Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Silent Men (radio show)

Ir starred Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (He was eventually Sir Douglas.) This was a tribute to the various intelligence agencies throughout the U. S. government, and was pretty well done. Fairbanks starred in each.

Grandsons can "help" with a lot of things

but I got "help" taking a shower this afternoon. Or at least moral support. A lot of conversation of some sort coming from outside the shower stall.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Few things aid sleep like the patter of rain

UNLESS it is on the night before the only day in a week that you had free to mow the grass.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ever happen to you?

"Jerry was conscious of that disagreeable sensation which comes to those who, pausing to tie a shoelace while crossing a railway line, find themselves struck in the small of the back by the Cornish Express." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

You know the type

"There is nothing so spine-chilling as a dressy assassin. All murderers make us shudder, but when we encounter one who, when spilling human gore, spills it in lavender gloves, our backbone turns to ice."

(Pigs Have Wings)

Just depends on how you express it

"Things look sticky, Beach."

"Extremely glutinous, Mr. Galahad. I fear the worst."

(again, Pigs Have Wings)

One of the best tongue-twisters

of which there are many, of course.

"The slick shiek's sixth sheep's sick." Say that ten times fast.

Some things even a good crossword cannot fix

"But crossword puzzles are only a palliative. They ease the careworn heart, but they do not cure its ache." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

Sounds like my kind of a puzzle man

"He liked crossword puzzles, but was not very expert at them. Anything more abstruse than the Sun God Ra generally had him baffled." (from Pigs Have Wings by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

"Rainy days and Mondays"

"Rainy days and Mondays always get me down," the old song said. I don't mind rainy days so much, but Mondays are murder.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

If you are too cheap to hire enough people

to get the work done, then don't complain when it does not get done on time.

Dangerous flattery

If enough people tell you that you are something, sometimes you may begin to believe it.

The most blatant discrimination in America

will never be addressed - that against lefthanded people. Even the English language is against them. (Have you righthanders ever tried to write from right to left?)

"Queen of the Quantrilles"

This was the episode of the Wild Bill Hickock radio show from 24 Sept 52. The outlaw in question was called Belle Farr. It would appear to be a barely veiled connection to the famous real-life outlas, Belle Starr.

Concerning time

Time wasted is time lost; and since is supply is strictly limited no matter what the price, it is the scarcest of commodities.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Law of the Jungle (1942)

Arline Judge stars as a performer stranded in Rhodesia. Simmons, the owner of the cafe where she sings, is allied with enemy agents. She meets paleontologist John "Dusty" King (whose valet is the incomparable Mantan Moreland), but Simmons prejudices him against her. She tries to escape into the jungle, and stumbles into King's camp. Naturally, he falls for her. They flee through the jungle until captured by natives. Their chief happens to have been educated at Oxford and is a lodge brother of Moreland, who had inadvertently proposed to the chief's sister.

The level of acting in this one is definitely not Oscar quality, but anything with Moreland in it will have funny moments.

Moreland, when King tries to hand him a skull: "Don't do that! You know I can't stand has-beens."
"Cannibals on the left of me, cannibals on the right of me, and me with no life insurance."

Arline Judge

John "Dusty" King

Discretion the better part of valour

"I don't know how accurate a marksman the blighter is, but I certainly don't propose to ascertain by personal enquiry." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

It always affected me that way

"It is too often the way. A girl whom we have set on a pedestal call us an overbearing louse, and love dies." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

I enjoy being with my wife

Her company is very pleasing to me - as long as she doesn't throw things at me. (I'm kidding, I'm kidding, well, about the throwing things part.)

The Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938)

Those of you who grew up with Dick Powell as a hard-boiled private eye may find it hard to picture him as a crooner in musicals - but it is true. This is one of those musicals.

Powell (Elly Jordan) and two musical buddies are hobo-ing toward Hollywood and are kicked off the train. They hoof it to a dude ranch where they are hired. However, Powell is scared of animals - all animals. However,cute Jane Hardy (Priscilla Lane), falls for him and tries to help him get rid of his phobia.

Fast-talking theatrical agent Pat O'Brien and his assistant Ronald Reagan show up for a vacation. They hear Powell sing and sign him to a contract. He heads east on a triumphant promotional tour, finally arriving in NY in grand style. O'Brien bills him as Wyoming Steve Gibson, the "real thing," which, of course, he is the furthest thing from, since he is from Brooklyn. Lane and the family go to NY for the big rodeo. Powell's rival for Lane's affections is with them, and breaks it that Powell is a phoney. Lane drops by the hotel to see Powell, dressed now as a girl and not as a cow hand. O'Brien tries to pass off the dude ranch owners as Powell's step-parents, but the producer is skeptical and fed up. He says Powell can prove himself if he can ride in the Madison Square rodeo. A phoney hypnotist who is part of the dude ranch entertainment persuades Powell that he is not afraid of animals. It works until he gets into the arena and sneezes. But then it doesn't matter, because he is cured of the phobia.

