HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: WHAT A CHARACTER (ACTOR)!

“Nobody needs a mink coat but the mink.” –S. Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, character actor (Feb. 2, 1883-Feb. 12, 1955)

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There have been so many great male character actors in Hollywood Golden Age history that, for this post, I’m going to narrow the field to comedic character actors….and even then, I’ll probably leave out some of your favorites. Of course, if you don’t have any old comedy film favorites, you’re probably not an old comedy film fan, so you’re excused (even though that’s no excuse….actually, you should be ashamed of yourself).

Leaving that aside, let’s move on, starting with the author of the above quote….a quote which probably didn’t go over too well with most of the Hollywood glamour girls he knew — speaking of which, did you know that Sakall was born in, and is strictly from, Hungary (btw, he was also in Casablanca). Here’s more scuttlebutt about Cuddles but…it’s not a lot:

Next, Laurel & Hardy fans will remember the trademark ‘double-take’ look of this gent, who appeared in many of their films, including here in one of their best, WAY OUT WEST:

Remember double features (two films for the price of one in movie houses of the 1930s-50s)? Here’s a double feature of two great comedic actors for the price of one in a scene from SHALL WE DANCE, one of three Astaire-Rogers movies in which they appeared together:

If you’re a fan of Charlie Chan movies, you may recall the pop-eyed comic who played Chan’s chauffeur in over a dozen films, as well as parts in Preston Sturges’ THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942), CABIN IN THE SKY (1943), CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK (1944), and many others. Here he is in a scene from THE SCARLET CLUE (1945):

In closing, I’ll mention several other great comedic character actors I could’ve/should’ve profiled here, but I have to stop somewhere: William Demarest, Edgar Kennedy, Frank Morgan, Franklin Pangborn, Erik Rhodes, Victor Moore, and many more. Thank you, one and all, for bringing character to comedy.

HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: THE GLAMOUR GIRLS

A glamour girl is one who looks good enough to eat and dresses with taste. –Evan Esar

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In my “preview of coming attractions” post of Oct. 13, the subject of Hollywood glamour girls (in general) and Rita Hayworth (in particular) came up in an exchange of comments. October 17 being Rita’s birthday, it seems the appropriate day to do the appropriate post, focusing not only on Rita, but on several other becoming attractions who fill the bill by becomingly filling their dresses.

My glamour girl choices here are both limited and subjective, due not only to length-of-post considerations, but the implicit broadness of the term, e.g.: is, or is not, glamour girl of a piece with sex goddess? For the arbitrary purposes of this opus, I’ve drawn a distinction between the two by disqualifying actresses considered to be ‘pure’ sex symbols, such as Jayne Mansfield, Jane Russell. and (perhaps unfairly) Marilyn Monroe. They (and European sex symbols like Brigitte Bardot) may “look good enough to eat,” but dressing with taste was hardly their strong suit.

With that model of suitability out of the way, here are the glamour girls I think stand out as epitomizing Hollywood’s Golden Age by virtue of such disparate criteria as a touch of class, sex appeal more than skin deep, talent, and even pin-up popularity with WWII GIs.

Let’s start with the birthday girl, Rita Hayworth, who said “I like having my picture taken and being a glamorous person. I never really thought of myself as a sex goddess.”:

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/10/31/rita-hayworth/

My next choice is the actress called the most beautiful woman in the world in her day:

Next, the actress called the last major star to come out of the Hollywood studio system:

With apologies to the likes of Veronica Lake, Lana Turner, and Betty Grable, I will close with this glamorous actress who, but for the overriding racism of the period, could and should have been a major Hollywood star (seen here in a scene with Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and Ethel Waters from CABIN IN THE SKY (1943):

 

RIDE THE WIND DAY

August 23 is RIDE THE WIND DAY. I can think of no better way to celebrate the day than musically. On the other hand, you may think I should go fly a kite. Why not do both — you might call it killing two words with one song:

You didn’t really think I was going to stop after one song, did you? So, did you know the wind has a name?

But no matter the name, The Wind In The Willows whispers it. Listen for it….

And in that plaintive, melancholy way, I bid you a good Ride The Wind Day.

 

THE ART OF BAD POETRY

Oscar Wilde quote: “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” Maybe so, but you can’t blame a guy for trying.

