Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews

Vol.. XIV , 26

Sunday, Sept. 8. 2013

Old Movie Review

My Fair Lady

For me, this magnificent musical is about as good as they get! Every character deserved some sort of special award: (in addition to the twelve it won! This is film making at its finest! The only criticism I registered was the fact that after Audrey Hepburn took vocal lessons and transcribed all her songs for the camera, (I have heard some of these and they are more than satisfactory) Warner Bros. saw fit to have these all removed from the film, and the professional voice of a Ghost Singer substituted..

Notwithstanding this slight disappointment, the musical more than lived up to my expectations, and in the very presence of the incomparably beautiful Audrey Hepburn, (and that alone was worth any amount of money) made even the original stage version look almost pathetic in comparison. I had only one negative reaction throughout the entire film; for me the seemed to be trying to make a “Show Stopper” out of “Get Me to the Church on Time” (which more than justified that description before it’s tenth---or did it only seem this long?)

I would still have to give all my love and admiration for this inspired version of what I seriously doubt will ever be surpassed, and watch it every chance I get! And I feel as if I could watch it in its entirety at least once a year!



“Life is hard, then you nap.”



Lynwood and Purgatory Smith

During his first term working in Chicago, Lynwood shared an apartment with one of his Heidelberg associates named “something I cannot remember, Smith”. I doubt that even Lynwood would still be able to remember his real name, after all these decades! The reason for this is really quite simple (at least in the MacTeer school of friendships.) I’ll just call him “Smitty” and let it go as that) We all began calling “Smitty” “Purg”, or if we were really put ot with him (and we all found him an utter bore) which was a reduction of the word “Purgatory”, with which Smitty had just learned the word and was fascinated with it! He  had recently learned about it from me and several other Cathoics. I tried to assure him that the Church no longer even mentioned it, let alone harping all the while that we had to make it “safely” through Purgatory ages before we would have earned a place in either Heaven or Hell.

At any rate, he was in a “phase” so strange to the rest of us, we could not come to terms with his seriousness. I had asked Lynwood is he would like to try Mama’s recipe for “meatless pasta with onion souga” (or sauce).. I had introduced his parents (as well as Lynwood) when I had paid a quick visit to Varnville while we were still in the service. It arose out of a discussion about my cooking: Lynwood wanted me to do my “Meatballs and Spaghetti”, but I frankly was not in the mood to tackle this much work: so I explained to his parents that “Meatless Spaghetti” was better for you and the taste (I could assure them) was far different from the meat-ball meal. They had “flipped out” which was the usual reaction, to my simple meal (which also costs less than a dollar to serve), so now, here I was, trying to persuade everybody to try my meatless Italian meal. The verdict was unanimous: the McTeers loved it!

I always tell anyone who is tasting its “Definitely different” flavor for the first time, how Mama had invented this savory flavor when we were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays or several other Holy days throughout the rest of the year. It is so easy to make that we all learned to make it any time we didn’t especially like the meal our sisters  or parents cooked for us,

The Simple Recipe for Pasta with Onion Souga (sauce) uses any kind of pasta from simple spaghetti, or macaroni (my personal flavor consists of miniature sea shell macaroni, loaded with the Souga, and lots of grated cheese cheese- PLUS fresh basil leaves if you have them growing as I do. To begin with, I peel as many onions as I need for the meal. I then chop the slices into longer thinner slices and sauté them a few minutes in a skillet that had been filled with olive oil. Add the chopped onions (and you can never get too much) when the onions are golden brown, add a can of tomato paste and mix thoroughly, adding salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate pot, add water enough to cook as much pasta as you want. I always allow for second helpings (especially if this all you are serving) and as soon as the water boils, add the pasta (the reason I like the shells is that, unlike spaghetti and macaronis, the shells tend to act as a sort of net that catches and holds the luscious accumulated flavors of all the ingredients (and please do not forget the cheese and sweet basil!

 Now back to the reason for this recipe”  Lynwood and I ate until I was sure we would pop wide open. But I had cooked enough “sea shells” that there more than enough for two more meals (which I had promised my host to make. That would solve one more problem for one more meal.

Richard (whose name just now flashed into my degenerating memory) absolutely went bananas over the peasant’s meal we had all enjoyed so much. But Richard did not exactly make me like him more than I ever had, by asking Lynwood if they had any saltines he could eat with his pasta! What a waste!

Old Movie Trivia Quiz

1.      Who was Ferris Beuler?

2.      What did he do to justify his having his own film?

3.      What actor played Henry Aldrich in movies?

4.      Who was Nancy Drew? Hint: she was the brat who caused all the trouble in These Three.

5.      What actor became Anthony Adverse?

6.      Who was the loathsome housekeeper to Joan Fontaine in Rebecca?

7.      Who squashed a grapefruit into his costar’s face in a Warner Bros. criminal biography?

8.      Who was the original Anne of Green Gables?

9.      In My Favorite, what two men  claim Irene Dunne as their wife?

10.  In the very similar movie (Too Many Husbands) what favorite star(often starred with James Stewart)?


Monday, September 9, 2013

FF XIV, 25

Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews

Vol.. XIV , 25

Sunday, September 1, 2013


“No Heaven will ever Heaven be unless my cats are there to welcome me.”

This is signed simply UNKNOWN, but I would like to adopt this as my own reference to that particular aspect of my life and death.

