Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews
Vol. XVIII, No. 50
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Recently I printed the statement that Spring Byington (who was Marmee in Little Women of 1938) played Aunt Bea (?) in the Andy Griffin Show all those eternities ago. Steve Bekemeyer, of Winter Haven, Fl., wrote that I had erred: I will admit, I had not seen an of those old broadcasts in eons, so I watched that evening. Surely, enough, when I took one look at Aunt Bee (?) I knew that I had indeed been wrong yet again. That person is a certain Miss Boozier, or some such French sounding name. But I am sure Mama used to watch (religiously) some similar sit-com with Spring as the adult (I dare not make any further mistakes!) But, I’m almost sure both of these actresses have gone on to glory, and I am so sorry that I inadvertently robbed the French one of her praise.
Wednesday, at my monthly Pedicure, Shae discovered that the ingrown toenail on the big toe of my left foot (apologies to Daniel Day-Lewis) had a little touch of infection. I began putting medication on it, and called to schedule a visit to Dr. Johnson’s clinic. On my Thursday visit there, I asked him to extend the medication he had me use twice a day (and it seemed to be working, when the prescription ran out, the second week and the pharmacy said there were to be no refills) So, this time, he made the prescription for a month’s supply of them. If it doesn’t do the job by then, he said I will be forced to have it surgically removed. That would obviously be very painful, so please pray with me that these pills will be all that I need. But just in case they don’t, I asked him to let me use the same podiatrist who did such a great job with the Hammertoe on my right foot. I can stand anything but pain!
“Oh, sleep! It is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole..”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Old Movie Review
Born Yesterday (1950)
I just finished watching the last 45 minutes of this masterpiece of a film, and (as always) had to weep when I considered the fact that Judy Holliday and co-star William Holden are no longer with us. How vividly I remember when the film was first released and Ms. Holliday was given fhe Best Actress Oscar for this film: I was livid! I had no idea who this upstart” was, and little interest in finding out about her. And then I saw the movie! It was one of the finest things Hollywood had produced up to that time. It was not only one of the best comedies I had ever seen, but also has a story that is a lesson in history and the democratic way of life.
Broderick Crawford is a modern day Fascist, who makes millions of dollars illegally and has senators on his pay-role, Holliday is his live-in girl friend who is brassy and “dumb” (as he considers her), so he hires William Holden to “educate her:, She falls in love with him, and absorbs his teaching like a drowning man would drink water.
The location is a Hotel in the nation’s capital, and together they visit all of the landmarks (with special attention to the Washington and Lincoln Monuments); and he also brings books to her, on all of the subjects he is teaching her. She also studies grammar and etiquette. The results are, of course, horrible for Crawford, but delightful for the young couple.
I am presuming that you all have seen this extraordinary film, but if you have not, please take my advice and watch for its next showing on Turner Classic Movies. You will thank me if you do,
The Sheepman (MGM, 1958)
I have this checked off in my Leonard Maltin’s book of reviews, which usually means that I have seen the film; but actually I have no remembrance of having viewed it before Sunday night. It is a charming “Western” with a new angle: Glenn Ford moves into town with a railroad car full of sheep, and is instantly the least popular man in the place. Everyone else is in the business of raising cattle. Shirley MacLaine is cute, as the Cow-girl who is betrothed to Leslie Nielsen (whose name I could not remember through the entire film) and I have to admit to being fascinated by the plot. You might want to give it a try, too. I always liked Ford, especially as Rita Hayworth’s love interest in two of her best “Musical” (albeit, her singing was dubbed) smash hits (Gilda, and Affair in Trinidad, notably). (***)
Draft Dodgers Anonymous
We conquer the Atlantic
I was chamfered to my new assignment, by a German who worked now for our Headquarters in Heidelberg. I was especially delighted to see that Karlsruhe was a very large and thoroughly up to date city. At the time, the Historical Division was making use of one of the town’s former Nazi headquarters for Bavaria (of which it is a part). I was met at the door by one of two warrant officers, who were both a part of our company (I never learned how a man became a warrant officer) He was an extremely pleasant black man named Mr. Mitchel. He took me into the library, where I would be working, to meet George Caravacious. George would be discharged sometime that summer. Meanwhile, he was supposed to teach me all of the things that I would be expected to do. I liked him, with reservations. After all, he was an attorney, and I could never feel really at ease around