A doughnut in need of a new agent?
Heroic roles aren’t for every performer. Still, we were a bit surprised to see a movie veteran like Randy’s Donuts in a TV commercial for Pepto Bismol.
Randy’s, home of the 22-foot-tall Big Donut near the San Diego Freeway, is one of several dispensers of--shall we say--snack foods that play culprits in the blurb on stomach upsets.
Isn’t that sort of insulting?
“My wife thinks it is,” admitted Larry Weintraub, co-owner of the Inglewood shop.
And Weintraub himself?
“It’s show biz,” he said. “Hooray for Hollywood.”
HIGH-CALORIE ROLES: Randy’s 45-year-old glazed doughnut has had a long career in movies, TV and ads. A few of the credits:
* “Earth Girls Are Easy” (1988): “Some aliens from Mars are driving down the freeway and they hit something and the car flies up into the middle of the doughnut,” owner Weintraub said. "[The car] was there 10 days for filming. That was nice.”
* “Stripped to Kill” (1987): It’s a murder mystery “and the police find some derelicts lying around the [parking] lot,” Weintraub said.
* “Ruthless People” (1986): The doughnut shop didn’t appear in the comedy about a disastrous kidnapping, Weintraub said, but the Big Donut “was in the advertising. They put a screw in the middle of it, as in ‘getting screwed,’ I guess.”
* “Breathless” (1983): The camera shoots the scene through the doughnut hole as bad boy Richard Gere drives out of the parking lot in a stolen car. As we recall, his defense is that he was on a sugar high.
BYOW (BRING YOUR OWN WATER): Our show-biz career can’t match that of the Big Donut but we did appear on the talk show of KMPC radio’s Doug McIntyre the other night. McIntyre’s listeners discussed various Only-in-L.A.-type trends, including:
* Guests who show up at dinner parties with bottles of water. We bet they don’t ask for drinking glasses out of fear the host will pollute them with ice cubes made from tap water.
* Parents, apparently crazed by the proximity of Hollywood, who turn birthday parties for their kids into casts-of-thousands epics featuring animals, magicians and mobile trampoline sets. (Who would dare trust the kids to entertain themselves?)
* The “California stop,” the practice of local drivers who coast through stop signs. A friend of ours has observed an escalation: People driving through red lights and excusing the violation by honking as they do so.
There were plenty of L.A. one-liners, too. Our favorite came from McIntyre who quoted a writer friend as saying that glamorous L.A. is “the only city in the world with blond homeless.”
SYMPATHY FOR A GUARD DOG: Forsaking our usual $10,000 fee for a radio appearance, we accepted, as compensation, McIntyre’s photo of a sign. Snapped outside an auto garage on Ventura Boulevard, it asks diners leaving the restaurant next door not to give any goodies to a guard dog named Rex. We assume the plea also extends to burglars.
The average cost of a six-pack of premium beer is $3.99 in L.A., which is below the national average of $4.24, according to the American Chamber of Commerce Research Assn. Luckily, the same survey found that L.A. also has one of the lowest average prices for toothpaste.