Thursday, February 27, 2020

I Accuse-Unmasking The Sherlock Holmes Legend, Part V-“Bumbling Up The Moors ”-Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce’s “Terror In The Night ” (1946)-A Film Review

I Accuse-Unmasking The Sherlock Holmes Legend, Part V-“Bumbling Up The Moors ”-Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce’s “Terror In The Night ” (1946)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Danny Moriarty

(Frankly, as I mentioned in my fourth debunking of the so-called legend of punk amateur detective Sherlock Holmes and his paramour the bumbler-in-chief Doctor “Doc” Watson in Sherlock Holmes In Washington I am tired, tired beyond endurance, of having to once again tell a candid world that Danny Moriarty is not my real name. Yes, for the skeptics and assorted evil-doers associated with the name Holmes I said paramour which I can now say freely since it had been confirmed by at least three separate and unknown to each other sources that Sherlock and Doc belonged to the Kit Kat Club, a club that had been established by the wild boys during the reign of King George III, an exclusively then called homosexual, now called gay, establishment for the private school boys once they got old enough to afford the fees, more on that new twist below. I use this Moriarty moniker to protect me against some very real threats from a bunch of dope-addled Holmes aficionados, no, worse cultists known far and wide as the Baker Street Irregulars. Not that I am not proud of the name Moriarty, the last name of the heroic professor who ran afoul of the greedy grafter Holmes and became the “fall guy” for every evil deed that bastard did to throw dirt on the good professor’s name. I will continue to defend his honor here in the review of this twaddle called Terror at Night. Another case where Holmes and company let the bodies pile up and somebody else has to lay the competition low.     

These nefarious Irregulars known to the police, to the see no evil hear no evil London peelers, the Bobby Peel guys so named after the guy who put together the first real police force in London but which has gone way downhill since then who have ignored my pleas for protection, who have dismissed the threats against me as child’s play, kid’s stuff. What passes for the law, the coppers, have gone back to their tea and crumpets as usual routine while half of the toddling town gets ransacked by these Baker Street hooligans who have sworn vengeance unto the seventh generation against me and my progeny for exposing their boyfriend hero for the fake and closet homosexual snoop that he is, was.

I stand here again today despite my need to hide my identity, my whereabouts, my voice and features and having had to send my family into private hands hiding stating I will not wilt like some silly schoolgirl under the blare of their evil deeds. This motley of criminals, junkies, and cutthroats is being protected by high society personages. The peerage I think they call it in Mother England, you know the House of Lords holy goofs with the cheapjack woolen wigs sliding all over the place and made in Bangladesh sweated labor textile factory robes who spend endless hours talking about the good old days when everything was simpler, when the mob knew its place or it better had under Charles I, monarchs like that. 

These Irregulars in case I don’t survive the onslaught to number twelve in this series of film which may be a close thing as these bastards have trolled the Internet spreading false rumors that I am homophobic, anti-same sex marriage, against sexual variety, and whatever other dirty innuendoes that can spew out to an unsuspecting social media world,  a series of blatantly propagandistic films, which has done more to create an “alternate facts” Holmes world than anything any dastardly British monarch could ever do to keep the masses at bay.  I am told this clot of degenerates and rough trade aficionados have very stylized rituals involving exotic illegal drugs, LSD being one of the milder ones, and human blood, especially of opposing tribes like the remnant of the Moriarty operation.

Yeah, these guys are the bane of the London Bobbies and maybe not so strangely corruption-infested Scotland Yard neither operation which has lifted a finger in the matter. Moreover these Irregular cretins have been connected with the disappearance of many people, high born and low, who have questioned the Sherlock myth, and not a few unsolved murders of people who have washed up on the Thames over the years. I know I am on borrowed time, I am a “dead man walking” but maybe someone will pick up the cudgels if I have to lay down my head for the cause.  

