Monday, February 25, 2008

Cold Comfort for Change

Pat "She had hair like Jeanie Shrimpton back in 1969" Dinizio just told me that Ben Chapman died. Chapman (no relation, at least none that I know of, to Mark David Chapman, that piece of shit who shot John Lennon) had bit parts in a few films but scored more than his 15 minutes as the guy in the gill suit in "Creature From the Black Lagoon," the classic 1954 3D monster movie that my pal Dave Cockrum adored. Chapman was a 6'5" ex-Marine, if there is such a thing; my brother Dave (a lance corporal) says there ain't.

The LA Times trivializes Chapman's passing pretty much the way this blog trivializes everything it discusses. I'm paraphrasing Jim Reeber who called to tell me he enjoys the blog but wishes I'd get back to real writing. "There's lots of bloggers, Cliff, but very few writers." Bukowski used to say that about there were more poets than poems. Reeber has a point, and the point is lodged so firmly in my patellar guilt reflex that I will likely commit blogocide and disappear from the airwaves until I finish my next novella, which I haven't started yet, which is the whole point.

Back to trivializing Chapman: The actor, who was briefly a contract player at Universal in the early '50s, said landing the Creature role was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. "They were looking for an imposing creature, and at 6'5", I filled the bill." He described the Creature suit as a one-piece outfit that zipped down the back with dorsal fins, hands that were gloves, and feet that were like boots. "They had me lay on a table, take a complete plaster of Paris mold of my body, then design this costume. I couldn't lose or gain weight, or it wouldn't fit right. The whole experience was like climbing into a large body stocking with creases." Chapman got so hot on the sound stage wearing the costume, which included a large helmet-like head, that someone had to stand by with a water hose to cool him off.

Chapman retired as a Honolulu real estate salesman and died Thursday of congestive heart failure.

Jeanie Shrimpton, the retired model, eventually found love with her photographer husband Michael Cox and was last reported to be running a small hotel in Penzance, Cornwall.

Pat Dinizio is currently playing livingroom concerts and occasional gigs with The Smithereens.

John Lennon is still dead.

Mark David Chapman, the piece of shit who killed Lennon, is in Attica State Prison.

Charles Bukowski is still dead.

Dave Cockrum is still dead.

The people my brother Dave has gone after are either dead or at least feeling cheap.

Jim Reeber, who has way more talent than I do, is still playing with a local cover band called Hoi Polloi. And he has the audacity to call blogging creative death.

Clifford Meth was once a writer who tripped the path of least resistance into a blog addiction until Hank Magitz put an ice pick through the back of his skull.

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