I have to face it: I have an obsessive compulsive disorder. The second I heard that MGM heartthrob Van Johnson died today at the age of 92, my hands started creeping toward my computer keyboard.
Stop it! For God’s sake, you don’t have to write about every celebrity that kicks the bucket. What makes you think that anyone (under 70) even knows who Van Johnson is, much less wants to read a post about him?
Stop being so disrespectful. The man isn’t even cold to the touch yet and you’re acting as if his passing is no big deal. Do you have any idea how big he was back in the day?
Of course I do. Who do you think you’re talking to? But that was over 50 years ago. Who made you the official obituary writer for the final dregs of the MGM stock company?
Oy, again with the disrespect. And for your information, you ass, I don’t write obituaries. There are so few people left who appeared in those wonderful films of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, I just feel compelled to honor them with a few words when they leave us. Why is that so wrong?
I’m not saying it’s wrong, just not of much interest to the majority of your readers.
How do you know? Maybe one of those posts will motivate someone to rent a classic film. Maybe I’m having an impact on a whole new generation of moviegoers. Besides, if you were so interested in upping your stats, why do you write so many freaking posts about the Nazis and World War II? Do you really think anyone read that endless drivel you wrote on the anniversary of Kristallnacht?
Fuck you. At least that was about an important period of history.
And the classic movies of the 20th century aren’t important?
Look, you know that I love those old films. I’m just saying that writing some long essay about Van Johnson may alienate most of your readers.
Oh please. What should I be doing then, pandering to the Wilco crowd like you do every other post? I swear, if I read one more comment about how tight Jeff and Sue are with the Obamas, I’m going to call my precinct and see if I can switch my vote to McCain.
Okay, I get it. But be careful you don’t pigeonhole yourself with all this dead celebrity stuff. Now any time you even mention a celebrity, people will think they just dropped dead. Remember how Leah was looking over your shoulder last night when you were writing about Rita Moreno’s birthday and exclaimed 'Oh my God, Anita died?'
Point taken. But I can't help it. I didn’t mention Nina Foch at all when she died last week and I still feel guilty about it. Hey, do you remember if Van Johnson ever made a film with Nina Foch?
I don’t think so, but he made several with Cyd Charisse and Irving Brecher, whose funerals you recently stalked—er, I mean, attended.
Oh right, all three of them did ‘Ziegfeld Follies.’ And Van and Cyd co-starred in ‘Brigadoon,’ a gorgeous film that was never one of my favorites.
Which of his films are your favorites then?
Oh my God, there are so many. That William Saroyan story, ‘The Human Comedy,’ is one of my all-time favs. Van co-starred with Donna Reed, Fay Bainter, Frank Morgan, and Mickey Rooney, but you know me, I also love the musicals, the Esther Williams extravaganzas, and the three movies he made with June Allyson.
I can’t believe June is gone, too. So sad. Don’t forget ‘State of the Union,’ his movie with Tracy and Hepburn, and ‘In the Good Old Summertime’ with Judy Garland, the movie in which two-year-old Liza Minnelli made her film debut as their daughter in the final scene.
Oy, could you sound more gay? You probably also love ‘The Last Time I Saw Paris’ with Elizabeth Taylor. I like his more serious films, too, such as ‘A Guy Named Joe,’ ‘Weekend at the Waldorf,’ ‘Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,’ and ‘Battleground.’ And remember his appearance on ‘I Love Lucy’ as himself? That was great.
Yeah, I loved when Lucy Ricardo met celebrities, that was always so funny. Speaking of TV, how about Johnson’s role as a villain on ‘Batman?’
Loved it. Almost as scary as Ethel Merman’s ‘Batman’ character. And don’t forget Van’s later work. Guilty secret, but I loved him in the 1968 Lucille Ball/Henry Fonda comedy, ‘Yours, Mine, and Ours’ which I actually saw recently in a special screening if you can believe it. And he was perfect in Woody Allen’s ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’ in 1985. He appeared in lots of miniseries like ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ and all sorts of TV series. I hear his personal life wasn’t so great, though.
That's what I heard. He married his best friend Keenan Wynn’s ex and that was a disaster even though it produced a daughter. His ex-wife later claimed that he married her just to quell the rumors that he was gay.
Did he ever officially come out?
Not really, but it was pretty well known in Hollywood. And he became more openly flamboyant as he got older. But I’m not sure he ever had a serious relationship with either sex. I hope he did, it all seems pretty sad.
I heard he wasn’t even on speaking terms with his daughter?
I don’t think so. Maybe they communicated before he died. I hope so.
Don’t forget that he got his start way back in 1940 in the original cast of ‘Pal Joey.’
That’s right! And the new version of that musical opens on Broadway next week with Stockard Channing and Martha Plimpton. Did I tell you that Martha is my Facebook friend?
Oh my God, don’t start. You are obsessed with that woman. How many times have you mentioned her in this blog—50?
No, only 12, you ass.
And you dare to criticize my OCDs?
Well, I guess I am glad that you talked about Van Johnson on here. I just hope that no other elderly celebrities die this week.
Oh, okay, I'll call the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills and tell them to keep everyone on life support because you're worried about the number of readers on your stupid blog.
Right back atcha.
And farewell, Van Johnson. I hope they have red socks in heaven.