I don’t want to frighten the audience, the reader but this need for an alias, for cover, is no joke since that first review and the subsequent second and third ones I have been threatened, threatened with I won’t death, death threats, but some nasty actions edging up in that direction which necessitate my keeping very close tabs on my security apparatus as I attempt to deflate this miserable excuse for a detective, a parlor detective at that who even Agatha Christie dismissed out of hand as a rank amateur which couldn’t keep up with even one of her weakest sleuths. From my sources, serious sources under the circumstances, of ex-Irregulars who have left the organization as its attacks have become more bizarre and its blood rituals more gruesome including allegations of human sacrifice I have been told I am on their “watch list.” Told my days are numbered if I continue to “speak the truth no matter how bitter.”  

I know and can prove that I have been the subject of cyber-bullying without end including a campaign to discredit me by calling me Raymond Chandler’s “poodle” and Dashiell Hammett’s “toadie” for mentioning the undisputable fact that these hard- knock, hard-working professionals, real life detectives peeking under keyholes and into windows like Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe were as likely to grab some wayward young woman and go under the silky sheets between exchanges of gunfire as kick ass on some bad guys and still have time for lunch. Sherlock and Doc, was much too dainty, much too worried about, literally, getting his hands dirty for that kind of heading to the danger work. I am willing to show an impartial commission my accusations with documents and affidavits. Believe me the pressure against me to stop my expose, including from site manager Greg Green who is worried about my security and that of my family, is getting worse and once I get a grip on who is who in that nefarious organization I will be taking names and numbers.  These twelve films have been nothing but propaganda vehicles for the Holmes legend so I have plenty more work cut out for me. Until done I will not be stopped by hoodlums, wild boys, rough trade artists, Homintern agents, your lordships and ladyships, and blood-splattered junkies. D.M.)
Terror At Night, starring Basil Rathbone (I have mentioned previously my doubts that this was his real name since unlike myself he had never been transparent enough to say that he had been using an alias. I have since uncovered information that I was generally right and found at first that his real name was Lytton Strachey a known felon who spent a few years in Dartmoor Prison on weapons and drug trafficking charges. It turns out that I was either in error or the victim of a cyber-attack since then it has come out that his real name was not Strachey but Lanny Lamont, who worked the wharfs and water-side dive taverns where the rough trade mentioned by Jean Genet in his classic rough trade expose Our Lady of the Flowers did hard-edged tricks), Nigel Bruce (a name which upon further investigation has been confirmed as a British National named “Doc” Watson who also did time at Dartmoor for not having a medical license and peddling dope to minors in the 1930s and 1940s where I had assumed he and Lanny had met up. Again a cyber-attack error they had met at the Whip and Chain tavern at dockside Thames while Lanny was doing his business on the sailor boys), 1946 
As I have mentioned previously and nothing recently has changed my view we live in an age of debunking. An age perhaps borne aloft by cynicism, hubris, sarcasm and above all “fake news,” not the fake news denying some reality that you hear so much about these days, but by the elaborate strategy of public relations cranks and flacks who will put out any swill as long as they are paid and not a minute longer. That phenomenon hardly started today but has a long pedigree, a pedigree which has included the target of today’s debunking one James Sherlock Holmes, aka Lytton Strachey, aka Lanny Lamont out of London, out of the Baker Street section of that town. From the cutesy “elementary my dear Watson” to that condescending attitude toward everybody he encounters, friend or foe, including the hapless Doctor “Doc” Watson, aka Nigel Bruce, a fellow inmate at notorious Dartmoor Prison in the early 1930s this guy Holmes, or whatever his real name is nothing but a pure creation of the public relations industrial complex, the PRIC. As I have noted above I have paid the price for exposing this chameleon, this so-called master detective, this dead end junkie, with a barrage of hate mail and threats from his insidious devotees. I have been cyber-bullied up to my eyeballs but the truth will out.

Maybe I better refresh for those who may not have read the first three reviews, may be shocked to find their paragon of a private detective has feet of clay, and an addiction problem no twelve step program could curtail in a million years. Here are some excerpts of what I said in that very first review which I stand by this day no matter the consequences:      

“Today is the day. Today is the day I have been waiting for since I was a kid. Today we tear off the veneer, tear off the mask of the reputation of one Sherlock Holmes as a master detective. Funny how things happen. Greg Green assigned me this film out of the blue, at random he said when I asked him. However this assignment after viewing this film, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (of course he doesn’t face, hadn’t been anywhere near any danger that would put death in his way but that can wait until I finish out defanging the legend) set off many bells, many memories of my childhood when I first instinctively discovered this guy was a fraud, a con artist.

