Hollywood, 1954

by Q. William Bacon

Imagine if you will the first date between two young talents, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Bozo the Clown, destined for fame, on the brink of the golden age of television, popular culture, and America’s ascendancy.


Hollywood, 1954. The Brown Derby Restaurant.

ZSA ZSA: Your name, it is Hungarian, yes?

BOZO: Yes, Bozo is the name of my dear uncle in the old country. But to the American ear, it’s a good name for a clown!

ZSA ZSA: < Laughing. > Yes, the Americans would not know otherwise!

BOZO: You are so beautiful, and yet you cover your mouth when you laugh.

ZSA ZSA: I’m sorry. If I want to be an actress in America, I must not be so shy.

BOZO: I disagree. People in Hollywood give away false smiles all day. Personally, I would prefer to earn your smiles.

ZSA ZSA: < Blushes. >

BOZO: Is that what brings you to Hollywood? Your desire to become an actress?

ZSA ZSA: Yes. I hope to meet the movie producer Howard Hughes. Today I was modeling at Hughes Aircraft. I am appearing with my identical twin, Eva. Our uncle, Dennis Gabor, is presenting his wave packet theory for resolving the quantum wave-particle paradox. We model our curvaceous figures to illustrate a truncated sine-cosine quadrature pair.

BOZO: Your uncle is lucky to have nieces that will illustrate his difficult concepts in a manner accessible to the public.

ZSA ZSA: Thank you. We have worked for Uncle Dennis for many years. When we were teenagers, he started taking photographs of us. He became very interested in taking stereo photographs, which allows the female form to be viewed with three-dimensional accuracy. Uncle Dennis realized that, because we are identical twins, if he photographed us posed as mirror reflections about the vertical plane passing through the eyepoint and the central vanishing point, he could create stereo images with a single camera. His obsession with single-camera stereo led to his invention of holography, which allows true 3D viewing from a single piece of film.

BOZO: What an incredible invention! How did he ever think of it?

ZSA ZSA: As a graduate student in the old country, Uncle Dennis did field research in neighboring Transylvania, studying the strange optical effects of vampires. It turns out that vampires cast no shadows and cause no reflections because of mediated lightwave interference, which is the fundamental concept of holography.

BOZO: Surely you shall all become famous? How has the invention been received?

ZSA ZSA: Not well. We showed a hologram to the famous philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, but he could not see the three-dimensional effect at all. He became sullen, complaining that he was imprisoned in his own subjective experience, unknowable to others, whose subjective experience was equally unknowable to him. So, our journey to America and fame is in doubt, and we are becoming desperate. Why, Eva has started competing with me for modeling jobs, claiming to be years younger!

BOZO: Hollywood does not long tolerate the duplicity of a duplicate.

ZSA ZSA: Thank you for saying so.

BOZO: Eva does not realize the advantages of identical twins. Have you considered freezing her in suspended animation? She would not age, and then you could use her body for spare parts when you get older.

ZSA ZSA: The fellows at Hughes Aircraft have said they can place her in extremely low Earth orbit traveling at nearly the speed of light. In this way she would age very slowly without freezing, and the orbit would be self-sustaining for decades.

BOZO: That’s very astute. You will find the ability to appear young even in your seventh or eighth decade to be personally and professionally satisfying. I certainly try to maintain a youthful and carefree appearance.

ZSA ZSA: You certainly do! To be honest, when we met at the restaurant, I was surprised that you were still in full makeup.

BOZO: In Hollywood, we do not avoid our fame. Though I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable.

ZSA ZSA: It does not. In fact, women are attracted to a man who understands makeup, a man who understands dressing with bright colors, a man who understands hairstyling – may I ask, how do you keep your hair pointing up like that?

BOZO: My hair is naturally erect.

ZSA ZSA: Oh my.

BOZO: But you were saying… 

ZSA ZSA: Um -who understands hairstyling, a man who is good with children, a man who is proud of his chosen profession, a man with, well, -

BOZO: Yes?

ZSA ZSA: – with very very large feet -

BOZO: I see.

ZSA ZSA:  – not that I -

BOZO: Of course not.

ZSA ZSA:  – and very large hands -

BOZO: Please continue.

ZSA ZSA: – but I consider myself a normal woman -

BOZO: Indubitably.

ZSA ZSA: – with a normal woman’s -

BOZO: Go on.

ZSA ZSA: – desires, which is to say -

BOZO: Of course.

ZSA ZSA: – a healthy curiosity -

BOZO: No doubt.

ZSA ZSA: – for instance, if a couple engaged in coitus were instantly embalmed in acrylic, sliced down the middle and displayed in cross-section, onlookers would see not only the interlocking genitalia, but also how the brain has layers like an onion, layers which are peeled away by the sexual act, starting with the Platonic love of the outer cortex, then the ineffable emotions of the midbrain, finally reaching the inner core of involuntary, mad urging.

BOZO:  I agree.  Furthermore, the time course of sexual union is not only a journey through the layers of the brain, it is also a half-billion-year journey back through our evolutionary history, from rational man back to unquestioning mammal back to the reptile driven only by instinct.

ZSA ZSA: Quite true.  In fact, I’ve never met a person who understands my viewpoint so perfectly.

Their hands touch. The spark ignites their destinies, which are launched like rockets into the future.