Tuesday, August 10, 2010

National Velvet

Somehow I will have to make sure that Peggy does not pick up the book I am reading these days and start reading it.  

Just the right thickness for a wobbly chair leg

It's the autobiography of the noted actor, raconteur, Hollywood swinger and tanmaster George Hamilton.  "Don't Mind If I Do" tells the tale of the life of a man chiefly famous for being famous...sort of the male version of the Gabor sisters, without all that acting talent.  I picked this book up at Barnes & Noble on their reduced rack for $5.98, because I was interested in reading about just how it is that he became an actor, and also because the book looked so lonesome, sitting there atop a gigantic stack of other copies of itself. 

And I'm not even that far into it, to tell you the truth. I've read up the part where his mother, having left his father, supports herself by striking up friendships with Hollywood notables such as Hoagy Carmichael.  

I am telling you, there is a world out there in which people do such things.  Then again, there is a world out there in which people used to be able to spend their vacation at Twitty City, the Hendersonville TN home of country music legend Conway
Conway Twitty (1933 - 1993)
Twitty.  And after paying the admission charge, fans were able to roam the grounds and visit the mansion wherein dwelt the man born Harold Lloyd Jenkins.  Fans could even enter his house and walk around in there.  Sure, there were velvet ropes set up to keep people from entering the bathroom while the great man loofahed his back, but they say that one could actually stand right outside the dining area and watch Conway spooning Shredded Wheat down his neck in the morning.  

And people planned their vacations to be in Twitty City for this.

George Hamilton IV
You ask how in the world does Conway Twitty have anything to do with George Hamilton, and you might think I am confusing Hamilton with George
Hamilton IV, the country singer from North Carolina who had such a big hit with "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" in 1956.  But no.  Here's the angle:

Hamilton had an older brother Bill who was interested in decorating and had a real flair for design.  His mother let Bill decorate their apartment in New York, and Bill got the idea to put one of those velvet ropes in front of the door to a rarely-used closet.  People walking by were to get the impression that the door led to another whole area of the apartment, but it was currently closed for renovation: hence the velvet rope.

I'm not kidding you.  There are people who actually think like that, deceiving people into thinking there is more to   them than the eye can see at first glance. And the velvet rope is all that stands between them and reality. Then there are people who will cluster on the east side of a velvet rope while Conway Twitty goes about his life on the west side.  

I just don't think that Conway would have fronted in any way.  He seemed like a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy.  Hamilton comes from that there-must-be-more-to-see-than-just-this school of thought.  

I think I prefer the Conway.

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