Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, catching up with some interesting missives unearthed from our e-mail bag. Must say that the latest communications from the field are just as we like ’em — spirited, contentious and at least vaguely unflattering.
So let’s get to them:
Our two blogs focusing on Van Johnson’s sexuality — “Was Van Johnson Gay?” (Feb. 2-3) — drew some caustic remarks from those affronted that we should deal with such a sensitive personal subject.
Our regular correspondent, Mike, put it this way: People still care, guys. No one wants to hear of stars being gay…
Can’t say we agree, Mike. Announcing yourself as being gay seems almost de riguerer in Hollywood these days. There almost seems to be the feeling that these admissions somehow help movie and TV careers. We suspect that they don’t necessarily because today, no one really cares.
But that was absolutely not true in the Forties when Johnson was a big star at Louis B. Mayer’s MGM. The studio really did sweat it out when it came to the possibility that Johnson’s proclivities would come out, especially as MGM presented the star as a wholesome heterosexual heart throb.
That tension between the studio publicity and the private personal life is what makes many classic movie stars so fascinating, and worth looking at honestly today.
Mike, we expect that you will take a hearty dislike to the newly published memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, written by former U.S. Marine Scotty Bowers (now 88), who claims to have run a gay and bisexual prostitution ring back when.
Speaking of sexuality, we were happily instructed that George Raft and Clark Gable had more in common than we thought. In response to our Jan. 10 blog, Carole Lombard & George Raft – Lovers? Can That Be?, DearMrGable writes:
George Raft and Clark Gable must have had similar tastes. After Clark divorced his second wife Ria to marry Carole, Ria dated George for a while!
In response to our Feb. 10 blog, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis — The Breakup. And Our Man Was There!, our uber-Martin fan, Dino Martin Peters, wrote in with the following:
Hey pallies, likes Mr. Frank And Mr. Joe. How cool to find you sharin’ more Dino-history with your readership. Simply loves how Mr. Lewis recounts this story in his stellar Dino-bio, “Dean and Me: A Love Story.” Know that your Dino-reflections are ‘gain bein’ shared with all the pallies gathered ’round ilovedinomartin. Keeps lovin’ our Dino!
Thanks, DMP. We expect to eventually get to the Jerry Lewis book, but we are far more interested in what you think of another book written about your man. We are not referring to the books written by Martin’s children, Deana and Ricci, but the 1999 Nick Tosches tome, Dino: Living High In The Dirty Business of Dreams. The book handles your man in rougher fashion.
Question: have you read it, and if so, what do you think of it? Please let us know, DMP.
We knew that as soon as we ran our blog about Jane Fonda’s arrest (Mug Shot Monday — Yes, We’re Fond(a) Alliteration, Feb. 20) we’d take some heat about her political history. We did, and here we go:
This from Mike:
I have never liked nor respected this one. Always thought she was in it for herself and that she truly is a communist (easier to be one when your rich and famous) and a bad American, responsible for many bad things.
Counters Chris Howard:
Jane’s alright. She risked a lot doing what she did and I think was badly misjudged for it. Her intent to bring an end to a horrendous war was admirable. She should have joined forces with John Lennon – what a team that would have been. I’ll take her over warmongers like the Bushes any day. Go get ‘em, Jane !!!
Thanks, guys, and to all our contributors.