Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cisco and Pancho - great fun

The Cisco Kid. A great old western TV show and movie series. The TV show starred Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo. Like most of its genre, realism was not its strong point, but I still love watching it.

Realistic Hollywood

Don't you love those scenes when bullets bounce off board fences?

What is a baronet?

A baronet (traditional abbreviation Bart, modern abbreviation Bt) or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess (abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown. The practice of awarding baronetcies was originally introduced in England in the 1300s and was used by James I of England in 1611 in order to raise funds.

A baronetcy is the only hereditary honour which is not a peerage. A baronet is styled "Sir" like a knight, but ranks above all knighthoods except for the Order of the Garter and, in Scotland, the Order of the Thistle. A baronetcy is not a knighthood and the recipient does not receive an accolade.

Farewell to the Andrews Sisters

To those of us not of the World War II generation, we cannot imagine how ubiquitous the Andrews Sisters were. Their songs were everywhere. They were in movies, on tours, etc. Patti, the last of the sisters, just died, and another link to that era has passed from view.

Extreme temperatures as we age

As we get older, hot and cold temperatures get less and less bearable. Or that is my experience, at least.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Charlie Chan in London (1934)

Warner Oland is Charlie in this one. Ray Milland is the other star. Ol' faithful British actor Alan Mowbray play's Milland's friend. Drue Leyton is the romantic interest. She goes to Charlie to get help to clear her brother. He has 65 hours to prove the condemned man to be innocent.  E. E. Clive is an old favorite of ours from the Bulldog Drummond movie series, and appears here as the local law enforcement officer.

More HERE about Ray Milland.

Alan Mowbray

Drue Leyton

My Man Godfrey

William Powell is superb in this role. One of his best, no doubt. It is a little wearing to watch because of the idiocies of some of the characters, but entertaining. Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck in Robin Hood) does a great job as the long-suffering father.

Eugene Pallette

As we become more electronic,

we become more shallow.

A fine old family

That expression gets used all the time. "Old" family? I never noticed that any family was older than any other. They all go back to Grandpa Adam.

For better or for worse

How many people, when they swear "for better or for worse," actually have in mind just how bad "worse" might be?

What do they say when they bury a knight in armor?

"Rust in peace."

Barton Yarbrough on The Red Dragon (Charlie Chan)

His distinctive southern/western twang (probably manufactured) made him a staple on radio shows. He played a bad guy in The Red Dragon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How dumb is he?

"If men were dominoes, he would be the double blank." [from The Girl in Blue by P. G. Wodehouse]

Wise words from Wodehouse

"Always bear in mind that however beautiful a girl may be, and I willing stipulate that Vera Upshaw is scenically in the top ten, it's unwise to marry her if she has feet of clay." - Willoughby Scropes, in The Girl in Blue

I was terribly disturbed today

to learn that my wife runs on lithium batteries. I am afraid she may burst into flame at any time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Red Dragon (1946)

Once again my wife and I sally forth into the land of the inimitable Mr. Charlie Chan. This one is set in Mexico. Sidney Toler stars as Charlie. This time he has #3 son Tommy (Benson Fong) in tow. The wonderful Willie Best with his expressive eyes is there as Chattanooga, the cousin of Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland), who took a leave of absence from this entry for some reason. Fortunio Bonanova cuts an impressive figure as the local police Inspector who is an old friend of Charlie.

The plot is pretty tame, but Fong and Best keep us entertained with their antics. Best makes two passes at the pretty maid (Mildred Boyd), and gets slapped resoundingly for his trouble. However, he does end up with the girl.

Benson Fong

Willie Best

Sam the Surgeon as a cowboy?

In the episode of Wanted Dead or Alive called "The Bad Gun," Harry Bellaver plays an outlaw. You may remember him in the Bob Hope movie, "The Lemon Drop Kid," as Sam the Surgeon.

The Charlie Chan site

Lots of information.

