So I woke up, clicked on the little TV on the wall-bracket, and ate my instant porridge while watching Fraiser. Lovely. Frasier is the only acceptable thing to be broadcast on network TV in the daytime. And I found myself thinking, "Fraiser and Niles are well-dressed, and in a very specific 90's menswear style. I wonder who's clothes they're wearing..", and that thought led to some google searches, and pretty soon I was reading lots of blog and messageboard posts about the designers that made their suits (Mostly Armani), and then I stumbled across a link to a website that offers for sale props and costumes from film and TV shows. They had one of Fraiser's waistcoats for sale.
While I was there, I figured, there'd be no harm in seeing what other suits they were selling. Dumb move. Five minutes of scrolling through uninteresting stuff and there it was. The lead characters suit from one of my all-time favourite movies. Oh shit.
1994's "Corrina Corrina" is the film. A very touching and funny tale of a 1950's advertising jingle writer, played by Ray Liotta, struggling with his young daughter (Tina Majorino) after the death of her mother. After some failed attempts to find a nanny, Whoopi Goldberg arrives and helps mend the family. I know it sounds sappy, but you'll just have to trust me, it's really good. Makes me cry.
And there, on the screen, was Ray Liotta's nice grey three-button suit from the film. Not just that, the lot came with two shirts, three ties, a tie clip and a pair of socks. If the search that brought me here was my first mistake, then here was my second. I asked twitter what I should do. Never do that. Never ask twitter if you should spend a large amount of money on something fun, adventuresome, and basically unnecessary - they will always, faultlessly, and with one loud voice, encourage you to do so. I sent a few giggly texts to my wife about it, and she giggled back. I reflected on the odd set of circumstances that had brought me to this opportunity. And then I fucking bought it.
So a couple of days ago it arrived. It's a nice suit - lightweight, no label, so, I guess custom-made for Liotta. The trousers need a little modifying by my friendly tailor (Film stars are skinny!), but it'll definitely get used, and everything else fits really nicely. The shirts are beautiful, made by Anto, a second generation Beverly Hills shirtmakers, in gorgeous soft heavyweight cotton, the collars have an everso slight kick that I really like, and each one is embossed on the inside of the collar with "R.L." so we know who wore them first.
The ties are all skinny late 50's styles, obviously, and all silk. They're also genuine vintage too, from the era the film was set, rather than the one in which it was made. Each one came safety-pinned to a big cardboard tag on which was written the character name ("Manny"), and the list of scene numbers in which that particular tie would be worn. Fun.
I've never done anything like that before. A huge nerd for movies and TV, I am, but I'm not - for whatever reason - the flavour of nerd that likes to buy memorabilia. Just not my thing. But this seemed like such a perfect storm of suit and film that the invisible hand of inevitability shoved me into it. The ties go into circulation immediately, I'm going to wear one of the shirts for the London International Mime Festival opening night party tonight, and once I have some time, I'll get the suit altered so it fits perfectly. I shall call it Manny!
I'll be performing my latest one man show "Showman"
as part of the London International Mime Festival,
from 21st - 25th of Jan 2014, at the Leicester Square Theatre.
Tickets are selling fast, but there are still some available, here.
I'd love you to come.