Thursday, December 31, 2015

Andy Hardy's view of education

"Dad, this graduation is serious! Why, it's so serious it's almost fatal - like getting married.

(from Andy Hardy's Private Secretary)

Youthful Mickey Rooney

Andy Hardy's Private Secretary. This movie was released in 1941, and Mickey Rooney played a high school senior. Of course, he was born in 1920, which made him at least a couple of years too old for the role. But, of course, because of his small size, playing younger characters was pretty much of a standard of his movie career.


George Macready - he of the "oily" voice

When Hollywood producers needed an actor to portray a male character whose could be described as "oily," then they needed to look no further than George Macready. His voice fully fit that description.

George Macready

Angel Face

In 1938 movie Convicted, Charles Quigley is the detective investigating a murder case in which Rita Hayworth's brother is the chief suspect. When Quigley arrives at Hayworth's apartment with his assistant to begin investigating the case, he immediately begins calling her "Angel Face," and continues that moniker throughout the movie. As no surprise, romance blossoms before the end of the film. By the way, this is a pretty good early crime drama. Pretty good acting, a good plot, some romance, a little comedy, some historical significance.


Our Barry Craig connection

My family and I have spent a lot of time in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma over the years, which is about 2 1/2 hours from our home. We also spent a lot of time listening to Barry Craig old radio shows. The actor who portrayed Barry Craig was William Gargan. One of Gargan's early movie credits was as the hero in Alibi for Murder. The leading lady in that movie was Marguerite Churchill. She died in Broken Arrow in the year 2000. Sort of far-fetched, but there you are!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Another Old Eddards Saying

"Never put off today what you coulda done tomorrow."
(from the Lum and Abner radio show)

It is my sad lot in life

that the things that I do well are not things that produce much income. There is just not much demand for spit-bubble blowing.


Left-handed pianists

I wonder how common they are? I am guessing that they are even less a percentage of the piano-playing population than they are of the population in general. The more intricate lines in piano pieces are usually for the right hand, and if that hand is not a person's dominant hand, it would make them more difficult to master, it seems to me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

One thing I won't do that I wanted to

is to visit the Pearl Harbor memorial Hawaii. My father was stationed at Pearl during the later part of World War II, and I have thought it would be very nice to visit where he worked during the War. At this point, however, you won't get me on an airplane for that amount of time, and going to land and sea is a little to expensive and involved; so I suppose I will just read about it.


Thomas Film Classics - a good site to buy old movies and TV shows

My experience with them has been very positive.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Clown Prince

Meadowlark Lemon just died. He was the comic star for the Harlem Globetrotters for many years during my youth. He was tremendously entertaining. The Trotters, of course, played for fun, and fun it was - for everyone. After we had seen their routine, we knew what they were going to do, but it was always outrageously funny every time we saw it.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935)

This is a nice little Ellery Queen mystery. It is from an early date, and it lacks such things as background music, but the clarity of the copy that is in public domain is fairly good. Bodies drop like flies, and Ellery is involved in romance with the leading lady. If you are an Ellery Queen fan, this is worth your while.

Image result for spanish cape mystery

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Louis L'Amour got this one right

Sometimes in his novels author Louis L'Amour would venture into speculation about spiritual and religious matters, and he evidently was ill-equipped to do it. However, in Jubal Sacckett, the Nachez Indian princess Itchakomi, in accepting Jubal's somewhat-indirect proposal of marriage, uses this expression: "When you wish to go to the mountains, you may go, and if you with it, I will go with you, and when you make your camp, I will cook your meat, and when you wish to sleep, I will prepare your bed. Where you go, I will go." That sounds very similar to the familiar passage from the Book of Ruth, which is frequently used in our marriage ceremonies.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The danger of self-righteousness

We need to be upright in our conduct. God has commanded it; duty demands it. However, being the sinners that we are, even when our outward walk is generally above reproach, there is the very real danger that we will become puffed up and begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Even the best of men is a black sinner. I would never advise someone to be slack in their conduct to avoid self-righteousness. We need to be righteous in our conduct, but we also need to be humble in our state of mind.

Sometimes things are exactly what they seem

After hearing actor Joseph Cotten over the years, I have thought more than once that he must have been a chain smoker. Sure enough, I read today that, although he lived to the age of 88, his larynx was removed late in life because of cancer.

Joseph Cotten 1957.JPG

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Francis the Talking Mule was a cash cow

The actual mule was a female named Molly, whom the studio bought for $350 from Jake and Jenny Frazier, who lived in Drexel, Missouri. They made millions from the famous series of films.


Rochester did all right

One of the standing jokes on the Jack Benny show was how miserly he was, and as part of the persona he supposedly paid his valet, Rochester, a very skimpy salary. Actually, he was reportedly the highest-paid black actor in the country and became quite wealthy. In fact, he eventually had his own valet.