him. Of course, these feelings did not come out at our first meeting; and in all fairness to him, I must admit that he was always kind and thoughtful to me. After showing me a little of the set up of the library, he took me around to the printing office, where I was introduced to a handsome blonde named James Modespacker. I was to learn that Curvaceous was more or less the self-appointed enlisted man in charge of all of us subordinates. He was a mere corporal, while I had just made private-first-class. I was then introduced to another young corporal who was about to be sent back to the States (I cannot remember his name). I didn’t meet our Sgt., who was a sort of laughing stock (as it turned out) because he stayed at the barracks (which were within walking distance of the office building. We were about to return this handsome edifice to the Germans (and everything would be relocated at Smiley Barracks). So, we slept and ate (breakfast and suppers only) at the barracks, and usually went together for lunch to one of the fine restaurants near our workplace. In those wonderful days, we could get fabulous meals (the Germans are great cooks!) for less than a dollar (or 4 Marks): these included an entrée (I grew very fond of Weiner Schnitzel--breaded veal cutlets and “Russian Eggs” (boiled eggs, halved and “Deviled”. served over a Meat Salad). Also a fresh green salad was usually available, and we usually had the restaurant’s own beer (I soon learned that any restaurant worth its name had its very own brand of beer- dark and light!)
But until you taste an authentic German dessert, your life is not complete! They absolutely are the greatest desert-makers I have ever been fortunate enough to have access to. Cakes that melt on the tongue, glorious fillings, and (as if this was not rich enough) there was a side order of whipped cream provided!
The Historical Division had a small “cast” and I cannot remember just how many of us there were at any time. We slept 6 (or was it 8?) in the main room in Smiley Barracks (Which had magnificent buildings and statuary, making it look much less like a barracks and as beautiful as an American College Campus.) I was put in this large room along with Modispacker, Robert Bolt (I am not making this up) a black man, whose name I forget, Woody Wooster (from Texas. He told me after we had just met, that Lyndon Johnson would one day be the president of the USA—no kidding!) Dale Ford (who used to walk downtown to see movies like “The Beggar’s Opera” which we didn’t get at the Post Theater. I was surprised out of my wits, years later, when he came up just as I was buying a ticket to see a film at a theater in Ann Arbor).
There were also lots of Germans and American civilians who worked with us as the Historical Division wrote its History of World War 2. I later became very close friends with a young and fun to be with married couple named Ron and Betty Sher, newly weds. They went to a Mardi Gras carnival (which is called Faschung in German) along with three other DA Civilians, dressed as Charles Adams ghoulish characters. I have a series of pictures of the group, and it was as good as you will ever see anywhere. They were justifiably disappointed when they failed to win the cash prize. Later, when Mama, Daddy and George visited my old Army post and friends, they told me that Ron and Betty had been especially wonderful to them.
Shortly after our move for our jobs, George Curvaceous bought the first Volkswagen I had ever seen. It was so ugly that it was adorable: and this, being made for Germans, even had a vase for bouquets of fresh flowers to be placed near the windows. George said he had bought it when he learned that it would be shipped without any charge to him, all the way to West Virginia, which was his home. I began immediately, buying gifts for everyone back home and stashing them away until I sent them to Mississippi; then, using George’s Volkswagen as my argument, I began writing a series of letters to my parents, pleading with them to send me the money to buy a grand piano, promising to pay them back as soon as I started teaching. But, they simply did not have the thousand dollars it would have cost.
Sgt. Wilson was in charge of the barracks (which we shared with the MP’s at first, and later with the Signal Corps) and had a room for two. He shared this bedroom with a young blond who always reminded me of a young Mickey Rooney. He already had a job waiting for him when he got back home, with IBM (!) (remember, these were all smart men). But we did love to kid him about the Sgt.! He would often take us riding in one of the company’s Jeeps, at night, and one night we all wanted to see the movie at one of the Post Theaters. But this was playing at a theater all the way to the other side of Karlsruhe. So, Mickey (his name I do not remember now) obliged us (he had the warrant officer’s permission) by driving us to the theater. When we were ready to go back, the Jeep would not start! All five of us felt as if a boulder had fallen on our unsuspecting shoulders. There was nothing to do but call the company and throw ourselves on their mercy. As it turned out, the Jeep was in good condition, but our chauffer had forgotten to check the gas until it was too late!
