The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Miniseries #5: Carry on, Tallulah


The demure, stage-bound ingenue; sometime in the 1920s


What Cecil Beaton saw (1931)


Tallulah in Hollywood; accompanied by her, uh, secretary (1932)


On a Rail: A departing Tallulah gazes back at Hollywood from a pullman car on the
Santa Fe Chief


Lower Your Eyebrows: Tallulah and a, um, friend exit Alexander Korda's The Private Life of Don Juan (1934)


La Ronde '40: As Helen Hayes gazes longingly at Herbert Hoover, Tallulah and the former President turn on the charm to a much-amused Katherine Hepburn (1940)


See What the Boys in the Back Room Will . . . : Tallulah raises a glass, to and
for the gentlemen of the press (1950)


Carnal intentions?: Tallulah clinks glasses with a distressed Louis Armstrong (1951)


Servant trouble: As her former maid goes up on a forgery/grand larceny
beef, a mink-clad and world-weary Tallulah makes her witness before the
bar of justice (1951)


Old Shep: Tallulah demonstrates the boundlessness of her affection (1951)


All the Way with Adlai: Tallulah gives Gov. Adlai Stevenson her rapt attention (1952)


Been There, Done . . . THAT??: Tallulah sells her story (1952)


What a Little Moonlight Can Do: As Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Montgomery Clift and Marlene Dietrich sit ringside, Tallulah opens at The Sands (1953)


Exhausted: Tallulah takes a much-needed break at a CBS recording session (1953)


Another decade, another secretary (1954)


Party Girl: Tallulah celebrates . . . something at New York's Hotel Ambassador (1954)


She Will Lead You, And Then: Starring in a sorely-needed revival of the Ziegfeld Follies, Tallulah acts as chaperone to some uneasy latter-day Ziegfeld Girls (1956)


Their Hearts Were Young and Gay: Tallulah is mauled in public by former
President Harry S. Truman (1958)


Her Greatest Challenge: Tallulah acts as chaperone to Rock Hudson at the
premiere of Otto Preminger's Porgy and Bess (1959)


The demure, stage-bound ingenue; sometime in the late 1950s


Vanwall said...

Absolutely fucking brilliant. Love the open and close. She sure seemed to have fun, come what may - damn, I wish I had that Chinese curse of a life. I only saw her movie work, and occasional TV stuff, so these are wonderfully evocative of one of our greatest, and least shameless, libertines. I'm likin' this series business more and more!

Ryland Walker Knight said...


One of the great things, among many other great things, I've ever seen on your delicious blog.