Despite the fact that Fifty Shades of Grey is nothing at all like Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, it is hard not to make comparisons between the two. Gone with the Wind, at least in terms of casting, like E L James S&M saga, had a bevy of female fans who all knew just who should play Mitchell’s male protagonist in the book.
On October 19th, 1978 police found the bodies of Gig Young and his newlywed wife of three weeks Kim, dead in their New York apartment. Theories of suicide pacts, Triad murderers, and other shady underworld assassinations abounded. Although the police that investigated the double shooting have speculated that Young first shot his new wife and then himself, some people have never bought this scenario.
Author George Eells sets out to tell Gig Young’s less than idyll life story. From his beginnings as the youngest of three children (a “mistake” but apparently not a happy one) called Byron, whose successful father was hard pressed to give him the time of day.To the days leading up to the double shooting. Eells tries to leave no stone unturned and no relationship untold.
Gig Young made a career out of being the second lead in films. He was always the guy who “lost” the girl. He had a beautiful speaking voice and was always impeccably turned out in his films. The only real exception was the 1969 film ‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They?‘ in which he played the seedy and unpleasant owner/announcer of a dance hall who is overseeing a “Dance-a-thon.” This role landed him the only Oscar of his career.
Eells has been pretty thorough in his chronicling of Young’s life, paying special attention to his relationships with women. He reveals what each of Gig’s marriages were like and the reasons for their failures. It appears that he did not have a very good self-image and that he suffered from several types of mental “illnesses” that he was able to cover up for quite a long time with drink and pills. Later in his life he used both to excess and then tried to stop, most likely, too quickly.
Like most successful “stars” Young’s life reads more like a tragedy than a triumph. He was very adept at appearing to be the suave, sophisticated, amusing man about town, both on-screen and off. Reality was much different, here was a man haunted by demons and a feeling of not belonging or being wanted. These demons, in all likelihood, had been with Gig since childhood and his success as an actor could not save him from himself.
I only found out about this book while reading the meandering “tribute” to the late Elizabeth Montgomery. It is referenced at least twice. I decided to track the book down and read about this man who had fascinated me when he was alive and whose death confused me.
One of my favourite films when I was growing up was the Doris Day, Clark Gable film Teacher’s Pet. Gig Young played his usual second-lead role as Day’s boyfriend (or fiancé I don’t remember which) who loses her to Gable’s hard-nosed newspaper man. As much as I loved the film’s two “main” leads, it was Young who fired my imagination, especially after my mother explained that he, “Never gets the girl, even though he’s so handsome.”
I broke my usual iron-clad rule about Jane Fonda films (I never forgave her for being “Hanoi-Jane” during the Vietnam War) and watched They Shoot Horses Don’t They? just for Gig Young’s performance. It was easy to see why he won the Oscar. The last thing I saw him do was his small but important role in Sam Peckinpah‘s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. He play the mysterious Quill; one half of a “hit man” double act who hire Warren Oates‘ character to find Alfredo Garcia. After securing his (Oates’) services for a very large amount of money, Oates’ character asks for their names. His slurred, sad, and weary response is, “Dobbs. Fred C. Dobbs.”
He still had the ability to breathe life into whatever role he played. Sadly, he would do only one more film before the incident in 1978. Eells tries very hard to figure out what went wrong both in Young’s life and the week leading up to the double shooting. The end result is a tragic retelling of a star’s life. A story that will leave you shaking your head and feeling, if truth be told, a little sad and depressed.
On the amount of detail that Eells has put into his book, I’d have to give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’ve deducted a half a star for the overall sadness of the book and the conjecture raised about what happened the afternoon of the 19th of October, 1978. The only people who really know what transpired and lead up to the shooting are gone. They’ve taken their secrets with them and perhaps that is better for everyone involved.
