Guest Post: The Magical Mystery SBBN Tour

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This summer, I am proud to present several fine guest bloggers who were kind enough to contribute entries during the SBBN hiatus. First up for your consideration is a serious, probing documentary by my friend and yours, Mr. Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. of the superlative Thrilling Days of Yesteryear … who would like everyone to know that he only provided the text; all illustrations are mine.

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Glad to see ya! I’m Ivan G. Shreve, Jr., and for those of you who haven’t already commenced running away in stark terror I’d like to introduce just who I am—I maintain the nostalgia-pop culture blog Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, a site visited by scads of people once they finally get bored playing Angry Birds. It’s a blog at which I hold forth on classic movies, vintage television and old-time radio; reflecting on a time when a rerun of an old movie or TV sitcom, western or crime drama was accessible with the flick on a television’s on-off switch…and you didn’t have to hunt through countless numbers of reality shows or infomercials to find them.

Stacia takes a break just about every year at this time, and while she would have you believe it’s to recharge the batteries and do research on further She Blogged by Night posts…she’s really just designing little costumes for her cats and dressing them up in same. (Pictures available by request.) So in taking a little break from the blogosphere she asked a few of her friends to contribute the occasional post…and when they turned her down she resorted to asking me. I thought long and hard about what I could write about while playing Cityville on Facebook…and then it came to me—why not give you a tour “behind the scenes” at SBBN?

We all take Stacia’s blog for granted; we marvel at the detail that goes into the Marie Prevost and Bette Davis Projects, we chuckle at the bad movie reviews, we’re flabbergasted as to the number of publicity photos El Brendel managed to pose for throughout his movie career. But now you’ll get an opportunity to see how this is put together—we’ll chat with the people who assist Stacia in her musings, taking special care to avoid that door over there because the government would like nothing better than to prosecute a few people over those pesky child labor laws. So, let’s get started—and of course, if you have any questions during our sightseeing…don’t hesitate to speak up.

TOURIST 1: Why are you in a wheelchair?

IVAN: I thought it would be an amusing reference to Vincent Price’s character in House of Wax…you know, the sequence where he’s giving the spectators a tour of his museum and when several of the women faint he holds up a vial and asks “Smelling salts, anyone?”

TOURIST 2: You really need to get out more.

IVAN: Yes, I do…but it’s not about me, is it? In we go!

(A massive steel door swings open, to the “oohs” and “ahhs” of the people taking the tour…)

TOURIST 3: It’s the Chocolate Room!

IVAN (singing): Come with me…and you’ll be…in a world of pure exaggeration…take a look…and you’ll see…

TOURIST 2: Look at those little people over there! Are they Oompa-Loompas?

IVAN: There’s no such thing as an Oompa-Loompa…those…oh, ferchrissake…someone must have left the door open to that room I mentioned earlier…the Department of Labor is going to have a field day with this…shoo! You kids get back to your stations! Those Skidoo T-shirts aren’t going to sew themselves, you know!

TOURIST 3: Look! A river of chocolate!

IVAN: Um…actually, that’s not. That’s some of the backwash from that Yellowstone River broken pipeline…stupid Exxon…and little boy? I wouldn’t eat that if I were you…

BOY: Bleaagghhh!!! This candy cow flop tastes like…

IVAN: That’s because it’s not made of candy. But we have to get on, we have to get on…we have so much time and so little to see…half a tic…strike that…reverse it…this way, please…

(The group enters another room)

TOURIST 1: Woo! It’s a little chilly in here, isn’t it?

IVAN: It has to be…there are objects inside that would never keep under normal room temperature…behold, over there…the world’s largest butter sculpture of William Shatner!

TOURIST 2: Amazing!

IVAN: Commissioned by Stacia when she offhandedly remarked how cool it would be to capture The Shat’s likeness in oleo, it was sculpted by the late Norma Lyon, who passed away on June 26th of this year at the age of 81.

TOURIST 3: “The Butter Cow Lady?” Didn’t she retire in 2006?

IVAN: Correctamundo. The sculpture had to done in secret after her retirement so as not to alert Star Trek fans of its existence.

TOURIST 3: It looks a little lopsided…

IVAN: Well, don’t tell Stacia—but I’ve been scraping a bit off Shat’s feet for my toast in the mornings.

TOURIST 2: I can’t get over how…um…well-endowed that sculpture is…

IVAN: I believe Mr. Stacia assisted Norma in the correct proportions during the sculpting…we passed his studio earlier, which would explain the multiple paintings with…well, you know…

TOURIST 1: Yes. Is that a film vault over there?

IVAN: No, that’s just a few stacks of recorded DVD-R’s that Stacia hasn’t gotten around to watching yet…

TOURIST 1: I’m almost positive that’s a vault…yes…yes, it is! Those are film cans…

IVAN: Nil desperandum, good people…let’s press on, shall we?

TOURIST 1 (reading): “Red Lights”…“Daughters of Pleasure”…“Kiss Me Again”…

TOURIST 4: I recognize those titles—those are lost films featuring Marie Prevost!

IVAN: What are you, some sort of film historian?

TOURIST 4: As a matter of fact, I am.

