Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mighty lion hunter

It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't. The result being that when he placed his foot on the animal's neck preparatory to being photographed by Captain Biggar, the White Hunter accompanying the expedition, a rather unpleasant brawl had ensued, and owing to Captain Biggar having to drop the camera and spend several vital moments looking about for his rifle, his bullet, though unerring, had come too late to be of practical assistance.

(from Ring For Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Do you suppose she is rich?

Here, you would have said to yourself, beholding her, was a woman who had got the stuff in sackfuls and probably suffered agonies from coupon-clipper's thumb, a woman at the mention of whose name the blood-sucking leeches of the Internal Revenue Department were accustomed to raise their filthy hats with a reverent intake of the breath.

(from Ring For Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Women look at me that way, too

The woman looked up, regarding him with large, dark, soulful eyes as if he had been something recently assembled from ectoplasm.

(from Ring For Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The power of concentration

Long ago he had heard of an old Chinese saying to the effect that any man who could concentrate for as much as three minutes on any given problem could rule the world. The thought had remained in his mind, and he had cultivated the ability to apply all his intelligence to any given situation.

(from Flint, by Louis Lamour)

Friday, November 29, 2013

A good Black Friday

is a doing absolutely nothing Black Friday.

Caulksville and Ratcliff, Arkansas

These are two very small rural communities situated along State Highway 22 in western Logan County, Arkansas. Their populations have remained fairly stable in the 175-300 range each over several decades. Life here is simple and enjoyable. As you might guess, everyone knows everyone, and there are few secrets.

The two towns are incorporated, which means that each has its own city government and there are definite legal city limits. Because it lies across the intersection of Highways 22 and 23, Caulksville has most of the commerce in the area, while Ratcliff has the post office, fire station and medical clinic. Why the two cities do not consolidate has been a matter of speculation for those of us who do not actually live there, but there are rumored to have been some strong feelings against the combination because of old animosities of some sort or another.

The children in the area attend County Line schools, which lies between Ratcliff and Branch, another town of about the same size just a few miles farther east. County Line is in itself an interesting story, having been a consolidation of even smaller rural school districts several years back. The line between Logan and Franklin Counties runs right through the school complex.

As in most small rural communities, much of the social life centers around the schools, with basketball games being a big draw. County Line actually owns a state championship in both boys' and girls' basketball from back during the 1970s and '80s. There are other congregating places, however. The two convenience stores in Caulksville draw a lot of traffic, as does Shane's Restaurant. The sale barn lies to the east of Ratcliff and once a week has a sizable crowd. As pictured below, there was once even a bowling alley in Caulksville.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ties to the past

My father was born in 1924. Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States. Babe Ruth was in his prime. Model T automobiles were still being manufactured by Ford Motor Company. My grandfather never owned a car, so the family traveled in a wagon until some of the children got old enough to own cars. My mother was born in 1929, the year of the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression.

As of this date, both my parents are in good health and enjoying life, but one never knows how much longer they will live. According to the laws of nature, it cannot be too many more years. When they are gone, I personally will have lost a direct link to a large part of the history of this nation.

Hurlbut's Story of the Bible

My father is a devout, God-fearing man, but his personality is such that he has never found it easy to talk much about the personal and emotional aspects of his religion. However, when we were growing up, he was faithful for years to read to us from Hurlbut's Story of the Bible. This Bible story book was published in 1905 and was written by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, a Methodist Episcopal minister. Most evenings he would read a story or two to us from this book, and ask us the questions found in the back. Later, when my children were that age, I bought a copy and did the same thing with them. Although there was a little editing I had to do from time to time from a doctrinal standpoint, for the most part his stories are very good and can be read as they are. I recommend the book highly. It was an important part of my upbringing.

Never meddle with an angry Bobby

Officer Garroway was gazing at Mrs.Waddington with an eye from which on of New York's Bohemian evenings had wiped every trace of its customary mildness. So intense, indeed, was the malevolence of its gleam that, if there had been two such eyes boring into hers, it is probable that Mrs. Waddington would have swooned. Fortunately, the other was covered with a piece of raw steak and a bandage, and so was out of action.

