Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

Each Monday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets around Los Angeles.

Rona Barrett's Gossip Super Special Summer Annual

Author: Rona Barrett and, presumably, her staff

Date: Summer, 1977

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Publisher: Laufer Publications

Discovered at: Stories Books, 1716 W. Sunset

The Cover Promises: In the summer Star Wars premiered, America was most interested in Lucille Ball.

Representative Quotes:

"Ted Knight, that zany and egotistical anchorman from the late, great Mary Tyler Moore show, says he doesn't mind Polish jokes at all!"

"Just in case you've ever wondered what Hugh Hefner does when he wants to really let go and have a grand old time, I'll tell you - he goes bowling!"

Like a double-time E! newscrawl or a Twitterverse populated entirely by publicists, Rona Barrett's stream-of-consciousness gossip columns crammed Americans full of showbiz fluff. Barrett readers took in so many context-free anecdotes that they must have burped Burt Reynolds, peed Farah Fawcett, and wept poor Lee Marvin, who by '77 seemed to have hit a skid:

"Rough-and-tough Lee Marvin narrated 'Peter and the Wolf' for the Tuscon, Arizona, symphony recently."

Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

Paging through (deep breath) Rona Barrett's Gossip Super Special Summer Annual suggests the time I stepped on a fat spider when I was twelve. Instead of just dying, and squishing out a noseblow's worth of goo, my foot unleashed baby spiders by the ka-billion, a great torrent of life that shook me to the core.

Likewise, I expected to find one or two funny little things from this magazine; instead, I got a gush of multitudinous crazy, idiot blurb after idiot blurb about Fred Berry or Piper Laurie, all inky and black and teeming out of Barrett's spider sac.

So, let's shudder and stomp!

First, there's Barrett's dishy quotes from notables:

Sylvester Stallone: "I tried my father's hairdressing trade but went absolutely nutso during pincurl lessons."

Leo Guild, ghostwriter of Liberace's memoirs: "We got stuck with a title, The Loves of Liberace. And his loves were his mother, sewing, and travelling!"

Diane Keaton: "I'm very oral and like to keep putting stuff in my mouth."

"Sammy Davis, Jr., said it: "I collect pornography and I love it!"

A reporter might ask a follow-up question. Or explain why Davis would say this, or whether he was joking. Barrett simply coughs up an ellipse and is on to the next thing.

Sometimes, she would dig up a story amusing enough to interest us still today.

Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

But mostly she just dished one-to-two sentence thoughts of no consequence and borderline coherence:

"Don't invite Charo and Joan Rivers to the same party. You're asking me why?"

"Did you know Sean Connery refuses to wear any undies? Now you do - even if you didn't want to!"

Occasionally, she turned catty, especially toward dubious talents:

"Welcome Back Kotter's John Travolta isn't sooooo shy he won't admit 'I think very highly of my talents!' I'm glad somebody does, John-boy."

But deserving stars she treasured madly:

"Charles Grodin, the youngish-looking star of King Kong and Thieves, is actually 41 years old and has a 16 year-old daughter? It's true!"

Or here:

Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

Wait -- unlike most Hollywood males, Neil "doesn't have any"? Her phrasing is just ambiguous enough for us to conclude that for once she had real news to break: this Diamond's been cut.

She never feared the inconsequential. Or the purely speculative. Or repetition. Here's a hat-trick:

"We're sure Liza [Minnelli]'s eyebrows just had to go up a lot at Sammy's recent confession that 'I collect pornography!'"

Her staff's caption-writing tended toward the lazy. Here, she puns on the fact that famous person Lee Majors has eyes.

Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

One by one, these individual bonbons of nonsense accumulate, overwhelm, and surge at the reader with the relentlessness of that candy conveyor belt in that one old show starring ol' what's-her-name:

Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

Sometimes, I can't tell what in the hell Barrett's trying to get at:

"Linda Evans, co-star of Hunter and wife of Beverly Hills' superstar realtor Stan Herman, is promoting androgyny by having a male stand-in. The tall, bond actress, who's muchtoo attractive to ever be mistaken for a man, feels no qualms about letting a guy taker her place on the set."

Is this a gag? Or is it a warning to middle America that sometimes, when the set is being prepped for a love scene, Evans' stand-in Hunter star James Narcissus might be engaged in same-sex standing in?

And sometimes, Barrett simply sniffs at the new pop culture that, completely unreasonably, seems not to be marketed toward her:

"The final word in punk rock seems to belong to a group from Britain called The Sex Pistols. The lead singer, Johnny Rotten, has grayish skin, orange hair, and wears a string a safety pins from his earlobe!"

In short: Travolta and the Sex Pistols are passing fads, but Charles Grodin and Neil Diamond are forever!

Shocking Detail:

"Dear Rona,

There is a new star who will soon be rising to the top. I'm speaking of Bill Katt of the movie Carrie. He not only has acting ability, but he has a fantastic smile. He's another Robert Redford.

Please tell us everything about him!

--Joey Dawson

Minneapolis, Minn"

Highlight:

Barrett knew exactly what America's gossip hounds craved: four pages of images from Charles Bronson's film The White Buffalo!

Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs
Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs
Sammy Davis's porno, Linda Evans's androgyny & other jewels from Rona Barrett's cavalcade of celebrity non sequiturs

Holy shit! It's Rona Barrett's Fangoria!

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