In today’s episode of True Hollywood Story, we visit one of the celebrities of yesteryear. This behemoth once ruled the Forests of Dominia. Now he is reduced to rummaging through trash bins for Gorton’s fish sticks and half-used sticks of cherry lip-gloss.
“It wasn’t always like this, you know. I was king of the jungles! Yeah, I said the jungles. No. No. No, I never met Tarzan. No. No, I really never met the guy. Never wanted to. Wha? How would I know if he slept with apes? I told you, I never met him. Can we get back to me? No, I can’t get you his autograph!”
Erhnam Djinn was born Ernest Phineas Smith in 1978. He was given up for adoption by his real parents, and was left at the Plum Street Orphanage in central Pennsylvania in early 1979. Within a year, he was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Crumbletree of Trumbauserville.
“Come on in, young man. Would you like a piece of pie? Oh, how nice. You’re filming about our little Ernie for a movie? Oh, but we haven’t heard from him in years. He was always such a nice young child, good tempered and all. Oh dear me, where are my manners, pull up a seat.”
Mr. Crumbletree died while building a treehouse for Erhnam Djinn back in 1981. Mrs. Crumbletree was left to raise the young Djinn on her own.
“Ernie was always big for his age. Oh, and he was Green! Did I mention that? Yes, he was Green. I don’t remember the other children being Green. Yes, my child was always very Green. Oh, and he often got angry! I didn’t like him when he was angry.”
The Crumbletrees owned a bean farm before the death of Mr. Crumbletree, but his death forced Mrs. Crumbletree to sell the farm and remarry. At age five, Erhnam Djinn moved to Biloxi, Mississippi. Mrs. Crumbletree married Mr. Jubzam Jim in 1983. It was a tumultuous marriage that lasted only six months.
“I loved ol’ Lady Crumbletree with all my heart, I did, yup. But that boy of hers… that boy was nothing but trouble. I remember once he came home from school and invited some friends over without asking. Only I didn’t see no friends! There was only this open door leading back to the woods. Them was spooky woods, and that boy knew better than to open that door. Tanned his hide, I did! But next thing I knew, my wallet was gone! I didn’t see nothin’ and with the boy bent over my knee, it couldn’t have been him. Darndest thing! People comin’ and goin’ from those woods, and I never did see the none of them. Can I get my check now, fellah?”
Forced into degrading poverty, Ernest Phineas Smith was forced to perform menial labors in the backroads of Mississippi. Over the next few years, he was a shoeshine boy, a tarot reader, and a moonshine runner.
“Yeah, I’m not proud of the moonshine years. Kids, don’t do drugs! Here I was, all of nine years old, but nobody would have known. I mean seriously — I was eight feet tall and Green! Even the police steered clear for the most part. Except that once, but they could never prove that in court. Heh heh. They never guessed that I just ate him, bones and all. You’re going to edit that part out, right?”
Ernest’s big break came during a talent show at his local high school. He won the contest with a stirring rendition of “Memory” from Cats, and won a trip for himself and his mother to Renton, Washington. There, he met with the unlikeliest of allies.
“I remember the first time I saw Richard Garfield. He was just finished coming in from the 8th chamber of Xenu and saw me through the window to the street. He immediately pulled me inside for purification and reeducation, and he told me that I’d be a star within six months… if I could tow the line. Whatever that meant! I just wanted booze, broads and bucks.”
“Erhnam Djinn? He said I what? If that airs, I’m suing. Get Tom on the line! Now! Tom, can you take care of this? Uh huh? Uh huh? Look, I don’t care what or where Katie did. Tom. Tom. Tom! Tom, get this taken care of now or you’re finished. Hold on. Yes? Bill! What? Bill, you can’t step down. No. No, Bill, that’s an order. Bill, you have to do your job. Bill. God dammit! This interview is over!”