A good marriage relationship

"True, I knew little of women, but I had seen my father and mother together and theirs was an easy, friendly, loving relationship of mutual understanding. Each had a role to fill and each did so, and together they made a team." (from Jubal Sackett, by Louis L'Amour)

A good description of what marriage ought to be. It is distressing how much society ignores that solid principle, "each had a role to fill."

Louis L'Amour's explorers of old

L'Amour seemed to be fascinated with anyone who may have explored the North American continent prior to its settlement, and also with other historical figures who could have had some connection (fictitiously or otherwise, directly or indirectly) with such exploration. In his novel, Jubal Sackett, set in the late 1600s, he mentions several such.

Alonso Alvarez de Pineda. He was a Spanish explorer and cartographer, who led several expedoitions, principally in the Gulf area, in the time period of 1517-19.

The Cominazzo Family. They were from Brescia, Italy, and specialized in making gun barrells. Jubal owned a set of pistols that supposedly had been made by them.

Prince Madoc. This was a Welsh noble who supposedly sailed to America in 1170.

Hanno the Phoenician. He was a Carthaginian explorer of the fifth or sixth century B.C.

Juan Pardo. He was a Spanish conquistador who led an expedition through the Carolinas into what is now eastern Tennessee.

Juan Ortiz. A Spanish explorer whom Hernando de Soto found living among the Indians in 1539.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ozzie and Harriett before

America in my day knew them best as the couple on the television program. However, before they were on television, the same show had been on radio. Even before that, Ozzie had been a fairly well-known band leader. Harriett Hilliard had been a singer with the band before she married Ozzie. She appeared in several movies, including The Falcon Strikes Back.

Convenience store paper

(I am speaking of that in the pumps, not in the restrooms.) It ought to be a law (not really) that convenience stores have to check their pumps each morning and if there is not enough paper in the machine to make it through the day, they have to change out the roll. "Pay at the pump" is a convenience for customers as well as for the store, and if they "advertise" as having that convenience, they ought to make sure it is provided.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Inefficient South African radio talk

In the radio show Squad Cars, the policemen will use the phrase "understood and acknowledged." In America, we just say "Roger," which means "understood and acknowledged." Saves five syllables.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Sackett wrinkle that never happened

Sacketts were always bumping into kinfolks in the Louis Lamour novels; that was a regular feature of the series. For example, the Cumberland Sacketts had occasional contact with the Clinch Mountain branch of the family. But one story that Louis never got around to was to bring the line of Jubal Sackett. He went west several generations before the rest of the family, and it would have been a nice twist if some of the Cumberland or Clinch Mountain groups had run into Jubal's offspring.

Friday, December 18, 2015

If your sign of rebellion is a permanent sign

then it will still be there, even if you should cease to be rebellious later on.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sun dog

Have you ever seen a sun dog? It is a prismatic effect, must like a rainbow, except that it is just a spot in the sky that is not necessarily connected to rain.


Squad Cars

Squad Cars was a police drama radio program produced in South Africa. It is much like Dragnet and similar programs from America, except that the cops have different accents.


"Fuhst" - carrying Hollywood accents too far

At the beginning of the Gunsmoke radio show, Matt Dillon (William Conrad) said that he is "the first man the look for, and the last man they want to see." He pronounces it "fuhst," with that affected blue-blood accent that cannot bear to pronounce an "r." Do you think that a Kansas sheriff in the 1800s would have pronounced it that way?

The development of words

According to Online Etymology Dictionary, "Stupid retained its association with stupor and its overtones of "stunned by surprise, grief, etc." into mid-18c." So, to be stupid meant "to be in a stupor." But you hardly ever hear it used that way today; it means only "lacking in intelligence."

Paladin's real name

Paladin was the main character in the Have Gun, Will Travel radio and television shows. A paladin was a knight in Charlemagne's court, and the famous gunfighter adopts it. As far as I have been able to determine, his real name is never revealed, but instead he is always called by his adopted title. On the other hand, we do know that Hey Boy's real name is Kim Chang.

Celestial Dragon Society

This is an organization in the Have Gun, Will Travel radio show. Regular character Hey Boy is a member of it. In at least one episode, the group plays an important part in helping to finish a railroad track under a deadline.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Price of Fame Matter

This is one of the 30-minute Bob Bailey radio episodes of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. What makes it different is that Vincent Price is a guest star. He has had a valuable painting stolen, and calls in Johnny to help recover it. You would not think it would work, but Price and Bailey mesh remarkably well, and the episode comes off very nicely.