- Twitch Upon a Star by Herbie J Pilato: Meandering Memories (mikesfilmtalk.com)
Looking out for the weird and outlandish on the net and…What? You don’t do that? Well, I do, okay? And the latest thing I’ve discovered is the new trend in plastic surgery. It appears that American’s have discovered the one part of the body that, up to now, has been safe from the surgeon’s scalpel.
According to Dr. Oliver Zong, a New York based Plastic Surgeon, ‘toe slimming’ operations are on the increase. He admits he was a bit taken aback when people starting asking for plastic surgery on their toes.
“When people first started asking, I said ‘What?’ We were mostly doing toe shortenings in the beginning.” Dr Zong has been performing toe re-shaping procedures for people who neurotically feel embarrassment over the width of their toes. This new trend has been called “toe-besity.”
Not all plastic surgeons are willing to perform the procedure or even willing to contemplate it. Some have told horror stories of women who want their little toes surgically removed so they can wear a smaller shoe size.
Did I forget to mention that this new trend has been started by women.
That’s right. Women have now gotten so paranoid about their entire body that they are resorting to plastic surgery to remould themselves into a complete package of perfection. I don’t get this. I really don’t.
I know that culturally the focus has been on people looking ever younger, trimmer, fitter, prettier. The big lie is that we can all reach this pinnacle of perfection with the help of a surgeon’s knife. How stupid can people be?
We know that pictures in magazines are airbrushed within an inch of their 2D life. Advertising, the modelling industry and Hollywood perpetuates the myth of the perfect person. Capped teeth, hair implants, tummy tucks and bottom lifts all help to make folks look more stream-lined and assembly-lined.
But when folks start worrying about their toes? I think we all need to step back a bit and really look at each other with a bit of clarity.
I’ll use Hollywood as a good example. Not the Hollywood of today with it’s new homogeneous stars who are practically interchangeable like so many Lego’s.
I’m talking about the stars of yesteryear. The Gary Cooper‘s, Clark Gable‘s and Errol Flynn‘s. The Katherine Hepburn’s, Bette Davis‘s and Grace Kelly‘s. These stars did not look perfect. It was their imperfections that made them special, that made them shine.
Gable’s ears were too big, Davis had bulgy eyes and Grace Kelly was a little small upstairs. But none of that mattered at all. It was their abilities and persona’s that made them beautiful. Perfection has never been obtainable for the average person or the famous one.
Perfection is, to a degree, like beauty. It is in the eye of the beholder. In the search for perfection the beholder is the person seeking to be perfect. Their narcissistic and inward vision is skewed and terrible. They are willing to put their bodies through pain and possible infection and even death in their ridiculous pursuit.
I am sitting here writing this and wondering whatever will be next. Will tongue surgery be next? Are there people out there that are so neurotic that if they believe their tongues are too fat or ugly will have them surgically altered?
I am appalled at the idea that women have become so superficial. I am also quite sad that so many folks believe the lie of perfection.
- ‘Foot Facelifts’ Are The New Wacky Cosmetic Surgery Fad (businessinsider.com)
- One More Thing To Worry About: Toe-Besity (refinery29.com)
- ‘Toe-besity’ (whptv.com)
- ‘Toe-besity’ Surgery on the Rise – ABC News (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
- “Toe-besity”: Rise in Surgery for Fat Toes (abcnews.go.com)
- Feel like Bigfoot? Plastic surgery can help (sfgate.com)
- ‘Toe-besity’: Foot Cosmetic Surgery On The Rise In America (huffingtonpost.com)
- [TheGloss] Your Fat Toes Need Some Liposuction Stat, Because You’re Grossing The Rest Of Us Out (thegloss.com)
- Fashion News Roundup: ‘Toe-besity’ Is Apparently a Thing, Underage Kate Upton Maybe Drank Some Beer, and the US Olympic Team Uniforms Are Made in China (fashionista.com)
- Plastic surgery results are always improving, says surgeon (mya.co.uk)
- Holly Willoughby “will have plastic surgery” (mya.co.uk)