Friday, May 4, 2012

"Every Star has 5 Jagged Points...."

Selecting new room names for The Inn at Long Lake was such fun back in 2008 when I purchased the property! My lovely friend, Fay, helped by suggesting Classic Hollywood names in addition to the American music icons on my list. And, so...while many rooms at the inn were (and are) named after notables like Glenn Miller, Mae West, and Cole Porter, several luminaries were overlooked ("Hey. It's a 16-room inn. Gimme a break for more rooms!" lol).

One such actress from Hollywood's bygone era of creativity was Matilda "Tilda" Manique. From her meagar beginnings in Iowa as a drugstore salad bar attendant (she was later lovingly known as "Cukie from Du-bukie" by her closest friends) to her discovery by the motion picture industry eating a Knickerbocker Sundae in a West Hollywood diner, Tilda's career was fraught with ups and downs.

Her legendary role in 1940's "Bally Ho in Bali Hai" was a high point for Tilda. As the Pina Colada-soaked streetwalker spreading happy cheer throughout the paths and byways of the Somoan mountainsides, she was endeared by legions of fans in movie houses, primarily workers in the pineapple and coconut professions. Her musical song from the film "Smile is  Free...Coconuts Cost a' Plenty" was nominated for several Tony and film awards.

Later in life--long after the cameras stopped rolling--Ms. Manique was reputed to have spent solitude living in (and by) a box near Franzia Vineyards. She happily signed autographs to faithful fans, a tribute to her short, but glorious, acting career.

Her comeback as "one of the colored girls" backing Lou Reed in his 1971 "I Got One Song..but It's Great" Tour brought new success to her. Tilda was beat out (and up) by Clara Peller for Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" marketing campaign. The company refused her to read her lines off cue cards...

She was last seen riding a 2-person bicycle alone by the Grand Canyon. Her fans fear that, like her career of yesteryear, her fall was a quick ride into the proverbial gulch. Her presence today remains unknown.

Remember: Everybody has their moment in the sun, so stock up on your Coppertone and prepare yourself as best you can. And...try to think of good ole' Tilda when the chips are down!

Keith A. Neubert