Thursday, June 30, 2016

Not much help there

Had he been in America, he could have consulted Dear Abby or Dr. Joyce Brothers. In London he could think of no one on whose acumen he could place a similar reliance. There was Aunt Phyllis on the weekly paper for which he did a good deal of work, but Aunt Phyllis was a fat man in his fifties with a passion for lager beer and a ribald outlook on life, and he shrank from confiding in him.

(from The Girl in Blue, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

An actor with principles?

Tim Moore, who portrayed the Kingfish on the Amos and Andy TV show, was reported to have said, "I've made it a point never to tell a joke on stage that I couldn't tell in front of my mother."

It will be a sad day

when I no longer have any grandsons who like to watch Robin Hood (the Errol Flynn version)
 with me.

Sometimes looks aren't even anything

If you refer to his looks, I doubt if  will ever win a beauty contest, even a seaside one. On the other hand, he is an American corporation lawyer, and one of the first lessons we learn in life is that there is no such thing as an American corporation lawyer who does not wear hundred-dollar bills next to his skin summer and winter.

(from The Lady in Blue, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Maverick on Information Please

On the 25 July 1939 episode of the Information Please radio show, the guest panelist was Maury Maverick. He was the Mayor of San Antonio and a former Congressman from Texas. He was very entertaining as a panelist. One of the more interesting moments in the program was when a question was read from NY Mayor La Guardia about several obscure issues about which probably only a legislator would know.

Maverick was the grandson of Samuel Maverick, from whom we got the common cattle term. However, his grandson was quite a colorful and distinguished individual in his own right. He was known for not following the party line on matters and for coining the word gobbledygook.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A different sort of bird

Surprisingly in a woman who in the course of a long career had spread more nervous breakdowns among directors, leading men, supporting players and assistant stage managers than any other female star of her weight and age, Dame Flora's vocal delivery was soft and gentle. She had never been one of those empresses of stormy emotion so popular at one time on the silent screen who raged and bellowed; she got her effects more subtly. One of her playwrights, speaking from the nursing home where he was recovering from mental exhaustion, had once described her as the vulture who cooed like a dove.

(from The Girl in Blue, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Really creative title

          "This is a celebration. I've just bought The Girl in Blue."
          "Who's she?"
          "She is a miniature by Gainesborough. She is wearing a blue dress, so the late Gainesborough, hunting around for a title, called her The Girl in Blue."
          "Very clever of him. Think like lightning, these artists."

(from The Girl in Blue, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Exclusive specialties

Specialized design can tend to render items less usefel for other purposes. For example, much has been said about the functionality of cowboy boots for the cowboy's particular work, and it is indeed admirably suited for it. However, do not expect to run a race in boots with much success.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Not very encouraging

"In the dull, blank expanse of your face I can see the dismal promise of the years to come."
(Inspector Faraday to Sergeant Matthews in Trapped by Boston Blackie)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Eugene Ormandy - one of the most famous people I ever met

One of my school band directors took me to a concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra in Little Rock. Needless to say, that was a huge treat for me. After the concert, Eugene Ormandy, the conductor, was kind enough to greet some of the audience and sign autographs. I would guess that he was one of the half-dozen most famous individuals I ever met. His connection with the Philadelphia group, it was widely known as one of the top orchestras in the world.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Unusual even for Rocky's Cairo

In the radio show Rocky Jordan, Cairo is billed as a very cosmopolitan city, "crowded with forgotten men, alive with the babble of many languages." However, in the episode entitled "Stranger to the Desert," Rocky encounters a man who is strange even in Cairo. He has been stabbed, and dies as he crashes through the front window of Rocky's café. An anthropologist who happens to be in the city identifies him as an Eskimo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Vincent Price on radio

Price was a fine actor in several different fields, but his voice seemed to be particularly suited to radio acting. He liked it, and radio seemed to like him, also. He played heroes and bad guys, and played them all very well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

You won't have to travel far

"Strange events permit themselves the luxury of occurring in strange places."
(Charlie Chan in The Chinese Ring)

Monday, June 13, 2016

People who live with pain

Those of us who do not normally live with chronic pain have a rude awakening on those occasions when we are personally introduced to it.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hungarian - and everything else, too

