Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Caddieshack's Cindy Morgan Is Lacey Underall And Yori From Tron

The movie Caddieshack is so well-known to so many people, from baby-boomers to students of American pop-culture, that some can even recite lines from the movie. Say that you're interviewing "Lacey Underall," and everyone knows that she's connected with Caddieshack. And the "she" who played her is Cindy Morgan, who also starred as "Yori" from the first Tron.

Since Tron Legacy was just released last fall, we started our talk there. What did the star of what she calls "classic Tron" think of the newest version? "I thought it was fantastic," Morgan said, "all the great special effects. It was really interesting, where they took the story."

How she came to be in Tron is the story of how Hollywood works, at least at that time in the late 80s. The story she tells has some interesting holes that it's hard to pick through. She says she was dating a guy who said he was in a cartoon but didn't decribe it, then she switches into talking about a time later, during a period where she "hadn't worked a lot since Caddieshack," she had what she describes as a "run-in" with one of the producers, where she says she "just came to do my job, and that's it."

She didn't identify the producer, or explain what happened in detail, or which movie the encounter was connected with, and since I only had a good five minutes, which I hit on the head, pretty much, there wasn't time to press her on the issue.

Moreover, at that point in our conversation, this blogger became overly senstive to the idea that it was easy to perhaps say the wrong thing to Ms. Morgan - just being blogger honest. That whatever's happened to Ms. Morgan (and perhaps she's saving her anger for her book) it's clouded her view of men in Hollywood. But also that she put herself in an environment where the kind of men she needed to deal with to get work thrive, and perhaps on some level believed she needed to be around men like that to get ahead.

Now, it feels a lot like she's angry. There's nothing at all wrong with that, but everything wrong with covering it up. It's bottled-up there; why not release it? Actress Sean Young, who starred in No Way Out and Blade Runner excellent at talking openly about sexism in Hollywood, and reminds you that she was 'blacklisted' after her drunken verbal assault on Director Julian Schnable at the 2006 Directors Guild Awards, as you can see from my interview at last year's Night Of 100 Stars Oscar Party:

But I digress.

Ms. Morgan got a call from the director of Tron, which she says is "unusual," that a director would call, and read a part of the movie script with Jeff Bridges, said "Thank you," and left. And, next thing you know, she was cast in the roll of Yori. The person who took her to lunch and talked about the "cartoon" was talking about Tron. He didn' get to be in it, but she did - something Morgan learned 20 years later.

Because so much of what Cindy said was "coded" the question to ask was obvious: is the work climate better for women in Hollywood today? Morgan says she's not in Hollywood anymore, but "the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some (men) still need a map and a calendar, but God bless them."

One thing that's obvious from our conversation is Cindy had a Hollywood experience that reads like an iceberg: we just saw the tip of it. Whatever happened to her, it's seemed to cloud her ability to joke about it, and the men who she encountered, some 20-plus years later.

As to what she's doing now, it's finishing a book on Caddieshack, which means Cindy's aware of the movie's impact on popular culture. As to her favorite lines, Ms. Morgan thinks Bill Murray had the best lines like "Freeze Gopher!"

Cindy explains that Lacey Underall is a real person, but her last name wasn't "Underall." Additionally, Morgan says that she played against type, as Cindy describes Lacie as a "carnivorous female of biblical proportions who could have anything she wanted."

But maybe's Cindy Morgan wasn't playing against type at all. Morgan said she "got nervous" when she realized she was the only person reading for the part (another story not told) and said that she hoped the person reading with her was a man, and if so, she would "make him sweat."

She's good at that.

Star Trek's Celeste Yarnell With Malachi Throne: On William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, And Her Life Today.

Celeste Yarnell is someone such that you may be caused to think "I've seen her before," but aren't sure why, unless you are a Trekker. Fans of Star Trek, The Original Series (TOS) remember and celebrate Ms. Yarnell for her one appearance as 'Yeoman Martha Landon' on an episode called "The Apple."

 "The Apple," which aired on NBC October 13, 1967, was known only to avid fans until improvements in digital media after the turn of the century led to its wide availablity, thus giving Yarnell's character, and her, a kind of second life.

For example, here's a review of the episode on YouTube, which opens with Yarnell and Walter Koenig:

Now, Yarnell is regularly called on to reminisce about her time with Star Trek's cast and crew, as we did during her second WonderCon appearance.

Asked what is was like to be on the set, Yarnell revealed a secret: until her work in 1967, she'd never seen the show. "I had no idea what Spock was or Captain Kirk," she said. "I walk on to this set with paper-mache rocks and my initial reaction was 'This must be a great cinematography crew to make this stuff look good."

After being offered the role of Martha Landon, Yarnell was asked if she wanted a part with more substance, and she said "no." She was happy with what she was asked to do in playing a Yeoman, and even asked to have her dress shortened "because mini-skirts were hot in those days," she said.

Yarnell said shortening her dress, which she thinks may have been used by Grace Lee Whitney who played "Yeoman Rand" caused some on the Star Trek crew to fear a conflict should Ms. Whitney return to the show. But the costume designer ruled out that possibility and told her people to make the dress fit Celeste.

How did she like working with the Star Trek cast? Of all, Yarnell gushes about William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, and made the character part of American Mythology. "I adored Will," she said, and who she described as "The colossal jokester." But Celeste was afraid of Nimoy because he "stayed in character. He was so stern. He never smiled." between shootings for the episode. For the few who don't know, Mr. Spock is a Vulcan humanoid who's emotions are buried deep and controlled by a culturally-induced ethic of logic. A practice made diffcult for Spock because he's half-human.

Celeste and Malachi Throne

As we talked about Star Trek and her life today, a television legend this blogger met at last year's WonderCon was just next to us, and behind us on the video: Malachi Throne (pronounced "MA-LACK-Hi").

