Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Alert the media. The secret is out. I love Oscar. But, before you get all in a tither and start examining my sexual persuasion, I’m talking about Oscar, as in “The Oscar.”

Actually, I LOVE MOVIES. And, The Oscar is a symbol for the many people like me who enjoy sitting in dark theaters commingling among noisy people with coke and popcorn sticking to their shoes.

About a hundred years or so ago when I was just a little kid in Toledo, Ohio, there was a 200-hard-wooden-seat movie theater called the “Park.’ Even for a kid with short legs, it was just a hop, skip, and jump from my house on Berkley Drive to that wonderful lighted marquee (with most of the bulbs burned out). After viewing a cartoon, a newsreel (yesterday’s version of today’s TV news), a Flash Gordon serial, coming attractions, and two (count ‘em) features, I danced all the way home. Especially after seeing a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie.

If you are old enough to remember, they had those huge beautifully colored posters displayed in glass cases on each side of the entrance with the names of the currant movie’s luminaries (persons of eminence or brilliant achievement).

There was many a night that I dreamed of walking out of the Park Theater, turning and seeing my name on one of those posters. A kid from Toledo with his name on a Hollywood movie poster? Wow! I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I was to awaken and find my sudden fame was only the impossible dream.

But, hark all you non-believers. Dreams do come true. They can happen to you. It happened to ME! It was the year 1964 and the movie was “The Patsy,” directed by, and starring Jerry Lewis.

It was the very first appearance I ever made in a movie. It was also the LAST appearance I ever made in a movie, but, to coin a popular phrase, “So What?” It was my dream and it came true. My acting ability was never ever considered for any kind of an award, but I shall always be beholden to Jerry for creating the part just for me. I was “Movie Star for a Day!”

That said, let’s get back to Oscar. This is the time of year when movie critics, and most of the movie-going nation, make their yearly predictions as to who is going to take home the big golden guy. That includes me, and I could safely guess, most of you Mouse Cliquers.

Here is my pick:

(1) Best Actress: Helen Mirren for “The Queen.”

Damn! She was good. Did you notice that, like the real Queen, she never went anywhere without her purse? Like a Queen needs a purse?

(2) Best Actor? Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Departed.”

Considering that almost everyone in the film was killed, the fact that Leonardo’s acting ability helped him survive long enough to star in “Blood Diamond” should give him a big leg up in the final vote.

(3) Best Picture: “The Queen”

That’s it for me. Though there are many deserving Oscars to be handed out, my feeling is that most people don’t really sit up straight until the Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Movie awards are announced.

Two caveats regarding my choices:

As for “Borat,” the main character, as we all know, is not an actor but is the press representative for The Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. That makes him ineligible for an Oscar. Don’t you agree?

I was disappointed that “Dream Girls,” supposedly based on what the 60s groups were all about, did not feature any music from the 60s. Perhaps I’m just too big a “Diana Ross and the Supremes” fan and was looking for a little “Baby Love.”

I do have one more award I would like to recommend. It’s too late for this year’s ceremony, but think about next year. Jerry Lewis should get a special Oscar. Not because he has written, directed or starred in over 50 feature films in his long and funny career, but the fact that he invented a device that totally revolutionized the way movies are made.

He came up with the idea of strapping a video camera to the side of the film camera so he could watch it on a monitor and not have to wait for the film to be developed in order to see what was being shot.

This is now known as “Video Assist.” No longer “strapped” to the side of the camera, the video feed goes directly through the film camera lens and is used by every director who makes films.

This suggestion of a special Oscar for Jerry’s contribution to films is my way of thanking him for making my little-kid starry-eyed Hollywood dream come true. Just last month, 43 years after the fact, I received a sort of thank you and recognition for my superior acting in “The Patsy.” It was a residual check from Paramount Pictures for $6.27. What do you say to that Toledo?

Stay tuned.


Blogger Gary said...

Well, I'm gonna be honest. I DO like movies but I've been so doggone busy that I saw hardly any movies this year. I don't like renting movies on video, for some stupid reason......I just prefer to see them on THE BIG SCREEN (though I DO have a 52" big screen tv....go figure). Wanna hear a good one? One of my brothers hasn't seen a movie in the theater since FLETCH LIVES!
Another confession......I, too, am in a movie! It's called FOOLIN' AROUND. It was made in 1977 and starred Gary Busey, Cloris Leachman, Eddie Albert, Tony Randall and Annette O'Toole. It was filmed in Minneapolis at the old Met Stadium where the Vikings and Twins used to play. It is now the site of the Mall Of America.
I heard an ad on the radio one day in '77 that they were looking for people for a crowd scene to be shot at the stadium, so I went down with a friend of mine and we did it! We were 3 rows behind Gary and Annette for this scene! It took all day for a 5 minute scene but they fed us lunch (there were about 100 of us) and they gave prizes away. I won a FOOLIN' AROUND t-shirt. I took super 8 home movies between shots and even the guy with the clapboard gave a clap for me for my movies! This was the first movie Busey made AFTER the release of THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY and since I was/am a big Holly fan, it was pretty cool to meet and talk to him.
The movie came and went in no time and I never saw it on the big screen. I got a call one night from another friend (a year or so later) telling me that "my" movie was on HBO and he saw me! The next day I subscribed to HBO and I finally saw the movie. THERE I WAS! If you ever get a chance to see this movie, check about 15 minutes in. Busey's character (Wes) and another guy are on the sidelines of a Minn. Viking football one point Wes looks into the stands thru the binoculars and I am in the viewfinder! I'm wearing a Dodger cap and a was a cold day that day, but I ALWAYS wore a Dodger cap. After Wes runs into the crowd, you can see me off and on a couple rows in back of Gary and Annette. There's times you can't see me because there is a guy in front of me with the biggest head you'll ever see, blocking me...especially when he lifts up HIS binoculars, but you do see me and my long sideburns. I STILL HAVE THAT PARKA!
I now have that movie on home video and play it for, family every chance I get. I even have an "Oscar" for "Best Face In The Crowd". HA HA HA....of course, I bought it at a video store but nobody has to know that but us....IT LOOKS LIKE THE REAL THING, TOO!!


