Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Bird And The Bees

It's been a while since I felt the need to do a celebrity obituary, and since baseball season has just begun, why not a double header?
Speaking of our national pastime, Mark Fidrych was one of the first baseball players I every really connected with. I was familiar with big names like Willie Mays and Johnny Bench, but their stars were far too lofty for me to relate to. Instead, I was drawn to this odd kid, nicknamed "The Bird," when he showed up on the Detroit Tigers in 1976. Mark was as talented as he was eccentric. During games, he would bend down and groom the mound with his hands, or talk to the baseball. All this odd behavior didn't keep him from winning Rookie of the Year, but injuries kept his career short. By 1980, he had pitched his last game in the majors, though he made a short comeback in the minors in 1982 and 1983. He was the first athlete to be featured on the cover of "Rolling Stone." That's how cool "The Bird" was.
Marilyn Chambers was never on the cover of "Rolling Stone," but she did appear along with the legend "99 & 44/100% pure" on Ivory Snow boxes in the early seventies. Marilyn was an "adult film actress," and she has the distinction of starring in the only adult feature that I ever watched all the way through. It was at my roommate's insistence that I watch "Up 'n' Coming," kind of a "Star Is Born" meets "Deep Throat." It was supposed to be her big break into "legitimate" acting. She did all her own singing. And other stuff. Marilyn did have another appearance in more mainstream cinema: David Cronenberg's "Rabid." In this one, she stars as a woman who acquires a thirst for blood, turning her victims into slavering wastes of deranged flesh. Come to think of it now, maybe that wasn't such a stretch after all.
Mark and Marilyn were both in their mid-fifties when they got the call. They both burned bright, back in the seventies, and now they're gone. This whole thing makes getting to second base get all jumbled up in my mind. Ah, memories.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I spoke with Marilyn once. Plastered on gin in 1983, I dialed in to a late night public access show while she was being interviewed. I was borderline incoherent. I think I asked her out. I remember her smiling with bewilderment out at me through the TV screen before the host disconnected us. Fair enough.

The biggest adult star of her day and now dead in a mobile home in her 50's. Tough one, that.

R.I.P. Ms. Chambers - you won my heart early on.