Friday, September 30, 2016

Better make SURE it cannot happen

"The impossible sometimes permits itself the luxury of occurring."

(Charlie Chan's Chance)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Buster V. Davenport - one of Lum and Abner's funniest

One of the funniest sequence of programs in the entire history of the Lum and Abner radio show is when Grandpappy Spears is hit on the head and gets amnesia. He then concludes that his name is Buster V. Davenport (because those initials are in his underwear), and that he is a vacuum cleaner salesman from Toledo. Great fun!

The curse of Literary Societies

I do not know if you have had any experience of suburban literary societies, but the one that flourished under the eye of Mrs. Willoughby Smethurst at Wood Hills was rather more so than the average. With my feeble powers of narrative, I cannot hope to make clear to you all that Cuthbert Banks endured in the next few weeks. And, even if I could, I doubt if I should do so. It is all very well to excite pity and terror, as Aristotle recommends, but there are limits. In the ancient Greek tragedies it was an ironclad rule that all the real rough stuff should take place off-stage, and I shall follow this admirable principle. It will suffice if I say merely that J. Cuthbert Banks had a thin time. After attending eleven debates and fourteen lectures on vers libre Poetry, the Seventeenth-Century Essayists, the Neo-Scandinavian Movement in Portugese Literature, and other subjects of a similar nature, he grew so enfeebled that, on the rare occasions when he had time for a visit to the links, he had to take a full iron for his mashie shots.

(from The Clicking of Cuthbert, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Not very conducive to romantic thought

There is probably no better corrective of the pangs of hopeless love than a real, steady application to the prosaic details of an estate. The heart finds it difficult to ache its hardest while the mind is busy with such items as Sixty-one pounds, eight shillings and fivepence, due to Messrs Truby and Gaunt for Fixing Gas Engine, or the claim of the Country Gentleman's Association for eight pounds eight and fourpence for seeds. Add drains, manure, and feed of pigs, and you find yourself immediately in an atmosphere where Romeo himself would have let his mind wander.

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dante television program

This series  starred Howard Duff of Sam Spade radio fame as a night club owner who ends up being a detective most of the time. Sort of reminds you of Rocky Jordan. The plots are interesting, and the supporting cast is strong. A number of the episodes are available on Youtube.

Alan Mowbray - one of our favorites

He was in at least one of the Sherlock Holmes movies; he starred as the head waiter in the Dante television series; as the sidekick of the Lone Wolf in one of the films in that series; and in an almost endless series of guest appearances in numerous movies and television shows. Always entertaining. Always classy.

Watch out!

If you are ever in a detective program, and at some point someone you don't know or someone you suspect offers you coffee, DON'T DRINK IT!! It will be a mickey. (You would think these dumb gumshoes would have figured that out by now.)

Monday, September 26, 2016

I take it he was not overly intelligent

"Sweet potatoes!" moaned Dolly. "Use your bean, you poor sap, use your bean. If you had another brain you'd have just one."

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Here is a creative insult

          "I don't get it," he said.
          Mrs. Molloy straightened herself militantly in her chair. Of all masculine defects, she liked slowness of wit least; and she had never been a  great admirer of Mr. Twist.
          "You poor, nut-headed swozzie," she said with heat. What don't you get? It's simple enough, isn't it?

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Nut-headed swozzie? Now there is a new one to me. I'll have to remember that one. Might or might not want to use it, depending on what it means in the ever-changing world of slang.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Time for a work break"

The President of a company I worked for in my youth used to say that when he needed to talk to someone who was engaged in a non-essential conversation. I get to feeling like that quite a bit of the time, myself.

Sort of deadpan?

          "You know what old John is. One of these strong, silent fellows who looks on all occasions like a stuffed frog."
          "He doesn't."
          "Pardon me," said Hugo firmly. "Have you ever seen a stuffed frog? Well, I have. I had one for years when I was a kid. And John has exactly the same power of expressing emotion."

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Trivia facts about The Quiet Man (movie)


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Not as attractive as he had thought

Left alone at the table with nothing to entertain him but his thoughts, John came almost immediately to the conclusion that his first verdict on the Mustard Spoon had been an erroneous one. Looking at it superficially, he had mistaken it for rather an attractive place: but now, with maturer judgment, he saw it for what it was - a blot on a great city. It was places like the Mustard Spoon that made a man despair of progress. He disliked the clientele. He disliked the head waiter. He disliked the orchestra. The clientele was flashy and offensive and, as regarded the male element of it, far too given to the use of hair oil. The head waiter was a fat parasite who needed kicking. And, as for Ben Baermann's Collegiate Buddies, he resented the fact that they were being paid for making the sort of noises which he, when a small boy, had produced - for fun and with no thought of sordid gain - on a comb with a bit of tissue paper over it.

