Your RDA of Irony

At Least I Am Not Writing About Michael Jackson

The death of Gale Storm left many of you wondering, “Who?”  The rest of us were pondering her  degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.  My wife actually challenged me to make the link, and since it is a recession I have nothing better to do. 

Being an antiquity, I actually remember “The Gale Storm Show” in which she played the social director on a cruise ship.  (The ship apparently had no casino or 24-hour buffet because the passengers’ only entertainment was listening to Miss Storm sing.)  Her costar on the show was Zasu Pitts–who despite looking like a gargoyle’s homely sister–played the ship’s beautician.  Miss Pitts was in silent films, one of which was “The Marriage March” with Erich von Stroiheim.  (He married her for her money, she married him for his title; raw sensuality was not a major factor.)  We know von Stroiheim from “Sunset Boulevard” with William Holden.  Along with 800 other actors, Holden took a paycheck for “The Towering Inferno”.  Robert Wagner was in that, too; he also was one of the few actors who didn’t do a nude scene in “Wild Things”.  And guess who played a crooked detective and one of the love interests for the omnisexual Matt Dillon?  So, Gale Storm–Zasu Pitts–Erich von Stroiheim–William Holden–Robert Wagner–Kevin Bacon:  five degrees.

That is too tenuous.  Most of China’s population is five degrees from Mr. Bacon.  Let’s try again.

I actually saw Gale Storm in a movie, “Tom Brown’s School Days”.  The headmaster of Rugby was played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke.  You will remember him as the likable old pharoah in “The Ten Commandments.”  His unlikable son was played by Yul Brynner.  (The two probably quarreled over accents; Hardwicke believing that Pharoahs should sound British, while Brynner thought they had Russian accents.)  With the aforementioned Russian accent, Mr. Brynner gunned down Eli Wallach in “The Magnificent Seven”.  Mr. Wallach was in “Mystic River”, the only one in the cast who did not try to sound South Boston Irish.  (Even Laurence Fishburne tried.)  And guess who played a crooked detective in that film? 

So:  Gale Storm–Sir Cedric Hardwicke–Yul Brynner–Eli Wallach–Kevin Bacon.

Four degrees–and I quit.


p.s.  And let’s not forget the historic significance of this day.  Lieutenant John Tolkien would have a very exciting summer and, in some way, he would be writing about it for the rest of his life.

  1. Leah says:

    Gale Storm’s last job: a “Murder She Wrote” in 1989 (according to Times obit); Angela Lansbury (using quick shortcut of Google search, it’s not as if I knew this) was in “Nanny McPhee” (2005) with Colin Firth; Firth was in “Where the Truth Lies” (2005) with Kevin Bacon. One degree less, I think.

    A waste of time, but better than working or reading about Michael Jackson. Although I must say, I can’t get enough of reading about Mark Sanford, who uses the press corps as his shrink. I think he’s channeling Alphonse D’Amato.

  2. Eugene Finerman says:

    There is a website called the Oracle of Bacon; it can conjure the link between any actor (within the last century) and Kevin Bacon. I attempted to test it, offering the name of Nicolai Cherkassov–the heartthrob of Ivan the Terrible. And, yes, there was a link. Someone who costarrred with Cherkassov evidently appeared in “Moscow on the Hudson” and once the Hollywood connection was established, a link with Bacon was inevitable.

    By the way, “Nanny McPhee” was quite charming.

    I can’t say the same about Mark Sanford but apparently he has no interest in seducing me either.


  3. Michele says:

    God help me, but I also remember Gale Storm from “My Little Margie,” where she played the perky and mischievous daughter of Charles Farrell, tennis club bon vivant. In those days, virtually all TV daughters were perky and mischievous. The exceptions were the girls of “Dobie Gillis” — the steamy Thalia Menninger (played by the steamy Tuesday Weld) and the brainy Zelda Gilroy (played by Shelia James Kuehl, who is now an out and proud gay state senator in California). This was also the show that spawned the career of Bob Denver, of whom I expected better things based on his portrayal of the beatnik Maynard G. Krebs. Gilligan. How could he?

  4. Peg Pruitt says:

    I do remember Gale Storm from “My Little Margie” and “Oh, Susanna.” I also remember the “Murder, She Wrote” episode in which she played the ditzy mother-in-law to be of JB Fletcher’s nephew Grady. She was fun to watch.

    I am thoroughly sick and tired of hearing about the Jackson freak.

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