One of the totally unexpected joys/thrills/honors that has come out of this little writing project that I started nearly two years ago is not only the volume of readership I've managed to gather (which, while not exactly knocking on Harry Knowles' door or anything like it, is still far beyond anything I ever allowed myself to imagine), but also the people who I've managed to come in contact with, meet, become acquainted with, and who, in some lucky instances, have even become friends, in the blogosphere and in the 3-D world. Were it not for that initial post which started all his off in November 2004, I most likely would have never crossed paths with Peet Gelderblom, That Little Round-Headed Boy, Mr. Middlebrow, Jim Emerson, Matt Zoller Seitz, Girish Shambu, Flickhead, David Hudson, Craig Phillips, Kimberly Lindbergs, Aaron Graham, Tom Sutpen, Benaiah (one of my first loyal readers and commenters), Robert Hubbard, Steven Carlsson, Roger Jacobs and probably plenty of others I'm momentarily forgetting. And I certainly never would have heard from the likes of James Wolcott, Anne Thompson, screenwriter Larry Gross, filmmaker David Lowery, writer Paul Matwychuk and one other person whose work I have admired, who e-mailed me out of the blue this past spring and has since become a friend whose tastes are alarmingly like my own, a filmgoing companion and a person whose opinion I value and trust.
Given all those wonderful connections, go figure that the most recent celebrity visitor to the virtual pages of SLIFR has delighted me unlike any other. Last month I wrote a fairly lengthy appreciation of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a piece of which the likes of Mr. Wolcott and Mr. Emerson were very appreciative (and for which I thank them again very much). But I never would have guessed, in a million, trillion years, that my favorite cast member from BVD would also find her way to the piece and drop in on the comments page to say how much she liked it. But that's just what happened the weekend before last when Cynthia Myers, also known in the film as Casey Anderson, the ill-fated bass player of the Carrie Nations, visited my blog. This little visitation made me unreasonably happy and I began bragging about it to anybody who would listen (and many, I'm sure, who didn't really want to). Ms. Myers, whose film career unfortunately spanned only BVD (1970), an uncredited appearance in Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) and a pretty good role in the 1972 western Molly and Lawless John, had a natural, alluring screen presence, and ever since seeing her in BVD for the first time years ago I've always wondered why she didn't pursue her acting career. Ms. Myers also happens to be a Playboy playmate who, according to her own Web site, "graced the cover of the December 1968 Playboy as a living Christmas tree, and her centerfold, shot by Pompeo Posar-- posed kneeling on a white rug alongside a Teddy bear-- is regarded by many as the greatest pin-up photograph ever taken." The Web site also goes on to state that her appearance as the magazine's centerfold attraction triggered the second-biggest flood tide of of letters of any Playmate in Playboy history. Why not be glad when such a luminary touches down on one's humble blog page and offers a comment or two?
Dolly Read and Cynthia Myers rock as two-thirds of the Carrie Nations in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Here's what Ms. Myers had to say about my article and the whole BVD phenomenon when she dropped by on July 1:
"Outstanding!! Thank you!! What a delicious "kick" we, (the other cast members and myself) are still getting from this wonderful rollercoaster ride Russ invited us to take with him! Rollercoasters are fun AND scary, but thats why we get on, right? I think everyone was "in on the joke" except Fox, but that's okay. (They didn't mind counting their profits). Thank you, Russ! Thank you, Roger! AND ...thanks to the loyalty, devotion and tenacity of one Ms. Siouxzan Perry. This talented lady and her company "makinwaves" Design made it possible for the cast commentaries and other highlights of this DVD to have happened. In fact, her "mission" for BVD on DVD (was for) Fox to... take notice. It was her labor of love for BVD that fueled her to find all the cast members and music people and reunite us. She made "Z-Man's Happening" happen once again! Thanks to Siouxzan, we are all good friends and members of a truly unique sorority!!! Yes, I am very proud to be a Russ Meyer lady (okay, "babe"). Ha! What a great "guilty pleasure"!!
