|Hollywood's Busiest Medium: Madame Crackpotski|
Chapter 5 of 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. She's back and better than ever!
The last time we saw Norma, she was just beginning to get her life back together. She and Max were starring in the successful sitcom, "Max and Madame," the Hollywood community had embraced her, her fans had returned and Max (whose carpal tunnel syndrome had healed since he no longer had to write bogus fan letters) was getting closer to making his big romantic move. All of Norma's stars were aligned when word reached her that Joe Gillis was making appearances at seances all over town and was trashing her.
The old Norma would have been thrown by this and might have either reached for the gun or the razor, but the old Norma was dead. The new Norma decided to fight fire with fire and face her demons head on.
"Max! We will have a Halloween seance right here at Sunset Boulevard and invite Joe to tell his story to my face!"
|Norma envisions a Hollywood-style seance.....|
While Max did not relish the thought of Joe Gillis returning to the house - dead or alive - he acquiesced. After all, once Norma got a notion in her head there was no stopping her. He hired Hollywood's most expensive psychic medium, Madame Crackpotski, to conduct communication with the other side.
Norma assembled an "A" list guest list for her seance:
|Nervous that Joe Gillis would find out that "Bases Loaded" was |
being made as a Betty Hutton
Naturally, the Waxworks
|Buster wouldn't have "passed" up this opportunity!|
|HB Warner made sure he brought his own ashtray - just in case|
|Anna Q. Nilsson was curious. She never liked Joe.|
|Well, Norma wasn't dead|
|Orson knew his way around a magic act|
Bogey and Bacall
|Hollywood's most popular couple. Norma could use their support.|
Garbo was invited, but declined.
|"Miss Garbo respectfully and regretfully declines your invitation."|
Valentino was invited from the other side.
|Not too concerned about Joe Gillis, but curious to see if the tiles were still tango-worthy|
And - the most important guests of all: Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons.
|Norma was counting on these two blabber-mouths to set the record straight.|
As the guests settled in and held hands around the table, Madame Crackpotski made contact with the departed Joe. Here is an exclusive transcript of what transpired:
Madame Crackpotski (Aka MC): Joe Gillis. Come in Joe Gillis...
(the table levitates and an icy wind blows through the room as the organ wheezes).
Joe (through MC): it's me folks! I'm here.
Norma: Joe, Joe - why are you lying, saying that I killed you over Betty Schaeffer? Tell the truth Joe, tell the truth!
Joe: Sorry, Norma, but Sheldrake needs a good story, not the truth. I wanted to sell him the Bases Loaded story, but he just wouldn't budge. I was desperate!
Sheldrake: It was all Betty Schaeffer's fault! She said your stories were no good!
Norma: Joe, you didn't leave without the platinum cigarette case and the vicuna coat. You took them all, and my diamond tiara, and, on the way out, you threatened me with a gun. You lied and you stole from me and I shot you in self defense!
Joe: Sorry, Norma, I didn't want to look as though I was in it for the money. And besides, Betty wanted the tiara. She wanted the monkey, too, for some reason, but I didn't feel like digging him up. Norma, I guess I had it coming.
Norma: Thank you, Joe.
Joe: Say hello to Max.....and thank him for all of the cocktails. Well, folks, goodbye. I've got a sweet deal of a story lined up. This town hasn't heard the last of Joe Gillis.I'm going to sell a story to Paramount even if it kills me. Oops - it already did!
Another cold wind blew through the room and Madame Crackpostki fell into a heap on the floor. Joe was gone and Norma was vindicated (sort of). Everyone congratulated Norma, who was positively glowing. Louella and Hedda promised to tell her story to the world and to CB De Mille.
|CB will surely call now!|