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.