Lon Chaney as a cowboy?

In one episode of Wanted Dead or Alive entitled "The Empty Cell, he is the marshall or sheriff in a small cow town. He made his fame in horror movies, but he could play other roles.

Pure oo vowels

One of the comical things about radio shows and movies from the golden age is the affected pronunciations that evidently were enforced upon the actors and especially the actresses. OO meant a really pure OO sound. They had to pucker up to say "you." It sounded funny and fake.

Kuppenheim or Uppington?

In the January 13, 1936 episode of Fibber McGee and Molly, they visit a character called Mrs. Kuppenheim, but the voice is definitely that of Abigail Uppington (Isabel Randolph).

Leon Belasco

He played Pagan Zeldschmidt, the comic sidekick on radio of The Man Called X (Ken Thurston, played most often by Herbert Marshall).

Lionel Atwill

He was a very distinctive actor. His personna was not very pleasing, but what he did, he did exceptionally well. He was in the original Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes movie as a good guy, and also portrayed arch-villain Professor Moriarty in "The Secret Weapon."

Charlie's #2 son

Jimmy Chan, the second of Charlie's large stable of sons, played by Victor Sen Yung. You may remember him from Bonanza as the cook, Hop Sing.

Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940)

A nice little picture that stars Sidney Toler as Charlie. Also Marjorie Weaver and Robert Lowery (pictured here) as the romantic interests, and our old friend from the Sherlock Holmes movies,  Lionel Atwill. My wife was pouting that she hadn't seen a Charlie movie in a while, so we chose this one.

One of Charlie's old friends is murdered in his office, so he takes on the case as a personal matter. James Burke does his usual great job as the house detective who works with Charlie on the case. It is lightweight stuff, as they all are, but great fun nonetheless.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My wife really likes Charlie Chan movies

of which there were dozens. Basically she likes any of the old detective movies with a humorous twist.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Watching "Diplomatic Courier" starring Tyrone Power

Fast-moving spy-type movie. Very entertaining. Tyrone did a good job in his role.

Co-star was Patricia Neal. At the time this film was made, she was 26 years old. But she sounded like she had been smoking cigarettes for 40 years.

Somewhat of a surprise ending.

Which of the two beautiful girls is the foreign spy - or are they both spies?

Hildegarde Neff

Patricia Neal (OK, so she was a lot younger at the time of the movie - but that gives you a hint, doesn't it?) You will have to watch the movie to find out for sure.

Come discuss Little Rock Trojan basketball


This is a great word that does not get used enough. "A shrill sound, as of a bagpipe." I know lots of women whose voices . . . well, we shall let that alone.

And to think I thought I wouldn't drink coffee

I actually thought that as a young married man. Saves money, I said. Well, I got over it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I've Done Enough Dyin' Today

One of the saddest and prettiest songs ever.

LINK to Youtube

Wingy Manone

He was a dixieland jazz band leader with a gravelly voice. He and his band appeared in Rhythm on the River.

Speaking more of Oscar Levant

He wrote the music for more than 20 movies. Among them was Charlie Chan at the Opera. Oddly enough, for a man who spent his career largely associated with popular music, he studied under Arnold Schoenberg, the inventor of the twelve-tone system of atonal music.

If you take the time to listen to episodes of the old Information Please radio show, of which was broadcasted live and unrehearsed and of which many examples can be downloaded from the internet, you can appreciate his quick and caustic wit.

Rhythm on the River (1940)

This is a very nice film from 1940. I have commented on it somewhat previously. It stars Mary Martin and Old Golden Tonsils Crosby. However, the two who steal the movie are Basil Rathbone and Oscar Levant. Levant was a wonderful pianist, and also a composer. But what made him such a hit in this show is his natural wit and sarcasm. In many of the scenes it is obvious that he is playing the piano live (and he was really good), and it appears in some of them where Bing or Mary sing and they also are live, which was not the norm in such movies. Rathbone plays a composer of musicals who has lost his touch and has to hire a ghost writer for both music (Bing) and lyrics (Mary), neither of whom is supposed to know that Basil is not writing the other part. Naturally, they eventually discover each other and fall in love. Some great music in the movie. Levant is on the right in the picture below.

