Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Gave him quite a start

     "The more I see of America," sighed Archie, "the more it amazes me. All you birds seem to have been doing things from the cradle upwards. I wish I could do things!"
     "Well, why don't you?"
     "Archie flicked the ash from his cigarette into the finger-bowl. "Oh, I don't know, you know," he said, "Somehow, none of our family ever have. I don't know why it is, but whenever a Moffam starts out to do things he infallibly makes a bloomer. There was a Moffam in the Middle Ages who had a sudden spasm of energy and set out to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, dressed as a wandering friar. Rum ideas they had in those days."
     "Did he get there?"
     "Absolutely not! Just as he was leaving the front door his favorite hound mistook him for a tramp - or a varlet, or a scurvy knave, or whatever they used to call them at the time - and bit him in the fleshy part of the leg."
     "Well, at least he started."
     "Enough to make a chappie start, what?"

(from The Indiscretions of Archie, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

BIG cops

Archie had listened to the dialogue with growing uneasiness. Not for the first time since he had made their acquaintance, he became vividly aware of the exceptional physical gifts of these two men. The New York police force demands from those who would join its ranks an extremely high standard of stature and sinew, but it was obvious that jolly old Donahue and Cassidy must have passed in first shot without any difficulty whatever.

(from The Indiscretions of Archie, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

And you think I snore!

The Minister of War lay upon his back, his distinguished corpulence severely dislocating the chaste simplicity of the bed-clothing. Athwart his shelving chest, fat hands were folded in a gesture affectingly na├»ve. His face was red, a noble high-light shone upon the promontory of his bald pate, his mouth was open. To the best of his unconscious ability, he was giving a protracted imitation of a dog-fight; and he was really exhibiting sublime virtuosity; one readily distinguished  individual howls, growls, helps, against and undertone of blended voices of excited non-combatants.

(from The Lone Wolf, by Louis Joseph Vance)

Friday, December 27, 2019

Don't depise the cat

He could not have enjoyed the immunity ascribed to the Lone Wolf as long as he had without gaining a power of sturdy self-confidence in addition to a certain amount of temperate contempt for spies of the law and all their ways.

Against the peril inherent in this last, however, he was self-warned, esteeming it the most fatal chink in the armour of the lawbreaker, this disposition to underestimate the acumen of the police: far too many promising young adventurers like himself were annually laid by the heels in that snare of their own infatuate weaving. The mouse has every right, if he likes, to despise the cat for a heavy-handed and bloodthirsty beast, lacking in wit and imaging, a creature of simple force-majeure; but that mouse will not advisedly swagger in cat-haunted territory; a blow of the paw is, when all's said and done, a blow of the paw - something to numb the wits of the wiliest mouse.

(from The Lone Wolf, by Louis Joseph Vance)

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Descendents

It is not the having of many offspring that brings joy to an old man's heart, but having well-behaved offspring.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

An unwieldy monicker

"Did you see the lawyer?"

"Yes, I saw him. His name is Stoganbuhler."

"Well, sooner him than me."

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Spinoza

Jeeves (Wodehouse's peerless butler) liked to read Spinoza. One of Bertie Wooster's collection of fiancees tried to mold him into an intellectual. (Couldn't be done.) She caught him in a bookstore trying to buy a copy of Spinoza for Jeeves, and assumed he wanted to read it. He did not.

I have not read Spinoza. I do not want to read Spinoza. I am on Bertie's side. If anyone out there feels a wild inclination to buy me a volume of Spinoza, just save your money.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Too much happiness

     But before he could reach the door it opened, and he saw that Chippendale, the human homing pigeon, had returned. He received chilly glances from both Jerry and Crispin. There are times when a nephew and uncle with a great deal on their minds are glad of the addition to their deliberations of a weedy little man who looks like a barnyard fowl, but this was not one of them.
     What particularly irked them was the fact that this foul-impersonator was so plainly in the best of spirits, looking indeed as if he had just bought the world and paid cash down for it. That was what in their despondent mood they found so hard to bear. A melancholy Chippendale they could have endured; to a Chippendale in tears they might have extended a cordial welcome; but a Chippendale grinning all over his face in the manner popularized by Cheshire cats affected them like a knife stab in the breast.

