TexasEscapes.com Texas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1600 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
Texas Hotels
  Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"

Barbara Walters Does Cleopatra

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
The venerable Barbara Walters has consented to conduct her first post-semi-retirement interview at the personal request of Cleopatra. "Diane Sawyer wanted me," said the elusive Egyptian Queen, "but without Mike Nichols directing, she's nothing."

Following is a documented transcript of the Walters-Cleopatra taped interview as surreptitiously obtained by an imbedded reporter. Film is being processed.

WALTERS: I’m so happy you could make it to our studio, your Highness.

CLEOPATRA: No, no, not Highness. The correct title is Your Pharaohness. First the title went to my elder sister, Cleopatra VI, a terrible person. Had her husband strangled. I have the same name as she did, Cleopatra. However, since you are a celebrity yourself, you may call me by my nicknumber: VII.

WALTERS: I don’t quite know how that would work, since they are Roman numerals and you are Egyptian. Have I told you that my favorite interview was with another Egyptian, Anwar Sadat?

CLEOPATRA: Enough about him. Let’s talk about me. First, I’m not Egyptian, I was born on the south side of Macedonia. Second, I’m here to plug my new show, “As The Nile Turns,” which premieres on HBO in June right after the new season of “The Sopranos” debuts. What a slot! They expect our Nielsons to go through the roof.

WALTERS: Is “The Sopranos” your favorite TV show?

CLEOPATRA: Carmela should stop complaining to the priest about life with Tony. After all, I had to marry my own 11-year-old brother; Now that’s what I call really disgusting. Besides there's something very endearing about Jim Gandolfini; in many ways he’s like my Julius.

WALTERS: You’re referring of course to your lover, Julius Caesar?

CLEOPATRA: No, I’m referring to my lover Julius Epstein. We shared an apartment in Jersey City for several months. It was there that he wrote the screenplay for “Casablanca.” I wanted him to call it “Alexandria,” but you know these unpredictable Hollywood types.

WALTERS: I certainly do! Speaking of Hollywood, did you know that I danced with Al Pacino when I interviewed him?

CLEOPATRA: Yes he told me, but he said Janet Jackson is better at the Tango. She’s more supple, and a better height for him.

WALTERS: Speaking of Janet Jackson, I’ve interviewed her brother, Michael. Have you ever met him?

CLEOPATRA: Not really. I did, however, see Michael's current trial recreated on E!

WALTERS: Do you think he's guilty?

CLEOPATRA: Based on the fact that Pinocchio's nose grows when he lies, Michael must be telling the truth since he has no nose at all.

We almost met when he made the video, “Remember The Time.” He was upset with me because I turned his project down so I could hang out with an archer from Crete.

Michael got even by using not me but Queen Nefertiti instead. He could’ve at least used me as technical advisor. I never would’ve let him cast Iman in that role. She’s too tall. I happen to know that Nefertiti was only 4’-8”. That's even shorter than Elizabeth Taylor who played me in the movie. I was the one who introduced her to Richard Burton.

I got along just fine with Michael, but my kid brother didn't like him much. He didn't care for it when Michael tried to lick the top of his head. He's even worse than Caligula who at least kept the dirty stuff within his own family.

WALTERS: VII, I hate to seem the hardboiled reporter here, but in the name of Edward R. Murrow, you must admit that you caused as much scandal as Nefertiti and King Tut combined.

CLEOPATRA: So what? I came along over 1300 years later when playing around was better tolerated. You know Barbara, I’m not the Sphinx. I actually got it on with Mel Brooks even before he turned 2000. I cooperated fully with the paparazzi. I’d rather see my sexcapades in print and then call my lawyers. I had style, much of which I passed on to Cher.

WALTERS: You’ve known just about everybody. What do you regard as your greatest legacy to mankind?

CLEOPATRA: Real estate values. They hit a new high everywhere we lived. We must’ve made a fortune in commissions for ReMax; of course back then it was the original, known simply as Max.

WALTERS: I mean what legacy of lasting value?

CLEOPATRA: The C-section, without a doubt. When Marc moved in with me, we wanted kids and it seemed practical at the time.

WALTERS: You’re referring to Marc Antony?

CLEOPATRA: Yes. We had a volatile relationship to say the least. He told me he was going for a pack of cigarettes, but it turned out he went to Rome and married another woman. He eventually came back to me though. They always do, whether they’re rulers or rug salesmen.

WALTERS: Were you pleased with the casting of Marc Antony in the 1963 film version of your life?

CLEOPATRA: Are you kidding? In real life, Marc looked more like Woody Allen than Richard Burton, only Marc wore contacts. You can imagine how anybody’d look good to a woman who spent as much time as I did with eunuchs.

Confidentially, Marc was quite vulgar and could be very irritating. He used to hog all the blankets at night. And temper? You wouldn’t believe how he lost his cool when some kids stole the hubcaps off his chariot.

WALTERS: I really appreciate your being so frank.

CLEOPATRA: Ahh, Frank, now that’s another story. No one could sing like Frank. I had all his CDs. I had him, too. He could put you in the mood better than anyone else. Now I’m all tingly.

WALTERS: Is there someone in today’s world who could make you tingle?

CLEOPATRA: I wouldn’t mind a liplock with Russell Crowe. A hirsute alpha if ever I saw one. In the long run though, nobody can touch Steve McQueen. In fact, I'm seeing him tonight. I'm wearing a Vera Wang so he absolutely won't be able to resist me.

WALTERS: Goodnight everybody. See you next week on Century-Century.

Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand

"A Balloon In Cactus"

May 15, 2005 column
Email: maggie@maggievanostrand.com
Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South |
West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast

Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII |
History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books | MEXICO
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters |
Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators |
Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Corner Stones | Pitted Dates |
Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos


Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us
Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright ©1998-2007. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: May 15, 2007