Posted by highhurdler on September 12, 2009
… I have no interest in participating – as a follower or a tweeter – the traditionalist in me has wondered what it would have been like in the old days if today’s computing and communications infrastructures were available back then, if classic Hollywood actors and actresses could regularly share 140 characters of information about their lives with their fan base. Or better yet, if some of the characters from their more noteworthy roles were Twitter users. I know that I’d be a follower of Eve Arden’s and Rosalind Russell’s wisecracks, to be sure. One can only imagine some of the tweets …
Unless you’ve been in hiding (like me, until now), you’ve likely heard of Twitter, which is one of the most recent time-wasting ‘innovations’ that the personal computer revolution wrought. First there was the Macintosh, followed ‘shortly’ thereafter by Microsoft’s Windows for the PC, which – while it provided an easier-to-use interface, enabling millions to unleash the power of desktop computing – gave us a variety of ways to be non-productive. Sure, we told ourselves that playing solitaire, freecell and minesweeper was necessary to learn how-to-use the Graphical User Interface (GUI). In fact, showing customers and novices – even technophobic people like our wives and parents – how to play these free games helped us to demonstrate that there was nothing to be afraid of, and the adoption of the technology proceeded more quickly. Much later, after years of being ‘slaves’ to several productivity-sapping Wintel upgrade cycles, PC users could brave the new world of the Internet which gave them countless ways to avoid doing work: web surfing! While (e.g. Compuserve) dialup message boards were only really popular among more experienced users for technical support issues etc., AOL and high speed access enabled the masses to participate in online communities, where they could share their opinions – anonymously – on virtually any subject. Now everyone could ‘connect’ with anyone, anywhere on the planet, at any time. The separation between our professional and personal lives began to disappear while Internet obsession syndrome started to appear. Blogging became the rage, a way for people ‘publish’ thoughts and ideas every week, every day, every hour, which further morphed into MySpace/Facebook etc. When mobile computing platforms and communications technologies evolved from laptops to wireless ‘fruit’ & cell-phones, access was extended for the always-connected-obsessed to public places … which brings us to Twitter.
Back in the early days of Hollywood when movie studios were in control – of their stars & starlets, who were under contract, and (more importantly) the dissemination of the information about them was too – much of the public was obsessed with actors & actresses. In many ways, it still is, but it’s now the celebrity’s responsibility to control their own information. Additionally, technology has changed the equation such that blogs and Twitter give them a direct and instantaneous means of communicating to their fans. Of course, what we’re really ultimately talking about is narcissism. Today (not just celebrities but) anyone can share the most intimate details of their daily lives, no matter how trivial or boring, with anyone else that cares to ‘follow’ them. Because of blogging and now Twitter, our country’s “celebrity culture” has been ‘enhanced’ to include even those that were previously technology illiterate, like “Joe Six Pack”, oh boy!
While personally I have no interest in participating – as a follower or a tweeter – the traditionalist in me has wondered what it would have been like in the old days if today’s computing and communications infrastructures were available back then, if classic Hollywood actors and actresses could regularly share 140 characters of information about their lives with their fan base. Or better yet, if some of the characters from their more noteworthy roles were Twitter users. I know that I’d be a follower of Eve Arden’s and Rosalind Russell’s wisecracks, to be sure. One can imagine some of the following tweets:
(I’ve added – the usually missing – punctuation, for clarity’s sake;-)
Al Jolson as Jakie Rabinowitz/Jack Robin:
Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet! Wait a minute, I tell ya! You ain’t heard nothin’! You wanna hear “Toot, Toot, To
(cut off at 140 characters)
Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp (or Greta Garbo as herself):
Edward G. Robinson as Little Caesar:
Mother of Mercy, is this is my last tweet?
The Queen (in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs):
Twitter, twitter in the air, who’s the fastest texter of them all?
Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale (her Twitter log):
Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane:
Dear Wheeler: You provide the tweets, I’ll provide the war. (Later on his deathbed, he’ll drop his Blackberry after typing a short, incomprehensible word)
Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale:
Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for Bing when we have Google
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine to Ilsa:
We’ll always have the Internet.
Lauren Bacall as Marie “Slim” Browning:
You know how to twitter, don’t you, Steve? You just put your thumbs together and click.
Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson:
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.
James Cagney as Cody Jarrett:
Made it Ma, Top of the World, more followers than ashton kutcher.
Gary Cooper as Will Kane:
Everyone in town, my friends, deputy and newlywed wife says I should enjoy my retirement and get out of town. But I’ve never run from a fight and I’m not starting now.
Robert Mitchum as Harry Powell:
My left hand doesn’t know what my right hand is doing
Why do my evil foes continue to leave me alone in supposedly perilous circumstances, from which I’ve always escaped, instead of just shooting me execution style in the head?
Strother Martin as Captain:
What we’ve got here is failure to communicate
George C. Scott as General George Patton:
Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your Tweets!
Peter Finch as Howard Beale:
I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore because Glenn Beck is stealing my line!
Roy Scheider as Marty Brody:
You’re gonna need more than 140 characters.
Alec Guinness as Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi:
Use your thumbs, Luke.
I could go on with quotes from characters – from Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) to Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) – or actors like Cary Grant & Katharine Hepburn (whose agent might have had to provide them instead) to John Wayne, but I think I’ll ask my fellow Morlocks – and all of you – to contribute imagined tweets instead.
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
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