Sunday, September 30, 2018

87th Precinct television show

This was a well-done police detective show that ran for only one season in 1961-62. It was in a slot against some tough competition on other networks. However, it was one of the better programs of its kind that I have seen. It was set in the squad room of the detective group in one of the precincts of a major metropolis. One of the detectives was named Meyer Meyer, and played by Norman Fell. Another interesting feature was that the wife of squad leader Steve Carella was a beautiful deaf-mute, played by Gena Rowlands.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Just a real sweetheart, she is

"Oh, I've nothing against her, except that she's a hard, arrogant, vindictive, domineering harridan, if harridan's the word I want."

(from Summer Moonshine, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, September 28, 2018

A strange kind of fear

Many men avoid battle not from cowardice but from fear of cowardice, fear that when the moment of truth comes they will not have the courage to face up to it. (from Treasure Mountain, by Louis L'Amour)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Looking for a home

Folks had it down that I was a wanderin' man, but most wanderin' men I've known only wandered because of the home they expected to find . . . hoped to find, I mean.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis L'Amour)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gunfighting and western Arkansas

Whenever old-time gunfighters are discussed, one of the names that arises is that of Luke Short. (There was a western author who took that name, but is not that man.) His encounters with Charlie Storms and Jim Courtright have become the stuff of western legend. Short (one of ten children) was born in Polk County, Arkansas, of which Mena is now the county seat.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Concerning discipline

It takes a mighty fine discipline to hold men together when trouble is creeping up on you. Yet without discipline there is surely disaster. The best discipline comes from within a man, but you'll never get a party of men together where all have it.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis L'Amour)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Some things never change

They had their way of life, and we had ours, and when the white man moved in he did just what the Indians had done before him. He took what land he needed. There were mighty few Indians for the size of the country, and we crowded them like they crowded others

Life had been that way from the beginning of time, and I could see no end to it. Over there in Europe the Celts crowded the Picts, and the Saxons crowded the Celts, and then the Normans moved in an took over the country, and it was the same story all across the world.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis L'Amour)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The stillness of the wilderness

          For over an hour I just set there, a-listening to the evening. There was sunlight on the mountain across from me, but it was high up, toward the crest of the ridge. There was stillness in the canyon below, and a marvelous coolness coming up. Somewhere an owl spoke his question to the evening, and the aspen leaves hung as still as you'll ever see them, for they move most of the time.
          It was a mighty fine thing setting there getting the feel of the night, a kind of stillness like you never felt anywhere else but in the far-off wilderness. There was no vanity here, nor greed; there was only a kind of quietness.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis L'Amour)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rogue vs. Diamond

Actor Dick Powell portrayed two different hard-boiled detectives on the radio, both with a little twist to them. He was Richard Rogue in Rogue's Gallery, and also acted the part of Richard Diamond. Both were well done and classic radio shows. Since Diamond came second, they probably had time to refine their game by the time it came around, but Rogue still was well done. He would get knocked out every program and would end up on a cloud with his alter ego Eugor. Diamond was the singing detective, and for a while in the program would close by singing a song at the instigation of Helen, his millionaire girlfriend.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Jane Powell on the Golden Age of Musicals

People are always fascinated by the so-called golden age of musicals, but it wasn’t all that great. Everything was glazed. Those movies didn’t reflect reality. I was at MGM for 11 years and nobody ever let me play anything but teenagers. I was 25 years old with kids of my own and it was getting ridiculous. Publicity was froth. Everything you said was monitored. With me, they didn’t have to worry. I never had anything to say, anyway. It was hard work, I had no friends, no social interaction with people my age and the isolation was tough. But I had to support my family, so I did what I was told and had no other choice.
(Rex Reed, New York Observer, July 31, 2000)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jane Powell was just irritating

In the 1940s and early 1950s, Jane Powell was a big name in Hollywood, back when big ticket musicals were the thing. She had a coloratura soprano voice that made her "another Diana Durbin;" and even though she never quite became the mega-star that Durbin was, she was a big name for a decade or so.

But to me, Powell did not add to the movies she was in. In the first place, she was not pretty. I realize that is not a crime, but if I am paying money to see a movie, I want to get what I pay for. In the second place, her singing voice, although flexible and with a high range, had a piercing quality that was unpleasant. Finally, she never was able to project a screen presence that was pleasing. Her personality came across as just, well, irritating, and that in characters that were not supposed to be irritating. (Given that she went through five husbands, it may just be that perception was fact.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Allergic to lead

I've been shot at now and again, and I've taken some lead here and there, but I never cared much for it. To tell you the truth, I'd as leave let it lay. There's something mighty disconcerting about a bullet in the brisket . . . lead sets heavy on the stomach.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis L'Amour)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

When the good days come to an end

They'd lived mighty easy most of their days. They'd built themselves a style of life they preferred, and then they discovered that money did not last forever. Ahead of them was loss of face and poverty, and all that would go with it, and they had no courage to face what many face with dignity their life long.

