Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Healthy as a brewery horse

For some odd reason, the standard for good health on old time radio shows seems to have been the draft horse, specifically one that pulled beer wagons. I know of no reason why they should have been healthier than other animals, but they certainly were massive and sturdy beasts.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

So, who originated argyle socks?

According to Wikipedia, Scottish highlanders have been wearing socks with the Argyle pattern since at least the 17th history. Here is a LINK to a Brooks Brothers spot about them.

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Paul Robeson - a great singer and a great football player

He was a two-time All-American in football at Rutgers, and sang one of the most famous renditions ever of the the song, Ol' Man River. A magnificent bass-baritone voice. Some aspects of his life were less than admirable, but in these two areas he was outstanding. Perhaps the only rival to his version is THIS one by William Warfield, which has the advantage of more modern recording technology.

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The difference between assault and battery

If I remember my old business law course correctly, if I take a swing at you and hit you, that is assault and battery. If I sneak up behind you and hit you, that is battery, but not assault, because you were never in fear of harm. If I take a swing at you and miss, that is assault, but not battery, assuming you can prove you suffered some harm because of the swing.

Arkansas beauty pageants you are not likely to see

Miss Oil Trough
Miss Bald Knob
Miss Big Flat
Miss Gravelly
Miss Lead Hill

Argyll and elephants

Now here is something I am guessing you did not know. I like the name Argyll, and I am fond of argyll socks. And I knew that the chief of Clan Campbell, Torquhil Campbell, is the Duke of Argyll. However, I did not know that he was an enthusiast in the game of Elephant Polo. It is exactly what you think it is - just like normal polo except that you ride elephants instead of horses.

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No, it isn't Basil

Think the picture below might possibly be of Basil Rathbone? No, it isn't. It is, however, a photo of Actor Frank Benson, who was Basil's cousin.

How we categorize actors

It is interesting what causes us to categorize particular actors. My wife and I are big old movie fans, but we are not into horror movies. Thus, our mental pigeonholing of Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre is much different that it might be with many people. First and foremost, we think of Karloff as Mr. Wong and Lorre as Mr. Moto, two of the famous oriental detectives. We have enjoyed those series of movies tremendously and that is how we think of those two actors.

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

The movie actress and the college professor

They were one and the same. Linda Stirling starred in a number of movies from 1944 to 1947. Then she essentially retired from films, enrolled at UCLA and eventually got a doctorate in English literature.

Linda Stirling

My father and the sense of accomplishment

I remember vividly that when my father would offer thanks over the supper table, most of the time he would include thanks "for what we have been able to get done today." To Daddy a day wasted was a crime, and one without something done that was worth doing was a source of shame and frustration.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

When those foreign-born actors change their names

It is a common thing for actors to change their names. There are many different reasons for it. Some are just not very pretty names, some are hard to pronounce, etc. Some, however, were of foreign extraction and had names that did not translate very well into the American landscape. Take, for example Cornel Wilde. He was born Kornél Lajos Weisz in Hungary in 1912.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shostakovich on old time radio?

I was lying bed this morning listening to an episode of All Star Western Theater, which features the Riders of the Purple Sage and their brand of western music. All of a sudden in the background music I  thought I heard a familiar theme. I went to Youtube and listened to the first few measures of the 5th Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich, and sure enough, that was it. Now, it might have been pure coincidence, but that theme is unique enough that it is unlikely. Possibly the composer who wrote the music for the show just wove a little highbrow into the background.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cornell Wilde - the best of the swashbucklers

Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., etc. There were several actors who were famous for playing swashbuckling roles. However, I do not know but what Cornell Wilde was the most athletic of them all. First of all, he just looked like an athlete - muscular with broad shoulders. Also, he moved with a strength and agility that was a little beyond what the others did. Fairbanks was a close second, but I think Wilde was the best of all.