"Ah"! said Officer Garroway.

There is little in the word "Ah" when you write it down and take a look at it to suggest that under certain conditions it can be one of the most sinister words in the language. But hear it spoken by a policeman in whose face you have recently thrown pepper, and you will be surprised.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

"I just wanted a light snack," in England

"Just wanted to pack away a hasty prune." (per Wodehouse)

This wife is going to be very angry

The house, as he drew near, seemed very silent. And, of course, it had every right to be. Long since, the wedding must have taken place and the happy pair departed on their honeymoon. long since, the last guests must have left. And now, beneath that quiet roof, there remained only Mrs. Waddington, no doubt trying out blistering phrases in the seclusion of her boudoir - here, discarding an incandescent adjective in favour of a still zippier one that had just suggested itself: there, realizing that the noun "worm" was too mild and searching in Roget's Thesaurus for something more expressive.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The Falcon Takes Over (1942)

There was an entry in George Sanders' previous detective series called "The Saint Takes Over," so we can assume that not much imagination was needed to come up with this title.

A large, menacing man (Ward Bond) waits outside Club 13. (His suit is padded to a ridiculous degree.) The Falcon's sidekick, Allen Jenkins, is parked outside waiting for Sanders. Bond asks him if he knows a girl named Velma. Bond goes into the club, throwing aside the doorman. He disappears into the boss's office, then shots are heard and he rushes out and forces Jenkins to drive him away. Sanders arrives just as the inimitable Inspector James Gleason shows up to investigate, along with his assistants Edward Gargan. The man died of a broken neck, not a gunshot.

Jenkins takes Sanders to the spot where Bond got out of the car at the home of Ann Revere. Bond is waiting outside the house, but Sanders pretends to be drunk to avoid conflict. Bond steals the car and drives off. Sanders bluffs his way into the house posing as a detective. She shows him a picture of Velma. Back at home Sanders gets a phone call from Hans Conried, who asks him to act as a bodyguard for the evening. Thieves are using Conried to sell a necklace back to the woman they stole it from. Conried takes Sander to a foggy cemetery and then shoots him; and then he immediately is shot. A girl (Lynn Bari) coems out from behind the shrubbery and is startled by Sanders, who was feigning death. She is an unemployed reporter hoping to get a big story about the Bond case. From Conried's wallet Sanders pulls a card of a psychic named Jules Amthor (who just happens to be the name of the psychic in the famous film noir Murder My Sweet, which had a character much like the one Bond played.) Turhan Bey plays the part.

The next morning Bari tells Sanders of a jade necklace which is involved with Diana Kenyon. They go to her apartment. Bari leaves on cue, and Sanders quizzes Kenyon about the gang that pulled the necklace holdup, kisses her and leaves. Bari sees the lipstick and is jealous. Gleason and Gargan follow Jenkins to Amthor's house. While he is in the house, Bond comes in and roughs up Jenkins. The lights go out and shots are fired. The cops break in and Jenkins is lying on the floor and the others are dead. The cops grill him, but finally have to let him go. Sanders and Jenkins go back to Revere's house, where Sanders finds notes that are good clues. He meets Kenyon at the Swan Club, and they go to meet the owner, Selmer Jackson. Sanders asks him if he knows the whereabouts of Bond. Bond is watching through the window. Kenyon says that she remembers Velma from a roadhouse in the area. In the car, Kenyon pulls a gun on Sanders. He guesses that she is Velma. As they talk, we see that Bond is her chauffeur. They drive to a remote rural area. She tells the chauffeur to take Sanders "for a walk." When they leave, Bond talks to Kenyon, accuses her of doublecrossing him, and she shoots him. Bari drives up, distracting Kenyon's attention, and Sanders disarms her.

This story resembles Murder, My Sweet closely enough that one suspects it is also based loosely upon the novel Farewell, My Lovely.


