Friday, January 31, 2014

Jack Benny: "To Have and Have Not"

One of the funniest moments of the Jack Benny program was an episode called "To Have and Have Not." Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were his guest stars. Jack is rehearsing a scene from that movie with Bacall, and Bogart shows up unexpectedly. He keeps interrupting the rehearsal to show Jack how to do the kissing scene.

Here is a LINK to that episode.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another Private Eye: "The Razor"

We encounter this stalwart of the Private Eye profession in The Jack Webb Show. “The Razor: he’s sharp.” He was no “cheap, commercial detective,” therefore there was no sponsor for his program.

His girlfriend is Peaches LaToole. “Oh, Razor, you’re on edge.” “Razor, darling, you seem to be in a lather.”

His arch-enemy was Stan Strop.

Jack Benny: Where money was concerned there were no friends

Edgar Bergen: You wouldn't charge that much to poor little old me, would you?

Benny: Certainly. That's how I got to be rich little old me.

Tom Green County, TX - ever wonder about maps?

Do you ever look at maps of states or counties and wonder why they were configured the way they are? For example, take Tom Green County, Texas. (As far as I know, it has no connection to my great-uncle Tom.) Look at the long panhandle sticking out there. Why would they do that? It would much more logically fit into one of the counties it lies between. Not a big deal, but it would be interesting to know.

A little snow in the South

It just creates a lot more problems than it does farther North.

PHOTO: In this aerial photo, traffic is snarled along the I-285 perimeter north of the metro area after a winter snow storm on Jan. 29, 2014, in Atlanta.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mayor LaTrivia in the Coast Guard

On the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, Mayor LaTrivia (Gale Gordon) joins the Coast Guard and is bidden farewell on the program. Later he is welcomed back. In fact, actor Gordon was a veteran of the Coast Guard, so they just wove his military service into the program.

Here is a LINK to his  biography.

Fibber McGee and Fred Nitney in vaudeville

Fibber: Did you take a bath?

Fred: Why? Is there one missing/?

Charlie Chan on Wealth

"What is wealth? Write down list of friends and you have answer."

(from Charlie Chan Carries On, by Earl Derr Biggers)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An evening with Monsieur Beaucaire

My niece and her husband are visiting in the area this week, and they wanted to watch an old movie from our extensive collection. After much consultation, they arrived at Monsieur Beaucaire, the Bob Hope/Joan Caulfield comedy classic. I honestly think it is one of Hope's very funniest movies.

Churchill surveying the damage in London

One of the famous photographs of World War II.

Fibber McGee's place in societey

The underdone bottom of Wistful Vista's upper crust.

Hollywood deals with what isn't

If it were real, then it would not need to be portrayed. Our portrayal is a picture of what is real, and the picture itself is not real. Therefore, Hollywood deals with what is not. So, if they deal with what isn't, then they must be people who aren't - aren't real people, that is. Just fictitious and fabricated. What a life!

Monday, January 27, 2014

How do you tell when you have grown up?

When you stop focusing on what you want to do and start focusing on what you ought to do.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Backfire (1950)

Edmond O'Brien has to tell his ex-GI buddy Gordon MacRae after his operation that he is not going to be able to begin ranching immediately because of his surgery. Nurse Virginia Mayo cares for MacRae in the hospital. They have fallen in love. That night Viveca Lindfors slips into his room and tells him that O'Brien has been hurt and is calling for him. She says he is suffering terribly and wants to be put out of his pain. MacRae tells her to tell him to hang on until he can get to him. She supposedly wrote her address on a pad and left it for him, but the doctor tells him it was a hallucination. Then he gets a telegram from O'Brien from Chicago, saying that everything is fine. After MacRae is released from the hospital, the police pick him up. Captain Ed Begley tells him that O'Brien is wanted for the murder of Richard Rober. There is a flashback as Begley tells MacRae the details of when they attempted to arrest O'Brien. They have no proof of his guilt, but he is the #1 suspect, especially since he ran. MacRae says he may not have come back because he was injured, and Begley agrees to play along with him.

