Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy birthday, Uncle Marvin!

Yes, today is my Uncle Marv’s (mumble mumble) natal anniversary, and I thought it was only right and proper to announce this to the many reader of this blog.  To those who know him personally, he’s a man who possesses a ready wit, an eye for a shapely form (provided my Aunt Jane isn’t watching) and an insatiable thirst for the good things in life.  I’ve often marveled at how he’s able to sample just a little bit of wine poured into his glass and with one swish, tell you precisely…that he’d like a little more.  Marv is also the author in the family—he’s written two books, The View from Dotsons Point and The Dawn of Division: Philippi-The Beginning…both of which are testaments to his passion for Civil War and WV history and are also available at (no, I don’t get a kickback if you order one).

Naturally, I was beside myself with curiosity as to what famous people shared a birthday with my uncle…and here they are:

Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) – Danish painter

John Keats (1795-1821) – English poet (Ode to a Grecian Urn)

Juliette Gordon Low (1860-1927) – Savannah, GA native and founder of the Girl Scouts of America

Sara Allgood (1879-1950) – Irish stage and screen actress whose vehicles include How Green Was My Valley and The Lodger

Bud Duncan (1883-1960) – Silent and sound film comedian best known as partner to Lloyd Hamilton in a truckload of “Ham and Bud” comedies made in the 1910s

Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) – 20th century Chinese political and military leader

Ethel Waters (1896-1977) – Stage, screen and television singer-actress whose vehicles include Cabin in the Sky and The Member of the Wedding

Eduard Franz (1902-1983) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include The Magnificent Yankee and The Ten Commandments

Sy Devore (1907-1966) – Famed tailor who made suits for the likes of Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and other Hollywood actors

Ollie Johnston (1912-2008) – Legendary Disney Studios animator

Dale Evans (1912-2001) – Queen of the Cowgirls and Mrs. Roy Rogers

John Sylvester White (1919-1988) – Television actor remembered for playing the crusty principal Mr. Michael Woodman on Welcome Back, Kotter

Leonard Freeman (1920-1974) – Television writer-producer who created Hawaii Five-O

Dick Francis (1920-2010) – Former jockey who turned to writing mystery novels…about the subject of horse racing

Talfryn Thomas (1922-1982) – British actor best remembered as Private Cheeseman on the classic Britcom Dad’s Army

Barbara Bel Geddes (1922-2005) – TDOY actress fave whose films include I Remember Mama and Vertigo…and whose television immortality was cemented by playing Miss Ellie Ewing on Dallas

Guy Marks (1923-1987) – Standup comedian and impressionist who also scored TV roles on sitcoms like The Joey Bishop Show and Rango

Shirley Dinsdale (1926-1999) – Nearly forgotten female ventriloquist (with dummy Judy Splinters) once tabbed by Edgar Bergen as the best he’d ever seen

Lee Grant (1927-     ) – TDOY actress fave whose vehicles include Detective Story, In the Heat of the Night and TV’s Peyton Place

Andrew Sarris (1928-     ) – Longtime Village Voice film critic and major proponent of the auteur theory; married to film critic Molly Haskell

Cleo Moore (1924-1973) – Cult movie icon who appeared in such films as On Dangerous Ground, Strange Fascination and Women’s Prison

Bud Spencer (1929-     ) – Italian film actor long associated with a series of “spaghetti” westerns co-starring Terence Hill

Dan Rather (1931-     ) – CBS News journalist and anchor of the CBS Evening News from 1981-2005

Norman Beaton (1934-1994) – British comic actor best known for his starring turns in the Britcoms The Fosters and Desmond’s

Michael Landon (1936-1991) – Teenage werewolf and television icon who starred on Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven

Tom Paxton (1937-     ) – Folksinger/songwriter who’d rate a mention here even if the only thing he ever wrote was Bottle of Wine

Ron Rifkin (1939-     ) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include The Substance of Fire and L.A. Confidential

Sally Kirkland (1941-     ) – Stage, screen and television character actress whose vehicles include Anna, Steel Magnolias and JFK

David Ogden Stiers (1942-     ) – Stage, screen and television stalwart best known as Major Charles Emerson Winchester on the sitcom M*A*S*H

Brian Doyle-Murray (1945-     ) – Bill Murray sibling and comic actor seen on such TV series as Get a Life, Bakersfield P.D. and Yes, Dear

Stephen Rea (1946-     ) – Irish stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include The Crying Game and The Butcher Boy

Deidre Hall (1947-     ) – Soap opera maven (Days of Our Lives) who also played Electra Woman to Judy Strangis’ Dyna Girl

Jane Pauley (1950-     ) – NBC journalist who appeared for long runs on Today and Dateline NBC; married to Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau

John Candy (1950-1994) – Second City funnyman who unfortunately left us far too soon and whose vehicles include Splash, Uncle Buck and Only the Lonely

Lynda Goodfriend (1953-      ) – Cheerful sitcom actress best remembered as Richie Cunningham’s girlfriend (and later wife) Lori Beth Allen on Happy Days

Peter Jackson (1961-     ) – Hairy New Zealand motion picture director who won three Academy Awards in 2004 for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Rob Schneider (1963-     ) – Annoying Saturday Night Live alum who fearlessly embarrasses himself with films like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick

Dermot Mulroney (1963-     ) – Stage, screen and television character actor whose vehicles include Living in Oblivion and My Best Friend’s Wedding

Darryl Worley (1964-     ) – Country music vocalist

Vanilla Ice (1967-     ) – Rap music poseur whose name/career has become a punchline from the Gods of Comedy

Piper Perabo (1976-     ) – Film and television actress whose vehicles include Coyote Ugly and Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Willow Smith (2000-     ) – Hair whipper

On behalf of my uncle, I’m sure he would respond to being in such august company by saying: “Who the hell are these people?”

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy birthday, Ruth Gordon!

Tomorrow is Halloween…and what better way to celebrate than by watching one of the scary-ass horror films of all time, Rosemary’s Baby (1968)—a movie that won today’s birthday girl an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress?  Ruth Gordon Jones was born on this date one hundred and fourteen years ago in Quincy, MA—and her burning desire to become an actress was so great that her efforts to convince her sea captain father that she had a flair for the buskin were chronicled in the play The Actress, which was adapted as a motion picture starring Jean Simmons, Spencer Tracy and Teresa Wright in 1953.

Gordon had a rather sporadic film career in her halcyon cinematic days; she appeared in a handful of silent movies in 1915, and then concentrated on making a name for herself on the stage before once again turning to the flickers with Abe Lincoln in Illinois in 1940.  Her marriage to playwright-director Garson Kanin resulted in successful screenplays for such films as A Double Life, Adam’s Rib, The Marrying Kind and Pat and Mike.  Returning to films in the mid 1960s, her Oscar win paved the way for her to be cast in a buttload of movies that cast her as a feisty but cuddly curmudgeon, including the Clint Eastwood orangutan epics Every Which Way but Loose and Any Which Way You Can.