The limits of sympathy

Sometimes we are unsympathetic because we are uncaring, and that certainly is wrong. Sometimes, however, we cannot fully identify with the other person because we have no frame of reference; we have never experienced what that person is enduring. And on some occasions, we cannot sympathize simply because we have too many troubles of our own occupying our minds at the time.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Andre Previn jazz albums

Perhaps Previn is best known for his work in classical music,  but my acquaintance with him has been through his wonderful jazz recordings. Like anyone else, all his work is not all of equal quality, but so far, at least, on every album there has been a song or two of superlative beauty. Previn has a knack for taking a pretty song, or even an average tune, and turning it into something that sparkles in our ears and makes us say, "That is as good as anything I ever heard." If you like piano jazz, then you need to be acquainted with this master of the art.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Kiri Sidetracks: The Jazz Album (a review)

This is one of the ventures of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa into the realm of old standards. Very much like the albums Linda Ronstadt made with Nelson Riddle, it has it deficiencies because of their inability to quite make the transition from rock and opera to jazz. Kiri just is not able to pull it off on many of the numbers, which is understandable given her operatic background. However, listening to Dame Kiri is always a pleasure in any case.

That being said, there are a few of the tracks that are successes. In particular, "Like Someone in Love," and "It Never Was You," are so beautiful that they almost hurt. Of course, having Andre Previn, Mundell Lowe and Ray Brown backing you up doesn't hurt at all. Those two songs are of the quality that allows you to listen to them over and over again without ever getting tired of them. To really appreciate them, you need to lie down as you listen, close your eyes, and immerse yourself in the luscious ocean of sound.

And the picture of Kiri on the album cover is almost worth it by itself. Those eyes! Money well spent.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Detective shows cannot be set in the summertime

Because detectives always have to wear trench coats, and they would burn up if they worked in the summer.


Women and high blood pressure

One of the company wits where I work used to say, "Women don't have high blood pressure; they are just carriers." I don't know about the first part, but it seems like he got the second part about right. Hmmmmm?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Driving my life away

365 days times 5 divided by 7 = 261 work days a year. Minus 11 holidays = 250. Minus 25 days of vacation = 225. Times 2 hours a day driving = 450 hours. Divided by 16 waking hours a day = 28 days a year I spend in my car driving two and from work.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


It is easy to see why people suffer from depression. "Why bother?" When life becomes meaningless, all the joy goes out of it; or perhaps vice versa. When a person fails to see a reason for his being, then he becomes just a drop of water in the ocean.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Music for The Great Escape

The musical score to The Bridge on the River Kwai was an Academy Award, and deservedly so. Another great score was that to The Great Escape. The latter reminds me a lot of the former. I wonder if that was by design.

Translating idiomatic expressions

How does one translate an idiomatic expression. For example, take this one: "Don't get your nose all bent out of joint!" If you translate it verbally, the reader in another language might think you were speaking of a broken nose. On the other hand, if you merely give the general sense of the expression, then it is less a translation and more of an interpretation. This is a problem translators face all the time.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

All right, you rat, talk!

"Silence is golden except in police station."

(from Charlie Chan's Chance)


Monday, December 07, 2015

Some eloquence from my offspring

"Autumn is the time for warm sweaters, good conversations and old friends."

A quote from the blog of my daughter, Leah. Very well said, my dear.


(Or maybe it was warm conversations, old sweaters, and good friends.)

Memories of parched peanuts

One of my favorite memories from wintertime trips to my maternal grandparents’ home was parched peanuts. They had an old-style wood stove in the living room, and would put a pan of peanuts on top of it and wait for them to cook sufficiently. Then we would eat them and eat them. I remember my uncle chuckling once while feeding my cousin, “It’s like stoking a furnace.”


Distinctive and memorable voices

Actors frequently made it in the movies or on television because of their appearance. Either they possessed remarkable beauty, or they had some distinctive feature that made them memorable, such as Jack Elam's wall eye. This fact was just as true on radio, but there it was how the actors sounded, not how they looked. Thus, when we see pictures of some of the actors, we are a little surprised at their lack of attractiveness; but it just was not necessary on radio.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Jack Benny the archer

Jack Benny, shooting an arrow in his back yard: "Watch now while I get a bullseye."

Phil Harris: "You couldn't get a bull's eye if you were Elsie the Cow."

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Said the rooster to the hens

Two boys were playing football in the yard, and one of them accidentally punted the ball into the chicken yard. The rooster looked at it for a moment, and then said to the hens, "I'm not complaining, but this will show you what the girls next door are doing."

Friday, December 04, 2015

Side view mirrors

Unless your inside rear view mirror is obscured for some reason, the mirrors on either side of your car are for seeing what is coming up beside you, not behind you. If you use them for rear view mirrors, you are creating a blind spot for yourself.