MacRae starts looking for O'Brien. He pays his overdue phone bill at the hotel. Ida Moore, the housemaid, tells MacRae about O'Brien while he was there. She mentions $40,000 that O'Brien and Rober were fighting about. Rober was blackmailing O'Brien about overdue taxes. MacRae locates Dane Clark, who was a service buddy and now runs a mortuary. He had seen O'Brien in a boxing match, but not since. MacRae and Mayo go to see Frances Robinson, Rober's widow, but she tells them little. MacRae calls the numbers that O'Brien called when he was staying at the hotel. One of them was to Sheila Stephens. He goes to her house, finds the extra key, and enters. In the house he finds a picture of the woman who visited him in the hospital. Her roommate comes in, and he pretends to be Lindfors' boyfriend. She mentions a man named Lou Walsh, for whom O'Brien had worked. After MacRae leaves, the girl is shot. The gun that killed her killed Rober.

Then word comes that Leonard Strong has been shot on skid row, and keeps mumbling about O'Brien. Lou Walsh had released the brake on a car, causing it to crush O'Brien's legs because he was trying to run away with Lindfors. Mayo slips into the office of the doctor who worked on Walsh. She observes the doctor burning the record of O'Brien's accident. He catches her, and locks her in a side room. He calls MacRae and tells him where O'Brien is, but is shot by Walsh immediately after he does. Mayo hears all this. She calls the police. When MacRae gets to the address, it turns out that Walsh is really Clark. He is insanely jealous because Lindfors would not tell him that she loved him, and had strangled her. While they are talking, O'Brien manages to get out of bed and diverts Clark's attention enough to stall him until the police arrive.

Mayo and MacRae

Pretty sister and ugly brother

"Your sister?" Milligan stared at him in mock horror. "Who'd think a horny toad like you could come from the same basket as her. She's beautiful as a bay pony with three white feet, and you're as ugly as the morning after payday in a minin' town."

(from The Trail to Seven Pines, by Louis Lamour)

Controversy sharpens rhetoric

Whether the argument is religious, political or otherwise, a controversy has the effect of causing the rhetoric and the terminology to be sharply and narrowly defined. Thus, inevitably, when men look at the arguments prior to the controversy, they may be surprised at what they find. Men are always much more precise and careful in how they express things after a blow-up than before. Therefore, when we read a man's statements on the front side of an open controversy, we need to be very careful about assuming what his positions were. Had he lived through the debate, he might have changed his position, or at least been somewhat more specific about his views.

Why an acting career is not conducive to a happy home life

First of all, the acting profession generally recognizes no moral code, and a home life without a moral code will not be happy. Second, actors are actors; they are skilled at pretending to be what they are not. My wife is not a actress, so when she speaks terms of endearment, I generally can believe she means them (unless her teeth are clenched). Third, acting tends to be one of those all-consuming professions that demand such a large portion of the individual's time that there is little time and energy left for home. There are other reasons, but those are three.

I never desired for my children to enter any of the performing arts for these reasons. They are not famous, but they are a lot happier.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Immersed in old radio shows

I carry a binder of CDs in my car to listen to as I drive. My wife carries an internet device with her to listen to shows. We go to sleep every night with them on. I listen to them off and on at work. If my wife and I seem a little old-fashioned, it is no wonder why.

"Even bagpipe will not speak when stomach is empty."

Charlie Chan, in The Black Camel

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sam Spade gives credit to the wrong source

In the episode entitled "The Queen Bee Caper," Sam discovers the dead body of Ursula Cavanaugh, who has been stung to death by bees. He quote the verse, "O death, where is thy sting?" but mistakenly gives credit to Shakespeare. Shakespeare may have used that expression somewhere in his writings, but the apostle Paul wrote it under divine inspiration long before the playwright came along.