But there are other notable famous people born on this date, too:

John Adams (1735-1826) – Second President of the United States who, like Ruth, was also born in Quincy (Braintree)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) – Author of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov

William F. “Bull” Halsey (1882-1959) – Admiral who commanded the U.S. Third Fleet during WW2

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) – American poet who misbehaved during WW2 (treason) and was later pronounced insane

Warren Doane (1890-1964) – Motion picture producer and one-time general manager of the Hal Roach Studio

Charles Atlas (1893-1972) – Famous muscular guy

Louise Keaton (1906-1981) – Buster’s sis

Paul J. Smith (1906-1985) – Academy Award-winning composer/musician who worked at the Walt Disney Studios for most of his career

Sue Carol (1906-1982) – Former silent/sound film actress who retired to become an agent and later married Alan Ladd

Patsy Montana (1908-1996) – Country music great who was the first female vocalist to have a million-selling record in I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart

Ruth Hussey (1911-2005) – Stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include The Philadelphia Story and The Uninvited

Hugh Reilly (1915-1998) – Stage, screen and television actor immortalized on TV as Paul Martin, dad to the insufferable Timmy on Lassie

Jane Randolph (1915-2009) – Stage and screen actress whose vehicles include Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein

Fred W. Friendly (1915-1998) – Producer, Edward R. Murrow crony and one-time president of CBS News (1964-66)…and one guy who didn’t love Lucy

Joan Banks (1918-1998) – OTR veteran who also dabbled in films and television; also known as Mrs. Frank Lovejoy (and was born in Petersburg, WV!)

Dickie Henderson (1922-1985) – British stage, film and television comedian whose self-titled sitcom was a big boob tube hit in the 1960s

Herschel Bernardi (1923-1986) – Stage, film and television actor best known as Lieutenant Jacoby on Peter Gunn and the titular hero of the sitcom Arnie

Jacques Aubuchon (1924-1991) – Stage, film and television character actor whose vehicles include So Big, The Silver Chalice and Thunder Road

William Campbell (1926-     ) – Cult film and television actor known for such vehicles as Cell 2455 Death Row and Dementia 13…and for appearing in two iconic Star Trek episodes: “The Squire of Gothos” (as Trelane) and “The Trouble with Tribbles” (Koloth)

Nestor Almendros (1930-1992) – Academy Award-winning motion picture cinematographer whose vehicles include Days of Heaven, Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie’s Choice

Richard “Dick” Gautier (1931-     ) – Multi-talented performer who is beloved here at TDOY for his portrayal of Hymie the Robot on the classic sitcom Get Smart

Louis Malle (1932-1995) – Acclaimed motion picture director whose vehicles include Murmur of the Heart, Atlantic City and Au revoir les enfants

Hamilton Camp (1934-2005) – Stage, screen and television actor-singer fondly remembered here at TDOY as building superintendent Andrew Hummel on the woefully short-lived He & She

June Blair (1936-     ) – Former Playboy Playmate turned actress and one-time wife of David Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet fame

Claude Lelouch (1937-     ) – Academy Award-winning motion picture director whose vehicles include A Man and a Woman, And Now My Love and Cat and Mouse

Grace Slick (1939-     ) – Singer-songwriter and a member of Jefferson Airplane (later Jefferson Starship and then Starship)

Eddie Holland (1939-     ) – Songwriter who, along with brother Brian and Lamont Dozier, penned some of the best damn rock ‘n’ roll hits ever recorded

Ed Lauter (1940-     ) – Superlative character actor whose vehicles include The Longest Yard and Family Plot; also played Captain John Sebastian Cain on BJ and the Bear and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo

Otis Williams (1941-     ) Temptation

Henry Winkler (1945-     ) – The Fonz

Andrea Mitchell (1946-     ) – News whore who claims her journalistic integrity was never compromised by the fact that she’s married to former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan

Timothy B. Schmit (1947-     ) – Rock ‘n’ roll musician who was both in The Eagles and a founding member of Poco

Harry Hamlin (1951-     ) – Stage, film and television actor whose marriage to Lisa Rinna is systematically destroying what’s left of the once-great TVLand channel

Charles Martin Smith (1953-     ) – Stage, film and television actor-writer-director whose vehicles include American Graffiti and Never Cry Wolf

Pete Hoekstra (1953-     ) – Certifiably insane Republican Congressman from Michigan

T. Graham Brown (1954-     ) – Country music vocalist/actor and the Pride of Arabi, GA

Shanna Reed (1956-     ) – Film and television actress best known as Polly Cooper McGillis on the sitcom Major Dad

Kevin Pollak (1957-     ) – Actor/stand-up comedian and William Shatner impersonator whose vehicles include A Few Good Men and The Usual Suspects

Charnele Brown (1965-     ) – Film and television actress whose main claim fame was playing Kim Reese on the sitcom A Different World

Nia Long (1970-     ) – Film and television actress seen on such TV series as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Third Watch

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy birthday, Fanny Brice...and a host of others!

One hundred and nineteen years ago on this date, Fania Borach was born in the teensy backwoods hamlet of New York City…though the world would eventually call this incredibly talented woman—singer, actress, comedienne—Fanny Brice.  From her show stopping turns in various productions of the Ziegfeld Follies to her lengthy radio stint as one of the airwaves’ most beloved brats, Baby Snooks, Brice’s career and life story was indeed a fascinating one…one that needed two movies to tell, Funny Girl in 1968 and Funny Lady in 1975.  Both films starred Barbra Streisand, who took home a Best Actress Oscar for the first one the year after Girl was released.

I told myself that I was going to beg off doing lengthy birthday listings because of some changes at IMDb that made things sort of inconvenient but thanks to Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings (who gleaned the info from Raquelle at Out of the Past and Kate Gabrielle at Silents and Talkies) I learned how to tweak things that will make doing these things much easier…so I’ll continue on with these for a while unless outside activities interfere or I become totally bored with them.  So who else shares a birthday today with the incomparable Ms. Brice, you may be asking?  Gaze into my crystal ball…

James Boswell (1740-1795) – Biographer of Dr. Samuel Johnson

Jack Pearl (1894-1982) – Comedian who appeared on stage, radio, film and television as Baron Munchausen (“Vas you dere, Sharlie?”)

