Friday, November 18, 2011

Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner


I don't think I knew who Natalie Wood was when she died. I understood that she was a former child star and that she was married to Robert Wagner. I knew someone who had worked in a restaurant at Lake Tahoe and spilled coffee on her. But I wouldn't have recognized her if I saw her.

I remember one tasteless Natalie Wood joke that quickly reached us in Oregon after her death. And this was back before the internet and before TV had gone completely tasteless. I don't know how jokes spread in those days. I remember a kid in school doing some funny routine that I later learned came from a 1960s Soviet comedy.

Now the cops have reopened the investigation into Wood's death. The captain of the yacht she fell off of now says that he lied to investigators at the time. He thinks Robert Wagner was behind it. Wagner and Christopher Walken who was also present give different accounts of what happened, which probably isn't surprising after 30 years.

And, the captain of the yacht says he only remembered this new information under hypnosis. Meaning it's inadmissible in court.

Hart to Hart

I never watched Hart to Hart, Robert Wagner's TV show at the time of Wood's death. An Aaron Spelling series about a rich couple who go around solving murders. I didn't like the idea of a show about rich people.

I did watch the beginning of an episode a few years ago, and it was terrible. Apparently Spelling's thing was making incredibly cheap TV shows.

The episode starts with Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers. There's a chef they like. They used to eat at the restaurant at which he worked. And they put up the money for him to open his own restaurant and they're going to eat there.

They drive to the restaurant in their Mercedes station wagon. They go in. This supposed to be an expensive restaurant. But they're sitting in a booth. This is in a room with cheap wood paneling. There may have even been a napkin dispenser on the table.

There's a cheap hollow door with a door knob that goes from the dining room to the kitchen. The waiters have to use a door knob when carrying a tray of food?

They hear something. They rush to the kitchen! The chef has been murdered!

For the kitchen, they used the set of a cooking show. There were frilly curtains on the window. No one would believe for a second that that was in a restaurant.

Luc Moullet's movie, Brigitte et Brigitte, had an incredibly cheap restaurant set that was pretty good. The girls were sitting at a table with a table cloth in front of a blank wall. We see them reading the menu. Then a jump cut and we see them with empty dishes in front of them looking over the bill, wondering why they were being charged extra for napkins and silverware. "I didn't ask for those!"

A few years ago, I watched a couple of episodes of Spelling's old series, Charlie's Angels. One of the angels went undercover in a women's prison. A scene in the prison yard was filmed at a public swimming pool. Public pools are surrounded by high fences topped with barbed wire so no one will try to swim at night and drown. They figured it would pass for a prison yard. A prison yard with a swimming pool. The scene where the woman is admitted to the prison looked like it was filmed in a dentist office waiting room.

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