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

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Amputation

     I was telling you about my Aunt Myrtle. She had false teeth same as father, but whereas his fitted him like the paper on the wall, hers didn't, and she had to get another set, which left her with the first lot on her hands. She never liked wasting anything, but she couldn't think what to do with them. Why she didn't pawn them and give the proceeds to the West Africans, I don't know, but apparently it didn't occur to her.
     The idea she got after a lot of thought was to make them the basis, if you know what the word means, of a mousetrap. She got a scientific feller she knew to fix one up with the teeth inside it in such a way that any mouse that shoved its nose in would get its loaf of bread snapped off, and all would have been well if she hadn't gone into the kitchen in the dark one night with no shoes on and tripped over the trap, which promptly came down like a ton of bricks on her big toe, nearly severing it. And the doctors at the hospital decided to amputate in case gangrene might set in.
     And as the teeth were legally hers, the result that she became the only woman in East Dulwich, where she was living at the time, who could truthfully say that she had bitten her own toe off. It gave her prestige.

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

Friday, December 20, 2019

Three at a loss

The shock of bad news affects different people in different ways. Some hardy souls are able to take it with a stiff upper lip, but on none of the three upper lips at the moment under advisement was there anything remotely resembling rigidity. Crispin, who on receipt of Barney's bombshell had quivered like a jelly in a high wind, was still quivering; Jerry uttered an odd gurgling sound which might have proceeded from the children's toy known as the dying rooster; while Chippendale once more requested some unspecified person to chase his Aunt Fanny up a gum tree. It would not be too much to say that consternation reigned.

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

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Fess Parker trivia

People of my generation remember Parker primarily because his part if the Davy Crockett movie and the Daniel Boone TV series.

He enlisted in the Navy in the latter part of World War II, but was turned down as a pilot because of his height (6' 5"). Then he tried to become a radioman gunner, but could not fit in that part of the plane, either.

During college, he was stabbed in the neck during an argument after an auto collision.

Among others, Parker beat out James Arness and Buddy Ebson for the Crockett role in the movie.

Parker's path in Hollywood was helped by introductions by Adolph Menjou, who had met him on a guest visit to the University of Texas.

He was once asked by President Reagan to become the Ambassador to Australia.

He gave Buddy Ebsen guitar lessons in order to get dancing lessons from him.

He founded a winery and vineyard, which is still producing.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

William Conrad trivia

If you are an old radio fan, then you easily recognize William Conrad's voice, because it seemingly was everywhere during those days. Later on he was the star of the Cannon television show for five seasons. Glamorous he was not, but he still had that resonant bass voice.

Conrad was a fighter pilot during World War II. He left the service with the rank of Captain. He twice flew a P-39 under the Golden Gate.

He estimated that he played 7500 roles during his radio career.

He had three memorable (but invisible) roles as narrator: for the radio show Escape, and later for the cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Fugitive, which starred David Janssen.

At its peak, his weight was 260 pounds, packed onto a 5'7" frame.

He was certain to be found walking around the stage with his hands in his pockets.

Although he was by-passed for the role of Matt Dillon on the TV version of Gunsmoke because of his corpulence, he did direct some of the episodes.

The lead statue of the Maltese Falcon which was marred by Sydney Greenstreet at the end of the movie was given to Conrad by studio chief Jack Warner. After Conrad's death it was auctioned for $398,500, which at the time was the highest price ever paid for a movie prop.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

How tall were the Three Stooges?

They looked small on the screen because they were small in real life. And I think their directors deliberately chose tall leading ladies for their pictures as a contrast.