Ernest made his debut in December of 1993. He was ignored at first, lost in the shuffle of other big name stars that were sipping champagne and walking the red carpet at the time.
“See that good looking in the front? Yeah, that’s me. That guy in the back — I don’t even know who he was. Richard wasn’t sure of my star power back then, so he hired an extra in case I tanked. Yeah right, like that was going to happen. Now that I think about it, I think the guy in the background was a union Ouphe. Either way, he didn’t have my signature pornstache. Seriously, the ladies love it.”
Ernest was soon discovered by people across the world, including Bertrand Lestree of France. Bertrand was the first president of the Ernest Smith fan club.
“Oui ! J’Ã©tais le prÃ©sident du club de ventilateur d’Ernest Smith. J’aurais rampÃ© un mille Ã travers le verre cassÃ© juste pour nettoyer sa baignoire avec ma langue. Elle a brisÃ© mon coeur quand il a changÃ© son nom, et il a commencÃ© mes habitudes horribles. Damnez-vous Ernest ! Si seulement je pourrais courir mes mains en bas de votre musculeux encadrent juste une fois….”
Around this time, Ernest changed his name to something more suitable for the front stage. Ernest Phineas was shortened to Erhnam, and Smith was dropped for the more exciting Djinn. A star was born — Erhnam Djinn. But soon fame took its toll, and Erhnam was forced to take drastic measures to stay in the spotlight.
“I was having trouble keeping up with the lifestyle, always running, always doing. You know how it is! Man, I couldn’t keep my head screwed on any better than if you’d glued it to my ass and called me Erhnass. I turned to drugs to keep me going. PCP, Angel Dust, Speed — you name it, I took it. This photo was taken when I was heavy into ‘roids. You can even see me raging out! Man, I remember that day. I was supposed to just climb those trees. But no! Those trees pissed me off, man! Everyone always sneaking up on me from behind trees. My dad falling out of a tree. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Those trees needed to die, and my name was Paul Bunyon that day.”
Scared by his increasingly erratic and drug-fuelled behavior, Richard fired Erhnam Djinn from his employ. This started a dark period in Erhnam’s life, and that showed just how far a man could fall.
“I’m not proud of what came next, but I was whacked out of my mind, and was desperate to stay in the public eye. I starred in my own line of blue films, all sorts of cheap exploitative crap. The first movie was “I Burnumed Erhnam!” and they went downhill from there. There was “I Dream in Djinnae”, “The Lean, Green, Pleasuring Machine” and “I Erhnam on the Streets.” The plots were all the usual. I was a pizza delivery boy, or a plumber, and someone had a pipe broken or needed more salami. Ugh. Let’s talk about something else. Thinking about those days still makes me itch in my formerly happy place.”
Richard stumbled on Erhnam later that year, shooting up in the back of an alley. Richard took pity on his former employee, and brought him back for one last shot.
“This was my last shot to clean up and hit the big time, you know? And I was pumped. I wasn’t entirely clean; still taking DGH, but other than that my mind was clear. Richard took me off of the streets and put me up on a place on Hollywood Boulevard, you know? It wasn’t the nicest place, but he could have just left me there. Things went well for a while. I made some B-list guest appearances, met a nice girl and settled down. We got married a month after we met, at a Vegas chapel. Wish I could remember her name… but by that time I had fallen off the wagon again. She dumped me a week later.”
And fall off the wagon he did. When we found Ernest Phineas Smith, he was in a homeless shelter in Omaha, Nebraska. Far from the limelight he once enjoyed, this was a man who was truly devastated by life’s experiences. His eyes listless, his skin saggy and loose from years of self-abuse.
“If I could get one more shot, would I take it? Of course! I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat — the drugs, the fast living, hooking up with all those honeys. But ol’ Ernie’s not got long left in him, so I want to send a message to all you kids: If you live like me, you’ll be an old, used-up Green fatty that doesn’t measure up in today’s world.”
This has been a presentation of True Hollywood Story.