Frank Fax Facts

And Reviews

     Volume XVII, No. 47

Sunday, February 12,  2012

      Last Sunday, my computer clogged up while I was in the process of sending Fax Facts to my readers. The copies are sent in three groups, FF1 and FF2 went out without a hitch, and there was every indication that FF3 had done the same. Then I wanted to send a short message, as e mail, but when I tried to send it, I was faced with a notice that said there had been an error, caused by one name on the third list: my friend had sent me the notice of her change of carrier, and I was almost sure I had made the change. Obviously, I had not. I then erased her name from the list, and tried again to send my short e mail. Hours later, I simply had to face the fact that my ancient Dell desktop was “Out of whack”. Always there when I need him, Darren O’Donnell came to get the invalid Sunday evening, and just got it back to me Friday. It seems to be working well, but there are a few problems that I still do not know how to cope with. But, at my age, I am afraid that is to be expected.

      I did get a little better acquainted with my laptop that I had never understood well enough to do little more than play Solitaire on it. I was able to correspond with some of you on the Internet, which was totally unexpected. As well as learning how to increase the size of whatever I am writing. Don’t laugh: for me, this was a triumph!



“You are my cat, and I am your human.”

Hilaire Belloc



Old Time Movie Reviews

Holy Matrimony (Fox, 1941)

As you see, this little gem of a comedy came out in the last peaceful days before WW2, and it certainly gave the world something to laugh about. Monty Wooley plays a rascally famous artist, who assumes his valet’s name when this servant dies. (He despises the rigors of fame). He marries a spinster (Gracie Fields, is perfect in the role) and they live happily ever-after in her house. She knows nothing of his real identity, and causes a scandal when she sells some of his paintings. The valet had been entombed in Westminster Abbey (as the artist, himself). This causes some really finny situations, which makes it a wonderful diversion from that long ago age of innocence. Wooley’s character is much more endearing that that of “The Man Who came to Dinner”- and frankly, I felt this was a much better comedy that the over-rated Broadway-to-Hollywood smash hit!  (****)


Hattiesburg, Mobile and Ellisville

Summer, 1958

I sang tenor in a performance of Schubert’s Marian’s Song of Triumph, the Sunday after the last day of the year I taught for George. I had enjoyed singing with the group (many were music majors had become friends, through two performances and lots of rehearsals). Mr. Marsh’s original plan for me had included my continuing teaching George’s pupils through the summer session, but because of my close friendship with a music major (Ann Nunnally) I was summoned to his office, in April, and told that I had to stop dating her: it simply was not allowed. I am certain this was because Harris Chrone (another young piano teacher at MSC at the time I was there), had defied Marsh’s edicts and married a student named Cindy (I forget her family name). As much as I wanted that income for the short summer term, I looked my long-time adversary dead in the eye and told him I would date whomever I pleased. That’s when he more or less washed his hands of me.

The minute the choral program ended, I dashed to the bus station and caught a bus to Mobile. I was determined to buy a car! Daddy, who had not bought a car since 1938, came back from Laurel one day while I was at home, in a brand new black Chevrolet sedan. Up to that point, I had resisted learning to drive; mainly because all we ever had after moving from Richton, in 1943, was a “rattle-trap” truck, which Daddy had transformed our car into!

I had even defied my commanding officers, while in the Army in Germany, by deliberately almost wrecking a Jeep when they insisted that I had to drive my C.O., whenever we had an “Alert” (this was really the only part of my two-year stint in the military that I despised. These harassments always came in the middle of the nights. We were supposed to “play” that the Russians were attacking us. Then every one of us had to get into our uniforms and get to our assigned locations. Mine was supposed to be behind the wheel of a Jeep, with Mr. Kennedy (he was an NCO) sitting uselessly at my side. It evolved that he ended up chauffeuring me every time that accursed warning siren sounded! He didn’t seem to mind the fact that I was causing him to be the butt of my own little joke.

So, when Daddy didn’t seem to mind that I learn to drive (between my oldest brother, Sammy, and Helen’s husband, Tom Prince, I became a fairly decent driver) Daddy even allowed me to drive to Hattiesburg at night to take Ann out. I remember how we laughed, when I had driven to a drive-in and after we had eaten, had a really hard time backing the car out of that crowded parking lot without scraping somebody else’s automobile. That had been my first experience of this kind. And, of course, Ann thought it was hysterical! By the way, at this age, she was a dead ringer for a young Bette Davis.

But, I should have known that both Daddy and I could not get to drive the car as much as we wanted (he would always let me drive us to Laurel for Mass on Sundays). And when I requested use of the vehicle, he seemed always to have planned some sort of use for the car himself. He was finding retirement an utter bore, after his trip back to Cefalu was over.

 I had moved back home after Christmas, much as I hated to give up the dear little apartment near the campus. One of the students from Ellisville, with whom I rode two or three times for the weekends, had three other men who rode regularly with him. We were all compatible, so when one of them asked me why I didn’t ride with them every day, it seemed such a good idea that I was surprised I had not thought of it sooner.

By the way, it was while riding with this group from Ellisville that we saw the quaint little “Doll House” that inspired the story, “Ariel”.

