Frank’s Fax Facts

And Reviews

     Volume XVIII, No. 28

     Sunday, September 30, 2012

After its best football season ever, USM, lost (just as we all knew we would) Larry Fedora, to North Carolina; the Golden Eagles have fallen to a thoroughly pitiful record of 4 losses, and 0 wins last night. I was so certain they would lose to undefeated and #9 ranked Louisville, that I refused to go to Gerry’s to see the game. I felt that I would be so disgusted after we got fifty points or more behind, that I would be going to bed by 9:00. As it turned out, it was one of the most tremendous football games I ever witnessed: They took the opening kickoff, and in no time at all, had made a touchdown. Didn’t surprise me, but it surely did make me sick! Their kicker missed the extra point; so, when USM got the ball, the team went 3 and out---again, just what we  had dreaded. Eagles again kicked the ball to the Cardinals, who fumbled the ball at their own 5 yard line; USM recovered it and ran it in for a thrilling TD, and our kicker made his extra point: the score was now USM 7, Louisville 6. Did I mention that the entire game was played on a surface that looked like a swimming pool? It had rained all day before the game, and continued to pour well after the game was lost. Yes. With 7 minutes left, USM got the ball for the last time. It was quite a distance from “Pay Dirt” and due, mainly, to the fact that the rain made the ball too hard to handle (and it was USM’s freshman quarterback’s very first game as leader of our team, soooo, time ran out, leaving us 4 points behind, after leading for most of the game, I could have wept. Oh, heck, I won’t lie to you. I did weep! And we have Boise State (who have never lost to USM) coming  to the Rock this Saturday!

Aside for this, it been a duller than usual week but I long ago stopped complaining about that! So long as I get my one day of bridge, am still able to drive myself to the church where we play (as well as to grocery stores and under-20 mile locations) I’m more than happy. The week was made a lot nicer when Bubby McClintock came by for a visit, and we ended up going out for supper. When he asked if I had a preference, I suggested the oldest Morrison Cafeteria in town: adding that when Patricia and Mike had taken me there two summers ago, we had all been more than satisfied with everything about the meal. Thursday night, we shared the same sentiments. I had been longing for some real Southern-fried chicken (if I could cook it like Helen, those fried chicken places could all do without my patronage. Alas, I never seem to get the proper ratio of flour to chicken, and am always disappointed. The cooks at Morrison’s know what they are doing, however, and I had a golden-brown breast-and-thigh, with okra (cooked to perfection) Cole Slaw (not bad) and another veggie that I dis-remember (I love that expression, which I learned from Caleb Welch (how about that for his name!). I had a diet Coke to drink (I have ordered water for the past several years, finding it more thirst quenching and a good bit less fattening) and no dessert. I eat far too much of that sort of food.


Cat Fax

“To sleep is an act of faith.”

Barbara G. Harrison

My Life with Chipper

       I had always loved my cats, and they always returned that affection. But Chipper’s love was so intense that it almost frightened me. When he first moved into our domicile, Trudy was rather aloof for a while. I’m sure she resented anyone presuming to re-place her. But after about a week, she seemed secure enough to agree to his invitations to “play around”. Soon, they were always together, it seemed. I’d grab my camera and began taking every conceivable photograph that I would place in the large number of Photograph Albums I have amassed over the years.

       When Ann MacGowan heard that I now had two kitties, she proceeded to make all manner of toys and other artistic gifts that she made, and sent the huge cardboard box with her creations. Ann is an old music-major from my Southern Miss days. She was two years behind me, but out friendship has endured over the years.

       I was almost as eager to see what she had put into the box as Trudy and Chipper were. Then, as I tore the box open, they crowded me so much that I gave up and let them take over. I rushed to find my video camera, and made about a forty-five minute classic of those two gorgeous cats playing with each toy, but mainly remaining fascinated with the cardboard box itself!

       Years later, I found the tape again. I had completely forgotten about having it. BY then, dear little Chipper was no longer with us, but Trudy was still around, I played the tape through my TV, and alternated between laughing with such sweet memories; but then it began to get to me, and I ended up bawling like a baby,

       I made the mistake of telling a former piano student about the tape (on which I recorded his performance of a Clementi Sonatina.) He begged me to let him take the tape home, so he could make a copy of his performance, and I was stupid enough to let him. I never got it back. He apologized copiously, but it did little to compensate for my loss. I have never known such anguish as I felt at Chipper’s early death.

       While he was with me, I never entered the house after going anywhere at night, that he was not there at the door, awaiting my return. If I drove myself, he knew instinctively that I would be coming back through the back door. If I went with a friend, he was on the piano stool in the living room. I’d always tell the driver to come in with me so he or she could see how adorable my Chipper was: waiting patiently for his “Daddy”.

