Friday, February 4, 2011

Norma Desmond: What Next? Chapter 2 in The Norma Desmond Chronicles

Norma got off on a temporary insanity plea, did a short stint in a spa-like psych center and is now free in Hollywood. The New Year's Eve party was a success, but now Norma was faced with with the $64,000 question: What does she do with the rest of her life?

Hollywood had welcomed her back with open arms, but, as of yet, there had been no offers to star in a film. Paramount had not called (but Norma was gratified to learn that Gordon Coles had been fired).

Max, of course, was still by her side (hoping, hoping). He decided a new chimp would cheer Madame up.
This one had a bad habit that might be a
 problem and was returned to the shop
This one proved fickle and was also returned
Max convinced Madame that a puppy would be a more suitable pet.
Norma and her new puppy, Little Joey G.
Of course, Norma was wealthy, far wealthier than all of this new Hollywood trash (oil fields pumping, pumping). Nevertheless, she needed to keep busy (she learned that in therapy). The mansion was paid for, but might need a little updating. She decided to confer with her new best friend, Joan Crawford.

Joan had always been a student of the Norma Desmond school of stardom. Joan, too, was big, and she had one of those "faces." When Norma looked at Joan, she saw a younger version of herself. When Joan looked at Norma, she saw a cautionary tale: Don't let the public forget you for one minute! Joan was a compassionate friend and wanted to help Norma transition back into the Hollywood spotlight. She asked Norma what she would like to do next.

Norma thought that she might excel at interior design.Who wouldn't love a house filled with Norma Desmonds, Norma Desmonds and still more Norma Desmonds?  Joan's other good friend, William Haines, a former big star in the 20s and early 30s, was now a very successful decorator with the Hollywood set. Joan asked him to survey Norma's home and render an opinion.
Mr. Haines took a look at Norma's decor
Mr. Haines surveyed the tile floor (where Valentino tangoed), the rat-infested swimming pool (where ghosts of John Gilbert, and Mabel Normand and Vilma Banky and Rod La Rocque swam), the endless array of Norma's photos in ornate frames and the gondola-style bed in a the frill-bedecked bedroom and discretely told Joan that he did not think that this was Norma's forte. Perhaps she should stick to performing?
Norma Desmonds, Norma Desmonds and still more Norma Desmonds
Joan would not give up. She was a loyal friend and wanted Norma to get off on the right foot.
Joan ponders Norma's future
She suggested product endorsement and noted that one of the waxworks, Buster Keaton, was having great success in this field. "What product would Norma Desmond endorse?" she asked Norma.

"I love Abdullah Cigarettes," said Norma. "In fact, Joe kept me waiting forever one night when he went into Schwab's to buy me a pack. That night was the beginning of the end..."

"Don't go there!" cautioned Joan. Max was standing by,his white-gloved hand on the phone, ready to call the doctor. But Norma shook off the past. At last she was ready to move forward.

Joan had a bright idea, but Norma had to lose that looney cigarette holder.
 Would she? Norma agreed.

And so it was that Norma Demond became the face of Abdullah Cigarettes and the public became reacquainted with the star with a face.

Norma Desmond says:
 I smoke Abdullahs because Big Stars need Big Taste!

Coming Soon:

Norma Discovers Television
Max Makes His Move
Paramount Calls!
And More...
Don't desert her now! Check back and follow Norma's progress!


Robin@DecoratingTennisGirl said...

This is so funny. You are VERY creative. The perils of Norma. Love it!!!

FlickChick said...

Thank you! I can tell you are a real fan of Norma's, Robin, and that you wish her well!

Freder said...

I have to stop reading your blog at work. I laugh too hard, and people are getting wise!