Thursday, April 30, 2020

Maligned pooches

"It is to be hoped that the Teutonic origin of the dachshund is not going to affect the popularity of this clever and amusing little dog during this war as it did, very stupidly too, in the last. Because 95 percent of our dachshunds are native-born American citizens. What's more, dachshunds couldn't possibly make good Nazis. This long-bodied underslung dog was specially bred in Germany centuries ago to hunt out a burrowing animal called the badger. A badger is something like a rat. Hitler couldn't own a dachshund with any peace of mind, because he'd be afraid every time his dog dashed into a burrow it would pull out one of his pals."

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I'm not fond of such situations

Patrick's back was to the screen door. Rafferty sat down gain where he'd sat previously. Thus he faced us both from an equal distance. Patrick could be covered from the rear by Vittorio. The man in the brown hat lurked behind me. Nice situation, if you like them.

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Ominous observation

     She walked out. Pancho trotted along, after a glance or two back.
     In the lobby Mr. Scott joked tritely, "Two dogs long, half a dog high." The ancient joke was noteworthy because those words were the last I ever heard from Mr. Scott.

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Friday, April 24, 2020

I need it to look different!

This virus situation has proven that electronic activity cannot stimulate the brain enough to keep it fresh. What we have to have in order to stay engaged is an occasional change in scenery, and you can't have that sitting in the same room all the time.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Olympe Bradna trivia

Bradna was a French actress and dancer who was active in the movies from the late 1930s to 1941. She was born in 1920 in a dressing room in the Olympic Theater in Paris. Her parents were famous circus bareback riders before she began her career.

She first appeared on stage when she was 18 months old, and by the time she was 8, she was being booked as a single act, separate from her parents.

Bradna married Douglas Wilhoit in 1941 and retired from acting. They had four children and were married for 70 years, with Wilhoit dying within nine months of Olympe.

We watched her in Say It In French, from 1938, and she actually did a pretty good job acting.

Her given name was pronounced O-lamp.

Her last movie was International Squadron, which starred Ronald Reagan.

Bradna was not a great actress by  long shot, but she had a fresh-faced beauty that made her screen presence very appealing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

How much did a dogface make?

What was the pay for an enlisted man in the US Army during World War II?

Buck privates made $50 per month, or somewhere around $800 dollars at today's prices, depending upon exactly when in the war we are talking about. Considering how much they might have been making in a civilian job, that was a lot of give up, considering that many (most?) of them were drafted.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Jones drummers

Philly Joe Jones and Papa Jo Jones were both famous jazz drummers, Philly known for his work with Miles Davis and Papa most famous for his place in the Count Basie Orchestra (see below). What is especially unique is that, in addition to their names and occupations, they were tied together by their deaths. Philly died August 30, 1985 and Papa four days later.

See the source image

Monday, April 20, 2020

A morning sight

"Then I was still slightly awake at Cliff House with Patrick pointing out the wonders of a mother-of-pearl dawn and the frightfulness of a submarine rising like some monster from the sea."

(From The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane. Folks who lived in the coastal areas during World War II did have to get used to some striking sights.)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Don't complain

I do not like bad weather on any side of the spectrum - cold, hot, or violent. But I ought not to complain. There was no bad weather in the garden of Eden. We got what we deserved.

But I still feel sorry for folks that are affected by it, because I know it could happen to me.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Some faces fit, some did not

Some of the really great voices in radio history just did not fit the screen (either TV or movie), at least not in the roles they played on radio. The most notable example was William Conrad, who was short and fat, and just could not make the transition from the radio Matt Dillon to the television Gunsmoke series, giving way to James Arness. However, Conrad's deep, resonant voice certainly fit the bill for gangsters and toughs, and he played several of those parts on the screen.

Another miscast voice was Bob Bailey, who, as my younger son put it, had "a face made for radio." The sad fact of the matter is that, although tall, he just was not very handsome, and so he never quite made it in movies.

One great radio voice that did make it in movies in a minor way was Gerald Mohr, who gained fame as detective Philip Marlowe on radio. Possessed of a dark sort of good looks, he parlayed them and his memorable voice into three of the Lone Wolf movie series.

Some great voices were never meant for the screen, and some were. Just a hard fact of life. On the other hand, there were those cases that were on the flip side. Jean Arthur's twangy voice did not switch particularly well to the screen, but she was such a good actress and was so cute that she made it to the big time, anyway.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

I wish they would slow down at the same rate.

Our bodies wear out as we age. The problem is that our schedules and desires do not necessarily age with them. We want to work in the yard, but our bodies tell us it was not a good idea. We want to build something, likewise. And our "honey-do" lists certainly do not age at the same rate. It would be convenient if things wore out more consistently.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


"Companion" dogs are nice to have around, but they can be a lot of trouble. They are like having children who will grow old before they grow up. In fact, companions of any sort are trouble. Any human relationship is. The wise men said that men who would have friends must show themselves to be friendly, and being friendly can sometimes be difficult, and almost always inconvenient.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I want others to share my opinion

"I do dislike that man heartily," I said, presently.

