Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Norma Desmond: Big Star Meets Small Screen. Chapter 3 of the Norma Desmond Chonicles

Norma got off on a temporary insanity plea, did a short stint in a spa-like psych center and is now free in Hollywood. She's back and better than ever!

At last, Norma was ready to get out of that Sunset mansion and back into the limelight! She had secured an ad endorsement with Abdullah Cigarettes and the public reaction was positive. People commented on how young and lovely Norma still looked and were curious about her next move. But Norma had to admit to herself that she was no longer young enough to play "Salome" (the treatments had worked!). Still, she hoped Paramount would call.

Max had a plan.

 While Norma was away at the asylum, Max was able to make ends meet by getting a job as a television director. He explained his long absence from behind the camera by telling everyone he had been running a catering service ("New Year's Eve and Bridge Parties a Specialty"). Max first got his feet wet with some commercials and then a sitcom featuring a chimp (life can sometimes be cruel). Maybe he could get Madame a job in TV, too?
However, Max knew that the microphone was not yet Norma's friend. She needed to speak to the public as herself before she could play another character again. So, Max got Norma booked on various interview and game shows.

Norma tells her story to her still-devoted public
Norma guests on "What's My Line"
Norma, pro that she was, proved to be a hit wherever she went. Max felt that she was ready to take that next step. A local TV station came up with an idea for a sitcom - Max and Madame.

The Premise of "Max and Madame"
Madame is a retired  Broadway Diva who comes to Hollywood to star in a television show. She hires a butler named Max, who used to be a great silent film director. As Madame attends various social events and hobnobs with Hollywood society, Max attends to her needs, all the while slipping out of the house to direct a TV show about a butler who moonlights as a director.

The Nosy Neighbors
All sitcoms need nosy neighbors. Norma and Max asked some of her old friends to give her a hand.
Max asked Garbo, but she wasn't interested
Norma asked a glittering gallery of chums if they would like to assist, and some said they would be happy to lend Norma a hand.
Jolson, Pickford, Cantor and Colman all said "yes."
Chaplin was out of the country.Schenk & Goldwyn demurred and Doug was dead

The Wacky Adventures of Max and Madame
Madame sunbathes in leopard
Madame will be involved in many wacky escapades, always ending in Max making things right. Each episode will end in Madame yelling "MAX!"to get her out of trouble and Max, no matter where he is or what he is doing will come to her aid.
There was no doubt Norma could handle comedy
Norma was understandably a little nervous taking on such a commitment, and insisted that Max direct as well as act. Knowing that Max was behind the camera and in front of it with her put her at ease. Working with Max again like this, seeing him in control again, gave Norma a thrill she had not felt for some time. She looked at him in a new light that was an old light.

As for Max, he was hoping to get back into the bedroom of the husbands...

Max Von Myerling: Back behind the camera, in front of it
and in Norma's heart
Coming soon:
Max Makes His Move!


Edna's Place said...

Fun seeing Gloria do her 'Charlie Chaplin' on the Carol Burnett show.

Freder said...

Damn, woman! This is inspired! Thanks for the smiles!

Richard Bellush said...

Thanks for the follow-up on Norma's life. Did anyone ever seance up Joe Gillis to narrate any of her later work?

ClassicBecky said...

Oh no, NO, not Norma and Max on a sitcom! I dont' think I could take it...it should at least be a Broadway play. We could call it Sunset Boulevard, the Musical. Oh wait, I think somebody already did that! LOL

FlickChick said...

Norma's just getting her feet wet. We know you can't keep a great star down.