All of these thoughts were running through my head as I sat in the Trailways bus, Anna and Glenn had come down to get me, and when I got off the bus and walked over to them, they were both grinning happily. As usual, my sister had knocked herself out preparing a wonderful supper for us. I got a wonderful night’s sleep, and as soon as the car dealers opened their doors, Glenn drove me straight to the Mercury-Lincoln dealer downtown. He had saved a newspaper ad for me to see, and when I read it, I got very excited! The deals on English Fords were truly unbelievable. Glenn was savvy enough to get a nice little tip for his services (which I did not mind). The ad stated that they would allow $100 off the price for any car that could be driven to their shop.

As usual, time I saw what I wanted, there was nothing else that I was the least bit interested in seeing: and that baby blue Anglia had ME spelled all over it. I would happily sign the papers as soon as I had seen the inside of the car and heard the sales pitch from the salesman. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when my brother-in-law announced that we were going to another dealer, somewhere on the outskirts of town, because they would give us a better deal. Even though he seemed very determined, I feared he would somehow cause me to lose my little “Blue Heaven”. And just as I feared, when we arrived at the much smaller Automobile dealership; there was no blue Anglia. They had three other colors, but no blue one. I kept tugging at Glenn’s shirt sleeve, hissing my utter frustration, when he looked at me and said, “They’ll get you the one you want. Stop worrying!”

      That had to have been the longest time I ever spent. They were to deliver my car to the McCullars’ residence. Anna had again gone out of her way to prepare a wonderful lunch for us; but I was not that interested in food, for once in my life.

      After we ate, we sat in the yard to the side of their house, waiting. All my life, I have been aware of my faults and shortcomings: and patience has never been something that I was blessed with. Decades have helped very little in giving me any of this valuable commodity. Today, most of my unhappiness is caused by my total lack of patience, and overabundance of the IM(bragulio) variety of the word.

      It was a typical spring afternoon in Mobile. Anna was always telling us of the breeze, that she maintained kept the weather from being as hot as it was in Ellisville. And now I began to believe that this was true. But having lived here for over fifty-three summers, I feel it is a moot point. The humidity is the real villain.

      Each time a car would pass the house, I’d pray that it would be mine. Then, just when I had begun thinking they would never bring it to me, there it was!

      I have no memory of how the man who drove my car to me got back: all I was interested in was having Anna tell me for the umpteenth time how to get to the highway to Ellisville.

      And as I drove from the McCullar’s home to ours in Ellisville; I was as completely happy as I have ever been in my life. I began singing aloud: “Nyah, nyah, nyah said the little fox- Nyah. Nyah you can’t catch me!” Obviously, I was out of my mind! Then, a complete mood change began creeping over me: Sammy’s dire warning that once you drive a new car out of the dealer’s premises the value of the car is less than half (or some such nonsense that I was silly enough to believe),

      It was getting dark by the time that I drove into our yard. I could hardly wait to show Mama and Daddy my brand new car! But, they were watching something on television, and said to wait till it was over. I was crushed! I got back into MY car, and drove around the corner and about a block to Mrs. Ora Jordan’s house. I tooted the horn (which was really cute- I thought) and Robert Cooper Townley (Miss “Ory’s” grandson) came running as soon as he saw that it was my new car outside.

      “Coop” was one of the best friends I ever had (when I finally came to terms with his complex personality) and was almost as happy as I was that “we” now had wheels!”



Old Movie Trivia Quiz #24

1.    Whose wife was Gracie Allen?

2.    What was Jack Benny’s wife’s name?

3.    Sonny and Cher had a daughter: what was her name?

4.    Who was Tyrone Power’s wife?

5.    Name as many of Elizabeth Taylor’s husbands as you can.

6.    Judy Garland was married to which of her MGM directors?

7.    Alice Faye’s longtime husband was what comedian? (Hint: he sang “The Bear Necessities” in Disney’s The Jungle Book)

8.    Who was The Man Who Came to Dinner, in the movie?

9.    Breakfast at Tiffany’s paired Audrey Hepburn with what future TV star? Whose book was the basis for this delicious comedy? Extra points if you remember the hit song written for the film.

10. The Breakfast Club had a group of teenagers known by what “Pack” name? Can you name at least two of them? (Hint: think of The West Wing’s male star.)



Answers to Old Movie Trivia Quiz No. 23


1.      Before Gone with the Wind, Vivien Leigh had made A Yank at Oxford and after GWTW her first film was Waterloo Bridge. Robert Taylor was in both of these films with her.

2.      Gene Tierney had Dana Andrews, from Collins, Mississippi, as her leading man in one of her biggest hits, Laura.

3.      New Orleans was the birthplace of Dorothy Lamour.

4.      Gene Kelly was in Christmas Holiday with Deanna Durbin, where he neither sang nor danced.

5.      Saturday’s Children starred John Garfield with Priscilla Lane.

6.      A Tree Grows in Brooklyn had Peggy Ann Garner in the cast.

7.      The Horn Blows at Midnight was considered Jack Benny’s only flop.

8.      Mr. and Mrs. Smith paired Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery in the 30’s.  It was hilarious. It was re-made with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and was so terrible that I walked out of the theater after less than half of it?

9.      Mr. Smith Goes to Washington had James Stewart in one of his best roles. Jean Arthur was his charming co-star.





Friday, February 17, 2012