"He likes you, Jeannie."

"I said, "Do you mind?"

"Mind? Do you think I'd want to get hooked by a girl other men won't envy me?"

(from The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

Monday, April 13, 2020

The non-musicians

For those of us who did study music, one of the comical features of movieland is when someone who obviously knows nothing at all about music is cast as a conductor, pianist, etc. You would think the "conductor" could at least wave his baton in time to the music, even if it were not in the prescribed pattern, but some of them are not even close. And the pianists could at least move their hands to the right as the pitch goes higher and vice versa, but again, that is not a guarantee.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Boston Blackie - for young boys

If you want a fictional character to be a hero for little boys, try Boston Blackie. There is a full body of movies, television programs and radio shows about him, and all of them are watchable and listenable, even for adults. Yes, Blackie evidently had some sort of a shady past, but he is thoroughly reformed now, even though Inspector Faraday can't quite bring himself to believe it. Perhaps he does meddle a little too much in police affairs, but just think of how many cases they would not solve were it not for Blackie. His real name, by the way, is Horatio Black, but no one calls him that (except perhaps his mother). If you have little boys, I highly recommend your introducing them to Blackie.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

So few are truly noble

I stood a moment just feeling defeated. What had happened couldn't be helped. It was a tragedy. But I couldn't smother my own disappointment under lofty thinking. I suppose I am really not a fine character. I practically always have to stop and think first to be noble and unselfish. I mean I can't swing it spontaneously the way a really noble being would.

(From The Yellow Violet, by Frances Crane)

The Yellow Violet by Frances Crane

Friday, April 10, 2020

The tyranny of spring

For those of us with allergies, spring can be the most trying season. By dose ruds all the tibe. I would have to have an analysis done to know what all is affecting me, but I feel sure ragweed is in the mix. An allergist once told me that western Arkansas was the ideal world for his profession, because most of the usual allergens are here in abundance. I believe it! But I cannot take antihistamines because they agitate my prostate, and that is an absolute no-no according to my pharmacist. So, I just blow by dose and suffer quietly.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

That would be scary!

The Professor was regarding Sidney with that penetrating gaze of his which made him look like Boris Karloff on one of his bad mornings.

(from "Sleepy Time," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Visions of gorillas

He had parted so recently from Sidney McMurdo that he had not had time to erase from his mental retina what might be called the over-all picture of him. The massive bulk of Sidney McMurdo rose before his eyes, as did the other's rippling muscles. The discovery that in addition to possessing the physique of a gorilla he had also that animal's easily aroused temper was not one calculated to induce a restful peace of mind. Given the choice between annoying Sidney McMurdo and stirring up a nest of hornets with a fountain pen, he would unhesitatingly have cast his vote for the hornets.

(from "Sleepy Time," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

A large lad, what?

Sidney McMurdo was always a rather intimidating spectacle. Tall, broad, deep-chested and superbly muscled, he looked like the worthy descendant of a long line of heavyweight gorillas, and nervous people and invalids were generally warned if there was any likelihood of their meeting him unexpectedly. Harold Pickering could not  but feel that an uncle who would want anything like that at his sickbed must be eccentric to the last degree.

(from "Scratch Man," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Monday, April 06, 2020

Women are like that

     At the outset she was assisted by the fact that success had rendered Julia Prebble a little overconfident. She did not concentrate. The eye which should have been riveted on her ball had a tendency to smirk sideways at her affianced, causing her to top, with the result that only three hole had been played before the match was all square again.
     However, as was inevitable, these reverses had the effect of tightening up Julia Prebble's game. Her mouth hardened, and she showed a disposition to bite at the man she loved, whom she appeared to consider responsible. On the fifth, she told him not to stand in front of her, on the sixth not to sand behind her, on the seventh she asked him not to move while she was putting. On the eighth green she suggested that if he had really got St. Vitus Dance he ought to go and put himself in the hands of some good doctor. On the ninth she formally broke off the engagement.

(from "Tangled Hearts," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Which Volga?

Until this moment, Horace had been going through the motions with something of the weary moodiness of a Volga Boatman, his face drawn, hi manner listless. But now he had become a different man. As he advanced to the ninth tee, his eyes gleamed, his ears wiggled and his lips were set. He looked like a Volga Boatman who had just learned that Stalin has purged his employer.

(from "Excelsior," by Sir Pelham Wodehouse)

Friday, April 03, 2020

Piccadilly Weepers

In his short story, "Excelsior," P. G. Wodehouse refers to one Sir George Capstone who did not wear "long side-whiskers of the type known as Piccadilly Weepers." So, just exactly what is this variety of facial foliage? See below.

Edward Askew Sothern as Lord Dundreary with Dundreary Whiskers, Courtesy of Wikipedia