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trying to figure Bing Crosby

He was not tall, nor athletic. He was not bad looking, but with those ears certainly not dashingly handsome. (And, of course, there was that famous pot belly.) He had a smooth style, but it had enough of a dash of the corny that it did not rate with many of the great screen lovers. He was no challenge to Adolph Menjou as a stylish dresser. He was an awkward kisser and dancer on the screen. Yet he ranks as one of the great heart-throbs of all time. Go figure. I guess it must have been that voice, reckon?

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Diminishing regard

There had been a period when, he being fifteen and she ten, Pat had lavished on him all the worship of a small girl for a big boy who can wiggle his ears and is not afraid of cows. But since then her attitude had changed. Her manner towards him nowadays alternated between that of a nurse towards a child who is not quite right in the head and that of the owner of a clumsy but rather likeable dog.

(from Money For Nothing, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Emperor Waltz

This is a Bing Crosby movie, pure schmaltz, waltzes, and sentimentality, with some gorgeous Austrian scenery. Not to mention a very nice love story and a couple of the most beautiful tunes Crosby ever sang. "I Kiss Your Hand, Madame" is a song  that will get in your mind and stay there.

Here is a LINK to the song.

Image result for emperor waltz crosby fontaine

Curious names for best friends

It is evident when reading the Sherlock Holmes stories that Holmes and Watson are best friends. Yet, they always address one another by their surnames, not their first names. It is always Holmes or Watson, never Sherlock or John. Sort of an unfamiliar familiarity.

She's getting ready to explode!

There was the sort of silence which I believe cyclones drop into for several seconds before getting down to it and starting to give the populace the works. Throbbing? Yes, throbbing wouldn't be a bad word to describe it. Nor would electric; for the matter of that, and if you care to call it ominous, it would be all right with me. It was a silence of the type that makes the toes curl and sends a shiver down the spinal cord as you stand waiting for the bang. I could see Aunt Dahlia swelling slowly like a chunk of bubble gum, and a less prudent man than Bertram Wooster would have warned her again about her blood pressure.

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

In other words, she is stupid

The silly young geezer. I nearly conked her one with my trowel. I'd always thought her half-baked, but now I think they didn't even put her in the oven.

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, September 19, 2016

One reason I am for law and order

A few years back (well, quite a few years), I stood a reasonably good chance of out-running any bad guys who might accost me with weapons other than firearms. Not any more. It would have to a thug from the Sunnyvale Nursing Home if I was to outrun him these days, and that might be a doubtful issue.

Why only one?

I listened to the last movement of the Grieg Piano Concerto on the way to work today, and was reminded again of what a monumental composition it is. Surely it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.

This raises the question of why Grieg wrote only one Concerto. If this one was such a success, why not duplicate the effort. I have no idea why, of course, but perhaps we can find the answer in considering other famous efforts in that field. Rachmaninoff wrote four Piano Concertos, but it is the gorgeous Second that we remember. Prokofiev wrote five Concertos, but it is the pyrotechnics of the Third that make their way to the stage most often. Maybe Grieg figured that if you have hit a home run, there is no need to go to the plate again.


We sometimes forget that the main object of terrorists is not necessarily to inflict damage, but to inculcate fear. It is not so much what happens as what might happen. Hitler was able to do that with continental Europe, but not with Britain. In fact, in his first important speech as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill said that their nation's object was "victory in spite of all terror."

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Chester Wesley  Proudfoot: that was his full name, I learned today from an old Gunsmoke radio episode. He had inherited $300+ from a cousin in Texas and had a terrible time trying to decide what to do with it.

Friday, September 16, 2016

One of the really loaded straight lines

"Mortimer, how can you be so stupid?"

This is what Edgar Bergen asked Mortimer Snerd each week on their radio show. Mortimer always had a clever come-back.

Not-so-tasty breakfasts

          "Was he the Pride of the School?"
          "Oh, rather."
          "Not that it was much of a school to be the pride of, from what he tells me. A sort of Dotheboys Hall, wasn't it?"
          "Conditions under Aubrey Upjohn were fairly tough. One's mind reverts particularly to the sausages on Sunday."
          "Reggie was very funny about those. He said they were made, not from contented pigs, but from pigs which had expired, regretted by all, of glanders, the botts and tuberculosis."