If you enjoy this blog

Pass along the link.

Henry Aldrich's principal - Vaughan Glaser (Mr. Bradley)

He had one of the most sepulchral voices you ever heard. Any principal like he was would have struck fear into the hearts of students and staff alike.

Gun safety is one thing. Gun control is another.

We definitely need the former. We do not need the latter.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mort Mills - familiar bad guy face

Played a ton of roles. The vast majority of the time he was the bad guy.

Someone pays money for this?!

"Study: Smokers have shorter life expectancy than non-smokers." Someone had to pay money to find out that fact?

What gun did Josh Randall use?

Randall carried a shortened Winchester Model 1892 carbine, called the "Mare's Leg," in a holster patterned after "gunslinger" rigs then popular in movies and television.Randall had the ability to draw and fire this gun with blazing speed, as fast as, or in many cases much faster than, his adversaries with handguns that were much smaller.

Watching "Wanted Dead or Alive" - Steve McQueen

My son-in-law and I are getting to be pretty informed on old TV westerns.

Appropriate nickname?

If a man's name were Fawcett and he was always running off at the mouth, would you give him the nickname "Water"?

Is the English adjective/noun order logical?

In Spanish and many foreign languages, the adjectives will come after the noun, such as "agua frio." In English it would be cold water. It seems to me that putting the noun first makes more sense, since the object under consideration is takes priority over the quality that it possesses. Just my thoughts.

Charles Dingle - another familiar radio voice

Old movie fans might remember him as C. J. Chesley, the father of the druggist in Welcome Stranger. His voice had a distinctive quality that is readily recognizable.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

And now we are a nation of cowards

Sending our women into combat. Hiding behind their skirts, as it were. I have never been in combat, but I believe I would have had I been required to do so to protect my family. I certainly never would have sent my wife or daughters to do it.

Sigh. My wife likes Melvyn Douglas

He is dead, of course, but she thinks he was handsome and dashing. I guess I need to get a bow tie and change my moustache.

Ironically, just after I had posted this, I saw this very frame come up as my wife and I were watching Ninotchka.

Philip Marlowe irony

The movie Lady in the Lake starred Robert Montgomery as detective Philip Marlowe. In that movie, Gerald Mohr played Derace Kingsby, one of Marlowe's clients. In the radio version of Philip Marlowe, Mohr played the title role.

Gildersleeve's middle name

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve. The "P" stood for Philharmonic. Really.

Adequate employee

I have not always done this, but I now do not wish to be an outstanding employee. I certainly want to be one that is adequate, one who does what he is hired to so. But it has been my observation that many outstanding employees are sub-par spouses and parents, simply because they allow themselves to become slaves to the company (not merely employees), and thus use that as an "excuse" to neglect their familial responsibilities. I do not want to do that.

Marriage vows and oaths of office

In recent years I have made it a guideline of my voting never knowingly to vote for someone who has violated his marriage vow. I do this on the assumption that someone who cannot be trusted to keep one oath cannot be trusted to keep the other.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My children's bloodlines

From what nationalities did my  children stem? Let's see. In terms of their great-grandparents, they are:
3/8 German (Adams, Geren, Kramer)
1/8 French (Bogue)
1/8 English (Green)
3/8 Welsh (Loyd, Evans, Davis)

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum

One of the advantages of the internet is that when you encounter one of those obscure phrases that P. G. Wodehouse scatters about like rose petals at a wedding, you can quickly ascertain the meaning. This particular one is found in the early pages of The Woman in Blue, and means, "Let justice be done though the heavens fall," signifying the belief that justice must be done regardless of the consequences. But you probably knew that already.