Josef Goebbels (1897-1945) – Evil Nazi Minister of Propaganda (aka “The Malicious Dwarf”)

Hope Emerson (1897-1960) – Stage, screen and television actress seen in such vehicles as Adam’s Rib and Caged…and on Peter Gunn as “Mother”

Akim Tamiroff (1899-1972) – Stage, screen and television actor…and inspiration for Rocky & Bullwinkle villain Boris Badenov

Boris Ingster (1903-1978) – Director-writer-producer whose 1940 film, Stranger on the Third Floor, is often cited as one of the earliest examples of the film noir style

Perc (1904-1970) and Ern Westmore (1904-1970) – Twin makeup artists and members of the Westmore dynasty

Fredric Brown (1906-1972) – Science fiction/mystery author

Lew Parker (1910-1972) – Stage, screen and television actor best known as Marlo Thomas’ pop on That Girl

Eddie Constantine (1917-1993) – Cult film actor who made a number of films as private dick Lemmy Caution, notably Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville

“Baby” Peggy-Jean Montgomery (1918-     ) – Popular moppet star of silent and sound films who turns ninety-two today

William Henry “Bill” Mauldin (1921-2003) – Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who achieved fame with his panels featuring dogfaces Willie and Joe…but also dabbled in acting, notably in 1951’s The Red Badge of Courage

Ed Kemmer (1921-2004) – Film, radio and television actor best remembered by legions of youngsters as Commander Buzz Corey on the TV and radio versions of Space Patrol

Neal Hefti (1922-2008) – Composer, conductor and trumpeter who led the band on radio’s The Kate Smith Show and was immortalized as the man who composed the theme to TV’s Batman

Dina Merrill (1923-     ) – Stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include Desk Set and Operation Petticoat…also married at one time to Cliff Robertson

Dominick Dunne (1925-2009) – American author, producer and TV personality

Geraldine Brooks (1925-1977) – Stage, screen and television actress whose vehicles include Possessed and The Reckless Moment

Velma Barfield (1932-1984) – Convicted North Carolina serial killer who was the first woman to be executed using lethal injection

Denny Laine (1944-     ) – Singer, songwriter and guitarist who played with both the Moody Blues and Wings

Melba Moore (1945-    ) – Singer-actress best remembered for her work in the musical Hair

Richard Dreyfuss (1947-     ) – Stage, film and television actor whose winning of an Oscar for 1977’s The Goodbye Girl made him un dickhead formidable

Kate Jackson (1948-     ) – Film and television actress who appeared on four hit TV series: Dark Shadows, The Rookies, Charlie’s Angels and Scarecrow and Mrs. King

Dan Castellaneta (1957-     ) – Character actor who’s been immortalized as the voice of Homer “D’oh!” Simpson

Dawn DeNoon (1964-     ) – Producer, writer and story editor on my mom’s favorite TV show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit…who gets a shout-out here because she’s a fellow West Virginian (Moundsville)

Joely Fisher (1967-     ) – Stage, film and television actress best known for her roles on Ellen and ‘Til Death; daughter of Eddie Fisher and sister to Carrie

Winona Ryder (1971-     ) – Stage, film and television actress and kleptomaniac

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy birthday, Jaime!

Jaime Weinman, Macleans columnist and blogger extraordinaire at Something Old, Nothing New, is celebrating his (mumble mumble) natal anniversary today, and since Jaime was one of the very first people to fearlessly link to TDOY (back in the Salon Blog days) despite being threatened with a tire iron by a couple of goons I thought it only right to give him a shout-out.  He’s one of the few fortunate individuals to be able to make a living writing about what he loves, and in addition is an expert on stage musicals, 70s sitcoms, Archie comics and WKRP in Cincinnati.  Which gives me a valid reason to post this picture in honor of his birthday:

But what famous people share the same birthday as Mr. Weinman, I hear you pretend asking in my head?  The list may surprise you!

Herbert Butterfield (1895-1957) – OTR veteran best remembered as Clarence Wellman on The Halls of Ivy and Brian Donlevy’s nameless boss (“the Commissioner”) on Dangerous Assignment (he appeared on the TV version, too)

John Boles (1895-1969) – Actor-singer who appeared in such Shirley Temple films as Curly Top and The Littlest Rebel

Edith Head (1897-1981) – Academy Award-winning motion picture costume designer

Rollin Hamilton (1898-1951) – Veteran animator who worked on many of Walt Disney’s early Alice shorts in the 1920s

Elsa Lanchester (1902-1986) – Beloved British character actress and bride of the Frankenstein monster

Evelyn A. Waugh (1903-1966) – Author of Brideshead Revisited

Albert Maltz (1908-1985) – Screenwriter and member of the Hollywood Ten

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) – Irish painter

Jonas Salk (1914-1995) – Developer of the polio vaccine

Dody Goodman (1914-2008) – Actress-comedienne best known as the mother to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Jack Soo (1917-1979) – Film and television actor immortalized as Sgt. Nick Yemana on the TV sitcom Barney Miller

Leonard Starr (1925-     ) – Cartoonist who created the strip Mary Perkins, On Stage (1957-79) and then revived Harold Grey’s Little Orphan Annie in 1979

Bowie Kuhn (1926-2007) – Major League Baseball Commissioner from 1969 to 1984

Joan Plowright (1929-     ) – Esteemed stage, film and television actress who also goes by “Baroness Olivier,” having married Sir Laurence in 1961

Suzy Parker (1932-2003) – Cover girl-model who flirted with an acting career

Johnny Western (1934-     ) – Singer-actor best known for writing and warbling the theme to TV’s Have Gun – Will Travel (The Ballad of Paladin)

Carl Davis (1936-     ) – Musical conductor/composer best known for scoring many of the silent film classics that air on television in the UK

Charlie Daniels (1936-     ) – Redneck country music singer

Jane Alexander (1939-     ) – Stage, film and television actress best known for vehicles like Kramer vs. Kramer and Testament (and also impersonating Eleanor Roosevelt)

Jim Post (1939-     ) – Singer who, along with wife Cathy, had a Top Ten hit in 1968 as Friend & Lover with Reach Out of the Darkness

Susan Harris (1940-     ) – Television comedy writer and producer who created such sitcoms as Soap, The Golden Girls and Empty Nest

Curtis Lee (1941-     ) – R&B/rock ‘n’ roll singer (Pretty Little Angel Eyes)

Dennis Franz (1944-     ) – Stage, film and television character best known for his roles on Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue…and whose display of his naked butt cheeks on the latter offers the strongest argument yet that sometimes TV goes a little too far

Wayne Fontana (1945-     ) – Mindbender

Roy Rogers, Jr. (1946-     ) – Son of…well, that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out

Telma Hopkins (1949-     ) – One-time member of Dawn (as in “Tony Orlando and…”) who later became an actress and had substantial roles on such sitcoms as Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break, Family Matters and Half & Half

Tracy Reed (1949-     ) – Film and television actress best remembered for playing the female lead on the attempt to turn Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park into a sitcom

Bruce Jenner (1949-     ) – 1976 Olympic decathlon who later dabbled in acting, appearing in such vehicles as CHiPs and 1980’s Can’t Stop the Music

Audrie Neenan (1950-     ) – Stage, film and television actress who appeared at one time on HBO’s Not Necessarily the News but now turns up as a judge every now and then on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Annie Potts (1952-     ) – Stage, film and television actress who’s been featured prominently in such shows as Designing Women, Love & War and Any Day Now

