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“I wouldn’t mind dying in a plane crash. It’d be a good way to go. I don’t want to die in my sleep, or old age, or OD…I want to feel what it’s like. I want to taste it, hear it, smell it. Death is only going to happen to you once; I don’t want to miss it,” Jim Morrison.

No one could say what exactly took place in the fourth-floor apartment at 17 rue Beautrellis on the morning of July 3rd, 1971. There were only two witnesses to the death of Jim Morrison. There was Pamela Courson, Jim’s longtime girlfriend, and Jean De Breteuil, Pamela’s lover and drug dealer.

Jean De Breteuil claimed Jim had overdosed two days earlier in the bathroom of the chic Paris rock club Rock n’ Roll Circus. Jean said the owners of Circus didn’t want the bad press of a rock god dying on their toilet and they paid to have Jim’s body relocated to his apartment at rue Beautrellis.

Pamela Courson claimed she and Jim went to the movies the night before he died. They saw Pursued by director Raoul Walsk. Pamela loved the movie and Jim thought it was boring. It was a warm night and they decided to stroll back to their apartment along the rue Saint-Antoine. They stopped into a late night Chinese food restaurant and Jim dined on sweet and sour chicken, which he washed down with several beers.

They returned to the apartment at one o’clock in the morning, but Jim was restless. He hadn’t been feeling well lately and his persistent cough was getting worse. He had coughed up blood the night before.

Jim sat down and tried to write some, but he couldn’t sit still. He complained of pain in his chest and limbs and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. He drank straight from the bottle and claimed that he was trying to numb the pain. Pamela had already pulled out the heroin she bought from Jean de Breteuil called Chinese Junk.

Pamela and Jim snorted the Chinese Junk with rolled-up money and Jim became more agitated. Pamela said that Jim took out the old Super-8 films from their trips to Spain, Morocco and Corsica and played his old Doors records. Jim kept repeating the song ‘The End’ as they snorted more Chinese Junk.

Around three o’clock in the morning, Jim’s neighbors claimed he was naked on the staircase outside his apartment screaming. An unidentified person pulled Jim back into the apartment and the screaming stopped.

According to Pamela, at three o’clock in the morning Jim was having a coughing fit. Pamela told him to go to bed. She did another line of Chinese Junk and passed out.

Pamela woke up an hour later and found Jim lying next to her. He was making strange gurgling noises. He was drowning in his own mucus. She shook him, but Jim wouldn’t wake up. She hit Jim hard, again and again and again…until he finally sat up and staggered into the bathroom. Pamela heard the water in the bathroom turn on and she passed out again.

An hour later she woke up to find that Jim had not come back to bed. She went to the bathroom, but the door was locked. She pounded on the door and yelled at the top of her lungs, but there was no response from inside.

At 6:30 am, Pamela called Jean De Breteuil. Jean arrived at the apartment on rue Beautrellis at 7am and he found Pamela in hysterics. Jean managed to calm Pamela down and she told him about Jim in the bathroom. Jean broke the glass on the bathroom door and unlocked the latch. Inside they found Jim Morrison in the bathtub, dead.

Pamela refused to believe he was dead. She jumped into the bathtub and repeatedly slapped Jim’s dead body. Jean managed to pull off Pamela and he told her to, “call your friends. Get them to help you. I will see you again before I leave. I’m sorry, darling. I love you. Goodbye.” Jean de Breteuil left the apartment and Pamela. He took the next flight to Morocco to avoid any questions about his drug connections.

At 8am the fire-rescue squad arrived at the apartment on rue Beautrellis. The squad pulled Jim’s body from the bathtub and decided on the spot that Jim Morrison had died of natural causes. There was never an official inquiry into his death.
According to the official record, Jim Morrison died at age twenty-seven of a common heart attack in his bathtub on July 3rd, 1971.

Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson
The Last Supper
Sweet and Sour Chicken
The bats have left the bell tower
The victims have been bled
Red velvet lines the black box
Bela Lugosi’s dead.”

-From the song Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus
Bela Lugosi
Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko Lugosi was a star of the theater in Austria-Hungary. He was a classically trained Shakespearean actor that was whisked away from the stage to the up-and-coming silent cinema of Austria-Hungary.

World War I suddenly cut his film career short and Bela enlisted in the army. He rose to the rank of lieutenant, but the war became too much for Bela. He was discharged before it ended and claimed, “I feigned insanity in order to get out of the service and return to civilian life.”

The War ended and Bela returned to his film career. He acted in twelve more silent movies before immigrating to America.

Bela could find know work as an actor in America and at age 40 had to turn to the work of a day laborer. His body was too old to take the physically exhausting work and he threw out his back several times. He continued to audition for the theater, but his accent was viewed as comical. He couldn’t land an acting job. According to Bela, “In Hungary, acting is a profession. In America, it is a decision.”

Bela finally got a break with the starring role in the play ‘Dracula’. His accent was actually key to him landing the part. The stage play was a huge success and Universal Pictures wanted to turn it into a movie, but Bela was not asked to reprise his role for the movie version. Universal Pictures wanted Lon Chaney, but Lon Chaney was under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios . With Chaney unavailable, Universal decided to give Bela a chance to reprise his role in the film.

DRACULA starring Bela Lugosi was released by Universal Studios in 1931. It was a huge critical and box office success. It made Bela a star. After a couple of years, DRACULA was relegated to a B-level horror flick. All of the films critical acclaim was forgotten and Bela’s performance was judged as completely over-the top.

