Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mister B. Natural

One of the most hilarious bits ever done by one of the funniest shows ever made;Mystery Science Theatre 3000 varied from amusing to friggin' murderous, and this is truly brilliant. Of course, they had a lot to work with.

And I can't just leave you Mister B. Natural without adding this; the character was played by a dancer and (oddly...) opera singer named Betty Luster. Betty seems to have been just one more of the gajillion pretty girls consumed by popular entertainment in the Forties and Fifties.

According to Wikipedia, she first turned up as something called "Miss Lake Mowhawk" in '37. (Her IMDB bio says she was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1922, so this seems to have been the Lake Mohawk in Jersey).

She seems to have gone to England for a while in the late Thirties (where she appeared in an early Beeb TV show!) but was back in the States by 1940, and was a chorine on Broadway and Miami Beach and sang at the Philadelphia Opera through the Forties. In 1950 and 1951 she was in Hollywood doing TV work for a game and variety show, and she's known to have been back on Broadway in the mid-Fifties.
(Betty's on the right, in the toe shoes, BTW)

So far as we know Mister B. was her last role. She got married some time in the late Fifties to one Edmund Astley Prentis the Third, who was - get this - a geotechnical engineer! Dude, we effing rock!

At least his obit says his firm, Spencer, White and Prentis Inc. "specialized in underground and underpinning construction. Among its projects were the underground areas of the White House, the World Trade Center and sections of the New York subway system."

So Ned got the hot crossdressing b-natural babe, and she, apparently happily, became his spouse, helpmeet and baby-mama and never trod the boards again.

Instead, she became - I shit you not - a "world-class croquet player".

?????

Did you even know there WAS such a thing?

Yep.

Here's the Nedster himself, croquing away or whatever the hell you call it, from his Croquet Hall of Fame bio.

Oh, and it says there he typically played dressed in "Panama hat, white shorts, white knee socks with red flashers, and the occasional bush jacket" which, frankly, would have been enough put me off my stroke just looking at him, but, then, that's world-class croquet for you - it's a blood sport.

So there's a Croquet Hall of Fame.

And Betty's hubby is in it.

What a world we live in, eh?

Anyway, seems like Ned and Betty were a pretty happy couple. They had four kids, a brace of each gender, and a fistful of grandkids, and lived in croquet-lathered luxury (did I mention that he was also a big-game hunter and one of those sports fisherman that flies around to places where you can catch ginormous fish you can't eat, like marlin, and that they lived in West Palm Beach, which is serious Rich People Land? Did so.) until Ned went to the Big Wicket in the Sky in '97. Betty lived on at their home in West Palm Beach, presumably skinning benjamins off the noobs at the West Palm Croquet Club, for almost fifteen more years until her own death a year ago.

And that was that, the end of Mister B.

You knew you read this blog for stuff just exactly like this, didn't you?

Damn straight.

4 comments:

Leon said...

If you enjoy MST3K, I heartily endorse watching their version of "Mitchell". Ah Joe Don... Why did you never conquer film and television?

Ael said...

I tried watching it and failed.
Woke up when the forehead hit the desk.

Must be a cultural thing.

Lisa said...

"Eclectic" doesn't even begin to encompass the realm to which we are exposed here ;)

basilbeast said...

I went to get a pic of R. Crumb's Mr. Natural and found this interesting bit.

Enjoy with this post or the anti-American bit.

http://www.kazak.com/wordpress/?tag=mr-natural

bb