Clean and orderly

"I like to have everything orderly and clean," said Mrs. Farren. "There is a real beauty in cleanliness and decency. Even inanimate things may breathe out a kind of loveliness if they are well cared-for. Do not you think so?"

(from The Five Red Herrings, by Dorothy L. Sayrs)

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Lum's Defense Plan

(Concerning the Widder Abernathy) "I wish there was some way of selling her to the government. She would make an awful good secret weapon to use against the enemy."

(from the Lum and Abner radio show)

Another way to say, "He died."

"He slipped out of my arms and stopped paying taxes."

(from Pat Novak, For Hire radio show)

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The versatile Mr. Karloff

If you want to get a sample of the wide range of Boris Karloff's acting ability, watch him in the movie, Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome, and then in the TV series, Colonel March of Scotland Yard. In the former he is a brutal criminal and in the latter a witty and sophisticated police officer.

The mayor is very nervous

Chief of Police : We'll assign bodyguards to you.

The Mayor: Bodyguards? Those are the guys who always shoot second.

(from the movie Dick Tracy, Detective)


This is a contraction that has fallen by the wayside. It is as useful as any other, but you practically never hear it today. This may be due to the fact that in common American English, "shall" is used rarely as opposed to years past. Therefore "shall not" is seldom used, either.

Esther Howard

Not the prettiest face in Hollywood history, but certainly one of the most memorable.

Image result for esther howard

Always a dead giveaway

When a detective in a murder mystery says, "It's just routine questioning," then you know it is anything but routine. (If those characters had just read murder mysteries, they would have known that.)

Anne Jeffreys - another Golden Age actress still with us

We know her for her portrayals of Tess Trueheart in two of the Dick Tracy movies. She was born in 1923, and according to Wikipedia, is still living.

Anne Jeffreys in I Married an Angel.jpg

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Do you doubt that World War II truck drivers had guts?


These are aerial pictures of the famous Burma Road. How would you like to drive on it?


Mr. District Attorney - a film noir?

This movie is included in a collection of films noir, pictured below. It is really a romantic comedy. However, it does have Peter Lorre as the bad guy, who is pictured in some pretty good noirish photography.


Monday, November 30, 2015

You know this skit has possibilities

"General Custer's Last Hamburger Stand." From the Abbott and Costello radio show.

Strange auto parts

Costello: I can't afford a radiator cap, so I trained my dog to sit on the radiator.

Abbott: Does he bark much?

Costello: Only when it boils over.

Just keep your mouth shut

"Silence best answer when uncertain."
(from Charlie Chan in Shanghai)

This seems like a self-evident statement, but it is amazing how many people ignore it.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Counterspy - radio and movie

David Harding was the chief of the counterspy agency, evidently the FBI, but they could not use that name. The radio programs and the movies were much the same: very businesslike and no-nonsense. Enjoyable, but not much of the warm and fuzzy.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Glorious black and white

We have been watching old black and white movies so long and I actually prefer them to color movies.


Jem Mace's boxing genealogy

Readers of Louis Lamour novels will recognize the name of Jem Mace, who supposedly tutored more than one Lamour hero in the craft of boxing. Mace was the one-time Champion of England. He defeated Sam Hurst in 1861 to win that title. Hurst had won the title from Tom Paddock, who had gained the unofficial "title" in a bout with Harry Broome in 1856. Broome had won the welterweight championship of England in 1843 from Fred Mason.

Confounded railroad ties!

"He walked beside the track to avoid the nuisance of trying to walk the irregularly spaced ties."
(from The Iron Marshall, by Louis Lamour

I remember from my childhood walking along the Rock Island railroad that ran parallel to and just south of Highway 10 at Magazine, Arkansas. It was irritating. The ties were spaced too far for one step, and too near for two. (Strange what we remember from our youth.)


Friday, November 27, 2015

Why this name never got used?

Clarinette. Ought to be a good one. Has a nice sound to it.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Skelloch" - a useful word

It means "screech, or scream." I ran across it in The Five Red Herrings, one of the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novels by Dorothy Sayers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Molita, from Vassar's Jazz

Bluegrass/jazz violinist Vassar Clements has an album called Vassar's Jazz. Most of the numbers on it are a little far out (Vassar has never been shy). However, right in the middle of all the weird stuff is one of those little tunes that just gets into your mind and your blood and you will be singing it all day long once you hear it. It is called "Molita," and it is nothing fancy. Just nice. And it fits. The tune and the harmonies are just right. Just right. It is worth buying the whole album just to get that one tune.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The falling birth rate

My parents are almost to the point of having enough great-grandchildren to equal the number of grandchildren my grandparents had.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hard to beat Beethoven

I heard someone asked the question years ago as to why modern classical music evolved the way it did: into more dissonant sound and non-standard forms. He answered, "It is hard to out-Beethoven Beethoven." He meant, of course, that just about everything had been done in the particular form of composing that was used in the Classical Period, and so composers moved onto something where they could do something new without having to try to out-master the masters.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ruth Terry, a survivor from Hollywood's golden age

There are not many actors still living from the period in which my wife and I specialize (up through 1953). One of them is Ruth Terry, a perky little brunette whom we know primarily from Mystery Broadcast (1943) and Slightly Honorable (1939). As of 22 November 2015, she was still living, according to Wikipedia, and has been married to John Ledbetter since 1966.

