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Bathroom inspired by ‘Psycho’

Not many people would think of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller, “Psycho,” as an idea for home décor; however, most don’t have a shower curtain for inspiration.

Larry Wardlaw, vice president for account services at Asher Agency, has devoted one of his bathrooms to “Psycho” actress Janet Leigh. Wardlaw began with a shower curtain autographed by the actress, who died in 2004.

Wardlaw bought the shower curtain at an auction during a Cinema Center fundraiser more than 10 years ago.

“No one was really bidding on it,” Wardlaw said. “What does someone do with a shower curtain signed by Janet Leigh?”

Wardlaw had a gripping idea.

“I have a small bathroom that I don’t really use,” Wardlaw said. “I threw it in there for fun.”

For Wardlaw, the shower curtain brought back memories of seeing the film in the late ’60s, especially Leigh’s shower scene.

The famous scene went something like this: A young woman takes a shower as a shadow creeps up from behind and pulls back the curtain. The camera cuts between a knife and her tormented face. The screeching music ends abruptly as a stream of darkened water goes down the drain.

“It happened so quickly at the top of the show, and it just had so much suspense,” Wardlaw remembers.

Friends from California began sending him production shots and publicity posters of the film to add to the bathroom.

“It suddenly became the Janet Leigh bathroom, and then with her death, it sort of became a memorial.”

Wardlaw says that he does not aggressively collect memorabilia and that most items in his “silly” collection are gifts.

“My favorite gift was sent last year. It’s a plastic Bates house that you can assemble,” Wardlaw said.

His bathroom now features Bates Motel matches and soaps and, in Hitchcock fashion, a surprise when you draw back the shower curtain: A life-size mannequin wrapped in a towel.

“Sometimes I forget it’s in there. If I’m having people over, I will sort of tell them to look out for the bathroom,” Wardlaw said.

Wardlaw’s shower curtain will be on display today at Cinema Center’s Hitchcock-themed Oscar party. He has noticed how unfamiliar his bathroom now looks without its centerpiece.

“I am anxious to get my collection back,” Wardlaw said. “Now I have a mannequin in my shower for no reason.”

kcarr@jg.net

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