Back then my grandparents and parents hushed me up about the matter when I told them what I thought of the mighty Sherlock. They went nutty and told me never to speak of it again when I mentioned that a hard-boiled real private detective, a guy who did this kind of work for a living, a guy named Sam Spade who worked out in San Francisco and solved, really solved, the case of the missing black bird which people in the profession still talk about, which is still taught in those correspondence course private detection in ten easy lesson things you used to see advertised on matchbook covers when smoking cigarettes was okay, who could run circles around a parlor so-called detective like Mr. Holmes. 

[Even Sam Spade has come in for some debunking of late right here in this space as Phil Larkin and Kenny Jacobs have gone round and round about how little Spade deserved his “rep,” his classic rep for a guy who was picked by some bimbo out of the phone book and who couldn’t even keep his partner alive against that same femme he was skirt-addled over. Kept digging that low-shelf whiskey bottle in the bottom desk drawer out too much when the deal went down. The only guy who is safe is Phillip Marlowe since nobody can call him a “one solved murder wonder” after the string of cold as ice, maybe colder, cases he wrapped up with a bow over the years. They still talk about the Sherwood case out on the Coast even today where he rapped the knuckles of a big time gangster like Eddie Mars, and his goons, to help an old man going to the great beyond no believing that he had raised a couple of monster daughters without working up a serious sweat. Talked in hushed tones too. You notice nobody has tried to go after him, not even close. D.M.]            

That was then. Now after some serious research as a result of this film’s impact on my memory I have proof to back up my childhood smothered assertions. Sherlock Holmes (if that is his name which is doubtful since I went to the London telephone directories going back the first ones in the late 1800s and found no such name on Baker Street-ever) was nothing but a stone-cold junkie, cocaine, morphine, landudum and other exotic concoctions which is the reason that he had a doctor at his side at all times in case he needed “scripts” written up. A doctor who a guy like Sam Spade would have sat on his ass a long time before as so much dead weight.

That junkie business would not amount to much if it did not mean that high and mighty Sherlock didn’t have to run his own gang of pimps, hookers, con men, fellow junkies, drag queens, rough trade sailors and the flotsam and jetsam of London, high society and low, to keep him in dough for that nasty set of habits that kept him high as a kite. There are sworn statements (suppressed at the time) by the few felons whom the Bobbies were able to pick up that Sherlock was the guy behind half the burglaries, heists and kidnappings in London. And you wonder why the Baker Street Irregulars want to silence me, show me the silence of the grave….

Of course the Bobbies, looking to wrap up a few cold file cases which Sherlock handed them to keep them off the trail, looked the other way and/or took the graft so who really knows how extensive the whole operation was. In a great sleight of hand he gave them Doctor Moriarty who as it turned out dear Sherlock had framed when one wave of police heat was on and who only got out of prison after Holmes died and one of Holmes’ flunkies told the real story about how Holmes needed a “fall guy” and the wily Doctor took the fall.”             
Now to a quick film review where once again Holmes/Strachey/Lamont lets the bodies pile up before areal detective grabs the bad guys and makes them cry “uncle;”  

Apparently this Sherlock, no, Lanny Lamont,  madness knows no borders, could not be contained with the four walls of England, hell, maybe even the bloody cockeyed Empire since the film under review has these two desperadoes travelling up moorish Scotland to muddy the highland waters there. This caper centers on the shell game played on Lady Somebody’s, do surnames really matter in the nobility trapped Empire, famous and valuable Star Of Rhodesia (for a long time now Zimbabwe) which is heading to Edinburg town on the midnight train (hence the “night” part of the film’s title) and the boys are along for cheap protection since Lady Somebody’s son is also a member of the notorious Kit Kat Club which they too belonged to although they barely knew him except a cheapjack attempt by Doc to seduce him right under his mother’s nose. The lad though was victim number one in the attempt to steal that damn diamond which as its own set of curses on it-and our dynamic duo’s eyes looking for the main chance and a quick turnover to grab a ton of dope and put them in opium den heaven. 

