Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #547

Tallulah was thoroughly unimpressed with her assigned role when the cast was announced for the 1925 London premiere of “A Yankee Thanksgiving: This Is What Happens When You Defy a British Monarch and Hop on a Boat Bound for a Colony That Has No Indoor Plumbing”. The play folded within two days.

Luckily, Tallulah did not. She marched into her agent’s office the next morning. “Explain to me at once why I shouldn’t fire you.”

Agent: “Why are you still wearing that headdress? One would think you would have moved on by now. Everyone else has.”

Tallulah: “It’s no concern of yours what I do in my personal life. Stop avoiding the question. Why can’t you get me better parts?”

Agent, hesitant: “Well, perhaps it’s time we talked about your name.”

Tallulah: “What on earth has that got to do with anything? And why aren’t you offering me a glass of bourbon?”

Agent: “Because it’s nine o’clock in the morning and your liver needs to sleep at some point. And Tallulah Bankhead sounds like a military maneuver in Polynesia, not the name of an actress that someone would want to hire.”

Tallulah, exasperated: “God, you British are just so annoyingly particular. Why can’t you get me a job in America?”

Agent, suddenly inspired, shuffling papers: “Well, now that you mention it, there’s a movie called ‘Wings’ that will start filming soon in Hollywood. It’s about fighter pilots in the Great War and it stars Clara Bow. The producers just sent out a notice that they are looking for something special.”

Tallulah: “Clara Bow? That sounds like something I need to be in, even if Clara’s hairdo annoys the hell out of me. Tell me more about my character. Will I be one of the stars?”

Agent: “No, it’s not quite that. Something a bit smaller.”

Tallulah: “A featured role, perhaps? Something where I steal the movie with just a few scenes?”

Agent: “Well, you will be featured. But you don’t have any lines.”

Tallulah: “I don’t understand. What exactly does the notice say?”

Agent: “It seems they rented a vintage plane for the aerial combat scenes, but the plane is missing one of its propellers.”

Tallulah: “Are you saying…”

Agent: “They want you to help fly the plane. Literally. Do you mind being oiled up and attached to a heavy motor?”

Tallulah: “Apparently you haven’t seen me on a Saturday night. How much does it pay?”


Originally posted in “Crusty Pie” on 08/31/17. Considerably revised, as the original only had three lines. Sadly, Tallulah was never cast in the movie, as she and her headdress were unable to get through Customs in a timely manner…


18 replies »

      • Don’t know what came over me really – I normally don’t think “witty” things till 3 weeks later.
        Hnt for getting off knees (learnt to help with falls) – crawl to chair, pull self up to sitting, slowly stand – or call for help. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Osprey feathers and pearls. How couture…or de ri·gueur. Tallulah Bankhead, a one of a kind. And how do we know this is an Indian headdress? It looks more like something those Follies girls wore on their heads in the day of overpriced and budgeted musicals, where fledgling star people got into all sorts of cutesy formations which, when photographed from a distance, were flowers or stars or intricate um…abstracts… The question pressing on my cerebral cortex is how did Miss Tallulah escape her Southern roots and go on the *GASP* evil stage to begin with? Wasn’t she supposed to sit on a veranda somewhere, sipping something minty and fanning herself. Preparatory to begetting the next generation of bible belt younguns?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I admire the fact that Tallulah was able to escape her Southern roots, even more so considering the time in which she managed to make it to London. There are still people in the South to this very day who can’t escape their trappings, but Tallulah did so without Google or self-help books or the right to vote. On the flip side, she got to the point where she could guzzle a truckload of bourbon on any given day, so you win some, you lose some. Still and all, I’m in awe of people who don’t look back…


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