(from Treasure Mountain, by Louis L'Amour)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Not much to look at

The Squire of Matchingham was seated in a chair, looking fixedly at the photograph of the speculative builder in the pink frame. He plainly did not think highly of the speculative builder. Indeed, if questioned, he would have said that he had never seen such a bally bounder in his life. And it must be admitted that, as speculative builders go, this one, considered from the angle of personal beauty, was not much of a speculative builder.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, September 16, 2018


Honestly, this was the stage name of comedian Harry Einstein. (Say it, "Park your carcass.") He was a regular on the Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor radio programs, and appeared in several movies. He is pictured below with the inimitable Sheldon Leonard and Betty Rhodes.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How to write a murder mystery

          The inspiration for it had hit him like a bullet the moment he had set eyes on Mr. Lancelot Cooper. 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 caused by the bursting of a gingerbeer bottle at a YMCA picnic, but it gave the impression of being the outcome of battles with knives in the cellars of the underworld. And on top of all that, he had been wearing lavender gloves.
          It was those gloves that had set Jerry tingling. His trained mind saw them as the perfect box office touch. There is nothing so spine-chilling as a dressy assassin. All murderers make us shudder a bit, but when we encounter one who, when spilling human gore, spills it in lavender gloves, our backbone turns to ice.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Less-than-cushy accommodations

The Emsworth Arms, like most inns in English country towns, specialized in beer, and when it came to providing it patrons with anything else was rather inclined to lose interest and let its attention wander. Beds, for instance. It did not worry much about beds. You could have one, if you wanted to, but Jerry, having inspected the specimen offered to him, shrank from the prospect of occupying it for an indefinite series of nights. If he had been an Indian fakir, accustomed from childhood to curling up on spikes, he could have wished for nothing better, but he was not an Indian fakir accustomed from childhood to curling up on spikes.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How to cure a cold, Galahad style

"Hullo, Clarence," said Gally. "How are you feeling now? I've been thinking about that cold of yours, and I'll tell you the stuff to give it. You want to take a deep breath and hold it as long as you possibly can. This traps the germs in your interior, and not being able to get fresh air, they suffocate. When you finally exhale, the little sons of guns come out as dead as doornails and all you have to do is buy a black tie and attend the funeral."

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Stravinsky's earliest musical memory

In his autobiography, famous composer Igor Stravinsky records that his earlies memory involving "music" was purely rhythmic. The "village idiot" would entertain the children by making a rhythmic pattern by clicking his tongue and producing smacking sounds by placing his hand in his armpit and moving that arm up and down.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Not exactly a whiz

Over at Matchingham Hall, Sir Gregory Parsloe was in his study doing The Times crossword puzzle, his brow wrinkled as he tried to think what a word in three letters, beginning with E and signifying a large Australian bird, could possible be. He liked crossword puzzles, but was not very expert at them. Anything more abstruse than the Sun God Ra generally had him baffled.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Master of the Queen's Music

Do you want a lofty-sounding job in the field of music? Here it is. Master of the Queen's Music, which is a post in the Royal Household of the United Kingdom. The post dates back to 1626. Some of the more famous names to have held the post are Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir Edward Bax, and most notably of all, Sir Edward Elgar, the famous composer. The current holder is Judith Weir.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Confirmed woman-hater

He was a man who since the death of his wife twenty years ago had made something of a lifework of avoiding women. He could not, of course, hope to avoid them altogether, for women have a nasty way of popping up at unexpected moments, but he was quick on his feet and his policy of suddenly disappearing like a diving duck had had excellent results. It was now pretty generally accepted by his little circle that the ninth Earl of Emsworth was not a ladies' man and that any woman who tried to get a civil word out of him did so at her own risk.

(from Pigs Have Wings by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, September 07, 2018

In their own class

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 earliest years to behave with queenly dignity under the most testing conditions, stands along in the matter of poise.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, September 06, 2018

What was it like in the trenches in World War I?

Two soldiers in flooded trench

Daddy could have handled Dennis

Remember Dennis the Menace, the bratty little kid who caused next-door-neighbor Mr. Wilson so many headaches? Whenever I see characters like that in fictional media, I just think how my father would have handled the situation. "Come here, son, and let me explain something to you." Once he "explained" things, in stark clarity, a repeat was not likely to happen. He got his point across. I do not think my Dad would have had much trouble with Dennis.
Image result for dennis the menace

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Enough for two

A waiter brought roast beef, underdone, and she took a thin slice. Jerry took two slices, with potatoes, and Gloria in her austere way advised him to be very careful how he tucked into those things,  because she was convinced that it was a lifelong passion for potatoes that had made Sir Gregory Parsloe the man he was . . . or, rather, she added, for she was a girl who liked exactness, the two men he was.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

What is in a pretty face?

George Cyril Wellbeloved was a long, lean, red-haired man with strabismus in the left eye. This rendered his left eye rather unpleasant to look at, and as even the right eye was nothing to cause lovers of the beautiful to turn handsprings, one can readily understand why Sir Gregory during the chat which followed preferred to avert his gaze as much as possible.

But, after all, what is beauty? Skin deep, you might say. His O. C. Pigs had a mouth like a halibut's, a broken nose acquired during a political discussion at the Emsworth Arms and lots of mud all over him, but when you are engaging a pig man, Sir Gregory felt, you don't want a sort of male Miss America, you want someone who knows about pigs. And what George Cyril Wellbeloved did not know about pigs could have been written on one of Maudie Montrose's picture postcards.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, September 03, 2018

Among the worst of the bad

Famous people are notoriously unfaithful. Wealth and fame do not go well with marital fidelity, evidently. But even among the bad, big band leader Charlie Barnet was notorious. He went through eleven (11) wives.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Emotional shock

His intuition had not deceived him. Poor old Clarence was patently all of a doodah. Eyeing him as he tottered up, Gally was reminded of his old friend Fruity Biffen on the occasion when that ill-starred sportsman had gone into Tattersall's ring at Hurst Park wearing a long Assyrian beard in order to avoid identification by the half-dozen bookmakers there to whom he owed money, and then the beard had fallen off. The same visible emotion.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Watch out for ocean voyage lovers

I think I'd watch my step, if I were you, young Penny. There are some queer birds knocking around in this world. You can't always go by what fellows say on ocean liners. Many a man who swears eternal devotion on the boat deck undergoes a striking change in his outlook when he hits dry land and gets among the blondes.

(from Pigs Have Wings, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)