Anne Revere-4

Kalinnikov's First Symphony - the night the balcony shook

When I was in a freshman in high school (1967-68 school year) I made All-State Orchestra. The final performances of the various groups were held in the main auditorium at North Little Rock High School. This is a large room with a low balcony that juts out with several rows of seats below it. It was in this area underneath the balcony that I and my teacher were sitting when we listened to the All-State First Band performance. It included a transcription for band of the finale of Vasily Kalinnikov's First Symphony. (This is a much-loved and much-used transcription, and deservedly so.)

We were were sitting there, just enjoying a fine performance when, at about the 6:09 point of the recording below, the conductor turned back toward the audience and gestured with his baton. Suddenly it seemed like the balcony started shaking - literally. Keep in mind that we were sitting under the balcony, so we could not see what was above us. What we did not know is that the Henderson University Brass Choir was seated in the balcony, and the conductor had devised an antiphonal situation with them. Needless to say, this was a great opportunity for the Henderson group to "let out all the stops," and they did indeed. The effect was absolutely stunning.The brass choir played  for to about 40 seconds, and then stopped. The band played for a while by themselves, and then the brass choir kicked in again at about 8:11 and played to the end. (For reference, if you would like to hear when it happened, check the Youtube LINK to this recording by the University of Michigan band of the same piece. According to the comments underneath the Youtube spot, this recording made use of the same antiphonal effect.)

It was one of the most remarkable musical experiences I have ever had, perhaps in part because it was to unexpected. It has been about 45 years since that happened, and I still remember it vividly.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jack Benny's car - 1923 Maxwell

There were variations of the model, but always a Maxwell. It was the center of an endless chain of comic gags on the Benny radio show - usually with chauffeur Rochester Van Jones giving the punch line.

Arthur Duncan - the tap dancer on Lawrence Welk

When I was a child, we would visit my maternal grandparents several times a year. It was understood that when the Lawrence Welk show came on television that everything stopped, because Granny WAS going to watch it, and we were going to be quiet.

The thing we liked best about the show was Arthur Duncan, the tap dancer. We really enjoyed his performances.

HERE is a Youtube link to one of his performance on the Welk show.

HERE is a Facebook link honoring Duncan. As you can see, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oklahoma City University.

Take the best friend you can get

George tottered away. Once more there was creeping over him that grey foreboding which had come to him earlier in the day. So reduced was his nervous system that he actually sought comfort in the society of Sigsbee Horatio. After all, he thought, whatever Sigsbee's shortcomings as a man, he at least was a friend. A philosopher with the future of the race at heart might sigh as he looked upon Sigsbee H. Waddington, but in a bleak world George could not pick and choose his chums.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The butler did not like flying pests

"What don't you like about the country around here?"

"I disapprove of the mosquitoes, sir."

"But there are only a few."

"I disapprove of even one misquito, sir."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Can't keep a secret?

     "Yes, why has George gone to the station?"
     Hamilton Beamish hesitated. Then, revolted by the thought that he should be hiding anything from this girl, he spoke. "Can you keep a secret?"
     "I don't know. I've never tried."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Whistler's Mother-in-law

A little-known painting of dubious quality that Don Ameche tried to sell to Charlie McCarthy.

May's little brother called her boyfriend April Showers

because he always brought her flowers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Col. March of Scotland Yard: "The New Invisible Man"

March (Boris Karloff) and his assistant, Ewan Roberts, are talking to Roger Maxwell, who claims he has seen a disembodied hand fire a gun with his binoculars. As they leave the house, Bernard Rebel says that he heard the gunfire. Then Patricia Owens joins the conversation. It was her house where the mystery was supposed to have occurred. She and her husband, Anthony Forwood, allow Karloff to search the house. Forwood has a mystery puzzle box from Tibet. Maxwell comes into the house to apologize, but sees a picture of the man he says was murdered. Forwood says he was his uncle who died four years ago.

