Friday, July 07, 2017

Alice Ghostley

Everyone who remembers Alice Ghostley, please raise your hand. If you’re old enough to remember the old “Bewitched” show, she played Esmeralda…and also appeared on “Designing Women.” Once you saw her, you never forgot her face or her voice.

I first saw her on Broadway in the revue New Faces of 1952 (which also launched the careers of Eartha Kitt, Robert Clary of “Hogan’s Heroes” and a number of other rather well known performers). Alice was wonderful, and I can still sing…albeit badly…every word of her solo number, “The Boston Beguine” (“I met him in Bos-ton, in the native quar-ter; he was from Har-vard, just across the boar-der....”).

She died last week of colon cancer at the age of 81, and I am truly saddened by her death.
So very, very many celebrities…once household names…whom we watched in our favorite movies or listened to on radio: so much truly incredible talent…are now all but forgotten. Danny Kaye, Kay Keiser, Lionel Barrymore, Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable, Sidney Greenstreet, Phil Harris, Fred Allen, Fibber McGee and Mollie, Hattie McDonald…there’s not enough room to list them all.

Each one of them brought pleasure to tens of millions of people, and it is awesome (to me) to realize that not only are the stars now gone, but most of the entire population of the world who were alive during their heyday!

I do not grow old alone: I’m part of an entire generation…a huge block of, again, tens of millions of people who are now the same age as I, if they are alive at all. All the beautiful young men of my own generation, for whom my chest ached, are now no longer young nor beautiful. My friends, my family, everyone who in my heart and mind are exactly as they were so many years ago have also been subject to time’s rational but unkind forward march.

Is it any wonder why I so resent reality?

When I sit behind the information desk at my part-time weekend job at the Century Shopping Center, I watch the beautiful young men coming and going from Bally’s gym (oh, and there are of course beautiful young women as well, though they are largely invisible to me, just as I am invisible to younger gay men), I find no comfort in their total, blithe ignorance of the fact that as I was once them, they will be me. Life comes equipped with blinders, and the young have absolutely no doubt that they will be young forever. Or, if they are aware of it, they consider it so far down the road it isn’t worth giving a thought. The grasshopper and the ant.

And if you never had the pleasure of seeing and/or hearing Bea Lilly, or Fanny Brice or Rosalind Russell, or Richard Egan or Robert Stack or…you have been robbed. There are few things more irritating than hearing some “old fart” saying “Now, in my day…”, but don’t sell them short. Fifty years from today, who will remembering the likes of Britney or Kevin or P-Diddy-Whatever or The Smashing Pumpkins? It ain’t the same, kid. It ain’t the same.

Alice, I miss you.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from and; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/ You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site: 

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