The benefits of learning Latin

First of all, it is the root language of most of the languages of the western Hemisphere, so it immediately give you at least a vague idea of what people are saying in those languages. Second, because it is the root language, it increases your vocabulary in English. Third, because it is a dead language, it is not subject to the constant evolution that occurs with languages that in current use.

Hannibal Mortuous' version of "dumb blonde"

"A lovely body propelled by a ridiculous mind." This was from the episode of the Sam Spade radio show entitled "The Tears of Night Caper."

Front grill art

I am curious why more car buffs do not modify the front grills of their cars with lights and reflectors so that at night they appear to have faces.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just be patient

Overhead a buzzard wheeled in lazy ellipses, swinging wide and calmly. The buzzard was in no hurry. In his experience everything eventually came to him.

(from The Trail to Seven Pines, by Louis Lamour)

Broadway Is My Beat - abnormal murders

I guess the thing about this radio show that made it unpleasant was the fact that the writer(s) seemed determined that none of the murderers would be "normal." Everything had to be psychotic or something like that. Well, maybe not all of them, but a large percentage.

Mike Schreck - another detective for our stable

In the episode of Broadway Is My Beat entitled "The Helen Carroll Murder Case," Sgt. Gino Tartaglia tells Lt. Danny Clover that during Clover's vacation he has been preparing himself by studying Schreck's methods. He is "the bald-headed miracle detective from Philadelphia." It seems that he developed two interesting theories: 1) Find the woman; and 2) The criminal always returns to the scene of the crime. He also supposedly coined the phrase "open and shut." Miracle detective he may be, but not very inventive.

Gallagher on Voyage of the Scarlet Queen

Gallagher was the first mate on the ship in this radio show series. Edwin Max played the part. He had a very distinctive voice, and interacted well with the star, Elliott Lewis. This was a well-done adventure series.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Portrait of the long-suffering detective lieutenant

Herschel Bernardi played Lt. Jacoby on the TV detective series Peter Gunn. His dry, dead-pan demeanor was a perfect contrast to the smooth style of Craig Stevens as Gunn.

Worst music for an old radio show?

I will nominate the Michael Shayne program for the (dis)honor, at least during the time when Jeff Chandler played the title role. The score was poorly written and poorly performed. Just did not get the job done at all. Instrumentation all wrong, and the performance out of tune.

Jack Benny and Jimmy Stewart at the Brown Derby

Jack: "Oh, waiter. Waiter!"

Jimmy: "Jack, just call him. Don't wave your toupee."

Mel Blanc's roles on the Jack Benny radio show

Carmichael the Polar Bear, Sy the Mexican, Professor LeBlanc, Polly (Jack's parrot), the Maxwell car, the department store clerk who has to re-wrap Jack's gifts, and others.

Jack tells Rochester not to crack jokes

"You know, your irrevocable propensity for jocularity is just an inept endeavor to be facetious."

Johnny Fletcher Mystery radio show

This was a radio program from 1946-48. I have been able to find only one episode. It starred Albert Dekker as salesman and sometimes-detective Fletcher, with Mike Mazurki as his sidekick Sam Cragg.

Here is a LINK to a definitive discussion of the program.

Isn't It A Crime radio show

This radio program aired in 1945. I have been able to find only one episode. The format was similar to the Ellery Queen program in that the audience is given a chance to solve the mystery before it is revealed at the end of the program.

Here is a LINK to the episode.

Radio voices as familiar as faces

I am listening to the episode of the Michael Shayne radio show entitled "The Phantom Neighbor." Without knowing who was in the program, I could easily identify Jeff Chandler, Jack Webb and Betty Lou Gerson just by their voices. That vocal identity was a unique aspect of the golden age of radio.