5:28 PM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

Helen Mirren is a lock. You only had to see her once. What was special about The Queen is that I saw it by accident and it totally captivated me. It held my attention from start to finish.

10:52 PM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:52 PM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

Am I the only one who hated Warren Beatty's long winded speech at the Golden Globes? I happened to stop the dial just when they presented the award to him and after 2 minutes plus of rambling I shut him off.

9:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That beautiful invention from Zenith Corp. called the remote control. It makes it so easy to get away from something on TV that's annoying you. Back in the day... and believe me I was there back in that day. At my house I was the remote. I remember my parents tellin' me to get up and change the channel. Otherwise it pretty much stayed on ABC for the entire evening. The Folks watched ALL of the Warner Bros. shows... from Maverick to 77 Sunset Strip. So to the nice men at Zenith Corp. Commander Eugene F. McDonald Jr. and Dr. Robert Adler for their efforts in creating the space command remote control. The for runner to what we now take for granted. I happen to skip across NBC at that moment in time when Warren was stammering thru his acceptance speech. I just as quickly moved on to something else. Award shows are such bores in the first place. I stopped watching those types of shows when West Side Story won for best picture. I forget what I was routing for at the time, but it didn't win. So I said that the show was rigged. vowed NEVER to watch those types of shows ever again. So far so good.

FOOLIN' AROUND is one of my all time favorite movies. I met Gary Busey at the Hollywood Autograph show a couple of years ago. Very interesting man. Scary... But interesting. His sense of humor. Strange. I really didn't know how to take some of the things he said. He speaks his mind with no holds barred. I got to talk to him for about 10 to 15 minutes. His down to earth no BS made him (say this like Artie Johnson on Laugh-In) VEEEEERRRRYYY INTERESTING!
I'm a solid fan now. it doesn't matter if he's playin' a good guy or a bad guy. He puts his all into it. In the bad guy roles, the one in Lethal Weapon is my favorite. In the good guy roles, Foolin' Around is my favorite.

Robert V

11:53 AM

Blogger Gary said...

I can't remember Gary Busey's son's name, but he was just a little tyke when FOOLIN' AROUND was being filmed, and he was hanging around the Met set that day, too. I remember thinking "Man does he ever look like Gary!" and now the kid is grown up and looks just like his pop....acts like him, too. Yep, Gary was and is a very interesting person. I wish more "Hollywood" people were like him.....and Lloyd. Down to earth and they say what they mean and mean what they say.
Gary Busey used to be in a band in the 70s called TEDDY JACK EDDY (I believe). He was the drummer. In fact, he originally tried out for the drummer's role in THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY. Gary is such a fan of Buddy's that I believe he owns Buddy's acoustic guitar and hand made leather strap. You gotta love it!


2:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely does Jerry Lewis deserve an Oscar. A great BIG Oscar! Will it happen in his lifetime? I don't understand why it hasn't ALREADY happened. I guess he's made some enemies in Tinseltown.

On another subject, Lloyd YOU HELPED INTRODUCED ME TO JAZZ. I was only 9 years old when I saw you lipsynch to Oscar Brown Jr.'s "But I Was Cool". But I sure never forgot it. And of course Jerry Lewis played a big part in my jazz education too, by miming to Count Basie in "Cinderfella" and "The Errand Boy".

I miss your show Lloyd. Will we ever get to see it again?

2:22 PM

Blogger Gaylel said...


Did you know that the inventor of the remote control passed away this week (February 16)?

Uncle Lloyd, I love you a lot and I give you props on your commentaries, however, you and I differ about "Dreamgirls" because it was an orignial Broadway musical which was written by the late Michael Bennett and featured Jennifer Holliday as the orginial "Effie," which Jennifer Hudson, a former American Idol reject is currently up for best supporting actress. The reason why it did not feature songs from the 60's was because all of the songs was written for the musical. They did not use any 60's hits, but music which was inspired by that period.

I have to disagree with you about the movie, and it was a good movie, especially with great performances by Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx.

BTW, Hudson should be a shoo-in for an Oscar.

I'm not mad at you, Uncle Lloyd..

Back to Robert--

You are right, many of these awards shows are rigged. The Grammys was an example. How come an American Idol winner won "Best New Artist," while someone like a Corinne Baliey Ray should have deserved that honor?

Oh, I forgot, these days, the Grammy voters watch and are infuenced by American Idol..

9:32 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Do u have a crowd pic at met with Gary u could post? My friend from Minnespolis band, The Magnolias was also there. Talked about the supplied sub sandwiches for pay:)

11:08 PM


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