Monday, July 31, 2017

She specialized in being icey

Dorothy Green (no relation) was a busy actress beginning about the time I was born. She was a strikingly beautiful woman, but generally played aloof, haughty characters. "Cold" would be the way I would describe her typical role. I always wonder what such actors are like in person. Maybe they are good at a certain role because they do not have to do very much acting to play it. On the other hand, sometimes actors are the opposites of the role they generally played. Tough-guy gangster Edward G. Robinson was a "softly-spoken and cultured man, who spoke seven languages," according to Wikipedia. Dan Duryea played a number of tough, psychotic roles and became identified with that persona, but in real life "lived a quiet life at his house in the San Fernando Valley, devoting himself to gardening, boating, and community activities that included, at various times, active membership in the local parent-teacher association and Scout Master of a Boy Scout troop."

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Schultz's greatest role

We are great Hogan's Heroes fans, needless to say. John Banner as Sgt. Schultz always stole the show, and never more so than in the episode "Art for Hogan's Sake." The saluting scene in the sidewalk café, and especially his dressing down of the Gestapo agents are absolute classics.


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Thelma Ritter - guarantee of an enjoyable movie

She won six nominations for Best Supporting Actress (more than anyone in history), plus a Tony award for best actress in a musical. If you have watched old movies at all, you will recognize her face, but since she played supporting roles, you might not have known her name. But learn it, and remember it. Her performances were classic and memorable. Pick out one of her movies, buy it, and watch it - just for her alone.

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Need a psycho? He was your man.

If you were a movie or television producer and you needed an actor to play a wild-eyed, close-to-the-edge sort, then Elisha Cook was your man.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Who were the Black Irish?

In a place or two in his novels, Louis L'Amour refers to someone as being of the Black Irish demographic group. Here is a LINK to a very good discussion of why that group of people may have been called that.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Busy as a bee

Folks are always talking about how busy a bee is, shows they never really watched a bee. A bee makes so much fuss with all his perambulating around that folks think they're doing a sight of work, but believe me, I've watched bees by the hour and I can tell you all that buzzing is a big fraud. The bees I've watched always buzzed in the sunniest places around the best-smelling flowers, just loafing their heads off fusting around in the play of sun and shadow at the swamp's edge. Busy? Not so's you could notice.

(from The First Fast Draw, by Louis L'Amour)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Goals and living

It meant hard work, and lots of it. Living a life is much like climbing mountains - the mountains are always further off than you think, but when a man has a goal, he always feels he's working toward something.

(from The Lonely Men, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

We could use the Sacketts today

"All day my mind kept going back to turnip greens, and to wild-hog hunting in the hills on those foggy mornings when the forest dripped and a body prowled through it like a red Indian, scourint for wile hogs to give us bacon to cook with turnip greens in an iron pot." (from The Lonely Men, by Louis L'Amour)

As big a problem as wild hogs have become today, we could use those Sackett boys. They could take all the bacon they wanted!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Must have caused quite a bit of comment

          "My ideas have changed since my student days. Every boy goes through the stage of collecting, whether it's bird's eggs or butterflies or postage stamps."
          Miss withers knew that well enough, having been confronted with problems of such nature in her classes now and then - particularly did she remember the time when little Abraham brought his collection of white mice to school one afternoon.

(from The Penguin Pool Murder, by Stuart Palmer)

Another song you probably missed

"I'll Meet You At the Hen House, Helen, If You Will Egg Me On"

(from the Fred Allen radio show)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Emergency! television show

I am watching some old episodes of the Emergency! television series. It was really good. The tension they built in some of the rescue scenes was tremendous. And without sacrificing a touch of humor throughout the program. It was something children could watch, for the most part, and (I assume) it gives a very interesting insight into the difficulties and dangers that the rescue squads face.

Saturday, July 22, 2017


Now there is a good word that does not get used much. Asanine is very common, meaning "like an ass." Very few, however, take it to its noun form.

Friday, July 21, 2017

How to spot a plainclothes cop

Miss Withers realized that she was getting to be an insider, for she could recognize a plainclothes man a block away. Whenever one sees a man who looks as if he had a trade, but weren't working at it, and a man who hangs about as if he had a place to go if he only wanted to, that man is a detective, she told herself.

(from The Penguin Pool Murder, by Stuart Palmer)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Charioteers on the Rudy Vallee radio show

I heard this black gospel group on an episode of the Rudy Vallee Show, and they were really good. Here is a LINK to one of their numbers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The regrets of our lives

Something everyone is left with is regrets. We do not do what we wish we had. We do many things we wish we had not. Much of what we do, we do in the wrong way and for the wrong reason.