Mr. Throne played in Star Trek's flagship episode "The Cage" as the irracible Commodore Jose I. Mendez, and has appeared on perhaps every major science-fiction, secret agent, or comic-book based television show of the 1960s, from Batman to The Outer Limits, and starred with Robert Wagner in It Takes A Thief. Yarnell and Throne are friends to this day, as was obvious during the segment of our video where we went over to include Mr. Throne, thus pairing two legends from the World of Star Trek.

What She's Doing Today

On Saturday as she was at WonderCon, Celeste and her husband celebrated their 8th month of marriage. The two, Celeste and Nazim, enjoy life to the fullest, and are in business together in something called "Holistic Health Care" and have something called The Art Of Wellness Collection, and a series of websites on everything from supplements to "Hollistic Cat Care" at www.celestialpets.com.

Celeste Yarnell. Making the most of her Star Trek experience.

Will Obama Serve Again

There are many who may question President Barack Obama's chances of being re-elected. After the Libya decision that was made without Congress consent it is up in the air as to whether he stands a strong enough chance for a second term.

posted from Bloggeroid

San Francisco Hotel Community Video Talks To Hotel Employees

This video, sent to this blogger by a member of the San Francisco Hotel Community, explains their position in the issue of contract dispute with the Unite Here Local 2 labor union.

Here's the video:

Where Hilton has settled with the union, other hotel managers have not, and this video explains why. In it, they claim that Unite Here Local 2 labor union have drained $1 million of hotel employee union dues going to it. The video claims that the San Francisco hotel worker has nothing to do with Unite Here Local 2's attempts to unionize in other American cities.

This blogger's issue with Unite Here Local 2's approach is that it's ignorant of the current business climate, where money for travel and tourism is far less than even four years ago. It forgets that hotels can and do go out of business, harming the ability of workers to make money to help and maintain their families.

It would be better if Unite Here Local 2 itself actually ran a hotel, then it would be in a better position to understand what it takes to maintain a hotel as a business, and negotiate in a more intelligent way.

Courtney Ruby: Oakland City Auditor Talks Origins, ABC Security Issue

Courtney Ruby. A search for a video interview or comment from the City of Oakland's elected auditor reveals, until today, nothing. This is the first, and to date only, full long-form interview with Oakland's City Auditor.

Because the Akron, Ohio native was new to long video interviews, and to video-blogging, this interview was one part 'getting to know her,' and the other part on the issues of the day: the ABC Security issue that comes before the Oakland City Council this evening, and her budget. In all, the video - made at the new eatery Disco Violante (great burgers) at 347 14th Street in Downtown Oakland, is about 24 minutes long.  And because the ABC Security issue is "hot," this will be blog post one on Courtney Ruby, with two other posts to come later in the week.

But, for those of you interested in ABC Security, let's start with Ms. Ruby's comments about that.

Click here for ABC Security comments in the video at the 14:45 mark.

ABC Security and Favoritism.

ABC Security is an Oakland company located at 1840 Embarcadero, not far from Quinn's Lighthouse and in Oakland Council District Five, politically helmed by the legendary Oakland Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente.

Ms. Ruby has alleged that ABC Security may have violated the law by donating to Oakland councilmembers before seeking an Oakland contract valued at $2 million.   Even though ABC was the fifth, and then sixth ranked company, it managed to secure the recommendation of the Oakland City Council.  (For note, ABC Security wasn't the only security firm to be accused of a "pay to play" action, Marina Security, was as well.)

The City's Auditor forwarded the issue to the Oakland Public Ethics Commission.  One of the councilmembers who benefited was Jane Brunner of District One, North Oakland, who said that her choice of ABC Security wasn't due to the donation, and that she would return the money they've donated toward her.

Moreover, both Councilmembers Brunner and De La Fuente wrote about their reasons for supporting ABC Security, stating that...

ABC Security is an Oakland-grown, minority- and woman-owned local business with a long history of hiring Oakland residents and providing well-paying, union jobs. ABC currently employs 213 Oakland residents; that's 87 percent of its workforce...Nevertheless, because it has thrived and has exceeded the city's definition of a small business, it wasn't awarded preference points under the city's current point system, nor was it awarded points for its 42 years as an Oakland business nor for employing 87 percent Oakland residents.

On the ABC Security issue, which begins at the 14:45 minute mark of the video, Courtney Ruby and this blogger didn't address Brunner's and De La Fuente's statements, and Ruby seemed eager to avoid any political finger-pointing.  How did the issue come to her?

"I knew that the contract was before the council from the (City Council meeting) agendas.  I knew that a contract had been let. I always watch the committee hearings, so I know what's going on in the city."  She said that there was "conversation" regarding one company that was rated number one and ABC, which at the time was rated number five.   So, Ruby made it a point to visit the next committee hearing to hear the "next level of discussion" on the security contract, and watched as council recommended ABC Security, even though their ranking had dropped by one to number six in the field of firms under consideration.

She was "alarmed" that a contractor would go through an RFP process and, even though the best company, Cypress (at 452 Tehama Street in San Francisco, CA) met all of the criteria, it wasn't the one selected by the Oakland City Council, and they would consider picking a firm that was six levels down in the competition. Councilmember Pay Kernighan (District Two) tried to make a separate motion to have both Cypress and ABC Security moved to full council level, but the motion failed.

That's the issue the full City Council, will here this evening.

If the Oakland City Council wanted to have only Oakland firms, the RFP should have been restricted to companies in the city limits. But the RFP process was so geographically broad, that didn't happen. The Oakland City Council should not go against the city's own RFP criteria process in this way. That's this blogger's take.

Stay tuned.