       Chipper was an altered male cat. Charlie had never bothered to have him neutered or declawed, but I always have my cats given both of these operations. Unfortunately, Chipper was unlucky enough to develop urinary problems (which I discovered can be very common among neutered Toms). He survived the first surgery, and both his vet and I thought he’d live a long and happy life; but, alas, three years later, the trouble returned and he did not survive his second major surgery.

       During both traumatic periods, he was many days in the clinic, and I would go to visit him. Dr. Frank Brown was so kind and understanding. He’d tell me to stay and hold Chipper on my lap.

       “I’ve never seen a cat as crazy about anybody as he is of you!” He often said.

       “And that adoration works both ways!” I would assure him.

       I had Chipper cremated and have his ashes (as well as my second Trudy’s) and would have had all of my companions given the same treatment. I am being cremated, and as asking that part of me be buried in Ellisville, in the family plot. But I want the rest of my ashes, mixed with my three cats and strewn in the back yard of the house where we were so happy together. Judy (II) and Trudy (I) both have marble markers on their graves under the camellia bush in the back yard, so there is nothing more I can do for them.


Old Movie Reviews:

(Not so) Great Movie Demoted

This week I recorded 1947s British-made Murder on the Orient Express, which I still remembered as one of the best Agatha Christie filmed novels. It had to have cost a fortune to produce, since the movie stars who made up even the minor characters.

       The film was apparently filmed on the actual locations, and, as the characters en-train, I still felt a little of the excitement as such stars as Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Albert Finnry, Wendy Hiller, Vanessa Redgrave, Laurel Bacall, Michael York, John Gielgud, Sean Connery, Richard Widmark, Anthony Perkins and the list goes on and on. But dullness has replaced suspense in the intervening years, and I found Finney’s Poiroit a pathetic substitute for David Suchet. I also did not care for Laurel Bacall’s role, period (that’s Agatha’s fault) and the ridiculous “Step by boring step” of Poirot’s “Solution to the crime”. This is the reason I stopped reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries: That “Look How Clever I am!” habit she had of spending most of the story telling how the crime was committed. The only thing I found comforting: The murdered victim was played by Richard Widmark, an actor so obnoxious that I never cared for him at all. This made the fact that not one, but twelve of the characters drove a knife into his body to ascertain that he was, indeed, murdered! (Bomb)


Movie Trivia Quiz #53

1.                    Judy Garland was the actress who was supposedly making a film about the inventor of the Safety Pin, in which mega-musical at MGM?

2.                    Who was the man Judy fell in love with in The Harvey Girls?

3.                    What was Garland’s last film? (Hint: it was a British film)

4.                    Judy played a Jewish woman, testifying in the film in which Spenser Tracy is the Judge.

5.                    Judy supplied the voice for what animated cartoon?

6.                    What actress did Judy take the place of when Fox would not allow Louis B. Mayer to use their big star?

7.                    Who was Judy’s Oscar winning director husband?

8.                    Can you name the three films that Judy made with Gene Kelly?

9.                    How many Oscars did she win?

10.               Who was the beau she sang about in “The Trolley Song”?  In the same movie, he was “The Boy Next Door”.


Movie Trivia Quiz #52

1.     Gary Cooper was the thief in Beau Geste.

2. Sam Jaffi played Gunga Din. Later he was a doctor in a series on TV

3. Kathryn Hepburn wore boys’ clothes in RKs 1930’s movie Sylvia Scarlett. It was a boxoffice bomb, in its day, but achieved “Cult movie status in later years. Cast included Cary Grant and Brian Aherne.

4. Talullah Bankhead was Catherine, the Great., in A Royal Scandal?

5. She was also the reporter who saved her  own Typewriter in wartime, in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat?

6. Marnie and The Birds were Tippi Hedrin’s only movies.

7. Melanie Griffin was her far-more-famous actress daughter.

8. Liza Menelli was  “Junie Moon”, in Tell Me that You Love Me, Junie Moon.

9. RKO’s The Leopard Man was made after the success of The Cat People. Hattiesburg’s own Dennis O’Keefe played this sinister role.

10. Grace Kelly won an Oscar for The Country Girl. Academy Award winning Bing Crosby was her co-star.
















2.     Gary Cooper was the thief in Beau Geste.

2. Sam Jaffi played Gunga Din. Later he was a doctor in a series on TV

3. Kathryn Hepburn wore boys’ clothes in which RKO 1930’s movie that bombed totally?

4. Talullah Bankhead was Catherine, the Great., in A Royal Scandal?

5. She was also the reporter who saved her Typewriter, in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat?

6. Marnie and what other hugely successful movie were Tippi Hedrin’s only movies.

7. was her far-more-famous actress daughter.