Karloff has Maxwell arrested, mainly to keep him out of the way. Roberts goes to Maxwell's room to keep an eye on the neighboring house, and sees the same disembodied hand. He rushes across to investigate and finds a pair of rubber gloves. Karloff has discovered that the trick is the table on which they are lying has a trick mirror in it. Karloff discovers that Forwood has a large collection of stolen works of art. Forwood knocks him out and starts for the Thames River to throw in his body. However, Maxwell sees him leave and calls the Yard. Roberts arrives just in time to rescue Karloff from "among the antiques."



More about Jerry Colonna

His given name was Gerardo Luigi Colonna. He started his career as a trombonist. He must have had one of the most famous mustaches in Hollywood history. His catch phrase was "Who's Yehudi. HERE is how the phrase got started.

Fort Chaffee, Arkansas

In the last three generations, perhaps no single feature has more signified and dominated the history western of Arkansas history as Fort Chaffee. This army camp is located just to the east of Fort Smith and its suburb, Barling, along State Highway 22. It is remarkable how many men I have encountered over my lifetime who spent some time at this facility. A few years ago three such men scheduled a reunion at a church meeting in our area. They had spent time together at Fort Chafee (then Camp Chaffee) and wanted to mark that relationship by spending some time together in the "old stomping grounds."

The link below gives a brief history of the facility, but it cannot possibly demonstrate just how huge a factor it has played in the lives of the people of western Arkansas.


Fort Chaffee

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hard on the preacher

     "Absolutely sickening! A clergyman, and not able to stand on a chair without falling off!' A sudden, gruesome thought struck him. "Hamilton! What's it a sign of when a clergyman falls off a chair and sprains his ankle on the morning of the wedding?"
     "How do you mean, what is it a sign of?"
     "I mean, is it bad luck?"
     "For the clergyman, undoubtedly."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

I am a self-made man

Unfortunately, most of my parts were out of warranty.

Seriously, even a human body as defective as mine is a shining testimony to the wisdom and power of God. Anything I have made of myself is indeed defective.

Good advice from Charlie Chan

Do not wave stick when trying to catch dog. (from Charlie Chan's Chance)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mike Connors - Sometimes stage names do work better

Mike Connors, the star of the Mannix detective series on television, was born Krekor Ohanian. He was of Armenian descent. He attended UCLA on a basketball scholarship and played for legendary coach John Wooden.

 John and Nell Wooden are greeted at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in 1973 by one of the coach's former UCLA players, Mike Connors, who at the time starred in the TV detective series "Mannix."
<a href=",0,6479070,full.story"><u>See full story</u></a>
Connors (left) with Wooden and his wife

The Official Boris Karloff web site

One of our all-time favorites, not because of his horror movies, but because of his excellent acting in detective movies and TV programs.


There's Always a Woman (1938)

Melvyn Douglas has left the district attorney's office and gone on his own as a private detective, but times are so hard that he has to let go his secretary. Joan Blondell is his wife, but she wants to be his secretary and assistant. He decides to go back to work for the D.A., but Blondell decides to keep the office going on her own. She is dismantling the office when Mary Astor comes in as a client. She thinks her husband (Lester Matthews) is involved in an affair and wants a report on "the other woman" (Frances Drake). Blondell cons Douglas into taking her to the club where Astor and her husband and the other woman are dining so that she can look over the other woman. She sees Matthews pass a note to Drake, who then passes it to the club owner, Jerome Cowan. She also hears Robert Paige, Drake's fiancee, threaten to kill Matthews. Douglas and Blondell drink too much at the club, and as a result he oversleeps the next morning.

Next morning Blondell sees the headline in the paper saying that Matthews has been murdered. Douglas and his boss, Thurston Hall, see his picture in the paper in his underwear. Blondell is hired by Paige to prove his innocence. At home Douglas and Blondell fight, but she promises never to interfere again. The next evening Douglas and Hall have the primary players reenact the crime. Blondell hides and listens. Douglas finds the murder gun frozen in the refrigerator in the pantry of the butler, Walter Kingsford. They prove that the butler bought the gun, but he says he bought it for Paige. Paige admits that he had Kingsford buy the gun, but that it was stolen since then.