As the old bank robber Willie Sutton answered when asked why he robbed bank and replied “that was where the dough was” the same was true of another operation on the train trying to grab the diamond led by a remnant of the Moriarty organization one Colonel Moran, a friend of Doc’s from their public school days (no mention of whether they had been lovers then but probably before degenerate Lanny got his hooks into poor Doc. Moran had developed a pretty good plan to grab the diamond by sleight of hand. Had a hardened rough trade boy hide in a casket compartment and do his deeds grabbing the stone and nobody the wiser. Here’s where Lanny and Doc with a corrupt Scotland Yard agent in tail screwed up. Moran’s guy grabbed the diamond although a train guard bought it before the deal when down. Number two down. Moran and the thug had a falling out-number three. All while Lanny and Doc are hitting the bong in their railroad suite. Meanwhile that Scotland Yard detective totally out of character for such an officer wraps up the caper when a bunch of fake coppers hired by him try to take Moran away. No go. Meanwhile Lanny and Doc are chanting oms and wondering who the hell had the damn diamond and why. Another “victory” for the legend, another “victory” for the alternative facts bogus legend.      

But let’s allow the so-called master deductive reasoning detective have his minute just for kicks although I will never tire of letting everybody know that Sherlock made his name after he beat down some poor mistreated dog who should have been reported as abused to whatever they call the humane animal treatment society in merry old England. Also that he worked overtime to keep his name in the public prints through his friendship with the editor of the London Times despite the fact that he had no gainful employment, no source of income except whatever his thug cronies delivered to him from their various escapades and that he had the goods on that editor as they used to say since he was “light on his feet,’’ gay. The minute up I hope to high heaven at least a few viewers will finally back off from this nasty legend stuff and look to Sam and Phillip for real detection works.

[This is probably as good a place as any to discuss the elephant in the room. The whole sexual preference business that was always until the last couple of decades only inferred on film, in books, in society, if at all. I wouldn’t have though much about the matter, about the “sin that dare not speak its name,” you know, sodomy, about catamites if I hadn’t noticed in the previous film Sherlock Holmes Goes To Washington that when Sherlock and the Partridge twist were being held by Hinkel he never even looked at her and she was a dish to look at.

That started bells ringing my head that there was a reason, a real reason why Sherlock couldn’t shot straight, wore a silly boy’s regular hat no self-respecting man would be seen dead in, and had no lady-friend like Spade and Marlowe the former with that gun-simple Brigid who led him a merry chase and the latter with a string of honeys starting with that Vivian Sternwood who put him through his paces before she broke with one Eddie Mars. Either of whom had who would have eaten the Partridge dame her up with their eyes in a minute, run her to ground in the sack, the billowy pillows and had time for a hearty breakfast afterward (that Lanny Lamont time also a time when explicit sexual desire and carnal knowledge among heterosexuals also was done by indirection even among married folk-who can forget those double beds with bed stand in between once the scene invaded the marital bedroom), and had stuck it out through thick and thin with giddy, bubbly Doc Watson. Yes, a Nancy, a mommy’s boy, a fag to use the old time neighborhood term from my growing days in, no I had better not say where which might give aid and comfort to the thugs at Baker Street explains a lot of things. Tells a lot about the dope to take the unmanly shame off his face for being what he was, the outwardly improbable tell-tale scorn of women and why he and Doc were an item, in the closet.

Nowadays, recently, the whole sexual preference would not even be a subject for discussion except for what I have heard from an ex-Baker Street Irregular who broke hard with the organization after having spent the better part of twenty years in the closet about  his membership in the club as well as his sexual proclivities, who told me that there was a big division in the club between those who wanted to “out” Lanny/Sherlock and claim him for the mythical Homintern and those who wanted to not attract attention to their various nefarious activities and crimes by such a scheme. Back then though when Sherlock was roaming the world pissing off that candid world with his fake fortune-teller madness the example of poor Oscar Wilde and his youthful catamite which drove him to Reading Gaol and as recently as the Durning case in the 1950s it was not safe, was criminal to “come out.”

