Thursday, August 03, 2017

Today's guest blogger

Greetings! This is guest blogger John Barrymore. Yes, I’m related to Drew. For those few who don't know me (no more than three of you I’m sure), I was one of the great actors of the American stage. Marlon Brando couldn’t carry my makeup case. True, I died in 1942. But I felt the need to come back.

Well, actually this is my second time back. The first was to warn Drew not to do 50 FIRST DATES. Adam Sandler is poison! But she didn’t listen to me.

Maybe you will be smarter and heed my sage advice.

As I mentioned, I ruled Broadway and pretty much all theater. I had nothing to do with Vaudeville – that was for roustabouts who could juggle. But I was an ACTOR. How gifted? How brilliant? I played matinees when I was so stinking drunk I couldn’t stand up. Let’s see Ben Affleck do that! I would have been a war hero too except I had varicose veins and couldn’t serve. It was a great regret of mine so I played war heroes whenever I could. We all serve at the end.

So why have I returned? Why have I ventured back from the Great Beyond when I know my bar tab at Sardi's is still in the thousands? Because of all the roles I played for all the great playwrights of the time (their names escape me but they were big), I never got to act in a Ken Levine play. Some regrets you can’t just satisfy with four crates of champagne.

And now I see Kenneth's new ten-minute one act, THE FUGITIVE, has a part for someone my age (when I was that age). Some knave named Andy Goldberg got my role. Moreover, my leading lady would have been the enchanting Penny Peyser. I’ve loved her since her work on the second season of THE TONY RANDALL SHOW.

I read the play and found it to be delightful and hilarious. Way funnier than those 1913 comedies.   And only ten minutes. I could memorize a ten-minute play. Especially if I had a few months or Prohibition returned. Plus, I see it plays for four nights. So no matinees! I’d never have to worry about posting bail on time.

But you lucky people can see it this week. It’s part of the Hollywood Short + Sweet One Act festival at the Stella Adler Theatre. I don’t recall if I slept with her. I usually slept with women who had drinks named after them, not theatres.

Curtain rises at 8 tonight, Friday, and Saturday. And Sunday night at 7 (which to me IS a matinee). Ten ten-minute one acts and the audience gets to vote for their favorite. I can tell you, as the acknowledged greatest actor who ever lived (thus giving me “street cred” as you Visigoths would say), the one to vote for and definitely the one to see is THE FUGITIVE.

Discount tickets are available. Use the promo code 410 (whatever that means) and tickets are just $15. On Broadway today you can’t check in your top hat and ascot for that price. Go here for details and tickets. (I do know about the internet. In heaven we get the Cloud. It’s AT&T that still has shitty reception.)

So all I ask, besides buying tickets, and voting for Ken’s play, is that you picture me in the role Andy Goldberg got only because he’s alive. Thank you, and remember: don’t drink and sword-fight.

21 comments :

Craig Gustafson said...

"Thank you, and remember: don’t drink and sword-fight."

That's true. Never buckle when you're swashed.

Craig Gustafson said...

Ah, Mr. Barrymore. From your position in Heaven (I trust), you are unaware of Google. You *did* play vaudeville, sir. And your father, Maurice, was the first major American star to lower himself to the vaudeville stage.

https://travsd.wordpress.com/tag/john-barrymore/page/2/

Stephen Marks said...

Dear Mr. Levine:

My name is Marshall Fisher and I represent the estate of John Barrymore. My firm, Fisher & Bell, have been asked by the Barrymore family to inform you to cease using Mr. Barrymore's name and legacy to promote your own cause. Your portrayal of Mr. Barrymore as a drunk and mediocre actor to increase awareness, thereby increasing ticket sales to your play, while defaming a man, a career, and an entire family is crass, irresponsible and libelous. With one blog post, you have ruined any chance that sword fighting, small thin mustaches and being inebriated while performing will make a return to any Hollywood production. Luckily rumors of homosexuality and sexual deviancy by leading men still abound. You can't destroy that Mr. Levine! I find it ironic that you would choose to remake The Fugitive into a ten-minute play. That's about the same time it took David Janssen to drink a fifth of vodka.

My wife and I still watch Almost Perfect as we love Branson Pinchot. Thank you.

LouOCNY said...

Wow - thanks for stopping by, John! Too bad you didn't stop by earlier also to tell John Drew NOT to skip out at the last minute on appearing in that STAR TREK episode he got cast in either - just about ruined HIS career, too....

