A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
I was watching Hot in Cleveland years ago, in particular Betty White, and it occurred to me that a long time ago I had started to write a comedy based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth using the cast of Golden Girls as the witches.
I said ‘started to write’ because I had forgotten how long a play Macbeth is. (I was writing it to send to Playboy so mine was a bit ‘saltier’ than the original.) That was twenty years ago and had I continued I’d still be on the first act. I’ll say this for old Shaky, he was good but he was mouthy. When the play was performed at Stratford the season ticket holders knew that and most brought sleeping bags. The rest just snored in their seats. A light snack was served at 4:00 in the morning.
The three witches in my version were the cast of Golden Girls, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and of course, Ma. Can’t you just see it?
A bitterly cold November wind howled in off the rolling grey waters of the Firth of Forth – or the Fifth of Forth, take your pick. It was one of those icy-cold days that brought peace and joy to the lives of the happy-go-lucky folks of 11th century Scotland and still does if they are wearing long underwear under their kilts and there is plenty of single malt. The light refreshing breeze that warmed the desolate coastline the morn of the Feast of Michaelmas in September had turned to a driving sleet in October and hadn’t let up for a moment. Colder than a son of a… well, you know what I mean
High on a lonely hill four exceptionally ugly hags, the planning team of the annual Convention of Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves, were gathered around a bubbling cauldron busy planning the next meeting. The four crones were just heading out to meet with the keynote speaker of that year’s festivities, the ever-popular Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, Cawdor and Shaltbie.
When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Not again, Dorothy, why do we always have to meet in the rain? We can’t meet when the sun is shining? My rheumatism is killing me. Back in Sicily…
Will you cut the Sicily crap, Ma? I’m trying to set up a meeting. How say we meet on the heath when the hurly-burly’s done?
When the ‘what’ is done? We didn’t have a hurly-burly back in St. Olaf, Dorothy.
You didn’t have indoor plumbing in St. Olaf, Rose. Now can we set a date?
Will there be any men there?
Will there be what?
Will there be any men there? I need a man, Dorothy. I haven’t had any action since that warlock in Aberdeen.
For God’s sake, Blanche, will you forget about sex for 5 minutes? I’m trying to set up a meeting here.
Throw a pail of cold water on her!
How be we meet when the battle is lost or won?
Do we need a mover and seconder for that?
I suppose we really should. It says in the Witch’s Covenant of 966 that…
Never mind the damned covenant; it’s final – we meet after the battle upon the heath.
There to meet with Macbeth
Fair is foul and foul is fair;
Hover through fog and filthy air.
I’ll bring the brownies.
I didn’t finish it. For one thing it would have been too long and more importantly I couldn’t see Playboy printing it without adding naked women and that of course I would never allow.
But the real reason for stopping was, how many people in this day and age (other than us old geezers) would still remember the Golden Girls? On the last Hot in Cleveland I saw, Robert Wagner was an old man. I remember when he was a heart-throb, well not for me exactly, but for the ladies.
Where did the years go? Even Robert Redford is starting to look like he has been put away wet. I always thought I was the spitting image of Bob, although I was the only one, but does that mean I too may look like I have passed my best before date? Surely not!
It’s nobody’s fault but TV and Hollywood have run out of new stuff and are now re-making all the good shows and movies and not always for the better. The new Star Trek, Star Wars, and Superman go much too fast and are far too noisy for me. If Hollywood ever does a re-make of Macbeth starring Arnold Swartzenhoofer I’ll give it a miss – well I might watch it if Betty White plays Lady Macbeth.