What’s In YOUR Toilet?

In his incisive biography of Spencer Tracy, author Bill Davidson tells of a problem which arose during planning stages of a Tracy film based on a short story titled BAD DAY AT HONDO. He quotes Millard Kaufman, who was writing the screenplay, as follows:

Our picture still was called Bad Day at Hondo, when, to everyone’s surprise, there came the release of a John Wayne movie called HONDO. So our title went out the window.

Davidson continues, “Such coincidental flaps can cause weeks of delays at a studio, while everyone tries to think of a new title. In this case, Kaufman was out in Arizona looking for locations for another picture, when [he] stopped for gas at one of the bleakest places [that] was not even a ‘wide place in the road’, just a gas station and a post office. Kaufman looked at the sign on the post office. The name was Black Rock, Arizona. Kaufman rushed to the phone and called the studio. ‘I’ve got the title for the Tracy picture,’ he said. “We’ll call it “Bad Day at Black Rock.”

You may be wondering what the foregoing has to do with the title of this post….and the answer is diddly-squat (or just squat, for short). So what’s the deal? Simply to serve as a pun-gent example of a title’s potential to entice you in to a creative work, whether it be film, story, poem or poop. Did the serendipitous (and delay-saving) spotting of the Black Rock post office sign lead to a perfect fit for the title of the movie? Perhaps this scene will tell you all you need to know to answer that question (Tracy plays a one-armed WW II officer, just returned from the service, who goes to a middle-of-nowhere desert town to present a posthumous medal to the father of one of his soldiers):

But suppose, after chewing it over endlessly, you still can’t come up with a killer title for your opus delicti? Friends, just swallow the bitter pill that there are times indiscretion is the better part of valor, and settle for a title such as this post’s. And what if even doo-doo doesn’t do the trick? There’s still the when-all-else-fails last resort I used when I titled this poem….

UNTITLED

This poem’s title is Untitled —
Not because it is untitled,
But because I am entitled
To entitle it Untitled.

If I’d not titled it Untitled,
It would truly be untitled….
Which would make me unentitled
To entitle it Untitled.

So it is vital, if untitled,
Not to title it Untitled,
And to leave that title idled,
As a title is entitled.

NOTE: This is the Random poem leftover from my previous post

 

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19 comments on “What’s In YOUR Toilet?

  1. calmkate says:

    ha ha ha love your play on words … and titles do make a difference as to whether something is read or not .. but hey I’ve already done the squat loo post, no peeking 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. geo. raymond says:

    Great word play. (Excellent movie, too)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Garfield Hug says:

    LOL! I loved your Untitled poem😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. linnetmoss says:

    I’m just thankful they didn’t title it “Bad Day on the Toilet”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don Frankel says:

    Muse, you’re entitled to be untitled. But this reminds me of a Country Western song writer named Ray Whitley and he’d written a bunch of songs for Gene Autry and he was told they needed one more. So he sighed and headed for the studio. His wife asked him what was the matter and he told her. She said. “Guess you’re back in the saddle again.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse says:

      I didn’t know the story behind it, but I remember the song well, Don. Odd that the clip portrays the likeness of Roy Rogers (Autry’s biggest rival for most popular screen cowboy in those days).

      Like

  6. I love the way you play with words! And btw, you have a great blog🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse says:

      Sorry for the tardy reply to your comment, Christie, but modest fellow that I am, your compliment made me so red in the face that I got a bad case of blisters, which may have improved my appearance, but I still didn’t know what to say. Anyway, now that I’ve recovered, I’m ready to be embarrassed again, whether I deserve it or not. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ricardo says:

    May all your titles be short ones, and your un-titleds even shorter, Sr. Muse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse says:

      That’s a Capital (One) proposal, Ricardo. It even has commercial possibilities connected to the title of this post.

      Like

  8. RMW says:

    As a frequenter of art museums, I am always bemused by the pieces labeled “Untitled.” Worse yet they are titled “Untitled Number 3” or “Untitled March, 1987″… is this SUPPOSED to be ironic and I’m not getting it? Now I think about it, “Toilet Number 3” or “Toilet March, 1987” would work much better… and in many cases, be more appropriate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse says:

      At the very least, they should title their restroom toilets Number 1 or Number 2 based, of course, on whether you have to go Number One or Number 2. They could even have Number 3 for those who have to do both, otherwise you’d have to move from Number One to Number Two or vice versa, depending on order of priority.

      How this would be enforced I don’t know — I can’t think of everything!

      Like

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