"Historic downtown"

How often do you hear this term. It is logical, since cities start small and grow outward, thus the center (downtown) of the town is the older part of it. The phrase is used, however, to imply that there is something especially noteworthy about the historical element of the city that you really need to see. In other words, "Come spend your money here."

Marietta, Ohio

Monday, January 20, 2014

Peter Gunn: "Scuba"

A marine salvage owner hears something in his warehouse and finds giant footprints. When he goes out to the dock, a frogman raises up from the water and shoots him with a spear. This is one in a series of waterfront robberies. An agent of the insurance company hires Peter Gunn (Craig Stevens) to investigate. He goes to the office of the salvage company where the beautiful secretary takes a shine to him, but Stevens rebuffs her pass. Bern Hoffman, the other partner in the firm, tries to throw Stevens out, but he turns the table on him just as Lt. Jacobi (Herschel Bernardi) walks in. Bernardi says that he has information the partners had quarreled and Hoffman had tried to break the partnership.

Stevens goes to a aquatic shop and gets information about how to float something from the bottom of the river. She recommends Charles Cooper as the best skin diver around. He and Stevens go for a swim to get into the warehouse from the bottom side. Hoffman arrives and sees that someone has been there. Stevens goes back to the shop and asks how someone would hide something on the bottom of the river, and where it might be done. He goes back for a swim alone, and finds items that have been hidden. When he shows it to Bernardi, he knows exactly what where they originated. Stevens and Cooper go back to the river, but Hoffman sees them and follows. A fight ensues. It turns out that Cooper is the thief, and Hoffman was following to help Stevens.


His Honor the Barber radio show

It starred the great Barry Fitzgerald as a municipal judge who had  been a barber. I have only been able to find one episode.'

Image result for barry fitzgerald

Sherlock's drug habit on Edgar Bergen radio show

It is a well-known trivia fact that Sherlock Holmes' vice was the use of cocaine for a portion of his career. At the end of The Hound of the Baskervilles movie, you can hear Holmes say, "Quick, Watson, the needle," referring to that habit. In one episode of the Edgar Bergen radio show, Charlie and Don Ameche talk orchestra leader Ray Noble into getting a tattoo, and as they begin, Ameche quotes that line.

Charlie also claims to have given Bergen a tattoo on the top of his bald head.

Ray Nobles buys a tie

Ray: Do you have a brown tie to match my eyes?

Charlie McCarthy:  Do you have a bow tie to match his legs?

Dale Evans the singer

We have become so accustomed to thinking of Dale Evans as The Queen of the West, appearing with her husband, Roy Rogers, that we forget that she was an accomplished singer in her own right. She appeared for a time as a regular on the Edgar Bergen radio program, for example, as their featured singer.

Common sense from Charlie Chan

"Elaborate excuse seldom truth."
(from Castle in the Desert)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hollywood's iron faces

Don't you just love it when the good guys get beaten have to death by the hoods and the next morning they don't have a mark on them? Hollywood heals quickly.

What did the rebel yell really sound like?

Much has been written about the unique rebel yell that characterized the Southern charges during the War Between the States. But since the last veteran of that war has been dead  for several decades, what did it really sound like? Here is a LINK to a Youtube clip in which actual Southern veterans sound the yell. A major part of our Southern history.

Clint Walker - star of Cheyenne TV series

Walker was 6'6" with a 48" chest, and had worked as a bouncer before he got into acting. Not hard to figure why.

Cavalry charge

Few scenes in American movies can compare to a charge of the U. S. Cavalry. With "Charge" blowing on the bugle and the horses running flat out, it never fails to be thrilling.

