Sunday, December 24, 2017

Farewell, Teach! The Passing of Mike Goggans!

     
     I knew I was going to be a theatrical producer after college. My whole theatrical career was a matter of waiting for the stars to align. My first attempt at wasting time and money for a funny, funny show was a revue called Once Upon Vaudeville. I conceived the show, found the right theater, called in favors and then it all came down to the casting. After all the previous legwork, how hard could that be?
     As I whittled the script into some working shape ( a series of old vaudeville routines and stolen Warner Bros cartoon sketches), I would try them out on my downstairs neighbor extraordinaire Benton Jennings. We added more silliness, pasted on nonsensical diatribes and threw out things that didn't make us laugh the 20th time we re-read them. The process.
     Benton was a very accomplished stage actor (now film and television star) when I was cutting teeth. He sidelined as a Cowboy (stuntman) at Six Flags doing Cowboy shoot em up shows throughout the day. Benton worked with a group who would all become lifelong friends. Two in particular, Chris Whatley and Mike Goggans decided to take the show on the road and become their own act, The Gunfighters. They performed at corporate functions in addition to rodeos, shopping mall openings, fairs and stockyards. After years of working together, their sketches and routines were funny and tight.
     I decided to scoop Mike Goggans out of the Gunfighters (on break) to perform with Benton, myself and a zany crew of young current and post college talent in the Vaudeville show. I knew Goggans through contact with Benton. He was a tall, lean, easy going Texan with the spirit and looks of the old West, but an addiction to the Three Stooges. He knew silly comedy. Dry wit and slapstick. I knew he drank a little... what could go wrong?
     {Side note story: An Indian girl finds a rattlesnake almost frozen to death on an iced over lake. She takes it home. She nurses it to health, day after day. One day, she comes home and he bites her. As the poison courses through her small frame body... and she lay dying, she meekly asks... "After saving your life... why would you bite me?"
     His reply? "You knew I was a rattlesnake, B****!"}
     Goggans was a fine and funny stage performer with the Gunfighters, but also performed in a variety of other roles in area stage shows. Usually, a western character or a zany old man. In Vaudeville, I cast him as the German school teacher in a Little Rascals spoof, a lawyer in the court routine and lots of quick joke fillers that were sprinkled through the show. Not much of a workload, but loads of fun and audience laffs. But..be careful what you ask for!
     We opened Once Upon Vaudeville at the Circle Theatre in Ft Worth in May of 1982. A small but lively cast worked their collective ass off to get the dance steps, songs, jokes and timing down. Goggans? Not so much. "I'll get there! I'll get there!" Now... the Circle Theater served alcohol and what I found out late in the rehearsal process was the Goggans was stealing from the beer cooler every night... every rehearsal. Ouch. As the rest of the cast had become tight, razor sharp and quick witted (even the chorus girls were throwing zingers), Goggans had fallen behind. He didn't know his lines. He was disruptive. He was a nuisance. It was coming to an impasse.
     The owner of the theater was the one who caught Goggans stealing one night. This was my out. I could fire him on the spot. And so I did. Privately, to a drunk and humiliated friend. You know the adage 'this is going to hurt me more than it will you'? Well.. it didn't hurt that much... until the next day when a sober and contrite Goggans showed up at my door. He apologized (much as a friend or family member would) and asked if he could keep the role that I had tailor made for him in the first place.
I knew I was going to have to go through Benton on this. Benton had worked with Goggans for years. Could he turn this around? Benton turned the decision back to me. It was a hot show. I don't think even he trusted his friend at that time.
     Goggans went sober. He was a smash in the show. And the cast hated him because as he received accolades for his work in the show... he was doling out his own advice to the cast on comedy, timing and performance. I had to run interference a few times when they wanted to take a swing at him... and those were the chorus girls.
     Fittingly, during our final performance (now at a dinner theater across town) Goggans had come up missing. I headed straight to the bar area where they stored all their beer. Instead of finding him drinking, he was making a pie out of shaving cream. He planned on hitting me with the pie on stage during the curtain call. I told him I'd play dumb and go with it. And I did. Curtain call. Smash to the face with a MENTHOLATED Shaving Cream pie. I was blinded for some time after that gag. but... what could I say... I knew he was a rattlesnake, B****!
     I lost touch with Mike Goggans after I moved from D/FW. I called a few times. Followed him mostly on theatrical notices from the Hip Pocket Theater. Goggans was Goggans. Benton and Goggans were like older brothers to me when we were all together. I knew his passing would be sooner than later.  I will never be able look back at that period of my life in Texas without thinking of him fondly. One true blue Texan... and stooge fan! My coarse acting brother from another mother!
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Monday, September 4, 2017