Ruth Terry.jpg

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I'll kill you!

Now, that is a very silly thing to say, even if one is not entirely serious about it; because it provides an opportunity for some other person who had reason to assassinate the person to do so with the glare of suspicion upon you, and not upon him. This fact, of course, every mystery writer knows, and makes use of from time to time

He must not have been very well liked

"I don't mind betting this is the most popular thing Campbell ever did. Nothing in life became him like the leaving it, eh, what?"

(from The Five Red Herrings, by Dorothy Sayers)


Friday, November 20, 2015

These things women do not like

Three things a woman will make any excuse to get out of: a rainstorm, a tight girdle, and a diet.

(from The Halls of Ivy radio show)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

And you want this man to be President?!

"Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for expanded surveillance of American Muslims, is refusing to rule out extreme measures that include warrantless searches or faith-based identification requirements."

What if the next group he is mad at is the group with which you are identified? The Constitution says you MUST have a warrant to enter a home. So Mr. Trump wants just to throw aside the Constitution?! Welcome back, King George III.

Those thirty minute movies

There were several old radio programs that presented audio versions of movies. Most of them were in a 30-minute format, which meant that there was probably about 25 minutes of actual time for the movie. Cutting down a flick that was pushing 90 minutes in its original to a third that much time must have been a real challenge to the writers. Sometimes it did not work, to the point that it was difficult to follow the plot because so much had been cut out of it. But at other times the writers were successful in including just the right pertinent dialogue to make the show enjoyable within the constraints of their time frame.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Yes, that ought to do it

A queer sensation went up his spine, such a feeling as he had known but once before, when ice cracked beneath his feet out on a lake, a half mile from shore.

(from Beyond the Great Snow Mountains, by Louis Lamour)

Be wary, young ladies

Like many young girls, Julie had thought that marriage would change her life, and indeed it had. But she discovered that the qualities in a man that had appealed to her when she was being courted were not the qualities that made a good partner for life.

(from Beyond the Great Snow Mountains, by Louis Lamour)


A real sweetheart

"He's got a personality like a temporary filling."

(from The Adventures of Maisie radio show)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Budget deficit

What you have when you haven't as much as you had when you had nothing.

(from the Fred Allen radio show)

Monday, November 16, 2015

If you got it, you got it

In the November 15, 1942 episode of the Jack Benny radio show, Dennis Day shows up with girlfriend Dorothy Lamour in tow, much to everyone's amazement. This led to some funny dialogue, as you can imagine. Whatever his other virtues, Day was far from being handsome, and on the show was supposed to have been just a kid. Jack kept saying, "I just can't understand it."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The problem with talking to my wife

After 42 years, what is there that I would have to say that she has not already heard? Terms of endearment bear repeating, of course, but all my sparkling bits of wisdom and witty repartee have long since worn thin, I fear.

We need to make up our mind about war

President François Hollande said that the attacks in Paris were an "act of war." His problem is that you cannot declare war on a non-governmental entity. In order to declare war, he would have to recognize ISIS as a legitimate nation, which I am sure he would not do. There is a difference between a criminal act and an act or war. Only nations can commit an act of war, and nations can go to war only when the representative body of that nation declares war on another sovereign state. ISIS wants to be a nation, but in reality they are just a bunch of international thugs - criminals - and ought to be treated as such.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thinking men always have a chance

"Sharp wit sometimes much better than deadly weapon."
(Charlie Chan, in Castle in the Desert)


Thursday, November 12, 2015

I do not conduct my affairs in a haphazard manner

And I have difficulty having much sympathy for the problems created for themselves by those who do. However, I have GREAT sympathy for those who have problems dumped in their laps because of the haphazard, disorganized manner of others.

The challenge for variety

One of the difficulties that even great composers faced was making their music sound different. Music from a given period sometimes runs together. Bach is Bach, and sometimes one piece sounds about like another. Same with Mozart. Even modern composers such as Shostakovich, who were not confined nearly as much by convention, ended up sounding very much alike from one piece to another. Obviously, this was not universally true, but it was from time to time. As someone once pointed out, even the great composers had to eat, and so even Beethoven cranked out a lot of music that was somewhat less than great.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Those squealing tires and sqeaking brakes

Isn't it wonderful that every time a car came to a stop in a radio program it had either tires that squealed (even on a dirt road) or brakes that squeaked. Otherwise the sound effects man would have had nothing to do.

