Monday, September 20, 2010

Norma Desmond's Handbook: How to Live Life as a Star

Poor Norma Desmond, so misunderstood. Sure, she was a bit loony. Who wouldn't be? When the thing you love most deserts you, it can have devastating consequences.
...that room of hers, all satin and ruffles. And that bed, like a gilded rowboat. The perfect setting for a silent movie queen. Poor devil - still waving proudly to a parade which had long since passed her by.
Norma Desmond was devoted to her art - the art of being a star. It's not her fault the movies spoke, the chimp died and the boy-toy fell for a younger woman. Norma kept her promise to live and breathe every waking moment as a star.

A star still shines, even if no one is looking.

There is much to be learned from Norma, so all of you who long to live life as a star - pay attention!

Here are Norma's top ten lessons in living life as a star (with a little help from her friends Max, Joe and CB).

Lesson #1: Enrapture Your Fans
Max Von Mayerling: She was the greatest of them all. You wouldn't know. You're too young. In one week she received 17,000 fan letters. Men bribed her hairdresser to get a lock of her hair. There was a maharajah who came all the way from India to beg one of her silk stockings. Later he strangled himself with it!

Lesson #2: Inspire Your Director's Devotion
Max Von Mayerling: Madame is the greatest star of them all.

Cecil B. DeMille: You didn't know Norma Desmond as a lovely little girl of seventeen, with more courage and wit and heart than ever came together in one youngster

Lesson #3: Enslave Your Ex-Husband
Max Von Mayerling: There were three young directors who showed promise in those days: D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, and Max von Mayerling.
Joe Gillis: And she made you her servant. 
Max Von Mayerling: It was I who asked to come back. I could have continued my career, but I found it unbearable. You see, I was her first husband. 

Lesson #4: Be an Unashamed Cougar
Set up the hunky younger man in the bedroom next door. Add extra points if you can do this in front of the ex-husband.

Lesson # 5: Be Fashion Forward
Mere mortals should imitate you, not vice versa.

Lesson #6: Live Like a Star
Decorate like a star,
have big pets
and always hang with other star-friends.

Lesson #7: Be Confident

Joe Gillis: They'll love it in Pomona.
Norma Desmond: They'll love it everywhere. 

Norma Desmond: Without me there wouldn't be any Paramount Studio.

Joe Gillis: You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
Norma Desmond: I am big. It's the pictures that got small.

Lesson #8: Smoke and Make Sure You Have a Cool Cigarette Holder

Lesson # 9: A Star's Emotions Are Bigger Than Life

Lesson #10: Never, Never, Ever Forget Your Fans
Norma Desmond: Then why do they still write me fan letters every day? Why do they beg me for my photographs? Why? Because they want to see me, ME, Norma Desmond

Joe Gillis: I didn't know you were planning a comeback.
Norma Desmond: I hate that word. It's 
return - a return to the millions of people who have never forgiven me for deserting the screen.

Norma Desmond:
No one ever leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.
Stars are ageless, aren't they?

Norma Desmond:
I just want to tell you all how happy I am to be back in the studio making a picture again! You don't know how much I've missed all of you. And I promise you, I'll never desert you again because after Salome we'll make another picture, and another picture! You see, this is my life. It always will be! There's nothing else - just us - and the cameras - and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up.

And always answer your fan mail!

Norma's best student:
Joan Crawford

My Personal Favorite Quote from SSB: 
Max Von Mayerling: If you need any help with the coffin, call me.

Special thanks to the fabulous face of Gloria Swanson

And, of course, credit to Billy Wilder. Yes, I know it's only a movie, but it seems so real.


Jan Miner said...

OK - this was hilarious. The best one yet. Keep them coming.

FlickChick said...

This is as deep as I get.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant! I shared it on Facebook. You deserve a much bigger audience.

FlickChick said...

Wow - very gratifying. I always thought I was brilliant, but never expected anyone else to agree. I have to be more like Norma and believe in myself!

Tammy Caddo said...

OMG!! The most FABULOUS SITE ever created!!! I feel as if I could have a personal relationship with these stars!! The narration of these pages as well as the pictures make their world almost tangible!! You feel as if you could talk to them right now! I hope this page stays FOREVER!!!

John Boles Gal #1 said...

Yes, this was hysterical! Especially the whole cougar bit and extra points for moving in a younger guy even with the ex in the house..classic!

Will said...

Joe was a fool. He should have stayed with Norma. She was not a bad person. Always joyful when he was around. I have been to 10086 Sunset Blvd. many times. Gone is the median in the street but the aura of Norma is still there. I have tried a million times to breakdown there and pull into some old star’s driveway

Will said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have infer from a only one of the articles on your website at this very moment, and I extremely like your fashionableness of blogging. I added it to my favorites web period muster and disposition be checking back soon. Will check out of order my position as highly and leave to me be familiar with what you think. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

If I were to describe my relationship with my girlfriend, I'd compare it to Max and Norma.

FlickChick said...

Then you must love her very much!

Unknown said...

Can you believe she was once married to Wallace Beery?!? I read her biography and I've seen some of her movies (Loved Male and Female and of course Sunset Boulevard!) and I just can't picture her with HIM! He didn't get very good reviews from her, either!