There was a 1973 movie called THE LAST OF SHEILA. It was a murder mystery written by, of all people, Stephen Sondheim and Tony Perkins. More surprising, Tony was not in the movie and Stephen didn’t do the music. Producers really need to check out writers’ resumes.
Anyway, it was an intricate whodunit very well received. I didn’t see it. I was too busy that year watching SWITCHBLADE SISTERS, THEATER OF BLOOD, and Oscar favorite HELL UP IN HARLEM.
A bunch of years later I saw that Channel 2 was going to play it at 11:30 that Saturday night. I had just purchased a VCR so set the timer. This was in the early days of VCR. They weighed as much as a Kia, tapes were ¾ inch not ½ inch, they only recorded at one speed, and maximum length of tape was two hours.
But that was no problem. The movie was scheduled from 11:30 – 1:30. So I taped it and the next night my wife and I watched the movie and enjoyed it very much.
Until the end.
Stations dump a lot of extra commercials in the middle of the night. Who cares if a show runs a little long?
Right at the part where they’re just about to reveal the killer – and the tape ends. AAAAAA!!
The next few days we frantically called around to friends asking if they saw the movie and remembered who did it? Nobody did. Like I said, it was a very complicated screenplay. Thank you Stevie and Norman Bates. We finally gave up.
Several years later we were on vacation at a resort on St. Thomas. It was a rather rustic resort. Little huts, no phones, no TV’s, not even Wifi. You walked around at night with flashlights. Your evening entertainment was finding your hut after leaving the dining hall. I bet every morning the sun would come up and three couples who had given up were sleeping on the beach.
So one day we saw they were having movie night and the featured film was THE LAST OF SHEILA. We were ecstatic. Finally we were going to learn the murderer.
So we’re the first two people in the Activity Room. Another four sauntered in and the film began. Only one problem.
The film was dubbed into Spanish.
Neither of us spoke Spanish. Nor did any of the other couples. So they left. We stayed and tried to decipher what was going on. Not a chance.
And then about five years ago I was in New York at a play reading and there was Stephen Sondheim. He sat right next to my daughter Annie. During intermission I asked her to ask him who killed Sheila. She of course was mortified and refused. Curses! Thwarted again!
So my point: People ask me why I bother to maintain a blog, updating it every day, since it pays me nothing. Well, here’s one reason –
Who the fuck killed Sheila???!!!