Throw-away line

In the episode of the radio show The Chase entitled "Killer At Large," a doctor at the state mental institution calls the daughter of the psychologist to testified to have the inmate committed originally, and whom the inmate has sworn to kill. The doctor tells her that the inmate has escaped, and then says, "Try not to worry." Oh yeah, Doc, no problem!

When overcast is beautiful

Normally overcast skies just make me depressed, especially when cooler weather sets in. The exception to that is when I really do not want to be doing anything outside, anyway. Then overcast is right attractive.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Arkansas geography lessons

Because of the Lum and Abner radio show, listeners all over the country heard about such booming metropoli as Hatfield and Oden - not to mention Pine Ridge (which originally was known as Waters, but changed its name to match the program).

Monday, November 09, 2015

How tough was Costello's boyhood gang?

They were so tough that when they walked down the street, even the sewers backed up.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The empty people

The empty people, they wanted nothing more; they chafed at bonds because they were not mature enough for discipline, the kind of discipline one gives himself. He had seen too many of them, sad, misguided people, railing at institutions and ideas they were too juvenile to accept. The important things in life called for maturity, for responsibility. Too many fled from it, wanting to be back in childhood when somebody else coped with the problems.

(from Where the Long Grass Blows, by Louis Lamour)

Saturday, November 07, 2015


Because a custom is old is no reason for junking it. Men have found it the best way to go, and to deviate too far is to ask for trouble.

(from Where the Long Grass Blows, by Louis Lamour, with a hearty Amen from me)


Friday, November 06, 2015

Costello has good taste in interior decorating

The décor of his home is Early Army Surplus.

Legal theft

If a man borrows money and finds himself unable to repay it, despite his honest efforts to do so, then we do not fault him too much. However, if a man borrows money with no intention whatsoever of paying it back, that is theft, whatever it might be termed in legal jargon. The United States every year  borrows itself deeper and deeper in debt, and I have seen nothing that indicates that we EVER intend to pay it back. We are a nation of thieves.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A desperate, depressing tragedy

One of the most heart-rending scenes in American history must have been the thousands of men who were willing to work, able to work, desperately needed work because their families were facing destitution, but who could not find a job - any job.

The orderliness of little boys

It is amazing to me that little boys who cannot even really express themselves yet, when they get a set of toy vehicles, will insist on lining them up in strict order on the playing surface. Orderly, logical minds even at that age.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

A lesson from Cappy Ricks

I wanted to show you how hard and cruel men can be and excuse their piracy o the plea that it is business! I tell you, Matt Peasley, when you've lived as long as I have you'll know men for the swine they are whenever they see some real money in sight.

(From Cappy Ricks by Peter B. Kyne)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Slow, drizzly days

They are great, unless you have to be out in the rain. They lend a soft, easy quality to the day that all of us need from time to time.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Learning to let stress roll off

The older you get, the less physically able to handle stress we are likely to be, so we have to learn to roll with the punches. Water off a duck's back.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Verbal Welshmen

I found this description of the Welsh people (which is my main bloodline). However, this particular characteristic is not particularly mine.

"The Welsh enjoy talking. They talk incessantly. They talk passionately. They talk about anything. Two aspects of Welsh conversation can confuse outsiders. The first is their habit of mocking what they hold most dear. The second is the way they argue most violently with those closest to them, because they know what they can get away with. A casual listener, hearing the raised voices and the name calling of the most personal and insulting variety, might have difficulty in telling a normal discussion between two close friends from the start of a blood feud."

Movie goof-up

In the movie There's Always a Woman, Joan Blondell opens a closet door and the body of Jerome Cowan falls out. (Dead bodies always fall out of closets.) However, Cowan's corpse is pretty lively, because as he gets nearer to the floor, his arms instinctively move out to cushion the impact. Perhaps no one ever noticed it until the days of slow motion.


A hit song you may have missed

They Say My Hair Is Getting Thin, But Who Wants Fat Hair, Anyway?

(from The Smiths of Hollywood radio show)

The benefits employees provide for employers

For all my employment life, I do not recall ever missing work to have to take care of one of my children. (It may have happened, but it was so rare as to be non-existent.) This was because I had a full-time baby-sitter "on retainer" at my own expense, so the companies I worked for had a benefit that I provided for them. Of course, this is something you cannot mention.

One key to a happy marriage

Any two people have things in common and things not in common. Particularly likes and dislikes, like music, for instance. The key is to emphasize the things that are in common, and spend a good bit of time on them, and be tolerant of the dislikes. For instance, I like some forms of jazz; my wife does not. I listen to it a good bit, but usually by myself. On the other hand, we like old movies and old radio programs, and we spend a lot of time listening to or watching them together.

