The Flakes of Wrath

on September 25, 2008 by Steve Simels

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And speaking as we were yesterday of the great ZaSu Pitts , it has not escaped our attention that there is a certain irony to the fact that the self-same woman who starred in Erich Von Stroheim 's mangled 1924 masterpiece Greed (still the Great White Whale of film preservationists) is probably best known for her role as the ditzy sidekick on 50s TV's The Gale Storm Show. But did you know that Pitts was also a great cook and that some of her recipes for sweets were collected in the culinary masterpiece Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts (first published posthumously in 1963 and still available )?

Even more astounding, did you know she once pitched Kellogg's Corn Flakes to TV's Superman George Reeves ?

Heck of a career, ZaSu.

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In any case, I bring all this up by way of paying homage to the great film critic David Ehrenstein , who brought the Pitts cookbook, and much else, to my attention in his ground breaking 1982 tome Rock on Film , the first and in many ways still the best critical study of exactly that. I've cribbed a lot from that book over the years, up to and including today's column, so I would like to take this opportunity to finally thank David, publically, for all the insights and inspiration.

By the way, if you're not familiar with David's work, I should add that last year he made significant waves when he penned a brilliant (and predictably misused by right-wing gasbag Rush Limbaugh) Op-Ed in the L.A. Times comparing presidential candidate Barack Obama to a figure of postmodern folk culture that sociologists call "The Magic Negro." You can also read his more or less daily musings on film and other cultural signifiers over at his esteemable blog Ehrensteinland , which behooves beholding.

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