There is one hilarious moment when Douglas and Blondell are searching an apartment on the sly, and she turns on a loud radio, thinking it is a safe.

The plot twists and turns, and we eventually discover that Astor was the guilty party.

Frances Drake retired from acting after she married the Hon. Cecil John Arthur Howard, second son of the 19th Earl of Suffolk.



Marinus and Tycho Brahe, etc.: Spine-tingling dialogue about the measurement of time

     There are, as everybody knows, many ways of measuring time: and right through the ages learned men have argued heatedly in favour of their different systems. Hipparchus of Rhodes sneered every time anybody mentioned Marinus of Tyre to him: and the views of Ahmed Ibn Abadallah of Baghdad gave Purbach and Regiomontanus the laugh of their lives. Purbach in his bluff way said the man must be a perfect ass: and when Regiomontanus, whose motto was "Live and let live," urged that Ahmed Ibn was just a young fellow trying to get along and ought not to be  treated too harshly, Purbach said, "Was that so?" and Regiomontanus said, "Yes, that was so," and Purbach said that Regiomontanus made him sick. It was their first quarrel.
     Tycho Brahe measured time by means of altitudes, quadrants, azimuths, cross-staves, armillary spheres and parallactic rules: and, as he often said to his wife when winding up the azimuth and putting the cat out for the night, nothing could be fairer than that. And then in 1863 along came Dollen with his Die Zeitbesttimmung vermitteslt des tragbaren Durchgangsinstrument in Verticale des Polarstens (a best seller in its day, subsequently filmed under the title "Purple Sins"), and proved that Tycho, by mistaking an armillary sphere for a quadrant one night after a bump-supper at Copenhagen University, had got his calculations all wrong.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Freezing weather gives me a chill!

I hate it!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hamilton Beamish is correct in all situations

     "We seem fated to meet."
     "And I'm not quarrelling with fate."
     "No," said Hamilton Beamish. "Fancy it being you!"
     "Fancy you being me?"
     "Fancy you being you." It occurred to him that he was not making himself quite clear. "I mean, I was sent here with a message for Madame Eulalie, and she turns out to be you."
     "A message? Who from?"
     "From whom?" corrected Hamilton Beamish. Even in the grip of love, a specialist on Pure English remains a specialist on Pure English.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Just barely kept her temper

She recovered herself. All the woman in her was urging her to take Sigsbee H. by his outstanding ears and shake him till he came unstuck, but she fought the emotion down. Gradually her glazed eye lost its dead-fishy look. Like Death in the poem, she "grinned horrible a ghastly smile." And it was a well-assumed graciousness that she eventually extended to George the quivering right hand which, had she been a less highly civilized woman, would about now have been landing on the side of her husband's head, swung from the hip.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

A bit too much of Mrs. Waddington

She was not tall, but she had bulged so generously in every possible direction that, when seen for the first time, she gave the impression of enormous size. No theatre, however little its programme had managed to attract the public, could be said to be "sparsely filled" if Mrs. Waddington had dropped in to look at the show. Public speakers, when Mrs. Waddington was present, had the illusion that they were addressing most of the population of the United States.

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

A synthetic Southerner

     "Have you ever been in a restaurant where the orchestra played Dixie?"
     "Of course.'
     "Well, then, on such occasions you will have noted that the man who gives  rebel yell and springs on his chair and waves a napkin with flashing eyes is always a suit-and-cloak salesman named Rosenthal or Bechstein who was born in Passaic, New Jersey, and has never been farther South than Far Rockaway. That is the synthetic Southerner."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

He is not high on Sigsbee H. Waddington

"Sigsbee H. Waddington," he said, "is one of those men who must, I think, during the formative years of their boyhood have been kicked on the head by a mule. It has been well said of Sigsbee H. Waddington that, if men were dominoes, he would be the double-blank."

(from The Small Bachelor, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sleeping for health

The human body is resilient. We can go hard for a good period of time, but eventually we do need some rest. I need regular sleep, but I can go on "short rations" for several days as long as I have an occasional day when I "get my nap out," that is, sleep until I wake up of my own accord.