As I have written, the “Campus” of Smiley Barracks was quite impressing and handsome. It surely put the American ones I had seen, to shame. There were several two and three storied buildings, a bronze statue of a discus thrower at the entrance gate (for a brief period of a week or two, we were each forced to pull guard duty, which I did not mind at all) Otherwise, we even had Putz-Frauen (cleaning women) to come in each day and make our beds and keep the floors clean. This one sweet little lady would come each morning to clean the Library, and we would talk about operas! She said the Germans as well as other countries went to Operas as we go to picture shows: They enjoy it~and they can understand every word. That started my thinking how ridiculous our own habit of making sure if a work if written in Italian, French, German, Russian or whatever, it has to be performed in the original language! The Germans are prouder of their language than we are, it would seem! The super-titles have certainly helped, but almost as soon as they became part of Mobile’s culture, I became unable to get in and out of the opera houses.
But it was strangely wonderful to see a woman with a dust cloth in her hand, buying cigarettes from me (we each got free cigarettes, which I never smoked, just as Curvaceous didn’t; so I followed his advice and sold mine to the natives, who longed for US Cigarettes, and felt we were doing them an immense favor!)
Back to our wall lockers: we each had one of these mammoth structures, where we stored all our Military as well as civilian clothes: I still had the two suits that my parents had bought for me prior to my going to Michigan State (one single and one double breasted) I had taken very good care of them, and when he saw them, one of the men in our company as
There was a huge mess hall (where we never had to do KP) with lots of cooks. For breakfast, we could order one or six eggs, cooked several different ways, and usually bacon or sausages with them. Coffee and iced tea were always provided. Lunch was usually worth eating (but not on the days when C Rations were being called names like Hash or Stew! Suppers, I seldom bothered to eat in the mess hall. I’d usually walk to the nearest Gasthause or Restaurant and for a dollar or less, get a delicious meal!
Another thing that happened shortly after our move, was one day when Sgt. Wilson was mad at us. He was rather child-like, and when he was crossed, was likely to do some ridiculous sort of punishment. This particular evening, he took our passes away from us and locked them in his wall locker, and then went to the movie himself.
I suggested that we simply play Scrabble (which we all enjoyed immensely, at the time) but the majority voted for getting our passes out of that Sgt.’s locker and back in our wallets, where they belonged.
IT did not take long, or much effort, to get the passes back, and then we all went to the theater. I don’t remember any sort of retribution, but he was like that!
(Continued next week)
Old Movie Quiz *72
1. In Lassie, Come Home, who played the young girl who was the man who bought Lassie for his own kennels?
2. Who was the boy that Lassie ran to meet each afternoon at the school house?
3. Kudos if you can name the woman who was the boy’s devoted mother.
4. What country did Lassie have to walk all the way home to get back with the boy he adored?
5. The Yearling starred which Hollywood star as the father whose son has a pet deer?
6, She played the boy’s embittered mother.
7. The teen aged boy was outstanding as the son. What was his name?
8. In RKO’s Bringing Up Baby, what was “Baby”?
9, Who was the couple who had the adventure?
10. What was the man’s special talent? (What did he do for a living?)
Answers to TRIVIA QUIZ #70
1. Anna and the King of Siam starred Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison.
2. Three Coins in the Fountain, refers to the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
3. Elizabeth Taylor is mocking Bette Davis in the opening scene of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff.
4. This film marked the screen debut of George Segal, who was later the lead in the sit-com Just Shoot Me?
5. His wife, in the film, (Sandy Dennis) won the best supporting actress award for her work.
6. Blood and Sand had Tyrone Power as its bull fighter and Rita Hayworth was the glamorous lady who caused his downfall/
7. My Gal Sal starred Victor Mature as a song writer. What Columbia’s Rita Hayworth, again, was the love interest in the film.
8. Across the Wide Missouri was a star studded Western that starred John Hodiak, Ricordo Montalban and Clark Gable.
9. Nick and Nora’s beloved dog was named Asta-as any crossword puzzle buff knows!
10. Sorry, Wrong Number Barbara Stanwyck was frightened out of her wits!