MAY AULD ACQUAINTANCE NOT BE FORGOT

On August 30, I did a post (titled “MAC”) about the late great actor Fred MacMurray. In recent comments to the MAC post, faithful reader Thom Hickey and I opined that I should publish more posts on actors and actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age, even though most of them are now little remembered, long forgotten, or unheard of. To the point, how many of these once-upon-a-time familiar film faces and names are familiar to you?

I know not who you know not (above), but I’ve spent some of my happiest hours being entertained (and often drawn in) by such silver screen sorcerers/sorceresses working their magic on my imagination. Watching that clip, it seemed almost unfathomable that nearly all those ‘reel-life’ characters I knew almost as well as I knew real-life family and friends, have gone over THE END. Rapt in their world, how was I to know immortals were mortal?

So, you can take this as a preview of coming attractions featuring close-ups of some of my favorite stars and character actors from the days when the likes of Charlie Chaplin was The Little Tramp….

….and Gloria Swanson was Norma Desmond….

Are you ready for your close-ups?

 

 

 

 

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BALD AND FREE — HOW CAN THAT BE? (subtitle: The Bald And The Beautiful)

Nothing makes a woman feel as old as watching the bald spot increase on the top of her husband’s head. –Helen Rowland

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Oct. 7 is BALD AND FREE DAY, but personally, I’m not sure what one has to do with the other. I’m mostly bald, all right, but how free is a married man like me? Of course, I’m just kidding — my wife lets me out of my cage for an hour a week, even though I keep getting balder….and making her feel older. Maybe I shouldn’t be using that hour to get a haircut.

HEADLONG RETREAT

As the years go by, my barber
Takes less and less time with my hair
Which only serves to remind me
That there’s less and less of it there.

To be sure, I’m not the only one whose predicament may become a hair-raising experience:

That gave me a headache just watching it. If only I could trust the dubious ads that involve spending my moo-lah to get to the root of the problem, I might risk springing for mo-hair….but snake oil aside, there must be a less painful way to restore a Lost Hairy zone:

Hmm. I wonder whether that great humanit-hairian, Donald Trump, would mind parting with some of his spare hair if I could dig up some skullduggery by his political opponents? For example, much corruption has been reported in the Caribbean nation of Hairti — and it’s surely a lock that all of the Democratic Presidential contenders are involved. All I’d have to do is send my nosey friend, Fruity Giuliani, there on behalf of our Pres with a quid pro-boscis that the Pres of Hairti can’t ignore.

On second thought, if Agent Orange went to my head, my wife might think I’m losing it along with my hair. I might as well keep to my cage, skip my weekly trip to the clip joint, and try to console myself that, after all is said and done….

Now, if I can only convince my wife.

SONG SMITHS

By all accounts, SMITH has long been the most common surname in America. On the other hand, SMITH has been one of the least common surnames among popular songwriters. Take the example of when, in 1939, Mr. Jimmy Stewart Smith goes to Washington and becomes a sen-sation, rather than going to Tin Pan Alley to become a song-sation. We can surmise why mistermuse goes to Word Press in 2009 but doesn’t become a pun-sation; misterstewartsmith could’ve had A Wonderful Life acting like a songwriter in Hollywood musicals.

During the period with which I am most musically in tune (1920s-1950s), I can count on one hand the number of songsmiths named Smith whose compositions achieved contemporary hit status (much less, lasting status as standards). Compared to the percentage of Smiths in the overall (or, for that matter, the underwear) population, there were fewer Smiths of note in music than in the Hollywood Senate — which, for better or verse, leads us to the first of our handful of Smiths, Chris Smith, composer of….

Next, time to rise and shine with Billy Dawn Smith, composer of….

Next next, we turn to lyricist Harry Bache Smith for the words to this somber classic:

Speaking of serious stuff, Stuff Smith composed this wonderful ballad. It may not be your cup of tea, but I can say without fear of contradiction that It’s Wonderful:

We close with a song written by Dick Smith. Yes, THAT Dick Smith. If you don’t believe me, look him up and ask him.