I really think that adequate sleep is one of the key elements in good health. In God's marvelous design, the human body has a remarkable capacity for self-healing, but we have to let it do its job - and much of the healing occurs while we sleep.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Classic Wodehouse names

We shall have more to say at future dates concerning the novel The Small Bachelor by Sir Pelham Wodehouse. But first we wish to take careful note of a couple of the names he uses: J. Hamilton Beamish and Sigsbee H. Waddington. Aren't those great names? If it were not for the fact that he isn't, you would naturally assume that Beamish is a lawyer, since it seems to be some sort of law that they must go by their middle names. There really is such a name as Sigsbee, and Waddington, too, for that matter; so each by itself would not be too remarkable. But to put them together is sheer genius. Who but Sir P. G. would have thought of it?

More HERE on Wodehouse names.

Colonel March of Scotland Yard - overview

As we have mentioned before, Boris Karloff was a very undervalued actor because of his typecasting in horror films. He was, in truth, very polished and urbane. This television series demonstrates those qualities. These cases were unusual and Karloff displayed a wonderful sense of humor. My wife and I recommend it.

LINK to the Wikipedia article on the series.

The really great cooks

are the ones who can throw together a little on short notice and come out with a lot.

Bored for the simples

An expression that you hear on the Lum and Abner radio show from time to time is, "I ought to be  bored for the simples." Taken in context, it must mean roughly, "I have been pretty stupid." Finding the exact origin of the language, however, has been a little more difficult. "Simples" was a name for herbs, and some have thought that it had something to do with that. Others say it meant to have a hole bored in the head to cure lunacy. Some say it comes from the practice of boring cow horns, which were hollow, indicating that a person's head was likewise hollow. Others say it indicated boring a hole in the head to let out the stupidity. One person even said that it should be spelled "board," but that seems unlikely to me.

My blains are chilled

or however you say it when you have chillblains. This cold weather is down in my bones!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood (1942)

A man sneaks up the fire escape and peeks through the keyhole into Boston Blackie's apartment (Chester Morris). He and the Runt (George E. Stone) are packing to leave on the train and hear the intruder. They call the police, and find the "criminal" hiding in the chimney. It turns out to be Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane). He tells him that the Monterrey diamond has been stolen. Blackie and the Runt are headed to Florida, but at the train station they get a telegram from Lloyd Corrigan in California asking them to go to his apartment. Lane has his assistant, Walter Sande, follow them. Corrigan tells them to get $60,000 dollars from his safe and fly it to him. Corrigan is being forced by a gang running an extortion racket. Just after they get the safe open, Lane and Sande come in and arrest them, but they later escape. (Lane let them escape on purpose.)

Blackie and the Runt go to see Cy Kendall to get disguises so they can get out of town. They dress as an elderly man and his boy in short pants. (Stone always got the strange-looking disguises.) At the airport they buy a "gift," which is an ant farm. Lane and Sande have stored away in the baggage compartment, and Blackie manages to empty the ant farm on them. In California, Corrigan is being conned by Forrest Tucker, John Tyrell and Constance Worth until he gets the money. Worth has made Corrigan believe she is in love with him. Blackie sends the Runt to the lobby with the money before he goes into the room where the crooks and Corrigan are. When Blackie senses they are running a con game, he tells Corrigan he did not bring the money. But the crooks see Runt in the lobby and rough him up for the money. Lane and Sande come in, but Blackie persuades the local police that he is really the Inspector, and they are hauled off.

Tucker and Tyrell come back and hold our heroes at gunpoint. Then William Wright comes in and disarms all of them and takes over the whole situation. He ties them all up and goes down the fire escape just before Lane comes in. Wright tries to commandeer a cab and has a shootout with Sande and Blackie. A rooftop pursuit follows, which transitions into a climb down an elevator cable and the obligatory fistfight deluxe on a stairwell and in the elevator. And, of course, the good guys win.