 F. M. Imbragulio

Old Movie Review

It Happened One Night (Columbia 1934)

When Frank Capra began work on this film Columbia Pictures was such a minor studio that he said he never made a single take, more than once. They simply had no cash to waste! He worked with two of the best actors of that time: Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable (whom the head of MGM let Capra use Gable as a punishment for disobedience towards MGM. Colbert had to finish all of her scenes in just over a week. Believe it or not: This film was the very first movie in the world to win ALL of the major Academy Awards: and at the time Columbia had less than six votes on the winners! The sales receipts started dreadfully, and it seemed the comedy had flopped: then a miracle happened: People began coming back for a second viewing (usually bringing others with them) and the comedy had to ne held over for many weeks; and before you could say “The Walls of Jericho”, Columbia had the biggest bonanza of 1934!

I have probably seen it ten times, and while much of it seems mighty dated, there are always enough heart felt laughs to make it more than a real pleasure to watch! (Still ****)


The Ultimate Macbeth

I slept fitfully that second night we were at Aunt Grace’s lovely home. It was a huge, two storied house, with very expensive furnishings and every cooking aid I had ever seen (so many that I had to ask my favorite of the girls, Annie, what each “gadget” was for. Aunt Grace had only three daughters and four sons: which was exactly the reverse of our four girls, 3 boys total. Aunt Grace and Uncle Sam, occupied the ground floor with the second floor being occupied by Annie, her husband and young daughter, There was a bottom floor by way of being more or less a basement, or cellar. Here, Mary and her husband and two children were snug as bugs in a rug!  The eldest son, Sammy, who was an art major at the Chicago Art Institute, and his wife lived across town in their own apartment. But I always was impressed at how well the remainder of that large family got along, all living under one roof: There were also Joe and Billy. The fourth son, Johnny, had been injured in the war and had died.

There was the usual sniffling and crying when we were driven to the train station, and had to tell them all goodbye! But I was so grateful to be on my way to Ellisville, and what we would do with my new tape recorder

I had gotten accustomed to traveling George’s original train and bus combination, since I had not done it four or five times, so this much shorter trip from Chicago to Ellisville, I rang up as “Child’s Play!

2. Sunday and all of the family were present: Now was the time to spring on George the message I had begged Ramona to make before I left Lansing, Apparently he had told her at some point in their relationship, that he voice had no overtones. Now, George is one of those strange birds that have perfect pitch. Of course this is partly responsible for his being to hear anything once, and then can play it back exactly as he heard it. Now, it might sound like sour grapes, but I was glad I did not have this curse: for one thing, if you do have perfect pitch and your piano gets the least bit out of tune, George goes berserk! He had to take to tuning his own pianos, so totally did its being out of tune the least bit, and he is miserable. I love a well tuned piano as much as anyone, but (again) I am happy with the other half of George’s considerable talent.

But this was all so you could appreciate the rest of Ramona’s Dilemma: Now remember, George, our parents and I were the only ones who had visited Lansing. I waited dramatically until everyone was quiet as a mouse, and then I started the little speech she had sent to George (whom she absolutely adored him) She did have a different sound to her voice, but it was anything but unpleasant. She talked about the recorder and then says how her old no-overtone voice must sound so strange to all of us At this point in Ramona’s recording, Rosie burst into tears! When Mama asked her why she was crying, she said she loved Ramona Gregg because she had taken such good care of her two brothers. And here, I have to give Rosie credit: She loved George and me just about as much as any sister ever loved her brothers! But I didn’t dare look at George right now: I could see his handkerchief wiped the tears away from his eyes. She was the most wonderful human being I have ever been fortunate enough to know. And she was closely followed by her younger daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who put up with me a whole year as I worked on my degree those last two years in Lansing. She was as pretty as a picture and could always find something to laugh at, no matter how gray the sky might have looked at the time.

2. I used my recording of Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite as our background music (especially that section that has a very realistic sounding “Storm” which I felt as if it had been solely written for the purpose I was adapting it to. It fit like a tight glove! I was to be the announcer, even though Marcus had quite the best bass voice of any of our cast. I let the record play a little, and then said, SLOWLY and trying to pronounce each word clearly  and succucintly said, “The Canasta Players, present Macbeth, by William Shakessphere (and that deliberate wrong  spelling and pronunciation was used throughout the tape). The play has been edited to fit the recorder’s timing, by Tennessee MacWilliams (George) and his brother, Mississippi. The sound effects and musical score is played by the Ellisville Philharmonica Orchestra. The cast has been reduced and the action begins on a steep cliff on the coast Scotland, There is a storm in progress as we hear the first of the three weird sisters saying:, “When shall we three meet again?” I think George would have killed me if I had tried to get the line for myself or Marcus, He then adds, unnecessarily, “In thunder, lightning and rain?” My first lines were not as much fun as George’s had been, but Marcus came out with the spookiest sounding witch of us all: “That’ll be ere the set of the sun!”

And then George began doing the very things that always caused Marcus to go home mad. As Macbeth had most of the good lines. Marcus naturally dominated the recorder. George could not stand to let him have all the fun, so he would stick his head in the space between the microphone and Marcus’s head, snorting as loudly as he could, plus adding sounds of sucking up all manner of things!

After Marcus stormed out of the house. We had no choice, but had to make do with only two thespians.

It was growing dark as George and I fought that final duel (I believe it was between Macbeth and McDuff) because I seem to remember the words, “Lay on, McDuff and Damned be he who first cries, “Hold!  Enough!” And then we added to the end, Lady Macbeth’s being given the news that her king is dead! George deserved some kind  of award for this dramatic ending

*On a later visit, Annie took the time to teach  how to make Pizzas, and her authentic recipe was good, simple to make and sheer heaven to eat! But I shall deal with that much later



Sunday, September 1, 2013