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A place to update and discuss facts surrounding the controversial, tragic death of legendary Hollywood film actress, wife and mother, Natalie Wood who drowned mysteriously Nov. 29, 1981 off Catalina Island. Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There Must Be A Pony

In a column by Liz Smith from early 1981 she wrote that Natalie Wood had bought the rights to James Kirkwood's book, "There Must Be A Pony." Natalie was to play the role of Marguerite, the part that Liz Taylor played in the ABC, made-for-TV movie that aired in 1986. Robert Wagner starred with Liz, and Wagner was also the executive producer of the movie, directed by Joseph Sargent.

The movie was Wagner's project after his TV show "Lime Street" had failed after only a few episodes aired.

Wagner did not mention that it was his late wife who was behind "There Must Be A Pony" when he told about the production in his book. The only reason he owned the movie was because Natalie died. It's yet another example of the way he leaves out details when he should be crediting Natalie where credit is due. Instead of saying something to the effect that Natalie would have played the role beautifully (as Liz Taylor did, too), he usually avoids ever talking about Natalie as an actress or shrewd industry figure. The best I've ever heard him say of Natalie's career was that she "had a good run." Never have I read or heard Wagner compliment Natalie's talent in a heartfelt manner. It makes a person wonder why.

The storyline in "There Must Be A Pony" involves its main charater, Marguerite Sydney, who is a celebrated Hollywood star attempting a comeback after a stay in a mental hospital, as she attempts to also re-establish a relationship with her teenage son. She takes a shot at romance with a "mysterious stranger."

As the New York Times said in 1986: Elizabeth Taylor triumphs in the part, even as the production sinks.



  1. He makes money from Natalie in ways that draws no attention to her life because if he draws attention to her life or wonderful career, it draws attention to her death, all back to him and how he is responsible for her death. PA-thetic!

  2. He gave several interviews when Pony was scheduled for airing. He said he attained the rights to the book but neglected to say how he attained them, that Natalie bought the rights to the book and they became his upon her death. The big chump was trying to look like the big producer but just like the Charlie's Angels deal, he rode in on Natalie's coattails. If not for Natalie, there would have been no Charlie's Angels deal, if not for Natalie, there would have been on There Must Be a Pony for Wagner.

  3. Wagner kept a very low profile after Natalie died. He went to work at H2H (with Den) and then when it was canceled, he was hardly ever seen. He went to Europe for some filming of Lime Street, and when Den's Star article hit the stands in the summer of 1985, it was the first we heard from Wagner in the media. He never denied Den's revelation about the bottle smashing. Then after Samantha Smith was killed in a plane crash, who was the young star of Lime Street, Lime Street aired and was canceled, too.

    So, it really wasn't until "There Must Be A Pony" that Wagner surfaced (especially in People Mag), and with Liz by his side, well that helped to dust him off after the bottle smashing revelation. He knew it would, too, so that's why he wanted someone of Liz's stature to play opposite him. Liz was a kind-hearted, caring soul, who erroneously felt sorry for Wagner, but that's what caring friends sometimes do....just as I felt sorry for Dennis. But, Dennis is not the one who smashed the wine bottle. That's the difference.

  4. In his book of lies he said that he was involved with Jill at the time that they made Pony and that he hoped Elizabeth would not be interested in re-kindling their alleged romantic relationship. OH PLEASE! Give it a break, Mr. Wagner. LOL He is so full of himself,

    Lime St failed for a few reasons one of which was the cost of making it. Wagner never learns from his mistakes. There are few TV series that can afford extensive location shooting. He did that with It Takes a Thief in the later season and the show was cancelled in spite of decent ratings, the reason was the high cost of production. A few years later he made the same mistake with H2H. The show had good ratings but he wanted to take the show on glamorous locations. The show was then cancelled in spite of the ratings. The reason given was the high cost of production. If he was working in motion pictures, no one would bat an eye but in TV at that time, unless the demand is huge and the ratings were astronomical, it does not work. You would think a hot shot like Wagner would know that or at least learn from his past mistakes.

  5. wagner is certainly a CONSISTENT idiot, to say the least. The more your bring to us, Marti, the more I see his ignorance and narcissism. He was jealous of Natalie and I personally think he used her so he could rub elbows with all those that knew and worked with her. If he truly loved her, he would have done more to save her, or better yet, never would have thrown her overboard in the first place....oops, did I say that!?

  6. OOP'S Julie you did say it and you took the words right out of my mouth and I Thank you. Pam

  7. Yeah, Pam, I said it. Somebody needs to get that PIG to "say it" too! I've told everyone I know about signing the petition and getting the case reopened. It KILLS me to think that he has been able to walk this earth, FREE of the bars that should be holding him. To think that poor Natalie, laying there in her gown, eyes open, was seen by Dennis and not him...the one who claimed he loved so very much. pig pig pig, oink oink oink....

