Friday, October 30, 2015

Betty White - all right (and Bill, you're my thrill)

I realize this blog, uneven as it is, has become dominated by the gif. The reason is this: I was born in 1954, and anything that helps me capture obsolete technology (particularly old TV) is magic to me. I can illustrate a point in ten seconds. And they're easy to make, boyo, even though I have come to the conclusion that my beloved Gifsforum is no more. 

What's even more curious is the fact that I can't find ANYTHING about it, not even on one of those message boards that has been pretty much been replaced by Twitter. Where did it go? It had infinitely more flexibility than Makeagif, though I will have to admit it got the proportions wrong and stretched a lot of them. They weren't nicely cropped like most of these are. But it was fast, and you could make things run backwards.

Anyway, enough complaining. Along with William Shatner, Betty White is the only living/actively performing person who remembers/was working in TV in the 1950s. I think this is pretty astonishing. Though Betty looks like a well-preserved older woman, Shatner looks about 65. You have to wonder what these two did, what sort of bargain they struck, and with whom.

Quite a fox, he was, and well before Star Trek, versatile, fit into any show, could play just about anything, and always worked. When the work fell through after Star Trek (type-casting: he is one of the very few actors who beat it), he lived out of his truck for a while and did Loblaws commercials in Toronto, some of which survive (we'll get to them later! He still does ads which I enjoy watching, but now he doesn't need to.)

Note from his  manner of speaking that he already has the Kirkian sense of drama. Jeffrey Hunter was the original Captain Kirk, and he was let go and replaced: too dull by half, I think, and he couldn't do those wrestling moves that became his trademark. Without the histrionics that made him famous, the show would have crashed and burned before it got off the launching pad.