I appreciate how that night time medicine helps me sleep when my sinuses are in revolt, but I hate the way I feel when I wake up.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Marjorie Weaver in Michael Shayne movies

She made three of them with Lloyd Nolan: "Michael Shayne, Private Detective," "The Man Who Wouldn't Die," and "Just Off Broadway." They had a great rapport on the screen and made a great team. Very entertaining. Not only that, but, in my opinion, Weaver was one of the prettiest actress Hollywood has produced.

Shadow of Suspicion (1944)

This is one of those detective movies with a comic twist that my wife and I love so well. It stars Peter Cookson as detective James Dale and Tim Ryan as his comic sidekick. The romantic lead is Marjorie Weaver, one of our favorites who worked so well with Lloyd Nolan in the Michael Shayne movie series. Tim Ryan was the husband of Irene Ryan - Granny Clampett of Beverly Hillbilly fame.

Peter Cookson

Marjorie Weaver

Tim and Irene Ryan

Relative to retirement

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just am not sure how long the tunnel is.

"International Lady" movie

Very nice picture. Stars Ilona Massey (see Top Secret radio show post earlier) and George Brent. It has suspense, humor and romance. But most importantly, it has Basil Rathbone in a little different twist as a Scotlant Yard detective.

George Brent

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Maverick TV stars

As long as we are on the subject of Maverick, there were four actors who starred in title roles: James Garner as Bret, Jack Kelly as Bart, Roger Moore as Beau and Robert Colbert as Brent.

James Garner

James Kelly

Roger Moore

Robert Colbert

Maverick - a couple of nameless faces

The episode "Burial Ground of the Gods" had as two of the guest stars Claude Akins and Robert Lowery. They were two of those actors who played lots of part and whose faces are very familiar, but whose names are not.

Claude Akins

Robert Lowery

Industrial possibilities for oatmeal?

There are bound to be some uses for oatmeal as a hardening agent. Have you ever let a little oatmeal dry in a bowl?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fretful porpentine

In the Jeeves and Wooster books, they spend a good bit of time referring to and discussing the expression, "Like quills upon the fretful porpentine." In case anyone wonders about that expression, a porpentine is a porcupine, as one might suspect; and the quote is from Act 1 Scene 5 of Hamlet.

Henry's friend, the assistant principal

In the first Henry Aldrich movie, John Howard plays the assistant principal in his high school, and as it turns out, the only person who believes in him. Howard is perhaps best remembered by some of us old movie fans for his portrayals of Bulldog Drummond.

The Dairy Bar in Booneville, Arkansas

I noticed today that they have partially dismantled the old Dairy Bar building on Highway 10 in Booneville. It has a significant place in my childhood memories. It was the reigning hamburger joint of the time in our community. My father got paid once a month, and usually he would take us out for a "payday treat," which consisted of a 5-cent ice cream cone from the Dairy Bar. Given the fact that we very rarely got store-bought sweets, it was a big deal to us.

The Henry Aldrich movies

There were eleven of them. In the first two, Jackie Cooper starred at Henry. In the remaining ones it was Jimmy Lydon, who pretty much made the role his own. He was always letting his stupidity get him into all sorts of tight spots, plus he was placed in a lot more of them through no fault of his own. Lots of fun.

Jackie Cooper

Jimmy Lydon

Due diligence - auto emergency measures

ALWAYS keep bottled water in the car. If you break down and have to wait for help, you could be in trouble without it, especially in warm weather. In the winter, always keep extra warm clothing in the car, especially if you travel with children.

Friday, January 18, 2013

"I love my job"

You might not recognize that as a falsehood had I not put it in quotes, huh?

Jury duty

I have jury orientation today, and after having been on three juries, the process is not as mysterious to me as it first was. Jurors have to understand what their responsibility is. They are not to determine what the law is, or what law applies to this particular case. Legislators make laws. Judges determine what law applies to a particular case.

