To say that I’m a Natalie Wood fan would be an understatement. This Property Condemned, Inside Daisy Clover, West Side Story, Love With A Proper Stranger…I love them all, the awful 1960’s comedies and the edgy dramas alike. In fact, my in-progress Stiletto Gumshoe (Sharon Gardner, real name Sasha Garodnowicz, a streetwise girl in the ethnic blue-collar bungalow belt of 1959 Chicago’s south side) describes herself as looking more or less like Natalie Wood, “minus some curves, and if a fellow’s had a few and the lights are low” as she likes to put it.
Wood’s not the first person you’d picture doing slapstick with comedian Bob Hope, but she was a guest on The Bob Hope Show (variously titled the Chevy Show, The Buick Show and The Chrysler Show depending on the sponsor and dates), tap-dancing in top hat and tails, hamming it up as a 1920’s flapper, trading one-liners as a black leather jacketed juvenile delinquent opposite Hope’s motorcycle cop, or here as ‘scarface’s’ gun moll, a fetching femme fatale who, based on the brief bits available on YouTube, has trouble keeping a straight face or even keeping up with the notorious ad-libber Hope. Makes me wish she managed just one role as a real gun-toting moll, serious crook, or even a ‘stiletto gumshoe’ in her incredible career.