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The potato's effect on America

According to the BBC (Link), one-eighth of the population of Ireland died during the Great Famine of the mid-1800's, and about twice that number emigrated to America. So, if you are of Irish lineage, and you now live in America, your presence here is very likely related to the potato crop.

Tunney Plastic Surgery Co.

I took a seat and resumed my reading. I had had to leave off at a point where Ma Cream had just begun to spit on her hands and start filling the customers with pity and terror. But I hadn't put more than a couple of clues and a mere sprinkling of human gore under my belt, when the door flew open and Kipper appeared. And as the eye rested on him, he too filled me with pity and terror, for his map was flushed and his manner distraught. He looked like Jack Dempsey at the conclusion of his first conference with Gene Tunney, the occasion, if you remember, when he forgot to duck.

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The summer that would not end

1980 was the most  brutal summer of my recollection. Day after day of 100-plus temperatures, and no rain. And perhaps the worst part was that the heat did not break when it should have. I note that the record high for our area for today (September 14) is 103 degrees, set in 1980. The average high for today is 85. As the heat dragged on into autumn, it was exceptionally oppressive on the souls of most of us. When is it going to cool off?!

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Double-barrell comic fun on radio

There are not a lot of episodes of The Penny Singleton Show radio program still existing, but they are a real treat because they had both Jim Backus and Gale Gordon in prominent roles. Having those two paragons of radio comedy on the same program is great fun.

What if harps were standard equipment?

Harps are used in some orchestral compositions, but by no means all of them. In common with the woodwinds, harps would not make a huge audible difference when the entire orchestra is playing loudly, but in the quieter sections, having a harp involved makes a profound difference in the sound. What if harps became as standard in orchestral instrumentation as clarinets? If a composer would do that, it likely would give his music a very unique identity.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A sympathetic listener

If I do say so, I told my story well, omitting no detail however slight. I had him Bless-my-soul-ing throughout, and when I had finished he t'ck-t'ck-t'ck-ed and said it must have been most unpleasant for me, and I said that "unpleasant" covered the facts like the skin on a sausage.

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, September 12, 2016

No beauty queen

Mind you, I'm not saying a word against old Kipper. The salt of the earth. But nobody could have called him a knock-out in the way of looks. Having gone in a lot for boxing from his earliest years, he had the cauliflower ear of which I had spoken to Aunt Dahlia and in addition this a nose which some hidden hand had knocked slightly out of the straight. He would, in short, have been an unsafe entrant to have backed in a beauty contest, even if the only other competitors had been Boris Karloff, King Kong and Oofy Prosser of the Drones

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Handle with care

Aunt Dahlia, describing  this young blister as a one-girl beauty chorus, had called her shots perfectly correctly. Her outer crust was indeed of a nature to cause those beholding it to rock back on their heels with a startled whistle. But while equipped with eyes like twin stars, hair ruddier than the cherry, oomph, espieglerie and all the fixings. B. Wickham had also the disposition and general outlook on life of a ticking bomb. In her society you always had the uneasy feeling that something was likely to go off at any moment with a pop. You never knew what she was going to do next or into what murky depths of soup she would carelessly plunge you.

(from How Right You Are, Jeeves, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Those fearsome butlers

It is a very intrepid young man who can see an English butler steadily and see him whole without feeling a wormlike humility, and all Jerry's previous encounters with Beach - in corridors, in the hall, at lunch and at dinner - had left him with the impression that his feet were too large, his ears too red and his social status something in between that of a Dead End kid and a badly dressed leper. There were cats on the premises of Blandings Castle, and those gooseberry eyes had always made him feel that he might have been some unsavoury object dragged in by one of these cats, one of the less fastidious ones.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

No kidding!

The world may be roughly divided into two classes - men who, when you tell them a story difficult to credit, will not believe you, and men who will. It was to this latter and far more likeable section of the community that, judging by his fatuous expression, George Cyril Wellbeloved belonged. He had the air, which Jerry found charming, of being a man who would accept without question whatever anybody cared to tell him. His whole aspect was that of one who believed everything he read in the Sunday papers.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, September 09, 2016

Corpses, but not pigs!

