Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol. XVIII, No. 43
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Things got back to AB-normal this week (after what seemed like six months of Christmas) with our first Bridge Game of the year. There were nine players, which meant three tables, lacking one body (which is no big deal, letting one table’s Dummy, bid as the missing player on one of the “Short” tables and then getting back “Home”. I drove straight from the church to Sebring barber shop where Billy Helton re-arranged all twenty-one of my “locks”. Then it was home for the nap I had missed that afternoon. Peggy and I lunched on a MacRib sandwich (any of you who has not tried one of these more-than-delicious concoctions, should taste one before they go into hibernation until next fall. These treats are seasonal in lots of ways!
“Mark Twain is quoted as saying that he had never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. I fully agree with this fine gentleman. Now you can quote me!”
(Miss) Ginger Imbragulio
DRAFT DODGERS ANONYMOUS
Good ole Dale Lavon Hudson had once again given me an excellent tip on how to save myself a lot of trouble and grief while managing to survive the infamous Infiltration Course we were about to endure: “At the very end,” he told me, “they tell you to finish up by firing your M1 Rifle and screaming as loud as you can. But if you place a finger over the end of the gun, and do not fire a single shot, you won’t have to clean the weapon at all: and be careful not to get any dirt into the barrel, either!”
I stood there, trembling with fear. My thoughts went back quite normally to having felt this same sinking feeling of inevitable doom every time I stood at the stage entrance prior to walking out and bowing, as my last ordinary human act before playing my “piece” in any recital.
Before they gave us the signal to begin “The Fun”, I tried to see as much to beware of that I could possible to discern: Sadly, it all felt totally foreign and other-worldly.
And then, there it was: the explosion of some sort, which seemed to rock even the teeth in my mouth (which now held my heart, as well).
Without allowing myself the luxury of thought, I started praying as hard as I ever had in my entire lifetime prior to this moment. I realized with total amazement, that both feet were propelling me forward. Then I realized that I was on my knees and crawling like a giant ant! There was so much noise that it was impossible not to be scared to death.
Out of the various parts of my brain, I was aware of flashes of light and crashing of explosions. I literally felt as if I had died and gone immediately to hell!
Moving like some sort of Robot, I found myself trying to do just exactly like the fellows next to me were doing.
When we finally reached the point at which the soldier on my right began firing his rifle, and my neighbor on the left followed suit, I remembered not to follow them this time. Placing my thumb on the end of my M1, I started shouting like a mad man! Much as I wanted to get the heck out of this accursed “Killing Field”, my legs had never felt more lackadaisical. But somehow I managed to keep moving until I reached the Outer Limits. I almost cried with sheer relief!
Not even the most dreaded recital; in which I ever performed, could compare to the mind-boggling agony of this experience! Though it seemed as if it had lasted longer than the attack on Pearl Harbor, I’m fairly certain it was miniscule in comparison.
Suddenly, I was reminded of Marcus, Lynwood and George: I wondered vaguely where they were and how well they had fared. There they were: all safe and sound. And then we began talking at once, trying to make our own version sound the truest and most frightening. Marcus and George’s were eclipsed by Lynwood’s and my orations.
We got back into the trucks that took us back to our tents, and there my tent-mate sat, looking for all the world, like he had just won the Kentucky Derby! He was actually laughing as if he had enjoyed the evening!
“Well, what’s wrong with your head?” Lynwood asked.
“Nothing,” was his short reply. He stopped laughing
“Don’t tell me you weren’t scared,” I told him, rather than asking him.
“No. It’s not that---I simply was not nearly as scared as I expected to be.”
“OK. As long as you admit you were scared!” Marcus said, and then shuddered in remembrance of our mutual ordeal.
I walked into our tent and brought out the large cardboard box with Ellisville’s post mark on it. “Let’s see what Mama sent us for our snacks.” And I tore open the back, and began pulling out cans of tuna fish, sardines, and salmon, with a large box of saltine crackers; Mama had also included a large can of Corn-beef Hash! It was not half bad, eaten without the luxury of heating! Then Mama had included as many candy bars as she could get, into the spaces left over. These included Butterfinger; Baby Ruth; Hershey’s plain and almond bars; Snickers and a lot of Hershey’s kisses.
I said in a loud voice, “Every one of you is invited to have a bit of supper, compliments my Mama and Daddy. They sent this ‘Care Package’ for me to share with all of us who went through the Infiltration Course tonight! And that was all I had to say. Every bit of that wonderful “Sam’s Market” food was consumed in less than an hour. My parents would have been so happy to have seen those friends and acquaintances enjoying their simple gift.