Peter said...

Adam Sandler is poison!

C'mon. I know Adam Sandler's made a lot of shitty movies in recent years, but his early films like Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison and The Waterboy were hilarious and are still watchable. I love Happy Gilmore in particular. This exchange especially:

Shooter McGavin: "You're in big trouble though, pal. I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast."

Happy Gilmore: "You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?"

Shaun S said...

Dear Late Mr. Barrymore
You didn't say if it's true or not that Errol Flynn really did steal your body and "50 First Dates" is a great movie.

Mike Doran said...

Great channeling ...

Maybe, if we behave ourselves and get good grades, Mr. Barrymore can come back and tell us all what it was really like to do a movie with Ish Kabibble.

VincentS said...

Break a leg with the play, Ken. And as to you, Mr. Barrymore, I love your response to a scholar who asked you if Hamlet slept with Ophelia: "Only if the company was on tour."

Craig Gustafson said...

"Maybe, if we behave ourselves and get good grades, Mr. Barrymore can come back and tell us all what it was really like to do a movie with Ish Kabibble."

Ok. Serious note this time. (I'm sorry.)
The movie with Ish Kabibble - "Playmates." One of the last examples of John Barrymore's horrible fall into degrading self-parody. BUT... they had him do the "To be or not to be" soliloquy. Just stuck a camera in his face and let it roll, so you could see the guy who revolutionized how Shakespeare was played in this country. When he wraps up, he changes his facial angle and you can see tears running down his face. It's frickin' spine-tingling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYI_ZO5WEeQ

therealshell said...

I had a mad crush(es) on Penny Peyser and Susan Blakely, after seeing them on Rich Man, Poor Man, Book(s) 1 & 2. They were both adorable to the fifteen year old me.

John Hammes said...

Blogger Mike Doran said...

Great channeling ...

Maybe, if we behave ourselves and get good grades, Mr. Barrymore can come back and tell us all what it was really like to do a movie with Ish Kabibble.



Maybe Ish Kabibble can come along for the ride, and tell us what it was really like to do the movie " You'll Find Out " (for a while, a late night television staple).

Gary said...

Ken, I hate to display my one-track mind, but do you think you could ask Penny Peyser to be a guest blogger, and share her memories of working with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk on The In-Laws? She must have a great anecdote or two! (I hope your play's a big success, and Kimble finds the one-armed man at the end.)

Greg Ehrbar said...

Deer misster laveen,

Evreybuddy calls me pickle bud you ar my favrit writer an i hope yu mak lots of monny with yr pley. why dint they pik up big wave daves? what was lureta swit like?

yer frend and not a fake kid,
pickle(TM)

All rights reserved.

Johnny Walker said...

Just finished the episode of your podcast where you performed standup for the first time ever. Damn! You made it sound easy.

I've only performed improv in front on an audience, but there's been a few times I've been SO nervous that I just wished I was in the audience. Congrats on keeping it all in perspective. Even if you didn't enjoy it, it's great that you were able to keep cool enough to get your material across with confidence. (Also, brave choice of topic for a young crowd! I bet it would have *totally* killed with a boomer audience.)

Anyways, I think you should let us vote on what Letterman-style stunt you should pull next :)

thirteen said...

Everything pretty much goes zoooom right over my head, but is the play a nod to the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of The Fugitive? (I had to go to some stupid high school camp thing, so I didn't get to see it until about 1986, by which time my need to see it had lost a great deal of urgency.)

Johnny Walker said...

PS - This post was HILARIOUS

Charles H Bryan said...

Pretty damn funny, Mr. L. I could hear this as an extended radio spot.

Good luck with the play!

Doug said...

Please...like Prohibition slowed down his boozing.

Andrew said...

Very clever, Ken.

Genuine question (not snarky): For you to call your play "The Fugitive," did you have to hire a lawyer to deal with any copyright issues regarding the title?

VP81955 said...

John, on behalf of Carole, the lady who formerly occupied my avatar, a hearty hello. She tells me wonderful stories about working with you on "Twentieth Century," and was glad to repeat the pleasure a few years later on "True Confession."

MikeKPa. said...

I discovered Barrymore movies when I was in college, along with William Powell and Errol Flynn. Too bad his liver was pretty much in the bottle but the time talkies came about. Toward the end, even though he was making B movies, reading off cue cards and hammming it up on camera, he was still worth watching.