Constance Worth

How to deal with an Edwin Pott

     It was a situation with which Bill frankly did not know how to cope. We have spoken of him as a young man whose name would have come high up on the list of anyone looking for a deputy to tackle a mad bull for him, and with a mad bull he would have known where he was. Nor would he have been at a loss if Edwin Pott had been some powerful thug. With such antagonists he could have expressed himself.
     But this was different. Here he was confronted by a poor human wreck with one foot in the grave and the other sliding towards it, a frail wisp of a creature whose white hairs, such of the mas still lingered on his egg-shaped head, claimed chivalry and respect. He could have recommended Edwin Pott a good lung tonic. He could not haul off and sock him on the jaw.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Col. Egbert Wedge takes charge

     In supposing that by climbing down the water pipe he had outsmarted Colonel Wedge, Bill had been laughably in error. You might outsmart captains by such tactics, and perhaps majors, but not colonels. The possibility of the existence of such a pipe had flashed upon Egbert Wedge at the moment when Charles, enjoying himself for the first time, for every footman likes smashing his employer's property, had started to break down Prudence's door, and it had sent him racing for the stairs. You do not have to tell a military man anything about the importance of cutting off the enemy's retreat.
     The quote above is from Sir Pelham Wodehouse's book, Full Moon. We here meet one of a unique class of men, one of the husbands of the various and troublesome sisters of Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth. Whereas his wife, like her sisters, is a very demanding and forceful individual, especially toward nieces who wanted to marry men of no wealth and position, Col. Wedge had essentially a kind heart. He is a former member of the Shropshire Light Infantry.

Nick Depopoulos on period furniture

"If a chair is being a good place to sit on, what difference is it making whether it is William and Marian, Early Colloquial, Heffelpuss, or Lousy the 14th." (from Fibber McGee and Molly radio show)

Inspector Farraday sure got around

There was a policeman with that name with both the Boston Blackie movies and Michael Shayne radio shows.

Michael Shayne music scores

It may be totally coincidental, but the music on the Michael Shayne radio programs that starred Wally Maher sound very much like the scores for the Michael Shayne movies starring Lloyd Nolan. Very sparse scoring with a solo horn used prominently. The movie scores were composed by Cyril Mockridge. I do not know about the radio scores.

With ethnic food, speak the language

I like various kinds of ethnic foods, but when I go into one of those restaurants, I like to hear people speaking the language. I figure that if they know the language they are more likely to know the real food.

When my wife and I were courting, we enjoyed going to Emmy’s Restaurant in Fort Smith. Emmy was the real thing, and as evidence, her mother ran the cash register, and she would count out the change to you in German.

"Dog cannot chase three rabbits at same time."

(Charlie Chan, in The Chinese Cat)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wally Maher as Michael Shayne on radio

Maher was one of the actors who portrayed Shayne on radio. I am most familiar with Jeff Chandler, who did a good job, but was very intense in his portrayal of the detective. Maher, with his sidekick Kathy Lewis, was much more easy-going. There was a comical aspect to their episodes that was completely lacking in the Chandler examples.

Maher was also heard on radio as Archie Goodwin, the assistant of Nero Wolfe. He was perhaps best known, however, as the crusty Lt. Riley on Let George Do It.

Here is a LINK to an very complete blog about Michael Shayne on radio.


 Michael Shayne spot ad from Nov. 10, 1946 featuring both Cathy Lewis and Wally Maher

If murders are so common

that they do not make national news, why are not executions so common that they do not make national new? Seems logical to me.

Let George Do It - oil changes

The Let George Do It was sponsored by Standard Oil of California (Chevron). It is interesting to hear their ads saying that drivers should get their oil changed every thousand miles.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shakespeare wrote most of the good ones

    "We won't weaken."
   "Not an iota. If they come bothering you, refer them to your agent. Tell them I've got the thing."
   "But then they'll bother you."
   "My dear child, mine has been a long life, in the course of which I have frequently been bothered by experts. And always without effect. Bothering passes me by as the idle wind, which I respect not."
   "That's Shakespeare, isn't it?"
   "I shouldn't wonder. Most of the good gags are."

