Frank’s Fax Facts
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!
“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
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 Orleans’ Times 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?
ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK’S QUIZ
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?