Parting Glances: Stroll down Limbo Lane

BTL Staff
By | 2018-01-16T07:47:41-05:00 November 26th, 2009|Opinions|

Not too long ago. While browsing in a cluttered Ann Arbor bookstore. I spent $10 for a used paperback – no. 3 of Richard Lamparski’s 11 volume series “Whatever became of…?
My purchase, originally going for $1.25, is dated 1970 and contains 200 then-and-now photographs of 100 “big names”. Many of the B&W photos are not very flattering to the celebs stewed over. The back cover asks, “Where Are They Now?” and adds somewhat snidely, “A few have recently made smashing comebacks into the glittering spotlight they knew so well; others have faded into limbo – by choice or circumstance.
“Many warm themselves in the winter of their lives by the dying glow of their old press notices; others have made new and gratifying careers out of latent resources.” (Indeed! As my spiritual mentor Sr. Scatterpin use to say of those late-blooming, gratifying career choices, Better latent than never.)
I Googled Lamparski but didn’t find out anything about whatever happened to him. (Presuming, of course, that something short of demise did.) I learned he lives in California, and was born in 1932, making him a few years older than me – in case there are any PG readers who are into gerontophilia.
Lamparski had been a PR guy for Paramount Television, CBS Radio, the Ice Capades – which, one supposes, affords him proper credentials for gossip mongering – and occasionally skating on thin showbiz ice with fanfare – others’ ice, his fanfare.
Of the 100 listed in Volume 3, I remember some (if you’re under 35, skip the next few paragraphs): Tokyo Rose (then exiled in Chicago), Peter Townsend (Queen Elizabeth’s sister’s star-crossed beau), Andrew Sisters (Patti, Maxine, LaVern), Arthur Murray (his studio employed many gay fox trotters), Christine Keeler (Madam to British MPs).
These I hadn’t a clue about: Tony Zale (middleweight boxing champ), Anna Q. Nilsson, Ray Dooley, Jack Sharkey (heavyweight champ), John F. Kieran, Cliff Edwards, Hal Le Roy, Arthur Hughes (“Just Plain Bill”) and Bert “the Mad Russian” Gordon.
There are cautious entries for us. (All photos exceptionally flattering, as might be expected of what Sister calls the “good gay genes set”.) Spring Byington, Alexandra Tolstoy, Randolph Scott, Charles “Buddy Rogers”, Sterling Holloway, smoldering Lizabeth Scott.
Scott, a shoulder-length blond bombshell, popular in five movies during the late 1940s and mid ’50s, is still living. She was born in 1922. In 1953, she was emphatically outed by Confidential magazine. Gossips Lamparski, “The publication had carried an article suggesting Liz had known three call girls intimately.
“The story also repeats that Liz always wore men’s cologne and pajamas. Hated frilly clothes. The fact that Miss Scott had spent time in the company of Paris’ famous lesbian entertainer, Frede, and had been drinking heavily did not weigh in her favor.” To say the least. Old Spice, anyone?
By the way. Whatever happened to Fat Jack? Lady T Tempest? Ernie Horne? David Kopay? Jeff Stryker? Gay Lib? DAG/LC? ASP? Jeff Montgomery? The Gas Station? (Just asking.)

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.