Of course the English public schools for boys, our private schools, were hotbeds of gay activity among the young boys isolated from young girls and who knows what by male teachers so it no wonder an odd-ball like Holmes got flighty and never looked back. Here is the problem everybody knows that no way a gay guy, a gay couple if you included Watson could then juggle dealing with hardened criminals the coppers couldn’t cope with and survive if it were known they were lovers, even platonic lovers. The pair would be in Reading Gaol themselves. Just remember what they did to Wilde and Durning. The next few films should put paid to that notion of mine that Sherlock was nothing more than a parlor plotter once the sexual preference angle intruded itself into the mix.]        

Like I said the last three times, a fake, fake all the way. Unless that Irregular crowd of thugs and blood-stained aficionados get to me, especially those who will be livid for my exposing  Lanny before they could “out” him themselves, find my hideout, this is not the last you will hear about this campaign of mine to dethrone this pompous junked-up imposter. I am just getting into high gear now.      

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Once Again, All That Glitters Is Not Gold-Claude Rains And Kay Francis’s “Stolen Holiday” (1937)-A Film Review

Once Again, All That Glitters Is Not Gold-Claude Rains And Kay Francis’s “Stolen Holiday” (1937)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Leslie Dumont    

Stolen Holiday, starring Kay Francis, Claude Rains, Ian Hunter, directed by Michael Curtiz, 1937     

Sometimes going public with some private hurt, private gripe might be a  better way to put it in this case, gets you what you need, or at least a hearing. In my last film review Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ classic dance musical production Swing Time I complained out loud that that was my fifth consecutive “women’s film,” meaning of course the tried and true Hollywood girl meets boy formula that forms the plotlines of half the films ever produced playing to the hard demographic that the majority of movie goers have historically been women, and younger women to boot.

UntiI recently I had a by-line at Women Today where I only occasionally did film reviews and those few I did do usually having some political point, some such hook. I have also noted that in the distant past I have been a stringer at this publication in the days of its hard copy version when Allan Jackson was publisher and that I had left when it was clear to me that he, and his cohort of old comrades including my then companion Josh Breslin, were slowly drifting in some kind of “good old boys” 1960s coming of age nostalgia trip. After a recent internal fight over that very question and the departure of Allan as site manager (the on-line name for publisher-editor here) the new site manager Greg Green “lured” me away to come over and do some pieces with the idea that I would be able to do whatever struck my fancy. I knew that would include film reviews since that is one of the several staples that drives this publication. What I did not know and which formed the basis for going public was that I would be a de facto “women’s films, women’s issues” fixture. Even at Women Today I didn’t fill any such role. When some readers complained after I went public Greg and I had another candid talk and made our respective positions clear. Hence this not women’s film review as my “prize.” We shall see how this new understanding works out.             

I mentioned a minute ago that half the films from Hollywood have been a work-out of the tried and true girl meets boy formula. And that factor is in play here but that is not what drives the film, this Stolen Holiday.  Such things as duplicity, fraud, social over-reaching, status, loyalty, cowardice and fidelity give this one a very decided broader scope. It almost had to since the plotline was based on the notorious Stavisky Affair which roiled through Third Republic France in the 1930’s and exposed the corruption and rot of that society just prior to World War II. Maybe helped bring down the Republic and bring on the German Occupation when the French Army proved unequal to the task of defending the country due to faulty leadership and outdated theories of war.      
The action starts out in 1931 in Paris with upstart con man Orlov, played by durable Claude Rains, he of the beautiful friendship with Rick of Rick’s Cafe Americain after Rick gave up his love for the good of the cause in Casablanca another film directed by Michael Curtiz, cons high fashion model Nicole, played by elegant Kay Francis although wobbly as a model, but with serious ambitions to run her own fashion operation into playing the straight role in a small con he wanted to play to get the initial capital to run the table on the French financial markets. Forward to 1936 after the success of that initial encounter with Orlov, now a captain of French finance with the place and position that brought, and Nicole the rage of the high fashion also in the chips. Their romantic relationship though hovering between non-existent and sputtering since every action of Orlov, other than jealousy, is connected with his trying to corner yet another market. Corner some respectably in French high society as well.

That conniving of Orlov would be his undoing since he was basically running a Ponzi scheme, was issuing watered stock, and the like. Once the authorities saw what was happening in the markets, and who was manipulating what, they started zeroing in on Orlov. His duplicity would number his days quickly despite his ever conniving actions. Eventually when in another corner he asked Nicole to marry him to cover up his dealings, or try to. Nicole agrees out of loyalty for what he had done for her once she became aware of his dire situation. In the meantime she had met and fallen in love with a British diplomat, played by Ian Hunter, who had swept her off her feet. So Nicole was doubly loyal and true to the scheming Orlov. Here’s where the Hollywood tried and true came to the rescue though. Orlov was finally cornered and shot by the French authorities who chalked it up as a suicide to avoid more scandal and maybe topple a few more people in high places which left Nicole free to marry the still pursuing British diplomat. Nice twist right. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Yes, The Way You Look Tonight-Ginger Rogers And Fred Astaire’s “Swing Time” (1936)-A Film Review

Yes, The Way You Look Tonight-Ginger Rogers And Fred Astaire’s “Swing Time” (1936)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Leslie Dumont

Swing Time, starring Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, and all importantly music and lyrics by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, 1936

It probably is not good form to start off a review of a light-hearted musical comedy, what the heck, a dance film with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with the music and comedy as filler, or the comedy part anyway complaining about the assignment. But I will try the reader’s patience long enough to make a point that I made in my last film review since this is of a piece with that comment. Then, and now, I have complained I won’t say bitterly yet that I have now been given five straight “women’s films,” the modern cinematic term “chick flicks” although that does not ring as a true statement with the ones I have done by new site manager Greg Green.

As I pointed out in that last review, Coco Before Chanel, once Greg became the day to day manager here he went out of his way to “lure” me from a very comfortable by-line that I had with Women Today. I also noted that I had over a decade ago been a stringer here under the old management when my companion Josh Breslin worked here (which he still does) and had left for that Women Today by-line when the old site manager Allan Jackson would not give me a by-line. Those were the days when it was clear for all to see, all who wanted to see, that while the site had all the right positions on the women’s liberation struggles (and still does) that Allan, who moreover was Josh’s very long time friend, was starting down the road to keep the place very much a male bastion haven for his “good old boys” friends whose friendship was defined by the litmus test of being stuck in the nostalgic 1960s when all hell broke loose in American society as they came of age. Greg was supposed to be a welcome break from both of those conditions. Right now I wonder, wonder out loud.                  

Don’t get me wrong this little Rogers-Astaire vehicle Swing Time one in about ten that this pair danced away the stars in is fine, is worth reviewing if for no other reason that the Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields music and lyrics collaboration on some classic songs from the American Songbook which torch-singers like Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee would feast on later. One good example which served as headline here-The Way You Look Tonight. Looking at the site archives though, after storming out of Greg’s office when I received the assignment and I could not budge him off his position that I needed to “broaden my horizons” since at Women Today any film reviews that I did, which were not many, were contemporary efforts I noticed that all the previous four or five Rogers-Astaire reviews had been done by men. Men who did a very good job of making the salient points about the films but who also made the point that from their collective perspectives these films were geared to the tastes and heartstrings of the women of those times who made up the majority, in some cases as during World War II the great majority, of the movie-going public. In other words-women’s films. So I bring no special wisdom to this genre, and maybe less so since I, unlike Sam Lowell, Sandy Salmon, and even one by my old heart-throb Josh did not live and die by watching college time revivals of such films in the 1960s having been a child of the late 1970s when that revival had burned itself out as a cheap date college night out.

