I once met Roger Ebert in the middle of the Atlantic, trapped somewhat. I cornered him in a bar and walked up. Doubtless, he braced himself for a round of questions about CITIZEN KANE, which he had lectured on earlier that day. Or he wondered if I would ask why Gene Siskel had been acting so peculiar. This was when Siskel was showing effects of the undisclosed brain tumor.
I inquired about neither.
"Say, on the audio commentary of FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL KILL, Russ Meyer said you and he were developing a new script."
Ebert's wary smile shifted to an expression of utter horror. "I ... I don't know anything about that," he stammered.
Behind him, a woman, his bride it turned out, swiveled round on a bar stool. "Someone talking about Mr, Meyer, honey?" she grinned.
Ebert, the influential critic, trapped in a bar, on a boat, between a merciless spouse and a trash aficionado.
"Have you ever seen VALLEY DOLLS?" She gave me a wink.
"BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS," he muttered. She winked again.
"Actually," I hesitated, "I own it ... on VHS ... and laserdisc."
"A connoisseur!" she clapped her hands and laughed aloud.
"Anyway, Russ said the new film was going to titled THE JAWS OF LORNA. Is this going to be a sequel? What's the plot? How is Russ, anyway?"
"He's a crazy old man. Look, I gotta lie down," Ebert excused himself. And yes, he did look unwell. Alcohol did not mix with rolling swells.
So staggered off my golden opportunity to discuss Russ Meyer, King of the Girlie Flicks.
Two days later, Ebert joked about his lurid screenwriting past in a round table discussion, so perhaps I simply caught him in off moment.