Bat Masterson TV: "The Desert Ship"

Bat Masterson (Gene Barry) is in a poker game with Col. John Wengraf and wins everything he has, even a very old watch, even though Wengraf accuses him of cheating. Wengraf's niece, Karen Steele, asks Bat for the watch. She says that engraved on the watch are encoded figures that will let them locate a phantom ship of the desert that was supposed to have carried a treasure. Her henchmen knock out Bat while they are talking, and Wengraf gets the watch. Bat does research about the ship and heads out into the desert, where he finds Steele unconscious on her horse. Michael Forest, one of their henchmen, shot Wengraf and left him. They find the ship, which the sandstorm has uncovered. And the jewels are there. Just then Forest and the other gunman show up. They trade shots. Wengraf if still alive, but has to get to a doctor immediately. Bat offers them half if they will let them get him to town. They tell him that they are going to take it all regardless. Then Wengraf arrives. They offer to trade Bat's gun for Wengraf's life. Wengraf touches the treasure and dies. Then Bat overpowers the duo and they escape - and then the sand buries the wreck again.

John Wengraf


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Memories of Peter Gunn

When I started school, my father was the choir director at Booneville (Arkansas) high school. After school he would teach private voice lessons, and since I rode with him, I would have some time to kill. His older brother lived a couple of blocks from school and I would frequently walk to their house and spend the time there, usually watching television. The Three Stooges provided a lot of entertainment. Occasionally I would stay late enough to see Peter Gunn, with its memorable theme music and Craig Stevens starring as the smooth private investigator. Just one of those indelible memories of childhood.

Paladin - smooth gunfighter deluxe

Richard Boone pulled off the role of San Fransisco ladies' man and hired gunfighter Paladin on the TV series Have Gun, Will Travel. He made the role his own. With looks that could only be described as "ruggedly" handsome, Boone's smooth manner pulled off the cultured side of the combination with a flair that was unique.

The actor was a descendent of Squire Boone, Daniel's brother, which made him a distant cousin of singer Pat Boone.

Bertie decides to be courageous

I didn't enjoy myself much in Norfolk. It rained mot of the time, and when it wasn't raining I was so dashed jumpy I couldn't hit a thing. By the end of the week I couldn't stand it any longer. Too bally absurd, I mean, being marooned miles away in the country just because young Bingo's uncle and wife wanted to have a few words with me. I made up my mind that I would pop back and do the strong, manly thing by lying low in my flat and telling Jeeves to inform everybody who called that I wasn't at home.

(from The Inimitable Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

A somewhat stodgier club

          I mean, when you've got used to a club where everything's nice and cheery, and where, if you want to attract a chappie's attention, you heave a bit of bread at him, it kind of damps you to come to a place where the youngest member is about eighty-seven and it isn't considered good form to talk to anyone unless you and he were through the Peninsular War together. It was a relief to come across Bingo.
          "This club," I said, "is the limit."
          "It is the eel's eyebrows," agreed young Bingo. "I believe that old boy over by the window has been dead three days, but I don't like to mention it to anyone."

[Eel's eyebrows?]

(from The Inimitable Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sympathy for the snake

          "What are the chances of a cobra biting Harold, Jeeves?"
          "Slight, I should imagine, sir. And in such an event, knowing the boy as intimately as I do, my anxiety would be entirely for the snake."

(from The Inimitable Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Bertie's lively group for tea

Comrade Butt looked like one of the things that come out of dead trees after the rain; moth-eaten was the word I should have used to describe old Rowbotham; and as for Charlotte, she seemed to take me straight into another and a dreadful world. It wasn't that she was exactly bad-looking. In fact, if she had knocked off starchy foods and done Swedish exercises for a bit, she might have been quite tolerable. But there was too much of her. Billowy curves. Well-nourished, perhaps, expresses it best.

(from The Inimitable Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

He did not like the look of Bertie, and vice versa

It was one of those cold, clammy, accusing sort of eyes - the kind that makes you reach up to see if your tie is straight: and he looked at me as if I were some sort of unnecessary product which Cuthbert the Cat had brought in after a ramble among the local ash-cans.

(from The Inimitable Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not a restaurant he would recommend

A roll and butter and a small cofree seemed the only things on the list that hadn't been specially prepared by the nastier-minded members of the Borgia family for people they had a grudge against.