William Henry “Bill” Gates (1955-     ) – Evil Microsoft gazillionaire

Daphne Zuniga (1962-     ) – Film and television actress whose métier is soapy primetime dramas like Melrose Place and One Tree Hill

Lauren Holly (1963-     ) – Smokin’ hot TDOY fave who appeared on such shows as Picket Fences, Chicago Hope and NCIS…and whose brief marriage to unfunnyman Jim Carrey is something I’m still trying to figure out

Jami Gertz (1965-     ) – Film and television actress best known as the wife on the sitcom Still Standing though I prefer her early turns on The Facts of Life and Square Pegs

Andy Richter (1966-     ) – Conan O’Brien sidekick

Julia Roberts (1967-     ) – The Pride of Smyrna, GA and bane of my existence

Brad Paisley (1972-     ) – Country music singer and WV native (Glen Dale)

Joaquin Phoenix (1974-     ) – I don’t really know why I put him on this list—he’s annoying as all get out

Justin Guarini (1978-     ) – Another clown who should have realized his ten minutes were up quite some while ago

Okay, sorry about my cynicism rising to the fore on those last two—let’s all wish Jamie the happiest of birthdays!

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Hey hey in the Haystack

I must reluctantly confess that I’m a bit behind in catching up on some of my favorite blogs, so I’m coming a bit late to the party that is this questionnaire at TDOY chum Amanda’s A Noodle in a Haystack. (Anybody who admires both Una Merkel and Helen Broderick is aces in my book.)  Try it at home, but peeking!

1. What is your favorite movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, excluding all of The Thin Man films?

I was sorely tempted to put down The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947), because it’s a Powell film that I haven’t seen in ages and it’s really first-rate. But since Loy’s only in it for a brief cameo, I’ll go with I Love You Again (1940).

2. Name a screen team that appeared in only one film together but are still noteworthy for how well they complimented each other.

Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame in In a Lonely Place (1950). (See also the answers for #30 and #31.)

3. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' best film together?

I have to confess—I’m not much of a Fred and Ginger fan. Top Hat (1935) is fairly easy to take, though.

4. Your favorite actor named "Robert"?

Robert Mitchum. (This was tough, since I also like Robert Ryan.)

5. An actor/actress who, when you see one of their movies, you always wish that someone else was in his/her role?

This is a pretty lengthy list, but Robert Cummings would probably be at the top.

6. An actor/actress that someone close to you really loves that you can't stand or vice versa?

My mom is a fan of both Steven Segal and Jean-Claude Van Damme (or as I like to call him, “Jean-Claude God Damme”). (I realize you asked for an “actor” but this is as close as I could come.)

7. An actor/actress that you both agree on completely?

James Cagney.

8. Complete this sentence: Virginia O'Brien is to Ethel Merman as...

Sorry, Amanda—this is the only question that threw me.

9. What is your favorite film starring Ray Milland?

That’s a toughie. I’ll go with It Happens Every Spring (1949).

10. You had to have seen this one coming: what is your favorite movie of the 1960s?

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). (This will be the answer to several of these questions, by the way.)

11. An actor/actress that you would take out of one film and put into a different movie that was released the same year?

Okay, I fibbed—I don’t have an answer for this one, either.

12. Who was your favorite of Robert Montgomery's leading ladies?

Since my list of favorite Montgomery films could be written on a matchbook cover, I’ll go with Evelyn Keyes (from 1941’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan).

13. You think it would have been a disaster if what movie starred the actor/actress who was originally asked to star in it?

Frank Sinatra as “Dirty” Harry Callahan. Unthinkable.

14. An actor/actress who you will watch in any or almost any movie?

John Garfield.

15. Your favorite Leslie Howard film and role?

My intense dislike for Gone with the Wind (1939) is known the length and longth of the Internets, and one reason (among many) is that I just don’t understand what Scarlet O’ Hara (Vivien Leigh) sees in that effeminate pansy Ashley Wilkes (Howard). I don’t care for Howard, but applying The Blind Nut Squirrel Theory of Film™ I liked him as Atterbury Dodd in the seldom-seen Stand-In (1937).

16. You have been asked to host a marathon of four Barbara Stanwyck films. Which ones do you choose?

Remember the Night (1940), Ball of Fire (1941), Double Indemnity (1944) and The Lady Gambles (1949).

17. What is, in your mind, the nearest to perfect comedy you have ever seen? Why?

It’s awfully hard to beat Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).

18. You will brook no criticism of what film?

Citizen Kane (1941). (Actually, I welcome all criticism of any film, I was just stuck for an answer.)

19. Who is your favorite Irish actress?

Maureen O’ Hara. (*sigh*)

20. Your favorite 1940s movie starring Ginger Rogers?

Since Ging is in Tales of Manhattan (1942), I’ll go with that one even though she’s not “the star.” (Otherwise I’d have to leave that one blank.)

21. Do you enjoy silent movies?


22. What is your favorite Bette Davis film?

All About Eve (1950).

23. Your favorite onscreen Hollywood couple?

Laurel & Hardy. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.)

24. This one is for the girls, but, of course, the guys are welcome to answer, too: who is your favorite Hollywood costume designer?

Edith Head.

25. To even things out a bit, here's something the boys will enjoy: what is your favorite tough action film?

Well, I’m the kind of person who won’t say no to an action film but I like a little something more with it. I choose Midnight Run (1988), which is also falling-down funny at times.

26. You are currently gaining a greater appreciation for which actor(s)/actress(es)?

Gene Autry, thanks to exposure to his films on Encore Westerns.  I also enjoyed TCM's recent Alec Guinness tribute last Saturday.

27. Franchot Tone: yes or no?

Oh yes. Franch is cool with me. (Especially in Phantom Lady [1944] and Advise & Consent [1962].)

28. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are underrated?

Sterling Hayden, Van Heflin, Maureen O’Sullivan, Evelyn Keyes, Edward G. Robinson

29. Which actors and/or actresses do you think are overrated?

Vivien Leigh, Van Johnson, June Allyson, Charles Boyer

30. Favorite actor?

Humphrey Bogart.

31. Favorite actress?

Gloria Grahame.

32. Of those listed, who is the coolest: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, or Patrick Stewart?

Steve McQueen. No contest.

33. What is your favorite movie from each of these genres:

Comedy: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).

Swashbuckler: If by “swashbuckler” you mean a lot of swordplay, then it’s Scaramouche (1952).

Film noir: Out of the Past (1947).

Musical: Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

Holiday: Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

Hitchcock: North by Northwest (1959).

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy birthday, Scott C.!

