The following is one of the Private Eye parodies I do for my main blog about the business of showbiz
, and thought I'd post it here too. Enjoy.
It was a quiet day in my humble little office wedged between the Happy Ending Massage Parlour, and Big Dick's Discount Double Entendre Warehouse. Christmas was right around the corner and I had to get a new tree for the office because the one I had been using got mocked by Charlie Brown. The little bald bastard.
I had just finished putting my meagre little electric star on top of my new metallic artificial tree made from recycled celebrity owned and never driven Prius automobiles when there was a rap on my door.
It was NWA and they were wassailing for the season in their own unique foul mouthed kind of way. I gave them each a handful of candy and shortly after they left I realized that it was not Halloween, and that "Fuck Tha Police" is not a Christmas carol.
Then someone else knocked on my door. I picked up my trusty Louisville slugger to do my own version of a rap, when I realized that my visitor was a ghost.
"Bob Marley!" I exclaimed, "Isn't this a rather predictable joke?"
"Yeah mon," said the ghost of the Reggae legend, "I'm stuck being the go-to guy for sub-standard Christmas Carol parodies."
"Why am I getting visited?" I asked. "I have no trouble with my Christmas spirit!"
"Weren't you just about to give someone's noggin a floggin' with that bat?"
"I have a strange sense of gift giving," I answered.
"I'm not here about your Christmas spirit," said Marley, "I'm actually here to hire you for a case."
"I need cash up front from the dead," I responded. Marley grumbled, took out his wallet and fished my retainer out, took a second to wonder why an old piece of dental gear was in his wallet, and then got out the cash.
"Here's your money," said Marley, "now I need you to help me solve a crime."
"Just show me where it is," I said.
"It's not the where you have to worry about," replied Marley, "but the when!"
"Time travel costs extra."
Marley grumbled and fished another couple of bills and put them in my hand.
"You're very expensive," he said.
"With Pellicano in prison I'm the only P.I. left," I said. "Goes to show that spying on everyone was a really stupid idea."
"I heard that!" said Pellicano from the other side of his wiretap.
"Let's go," I said. Then everything got wavy and I soon found myself flying through a field of psychedelic colours, as clocks, and snippets from TV shows and movies remembered by Baby Boomers flew by.
After that wave of cliches I found myself back in my office. A thick layer of dust lay over everything, but that wasn't particularly unusual.
"Okay," I said, "where are we?"
"Don't you mean when?"
"Just because you're a ghost doesn't make you immune from a little of my Christmas cheer," I replied.
"Okay," replied Marley, "you are exactly eight years into the future, the year 2016."
"What's the crime?" I asked.
Marley drew the blind, showing a dead street outside. Empty storefronts that once housed S&M shops, adult bookstores, head shops, and all the other cultural landmarks of Hollywood were gone. A mangy dog chased a tumbleweed down the dead street.
"This is the crime," said Marley. "Hollywood's dead. Will you take the case?"
"I better," I said, "because without Hollywood who will this blog make fun of!"
"Be careful," said Marley, "the world of the future is strange and bizarre. In fact, they rewrote the constitution so foreign born people can run for President."
"Don't tell me Schwarzenegger is President now?"
Marley shook his head. "Jim Carrey just got elected to his second term."
"You weren't kidding."
My first stop was to see the folks who supposedly ran this town, the Studio Moguls, and since the Happy Endings Massage Parlour was closed, there was one place left to find them all in one spot. The AMPTP Clubhouse in Beverly Hills.
The Clubhouse gate creaked like a Hamptonite's tennis swing, and things were quiet, too quiet, just like the cliche. One of the club's peacocks poked its head out of a nook and started to creep carefully across the weed covered marble path. Suddenly something leapt out of the bushes hissing madly and tackled the peacock. There was a flash of blood and feathers, and in seconds there was nothing left but bones.
"Hmmmm," said the peacock eating figure, "good eat." Then he saw me and hissed. "Stay away," he hissed, "stay away from my precious."
"Ben Silverman?" I asked. It was Silverman, clad only a loincloth of old contracts, and a belt made from a Harvard club tie. He nodded.
"What happened?" I asked.
"They tried to take the precious," hissed Silverman. "Tried to take all of our precious, but we wouldn't let them, we held them off. Come I show you."
Silverman scurried to the main door of the Clubhouse, I followed.
We went down the dark hallways until we reached the "Moguls Only" meeting room.
"They're in there," said Silverman. "All in there with their precious." Then he did that creepy laugh of his and scurried off, muttering to himself about putting Conan O'Brien in primetime, and how it would make everything better.
I opened the door, and found the moguls, or at least, I found some of each of them. A dozen or so skeletons, still dressed in their hand tailored suits, sat around the big marble table. Their bones and suits covered with dust. They each clutched something close to themselves. I reached over to the remains of Sumner Redstone and saw that it was a piece of paper. I pulled the paper out of the bony hands, shook off the dust, and took a gander.
It was a piece of his contract as a CEO, specifically the page that said that he got paid a huge bonus no matter how good or bad the company was doing. I soon realized that each skeleton had an identical piece of paper clutched in their skeletal hands.
This left me only one option, I cleaned out their wallets, watches, and jewellry. Don't judge me, I still had some Xmas shopping to do.
Since I wasn't going to get any answers out of the moguls, I figured I better check out the unions.
AFTRA was the first union I found. It wasn't hard, the bones of the leadership was lined up at the back door of the mogul's club, still clad like dime store hookers. They weren't going to be any help to anyone, which was pretty much what they were in life.
SAG headquarters was my next stop. It was a bunker behind the Beverly Hilton, lined with sandbags. A red flag flapped in the wind, but there was no one there but the skeleton of Alan Rosenberg, a script for a new lawyer show, clutched in his hand.
I then tried the WGA, IATSE, and all the other union offices. They were all empty, with nothing left but dust and broken dreams.
That left me one last option, I had to find an agent.
I found the agent sitting alone at a table in the remains of the Ivy. His suit was ragged and filthy, he hadn't been able to keep up with his botox, and he was talking into a cell phone, though I could see that it didn't have a battery.
"There's no way I'm going to let you have Angelina for anything less than fifty million," said the Agent. "That's my final offer!"
I gave the agent a dose of reality, and by dose I mean hit, and by reality, I mean baseball bat.
"What?" asked the Agent as he pulled himself back onto his seat. "Who are you?"
"I came here for some answers," I said, "and you're the only one still around, so I need you to talk now!"
"What do you want to know?"
"What happened here?" I asked. "Why did Hollywood collapse?"
"It was the recession," said the Agent, earning him another dose of reality.
"Can the spin," I ordered, "you're talking about an industry that thrived during the Great Depression. A recession couldn't destroy it."
"The internet," he said tentativley inspiring me to raise my bat. "Okay, okay. I don't really know what happened. It all started during the actor's strike. The studios got too greedy, wouldn't let anyone get paid for their work, so SAG go too radical. AFTRA then became too easy, each deal got worse than the other. Soon they were covering not only actors, but writers, and technicians as well. Everyone else got blacklisted out of the industry. The ones that stayed behind soon realised that they were being screwed, so they started raising their rates. Soon fewer and fewer movies were being made, because they cost too much, and since no one was willing to give their all to making studio movies anymore, quality plummeted, audiences stopped coming, and then..."
He gestured to show the devastation around us.
"So," said Marley, "did you make any progress?"
"Yeah," I answered, "I know what happened now."
"So who killed Hollywood?"
"It was suicide."