Love, Cynthia Myers aka "Casey Anderson"
P.S. If you all didn't think this was hard to explain when my mother and grandparents in Ohio asked; "Honey, who is this Russ Meyer, and whats the movie about"? well...it's ALL been fun!"
And then, posted only a few minutes later, was this follow-up:
"Oh, I forgot another P.S.: I know Pam (Grier) was wearing a gold colored crocheted/macrame' dress in a party scene. And, how I wish I had that quitar today!"
Well, after I discovered that in the comments column for my article I couldn't wait to fire off a response. It went a little something like this:
"Ms. Myers, what an honor! Thank you for reading my piece and for taking the time to leave a little contribution of your own. From the first time I saw Beyond the Valley of the Dolls some 13 or 14 years ago, you've always been my favorite Carrie Nation, and it was a genuine thrill to hear from you. Long ago, I took my wife, whom I had been only dating for a few months, to see BVD on a double bill with Cherry, Harry and Raquel, and Mr. Meyer was there in person. It's quite a testament to my wife's understanding that, even though she didn't "get" the appeal of BVD, she has certainly never held it against me that I did. (That night Mr. Meyer could be found in the theater lobby during the second feature serving popcorn too!) I'm just sorry that I wasn't able to make it out to your personal appearance with the BVD Tour at the Grove this past June 13. That'll teach me not to keep up on the "appearances" links on your Web site. In fact, it was a tremendous pleasure to see all of the Carrie Nations looking so happy and beautiful on the terrific bonus materials (courtesy of your friend Siouxzan Perry) for the BVD DVD. And you're right-- it is a great "guilty" pleasure, this movie you all made, and you're right to be proud of it. You're a part of movie history, part of a movie that showed how shucking expectations and the conventional wisdom of commercial instincts could result not only in a box-office hit on terms dictated purely by the movie itself, but also in a movie that has, in its own special way, stood the test of time and eclipsed the movie on which it was ostensibly based. A good deal of the credit must (and has been) laid at Ebert and Meyers' feet for BVD, but it's clear enough to me that the movie would not have been the same, and perhaps would not have been as effective or winning in its weirdness, had it not been cast with the gentle people who have come to embody its enduring appeal. Thanks for being a part of this screwy classic, and thanks even more for dropping me a line. I was so glad to see you on the DVD and discover that you seemed to be just as personable and sweet as I always imagined you'd be. Your gracing us with your presence here is even more evidence of all that. I hope you'll come back soon! And thanks too for helping the Great Pam Grier Search. We'll all be on the lookout for that gold crocheted macrame dress!"
And that was, I thought, the end of it, my own Brush with Greatness. But apparently, and happily enough, not! Upon logging on to SLIFR this morning while enjoying a beautifully overcast morning in Eugene, I stumbled upon yet another missive from Ms. Myers. This one felt a little more like a mass e-mail, but I was no less glad to receive it, for reasons which should become obvious when you read it:
"Hi Gang! Cynthia Myers here aka Casey Anderson. I will be a guest at the Hollywood Collectors Show this July 15 & 16th. It is held at the Burbank Hilton. There's a great list of celebs that will be there. You can check out their site at Hollywoodcollectorsshow.com." Love, Cynthia xo"
The Web page Ms. Myers provided for Hollywoodcollctorsshow.com doesn't seem to have much info on the Burbank appearance (at least that I can find). But I did come across some info courtesy of the Los Angeles Times regarding dates, times and admissions that will be helpful to anyone, like me, who hopes to make it out to the Burbank Hilton next weekend and meet Ms. Myers in person. And if I'm lucky enough to get there, hopefully Ms. Myers will graciously pose for a photo. If she does, of course I'll share it with you.
Thanks, Ms. Myers, for brightening up the SLIFR world with your luminous presence and participation. It is much appreciated!
(In my search for material on Cynthia Myers, I came across this nifty interview which fans, as well as the merely curious, will most probably not want to miss. Enjoy!)
Ms. Myers in 2006, with fellow BVD cast members John "Z-Man" La Zr and Erica "Roxanne" Gavin