The role of the juror is to determine, "Did the prosecution prove that he committed the crime as defined by the law?" That is all. And note that jury is not to determine whether the person is guilty or not, but if the prosecution proved that he was guilty. If jurors understand their function, it takes a huge weight from their shoulders.

Appreciate them for what they are

I cannot appreciate a man for what he is not. All of us have faults, and I cannot rejoice in any man's faults (least of all my own). I can, however, appreciate what he is. If he is not entirely responsible, I may regret that and it may cloud my opinion of him. However, if despite his negligence he is very tenderhearted, then I still can be thankful for that and rejoice to see it in him. I must appreciate a man for what he is, not for what he is not.

"You can lead a horse to water

but you can't make him drink." You can teach someone the right thing to do, but making him do it is more problematical. At some point the responsibility switches to the student.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

American Idol

I have never seen it. I do not intend to.

"Top Secret" old radio show

It starred Ilona Massey as the Baronness Karen Gazer. A little different twist on radio shows about spies, featuring as it did a glamorous woman.

How to make soup

Get a big pot. Put a lot of water in it. Go to the refrigerator and get out all the leftovers. Cut them in little pieces and put them in the pot. Heat the mixture. Eat it.

Hold 'Em Yale

This is a cute movie that stars Patricia Ellis, Cesar Romero, William Frawley (of I Love Lucy fame) and Andy Devine. It involves a comedy kidnapping. It sort of reminds you of The Ransom of Red Chief.

Dump truck drivers

They come in all sizes and shapes, but I saw one this morning that reinforced the stereotype. He was about my height, but weighed maybe 240 pounds. Very solid fellow. Looked like his truck. Very pleasant man, also. He took time to visit about the project on which he was working.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Andy Clyde (California Carlson)

Hopalong Cassidy's radio sidekick.

Why Admiral Perry stayed alone at the South Pole

According to the account I read, he did not want two men to stay, because they would be at each other's throats due to cabin fever.  Three men would break the balance and relieve the tension. However, he could not spare three men, so and he would not ask anyone else to do it alone, so he did it himself.

I owe my wife much

$1000, to be exact. That is what she had when we got married. I had nothing. I still do not have her paid back.

Gun control is a misnomer

People control is the real object.

Biscuits and gravy sure are good

if they are fixed right. Need pepper. And ideally brown gravy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GREAT source for old movies

Excellent prices and customer service.
Bob Connors

I started to have a statue of myself put in the yard

but my wife said it was bad enough having to look at me when I was home, and she would be switched if she was going to do it all day.

Precinct 21 radio show

This was a nice little radio show that was somewhat along the lines of of Dragnet,  but without an acting style that is quite as dry as Sgt. Friday's was.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Humphrey? for one of the all-time tough guys of Hollywood? Humphrey? for one of the biggest leading men of his day? Certainly Humphrey is an honorable name, and nothing to be ashamed of; but in a town that changes names about as often as they change spouses, it is strange that he did not. According to the story, the head of Warner Brothers tried to get him to use a stage name, but he refused. More power to him, as his name became one of the most recognizable in Hollywood history.

"Greetings, fellow Vallianter"

One of my closest high school friends, Dan Kirkpatrick, was a multi-talented individual. In fact, he has headed his own advertising agency in recent years. One of his hobbies in high school was fixing up old cars, including one mousy-looking Valliant in which he took great pride. If he should happen to meet another Valliant while along, he would always hail them with cheery words of comradeship, "Greetings, fellow Vallianter." Great fun.

Oh, my aching back!

As we get older, that is not merely an exclamation, but a statement of fact.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

June Storey

Her main claim to fame were the ten movies she made as Gene Autry's leading lady. However, she did show her diversity by making several detective/police movies in which she played entirely different roles. Examples are Dangerous Lady, which we have, and have enjoyed. Not great stuff, but passable.