As to the film itself well I think I telegraphed my take on these flashy big budget productions which were merely, let’s face it, an excuse to have Fred and Ginger dance and sing between coos. Here Fred plays Lucky, as in lucky at cards, gambling that sort of thing who also happens to be light on his feet (not that “light on his feet” used back then to signify a homosexual trait but dancing feet) who is stepping up in class, literally. That step up to be done by marrying a town debutante and on to easy street. Except through a series of lame pratfalls it never happens. No wedding and so Lucky (and Pop) lam in to the Big Apple, to New York to see if they can make some jack either from gambling or from his hoofing.  

Through another series of lame pratfalls Lucky meets Penny, Ginger’s role, a dance instructor. Meets and the rest is really history. No, the rest is a song and dance through the Kerns-Fields score interrupted by the usual attraction, distraction, misunderstanding, and finally, lovers’ bliss. I would have thought that it would have been hard for this pair to stumble through a series of plot-lines that would freeze the most indulgent brain but they did until audiences got weary. But watching one or two, and make this film one of them, will carry you through a few blue spots.          

Monday, February 24, 2020

If You Want The Stuff Senator Bernie Sanders Has Been Talking About For A Million Years Including Out In The Wilderness When It Was Not Fashionable About Medicare For All, Eliminating Student Debt, The Fight For $15 (Hell Now More Than That) To Happen Accept No Substitutes-Fight For Bernie 2020 Not Come Lately Elizabeth Warren

If You Want The Stuff Senator Bernie Sanders Has Been Talking About For A Million Years Including Out In The Wilderness When It Was Not Fashionable About Medicare For All, Eliminating Student Debt, The Fight For $15 (Hell Now More Than That) To Happen Accept No Substitutes-Fight For Bernie 2020 Not Come Lately Elizabeth Warren  

At The Adventure Car Hop, Circa 1957-60th Anniversary Edition

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Eddie Cochran performing Sittin’In The Balcony.

CD Review

The Rock and Roll Era: 1957, various artists, Time-Life Music, 1988

Jimmy LaCroix’s older brother, Evie, usually didn’t speak two words to Jimmy, or let him speak two words to him. (Jacques and Evian, by the way, to mother, mother Daphne, and all still up around Quebec City French-Canadian relatives but Jimmy and Evie, strictly Jimmy and Evie, among themselves and their respective Olde Saco corner boy crowd in that odd generation-skipping rush to become Americanized, to be like the bloody English and Irish, and shed that blasted patois thing, that down from hunger thing, that damn Gallic saint this and saint that thing and bless yourself before every meal, at night, in front of every passed church thing, and vanilla melt in with souped-up hot rods, Luckies cigarettes rolled up a white tee-shirt sleeve, and a Coke bottle beside you at all times in order, hell, in order to “pass” with the Down East lobster fisherman’s daughter and that Irish mick’s colleen daughter, the one with that flaming red hair, prayer book in one hand and her other hand, well, let’s leave it at that since Irish colleens, or for that matter wistful mermaid yankee girls, do not figure in Jimmy, or Evie’s, life just now.) Evie LaCroix fully subscribed to the prerogatives of being an older teenage brother, an older American teenage brother, moreover one with both a license to drive (although he had been seen on back roads, the dirt roads and gravel pit ruts that passed for roads, around Gorham Road, out in farm country driving full-throttle when he was barely fourteen san license) and an automobile, or rather the automobile, a late model flash red (make that very cherry red) ’57 Chevy.

That hard fact car was nothing but a girl magnet (hell, Evie had picked up a few real women looking for kicks and ready to do what was necessary in the sex department to get to that front seat on more than one frosty Friday night when her walking daddy was away and, according to rumor, even a very married woman, a Mayfair swell woman with kids from over in swanky Ocean City who got her kicks for a while, very hush, hush and out town up in Portland nestled up against his shoulder) added fuel to the flame of the “no talk” rule between the brothers.

See teenage guys in the Acre (the French-Canadian section over on Atlantic Avenue) had too much to do to keep those fast cars up in order to keep that girl magnet headed their way to talk to inconsequential brothers. Every day after school (and some weekends too) Evie LaCroix could be seen at the Adventure Car-Hop doing solemn duty as a short order cook serving greasy burgers and oil-drenched fries to the multitudes.