Frank Sinatra sang that he did it "My Way." Much of my regret is that I tried to do it my way instead of according to God's commandments. Thankfully, my home in heaven does not depend upon what I do, but upon what Christ has done.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hey Mulligan television show

This sitcom from 1954 is available on YouTube. It was also known as the Mickey Rooney Show. It actually is pretty entertaining. Sure, it is cornball and slapstick in places, but the cast pulls off the funny spots pretty well. Here is a LINK to one particularly good episode.

Monday, July 17, 2017

How an ordinary detective works

This is a real case, not a puzzle out of a story magazine. I'm a detective, not a super-sleuth. Sherlock Holmes would know all about this case in no time, what with a magnifying glass and his knowledge of the bone structure of Polynesian aborigines. Philo Vance would solve it between puffs of a Regie cigarette, from simple deductions based on the squawks of those penguins we met up with yesterday. But not me. I don't know any more than you do. Maybe less, only I know how to act wise. I'm just blundering ahead, trying not to miss any of the more apparent lines of approach. Sooner or later the murderer will leave something open, and I'll stumble in.

(Inspector Oscar Piper, in The Penguin Pool Murder, by Stuart Palmer)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A happy sort, I take it?

"He's the type of man who'd have a wonderful time at a wake."

(from The Penguin Pool Murders, by Stuart Palmer)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I do not recall many times when it has been this green this far into the summer. We have not had a huge amount of rain, but it has come at advantageous intervals.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A little older, but it still works

In my humble opinion, the team of James Gleason and Edna May Oliver in the three Hildegarde Withers movies that they made was at least equal to the legendary team of Myrna Loy and William Powell in the Thin Man series of films. Whereas Powell and Loy were urbane and sophisticated, Gleason and Oliver were more on the crusty side, but just as effective in their roles and with just as good on-screen chemistry.

In the book, however, Miss Withers is listed as being 39 years old, whereas Oliver was about ten years older when the first of her three flicks was filmed. Thus the old maid looked even old-madier than she was in the book.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hogan's Heroes the best

We were watching some of the old Hogan's Heroes episodes when my 92-year-old father was at our house the 4th of July, and he commented that he still thought that program was just about his favorite.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Another private eye

In the pilot episode of the television program Hey Mulligan, Mickey Rooney plays an aspiring actor who tries to demonstrate to the attractive secretary in the firm where he works that he has what it takes as an actor by reading from the script of a program called Peter Abel, Private Eye.

Be prepared

"Too late to dig well when honorable house is on fire."

(from Charlie Chan Carries On)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Jimmy Stewart Show - unique

During the 1971-72 television season, James Stewart starred in his own television series. It only lasted one season, reportedly because it received poor reviews and ratings. Actually, we have found it to be very enjoyable, although it has the easy pace and style (perhaps too easy) of its star, and therefore may not have been entertaining enough for the audience.

This reportedly was the only time Stewart allowed himself to be billed on screen as "Jimmy." All his other credits were as James Stewart.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Harry Bellaver was a good actor

Although, because of his flattened nose, Bellaver got type-cast as a heavy, he was actually a good actor with a wider range of ability than one might think at first glance. He was in several Broadway plays. His transition from tough-guy to a more sensitive character is perhaps seen in what was probably his best-known role as Sgt. Frank Arcaro in the television series, Naked City.

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Sunday, July 02, 2017

An epitaph for General Patrick Cleburne

Cleburne County in north central Arkansas was named for Major General Patrick Cleburne of the Confederate Army. After he was fatally wounded in 1864, General George Gordon wrote this remembrance of him:

"A truer patriot or knightlier soldier never fought and never died. Valor never lost a braver son or freedom a nobler champion. . . . He was a patriot by instinct and a soldier by nature. He loved his country, its soldiers, its banners, its battleflags, its sovereignty, its independence. For these he fought, for these he fell."

Cleburne had lived in America for only fifteen years, the last four of them in arms in the defense of his country. His capabilities were such that he was known as The Stonewall of the West - high praise indeed.

At the time of his death, General Cleburne was engaged to Miss Sue Tarleton. She wore mourning every day for a year. Eventually, three years later, she did marry Captain Hugh Cole, but died less than a year later.

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An institution you may have missed

The Passaic Pinochle and Pinball Athletic Club.

(From a joke by Peter Donald from the Can You Top This radio show)

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Socially relevant programs

I really tire quickly of movies and television programs that obviously are trying to make some sort of a social statement. In the first place, frequently I do not agree with the statement they are making, and in the second place, I watch such programs to be entertained, not to be educated in sociology or ethics. I don't need some degenerate Hollywood sort trying to teach me on those subjects.