Friday, April 17, 2015

Making the mold for the sheer enjoyment of breaking it

Yes, Moon and Reed were incredible.
Yes, McKellen and Stewart are lots of fun.
But they all follow in the sizable footsteps of original Hellraisers, Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole, whose antics (along with Reed) are chronicled in the book, "Hellraisers". When those three, or any combination of two or three, were present at some shindig, you can be sure that all eyes were on their antics, leaving us free to snoop around and do what we needed to do undetected.
Burton passed away in 1984, leaving Harris and O'Toole to their own devices. Fortunately, they were more than up for the task...

  • In 1959, O'Toole was cast as a Cockney sergeant in the play The Long And The Short And The Tall at the Royal Court Theatre. His understudy was a young Michael Caine, and one Saturday night after the show O'Toole invited him to a restaurant he knew. Eating a plate of egg and chips was the last thing Caine remembered, until he woke up in broad daylight in a strange flat.  "What time is it?" he inquired. "Never mind what time it is," said O'Toole. "What f***ing day is it?" It turned out that it was five o'clock in the afternoon two days later. Curtain-up was at eight. (Daily Mail)
  • In 1963, Harris won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival for the movie This Sporting Life. But when the actress Jeanne Moreau handed him his award, a plain box, Harris, who'd by then had a few, barked: "What's this?" Momentarily stunned, Moreau replied: "Cufflinks. That's what the best actor gets." Blow that, thought Harris, grabbing the biggest trophy he could see and darting off stage. (Daily Mail)
  • (O'Toole) once showed up in a sports car yelling: "Get your passport, we're off!" Heading for Rome, they (he and actress Sian Phillips) took a wrong turning and ended up in Yugoslavia. By the end of the trip, Sian's nerves were in shreds as a result of O'Toole's manic driving. After he'd once taken a friend to Amsterdam, the unfortunate woman later confided to Sian: "He should never drive anything. He's lovely, but I thought we were going to die." Over the years, cars and O'Toole have never been the best of friends. One woman who accepted a lift from him swore afterwards that she would never do so again. During the journey, he had ignored a Keep Left sign on the grounds that it was "silly", and also narrowly avoided driving down a flight of steps. (Daily Mail)
  • After one binge, (Harris) staggered back to a hotel where he was staying, undressed and climbed into bed, oblivious to the fact that it was occupied by a young couple. He was in the wrong room. "Hey, what's the big idea?" said a voice. "I don't have one," replied Harris, "but if one occurs to you, by all means wake me up." (Daily Mail)

Clearly, in terms of this kind of behavior, the bar was set very high, very early on. We remain deeply indebted to these bon vivants for their contributions to our success, as well as the obvious positive influence on our own conduct.

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