(from The Inimitable Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

A medicine you probably overlooked

Little's Linament - "It limbers up the legs." It was the basis of the fortune of the uncle of Bertie Wooster's pal, Bingo Little.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Duke's nephew's opinion of Claude Pott, P.I.

          Mr. Pott seemed wounded. "That's a nasty thing to say."
          "It was meant to be. Because," said Ricky,  becoming frank, "if ever there was a pot-bellied little human louse who needed to have the stuffing kicked out of him and his remains jumped on by strong men with hobnailed boots, it is you, Mr. Pott. The next time I see a mob in the street setting on you, I shall offer to hold their coats and stand by and cheer."

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Two more detetctives you may have overlooked

In his novel, Uncle Fred in the Springtime, Sir Pelham Wodehouse introduces us to  Buxton Black (who appeared in Three Dead at Mistleigh Court) and Drake Denver (likewise in The Blue Ribbon Murders). "The former had looked like a prosperous solicitor, the latter like a pleasure-loving young man about town. These two paragons of investigation are compared Claude Pott appearance, its seeme, did not inspire confidence.

Isn't it interesting how, if we keep our eyes open, we keep leaning about more and more private detectives?

Lord Ickenham getting under steam

Lord Ickenham nodded brightly. There had come into his eyes a gleam which Pongo had no difficulty in recognizing. He had observed it on several previous occasioins, notably during that visit to the Dog Races just before his uncle's behaviour had attracted the attention of the police. He could read its message. It meant that some pleasing inspiration had floated into Lord Ickenham's mind, and it caused a strong shudder to pass through his frame, together with a wish that he were far away. When pleasing inspirations floated into Lord Ickenham's mind, the prudent man made for the nearest bomb-proof shelter.

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The Earl of Emsworth under stress

The ninth Earl of Emsworth was a man who in times of stress always tended to resemble the Aged Parent in an old-fashioned melodrama when informed that the villain intended to foreclose the mortagage. He wore now a disintegrated air, as if somebody had removed most of his interior organs. You see the same sort of thing in stuffed parrots when the sawdust has leaked out of them.

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Not much confidence in Pongo's intelligence

"Step along and join us. Your fresh young intelligence may be just what we require. Here is Pongo, Polly," he said, rejoining the girl. It is possible that he may have an idea. He nearly had one about three years ago."

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

The comforts of home

The comforts have nothing to do with luxury. Home is comfortable because it is home. It is your place. It has your things in their rightful place. It has memories. All this makes it comfortable.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ah, the sweet words of love!

          "I was chatting with her last night, and your name happened to come up."
          "Oh, did it?"
          "Yes. In fact, she rather dwelt on you. Valerie - we must face it - is piqued."
          "But don't let that worry you," said Lord Ickenham cheerily. "She'll come round. I'm convinced of it. When you reach my age, you will know that it is an excellent sign when a girl speaks of a man as a goggle-eyed nit-wit and says that her dearest wish is to dip him in boiling oil and watch him wriggle."
          "Did she say that?"
          "Yes, she was most definite about it - showing, I feel, that love still lingers.

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Watching grandchildren's events

Concerts, ballgames, etc. etc. Sometimes it can almost be a full-time job. But a nice job. (Beats making boxes by a country mile.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Slightly Honorable (1940)

Edward Arnold is the head of a crooked political machine. Pat O'Brien is an attorney out to get him. Broderick Crawford is his assistant. They hope to get a bill introduced to require all contracts to be by bid. Claire Dodd is an old flame of O'Brien's who is now keeping company with Arnold. At Arnold's club, O'Brien learns that his featured dancer, Ruth Terry, is only eighteen. Later he sees Bernard Nedell trying to manhandle Terry and knocks him out. Terry becomes smitten with O'Brien, and becomes somewhat of a pest. She is not overly bright, and continually gets him into embarrassing situations. Dodd asks him to come to her apartment to add to her insurance policy a bracelet that Arnold gave her. Terry is jealous. At the apartment, O'Brien finds Dodd murdered, and swears to find who did it. He eventually does, after several twists and turns. The culprit? It is Crawford, in a nice surprise ending.