I’ve been a little recalcitrant in doing birthdays every day but one natal anniversary that I wasn’t about to let slip by is one belonging to my esteemed blogging colleague Scott C. of World O’Crap fame.  Scott—author, screenwriter, man of letters, bon vivant and Mystery Science Theater 3000 devotee—has recognized my birthday at O’Crap for the past couple of years now and I felt it only right to reciprocate…particularly since I learned from Facebook that he was born on this date (mumble mumble) years ago.  It’s tradition at WO’C to honor the birthday people with a photograph of right wing nutjob and rabies sufferer Ann Coulter…but because I’ve just polished off a splendid meal I have neither the time, the training nor the inclination to subject you good people to something that’s liable to keep us “driving the porcelain bus” all night, as we used to say in college.  So instead, let’s honor Scott with a group photo:

Yes, it’s the cast of Laredo—Philip Carey, Peter Brown, Neville Brand and William Smith—in one of Mr. C’s favorite TV shows (and mine as well, come to think of it).  It would be kismet of epic proportions if at least one of these performers shared the same birthday as Scott—but since that sort of coincidence only happens on TV, here are some famous celebrities who do share his natal anniversary:

James Cook (1728-1779) – Scottish captain and explorer who discovered the Sandwich Islands…but did not, I repeat, did not invent the sandwich.

Isaac Merrit Singer (1811-1875) – Inventor of the first practical home sewing machine

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) – Twenty-sixth president of the United States and Rough Rider

Emily Post (1872-1960) – Etiquette expert

Sebastian Cristillo (1879-1947) – Father of Lou Costello

Fred de Cordova (1910-2001) – Film and television producer/director best known for his work on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson but also the individual who helmed Bedtime for Bonzo

Herschel Daugherty (1910-1993) – Veteran TV director who worked on such shows as Checkmate, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, Wagon Train and The Smith Family

Jack Carson (1910-1963) – Stage, screen, radio and television comic actor who appeared alongside singer-actor Dennis Morgan in many films…and was born in Manitoba, Canada (not Milwaukee)

Leif Erickson (1911-1986) – Film and television actor best known for his starring role on TV’s The High Chapparral

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) - Dead Scottish poet

Oliver Tambo (1917-1993) – Co-founder of the African National Congress

Teresa Wright (1918-2005) – Stage, film and television actress seen in such vehicles as Pride of the Yankees and Shadow of a Doubt

Nanette Fabray (1920-     ) – Stage, film and television actress known for The Band Wagon and TV’s One Day at a Time who turns ninety years old today

Ned Wertimer (1923-     ) – Stage, film and television character great best remembered as Ralph the doorman on TV’s The Jeffersons

Ruby Dee (1924-    ) – Stage, film and television actress seen in such vehicles as A Raisin in the Sun and Gone are the Days

Warren Christopher (1925-    ) – Carter administration official and Bela Lugosi look-alike

H.R. Haldeman (1926-1993) – Nixon administration chief of staff and un dickhead formidable

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) – Depressed novelist who wrote The Bell Jar

Floyd Cramer (1933-1997) – Composer/pianist whose Last Date is my parents’ “song”

Lara Parker (1937-    ) – Film and television actress who appeared in a great many things but I always associate her with the Gothic television soap Dark Shadows

Dallas Frazier (1939-     ) – Country/pop music songwriter (Alley Oop, Beneath Still Waters) who will serve a stretch in Purgatory for writing the Oak Ridge Boys’ Elvira

John Cleese (1939-     ) – British comedic genius who offers tangible proof that funny people are born on October 27

John Gotti (1940-2002) – Mafia don

Bobby Fuller (1942-1966) – He fought the law but the law won

Lee Greenwood (1943-     ) – Country music singer whose career has been overshadowed by his million-selling jingoistic hit God Bless the U.S.A.

Carrie Snodgress (1945-2004) – Stage, film and television actress who starred in 1970s movie Diary of a Mad Housewife

Kenneth Turan (1946-     ) – Los Angeles Times film critic

Ivan Reitman (1946-     ) – Film director who specializes in “slob” comedies like Meatballs, Stripes and Ghostbusters

Fran Leibowitz (1950-     ) – Curmudgeonly actress and humorist who writes a lot about New York City

Jayne Kennedy-Overton (1951-     ) – Well, her occupation is listed as “actress” but I think that’s stretching things a bit

Ted Wass (1952-     ) – Television actor best known for his roles on Soap and Blossom who graduated to directing

Roberto Benigni (1952-     ) – Italian director-actor whose Oscar win in 1999 lends credence to the belief that the Academy Awards are full of sh*t

Veronica Hart (1956-     ) – Porn star

Simon Le Bon (1958-    ) – Pretentious lead singer of the English music group Duran Duran

Shelly Juttner (1960-     ) – Former moppet actress and close personal friend of Scott’s

Marla Maples (1963-     ) – Former Donald Trump bimbo and the pride of Dalton, GA

Matt Drudge (1966-     ) – Scumbag

Also on this date in history

Ben E. King records his two biggest pop hits, Stand by Me and Spanish Harlem in 1960.

Sonny Bono marries Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPiere in 1964—well, Cher performs the ceremony anyway.  (They don’t legally wed until 1969).

Bruce Springsteen is featured on both the covers of Time and Newsweek in 1975.

John Oates sings the national anthem in Philadelphia in 2008 after Daryl Hall is sidelined with the flu.  (Police barely manage to put down what could have been a full scale riot.)

Mystery Science Theater 3000 sends up Rocket Attack U.S.A. in 1990.  It is the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the iconic cult comedy show for our man Scott.

Have a happy one, buddy!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Mayberry Mondays #24: “Millie’s Girlfriend” (03/17/69, prod. no. 0126)

Well, I can’t even begin to describe for you my disappointment with this week’s Mayberry Mondays installment, “Millie’s Girlfriend”—because what I was hoping would be a fascinating tale on bakery doyenne Millie Swanson’s (Arlene Golonka) induction into the Sapphic sisterhood turned out instead to be a humdrum episode in which Millie’s friend tries to put the moves on city council head and poor-but-honest dirt farmer Sam Jones (Ken Berry). (And even that falls short of expectations.) To be honest, I’d just as well skip this episode but since I’ve already paid the rent on the hall this week I guess I’ll soldier on.

As the episode gets underway, Millie is chatting up with her friend Renee via telephone, trying to counsel her on the recent breakup between Renee and a boyfriend we’ll call “Roger”…because that apparently is his name…

MILLIE (on phone): Oh no…well, he didn’t…oh, Renee, that’s awful…I hope you told him, and told him good…oh, honey—honey, don’t cry…no…honey, if he’s that kind of person, you’re lucky to be rid of him…oh, they all say they love you…

Men are scum. While this riveting conversation continues on, Sam has arrived at Casa del Millicent with a bouquet of pretties to present to his lady love. This is a pretty obvious set-up—you just know that Sam’s going to end up in the doghouse despite not having done anything because Millie’s too worked up after talking with her gal pal.

SAM (after Millie opens the front door): Hi!
MILLIE: How can you men be such beasts!

Sam, the smart money would have you walking fast and walking far. Millie returns to her phone conversation…because it’s long distance, and that was a pretty big thing back then.

MILLIE: Renee? N-N-No…no, it’s nothing important… (Sam gives her a quizzical look) Look, honey—the best thing for you to do is get away from him…get away from him, New York…everything…come down and stay with me for a while…no no no—I insist…no…I will not take no for an answer…oh…good…good…yes…oh well, honey—what’s a friend for if you can’t call on her when she’s needed? Right…now wire me…now don’t cry…bye… (She hangs up the phone) Honestly…I really don’t understand you men…
SAM: What?
MILLIE: Honestly! I mean, how can you be so unfeeling…how can you…how can you break a girl’s heart like that?
SAM: Well…I didn’t mean to…

Millie finally overcomes her ditziness attack and accepts the flowers from Sam, who remarks: “I’m kind of glad I brought ‘em now—I didn’t now we were going to have a fight.” Millie then explains to Sam about the phone call:

MILLIE: Oh, it’s nothing to do with you—that was Renee, the girl I worked with at the department store in Raleigh…
SAM (shaking his head, not comprehending): Uh…
MILLIE: The fashion model…well, she became a fashion model when she went to New York…
SAM: Oh, yeah…yeah…
MILLIE: Well, she’s going to come down and stay with me for a few days…her boyfriend just walked out on her…
SAM: Oh…
MILLIE: Well, I could cry about it…I-I-I really can…I mean…you know, she was leading such a happy life until Roger wrecked it
SAM: Oh…well, Mill…you…hey, what do you say we go out and have a bite to eat? You might feel better…
MILLIE (getting angry again): Honestly! Don’t you men have any feeling at all??

I thought this shot of Sam and Millie waiting on the bus that will bring Renee into town was interesting because…well, because Mayberry’s resident fix-it savant Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman) doesn’t have his keister parked on it, as is his wont. Anyway, the bus pulls in and Millie is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her good pal Renee. When Renee gets off the bus, she instantly seeks out Millie for consoling, and the scene is sort of amusing because Sam is valiantly trying to collect her luggage and inform her as to where he’s parked the car…but she ignores him, continuing to sob uncontrollably and talking to Millie.

Well, we’re four minutes into this thing and haven’t yet heard from Mayberry’s brain trust, Emmett and village idiot Goober Pyle (George Lindsey). (The other member of this think tank, county clerk Howard Sprague [Jack Dodson], is MIA this week.) Emmett and Goober enter the city council office to bend Sam’s ear:

EMMETT: Mornin’, Sam…
GOOBER: Sam…we was just walkin’ by and thought we’d say hello…
SAM: Oh, good…
GOOBER (taking a swig from a bottle and then offering it to Sam): Want some root beer?
SAM: No…no thanks, Goob…
GOOBER: Oh… (After a pause) Say—who was that good looker that got off the bus yesterday?
EMMETT: The one that was blubberin’ all over Millie…
SAM: Oh yeah—that’s an old friend of Millie’s from New York…fashion model…
GOOBER: Oh… (Another pause) Well, ain’t you gonna tell us how come she was blubberin’?
EMMETT: Goob…I told you that was none of our business…
GOOBER: Well, then how come you’re here nosin’ around with me?
SAM: Look, fellas…all I know is she’s an old friend of Millie’s—her fiancé broke up with her, and Millie asked her down here for a few days to try and take her mind off it…
EMMETT: Oh…then be careful what you say to her…don’t say anything that’ll remind her of them New York playboys…
GOOBER: Yeah…try not to mention Grant’s Tomb or the Staten Island Ferry…or the Rockettes…
SAM: I’ll do my best…
GOOBER: I hear them models lead quite a life…
SAM: Yeah?
EMMETT: Oh, yeah—they work all day and dance all night
GOOBER: Well, that’s why they’re so skinny… (Stupid laugh) I’ll tell you one thing—ain’t no daughter of mine going to run off to New York and have her heart broke by no playboy

You know, if this town still had a lawman he could run both of those cretins in for felonious idiocy. Fortunately, Millie has arrived in time to break up this little conclave, and she asks if Tweedledum and Tweedledummer could leave in order to speak to Sam privately:

MILLIE: Sam, I have to work all afternoon and I’m worried about Renee…I don’t want her sitting around all afternoon alone…so I was wondering if you…well, if you could show her around this afternoon…? Anything to keep her busy so she won’t brood…
SAM: Aw, Millie…I’ve got all this…
MILLIE: Oh, please…
SAM: Oh…well…yeah, I guess I could…

Millie gives him a big ol’ sloppy and tells him he’s a doll, and after a scene dissolve we find Sam showing Renee the sight in Mayberry…

SAM: …and right down this way is the drugstore…uh, dry cleaners…library…

“Crack house…”

SAM: …and that two-story skyscraper over there…that is the City Hall…
RENEE: That’s very nice…
SAM: Yeah…as the Chamber of Commerce likes to say, the buildings aren’t too tall around here, but the sky’s a lot closer… (They both laugh) Now, don’t blame that one on me—the Women’s Club had a slogan contest

Second place went to: “It’s Mayberry…what the hell else are you going to do on a Saturday night at this time?”

Sam then asks Renee if she’s hungry, apparently not familiar with the fact that models are always hungry but that they’re not allowed to eat. He then suggests grabbing a cup of coffee at the diner, which will afford me the opportunity to get a better screen capture of actress portraying Renee in this week’s playlet:

If this face is familiar but you can’t quite summon up the name, this is character actress Marianna Hill, who appeared as a guest star in many of the popular TV shows during the 1960s including 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Dr. Kildare. (Hill also shows up a time or two in the 1960-62 TV western The Tall Man.)  She had high profile roles in Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) and Medium Cool (1969) around the same time, and substantial parts in High Plains Drifter (1973) and The Godfather, Part II (1974) followed.

SAM: Hey, don’t let your mind wander—Millie said I was supposed to keep you talking
RENEE: You’re right…I’m sorry…let’s talk about you…
SAM: Me?
RENEE: Yeah…do you like farming?
SAM: Oh, yeah…yeah, I really do…as a matter of fact, I don’t think I’d want to do anything else…
RENEE: That’s very nice…you’re lucky…you know, I don’t think I’ve ever met a real farmer before…

…and you still haven’t.

SAM: Oh, well…we’re not too much different from anybody else…except we like to dress up in bib overalls and chew on straws…
RENEE: Oh, now you’re making fun of me…

Renee then asks to see Sam’s hands, and begins to become moist with anticipation when she runs her slender model fingers along his calluses—“You don’t see many of those on those fashion designers,” she moons. (Honey, stick around Mayberry for a couple more days and you’ll soon notice that Sam never actually does anything remotely resembling farm work, preferring to fritter away most of his time at Emmett’s.  So the source of those calluses must be from something else...if you know what I mean, and I think you do.) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that she’s starting to develop a “thing” for our hero, which makes me curious about just how much of a wanker her Roger was if she’s developing feelings for a drip like Sam.

