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  • mistermuse 4:00 pm on April 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Burt Reynolds, , , , , , Spencer Tracy, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD   


    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?”



    • Don Frankel 5:35 pm on April 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Muse this is fortuitous as what was I watching on TCM last night? An old movie I never saw, 20,000 years at Sing Sing. Who’s in it? Spencer Tracy and a very young and very skinny, with her hair dyed blond, Bette Davis. It’s a great old movie and here’s the Trailer.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 6:32 pm on April 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I missed that one, Don, but it’ll probably be on again and I’ll try to catch it next time. Judging by the trailer, Tracy gives a very Cagney-like performance.

      Speaking of TCM, there’s a whole bunch of goodies on tomorrow, starting with Hitchcock at 8:30 a.m. and continuing through to Leo McCarey’s very funny RUGGLES OF RED GAP in the evening.


    • Don Frankel 8:47 pm on April 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Right you are Muse. Tracy did everything but cry “Ma’s dead!”

      Thanks for the heads up but I have a guest this weekend and she’s a lot younger. They don’t watch the old black and white movies.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Garfield Hug 1:25 am on April 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Good share as I have heard of these screen giant icons! Now I must try and watch their movies.

      Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 5:30 pm on April 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply


      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bad Day at Black Rock, , , , , , , , , , Spencer Tracy,   

    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….


    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


    • calmkate 12:11 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      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

    • geo. raymond 12:23 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great word play. (Excellent movie, too)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Garfield Hug 12:26 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      LOL! I loved your Untitled poem😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:50 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

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

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:09 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      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 8:36 am on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        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).


    • christie jones 1:26 pm on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

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

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:39 am on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        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

        • christie jones 2:30 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink

          While two-thirds of the words are twisters, I didn’t mean to provoke any blisters. I’m happy you’re now recovered, and hope never again embarrassed. All the best! Christie

          Liked by 1 person

    • Ricardo 11:32 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

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

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:56 am on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

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


    • RMW 1:12 pm on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      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 3:05 pm on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        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!


        • RMW 12:35 am on June 8, 2017 Permalink

          I’m sure North Carolina could come up with an idea to handle it!


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