If Lancelot Cooper, handing him the keys, had said, "Oh, by the way, when you get to Sunnybrae, you will find the kitchen rather full of pigs, I'm afraid," he would have known where he was. But not a word had been spoken on the subject. The animal had come upon him as a complete surprise, and he sought in vain for an explanation of its presence. It was not as though it had been a corpse with a severed head. A corpse with a severed head in the kitchen of Sunnybrae he could have understood. As a writer of mystery thrillers, he knew that you are apt to find corpses with severed heads pretty well anywhere. But why a pig?

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Carmen Miranda? This one I would not have guessed.

In 1946 she was the highest-paid woman in America according to the St. Petersburg Times. LINK

He couldn't help how he looked

The junior partner of Caine and Cooper, though a man of blameless life, had one of those dark, saturnine faces which suggest a taste for the more sinister forms of crime, and on one cheek of that dark, saturnine face was a long scar. Actually it had been cause by the bursting of a gingerbeer bottle at a Y.M.C.A. picnic, but it gave the impression of being the outcome of battles of knives in the cellars of the underworld. And on top of all that, he had been wearing lavender gloves.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Shostakovich could finish a symphony, too

Beethoven definitely knew how to finish a symphony. So did Bruckner and Mahler. But they were by no means the only composers who could. Take, for instance the end of Dmitri Shostakovich's 5th Symphony. Here is the LINK. Start at about the 44:30 mark. Less than two minutes, but it is stirring music.

At the end of the premier performance in 1937, it received an ovation that lasted well over a half hour.

Recycling radio music

Once again, I heard some of the music from the Barry Craig radio program and also from Tales of the Texas Rangers, this time on Hollywood Star Playhouse. It is amazing how much musical recycling was done.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Those blasted authors!

Authors are like that. No reticence. No reserve. You or I, or Beach, finding a pig in the kitchen of a furnished villa in which we had just hung up our hats, would keep calm and wait till the clouds rolled by. But not an author. The first thing this blighted Vail will do, unless nipped in the bud, will be to rush out and grab the nearest passer-by and say, "Pardon me for addressing you, sir, but there appears to be a pig in my kitchen. Have you any suggestions?" And then what? I'll tell you what. Doom, desolation and despair. In next to no time the news will have reached Parsloe, stirring him up like a dose of salts and bringing him round to Sunnybrae with a whoop and a holler.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Not very tasty

"Have your story all planned out. Get tough with her. Talk out of the side of your mouth. For heaven's sake, Clarence, don't keep groaning like that. She can't eat you. And I don't suppose she'll want to," said Gally, "for anything more closely resembling a condemned food product I never saw in my life."

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Composure under fire

With the possible exception of Mrs. Emily Post, a few of the haughtier Duchesses and the late Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, the British barmaid, trained from the earliest years to behave with queenly dignity under the most testing conditions, stands alone in the matter of poise.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, September 02, 2016

A wife in the series

Remember this face from Hogan's Heroes in three different episodes? She was Louise Troy, who was the real-life wife of Werner Klemperer, who played Colonel Klink.

Pride before the fall

"Swelled head sometimes give police more cooperation than criminal mistake." (Charlie Chan at Treasure Island)

Wrong numbers

"There is always something intriguing and stimulating about the ringing of a telephone bell. Will this, we ask ourselves,  be the girl we love, or will it be somebody named Ed who, all eagerness to establish communication with someone named Charlie, has had the misfortune to get the wrong number? Jerry, though always glad to chat with people who got the wrong number, hoped it would be Penny." (from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

I once had a lady call our number at work, and it took me five minutes of steady back-and-forth to convince her that this was not the jail, and that I had no idea when the man of her dreams was going to get out of jail.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Lord Epping

The Mexican Spitfire series of movies, starring Lupe Velez, are  entertaining taken one at a time, since a little of Velez goes a long way. The main attraction of the films is the performance of Leon Errol in the dual role of Uncle Matt Lindsay and Lord Epping, not to mention Uncle Matt disguising himself as Epping.

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Rathbone and Bruce as Holmes and Watson

If you are a fan of the Rathbone/Bruce series of Sherlock Holmes fans, as my wife and I definitely are, then you may like this LINK.

Women on the telephone

For some moments after silence had come like a poultice to heal the blows of sound, all that occupied his mind was the thought of what pests the gentler sex were when they got hold of a telephone. The instrument seemed to go to their heads like a drug. Connie Keeble,for instance. Nice sensible woman when you talked to her face to face, never tried to collar the conversation and all that, but the moment she got on the telephone, it was gab, gab, gab, and all about nothing.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)