A little radio hypocrisy

One episode of The Smiths of Hollywood radio program deals with the anniversary of the Smiths, played by Harry Von Zell and Brenda Marshall. In the course of the program, there actually are some very appropriate things said about the sanctity of marriage vows and how people ought to take them seriously. The irony is that even though Marshall was married for 29 years to actor William Holden, they both reportedly were notorious through that period for their illicit affairs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Pearly" Gates - lovable hood

Although in real life to say a "lovable" hood is a complete contradiction in terms, Hollywood is able to pretend that things are what they are not. Actor Paul Guilfoylel portrayed Clarence "Pearly" Gates in the last two "Saint" movies (The Saint Takes Over and The Saint in Palm Springs). Hardly a hardboiled type, Pearly is helped to reform by Simon Templar (the Saint) and eventually becomes a house detective in Palm Springs, where he works with Templar to uncover a theft ring. Guilfoyle is one of those actors who had the opportunity to assume a role that fitted him perfectly.


A situation fraught with possibilities

Script writers did themselves big favors when they thought of scenarios that naturally lended themselves to comedy. For example . . . Phil Harris notices that he is getting a little gray-headed, so he  goes to Alice's beauty shop to get his hair touched up, but it is so embarrassing that he rushes out before anything can be done. He complains to sidekick Frankie Remley that he won't be able to go anywhere to get his hair done, because everywhere he does they will know who he is. To which Frankie replies, "Why go any place? We can dye it ourselves." Of course, the live audience already senses the possibilities of that predicament, and begins to laugh.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Low-demand job

I would not imagine that the Obituary Editor on a high school paper has much to do. At least one would hope not. (Actually, I have never heard of such a post.) However, in those rare cases where a classmate does expire, it could be a very sad job.

Grandchildren are joyfully welcome, whenever they come

My next younger brother just welcomed his first grandchild, three days after we had our 16th. He is only 1 1/2 years younger than I am, but whereas I married at 19, he was in his thirties. Plus, my children began cranking out children fairly quickly in their careers. So, the time schedule obviously is greatly varied. I just talked to him, and of course he is very happy. It is comforting to share in that joy at the appearing of the first grandchild, which is tremendously welcome, whether it comes when we are young or older.

Karloff with McCarthy

The radio was playing an episode of the Edgar Bergen program this morning, with Boris Karloff as their special guest. As you might imagine, it dealt with all sorts of spooky things, and it was hilarious, with Charlie's snide but cowardly character playing perfectly off Karloff's urbane and threatening persona.


Not Louie's dish

"A girl with all those calibers don't appeal to me."

Louie the cab driver to The Saint, after he suggested that they go find a particular young woman who had been packing a rod.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sally Gray - almost beautiful

Sally Gray was one of those actresses whose compelling attractiveness came from being right on the brink of beautiful - but not quite. As is often the case, that nearness to beauty have her a sort of haunting quality which enhanced rather than detracted from her loveliness. We know her mainly for a pair of "The Saint" movies. In one she was the female lead opposite George Sanders, and in the other with Hugh Sinclair. She and Sanders played off one another exceptionally well, and made The Saint in London one of the better Saint films.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cecil Parker - prototypical blueblooded villain

His voice and manner oozed cold-blooded disdain and haughtiness. See The Saint's Vacation as a prime example.



Jimmy Valentine and Boston Blackie

In Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood, Blackie has to open a safe in the apartment of his friend, Arthur Manleder. As he prepares to do it, the Runt says, "You haven't done it in a long time, Jimmy Valentine." That is a reference to a safecracker who was the main character in the 1928 film, Alias Jimmy Valentine, which starred William Haynes in the title role.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Train Time radio program

All I have been able to find of this program is the audition program. Maybe it just never made it. Its claim to fame was that it was supposedly recorded completely on board a traveling Streamliner train.

Train Time old radio shows on MP3 CDs.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Just being together

My wife and I do not talk to each other a whole lot. Some, but not extensively. After all, after 42 years we have covered most of the ground. So, we spend a lot of evenings in opposite ends of the house - she in the kitchen and I in the study. Communication is not always necessary; sometimes just being together is enough.


Sounds logical to me

Eddie Cantor: Leonard, what did you get Nora for Valentine's Day?

Leonard Seus: Get her something?

Eddie: Yes. It's Valentine's Day, and on Valentine's Day you're supposed to give her a valentine.

Leonard: Why? On Groundhog Day I didn't give her a groundhog.

