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