A few days ago, in pondering the possibility of posting a post of putrid poetry for BAD POETRY DAY (August 18th), I took the precaution of reviewing a decade (my blog began in 2009) of August posts to make sure I hadn’t previously perpetrated poetic perfidy on unsuspecting readers on this day. Unluckily for you , I found that I’ve never posted a post on Aug. 18, so we’re good to go….make that, I’m good to go. Or bad to go. You have to stay, because if you don’t, you’ll break my poor art — and that wouldn’t be polite.

Perhaps you think that my calling bad poetry an art
doesn’t pass the smell test, like calling passing gas a fart.

Not to put you on the spot, but was that a bad-ass poem, or what?
Granted, it has a perfect rhyme, but is that such a crime?
As bad poetry, I still say it’s sublime….speaking of which, I’ll have you know there are actually high-class contests to determine how low a bad poem can get, such as:

With that behind us, it’s time we get back to sum-more of my cool august poetry:

CLOCKING OUT

Hickory, dickory, dock,
The doc ran up the rock.
The rock was more slippery
Than doc’s hickory dickory,
So down he fell, which cleaned his clock.

HAIR APPARENT

A Whig party wig
Is my saving grace —
It diverts your gaze
Away from my face.

I WILL ONLY STOOP SO LOW

I don’t do windows,
I don’t do lawns —
But when I doo-doo,
I do do johns.

And with that, I bid you a fond adieu-doo.

 

LAZY DAY STRAINS

strain, to use to the utmost; damage or weaken by too much tension, pressure, or force
strains,
 a part of a piece of music; melody; song; tune  –The World Book Dictionary

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August 10 is LAZY DAY. Don’t ask me who the originator is, or why LAZY DAY is on this particular day — today, I is too lazy to care. All I know is, it’s a good day to post a post over which I’ve pondered as poco* as possible. Mind you, when your brain avoids work as strenuously as mine strains to avoid strain, it deserves arrest — correction: a rest.

Thus, I bid you adieu without further ado (except for a tune or two), and leave the rest to You(tube).

Here, Hoagy Carmichael sings a song he wrote, as another guy tries to keep a level head:

Thank you, friends, for that tremendous ovalation**– that calls for a curtain call. So, what’s got me in a lazy mood? FOREWARNING: the answer is a four-letter word (not counting a ‘postrophe s):

*poco: Spanish for little (as in a poco loco in the coco).
**ovalation: an ovation during which a round of applause takes on an oval shape

GOOD-BY, JU-LY

I don’t know about the weather where you are, but one state north of me, in the town of Hell, Michigan, I hear July has been….

So, when it’s hotter than ‘ell in Hell, I say it’s time to say good-by to July, and good riddance. As I (would like to) tell my visiting in-laws, come back again when you can’t stay so long. Today, as July leaves, I leave you with some hot jokes to remember me by until my next post….and remember, don’t blame the muse-enger for the clinkers. Acting as a muse meant for amusement, mistermuse mooched most of ’em, thus no funny-back guarantees.

How hot is it?
So hot, the birds are using potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

How do you make holy water?
Boil the hell out of it.

What did one pig say to the other in a steamy pigpen?
I’m bacon.

How hot is it?
So hot, the chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs.

What happened when Mr. White bought a loaf of bread at the store?
By the time he got home, White’s bread was toast.

How hot is it?
So hot, when I spilled ice water on my computer, it begged for more.

Somehow, I have a funny feeling it’s gonna be a while before my next post.

 

THINK NOTHING OF IT

Seeing as how July 26 is ALL OR NOTHING DAY, I realized ALL OR NOTHING is as good a subject as any to post about today. A good thing too, as the only thing that had come to mind was nothing, otherwise this post might be about something, which at this point is something I want nothing to do with, as a post about something would be worth nothing unless nothing is the something I want to post something about nothing about.

Speaking of ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL, I subsequently came upon a dissertation by one Farouk Radwan, MSc, about all-or-nothing thinking, which may explain one way why The King of Self-Trumpeting Liars, Donald Trump, is the way he is. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, this may be more than you want to know (and certainly more than Trump knows, or would admit if he DID know), but I can stand it if you can:

“Narcissism is one of the causes of the all or nothing way of thinking. Being a narcissist either devalues people and considers them worthless, or thinks highly of them” [like how The Donald devalues Robert Mueller but thinks highly of his no-bargain Attorney General, William Barr?].

Anyway — after much ado about nothing — I close with the Trump badministration’s theme song*:

*composed in the year 1934 B.T. (Before Trump) by Cole Porter, including these oh-so-apt-today lyrics:

The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today
And black’s white today
And day’s night today

So ANYTHING GOES, but TRUMP STAYS? That can’t be good, or my name is Cole Porter.