it or not, except for one or two clips, I am looking at footage I haven't seen for over 40 years.
I find myself smiling a lot. Even laughing out loud. I’m thrilled when I see how talented the kids are when they perform in the lip-sync contests. To me, it’s kind of an “American Idol” rip-off (If you can rip-off a show 40 years BEFORE it happens). And, the dance contests are cheerily reminiscent of “Dancing With The Stars.” My groups of kids are performing their hearts out in hopes of winning the big prize: tickets to Disneyland and a couple record albums (remember those prizes?). Better yet, applause from their peers.
But, what about me? What do I feel when I see what I looked like 40 years ago? I find it difficult to say “me”, or “I,” when referring to myself. There is no “myself.” That young person I see on the screen doesn’t really seem like me anymore. So I talk in the third person. I say things like, “Let’s look at Lloyd’s number again. He’s funny in that one,” or, “There’s a little too much of Lloyd on the DVD. We need more of the kids.” I sometimes catch editor Dan Schaarschmidt smiling at me sideways when I do that.
I remember sitting in a screening room a few years ago viewing an old film. Sitting next to me was one of the stars of the movie. After one of his very dramatic scenes, he turned to me and said. “That guy deserves an Oscar.” I thought the remark was very quaint; “that guy” being him. But now, after spending so much time looking at my young self, I understand. By speaking in the third person, he could get away with bragging about that OTHER actor ...
... or, criticizing. There was one of my LTS routines we were considering that we liked a lot. However, I felt my introduction to the song made me look bad. On the tape I was kidding with the cameraman regarding the angle of his shot. Taken out of context, it gave the impression that I was criticizing him on the air. I said, “Cut out Lloyd’s introduction, It makes him look like an ass." Again, the editor smiled. I had just called myself an ass.
Maybe that’s how Dustin Hoffman feels. Or, Kirk Douglas. If they don’t like something they did over 40 years ago, they can just think, “That’s not me, that’s HIM! “ Or, they can say, “Isn’t he terrific,” without any ego showing.
So what do I think when I see that young guy on the screen?
Actually, I think he's quite handsome!
Writing in the third person, ALSO has its advantages.