The film features musical numbers with Powell doing some of the worst lip-synching ever. Fortunately, he had a very nice voice and you don't notice too much.

A cute movie. Just relax and enjoy it for what it is - a good example of the genre.

Youtube link to a scene from the movie:

Reagan and O'Brien

Lane and Powell

Maybe you have had a girl look at you like this?

"She gave him the sort of look a good woman gives a caterpillar on finding it in her salad." (from Pigs Have Wings by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

As I often say

It is not what you have to eat, but who you get to look at while you are eating it. (Remember that line, boys. It will come in handy.)

The Last Crooked Mile (1946)

Three robbers hold up a bank. In the ensuing chase they are killed when their car crashes, but the money is not there, so it is assumed it was ditched somehow when they switched cars. Brash private eye Tom Dwyer (Don "Red" Barry) volunteers his services to locate the money. His first stop is Bonnie (Adele Mara), an old girlfriend, whom he stood up but who evidently still likes him. He takes her to the carnival, and the man behind them on the roller coaster is strangled.

Next stop is to a nightclub singer who had been the girl of one of the holdup gang, but who is trying to live it down. She who warns him that what happened to the man on the roller coaster could happen to him. Next, they go to see the getaway car, which has been sold to the carnival. It turns out that someone named McGwire (Sheldon Leonard) is trying to buy it. Barry sneaks into the display room at night and cuts open the running board of the car - and guess what? There is the money.

And by the way, there is a nice surprise ending.

Don Barry

Only can only imagine the next scene

"She reminded Gally of a girl named Mabel something who, walking with him at a Buckingham Palace garden party in the year 1906, had suddenly become aware that there was a beetle down her back." (from Pigs Have Wings by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

Another of those "one of my favorite actors"

of my wife's. Clarence Kolb. Had a very distinctive voice. Familiar face to old movie fans.

Not much of a recommendation for authors

"Most authors, as is widely known, resemble in appearance the more degraded types of fish, unless they look like birds, when they could pass as vultures and no questions asked." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

Fun on a Weekend (1947)

Eddie Bracken wakes up after sleeping on the beach because he was broke, to find Priscilla Lane in the same situation. They spend their last 15 cents to buy a cup of coffee and two doughuts at Joe's Diner (our old friend Allen Jenkins), and decide that with his great ideas and her brass they can make it in the big time just on their wits alone. They pawn their clothes and swap them for bathing suits and robes, and head to a real estate office to start. With the inimitable Arthur Treacher thrown into the mix as B. O. Moffitt, the real estate agent, anything can happen. ("Call me Benjamin, or Benjamin O., but not B. O.") Along the way they pick up a Great Dane pooch to complicate matters. Watching the starving Bracken wrestling the dog for a steak bone is hilarious. And incidentally, the dog gets the last laugh - literally.

Priscilla Lane

Allen Jenkins

Describes a lot of places I have eaten

"Imagine that fly eating here by choice! He's better off dead." (from Fun on a Weekend)

Navy Secrets (1939)

Fay Wray and Grant Withers are working separately on uncovering the theft of top-secret defense plans. Neither is aware that the other is working on the case and they both get suspicious of the other, even as they become romantically involved.

Wray's boyfriend is a stamp collector, but he gets picked up under suspicion of selling government secrets. Withers "fills in" for his friend and takes Wray out to dinner. The restaurant, owned by Nick (Dewey Robinson) is a headquarters for spy activity.

The plot drags a little on this one, but the finish is satisfying. I have always enjoyed Withers' acting, and Wray's slightly-askew eyes are fascinating.

Dewey Robinson (Nick)

My wife complains about too many war movies

but if your specialty is movies from the late '30's and '40's, that pretty much is going to be the fare. I mean, World War II did sort of dominate the landscape for several years.

Love those old cars in the movies

Movie actors in the 30's and 40's

always seemed to keep things in their suit coat pockets, never in their pants pockets. I guess it just made the movement smoother.

Another thing you could always count on as clouds of cigarette smoke.

The Gold Racket (1937)

Conrad Ragel stars as agent Alan O'Connor, sent to break up a gold smuggling ring on the Mexican border. Reporter Eleanor Hunt is his sweetheart.

