Friday, October 30, 2009

My first Hallowe'en

Probably 1960. Kid sister Paula is creeped out by the...the...uh, the...well, let's call it a Goblin.

My mother bundled me up in every warm item of clothing I had, topped it with a nightgown and gave me a mask. I don't think there was a plan other than that I shouldn't catch cold. We went trick or treating from our Nana Nolan's house, and all of the neighbours pretended they didn't know who I was. Behind that mask I thought they were being rather silly at first. As houses went by though I was quite taken with the thought that perhaps they really didn't know it was me. I was forgetting that Mommy was waiting for me on the sidewalk.

Nowadays I love handing out the candies and pretending to be frightened of the small, confused children and complimenting the more gory big kids. I'll be disappointed if we have too much candy left.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Handsome Ricardo Cortez (1899 - 1977), the screen's first Sam Spade, plays the title role in the 1936 Universal programmer Postal Inspector.

Bela Lugosi (1882 - 1956), the screen's first sound Dracula, pleased his fans as a gangster.

Postal Inspector was written by Horace McCoy (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?) and directed by serial veteran Otto Brower. It runs a brisk 58 minutes and includes an airplane disaster, a nifty nightclub, a flood and a chase in speedboats. In its day, it would have been the second half of a double bill. At my age, it was seen as movies were meant to be seen - late at night with commercials.

Our intrepid postal inspector is charged with investigating fraud through the U.S. mail. What were the three most prevelant forms of fraud you ask? I'll tell you: Get Rich Quick Schemes, Lose Weight Quick Schemes, and Miracle Kitchen Gadgets. Seen any infomercials lately? People sure haven't changed much in the last 70 years.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hollywood to Broadway to Hollywood trivia

Donna Mae Tjaden, born September 16, 1922

Talented and lovely Janis Paige has starred in film (One Sunday Afternoon, Silk Stockings), Broadway (Remains to be Seen, The Pajama Game), television (Wagon Train, All in the Family) and toured (Gypsy, Mame). Did you see her on the Tony's a couple of years ago? Still a looker!

Doris Mary Ann Von Kapplehoff, born April 3, 1922

Talented and lovely Doris Day is a recording star (Sentimental Journey, Que Sera Sera), a movie star (Calamity Jane, Pillow Talk) and a television star (The Doris Day Show). Happy in retirement she devotes her time to animal protection.

It's been a while since we've traversed the twisted trivia trail.

In 1948 Janis Paige was the leading lady in a fun bit of fluff for Warner Brothers entitled Romance on the High Seas. The movie marked big band singing sensation Doris Day's introduction to movie goers. The girl was a hit.


In 1954 Janis Paige had a major hit starring as Babe Williams in The Pajama Game on Broadway. T'was ever thus that Hollywood studios were always afeared that a "name" in the theatre would not translate into box office.


So, the casting round went around. If Frank Sinatra had said "yes" to The Pajama Game then Janis would be brought back to Hollywood. Frank said "no". Box office gold Doris said "yes" and Broadway leading man Raitt, and most of the original cast, appeared in the appealing 1957 film.

It's 1960 and Doris is still filmgoers favourite leading lady. In Please Don't Eat the Daisies Doris is married to theatre critic David Niven and their lives are turned upside down by a move to the suburbs and a wiley and attractive stage star. Who else could play that scene stealing part, but lovely and talented Janis Paige?

So goes the merry-go-round of entertainment.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Haiku is in my movie loving blood

The road to Lordsburg

The only road for the Kid

The road to vengeance