FF XVI, 11

Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews

Vol.. XIV No. 11

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Advent of Ginger

       The trouble with Chipper had been because Charles had not had him neutered or his nails clipped. I had been reluctant to have my first indoor cat’s nails clipped until he ruined a piece or two of my curtains. I began systematically to have  these things removed. There was no way to know exactly Chipper’s age: I can very seldom hazard a guess. So, I made a wrong decision and had him neutered and his claws removed. The trouble started after I had this dear little creature for over three years. Then he had his first seizure, at night. I was going insane trying to find out how I could get him to a vet! Then, I saw (in the Yellow Pages) that there was a clinic for pets that ran all night. I called and spoke with a nice sounding lady who gave me directions on how to get to there. So I drove him straight over there. Next morning to say I could come get him and take him home. I was elated to believe that his trauma had taken such a short time to be corrected. When I walked into the Clinic, they let me know very quickly that Chipper was simply too much for them to do anything with, and handed me a huge statement for his overnight stay. The next day, he seemed perfectly normal; so I did not take him to anyone, thinking it had not been as serious as I had feared. Eventually, however, my regular vet (who had neutered and de-clawed him{, said (in effect) that the only thing that might make him live, was to literally give him a sex change! It was a costly surgery, but (and those vets know this all too well) but I did not begrudge my Baby. I prayed so hard that I almost prayed my self sick! But it seemed to work. Chipper grew bigger and healthier, until I felt he had survived the surgery and was as good as new.

       He was younger than Trudy, who lived to be nineteen, and then she had to be put to sleep because she had tumors on two of her paws, and Dr. Brown said it would spread to all the others. So, for the second time in my life, I had to have another of my Tuxedo Cats “Put to Sleep”: the first one had been Judy II, whose death almost caused my own.
       It was a Wednesday when I had to drive to Dauphin Island, where I had been playing for the Sunday Masses for a couple of years, to play the Clavinova for my very first Funeral Service. I was glad to have something positive to do that day, because Chipper had not survived his ultimate surgery. Dr. Brown said he was a thoroughbred till the last minute. I had him cremated and saved his ashes, until the time when the two will  be  joined with Trudy II’s  (Judy I and Trudy I had been buried in our garden and bore marble gravestones with their names and dates on them. I plan to have myself and Ginger (should she survive me) cremated and our remains scattered in our yard. And the family plot in Ellisville.

At this time, I did not think it would be fair to get another cat; at my age. So I was very sad and depressed.

Sam Woodward (who played his cello for the mass) and I were delighted to get one hundred dollars apiece for playing this service. When I got home and walked into this empty house. I suddenly realized that I would rather be dead, than to have no feline to comfort me and to fill my waking hours being entertained and adored by a last kitten.  And this one would definitely be the last!

A Sicilian in Italy

Next week I plan to write the story of my visits to Naples, and The Isle of Capri and the Ruins of Pompeii. Then, I spend a week in Copenhagen!

Cat Facts
Chris Evert took time out of a busy tennis tournament to write these words of wisdom:

“Cats are peaceful and tranquil- they bring calmness with their serene personalties.”


Movie Review

Hollywood Canteen (Warner Bros. 1944)

       This film was one of two films that were all about making everybody happy, in spite of the war: the other was better (at least I liked it a lot better. The lame excuse for a story was just too stupefying for this old realist!) I cannot find the young solders name, but I saw him in countless WB movies of the period. He is the leading character, and it is only too easy to understand that the reason he was not put in the record book was that he simply was not important enough); although most of the stars who were on stage here were listed. The list included Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Jack Carson, Dane Clark, John Garfield, Ida Lupino, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Alexis Smith, Eleanor Parker, the Andrews Sisters, Roy Rogers (even “Trigger”) The Sons of the Pioneers, Barbara Stanwyck, Jack Benny (who is very funny as he tries to outplay Josef Szigeti on violin) and the young GI, back home from the war, but still very much a soldier. They stage a ridiculous love affair between this boy and Joan Leslie. Just for starters: he gets to meet and dance with her; then he just happens to be the Millionth GI to enter the Canteen. Still later, he wins the prize in a contest, and gets to spend the weekend with her! Plus getting a brand new car to drive all weekend. But the music and dancing make it worth while; at least it did for me. I’ll admit to not liking Joan Leslie, so when he picked her over all of the gorgeous gals on hand, I felt sick! It was especially good to see (and hear) the remarkable Andrews Sisters: my all-time favorite singing trios!

Thank Your Lucky Stars (WB) 1943

          This musical came a year earlier than Hollywood Canteen, and there is a certain feeling of overlapping. But this has more entertainment value than its successor; Just hearing Bette Davis’s rendition of “They’re Either too Young, or too Old” is worth watching the film; plus several songs sung by Dinah Shore.

`         Each of Hollywood’s Major film studios made some similar sort of Morale-boasting movie demonstrating that everybody needed cheering up in a crucial time. MGM had As Thousands CheerParamount had one I remember, but not its name: United Artists had Stagedoor Canteen, which was my favorite: It had more classical music than the others, and the love story was more believeable: it was based on the song, “I Left my Heart at the Stagedoor Canteen. I left it there with a girl named Eileen—etc. The characters were believable, as were most of the incidents. I liked it especially because when he asks Eileen where she is from, she replies, “Oh. I’m from a little town called Oswego, New York.” I never heard this town referred to any other time: that was the name of Jimmy Demore’s home town. Jimmy was my oldest brother-in-law, plus being the only one of my in-laws who had Sicilian blood in his veins!

Movie Trivia Quiz      \

1.       Mr. and Mrs. Smith, remade from RKO’s version (with Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard) What actual Hollywood couple were in the second version?

2.       Ma and Pa Kettle were played by whom?

3.       What two great actors were Mr. Skeffington (and the missus)?

4.       Goodbye, Mr. Chips, was made into a musical with Petula Clark. What British Couple were the originals?

5.       Who was Miss Sadie Thompson?

6.       Good Morning Miss Dove had which lovely film star?               

7.       In Mr. Blanding Builds his Dream House Cary Grant was Mr. B. but who played Mrs. Blanding?

8.       To what did the title, Miss Susie Slagle’s refer?

9.       1940’s All This and Heaven Too starred Charles Boyer as the Nobleman, who falls in love with his children’s Governess. Who played this role?

10.   Who were the couple who had a pooch named Asta, and made several sequels to the original murder mystery? (Their movie names, Please)                                                         

Answers to Last Week’s Quiz


1.           Wm. Powell played Flo Ziegfeld in MGM’s block-buster musical, The Great Ziegfeld.

2.           Luise Rainer won an Oscar as his first wife? She won a second Oscar with her second US Film, The Good Earth!

3.           Billy Burke portrayed wife No. 2. She was also “Glenda” The Wizard of Oz’s good witch.

4.           Dennis Morgan was the male singer, who sang, “A Pretty Girl is like a Melody” in The Great Ziegfeld. His name was, at that time not the same.

5.           Ziegfeld Girl starred Lana Turner, Judy Garland and Hedy Lamar

6.           Fanny Brice was Barbra Streisand’s role in Funny Girl. that was that of “Baby Snooks” was the Radio Persona created by this gifted comedian.

7.           Meredith Wilson, the composer of The Music Man musical and film, was also the orchestra conductor on this radio show on which Fanny Bryce often appeared.

8.           Ziegfeld Girl, Ziegfeld Follies, and There is no fourth, that I can find

9.            Wm. Powell played Flo Ziegfeld in the first film.



Sunday, June 9, 2013