Whispering Glades and Tranquil Repose

The Argonaut, a regional newspaper covering the west side of Los Angeles, has published an interview with art director Mike Salisbury who has worked in film, broadcast and print media and lives in Venice, CA. The interviewer gets a rise out of Salisbury when she mentions Waugh’s The Loved One:

Despite Salisbury’s reputation as a merry visual prankster, he wasn’t amused when I mentioned British author Evelyn Waugh’s devastating takedown of a Forest Lawn-like cemetery called Whispering Glades, depicting it as a travesty of English rural life in thrall to Hollywood values in his 1948 satiric novel, “The Loved One.”

“It’s a replication but it’s hardly a travesty, and I think they did a good job,” he said of the famous cemetery, later noting that he believes almost all of Southern California architecture and landscaping is “derivative of something else. Even Frank Lloyd Wright modeled his work here after Mayan architecture. Forest Lawn is just bigger.”

Waugh’s novel also gets mentioned in a  blog called Tardis Musings about the BBC’s long running series Dr. Who. The subject is Story 142 (from the 1980s) entitled Revelations of the Daleks in which there is

a vast funerary complex Tranquil Repose… Many of the people interred here are actually in cryogenic suspension – awaiting the day when cures have been developed for their illnesses. Some of the clients can have news and music piped into their tombs by an Earth-music obsessed DJ. Overseeing everything is the Great Healer, who is never seen in public… There is a subplot regarding some of the characters who work in Tranquil Repose. There’s the vain womanising mortician Mr Jobel, and the dowdy Tasambeker who carries an unrequited torch for him…That sub-plot about the goings-on in the funerary complex is obviously inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One… The book has a Mr Joyboy and Miss Thanatagenos – obvious sources for Jobel and Tasambeker.



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