Bela’s contract was dropped by Universal and he was only offered similar Dracula-type roles in low budget films. This was a serious blow to the Shakespearean trained actor. ” I used to be the big cheese. Now I’m playing just a dumb part.” – Bela Lugosi

Bela’s back injuries were acting up with age and he was becoming dependent on the morphine his doctors were prescribing.

Bela arrived on set for the Monogram Pictures B-movies, the only gig he could get, high on morphine. In attempt to hide his drug addiction, Bela would continually sip Burgundy wine and feign intoxication. Alcoholism was far more socially acceptable than injecting morphine.

The roles in the Monogram Pictures dried up and Bela’s morphine addiction was eating away at his finances. Bela claimed, ” Without movie parts I was reduced to freak status. I couldn’t stand it. ” Bela was in and out of rehab and no one would hire him except for the eccentric cult filmmaker, Ed Wood. Bela took the role in Ed Wood’s film PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Bela didn’t care it was considered one of the worse films ever to be made. Bela was just happy to have money for morphine and was relieved to not be playing Dracula.

Bela enjoyed his favorite meal of Hungarian Goulash and Burgundy wine at his home in Los Angeles. Bela didn’t eat much in the weeks following this meal and he survived mainly on morphine.

Before filming finished on PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, Bela died alone in his Los Angeles home of a heart attack on August 15, 1956. Bela’s family requested that he be buried in his Dracula costume.

“Every actor’s greatest ambition is to create his own definite and original role but I found this to be fatal.” – Bela Lugosi

The Last Supper
Hungarian Goulash
Burgundy Wine
And this, too, shall pass away.” – Houdini’s motto.

It’s 1874 in Budapest, Hungary and Ehrich Weiss is born to a poor family. To improve their standing in life, the Weiss family immigrates to America. But nothing gets better in America. They move from city to city to avoid bill collectors. Ehrich’s parents see no value in education when there are bills to be paid. Little Ehrich is sent off to work selling newspapers.

There is little reprieve from the hard work. Which makes it all the more surprising when Ehrich’s father offers to take him to see Dr. Lynn, the traveling magician. Of course, Ehrich jumps at the opportunity.

The audience gasps and so does Ehrich as they watch Dr. Lynn saw a young lady in half. Then, miraculously, Dr. Lynn puts her back together again. The audience explodes in cheers and money is thrown on stage. They love Dr. Lynn and Ehrich falls in love with magic.

Ehrich is seventeen and he must give up selling newspapers and go to work where the real money is – the factory. But Ehrich never does go to work in the factory. Ehrich leaves everything behind and escapes into a new identity.

It’s 1891 in Appleton, Wisconsin. The magician Houdini is born and Ehrich from Budapest is never heard from again.
Houdini is a failure on the magic circuit. His standard tricks barely garner applause. The bills pile up and by 1896 Houdini is ready to quit. He spends the last of his money on a classified ad offering to sell all his magic and secrets for $20. No one responds.

Houdini continues on and adjusts his act by adding more outlandish stunts with real shock value. He bills himself as indestructible and lets people punch him as hard as they can in the stomach. Houdini never flinches. The big money act is the Needle Trick. Houdini stands on the street corner and swallows a dozen needles and thread. For the big finale, he regurgitates the thread with the needles neatly threaded on.

The audience eats up the spectacle, but is bored as he goes through the rest of his routine. Houdini needs something more daring. He needs an escape and he creates the Challenge Act. Houdini places handcuffs around his wrists and miraculously escapes. The crowd goes wild. They want to see more escapes and Houdini delivers. He escapes from a padlocked crate thrown into the river, he escapes from being handcuffed to a bridge and he escapes from jail. Nothing can hold Houdini. He’s a legend. Some call him the greatest magician of all time.

It is 1926 and Houdini is on a giant North American tour. Years and years of contortion and swallowing needles are taking a toll. He’s become stiff and uncoordinated. On stage in Albany, NY he slips and breaks his ankle as he’s lifted into the Water Torture Cell. Houdini refuses medical attention or to even acknowledge the broken bone. He finishes the show in Albany and continues on to the next tour date.

By the time the tour reaches Canada, Houdini is limping and complains of a stomachache. His assistants and his wife plead with him to see a doctor, but Houdini refuses. Seeing a doctor would delay the show. He will not delay the show. Houdini throws everyone out of his dressing room and lays down on the nearby couch, gathering his strength for the performance.

J. Gordon Whitehead, a student at McGill University with a severe drug and alcohol problem, sneaks backstage at the Houdini performance. McGill has told all his friends that he’s going to find out once and for all if the Great Houdini can really take a punch like he does in his act.

McGill finds Houdini lying on the couch in his dressing room. Houdini’s eyes are closed. McGill leans over, pulls his arm back and punches Houdini in the stomach as hard as he can. Houdini awakens and is unable to breath or move, but the show must go on…
Houdini collapses onstage in Detroit. He is rushed backstage and is fed a traditional Jewish stomach cure of raw vegetables and sour cream called Farmer’s Chop Suey. The Chop Suey does nothing. Houdini screams in pain, but refuses to go to the hospital. The show must go on! Against Houdini’s protests, he is rushed to the hospital.

Houdini lays in his hospital bed and whispers to his wife, “I’m tired of fighting.” The legendary magician passes away on October 31st, 1926.

The Last Supper

Farmer’s Chop Suey
Houdini in Cuffs