Alexa here. To celebrate Lily Tomlin's 75th birthday I dug up this 1983 issue of the ill-fated "The Movies" magazine from my collection. In it, Tomlin shares her film memories, especially those during her time as a teen usherette. The lengthy diary-like piece, filled with teen snapshots and written with wife and longtime collaborator Jane Wagner, reveals Tomlin to be a true film obsessive, discussing various modes of screen charisma ("inner glow" versus "outer twinkle"), her sexual awakening via B-movies, the damage Brigitte Bardot did to her, and her feminist critique of Annie Hall. Here are some choice excerpts.
On the peculiar influence movies had on her:
To say movies had a big influence on me is an epic understatement. When I got the job as an usherette my movie-mania had reached a feverish pitch. I was thirteen (I lied about my age) and star struck. Each night I would fix myself up to look like the star on the bill that week at the Avalon Theatre in Detroit. I would take my mother's Futurama lipstick and make a mmmmmmoist Marilyn Monroe mouth that would remain mmmmoist even while talking, laughing, necking, or eating popcorn. I couldn't wait till it was time to go to work so I could leave my blue-collar home environment for spectacles so spectacular, action so action-packed, romances so romantic that I actually fainted on one occasion as I was transported from bleak industrial Detroit to Hollywood's silver screen under some kind of celluloid spell I never fully came out of...Like a dame in distress in a B-grade Carole Mathews swamp movie, I was caught in movieland's magical muck of fantasy silver-screen quicksand. The moviegoing ritual was practically a religious experience. I became one with the movies.