  8. And let me just add, that I've never been so upset by anything in my entire life. I'm usually a very gentle, kind and loving person, and this really gets under my skin.

    I've read GNGS twice now, and once with the audio on my KINDLE. It just gnaws at me and frustrates me to no end.

    I used to love wagner. I was a big fan of HART TO HART. Thought he was "all that". Then I read GNGS.

    Well, I'll stop going on about it, you all get where I'm coming from....

    I feel so very strongly about Natalie and all she brought to this world. I so enjoyed her work and wished we all could have seen more. I'm in tears about the way she died, knowing she was so terrified of the black water.

    What wagner did was simply mean and cruel. The most awful crime ever.

  9. Julie,
    You take the words from my mouth, too. There are times I imagine Natalie's ordeal in the ocean. It's a difficult thing to think about for minutes, let alone for the hours she suffrered in horrible physical discomfort and mental agony while floating to her death destination off Blue Cavern Point. It's incomprehensible. Wagner KNEW she was in that exact kind of danger and was busy trying to get his skipper drunk so the cops would think exactly as they did of manipulated Dennis.

    There aren't enough adjectives in any language to describe the depraved type of human who could be behind such an act of cruelty.

  10. I had a discussion with a fan of Wagner who clearly has not read his autobio or GNGS therefore she has no clue about how he twists things around for his benefit and his deplorable behavior toward Natalie, both before and after her death. I get so sick of hearing people say they feel sorry for Wagner when he had more than a hand in her death and that he moved on pretty much without a backward glance. It's Natalie I feel sorry for, her daughters, sisters, etc. They are the ones most affected by what happened, and thinking about the fear, pain and agony that Natalie must have gone through during her last moments is heartbreaking. The man she loved and who claimed he loved her was more concerned with covering his own behind and that's still the case now. The way he used Dennis is disgusting as well. Wagner deserves no sympathy whatsoever. Natalie was in dire need of his help and compassion that night and he denied her that, denied her right to live, because he couldn't handle the fact that she was far more talented than him and a better person than him.

  11. What happens to a person when he or she decides that killing a loved one is the answer to a problem? This is a subject that has always fascinated me. Why does the human brain come to that conclusion...that the death of a loved one is the only answer?

    More disturbing are the many times someone like Wagner lets his victim suffer a slow death--like Susan Smith who let her two young boys, strapped in the back of a car, slowly descend to the bottom of a lake and drown.

    It is important that Wagner answer for what he did.

  12. Yes, Kevin, that's the main factor in this case. A person should be made to answer for actions and lies, no matter how far away from the actual date of the tragedy.

  13. Did the Charlie's Angels deal have something to do with Natalie? Just asking based on Roz's comment above.

  14. The reason they offered them that deal is because the budget for that film could not afford Natalie's salary. To compensate, the offered them a percentage deal on future projects. If Wagner had made that film with someone else. there would have been no Charlie's Angels deal for him but Natalie would have had the deal no matter who she worked with on that film.
    When he sued, he did so on behalf of himself for his half and half of Natalie's half. For the other half of Natalie's half, he sued on behalf of Natasha and Courtney. So 75% would have gone to him and only 25% would have gone to Natalie's daughters.
    I wonder if he was compensated for the Miracle in 34th St. greeting card deal. I know the girls were. The greeting card company had to get permission from Wagner to use Natalie's name and image for profit. Natasha and Courtney received a percentage of those profits. In all likelihood, he did also.

  15. This film that could not afford Natalie's salary was The Affair, the TV movie she did with Wagner.

  16. I never saw "There Must Be A Pony." By that time, I was suspicious of and disappointed in Wagner, although I NEVER had thought he did what I now believe he did. The movie's topic sounds very much a topic that Natalie would've been drawn to, similar to "The Cracker Factory." And she would've been outstanding in it.

    How very typical of Wagner to completely avoid giving Natalie any credit in the "Pony" process.

    "She had a good run?" Yeah, like she was a filly that won a few races at Santa Anita and then had to be put out to pasture. What a smug, pompous jerk he is.

  17. Julie Ann, I feel the same way you describe. I read "GNGS" in December, 2009, in less than two days. I got it as a completely unexpected Christmas present, and I have not been the same since. When I think of Wagner, I get angry and start to tremble. He got away with it, abetted by untold numbers of people in all different positions--"investigators," politicians, other actors, "friends" of Natalie, etc.

    What he did was EVIL.

  18. Yes, EVIL is the word, Marianne.