In an uncanny repeat of 1932's Oscar award ceremony, no sooner had John Barrymore been named "the greatest ham in movie history" at this year's Katie-Bar-the-Door Awards than Wallace Beery jumped on stage and insisted that it was he, not his Grand Hotel co-star, who was the greatest ham actor of all time.
"You are not a ham," Beery growled as he beat Barrymore about the head and neck with—inexplicably—a rotary dial telephone, "you are a drunk! There's a difference!"
"Dear boy," said Barrymore, " I most certainly am too a ham! You've never heard of a bourbon-glazed ham?"
"Glazed?!" spluttered Beery. "Try soaked, you rumhead!"
Some measure of order was restored when Academy president Conrad Nagel announced that Barrymore and Beery had in fact tied for the honor. "There's plenty of chewable scenery in Hollywood to go around."
Panic set in, however, when it was learned William Shatner was in the house.
"Gangway!" yelled Beery as he muscled his way into the wings where the Emmy-winning star of Boston Legal was chowing down on the last of the set and starting in on the costumes.
"Cripes!" said Barrymore. "I better hurry—there won't be a morsel left!"
Sulking in the front row of the theater was a stunned Al Pacino. "Ham?" he muttered. "What am I? Chopped liver?"
Olivia @ 100: Light in the Piazza
2 hours ago