And every once in a while pulling his head up from the splattering stovetop to eye his girl of the moment, Lorraine Champlain, the ace carhop of the place, and one fox that every guy in town, every guy maybe from young guys like Evie to old, maybe thirty year old guys, wanted to get next to. Just in case you don’t remember or don’t have Wikipedia handy a car hop was, well, a young, good-looking woman who came (in some places via roller skates) to the side of your car, took your order, and eventually brought you your burger with whatever on it, fries and soft drink on a tray. Nice touch in car conscious 1950s America, even in sleepy old dying mill town Olde Saco, Maine. Lorraine, all blond hair (real, by the way, Evie said so real), small breasts like all F-C girls, long forever legs and some perfume thing that made you do a double-take when she took your order (if Evie did not have his head up, otherwise pass, wisely pass, please). And while many guys ogled Lorraine (and left big tips as tribute) she was true blue to her Evian (not Evie, not to her, or anything like that by the way and no mother’s boy talk about him letting her use that forbidden name, not if you didn't want to mix knuckles with corner boy tough Evie, no leave that noise at home, or better stand in some sullen corner at home if that is your line). So you can see that Evian certainly would have had o time, no time at all for bon Jimmie.

Except Jimmy, all twelve years of him, had to, just had to break his armed truce with Evie and speak two, maybe more words. Jimmy was smitten (local Olde Saco corner boy, junior division, word for love, puppy love learned, or half-learned, from a poem picked up in Miss Genet’s class and immediately adopted in junior division corner boy society) with one Mimi Dubois, Lorraine’s cousin, and someone who might one day challenge Lorraine as the ace car hop in town. But that future prospect was not what was bothering Jimmy that day, the day he got up enough nerve to ask Evian the big question.

He had asked Mimi to go to the movie theater, the Bijou where they had sci-fi stuff and monster movies not the Majestic where they only had old time film noir fare with guys getting themselves blasted up for dames and getting nothing for their efforts, except an off-hand slug in the chest or something, with him on Saturday afternoon to watch the double feature and he needed a please, please favor because the theater was too far from her house to walk and her parents would not let her go without a ride. (They in time-honored tradition did not make the social faux pas of suggesting that they take the pair to the theater, jesus, no, they had been told in no uncertain terms to not even mention that possibility.) Also Jimmy’s parents were out for the very good reason (although not as good as the “in no uncertain terms” one) that Mr. LaCroix had been out of work as the dying textile mills where he had worked most of his life had laid him off and he didn’t have an automobile at the moment.

So Jimmy spoke, spoke to Evie on the fly after school one afternoon as Evian was preparing to enter his chariot very cherry red Chevy to head to Adventure Car Hop about driving him to the theater. And here is how young Jimmie laid out his case to his older brother. One day at Doc’s (the local Acre drugstore where the junior high school kids hung out because, one, it was right across from the school, and two, Doc’s had a soda fountain and super jukebox that played all the latest teen hits)Jimmie had cornered Mimi. It was there that Jimmy approached his sweet Mimi to ask about going to the movies. And Eddie Cochran saved him. No, not Eddie in person, but his latest hit, Sittin’In The Balcony.

Jimmie kind of came at Mimi sideways, like twelve year old goofy guys will, and asked Mimi off-handedly a hypothetical question concerning her choice for movie seating options. Down in the orchestra which meant a silly date, like old people did, watching the movies, and maybe eating popcorn or up in the balcony where in Olde Saco tradition (and maybe every other civilized place as well) the young, very young sans automobile, sans money, sans any idea of what was going on went to “make out” and not watch some silly old double feature (although they might come up for air for popcorn occasionally).

Mimi answered like this, and thus caused Jimmy his boldness in asking his brother for help. “If you are asking me just to ask me a silly question while Eddie Cochran’s Sittin’ In The Balcony is playing then I’d answer orchestra but if you are really asking me to go to the movies with you then it’s the balcony. Evian laughed, laughed out loud at that and then grabbed Jimmy by the shoulder and said “Sure kid, I was young once too.”