Moe 5' 3 1/2"
Larry 5' 4"
Curly 5' 5"

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Not front cover material

He was not a physically attractive man. His complexion was muddy, his ears stuck out like the handles of an antique Greek vase, and he had the beak and eyes of a farmyard fowl. Seeing him, one wondered how Marlene Hibbs could enjoy his society, even though a free bicycle lesson went with it.

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

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Prime candidate

     "You must marry someone with lots of money."
     "Who would have a man like me?"
     "With a place like this? Dozens. You've only to advertise in The Times that you're open to offers and they'll come running. Good heavens, man, you're amiable, intelligent, understanding, sober, honest and kind to animals. I saw you talking yesterday to that cat that hangs around, and I could see you were saying all the right things. You'd be snapped up in no time.

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

Friday, December 13, 2019

Models should grin and bear it

     "Don't wobble, confound you!" snorted Mr. Wheeler.
     "Yes, but, my dear old artist," said Archie, "what you don't seem to grasp - what you appear not to realize - is that I'm getting a crick in the back."
     "You weakling! You miserable, invertebrate worm. Move an inch and I'll murder you, and come and dance on your grave every Wednesday and Saturday. I'm just getting it."
     "It's in the spine that it seems to catch me principally."
     "Be a man, you faint-hearted string-bean!" urged J. B. Wheeler. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Why, a girl who was posing for me last week stood for a solid hour on one leg, holding a tennis racket over her head and smiling brightly withal."
     "The female of the species is more india-rubbery than the male," argued Archie.

(from Indiscretions of Archie, by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Looked bad, did he?

His aspect was grave.  He looked, as always, as if he had been carved from some durable form of wood by someone who was taking a correspondence course in sculpture and had just reached his third lesson.

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Stuffy, what?

The library was on the second floor, a large somber room brooded over by hundreds of grim, calf-bound books assembled in the days when the reading public went in for volumes of collected sermons and had not yet acquired a taste for anything with spies and a couple of good murders in it.

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Old What's-her-name

 And his first move must be to find out her name, a thing he had once again carelessly omitted to do. A wooer who attempts to woo without having this vital fact at his fingers' ends can never hope to make a real success of his courtship.

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

Monday, December 09, 2019

Mean old cab drivers

The cab rolled off. Jerry walked back to his flat. He had to. Barribault's had taken all his assets, with the exception of a few coppers, and mere charm of manner is never accepted by taxi drivers as a substitute for cash.

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

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Do you get the idea that she was beautiful?

There are girls who are rather pretty and girls who are all right; there are girls who aren't too bad and girls who have a certain something; but it is only seldom that one encounters a girl who is really spectacular and takes the breath away. Into this limited class Vera, only daughter of the late Charles ("Good Old Charlie") Upshaw and his wife, Dame Flora Faye, the actress, unquestionably fell.

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

Saturday, December 07, 2019

A compliment - I suppose

She laughed. Analyzing it, Jerry described it to himself as a silvery laugh. Rather like, he thought, for there was a touch of the poet in him, the sound ice makes in a jug of beer on a hot day in August.

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

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Hair dye did not work

The colour of his hair, a clamorous red, was the spring of his secret sorrow. By that token he was a marked man. At irregular intervals he made frantic attempts to disguise it; but the only dye that would serve at all was a jet-black and looked like the devil in contrast with his high colouring. Moreover, before a week passed, the red would drop up again wherever the hair grew thing, lending him the appearance of a badly-singed pup.

(from The Lone Wolfe, by Louis Joseph Vance)

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Don't lift them

The arresting of shoplifters, like art, knows no frontiers. A repugnance toward those who lift shops is common to all emporia, whether in the United States of America or on the other side of the ocean.

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

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Would this constitute torture?

"Zimmer's breaking down to bedrock. Maybe it wasn't strictly ethical, but Teal showed him a quart bottle of castor oil and he cracked wide open."

(from Crooked Shadow, by Kurt Steel)