(from the It's Time To Smile radio show)

Charlie Chan concerning discretion and valor

"Round-about way often shortest path to correct destination." (from Charlie Chan's Courage)

Sounds to me like another way of saying that discretion sometimes is the better part of valor. Live to fight another day.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Now there is a beautiful sight!

An almost-empty Walmart parking lot.

Monday, October 19, 2015

One of the funniest Lum and Abner episodes


The Folding Cot

It is plumb depressing!

The longer I live, the more people there are who are younger than I am. It is downright discouraging!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sherlock had connections

Jean Lena Annette Conan Doyle, the daughter of the famous author of the Sherlock Holmes writings, married Air Vice-Marshall Sir Geoffrey Rhodes Bromet. She herself as a Dame Commander, Order of the British Empire (the female equivalent of a "Sir").

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the high cost of the Great War

Like so many British families, Sir Arthur's suffered greatly during World War I. His elders son, Captain Kingsley Conan Doyle, died from influenza aggravated by war wounds in 1918. His brother, Brigadier-General Innes Doyle, died from post-war pneumonia the following year. Conan Doyle also lost two brothers-in-law and two nephews in the conflict.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bringing Holmes back to life

Sherlock Holmes fans know that Conan Doyle killed him off in 1893, only to bring him back to life in 1901 due to popular demand. Given the finality with which his death was recorded (since Doyle really had intended for it to be final), his revival was a little bit of a stretch. However, as Doyle said, "Fortunately as no coroner had pronounced on his remains" he was able to revive him.

Friday, October 16, 2015

It is an acquired taste

A friend of mine here at work frequently has a large bowl in which he puts a can of soup, a half a bag of Fritos corn chips - and a can of tuna. Hmmmm.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Oscar-nominated Chester Morris

Those of us old detective-movie fans who love the Boston Blackie series probably do not have an overly positive view of Chester Morris as an actor, since he did not appear to be working very hard at acting in those low-budget but thoroughly enjoyable movies. However, Morris was nominated for an Academy Award in 1930 (the second year of the Oscars) for his role in the 1929 gangster film Alibi.


Costello's debut performance at Carnegie Hall

He sang a piece he had composed himself - a western tune called "Who Spilled the Beer on the Stove, or Foam on the Range."

(from the Abbott and Costello radio show)


Lou Costello's cow lost her memory

Now she gives Milk of Amnesia.

Not a hard part to play

"Role of dead man require very little acting."
(from Charlie Chan's Secret)


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

He was "out of it"

Another folksy Southern expression: "He didn't know split peas from coffee."

Top hats in the Army?

After the prisoners at Colditz Castle were liberated toward the end of World War II, they were transported to Koelleda Airfield. The first thing they saw when they arrived was that all the soldiers were wearing top hats. They had just "liberated" a top hat factory and were enjoying one of the spoils of war.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Older folks' plans

When we are twenty, we plan what we are going to do when we are forty. When we are sixty, we plan what we are going to do after breakfast.
(from The Halls of Ivy radio show)

Women's intuition

"I never underrate a woman's intuition, or anything else that is made up of hope, faith, and inside information."

(Ronald Colman - Dr. Hall - on The Halls of Ivy radio show)

Fowler's English Usage

"I see you have been studying Fowler's English Usage, and fouler usage of English I have seldom heard." (Dr. Hall, on The Halls of Ivy radio show, after his wife had constructed a particularly unwieldy sentence)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Law and order

When genuine, honest law enforcement breaks down, then society descends into chaos, or underworld dictatorship. Integrity in the police community is of paramount importance - obviously.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tightrope! TV series

If you liked the Mannix television series, you probably also will like Mike Connors in this earlier (1959-1960) series. Connors plays an undercover cop who has to remain anonymous as he infiltrates various criminal organizations. One interesting twist to the show was that Connors wore his hideout gun on the small of his back.


Bob Bailey as a bad guy

In the 1959 television series Tightrope, in the episode entitled "Getaway Day," Bailey plays Frenchie Malloy, the boss of the underworld gang. Strange seeing him in that type of role.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Nazi cowards

The Nazi regime during World War II imposed untold suffering upon millions of people. And yet, when it came time for them to die. all four of the main Nazi leaders committed suicide instead of facing death like a man. They could deal it out, but they could not take it - not that we expected anything different.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The smaller pond

You have heard the expression, "A big duck in a little pond," I suppose. As we grow older, our pond grows smaller. That doesn't mean we are bigger ducks, but just that the scope of what we are able and willing to attempt grows smaller. We bite of smaller chunks. We probably have more time at our disposal, but it takes more time to do the things we have to do.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Things are always in the last place you look

because after you find them, you do not look any further.

(Ronald Colman, on The Halls of Ivy radio show)


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing

"Remember kind hearted elephant who tried to help hen hatch chickens."
(from Charlie Chan's Chance)