An excerpt from Leo Grin:
Timothy Treadwell loved bears. In the name of loving them, with a stalwart sense of the innate sanctity of his mission, he continuously abused them for thirteen years. Time and again from 1989 until 2003 he invaded their territory — startling them, scaring them, angering them. Interrupting their hunting, their mating, their sleep, their play, he would coo sweet nothings at them in a flamboyant, high-pitched whine. He gave the savage beasts silly names like Lulu, Cupcake, Daisy, Ginger, Booble, and Mr. Chocolate, robbing them of their natural dignity. He firmly believed he was their protector, and unleashed torrents of self-righteous hatred upon anyone who dared question his treating of one-thousand-pound predators as if they were cute cuddly teddy bears. Handsome and charismatic, yet narcissistic and naïve, filled with honest caring, yet a smooth liar thoroughly at home in delusion, he became a constant danger both to himself and to everything he loved, ever on the verge of instigating a sudden volcanic eruption of nightmarish unintended consequences.
In short, Timothy Treadwell was a perfect liberal. He loved bears, with all his heart.
And then one ate him.
Ebert’s seen a lot of films but obviously hasn’t learned very much from them. When he disappeared into the hospital for all those months, those of us who disagreed with his politics put those meaningless differences aside as we worried and prayed for the robust return of the thumb that had become such a part of our lives. But who would’ve guessed he wouldn’t come out of his near-death experience like the movies taught him to: as a kinder, more understanding, more tolerant and patient man with a new appreciation for the simple and human things in life? No, he went the opposite way and the story of Roger Ebert’s life will now look as though the projectionist got the reels for “Regarding Henry” confused.
It’s been extraordinary to watch this once beloved critic squander all the universal affection and goodwill he had built up over a lifetime in just a few short months. And over nothing. No one bad-mouthed his mother or rang his doorbell and ran. We disagree on the size and scope of the federal government. We disagree over the idea that increased government control will improve our health care. We’re not as enamored as he is with the man currently occupying the Oval Office. Disagree, argue, that’s all fine. But he’s calling us “teabaggers,” and he knows full well what that means. And he’s calling us “teabaggers” because he doesn’t have the guts to come right out and call us “c***suckers.”
Note that date on the bottom: 1967! This fellow actually saw Watts in action:
I saw Watts by default. A friend of mine, a stripper, had taken me to see a competitor. We had left in an aesthetic huff (hers, not mine) when the performer came onstage and proceeded to remove her long white gloves. "Amateur! F*cking amateur!" hissed my companion. "Any professional knows you take the gloves off last. When they see your arms, the show's over." So we had wandered around the block and into another club to watch the aging Watts gamely fend off hecklers, armed with nothing but material at least fifty years old ("I thought I told you to stay in the truck!").
Writer Ken Brooks gives us a little perspective on Watts:
The best that can be said of Cotton Watts, the Florida Panhandle's last professional blackface entertainer, is that he was the product of an unenlightened age. From 1947 to 1959, Watts was a staple of Panama City Beach summer nightlife, appearing at both the 98 Club and the near-by Surf-and-Sand Club. Watts, a white entertainer, would perform parodies of the traditional songs, dances, and speech patterns of southern rural African-Americans, his face darkened with burnt cork.
Watts' career dated to the 1920s when he and Bud Davis formed a blackface duo that toured the nation's leading vaudeville circuits. It was Davis, manager of Panama City's Ritz Theater, who brought Watts to town. Watts performed three shows nightly, with his wife Chick--also in blackface--acting as mistress of ceremonies.
You can watch Cotton Watts for yourself on the internet. He shows up for about two minutes in Ed Wood's 1954 film Jail Bait:
A quick review of those two minutes:
There is one scene i can't forget to mention... about 15 minutes or so in the movie, it cuts to a minstrel show with one of the most hilariously racist characters i've ever seen named Cotton Watts. But this scene is unrelated to anything before or after, and this comical scene is in stark contrast to the deadly serious mood of the rest of the movie. No one mentions it at any point of the film. It's like it's a scene from another movie, that was accidentally added in.
Cotton Watts passed away on March 5, 1968.
From David Foster:
Ever see the 1958 movie The Blob? ... In the movie, quick-thinking citizens use CO2 fire extinguishers to freeze the outer-space blob which is threatening humanity, after which the USAF flies it to the arctic and drops it on an ice floe, where it will stay forever…”As long as the Artic doesn’t melt” says Steve McQueen’s character.
Today, of course, citizens would never be allowed to react to the threat in such a direct and immediate fashion. Either OSHA or CPSIA..probably both..would object to the use of fire extinguishers in a way not specifically authorized…amateur blob-suppressors would also get in trouble with several unions which would assert blog-freezing as their exclusive territory. Not to mention EPA issues with all that CO2 release.
People would be told to leave the matter in the hands of the authorities, namely Homeland Security…which would tell Congress they needed more money if they were to be expected to add blob-fighting to their mission. Congress would still be debating the matter (especially which extinguishing/freezing agent should be used instead of CO2 and which companies get the enormous fire-extinguisher contracts) when the blob reached Washington DC.
From the EInsiders.com obituary of Al Martino:
Anthony Bruno wrote in “Fact and Fiction in ‘The Godfather’”:
“In "The Godfather Papers and Other Confessions," Mario Puzo describes a couple of unpleasant encounters he had with singer Frank Sinatra, who was allegedly furious with Puzo for creating the character Johnny Fontane. Like Sinatra, Fontane is a crooner adored by the bobbysoxers of the 1940s. Fontane seeks his Godfather's help in landing a role in an upcoming movie, an opportunity that Fontane feels will salvage his career. Most viewers assume that Puzo was referring to Sinatra's efforts to land the part of Maggio in "From Here to Eternity" at a time when his career was in the doldrums. Puzo remained coy when it came to the topic of Sinatra and never actually came right out and said that Johnny Fontane wasn't based on Old Blue Eyes, but it's a connection that's hard to deny, given the similarities between the real singer and fictional one."
Fictional indeed! According to Martino, he received the part in “The Godfather” despite Coppola’s rejection by using his own “connections.”
"Didn't the Don send Tom Hagen to convince Jack Woltz that Johnny Fontane must be in the movie? Isn't it similar to what I did? Woltz didn't want Johnny, and Coppola didn't want me.” Martino said. “There was no horse's head, but I had ammunition... I had to step on some toes to get people to realize that I was in the effing movie. I went to my godfather, [Mafia boss] Russ Bufalino."
Martino went on to appear as Johnny Fontane in “The Godfather Parts II and III.”
They're the only male actors ever to win 3 Oscars. Walter Brennan was cast in the 1934 movie Alice Adams that starred 4-time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn but alas, his scenes were deleted.
By the way, I tried to get a better screen capture but this is as good as it gets.