MAY IS OLDER AMERICANS MONTH (and don’t you forget it!)

May is OLDER AMERICANS MONTH. I’m pretty sure I qualify as an older American because, as George Washington told me, “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves”….or maybe I’m thinkin’ of Lincoln (incidental details, like who said what, can get a bit hazy at my age). No matter — either way, it proves I’ve been around long enough to establish my bona feces.

As long as I’m quoting bigwigs I have known or could have known (as the case may be), no doubt you will be interested in other memorable quotes that I remember, most of which admittedly weren’t said to me directly, but which I either overheard, or were whiskered to me in confidence by the quotees under their goatees (or beards, as the face may be):

Old age is no place for sissies. –Bette Davis (whose facial hair at the time was confined to a mustache, as I recall)

Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act. –Truman Capote

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened. –Jennifer Yane

If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. — variously attributed to  Eubie Blake, Adolph Zukor and Mae West, among others

There is no cure for the common birthday. —John Glenn

You’re only as old as the girl that you feel. –Groucho Marx

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. –Chili Davis

Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician. –Anonymous

Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. –Anonymous

So there you have the story of my anonymous existence: just when I’m on a roll, I run flush out of time. C’est la vie. Take it on out, Pops (Louis) and Schnoz (Jimmy):

 

 

 

 

 

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THREE FOR THE SHOW

It’s not every day that it’s the birthday of three ‘giants’ of Hollywood’s Golden Age, but this is such a day: Bette Davis, born April 5, 1908; Gregory Peck, born April 5, 1916; and Spencer Tracy, born April 5, 1900.

This post will not go into biographical detail. The lives of these legends can easily be Googled by anyone who’s interested. Instead, I will focus on something about each of them which I (and, hopefully, you) find particularly interesting or appealing.

In previous posts, I included clips of two film stars singing — Jimmy Stewart and Alan Ladd — who few knew ever sang in a movie. To those unlikely vocalists, I add the Oscar-winning actress BETTE DAVIS, whose fourth & final husband, Gary Merrill, once said, “whatever Bette would have chosen to do in life, she would have had to be the top or she couldn’t have endured it.” I think you will find this WWII-era vocal more than endurable:

In his 1979 book THE WORLD’S GREAT MOVIE STARS AND THEIR FILMS, Ken Wlaschin says GREGORY PECK “has been the Great Liberal of the American cinema for more than 30 years because he usually conveys conflicts in social values, forced to act in a manner disturbing to his inner morality.” He is perhaps best remembered for his role as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. Here he is with Audrey Hepburn in a scene from one of my favorite Peck films, Roman Holiday:

Last but not priest (overlooking his role as Father Flanagan in Boys’ Town — pardon the pun), we have “the actors’ actor,” Spencer Tracy. I’ve covered Tracy before (in my 6/5/17 post as the star of Bad Day at Black Rock); for this post, I’ll go with this retrospective:

For me, the most memorable moment from that clip is his answer to this Burt Reynolds question:

“Mr. Tracy, you’re so good at everything. Is there anything you’re not good at?”

“Life.”

 

SENIOR MUSE

May is Older Americans Month (fka Senior Citizens Month). Back in 1963, when the month was established, I was “a young man full of idealism and vigor” (as Barack Obama joked recently at the White House in a different context), a year out of the army with the rest of my life ahead of me. Now here it is 2016, some 53 years later, and I still have the rest of my life ahead of me. Amazing.

So much for the glass-half-full outlook. In the other hand, the glass is half-empty:

COME TO THINK OF IT

Old age is a sad estate.
With it comes wisdom,
But it comes so late.

Now recall innocent youth.
Ignorance was bliss,
But less than truth.

Why can’t life be in reverse:
Born knowing the score,
Blameless in the hearse?

The old joke about old age is that there’s not much future in it. Maybe so, but I like to think ‘outside the box.’ One thing for sure: Old age is no place for sissies. –Bette Davis

Well, never let it be said that this blog is no place for good quotes. Most of the following goodies aren’t funny, but then, old age isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs either. So, until further adieu:

Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. –Maurice Chevalier

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man. –James Thurber

A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, “At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.” –Claude Pepper

Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late. –Benjamin Franklin

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age. –Victor Hugo

There’s no such thing as old age; there is only sorrow. –Fay Weldon

Whatever poet, orator or sage may say of it, old age is still old age. –Sinclair Lewis

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity, and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight. –Robertson Davies

Not even old age knows how to love death. –Sophocles

By the time you’re 80 years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it. –George Burns (who, in case you forgot, lived to age 100)

And now for the BIG (double) FINISH: