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)


Monday, October 05, 2015

Covetousness revealed through cell phones

You have one of those new ones with all the new bells and whistles? Why, I've got to have that variety, right now! I must have it. I cannot live without it!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Lord Arundell at Colditz castle

Perhaps the bluest of the bluebloods at the Colditz POW camp in World War II was Lt. John Francis Arundell, 16th Baron Arundell of Wardour. He was captured in 1940, later contracted tuberculosis, and died shortly after being repatriated. His was a very old and honored name in England. The first Baron, Thomas Arundell, was given the title in 1605. His blue blood ran (at least) back to Giselbert I Graf von Maasgau, who died in 877 A.D.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The duty to escape

It is well known that it was the duty of officers during WWII to try to escape and otherwise harass the enemy however they could. What may not be as well known is that in August 1944 a memo was circulated relieving them of that duty. The reason was that the Germans had become increasingly flagrant in their retaliations for escape attempts, and the progress of the Allied forces indicated that the end of the war was not far off; so the high command did not want prisoners being needlessly sacrificed.

Maybe the best swashbuckler combination ever?

Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and acting by Errol Flynn. Would it get any better than that?
HERE is the trailer. If you haven't seen this one, you have missed one of the good ones.


Friday, October 02, 2015

Another long Hollywood marriage

They are rare, but occasionally Hollywood couples did stay married a long time. Actress Cecilia Parker made a name playing Mickey Rooney's older sister in the Andy Hardy series of movies. She and her husband, Robert Baldwin, married in 1938 and remained married until her death in 1993.

Cecilia Parker in Grand Central Murder trailer.jpg

A Date With Judy - and Gildersleeve

Actress Louise Erickson played the title role in the radio program A Date With Judy. She also played niece Marjorie on The Great Gildersleeve.


A Date With Judy radio show

This is a cute program. It is a comedy, but not of the slide-splitting variety. Judy is a boy-crazy teenage girl, with the obligatory younger brother and all his caustic remarks. Worth listening to.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

One of the very most important principles in life

You must not only do things well in life, but you MUST make sure that the things you are doing are the things that MUST be done. If you perform Priority B ever so well, but neglect Priority A, then you have accomplished little. That is why so many famous people's lives are so empty and meaningless, because they spend all their energy doing things that are of relatively little importance.


The trials of a detective author

"I've got Lt. Fragwell at the bottom of a 40-foot cistern and I've got to figure a way to get him out." (from the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show)

Which Billy Mills

I have known of two famous Billy Millses. The first was a distance runner who won the 10,000 meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The second was a band leader of some note, especially as a fixture on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio program.

BillyMills cropped.jpg

Image result for billy mills band