Wednesday, August 19, 2015
RIP Yvonne Craig (1937-2015)
I've never been a STAR TREK fan, but even I can't overlook the iconic value of the green girl she played.
But suddenly, she was being introduced to my favorite show as Batgirl. I wasn't too pleased, but I was pleased even less that the show was being diluted with this new character at the time it was being cut back from two weekly episodes to one.
The first Batgirl episode is magical, if you can overlook the theme song that Yvonne described as "the most awful thing I'd ever heard!" She was perfectly cast as Barbara Gordon, the librarian daughter of Commissioner Gordon, who lived with her pet bird Charlie in a ritzy Gotham City apartment - which she had somehow managed to modify with a secret passage into a garage that allowed her to change and pilot her ruffled Batgirl Cycle right into the streets, off a ramp disguised as a brick-framed advert. It was my first stab of Feuillade. Other stabs followed as Batgirl engaged in action not with her fists, but with a pair of shapely killer legs swathed in starry purple fabric and trained from top to bottom with the Ballets Russe. Those stabs were more in the neighborhood of Georges Franju. Perhaps more surprising than her nimble, dancerly showing as Batgirl, Yvonne Craig was a plausible librarian.
In the late 1980s, when I was writing my novel THROAT SPROCKETS, I conceived a movie theater called The House of Usherettes where the cashier, ticket-tearer, concession hostess and the usherettes were all young women hired for their resemblances to Sixties actresses. I mention four by name, singling out the four who made the most indelible impressions on me as a kid: Pamela Franklin, Stella Stevens, Barbara Steele and Yvonne Craig. I got to tell Yvonne about this one day at Wonderfest in Louisville, Kentucky back in 2006 - and, to add a meaningless detail that seems significant, it happened to be my 50th Birthday. Yvonne was charmed by the tribute and when I offered her an affectionately inscribed copy of my novel, she asked me, "Do you have my book?"
"Actually, I was going to buy a copy from you," I said.
Her book turned out to be a good read, in the way it feels good to get to know someone you've always admired. Dipping into it again might be a good way to bid her farewell.
Posted by Tim Lucas at Wednesday, August 19, 2015