She was raised in  Hungary, but when she arrived on the Hollywood scene, she played a variety of non-American roles. For example:
Rosita, etc., etc

The back side of a town

This is the alley behind the buildings on the eastern side of Broadway in Booneville, Arkansas. I have seen it many times because you had to go there to bring saws and mowers to the Skinner's, which was an appliance store that also sold small engine items. It demonstrates the principle that a nice store front can cover up what is behind the store.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Once again we miss history

I thought we might have a chance to see a Presidential nomination decided at the convention, but it did not happen. Campaigns are just too long and expensive for that scenario, it appears.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016


"He carried himself with the self-conscious precision of a man unduly impressed with his own importance." (from The "Canary" Murder Case, by S. S. Van Dine) I thought that was an interesting description of pride.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Vincent Price really was an art collector

One of the more notable and enjoyable Johnny Dollar radio episodes involves Vincent Price as a guest star. In this program, a painting belonging to Price has been stolen, and he and Dollar travel to get it back. In fact, in real life, Price was a noted art collector, as this LINK attests.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Real life Wilma Flintstone

Alan Reed and his wife, Finnette Walker, were married from 1930 to 1977 (his death). In an interview in 1975, Reed noted that they had ten grandchildren. Reed was a long-time actor who is most famous as the voice of Fred Flintstone, the cartoon character.

Wilma Flintstone.png

Saturday, June 04, 2016

A real Musgrave Manor?

In the Basil Rathbone movie Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, most of the plot takes place in Musgrave Manor, where the hard Musgrave clan has lived as long as anyone can remember. So, was there a real Musgrave clan? Well . . . Sir Richard Musgrave was the 1st Baronet. He died in 1615. Sir Christopher Patrick Charles Musgrave is the current holder of the title, the 15th Baronet.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Why the liver?

"Quite a gathering of the clans. More trouble eh? . . . I wish your friends, Inspector, would choose a more respectable hour for their little differences. This early rising upsets my liver."

(Philo Vance, in The "Canary" Murder Case. I understand that getting up early might be unpleasant to him, but I fail to see how it would affect one's liver.)

Thursday, June 02, 2016

A man of action

However much or little realism Howard Marion Crawford's portrayal of Dr. Watson may have exhibited in the TV version of Sherlock Holmes, he certainly was a man of action. Once he had grasped what had to be done, he acted, and forcefully. Crawford was built like a defensive lineman.

Immmorality ALWAYS hurts

There is a tendency these days to disregard anything as immoral unless it causes direct harm to someone else. The fact that it is immoral means virtually nothing, seemingly. But anything that is reprehensible and immoral always damages society. Always.

Our Miss Brooks cast

The reason Our Miss Brooks was one of the best comedy programs on radio was because it had one of the best casts. Gale Gordon made any program stronger, and he was in high form as Principal Osgood Conklin. Eve Arden was a dependable veteran herself in the title role. Margaret Davis as Brooks' landlady was a wonderful character. And Walter Denton and Stretch Snodgrass were clever caricatures of teenage boys. All in all, few shows could match this one as a collection of great character actors.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

A classic example of Bacon's principle of beauty

"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." - Sir Francis Bacon

Actress Virginia Mayo was slightly cross-eyed, but that did not diminish her beauty, and in fact, just made her face that much more interesting.

Virginia Mayo in Red Light

Grandma was a star!

In an interview in 2007, Gloria McMillan, who portrayed Harriett Conklin on both the radio and television versions of Our Miss Brooks, reveals that she had five children and eight grandchildren. She told of when her oldest grandson saw an entry about her in some sort of an encyclopedia and was hugely impressed.

She also told about having a tremendous crush on Richard Crenna, who played Walter Denton. He was then in college, and she was in high school. Crenna soon was married, and McMillan received an invitation. She was so devastated that she did not attend the service.

Vallee the miser

Rudy Vallee cultivated the persona on his radio show of being a miser who could not stand to spend money. It was humorous, but did not come off nearly as well as did Jack Benny.

Don't apologize

Just don't do it in the first place. That's a whole lot better.