SAM: Uh…I guess we’d better be going, huh?
RENEE: Wait a minute…I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet…

Funny…Renee never has a second cup of coffee at home. Well, after another cuppa Joe, Sam returns Renee to Millie’s—and learns that his main squeeze has come down with a case of the sniffles…

MILLIE: Don’t come near me…
SAM: Why?
MILLIE: I’m coming down with a dilly…I felt it a little bit this morning but I thought it would go away…
SAM: Gee…that’s too bad…
RENEE: Well, is there anything I can do for you?
MILLIE: No, no…I’ll be okay…well—how did you like Mayberry?
RENEE: Oh, very much…I couldn’t have had a better guide… (Millie sneezes) Oh, Millie—you sound awful…
RENEE: …you sit down and rest and I’ll start supper...
MILLIE: Oh, no…no…
RENEE: Please…so long, Sam… (She exits the living room)
SAM: Yeah…bye…
MILLIE: Oh, thanks, Sam—she’s feeling much better, I can tell…
SAM: Well, I wish I could say the same for you…maybe you ought to get to bed, Millie…
MILLIE: I-I-I think I should…look, Sam…you know, I promised Renee we’d all go to the movies together…and I don’t want her to be disappointed…would you take her?
SAM: Wha…you mean just…oh…gee, Millie—I hate to leave you here alone
MILLIE: Oh, please…
SAM (resignedly): Well…okay, I’ll take her…

Now, if this was Lost in Space, that damn robot would be making an entrance right now, flailing its robot arms about and announcing: “Warning…warning…danger, Sam Jones…” Renee comes back into the living room, having changed into an apron and asking Millie where the can opener is:

MILLIE: Honey…I don’t think I should go to the movies tonight, but I want you to go with Sam…I’m going to go to bed and try to sleep…so there’s no reason for you to stay here…I want you to go—enjoy yourself…
RENEE: Okay!
MILLIE: No…I insist… (Realization kicking in) Oh…oh…good, good…th-th-then it’s all settled…
RENEE: I’ll start supper…

Yeah, and from the look on Millie’s face I can guess what’s on the menu…Filet of Renee. There’s a camera dissolve, and we find Millie confined to quarters, having a bit of soup-like nourishment and being looked after by Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (Francis Bavier).

MILLIE: Mmm…that was delicious, Aunt Bee…thank you… (She hands her the empty soup bowl)
AUNT BEE: Good…is that eucalyptus rub helping any?
MILLIE: I…I guess so…why don’t you run home, it’s getting late…

“And be forced to share the same space with that idiot son of Sam’s? Not on your Nellie, missy…”

AUNT BEE: No…no…I’ll stay right here until they get back from the movies…
MILLIE: Well…they should be here any minute
AUNT BEE: Yes…of course…
(Long pause)
MILLIE: I’m glad Renee had a chance to get out…take her mind off Roger…

Aunt Bee nods her head in assent, and then makes this face which made me laugh out loud.

After a nine-month pregnant pause, Millie continues to make awkward conversation…

MILLIE: Well, Sam always likes to stay for the short subjects and cartoons…
AUNT BEE: I understand it’s a long picture, too…
(There is another long pause, and Millie sneezes)
MILLIE: I…I hear it’s very romantic…
AUNT BEE: Well…I understand it’s…more of that “moonlight in Rome” sort of thing…
AUNT BEE: Oh…can I heat up your hot water bottle for you, hmm?
MILLIE: No, Aunt Bee…it’s fine…it really is…thank you…
AUNT BEE: Well, then let me get a pillow...boost you up a little…

Aunt Bee goes over to Millie’s closet, and upon opening the door finds a nice little night number and starts fawning all over it. “Oh, this is so much more attractive than that thing you have on,” she gushes. “It’s Renee’s,” responds Millie, as Aunt Bee reaches up to calculate the amount of egg on her face. The tenseness of the situation is broken by the sound of Sam’s car pulling into the driveway, much to the relief of Millie and Aunt Bee. Unfortunately, the two women can hear Sam and Renee outside giggling, and it’s not because Sam has just told her one of the jokes he read in the book they keep in the outhouse. Millie is visibly upset by their gaiety, and of course, this is Aunt Bee’s cue to do what she does best—look sad and concerned.

After the commercial break, Aunt Bee comes downstairs to find Sam and Renee in the living room—and check out the red dress Renee’s got on, a little number from the Harlot collection. Sam inquires as to Millie’s health:

AUNT BEE: Well, it’s a very bad cold

“One that she’ll likely die from, and then won’t you feel guilty for having played around on her, you dirtbag…”

SAM: Oh…
RENEE: Oh, dear…
SAM: Well, maybe I’d better run up and say hello…
AUNT BEE: No, no…I think she’s about to fall asleep…
SAM: Oh…oh, here—I’ll help you with that (He helps Aunt Bee on with her coat)
AUNT BEE: Thank you…
RENEE: Well, would you like some coffee?
AUNT BEE: No…no, dear—thank you very much…it’s getting a little late, I’d better be running along…
RENEE: How about you, Sam?
SAM: No, I don’t think so, Renee—thank you…
RENEE: Come on…it’s my turn…and you promised we’d compare notes about Rome…
SAM: Oh…well, yeah…okay, then—I’ll be home in a little while, Aunt Bee…
AUNT BEE: Fine…it is getting late…

“…and it is a school night, Mister…” Aunt Bee, whom I’m guessing is secure in the knowledge that not much can happen if Millie’s right upstairs, leaves Sam and Renee on their own, and Renee invites Farmer Jones into the kitchen to help with the coffee. Millie looks down on the situation from her position on the landing, but she can’t see the kitchen from where she’s at. Another scene dissolve, and Sam is telling Renee about his Rome experiences when he was in the Army:

SAM: See, when I was in Rome I was in the Army so I didn’t get around too much…
RENEE: Did you see the Trevi Fountain?
SAM: Yeah, I did see that…

Renee tells Sam of her Trevi experience, which involved having her picture taken when she was on a modeling assignment—the photographer kept telling her to step back until she fell backward into the landmark, which prompts this expression from Millie…

…maybe I’m just being catty, but Renee strikes me as the kind of dame who’d go diving after those three coins before you can say “la dolce vita.” Millie knows she has to break up this little tête-à-tête, but she’s self-conscious about going downstairs looking like something the cat dragged in (personally, Millie—you could be covered with boils and still be adorable). When Sam remarks that “Rome is a beautiful city,” Renee jumps at the chance to set the romantic mood by putting on a record of Millie’s that will “bring back memories”…and for those interested, it’s not Pepino the Italian Mouse. Finally, as a famous spinach-eating sailor once observed—“That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”—Millie makes an entrance into the living room…

RENEE: Just standing there in the Forum…you realize you’re standing on the exact spot that Julius Caesar stood…
SAM: Yeah…
SAM: Oh! Millie, hi…how are you feeling?
MILLIE: Oh…lots better
SAM: Well, good…
RENEE: Did we wake you up?
MILLIE: No…no, I was thinking of getting up for a while…I didn’t even know you two were down here

“I could barely hear you trying to make time with my boyfriend, you bitch…”

RENEE: Well, would you like some coffee?
MILLIE: Oh, no…no thanks…well…how did you like the movie?
RENEE: Oh, it was wonderful…Sam and I were just talking about it…it was mostly shot in Rome, and we’ve both been there, you know…
SAM: Yeah…
SAM: Uh-huh…
MILLIE: Well, what’s new in town?
SAM: Oh…not much…oh, we stopped over at Morelli’s for some pizza after the movie…

“…and then to Myers Lake for a little passionate necking…”

RENEE: Oh, it was delicious…we’ve had a regular Roman orgy tonight!