 

 

RETIREMENT TIME

Hard as it may be (for me, at least) to fathom, it seems that many people approaching retirement don’t look forward to it because they don’t know what they’ll do with all the time they’ll have when they have no job. That has never struck me as a problem, what with books to be read, writing to be written, learning to be learned (unless you already know everything), trips to plan, music to enjoy, sports to follow, chores to avoid, mislaid items to look for, naps to take, etc….not to mention human behavior forever to be baffled by.

Believe me, friends, if I had half the time my once-upon-a-time fellow wage slaves assume I have, I would be posting a post almost every day instead of once a week or so (which, I concede, may still be too often for you malcontents and party poopers out there).

So, how busy am I?

Oops — how did that clip get there? Fact is, I’m so busy, I don’t even have time to think of more to say about the subject….so I’ll avoid that chore by passing it on to others:

I have never liked working. To me, a job is an invasion of privacy. –Danny McGoorty

I’ve crunched the numbers in your retirement account. It’s time to figure out who will be wearing the mask and who will be driving the getaway car. –Unknown financial advisor

My retirement plan is to get thrown into a minimum security prison in Hawaii. –Julius Sharpe

I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my make-up box. –Bette Davis

The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off. –Abe Lemons

I find the biggest trouble with having nothing to do is you can’t tell when you’re done. –Unknown

As for me, except for an occasional heart attack, I feel as young as I ever did. –Robert Benchley

I can’t wait to retire so I can get up at 6 a.m. and drive around real slow and make everybody late for work. –Unknown

What do you call a person who is happy on Monday? Retired. –Unknown

When a professional golfer retires, what does he retire to? –Evan Esar

When you retire, you switch bosses — from the one who hired you to the one who married you. –Unknown

Time’s up. COMING, DEAR!

 

 

 

I WANT TO BE ALONE

“Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone. –Paul Tillich, philosopher/theologian

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Sept. 18 (1905) is the birthday of famed “I want to be alone” actress (and real-life recluse) Greta Garbo, who (unlike many movie stars) valued solitude over the celebrity spotlight:

Now, dear reader, you may not have a problem with “I want to be alone” — but, as Joel McCrae asked Veronica Lake (40 seconds into this film clip)….

So, when you stop and drink about it (unless you take Joel McCrea’s question literally), there’s no reason why you can’t be….

After all, even the Lone Ranger wasn’t really a Lone Ranger (heaven forbid that his faithful Indian companion Tonto was just along for the ride)….

That’s all for now, boys and girls. Hi ho Silver, away!

 

 

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

No news is good news, except in a newspaper. –Evan Esar

Sept. 11 is NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS DAY. This blog is not a newspaper, so today I will go with all the NO NEWS I know because I know NO NEWS is GOOD NEWS so far as NO NEWS being GOOD NEWS goes. Assuming you are with me so far, let’s see where in the world NO NEWS takes us:

1. No noticias

2. Icksnay ewsnay

3. Nao noticias

4. Nessuna notizia

5. Keine nachrichten

6. Pas de nouvelles

7. Brak wiadomosci

8. Habersiz kalmak

9. Nihil nuntium

How many of those “No news” languages do you think you recognized? Take a fun-guess. Remember, this is not a test, so….

Just to prove I’m not going to hog all the answers, here’s a clue to #2:

So much No News for now; let us revel in the Good News.

Modo vincis, modo vinceris.

“IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, PLAY ON”

No doubt, the above words are familiar to you, but do you remember who penned them? If not, may I suggest that you….

Friends, Romans, countrymen: now that your Shakespeare is refreshed, are you in the mood for some food music? If so, let’s meat our next song:

No potatoes? That will never do, especially if you’re short of moolah and longing for love….

That’s all for now. If you didn’t dig the chow, don’t have a cow. I love you anyhow.