IVAN: Oh. Hey, kids—how would you like to ride the Stacia-a-lator? The world’s fastest escalator that…

TOURIST 4: See here…if these are prints of lost films you have an obligation to publicly reveal that they’ve been located so that…

IVAN: So that what? The companies who own these titles can rush them out on DVD? Where did you go to film historian school anyway, friend?

TOURIST 4: Okay…I’m not really a film historian…I’m just a machinist. But this is my lunch hour…

IVAN: And we’re walking…and we’re walking…

TOURIST 2: Hold up a second…

IVAN: …and we’re stopping. Now what is it?

TOURIST 2: All these file cabinets…what’s in them?

TOURIST 4: More lost films?

IVAN: Shut up. Just some research Stacia’s been working on…

TOURIST 3: Research on what?

IVAN: I’m a trifle deaf in this ear…speak a little louder next time…just various bits of information gathered up on various bloggers who’ve foolishly tried to cross our hostess over the years…you’ll read all the details when Stacia’s autobiography, Revenge is My Destiny, is released in September.

TOURIST 1: I’m all for moving on to the next room…it’s starting to get cold in here…

IVAN: This walk-in freezer has a storage capacity equal to that of 175,000 Donettes. Which, if you were to stretch them from the moon and back would…

BOY: I’m bored…

IVAN: You should open your mouth a little wider when you speak…that larger freezer over there holds approximately 50,000 Drumsticks…and if you peer through here…

(There is an audible gasp from the crowd.)

TOURIST 2: That’s the second largest chicken finger I’ve ever seen!

IVAN: Just a little experiment conducted by some of the people at SBBN Labs… (To the boy) You see, when you expose a chicken finger to radiation, the finger grows at an exponential rate…

TOURIST 4: Radiation doesn’t work that way!

IVAN: Oh, so you’ve switched over to atomic science, huh, Mr. Historian? (Solemnly) We are the music makers…and we are the dreamers of dreams. Come along, come along…

(The group finally ends up outside a small movie theatre.)

Over there, you’ll find the SBBN gift shop…and as a little thank you for taking the tour, I’m pleased to announce that we’re offering a 40% discount on all purchases of Stacia’s cookbook, Hot Cookies, Agnes! That woman over there will validate parking, and with that I bid you…

TOURIST 1: What a rip-off!

IVAN: Dissension in the ranks?

TOURIST 2: We paid five dollars for this walking tour, and that’s it?

TOURIST 3: You should at least feed us!

IVAN: There is plenty of comestibles available at the snack bar…I highly recommend the Twizzlers, they…

TOURIST 1: We are not leaving until we’ve received something substantial for our money…

TOURIST 4: You promised to tell us about pointed sticks…

IVAN: Shut up. Look, I have an idea—what would you say to a movie?

TOURIST 4: Hello, movie!

IVAN: Smartass…

TOURIST 2: Well…we did come a long way…

IVAN: That’s what this little screening room here is for…we’ll sit down, pass a few Twizzlers around, and watch something from the SBBN archives…

And for next post, I’ll do just that. Stacia was sensational enough to send me a copy of the 1930 Cecil B. DeMille camp fest Madam Satan…and I’ll dissect it for your viewing pleasure the next time we get together during…The Summer Semi-Hiatus Type Event!

(Fireworks)

In his quest to be comical, Mr. Shreve made a few statements in his post that we would like to clarify lest regular readers of She Blogged by Night find them misleading.

1) Even though Stacia is fiercely devoted to her pet cats, she finds the idea of costuming them silly…and leaves that sort of feline haberdashery to women commonly referred to by neighborhood kids as “that crazy cat lady.”

2) She Blogged by Night has always been in full compliance with the labor laws on the books and would never hire anyone under the age of 18 to work at the company. The jokes Mr. Shreve made about working conditions were just that…jokes. (And feeble ones at best.)

3) To the best of our knowledge, the late Norma Lyon never sculpted William Shatner’s likeness in butter…though she did produce oleo masterpieces of Elvis Presley, John Wayne and Garth Brooks.

4) While Kiss Me Again is recognized to be a lost film, the status of both Red Lights and Daughters of Pleasure remains unknown…which matters very little because Stacia does not own any of those titles. And even if she did, she wouldn’t tell you. –Mgmt.

On a personal note, Mr. Shreve would like to apologize for the fact that the number of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory references far outweighs the Monty Python refs in this post. He truly regrets the error.

4 Comments

  1. Hilarious! Best walking tour ever! And did somebody say Twizzlers?

  2. Vanwall says:

    Excellent! Been lookin’ for a new hangout since the Ackermansion faded away.

  3. Derek B. says:

    Stacia, Red Lights survives and I saw it at Cinecon in 2006 and enjoyed it. If you are interested, you can read comments from several people in the old alt.movies.silent thread linked from Jon Mirsalis’s post at
    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.movies.silent/msg/3d1f510b267ee0ee

  4. Stacia says:

    Hi Derek! I know Red Lights exists. This post was guest written by Ivan Shreve, who didn’t know — and I can’t really blame him because the situation can get pretty confusing.

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