The boy ages. Dark wrinkles inlaid with
soot crease his crackling olive skin. His robes carry the stench of
mildewed mummies. He heads for our table and plops down three scrapbooks,
sweeping his palm above them as if they were the Dead Sea Scrolls, dug up
from oblivion on his way to the club. "All time I work massage, I keep
this book. This Doug Fairbanks. That James Dean. Jean Harlow say I got
best hand in Hollywood." Abdullah pours clumsy fingers over crumbling
toast colored glossies. "I tell Jack Warner about John Wayne--pretty good
lookin' boy over in back lot, movin' round lotta piano." In one of the
photographs Abdullah is wearing a sombrero. He holds a noose around Ronald
Reagan's neck. "Where all these boy now I need him? What I'm going do
these picture when I gone?"
Victor McLaglen could not have been less like Mike Mazurki
than Carroll Baker. While Mike was guarding Mae, learning to talk in the
movies and raising two children, Vic was scouring Skid Row for drunks to invite to parties
he threw at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel--entire floors for days on end.
But when McLaglen died, Mazurki took his place in John Ford's troupe. They
made six pictures together, one of which is a classic, the last of Ford's
Westerns, Cheyenne Autumn.