L>R: Judy & Toto, “Baby Gumm” Judy Garland in first film 1929, James Brown, Harry Houdini, Lalla Rooke, Daniel and Anna Nicole Smith & Marilyn too, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Reverend Billy Graham

April 5 – Editorial Note: I can do this in that I’m the editor. I had lunch today with a bud, (like, I’m really gonna have lunch with somebody I hate) who read the “Run Toto, Run” story, and for that, I caught the tab, but he missed what I tried there, I think, and I’ll try to explain it like this. Been to a funeral lately? They’re really all the same, actually. Look around. Everybody’s grasping all hands, smiling, bobbing heads toward the side affected, by gravity, I guess, and you can lip read. “I know,” and “It’s a shame.” That’s what you’ll see most. But back up for a sec. What you are really seeing is what’s on everybody’s mind in the in the social hall. “I’m glad it’s not me.” Look over the top of everybody’s head, it’s written in those little speech balloons floating up there. Anyhow, kinda what I was getting at in the story seemed simple to me. I meant, look at these gifts, then pause. Here’s one who worked from the time she could walk – ’til she walked no more, pets who do what pets do – love you, a country’s president – lost. How do you lose a president? Go figure. Pets. Got a dog? Never fails. Leave the house for 15 minutes or 15 days. It won’t make any difference. When you come back, his reaction will always be exactly the same love. This is kinda where I was wandering here. Baby Gumm, you said it in a lot less words than me, “If I am a legend, then why am I so lonely.” That’s all.


“My goodness, people come and go so quickly around here!” “Ain’t it the truth, ain’t it the truth.” Famous lines by Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion, and great advice to a little dog facing impending doom. Were I any of the above souls, I’d run too. Not that you can avoid the reaper, but think about it. We can’t get’em in the ground and/or can’t leave ’em be.



Up there on the left, that’s little Toto, who’s real name was Terry, but changed it after the Wizard of Oz fame. After Toto died, some say she was buried in the backyard of her trainer, Carl Spitz. Now, Spitz’s property was sold to the city of Los Angeles, and the Ventura Freeway was built over it. Given incessant construction, no telling which exit ramp Toto is under now. I have also been alerted, however, to a report in The Guinness Book of World Records that Toto was stuffed and her remains were auctioned off in 1996 for $3,680. So, with the never to end popularity of eBay, Toto just might run forever.



Next up (or down), is Frances Ethel “Baby” Gumm, who later changed her name to Judy Garland. Judy worked 45 of her 47 years in show biz and died in 1969.Judy was put in a temporary crypt, actually a hole in the wall at Ferncliff Cemetery for about a year awaiting her family’s decision on a suitable resting place. Months later, The National Enquirer magazine got a tip saying Judy still wasn’t buried. After running the story under the blockbuster headline; “JUDY GARLAND IS STILL NOT BURIED.” much embarrassment and all sorts of “official” statements were made by the family and Judy was finally properly interred in Ferncliff.

Finally. What’s that? Our Bests’ tell us Judy may be relocated to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, due to the fact that daughter Liza (I can’t keep up with her current last name) is looking at her own mortality, and would like to be interred along with her mother. Well, fine. Surely “over the rainbow” is “somewhere.” Run, Toto!





Then there’s James Brown, who to this day is still; “The Hardest Working Man In Show Business,” and probably will retain that distinction because the family won’t quit bickering about him. James finished his last set this past Christmas Day and was brought in from the cold on March 2 and is thawing in a temporary facility on somebody’s property, depending on how probate goes. Hey, Judge Larry Seidlin has been moved to Probate to replace Judge “Tokin’ in the Park” Korda, so maybe Larry will get to decide this issue, like he’s capable. Listening-up TMZ? Anyhow, more of the dilemma is influenced by how to properly “display” James to the benefit of, posterity? The family and “friends” are thinking “Graceland” here, so, “Get On Up” James. I’m going on record by saying James would still be on ice today if not for my thankful intervening by the Rev. Al Sharpton who didn’t like what he was seeing in the Anna Nicole thing, and convinced everybody to put at least a temporary end to the family feud. We’ll see “What’s Goin’ On,” one of these days.




Stepping over the above, Harry Houdini, the most “captivated” magician of all time, born Ehrich Weiss did the disappearing spiel in 1926 and is scheduled for an encore sometime this April courtesy of his Grand-Nephew; George Hardeen. (Hmm, Grand-Nephew, that would make him…never-mind). The official cause of Houdini’s death was peritonitis brought on by a ruptured appendix, but a lot of people have speculated otherwise over the past eighty years, including Hardeen. Last week, George got a court blessing to have the body exhumed, ostensibly to put an end to this weighty matter. Look, it might be just me, but, no pun here – for the life of me – I cannot even figure out what a Grand-Nephew is, or imagine living long enough to meet mine, but if George feels so close and indebted to Harry, well God Bless him and, go for it dood. Did I say indebted? George could have more money than Carter’s got Liver Pills for all I know, but, what a coincidence it is that Amazon is backing up for “The Secret Life of Houdini.” Here’s another one for you, National Enquirer, no charge; OPENED CASKET REVEALS NOBODY.” Hey, why not, remember Harry did die on Halloween, and with his talent, could be reading and following a tip from this story.




With movement to that poor lady up there; Lalla Rooke, who I attempted to memorialize in “I’m Comin’ To Join You Honey,” has got to hold the modern history record for a from death to burial inexperience. It took 100 years to get most of her in the ground, and thanks to the miracles of parcel post, more of her was discovered and shipped back for proper disposal by the Royal College of Surgeons of England some six years later. I’ve requested a brochure from these madcap M.D.’s, and, surprise, I’m still waiting. Cheeky, you Brits. With all that is going on, I’ll bet you’re taking inventory.



Daniel and Anna Nicole Smith. Are they really dead and buried? I don’t know, and it depends on your source of news. Now that I have to make my own dog’s food to save him from rat poison, I have no time to loiter at the grocery store check-out with their copy of the Star. You don’t need me here, you know the whole thing is a giant cluster fudge. Daniel’s death is in court as it appears suspicious, and did anyone pick-up on what Dr. Perper said about Anna’s anus? Beyond “unbelievable,” he said, “we did not do a biopsy (there).” There’s the “dig ’em up” card. I guarantee at least one of these bodies will rise to the surface to feel a Bahamian trade wind soon. Can’t you hear it; “Well, Jan-der, since the back-hoe is here, might as well get both.” Marilyn, the Maltese puppy Anna is holding was rumored to have been run over in Nassau by a CNN news van, which was denied by the network. Anyone seen the dog lately? Run, Marilyn!



Yesterday, the good people in Grozny, Chechnya put casters on the body of His Excellency Zviad Gamsakhurdia and wheeled him back to the capital city of Tbilisi, Georgia with burial in mind. He’d been lost since the date of his death on 31 December, 1993. Whew. Zviad is famous for a bunch, but most notably was the first post-Soviet elected president. His life, though controversial, pales when compared to his death. The body was found about a month ago and was taken to the family’s ancestral house in Tblisi. As if the deads’ wishes mean anything these days, Zviad’s widow demanded he be buried on the grounds of Tbilisi’s cathedral, but a government commission there hates the idea, and is recommending he be interred at the pantheon on Mtatsminda mountain at the edge of the city. Hard to make a buck in the mortician biz these days.



Anybody see a pattern here? Though still vertical, I think, have you been reading about Rev. Billy Graham and his children’s plans lately? Hear this dog’s advice to a great man: while you can, Run Billy, Run!



“Everybody Is Up To Something” sm