New Movie Pitch




New Movie Pitch:
Hot tempered US President tied to Russia by large undisclosed personal bank loans (previous bankruptcies have negated any more US borrowing power) angers psychotic North Korean leader who has been developing a weapon of mass destruction that can be launched at Yellowstone National  Park and trigger a volcanic explosion that would devastate most of  North America. The Russians, angered by the closing of their consulates throughout US, refuse to come to America's aid and secretly support the North Korean effort...and China watches it all from the sidelines... ready to swoop in and peck through the carcus of this 'once great' nation like a crow. Cut to final scene... By the banks of a swelling creek.. Close up of a Confederate statue (obviously affected by the nucular(sp) maelstrom) Samuel L. Jackson remarks to Channing Tatum "We should have built a bigger m***** f**** wall!!"
Yikes. Thank goodness it's just a movie. Whew.
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Friday, June 2, 2017

We Will Always Have Paris... well maybe not!

 
The US has backed out of the Paris Accord. Yay! No one tells the biggest & baddest, #1 resource consuming country in the world what to do. The accord was a democrat accord.. and the savvy new republican old guard is able to see right through this global warming sham and can lead the way in de-regulating every polluting industrial plant and corporation on this planet. If you can make money out of a smokestack or car emission, then make it! America has crap to sell. The American people doesn’t just give money away and pretend to stop what has only been perceived as a hiccup in this planet's lifespan!
End that Paris Accord!
Git-R-Done!
Alas... unlike Larry the Cable Guy... who in fact is neither a cable guy or a guy named Larry (he's Dan Whitney, a Midwest born actor/comedian... who created the cash cow persona of a good ol’ beer swillin' NRA supportin' rednecker.. but hey... Pee Wee Herman was actually a guy named Paul Reubens... and for awhile he got tired of his act, too.)... Global warming is real. We pollute. We emit. We poison. But if change is going to take away from the American Way of Life and creature comfort, we want none of it! Or so we have been manipulated.
Side note: Solar energy is not only here, but it is going to be very inexpensive. But leading the way in cheap solar energy cells and technology are China and India. US dropped the ball... trying to protect Big Oil, fracking, Natural gas... and Coal! {We still have coal miners, Loretta!} So the US losing the solar energy market can only mean one thing... the government must raise tariffs so no one can easily change over to cost saving, affordable solar or alternative energy. But I digress.

Global warming 101
1. Put an ice cube under a desk lamp.
2. Watch condensation come off the ice cube as it melts.
3. Ice cube melts water onto the desk.
4. Ice cube gone.. desk dries.
(Note: As polar caps melt, weather gets weird.. not just hot... see step #2 above)
This is second grade science.
Pretending it isn’t happening because of some political agenda or gain is a head scratcher.
Our CO2 emisions on this planet have been steadily rising. Scientific fact. No need for a multi million dollar study... that the powers that be will never read anyway. So! There is only one answer!

THE ANSWER
No need for a Paris Accord.
There are 7 billion+ people on this planet.
6.9 billion of you people are going to have to go.  What? Yes! Die!
Sorry! It’s for the good of the planet and mankind.
Who goes? Let’s see...
Everyone over 35... sorry! You gotta go.
Anyone who is crippled, disabled or impaired.
Anyone who can not live off the land. Sorry! You gotta go!
There will need to be more women than men left to re-populate.
No Bankers or Lawyers, CPAs or stock brokers need apply.
No elected official. Yes, doctors allowed. No plastic surgeons.
Engineers, yes!
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts may apply, barring any fricking cookie salespeople!
A few teachers, a few scientists. No rap star wives ...or celebrities at all.
You see...the world, this living, breathing planet will right itself almost immediately after
we turn off the garbage disposal we know as modern (overcrowded) human civilization.

But look! We can’t just kill off a large population of the world on a whim and a hope. There would have to be another world war. (Or an asteroid... but probably a man made war.) We would need a maniacal leader... and a thin skinned provocation or ruse. (After creating a business or two as a military supplier and shorting the Market, of course)... then... BOOM!
But hey! Who would start it? No one is angry with the great old US of A! Right?




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