8. Liza Menelli was  Junie Moon, in Tell Me that You Love Me, Junie Moon.

9. RKO’s The Leopard Man was made after the success of The Cat People. Hattiesburg’s own Dennis O’Keefe played this sinister role.

10. Grace Kelly won an Oscar for The Country Girl. Academy Award winning Bing Crosby was her co-star.


Sunday, September 30, 2012


Frank’s Fax Facts

And Reviews

     Volume XVIII, No. 27

     Sunday, September 23 2012

             Thursday, I joined Father Gorman and Steve Linton at the Red Lobster, where I was treated to a heavenly lunch of Baked Flounder (stuffed with crab and fish dressing). With this, I chose a mixed green salad (always a delight at this chain) and wonder mashed potatoes. After cleaning each plate thoroughly, I had no desire (read that as “room”) for dessert. Father Gorman always has our waitress bring me a container to put an extra serving of their incomparable garlic and butter biscuits. What a meal!

Yesterday, USM’s season took a turn for the worse: they lost big time to lowly Sunbelt Conference Western-Kentucky! As far as I can see, their season is as good as over already! Boo Hoo!



Cat Fax

“Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”



The Sicilian Cook’s Corner

Here’s the latest version of one of my favorite recipes:

Shrimp Jambalaya a la Frank


In a large pot (with a cover), dampen the bottom with extra-virgin Olive Oil.

Chop a medium sized onion and about six large cloves of fresh garlic. Sauté in the oil until golden colored.

Chop 4 stalks of celery and one medium (or ½ large) green Bell –pepper, which you now add to the pot.

Add a regular sized can of tomato paste (not sauce) and enough cans of water  to produce about 2 inches of liquid in the pot (let the water wash the remainder of the tomato paste from the can.  Waste not that ye want not!)

Continue cooking slowly as you add:

1 can Okra, Tomatoes and Corn;  a can of white corn kernels;  and a. can of Mixed Vegetables (I use Del Monte brand for all three of these vegetables)

Cover the pot for about an hour of medium low cooking.


Lightly (in a separate skillet), fry 6 or 8 medium sized washed and dried sliced Mushrooms (the white kind. Not the fancy ones) and save them to the end, when you add the lightly cooked shrimp.

Add 6 tablespoons halved stuffed green olives/

Season to taste with salt and pepper—a dash of Cinnamon adds spice, and a dash of Tabasco jazzes it up a little more.


Use raw shelled and deveined shrimp (medium size) and cook  with Crab Boil,  only until they lose their shine.  Save these until the last few minutes of cooking. You do not want to over cook them.


Cook a package yellow rice as directed, and serve the Jambalaya on a bed of it. Grated Parmesan cheese makes it even better, and I always use fresh Basil leaves when it is available.

The rice may also be added to the Jambalaya before serving it. You get more servings this way


Another Screen Gem*

The Bishop’s Wife

This has become, over the years, my favorite of all Samuel Goldwyn’s many fine films. His work, along with David O. Selznik’s is tied for first place among all movie producers of all time, in my book.

Basically, this is a Christmas fantasy, but it is so well written, directed and acted that it takes its place, with great ease, among all-time movies. David Niven is the Bishop, who wants desperately, to have a bigger, more magnificent Church (read that Cathedral) built for his diocese,  and his wife, played with just the right amount of humor, by never-lovelier-and-more-appealing Loretta Young;  Gladys Cooper is a rich widow, as well as his No. 1 Parishioner. He is wooing her into donating the bulk of the expenses. But, meanwhile, he is having trouble even writing a normal sermon. He asks God to send him some help. This arrives in the form of Cary Grant, at the peak of his greatness, and a past master of Charm and Good will. He is an angel named Dudley! From the moment he arrives at the old rectory, Niven has second, and then third thoughts about having prayed for this charming man’s intervention. He literally bristles at his every happy word, smile, and his presence in general. But he is the only one who does not immediately fall under “Dudley’s” spell. Grant is positively hypnotizing in the role.

The imposing cast includes, also, Monty Woolley, Elsa Lanchester and James Gleason. The film is full of laughs, clever dialogue, sophistication, plus some gorgeous singing by an all-boys choir. Anyone who does not like this movie has to be Scrooge-like!

*As of this issue, Screen Gem is my highest rating on any older movie



Samuel Goldwyn

Born Samuel Goldfisz, in Warsaw, Poland, he changed his “Fish” to Wyn upon his arrival in Los Angeles. When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer pictures was started, he was the "Goldwyn", yet he never released a single film there until Guys and Dolls (in 1955). He always wanted to get an Oscar for the Best Picture of any year: but he was turned away until The Best Years of Our Lives, in 1946. Thus Wuthering Heights, The Bishop’s Wife and at least a dozen or more great movies from this genius who was able (it seems) to turn any movie into a great work of art.\


My Weekend in Memphis

In April of 1949, I rode the train known as the Southerner to Memphis, with my piano teacher (my senior year only, Joseph Huck). He was entering me in the Memphis and  Mid South piano competition that was held annually in that charming city. I had never been there before, and was so excited on the train ride up there, that I felt myself in a dream.