Fuzzy Knight is the goofy piano player and singer in the saloon. (He is studying to be an opera singer, so he pops garlic buds continually, much to the joy of his companions.) It appears that he does play the piano life in the musical scenes. Knight attended West Virginia University, and wrote a fight song that is still played there occasionally .

One of the suspects, the pilot hired to fly the gold to the U. S. (Frank Milan),  has a yen for the fair sex, so O'Connor sends for an entertainer to work undercover, and Hunt gets the job.

Fuzzy Knight

Frank Milan

The Big Chase (1954)

This is one of those "real life of policemen" dramas. It begins in the office of Lt. Daggart (Douglas Kennedy), who is being interviewed by reporter Milton Graves (Joe Flynn). If you watch closely, you can see Kennedy pick up his cigarette case, pull out two of them accidentally, place one of them on his desk, but it rolls off the edge. He never misses a beat, but evidently they either did not see it at the time, or did not think it worth while to reshoot the scene.

Adele Jergens plays the expectant wife of a rookie cop (Glenn Langan) who wants to get into the juvenile division.Another interesting glitch is that Jergens is the most unpregnant-looking pregnant woman you ever saw. Must be a very small baby.

Also, don't you love these extended chase scenes where guys who have been in prison, presumably with very little exercise, run from the police for minute after minute without even getting winded? Actually, it was a pretty good chase scene.

Another interesting fact about this movie is that Langan and Jergens actually were married when this movie was made.

Our old buddy Lon Chaney makes a brief appearance as one of the gang involved in the robbery.

Glenn Langan

Adele Jergens

My wife is a good nurse

Cute, but sort of bossy.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Danger Zone (1951)

This is a two-part movie featuring Hugh (Leave It To Beaver) Beaumont as Denny O'Brien, a waterfront tough guy who makes a living doing odd jobs. Edward Brophy is his ex-professor wine-o sidekick who does the legwork for him to answer questions.

In the first half, he is hired by a woman at an auction to buy a suitcase, and the bidding goes to $1000. All that was in it was a saxophone. He is knocked out and the instrument stolen. Come to find out, it was a hiding place for stolen jewels.

In the second half, O'Brien is hired by a private detective to escort a girl to a party. It turns out she is married, and the detective set him up to get a picture for divorce fodder. Then the husband is shot, and a niece appears who is the heir.

It appears that the movie has a direct connection to the radio show Pat Novak For Hire with Jack Webb, as the character is essentially the same.

Although my wife is a big fan of both old movies and old radio shows, I must confess that she is NOT a big fan of either Hugh Beaumont nor Jack Webb.

Hugh Beaumont at the auction

Edward Brophy

David Harding, Counterspy (1950)

Howard St. John stars in the title role, as the head of a secret government agency. The problem is saboteurs in a torpedo factory. Jerry Baldwin (Willard Parker) is a navy commander assigned to the case. A previous agent had been murdered. The murdered man had been his close friend, and he had been in love with his wife, Betty (Audrey Long), before they had married. He persuades her to become his secretary at the torpedo plant. She falls for him, too, but she is linked to the enemy agents. However, they try to kill Parker in the same manner as her husband.

John Dehner of radio Have Gun, Will Travel fame is one of the agents.

Howard St. John

Willard Parker

Audrey Long

I am sick

All available sympathy will be appreciated.

The Limping Man (1953)

Stars Lloyd Bridges and Moira Lister. Bridges is an ex-GI to comes to London to visit his wartime sweetheart. Before you can say "Jack Sprat," he is mixed up in a murder case. A man standing next to him is assassinated just after they have deplaned. The man who shot him walks with a limp, thus the name of the movie. It becomes evident early on that Lister is involved in the case somehow, but it is not evident how. Alan Wheatley plays the inspector in charge of the investigation. You may remember him as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the British TV series "Robin Hood."

Moira Lister and Lloyd Bridges

Alan Wheatley


This is  a legal term for "widow or widower." I can see why some folks might not favor it.


Such an encouraging feeling

"Keep saying to yourself that tempests may lower and storm clouds brood, but if your affairs are in the hands of Galahad Threepwood, you're all right." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir P. G. Wodehouse)

 Ah, who knows what may occur when this dauntless defender of the downtrodden sets his mind to it.

Come to think of it, neither have I.

"Hers had been a sheltered life, and she had never before seen a butler with the heeby-jeebies." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir P. G. WodehouseP)

"Follow that car!"

Have you ever wanted to shout that to the driver as you climb into a taxi?

