My wife smiled when she told me twelve years ago when Suzanne Pleshette died that I need to find a fresh group of Hollywood actresses to fantasize about. At the time, I said, “Well, Millie Perkins is still around.” “Yes, but she’s older than you,” said my wife.
When Shirley Maclaine appeared on episodes of Downton Abbey, I had to acknowledge–even to myself–that she was no longer Fran Kubelik from my favorite movie “The Apartment” (1960).
I identify with the film’s C. C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) because he’s the poor schmuck who’s always lending his apartment to the bigwigs at his company to facilitate their liaisons with women while he never “gets the girl.”
When I first saw “The Apartment,” I imagined that I’d be driving along a lonely road in my 1954 Chevy when what should I see, but a broken-down Rolls Royce Silver Cloud with Shirley alone in the back seat while her driver went in search of help but had been eaten by alligators when he cut across a swamp. (Damn fool.)
When I open the door, she says, “Oh, my love, my darling I’ve hungered for your touch, a long lonely time. . .”
“That song hasn’t been released yet,” I say.
“I get an AAC, and Advanced Actress Copy,” she says, demurely.
“If so, you should have told Hy Zaret that he screwed up the lyrics,” I said.
That first line should have said “Oh, my love, my darling love, I’ve hungered for your touch.'”
“When you’re right, you’re right, lyrics-wise and Everly Brothers-wise,” she says. “You can take me away from all this, can’t you?”
“The swamp, the alligators, the car, the long lonely time since Fran Kubelik shuffled the cards at the end of ‘The Apartment’ and told C. C. Baxter to shut up and deal. Are you ready to deal, Malcolm?”
I never get to answer because that’s when Mother wakes me up and says, “It’s time to run your paper route.”