It began with an idea: for many years, I had wanted to create a song inspired by The Carpenters’ Merry Christmas, Darling—one of the all-time great holiday classics that was written by Richard Carpenter and Frank Pooler and recorded in 1970
“Where did you find her, Miss Crawford?” the interviewer asks of Carol, the terrified six-year-old placed on Joan’s lap as a prop—sort of like the crumpled flowers. One feels for the bewildered child, whom Joan now asphyxiates in the fetid brew of her alcohol- perfume- and cigarette-drenched plane ride. “Oh, I just always pick up children,” the star replies without a hint of irony, clearly unaware that George Cukor is not, in fact, the man behind the camera and that it is no longer 1940.
While it may be hard for contemporary palettes to even parse the concept of a “Mustard Gelatin Ring,” it strikes me as exponentially more interesting in terms of both gastronomy and semiotics when combined with “Bette Davis.” Just try saying “Bette Davis’ Mustard Gelatin Ring” without smiling.