One Hart Too Many

So part of my daily wandering routine includes going to Borders and reading biographies of famous actors from the 50’s and 60’s. One of the best of these is Tony Curtis’ American Prince, which I’ve written about here before in various contexts. These books are also kind of depressing, as they represent a long gone era of movies far superior to the current mixture of awful remakes, market researched romance, shock cinema, child proof kids movies and preachily indulgent films. But blah blah blah…

Back to Tony Curtis’ American Prince. The most intriguing chapter deals with his marriage to Christine Kaufman. When he was aged 37, Tony Curtis fell in love with a young German actress named Christine Kaufman, who was only 17 or 18 at the time. He left Janet Leigh (he claims their marriage was over anyway) and promptly wedded Christine.

He recalls their romance:

Janet left Argentina, because she had a movie to make, but the reason for her leaving as quickly may have been jealousy of my beautiful young co-star, Christine Kaufman who played my love interest in “Taras Bulba,” a Ukrainian version of Romeo and Juliet. What no one knew at the time was that I didn’t need to act in my love scenes with Christine, because I really did fall in love with her. To make the situation even more ticklish…Christine was only 17 years old. That gave me pause, but there was a freshness about her, an exuberant joy in living that made me go all funny inside. Christine made life fun again, and I wanted to be with her in the worst way. My dream came true when we launched into a torrid affair for the first three weeks of shooting.


Tony Curtis and Christine Kaufmann wedding photo, 1963

Oh how lovely it would be to launch into a torrid affair this summer! If only there were any takers? (Cue the sound of crickets chirping…)

“Actors today achieve nothing. Nor do they have any glamour. They seem more interested in adopting babies than films. All the films are terrible, too, because the scripts are so bad and there are no decent film-makers. So I stick to Jill and my paintings” -Tony Curtis

Lately I’ve also been reading bits of actor Robert Wagner’s autobiography, Pieces of My Heart. My first memories of Robert Wagner are from when I used to watch the show Hart to Hart with my mom, (but I was probably too young to understand anything that was going on.)

The most striking difference between Robert Wagner’s memoirs and Tony Curtis’ is that Robert Wagner is simply a much more romantic guy, a gentleman even. When it comes to romance, Tony Curtis basically spends a lot of time bragging about his endless sexual conquests. He also cheated on all of his (several) wives, and when he talks of falling in love… it is generally reduced to a couple of paragraphs for just about every new girl he meets. He clearly just had a case of “the new girl syndrome.” Robert Wagner on the other hand devotes about 80% of his book to being in love with Natalie Wood. This includes falling in love with her, marrying her, arguing and fighting with her, moping around for years when she leaves him, finally getting her back, living happily in their second marriage and then eventually being devastated when she mysteriously drowned off Catalina Island in 1981.


I personally never really got into Natalie Wood that much. I mean I’m sure she was really wonderful and everything like everyone thought, but I just never had like an actress crush on her or saw what was so magical…. and from reading Robert Wagner’s book, all indications point to her as being a pain in the ass to deal with (although he doesn’t frame it that way or try to paint her as such…but any guy who has been around the block can read between the lines.) She dumps him when her career is riding high, leaving him in the dust. Then later when he has a new wife and re-establishes his life with roles in The Pink Panther (60’s film version) and The Longest Day while her career has started going downhill and her high profile romances have all fizzled out…well you get the idea.

This online account of one of their first dates is telling:

He invited her to meet him for lunch the following day. Natalie’s indifference – and Wagner’s easygoing manner – are indicated by the fact she arrived three hours late, to find him waiting patiently and still in good humour. This mellow manner won her over. She found herself accepting an invitation to an evening aboard My Lady, the first of the many boats Wagner was to buy with his cinema earnings.

Actually, forget Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story and Splendor in the Grass…the only Natalie Wood movie I ever really enjoyed was Sex and the Single Girl (which coincidentally starred Tony Curtis!)

As much as I’d like to think I identify with Tony Curtis’ carefree philandering persona, deep down I must admit that I relate more with the sentiments in Wagner’s book. I spent most of my young adult life hopelessly romantic and absolutely miserable, in spite of whatever I may have had going for me at the time, lookswise or otherwise.

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June 23, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

On the other hand, it’s the only way you’ll discover that I’m the good guy in this story

Suddenly, I can’t think of anything more important.”

Lack of updates over the weekend can only mean that…you guessed it, I’ve been hanging out with a new girl.

Friday night I met up with Bill at First Friday, where we walked around and had a mostly uneventful time of it. After that we went to Casey Moore’s briefly. Bill says he doesn’t like going to Casey Moore’s lately because there’s more girls there that he has to avoid than ones he wants to hook up with. After a short while I left to go meet up with girl in Cartel parking lot. She’s not quite 21 yet, so she can’t get into bars. No big deal though, We hit up 24 hour Walmart, bought a deck of Uno cards and sneaked into a certain vacant condominium to play. Uno with just two people is a pretty boring game…so after about two hands and 15 minutes, we gave up and just decided to spend the next 5 or 6 hours talking and getting to know each other, occasionally taking a break for a roll around on the floor make out session.

We left just as the sun was starting to come up. As she drove me back to the car she put in a mix cd which had the song “Make it with You” by Bread…which we(or maybe just I) decided would be our song.
It was especially striking because other girls I have hung out with have been completely disgusted by my tendency to enjoy 70’s light rock.

Saturday night we hung out again, and maybe got a bottle of Pinot Grigio and went to the pool area of some random complex I used to live in in Tempe. There was an ex-Marine hanging out in the hot tub whom we chatted with for a bit. He told us some war stories and some dirty jokes which weren’t that funny but that i pretended to laugh at. He was a nice enough guy, though.

Afterwards, we went back to my house and fell asleep while watching “Caprice” starring Doris Day.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at Wildflower. The manager lady came up to our table and asked us if were dating. She said we looked really cute together. We didn’t know what to say, but girl mentioned that we should have told her we were brother and sister… which would have been pretty awkward and great.

Then we went to Borders at the Biltmore, and upstairs they have this little room with a podium and chairs that people use for presentations or whatever. We took turns reading from books to each other at the podium, with the other person just sitting in the audience. I read a chapter from Donald Trump’s “Think Like a Champion” which turned out to be not a very entertaining choice. She read from something called “1001 Funniest Things Ever Said” which was a lame book, but suited are purposes very well…so for my second turn I read from that also.

Then we went back to my house, and listened to “The Zombies” cd in my room a few times before heading off to the Adult Swim pool party where we mostly just hung out with Jonathan and ate chicken strips.

It was almost time to say goodbye, but we first ended up back at my house where we quietly watched “Fathom.” It was one of the most romantic movie watching experiences with a girl I’ve ever had. She didn’t text or talk the whole time, and basically we just held hands. I started to miss her before she even left, which is generally a good sign.

June 8, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

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