Willie Best is the elevator operator, and, as usual, steals the show.

Terry made a number of western movies. Here is a very nice LINK about her movie career.


Ruth Terry

Alias Mary Smithers

One of the best episodes of the All Star Western Theater radio show was one entitled “Alias Mary Smithers.” Virginia Mayo guest-starred as the sister of the owner of the ranch where the three Riders of the Purple Sage worked. Her brother was ill, so he sent her on the annual trip to the ranch to audit operations. They assume she will be an elderly spinster, but quite the contrary.
Here is a LINK to that episode.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The definition of Cool

Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn

The Peter Gunn theme LINK

My wife has me discouraged

I just went to the refrigerator to get a snack, and it looks like my choices are frozen hot dogs or coffee beans. She is serious about this diet!

Why Lyle Greenow moved to Hatfield

In the episode entitled "Advisory Service," we learn from Ben Withers why it was that Lyle Greenow moved from to Hatfield, Arkansas. It seems that Greenow got caught in the westbound Labor Day parade traffic and was not able to execute a left turn until he got to Hatfield. Evidently once he got there, he just stayed.

Sammy the Drummer on the Jack Benny radio show

We finally learn his last name on the episode entitled "Jury Duty." He was Sammy Weiss. In the program he had an extended conversation with Jack because the other boys in the band were picking on him. Jack says that he is glad to know his last name. He always just called him "Sammy the Drummer." Here is a LINK to more information about him.

Who cares what celebrities say about anything?

Their lives are monuments to corruption, instability, bad judgment and selfishness. Why would I care what they think about anything?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Jeremiah K. Plumtree - another detective

This was a fictitious detective invented on the spur of the moment by writer Jeffrey Andrews (played by Chester Morris) in the movie Blind Spot. He supposedly solves a mystery about a murder in a locked room.

Claude Pott: not your prototypical private eye

          To Pongo Twistleton, whose idea of a private investigator was a hawk-faced man with keen, piercing eyes and the general deportment of a leopard, Claude Pott came as a complete surprise. Hawks have no chins. Claude Pott had two. Leopards pad. Pott waddled. And his eyes, so far from being keen and piercing, were dull and expressionless, seeming, as is so often the case with those who go through life endeavouring to conceal their thoughts from the world, to be covered with a sort of film or glaze.

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Just a bad dancer

          "I was late for my dancing lessons."
          "I was going to ask you about that. What's this idea of your suddenly taking dancing lessons?"
          "Valerie insisted on it. She said I danced like a dromedary with the staggers."
          Pongo did not blame his sister. Indeed, in comparing her loved one to a dromedary with the staggers she had been, he thought, rather complimentary.

He was a geometric illustration

Nature, stretching Horace Davenport out, had forgotten to stretch him sideways, and one could have pictured Euclid, had they met, nudging a friend and saying, "Don't look now, but this chap coming along illustrates exactly what I was telling you about a straight line having length without breadth."

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime)

Don't tell Pongo about strange uncles

          "Mr. Davenport has been entertaining his uncle, the Duke of Dunstable, to luncheon, and over coffee His Grace broke most of the sitting-room furniture with a poker."
          To say that this information surprised Pongo would be correct. To say that he was astounded, however, would be going to far. His Uncle Alaric's eccentricities were a favourite theme of conversation with Horace Davenport, and in Pongo he had always found a sympathetic confidant, for Pongo had an eccentric uncle himself [the Earl of Ickenham]. Though hearing Horace speak of his Uncle Alaric and thinking of his own Uncle Fred, he felt like Noah listening to someone making a fuss about a drizzle.