Cornered (1945)

This was from Powell's post-crooner period. In fact, if you liked him in "Murder, My Sweet," you probably will like him in this. Good, tense plot throughout. He plays a Canadian WWII pilot who goes back to France to track down the killer of his wife. A passport will take too long, so he enters the country illegally. He finds his father-in-law, who names the Vichy official who ordered his wife and others killed. Officially, Jarnac is dead, but neither of them believes it, so Powell sets out to find him. He finds a lead on Mme. Jarnac from a partly-burned scrap of paper, and the trail leads to Argentina. There he runs afoul of the law and is scheduled for deportation in 48 hours. Jarnac (Luther Adler) finally shows up at the very end of the show.

Dick Powell

Luther Adler

Roy Rogers' Bullet

On the radio show and also the TV show.

The Baskervilles

Sherlock Holmes' memorable story, "The Hound of the Baskervilles," had at least a basis in name, if not in fact.

Sir Humphrey Baskerville

M, d. 3 April 1647

Sir Humphrey Baskerville was born at Eardisely Castle, Herefordshire, England.2,3 He married Elizabeth Coningsby, daughter of Sir Thomas Coningsby and Phillipa Fitzwilliam.4 He died on 3 April 1647 at Eardisley Castle, Herefordshire, England.4

Their connection with Herefordshire began with the ancestor who came over to help William the Conqueror, from Normandy, [They may have come over late in William I reign to assist Bernard Newmarch in his raid on Wales]. The name Baskerville is probably derived from Basquevillein in the Pays de Card, or Bosherville near Rouen.

more Charlie Chan

"Ancient ancestor once say, 'Even wise man cannot fathom depth of woman's smile.'" (from The Shanghai Cobra)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Joel McCrea, a rarity

McCrea married actress Frances Dee in 1933, after they met while filming The Silver Cord. The couple had three children, David, who became a rancher; Peter, who became a real estate developer; and Jody, who became an actor. Joel and Frances remained married until his death — spending 57 years together.

More HERE on Joel McCrea.

Adventure in Manhattan (1936)

This is another excellent mystery/comedy, starring Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea. (McCrea was the star of Tales of the Texas Rangers on radio.) McCrea is an arrogant reporter who accurately predicts crimes because of his understanding of the criminal mind. He befriends Arthur, who involves him in the mystery. She is in a play produced by Reginald Owen, who is the mastermind of a criminal ring, and whose intellect is a match for McCrea's. McCrea has several predictions misfire, and appears to lose his mental grip because of it, but he is really setting up the criminal, for a slam/bang finish. And, of course, Arthur and McCrea fall in love. (Could it have been any other way?)

Reginald Owen

Bermuda Mystery (1944)

This is a very entertaining comedy/mystery that is one of my wife's and my favorites. Constance Martin (Ann Rutherford) is the niece of a man who was part of a pact made by six veterans of World War I. They each put up $10,000 which they invest. At the end of ten years, those who are alive will share in the proceeds. Rutherford's uncle is the first to die, shortly after he had received a gift of expensive cigarettes. She is convinced he was murdered, but the court does not agree.

So, Rutherford hires Detective Steve Carromond (Preston Foster) to investigate. He, unfortunately, is about to get married. She strong-arms him into helping her briefly. He keeps trying to cut loose from the case to get married, but she is falling for him and keeps him involved. What happens at the end? Well, you can guess, can't you? There was an age issue in the romance, however, for Foster was about 17 years older than Rutherford, but they pull it off well. In the last scene, when they finally kiss, she is in a hospital bed after having feigned fainting. The up-trigger on the headrest bounces up, and it looks very much like face smacks into his - but they finished the scene just like nothing had happened. We wondered if one of them  had a fat lip later on, though.

The police officer is our old friend, Richard Lane (Inspector Farraday from the Boston Blackie series).

Preston Foster

Ann Rutherford

Richard Lane

Memories of Paris - the perfume that stays with you

That was the name of a perfume my sister and her cousins used when they were young girls in the dress-up stage. As I recall, you could have still smelled it if they had gone to Paris. Stout stuff. (Sadly, it was taken off the market; I understand it is now regulated by the EPA.)

from Charlie Chan

"As mind is fed with silent thought, so should body absorb its food." (from Charlie Chan in Honolulu)

Gally and Uncle Fred

The thing that one must admire in The Hon. Galahad Threepwood (younger brother of Lord Emsworth) and Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, Lord Ickenham, is that neither of them will take anything off Lady Constance Keeble, the sister of Gally and Lord Emsworth. She is a plague to the earl and always has him on his heels, but these two redoubtable formulators of strategy know how to handle her.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Old movies and conscientious parents

Parents ALWAYS must use great discretion, of course, but with movies made 1953 or before, there is a much greater chance that there will not be objectionable material involved. During the '50's things began to degenerate at an accelerating pace until it culminated in the Hippie period.