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Some wives can be like that

Niagara Threepwood (nee Donaldson) was the sweetest of women, and there was no argument about her being the light of her husband's life and the moon of his delight, but she had inherited from her father the slightly impatient temper which led the latter at conferences to hammer on the table and shout, "Come, come on now!"

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Pretty dumb, even for Freddie Threepwood

Gally said that while he had always held a low opinion of his nephew's mentality and would never have cared to risk important money on him in an intelligence contest against a child of three with water on the brain, this last manifestation of his ingrowing imbecility had come as a profound and painful shock, seeming, as it did, to extend the bounds of possibility.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Alias Boston Blackie (1942)

Blackie (Chester Morris) and the Runt (George Stone) have gone to the prison to do a holiday program for the inmates. Adele Mara's brother is in prison. He was double-crossed by a couple of small-time thieves. She is not allowed to visit because she has already had her quote for the month, but Blackie agrees to sneak her in. Inspector Faraday (Richard Lane) stops their bus to go along, and he spots Mara, but does nothing about it. Mara's brother (Joe Parks) ties up the clown and take his place in order to make his escape. Blackie spots him, but Parks makes his escape after they get back to the theater. Blackie finds him at Mara's home, and Parks overpower him and steals his clothes. Blackie goes out to find him before he can get to the men who framed him.

However, before he can leave, Lane and his assistant, Walter Sande, show up. Lane leaves Sande guarding them and they escape. They go to the apartment of the man who framed Parks, but the man is already dead. They hide Parks just before Lane and Sande come in. But Blackie and the Runt slip Parks onto the stretcher and the ambulance attendants carry him out. They also escape from the police and lead them on a merry chase through town. They go to see Cy Kendall to get information about Paul Fix, the doublecrosser. They find him. He confesses to the killing, but grabs Mara and threatens to kill her. He makes his getaway and steals a car, but the police arrive and shoot him.



A Philip Marlowe simile

"Looking as guilty as Lucretia Borgia leaving a corner pharmacy."

(from the episode of the radio show entitled The Grim Hunter)

A beard to win a prize

Too little, the chronicler realizes has been said about that beard of Fruity Biffen's, and it may be that its concealing properties have not been adequately stressed. But reading between the lins, the public must have gathered an impression of its density. The Fruities of this world, when they are endeavouring to baffle the scrutiny of keen-eyed bookmakers, do not skimp in the matter of face fungus. The man behind this bead was not so much a man wearing a beard as a pair of eyes staring out of an impenetrable jungle; and, try as she might, Lady Hermione was unable to recall any more definite picture than just that.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)


It does make conversation difficult

A silence ensued. When a young man of shy disposition, accustomed to the more Bohemian society of Chelsea, finds himself alone on her home ground with a daughter of a hundred earls and cannot forget that at their last meeting he mistook her for the cook and tipped her half a crown; and when the daughter of the hundred earls, already strongly prejudiced against the young man as an intruder, has begun to suspect that he is the miscreant who recently chivvied her only child and is doing his best of marry her niece against the wishes of the family, it is almost too much to expect that the conversation will proceed from the first with an easy flow.

(from Full Moon, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, November 18, 2013

The ice plant in Booneville, Arkansas

One of my vivid memories of childhood is of trips to the ice plant in Booneville, Arkansas. We made a lot of homemade ice cream, and that was our sourc of ice. Back in those days, there was not bagged ice available at every convenience store, so we had to go to the ice plant and buy it. It was fascinating. The man would get his large tongs and drag out a big lock of ice, perhaps six feet long and three feet square – something about that size. Then, he would get the ice pick and chip along the dividing line built into the block to get the portion to put into the chopper. It would chip the ice, making a wonderful noise.

The ice plant had a wonderful, icy smell. It is one of those places that is associated in memory with scents.

How dry was it, Pat Buttram?

It was so dry the buzzards were circling overhead because I had water on the knee.