The thing about puppets is that they get to say and do things that ordinary people aren’t allowed to do. Maybe that’s why Georgia-native Wayland Flowers took up puppetry and created “Madame,” which Hofstra University’s Patricia Jukliana Smith aptly described as “a grotesquely ugly and flamboyantly ribald old crone festooned in outrageous evening gowns, tiaras, and rhinestones.” Madam was said to be based on movie star Gloria Swanson’s Sunset Boulevard character Norma Desmond and also is rumored to be based on a Washington, DC waitress and restaurant hostess Margo MacGregor
In other words Madam was an outrageously campy drag queen in wood and wire, a hideous hag who thought herself glamorous and who spoke in double entendres and bitchy take-downs. Sounds familiar. No wonder she was a hit with gay audiences.
Madame was created by Flowers in the mid-1960s in night clubs and gay bars throughout the 1960s before landing frequent appearances on Laugh-In.
Flowers’ first big break was an appearance on the The Andy Williams Show.
The act then appeared as a recurring comedy skit on Solid Gold before eventually replacing Paul Lynde as Center Square on Hollywood Squares. In 1982, Madame was star of her own sitcom, Madame’s Place, a half-hour syndicated program that ran five days a week for one season. Madame’s talk show within the series drew Debbie Reynolds, Foster Brooks and William Shatner as guests.
Flowers died on October 11, 1988, five weeks after collapsing during a performance at Harrah’s resort in Lake Tahoe. The family attributed his death to cancer, and asked that no other details about his AIDS-related death be released to the public.
Be sure to watch the last video, Wayland and Madam UNCENSORED from 1977.
In a streak that we all hope will continue, California lawmakers are set on making it easier for gay couples as well as single parents to have children and expand their families by sperm donation or other reproductive means, Here’s more from Huffpost:
The bill, AB 2356, will ensure that sperm donations and assisted reproduction services, which were previously prioritized for heterosexual couples, will be equally available to all women.
“AB 2356 removes the obstacles that LGBT and single women faced when they sought medically-assisted insemination,” said Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, who introduced the bill, in a press release. “I am proud to have authored legislation that will eliminate those barriers and level the playing field for all women seeking medical services in their effort to conceive.”
Skinner celebrated the bill’s passing last month with Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and now will see it come into fruition.
Leading up to the bill, Equality California detailed the story of Maya and Chino Scott-Chung who became pregnant by using sperm donated by a friend via an artichoke jar eight years ago.
“Maya and I have been together going on 16 years,” explained Chino in an Equality California video. “We both wanted to have kids and we both knew it when we got together. That was one of the big reasons we knew we could be together.”
Hopefully we can begin to see more laws making it easier for these families to procreate without the stigma and harassment from religious zealots.
Zachary Quinto gets the ULTIMATE milky facial in a video portrait done by Tyler Shields! It’s, ehm, to say the least, conceptual. (Get it Zachary Quinto, actor, Star Trek, space, milky way, *cough* gay *cough*)