       Mr. Huck was going to pay for the entire trip and hotel accommodations, until I told Mama this. She insisted that Daddy pay my expenses. He did this, without complaining. He was poor but proud, and never winced at the great expense my college education cost. For him, education was the most valuable thing he could give any of his children. Sadly Helen and Sammy did not cost him a cent.

       As the train rolled from Hattiesburg to Memphis (I later made the trip from Mobile, and that took less time than my first trip) I watched with fascination as my teacher took out a book of crossword puzzles and proceeded to enjoy working them. I had frequently watched Anna working this same sort of puzzles in New OrleansTimes Picayune, which we always got as long as I can remember. I never bothered to try to learn how to work them from her; Mr. Huck asked if I ever worked such puzzles, and I said I had not, but that they looked hard as nails. He laughed, and explained that you could buy any level of difficulty at any news stand. Right then I determined to get a beginner’s copy at the first opportunity. Meanwhile, as he worked on his own cross words, he would give me some of the clues.

       Our hotel was close to the school where the competition was to be held, as well as being close to a couple of movie theaters. I’ll never forget how thrilled Mr. Huck was when he saw that The Red Shoes was playing that weekend at one of the theaters.  I, too, had wanted to see it as soon as I knew anything about it.

       But first, he said, we needed to go to the auditorium in which I would be playing, and try the piano. When we got there (just walking into the huge auditorium, plus the fact that a very good pianist was playing a Liszt show piece that I had heard many times (La Campanula) made me want to fly out of there, and straight back home!

(To be continued)


I have had several requests for a continuation of the Trudy, Chipper and Ginger saga, and I am including the little bit that I have ready at this time. But I am just scratching the surface, as it were.

The Pet Path to Ginger

Chipper felt right at home from the very start. Trudy tried, at first, to ignore him; but he was a very happy, friendly and outgoing feline who would not take “No” for an answer. Soon he was taking his own place, usually where she could observe how well satisfied he was with his new surroundings. If he ever missed the freedom of being able to have the run of the yard, he was gentleman enough not to show it.

       I felt he had really made the transition from H to I (his first Daddy was Charles Horton) and of course, I was Mr. I) when I walked into the living room one afternoon, to see Trudy in her favorite spot for a little feline privacy: the top of the Cat Statue Cabinet. It was some time later when I chanced to see that Chipper had somehow managed to get to the top of the little glass and mirror hanging cabinet (which is filled with some of my Hummel Figurine collection) and was sleeping quietly atop it. Now, Trudy’s feat was amazing enough (from the piano to her perch is much closer than his armchair to cabinet leap!) But I never did see him actually flying through the air!


Movie Trivia Quiz #52

1.     Who was the thief in Beau Geste?

2. Who played Gunga Din?

3. Kathryn Hepburn wore boys’ clothes in which RKO 1930’s movie that bombed totally?

4. What Southern actress was Catherine, the Great., in A Royal Scandal?

5. Who was the reporter who saved her (the same actress’) Typewriter, in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat?

6. Marnie and what other hugely successful movie were this actress’s only movies? Like most Hitchcock actresses, she was a knock-out platinum blonde.

7. Can you name her far-more-famous actress daughter?

8.  Who was  Junie Moon, in Tell Me that You Love Me, Junie Moon”?

9. RKO’s The Leopard Man was made after the success of The Cat People. Who played this sinister role?

10. Grace Kelly won an Oscar for The Country Girl. What  singing Academy Award winning male was her co-star?



1. Janet Gaynor was the  original Esther Blodgette (“Vicky Lester”) in the first A Star is Born.

 2. Chris Christopherson’s role in latest  version (#3) was played by Oscar winner Frederic March.

3. The  great comedienne had the lead in The Rose was the “Divine” Bette Midler.

4. Irene Dunne played Queen Victoria in The Mud Lark.

5. Dorothy Lamour rode an elephant in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth.

6. Sabu was the name   of Alexander Korda’s Elephant Boy.

7, Silent screen star, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (who was one of the founders of Artist Studios) was in the first Thief of Bagdad.

8. Bonita Granville was “Nancy Drew” in 1940’s Warner Bros. B films.

9.Chester Morris  was Boston Blackie in several movies He had a very flat nose!’

10.  Albert Finney was M. Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express?




Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another test

One more time…  Just testing email

Thursday, September 20, 2012