The Lone Wolf TV series

It starred Louis Hayward as Michael Lanyard, whose private detective work took him all over the world. One of the interesting things is that he was always helping out "old friends." Given that Hayward was about 45 years old at the time the series was made, it is difficult to believe that his character had had time enough in his far-flung life to make all that many "old friends." He is, of course, supremely smooth and suave at all times.

The Lady and the Mob (1939)

This is one of the wife's absolute favorite movies. Fay Bainter plays a wealthy, eccentric woman who takes it upon herself to drive all the racketeers out of town.When her ex-thug chauffer Frankie O'Fallon (whom she calls Thorndyke, played by Warren Hymer) cannot get rid of the mob by himself, she recruits a mob of her own. It is hilarious watching her learn the lingo of the hoods.

Who is the unseen head of the rackets? You will have to watch it to find out.

 Ida Lupino plays Bainter's prospective daughter-in-law. For old radio trivia buffs, she was at one time married to Howard Duff, who played Sam Spade on the radio program.

Among the colorful characters in the show are Harry the Lug, Blinky Mack, Big Time Tim, Brains Logan and Bert the Beetle. They are reminiscent of the group Bob Hope assembles in The Lemon Drop Kid. Great fun!

Fay Bainter

Warren Hymer (Thorndyke)

Now that is crooked!

"I have known young Parsloe since we were both in the early twenties, and he was always so crooked he sliced bread with a corkscrew." [The Hon. Galahad Threepwood, from Pigs Have Wings by Sir P. G. Wodehouse]

I know there are no physical blades in the wind

but I could swear there are knives going through me in that cold wind today!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blonde Alibi (1946)

The blonde in the movie is Martha O'Driscoll, although what her being blonde has to do with the movie is unclear.

A doctor stumbles into the street and is hit by a taxi. However, he had been shot and was not killed by the taxi. Donald McBride is his usual irritable self as Inspector Carmichael. He and his assistant give almost a slapstick comedy element.

O'Driscoll leaves the country to avoid the romancing of the doctor, and is brought back as a suspect. Her ex-boyfriend (Tom Neal) is also a suspect, and a legally-blind man who is a witness. McBride sets out to solve the murder, while his assistants are grilling Louie the Squealer, a mob stool pigeon. Who dunnit? Stay tuned. A little bit of a surprise ending.

Donald McBride

Martha O'Driscoll

Great quote from a classic movie

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
Muriel Blandings: I refuse to endanger the lives of my children in a house with less than four bathrooms. 
Jim Blandings: For 1,300 dollars they can live in a house with three bathrooms and ROUGH IT. 

What do onions have to do with it?

"The great thing is not to lose our heads. we must say to ourselves, 'What would Napoleon have done?' He was the boy in a crisis. He knew his onions." [Aunt Dahlia in The Code of the Woosters by Sir P. G. Wodehouse]

I mean, I am as happy as I can be that old Nappy was well-informed regarding his garden plants, but what did that have to do with the subject?

In case some of you readers are wondering

about this blog, and saying, "Who is the idiot that posts all this nonsense," let me relieve your anxiety. Outside of the general fact that I am an old radio show and old movie enthusiast, it contains merely the ramblings of my mind - and my mind rambles a great deal more than most. Those who know me best are generally convinced that I am about a hair's-breadth away from full-scale Alzheimer's or out-and-out insanity, but do not be alarmed; I am kept under close surveillance and am generally harmless.

Wives and deacons

Good wives help husbands in much the same way that good deacons help pastors: they take care of the details so we can concentrate on the broader picture. (That is greatly over-simplified, but you get the point, I trust.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Women Are Trouble (1936)

This is one of the movies based at least loosely on the Flashgun Casey character. Stuart Erwin is Casey, a newspaper reporter. The city is in the midst of an extortion racket, terrorizing small liquor store owners. Florence Rice plays a girl reporter trying to get a job on the paper, but because of his own past marital problems, the editor (Paul Kelly) will not hire female reporters. Rice witnesses a waterfront murder, which forces the editor to hire her. She and Casey team up to solve the power behind the extortion.

Rice was the daughter of legendary sports reporter Grantland Rice.

Stuart Erwin

Florence Rice