We slept the sleep of utter exhaustion that last night of bivouac; but there was still a few more days to be endured.
Camouflage and Concealment: This should have been a lot more fun that it actually turned out to be. Sandy Sanderson and Lavon had made it sound more like a “Fun” Day that a serious and dangerous one.
The day of training that I enjoyed the most was the one devoted to the carbine rifle! I felt right at home when I first held it in my hands. And firing it was a ball! I owed this unexpected bravado from my brother’s all but futile attempts to me a bird hunter out of me. I was still smarting by my dismal failure with the heavier and more unwieldy M-1 rifle. But even here, the reason for my low blow scores came out at the end of our term at Service Company. I walked over to my bunk to find my M-1 waiting for me with an official-looking paper which stated that the rifle had been checked out (as they all were) and that this one had faulty aiming apparatus: adding that hitting the target was almost impossible under the circumstances. I said a silent “Thank You” to me sibling on this last day.
One of the worst days (by far) was when we had to pull the pen from a hand grenade, and try to hit a target with it! I felt as if I was about to faint, as I finally managed to extract that pen from its resting place. And then I couldn’t have cared less where the darned thing landed: all I cared about was saving my right arm (not to mention the rest of my body!) Everybody around me laughed when the spiteful “weapon of mass destruction” hit the ground with a dull thud, that all-at-once became an explosion.
I loathed the machine gun also! Here, Marcus found his best weapon. I wondered, after this one-day introduction, how they ever got one to repeat itself so rapidly in all of those Warner Brothers crime-wave films, with James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and all those James (Jesse and Frank) boys and Ma Baker and her vile off-springs!
For the life of me, I cannot remember what I had found to terrible about C & C, unless I had incurred one of the cadre’s ire and had been rewarded by getting to show off my Push-Up prowess.
At any rate, that finale to which we had all looked forward for so long dawned. Lynwood, as usual, had us all agreeing to try our best to win kudos for our beloved Lt. Rellis. The previous day, Lynwood (who always managed to “Take Over” anything that had to do with training) had us out in the surrounding training area, where he drilled us on such things as estimating the distance from Point A to Point B, and other skills which I was never any good at. But here, at least, Lynwood was as gung ho as an army cadre! We had often enjoyed “playing at” Dismounted Drill. Marcus, and three other friends, were like putty in our buddy’s hands, as he recalled quite complex marching patterns.
We did not get any sort of special award for our staff, but then we did not flunk out, either!
(To be continued)
Old Movie Trivia Quiz #68
1. Some like it Hot was directed by what director?
2. In this comedy, what historical crime had the two leading stars witnessed?
3. Who played these two witnesses”
4. Who played the role of “Sugar Kane”?
5. What 1930’s comedian had the last laugh in the film? (He had a notorious big mouth)
6. What musical instruments did the leads play?
7. One of the two men had won an Oscar earlier. What was the film that won it for him?
8. The other man had a famous wife and daughter. Can you name either of these ladies?
9. One of the men played a Warlock in the film version of Bell, Book and Candle. Which was it?
10. Where is the band ultimately going?
Answers to Quiz # Movie Trivia Quiz #67
1. The Cockeyed Miracle was an MGM oddity from 1946 that I had never seen nor heard of. It was hysterically funny, with a good cast headed by Frank Morgan, who was the title character of The Wizard of Oz.
- Finnian’s Rainbow has a haunting musical score, which includes “How are Things in Glockomora?” “Look for the Rainbow”: “That Old Devil Moon”, “The Girl that I Marry”, etc. The director Francis Ford Coppola, who did such films as The Godfather, and its many sequels.
- Fred Astaire was the actor who played Finnian. His daughter was played by Petula Clark, a popular British pop singer. She had starred in a remake of Goodbye, Mr. Chips earlier.
- A Guy Named Joe was a melancholy story that starred Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne
- Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Channing all appeared in 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie
- Henry Fonda appeared in only one film of Alfred Hitchcock: Warner Bros.’ The Wrong Man, based on a true crime,
- Samuel Goldwyn’s only Oscar was for the quintessential WW2 story, The Best Years of Our Lives
- RKO’s They Knew What They Wanted became a big musical hit on Broadway as The Most Happy Fellow
- was Becky Sharp in RKO’s first Technicolor film? Miriam Hopkins
10. Bitter Rice introduced Sylvano Mangano to USA screens.