|Bob Thompson Music|
Bob Thompson toured with Mae West, arranging the music for her show and generally staying out of the way of the woman who was the Madonna or Lady Ga-Ga of her time. In fact Bob's wife, Paula, was explicitly told to stay completely away from Ms. West which meant anywhere in the front of the audience or back stage. No distractions from the star!
Mae West, whose catch phrase was "Why don't you come up and see me some time," was a bit of a germophobe and would not shake hands with people. Paula quipped "she shook everything else!"
Mae West also was into the spirit world, and was taken with a LA psychic named Criswell. He had a local show on channel 13, when there was such a thing, and was part of the group of Hollywood misfits portrayed in Ed Wood. He also has the distinction of introducing one of Ed Wood's movies - that many call the "best worst movie ever made" - Plan 9 from Outer Space.
As the Onion A/V club recounted on of his predictions, from the aptly titled book Criswell Predicts:
One evening Mae handed Bob a cocktail napkin on which she had written the lyrics to a song, titled (surprise, surprise) Criswell Predicts and asked him to turn it into a song. The refrain, no shock here:
Holding his nose Bob wrote the music and orchestrated it:
This is all camp as hell. Yet as absurd and hilarious the song Criswell Predicts and the movie Ed Wood are, the latter has a great reverence for its subjects, including Criswell and his contemporaries, who are outsider artists before the term existed, and whose total lack of "skill" exposes the most important element of art which may be creativity itself.
Spenser Thompson shares anecdotes, music, and videos from Bob Thompson's music career plus thoughts on artists from Duke to Devo.