Downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983

Downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983
STMcC in downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

'McCARTHY AT HOLLYWOOD AND VINE' (Episode # 26)

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LIFE IS TOO SHORT
by Mickey Rooney
published: 1991
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*RING!* .... *RING!*
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McCARTHY: Uh.... hullo?
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INTERVIEWER: Hello! We are here today with Internet reviewer Stephen T. McCarthy who is going to give us his impression of 'Life Is Too Short', the autobiography of Mickey Rooney.
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McCARTHY: Do you have any idea what time it is?
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INTERVIEWER: It's 3 A.M., but I'll ask the questions, Stephen, if you don't mind. We understand that unbeknownst to you, your Mother had an autographed copy of this book in her bookshelf for 13 years, which you just recently discovered and read.
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McCARTHY: Uhm.... yeah.
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INTERVIEWER: Tell us about it. In your Amazon.com review of The Black Stallion, you raved about Rooney's performance, calling it one of filmdom's finest. Did you also enjoy his book?
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McCARTHY: Uh... not really. It relates a lot of interesting stories about Tinsel Town in the 1930s and '40s. And it will appeal to people who wish to learn more about the stars and the Hollywood Studio System of those times. It also delivers the inside scoop on Mickey's eight marriages, and his relationship to Judy Garland.
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INTERVIEWER: What were some of the more surprising things you learned?
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McCARTHY: ZZZzzzzz....
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INTERVIEWER: Stephen?
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McCARTHY: Huh?... Oh! ...Uhm, well, according to Mickey, his discovery as a performer came as a result of a timely sneeze, and his life was narrowly spared a couple of times under odd circumstances. He seems to think it's every kid's dream to own an English sheepdog. The owner of Seabiscuit once spontaneously gave him an unsolicited opportunity to ride the famous racehorse hard for five-eighths of a mile. Mickey claims that during a chance encounter with a youthful Walt Disney, the artist decided to name his cartoon Mouse after him.
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INTERVIEWER: You sound skeptical.
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McCARTHY: Well... I dunno.
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INTERVIEWER: Stephen, we know that you consider laughter to be the liquor of life. Was there any humor in this autobiography?
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McCARTHY: Yeah, quite a bit. Of course, Mickey pokes fun at his well known lack of stature frequently. He once fought rival suitor, Howard Hughes, over Ava Gardner: "Soon we were wrestling on Ava's front lawn, a gangling genius and a Hollywood gnome."

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He jokes that he lost sixteen dollars at his first horse race and then spent the rest of his life and millions of dollars trying to win that sixteen dollars back.
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He tells of a stupendous night of hard drinking with Astaire, Cagney and Powell. Waking the next morning with stupendous hangovers, Rooney said, "I'm afraid I'm going to die." To which Cagney replied, "I'm afraid I'm NOT going to die."
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And Mickey declares, "There WAS a time when I wasn't married. I forget when. Fifteen or twenty minutes, I think, in 1968."
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There's also a hilarious fan(?) letter from a Mrs. Ellie Jones of Idaho reprinted.
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INTERVIEWER: Well then, Stephen, why only the 3-Star rating?
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McCARTHY: ZZZzzzzz...
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INTERVIEWER: STEPHEN!!
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McCARTHY: What? Oh... well... Just what is it about these gauche celebrities that compels them to publicly boast of their bedroom conquests? I hardly think we needed to know who Rooney got horizontal with, and when, where, and how many times. The guy seems to think he was writing for some skin magazine half the time. Describing in detail his wife's private parts was entirely uncalled for! He revels in telling us how he did this blonde and how he did that brunette, and how he did the sixteen Japanese gals in a Tokyo lovefest. Frankly, a good deal of this book is embarrassing, disappointing, classless, and too self-promotional. I dunno who "loved" Mickey the most, his rabid fans or his randy tarts.
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INTERVIEWER: Would you agree then that 'Life Is Too Short' could be summed up in the following verse?:

It's true that the author is a man of renown
But his 'Life Is Too Short' may be partly tall tale
In which Mickey Rooney, the bad boy of 'Boys Town',  
Bets the horse's nose and beds the Hollywood tail.
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*CLICK!*
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INTERVIEWER: Hello?.... Hello, Stephen?.... Hmmm. Well, folks, there you have it. Be sure to join us here again next time on 'McCarthy At Hollywood And Vine', when Stephen T. McCarthy will be reviewing the 1946, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Film Noir classic, THE BIG SLEEP.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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9 comments:

  1. Mickey Rooney definitely had a reputation as a carouser and womanizer. I never understood that, given his appearance. Must have had something to do with the size and skill of his private parts. ☺ This memoir was obviously written for commercial gain - "sex sells" and all that. As a classic movie buff, I do enjoy stories from the early Hollywood era. There were few moral boundaries in those days, from all I've read so far. Probably hasn't changed much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DEBBIE ~
      Putting on my amateur psychologist's hat, I'm going to guess that Mickey's preoccupation with sex probably had something to do with proving his manhood to himself, despite his height -- or lack of it.

      It's kind of like all these countless dudes in Reno driving huge red trucks. Guess who has a wee willie winkie complex!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  2. He love to self promote which is why I never had a care to read this book. A dear friend of mine was working at the Royal York downtown Toronto in the 1990's when Mickey was starring in Sugar Babies, I believe. My friend had no real clue who he was and remembered him as a short meat ball on 2 sticks. He said he was pleasant at times but would drive the employees nuts because he wanted all the newspapers by 5 am but they were not delivered until 6am. Mickey Rooney would get a real actor Diva temper tantrum saying they should be delivered earlier because he was a big star. No matter how much they tried to explain things he would call every 5 minutes every morning looking for his newspapers. By the end of his stay everyone was happy he was leaving. One thing my friend was sorry for was how rude and mean his son was to him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BIRGIT ~
      That story doesn't really surprise me. Most of the big stars are totally out of touch with we the little (real) people and can't even imagine how the rest of the world lives.

      For 12 to 18 months in '85-'86, I worked as the front desk supervisor at the Pritikin Longevity Center on the beach in Santa Monica. Basically, it was a very upscale, expensive fat farm for obese people with lots of money. In my time there, we got some celebrities...

      Rodney Dangerfield and John Candy both stayed with us, and both were OK but seemed like gloomy, depressed old guys. If you didn't know, you'd never guess they were comedians.

      But Nell Carter and Jimmy The Greek (if you know who he was) were absolute assholes! It was like they went out of their way to make everyone hate them. We were all very happy when they checked out.

      Funny that Mickey was in such a hurry to get his newspapers. I guess he just couldn't wait to continue his brainwashing program every morning.

      I will say this for him though: He was tremendously talented. I saw him recently in a very old movie with Judy Garland and I was amazed at how well he could dance! I really had no idea. Too bad he wasn't the kind of guy I'd want to sit down with and have a couple beers.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  3. >.."laughter to be the liquor of life"...

    Great line!

    Some autobios can be a real snoozer. I'm sure the book would be fascinating for those who are interested in old Hollywood.

    ~Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, MARY!
      Every once in awhile I get lucky and pull a good one out of my... hat.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  4. Hey Stephen, tell me about Myra Koontz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What, are you kidding? Everyone knows about Myra Koontz.

      Well, if you don't know, I'M not gonna tell you.

      ~ Deputy D-FensDogG

      Delete

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