(from Uncle Fred in the Springtime, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Radio shows were hard work

Even a radio program of only fifteen minutes like Lum and Abner must have been a full time job. First of all, each episode had to be written and rehearsed, at least to some extent. That would include the sound effects and announcements. The actual broadcast had preparation beforhand and wind-up afterward. Then there was the coordination with the network and the advertisers and publicity, not to mention the financial side of the enterprise. Fifteen minutes would pretty well swell to take all available time, I would suspect.

Smackout - early Fibber and Molly

In their earliest radio days, Jim and Marian Jordan's program was known as Smackout, and originated on station WMAQ in Chicago. Here is a LINK that tells a little about it and lets you listen to a portion of the program. You can hear Fibber's very pleasant tenor voice.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Hired Wife (1940)

This is an entertaining film that we first encountered as an old radio show, then we found it on DVD (after having to look for a while). This was one of a series of look-alike roles that Rosalind Russell played so well - the efficient businesswoman who eventually melts. In this entry, she is the executive secretary and right hand of cement company owner Brian Aherne. Every spring, Aherne falls in love with the "blonde of the season." And it happens that as our film start he has been smitten once again, this time by Virginia Bruce, a model that he also is trying to get to be the face for their advertising campaign. Sparks fly when Russell and Bruce meet, but Aherne takes Bruce to lunch and they hit it off despite Russell's attempts to break it up.

Dexter Cement is in the middle of trying to fend off a takeover bid by a bigger competitor, who are going to get an injunction to tie up his assets on a technicality. His lawyer, Robert Benchley, comes up with the idea that if he marries immediately, he can transfer all his assets to his wife and stop the takeover. He sends Russell to talk to Bruce to get her to go along, but the way Russell phrases the proposal, she refuses. Then Dexter has to grasp at the nearest straw, so he talks Russell into going with him to South Carolina to get married, purely as a business arrangement. However, before their turn, they watch a young couple being married and are both seriously impacted by the ceremony. When they get home, however, she admits to him that she set up Bruce's refusal. He fires her, but the next morning realizes that legally he can do nothing without her.

Dexter proposes to Bruce, but she is understandably cool when she comes to the office and sees the office celebration. He explains, however, and she warms back up to him. The competing company suspects that the marriage is not bona fide, and so Benchley says that they need to live under the same roof to prove it. They have to have a chaperone to verify the situation, and they draft Benchley. Then John Carroll, a Latin American friend of Russell's, comes to the office. He is strapped for funds and she hires him to romance Bruce, which he does at great expense. Then the other company gives up their suit, and Aherne tells Russell he wants a divorce. She, however, likes the arrangement and refuses to give him one. Then the judge who married them shows up and tells them that they are not legally married, because his license had not been renewed. So Russell gives up - but not before she kicks Aherne in the seat of the pants. As she leaves the office she meets Carroll coming in. He tells her he asked Bruce to marry him. But just then Aherne finds out that Carroll had been hired by Russell, Things almost break out into a four-way brawl, but at the last moment Aherne realizes the loves Russell, and the same with Bruce toward Carroll, and all ends happily.

Russell and Aherne

He took in the room at a glance

You have heard expressions such as this used about Sherlock Holmes and perhaps other detectives. They were able to comprehend in an instant all the details at the crime scene. This entails more than just observation, however, because the detective had to see what was there, but also to know what was relevant. He had to get the details that mattered and ignore the ones that did not.

Does everyone in the world speak English on radio?

In the Dangerous Assignment radio program, Brian Donlevy travels to a new country every program, but no matter who he encounters, rich or poor, that person speaks fairly fluent English. Amazing, isn't it?

Sgt. Otis on Richard Diamond radio show

The bumbling but lovable Sergeant Otis Loveloon on the Richard Diamond radio program was played by Wilms Herbert. Diamond is always picking on him, but Loveloon is generally too slow-witted to make any effective rejoinders.