Yowsah! If that’s not an invitation to a three-way, I don’t know what is!

SAM: They were eating pizza in the movie and we got kind of hungry for it...

Never mind…Millie sneezes again, and a concerned Sam suggests that she hit the hay—because he needs to be moseying on home himself (though not to rise and shine for farm work, I can assure you). Thanking Renee for the coffee, she brightly suggests that the next time she make espresso…or a little Renee au lait, perhaps?

SAM (to Millie): You take care of yourself...huh?
MILLIE (stuffed up): I will…
SAM (to Renee): Well, I’ll see ya…
RENEE: Arrivederci!
SAM: Yeah…arrivederci…
RENEE (to Millie): Oh…that means…
MILLIE (sharply): I know

Gazing longingly at Sam as he takes his leave, Renee comments: “Sam’s very nice…” She then asks Millie if she and Sam are engaged, and when Millie responds in the negative, Renee does everything but write “Mrs. Renee Jones” on her school notebooks. The tough thing for Millie is, the one person who would act as her confidant in this situation is macking on her boyfriend, so she has to seek out advice from Mayberry’s resident spinster—a woman who couldn’t even get Will Geer to march down the matrimonial aisle.

MILLIE: I should have never asked her to come here in the first place!
AUNT BEE: Well, you were only trying to help her…
MILLIE: Oh, yeah…and now she’s helping herself…boy…you know, I just don’t understand it…I mean, how could she fall for Sam so fast? Three days ago she hated men with a passion
AUNT BEE: Well, it’s the oldest story in the world…she’s on the rebound
MILLIE: Well, let her rebound with somebody else’s boyfriend…you know, I bet she brought this cold with her, too…
AUNT BEE: You don’t think that Sam…
MILLIE: Oh, no…men are too dumb to know anything

That certainly sounds like Sam.

AUNT BEE: You know what I can’t figure out? Why she’s after Sam—he’s so different from this Roger…
MILLIE: Well, that’s just the big thing—she has some idea she’d make some pretty little farmer’s wife…you know, with her man toiling in the fields while she waits daintily on the doorstep…in her pussycat negligee…Aunt Bee, she doesn’t belong on the farm—she’s not the type at all! Well, do you see her as a farmer’s wife?
AUNT BEE: Well, Millie…I’m on your side…

And that’s when Aunt Bee…whom we have established in previous Mayberry Mondays segments is pure dagnasty evil…starts to formulate a nasty scheme in that feverish housekeeping brain of hers. “I’ll tell you what—why don’t you invite her out here for dinner,” she suggests to Millie.

AUNT BEE: Mm-hmm…
MILLIE: With Sam?
AUNT BEE: Mm-hmm…
MILLIE: Why, I thought you were on my side!
MILLIE (after a pause): Oh, Aunt Bee…Aunt Bee, I think I like that sneaky look in your eyes…

Twisted and evil. Dissolve to the dinner party, as Sam ushers Millie and Renee inside Rancho Jones…

RENEE: Oh, this is very nice…
SAM: Thank you…thank you…hey, Mill—how’s the cold?
MILLIE: Oh, much better…
SAM: Good…sit down…
(Aunt Bee then enters from the kitchen, carrying a cord of firewood)
AUNT BEE: Hello everybody! Sorry I’m late with the firewood…
SAM (rushing over to help her): Aunt Bee, you didn’t have to get that…
AUNT BEE: No, no, no…you do the man’s work and I’ll do mine…but I’d wish you’d sharpen the axe…Renee, would you help me, please? (Renee reaches over to grab a couple of logs from Aunt Bee) Careful of the wood spiders!
(Renee shrieks and drops the logs on the floor)
SAM (giving Aunt Bee a look): I’ll get it…
MILLIE: Uh, Aunt Bee…what’s that I smell out there that smells so great?
AUNT BEE: Oh, it’s roast turkey—whoo, and it’s a big one…took me hours to pluck it…
RENEE: Pluck it?
AUNT BEE: Mm-hmm…
RENEE: Well…how do you pluck a turkey?
AUNT BEE: You just grab and pull and grab and pull…come along, girls—help me in the kitchen…
(Aunt Bee heads toward the kitchen, with Renee and Millie following…but Sam stops Millie before she gets there)
SAM: Millie…Millie…I bought that turkey at the store
MILLIE: Then why didn’t you have it plucked?

Day-amm, but Aunt Bee is one crafty old dame. Her plan is to present such a miserable portrait of what it’s like to be a farmer’s wife that Renee the Boyfriend Stealer will be repulsed and she’ll scamper back to the Big Apple, never darkening Mayberry’s doorstep again. To be honest, Aunt Bee could have saved herself a little trouble by just showing Renee some pictures of farmers’ wives, letting her see firsthand how such an existence takes a toll on beautiful women—here’s one for example:

Um…okay, maybe that’s not such a good illustration…let’s try this one…

Oh, come on—there must be one case in point of a homely farmer’s wife…

That’s a farmer’s daughter, you…oh, never mind—let’s let Aunt Bee play this hand out…

MILLIE (in the kitchen with Bee and Renee): You must be tired, Aunt Bee…
AUNT BEE: I am—and you know, I really shouldn’t be…I slept in till five this morning…
RENEE: Five?
AUNT BEE: Mm-hmm…I felt so guilty…I ran around and I fed the chickens, then I baked the bread, and did the laundry…mended the overalls…and then I got the breakfast…
RENEE: You did all that before breakfast?

Sam, who’s been eavesdropping on this performance from the other room decides to get a closer look and heads into the kitchen…

SAM: Well—how’s it coming?
RENEE: Oh, it’s fine…I guess…
SAM: Is there anything I can do?
MILLIE: Oh, no…I think we can handle it…
SAM (under his breath): I’ll just bet you can…
MILLIE (through slightly gritted teeth): Go read your paper…
SAM: I wouldn’t want to miss anything…

When Renee starts folding napkins, Aunt Bee tells her not to worry—she doesn’t have to do that, because she’s company. “And we don’t have company on the farm very often, do we?” Aunt Bee prompts Sam. When Millie tells Bee that Renee technically isn’t company because she’s going to be staying with her for a while, Renee conveniently remembers that she left the oven on back at her place in New York. “A person shouldn’t run away from their problems…they should face up to them,” she philosophizes. “Besides, I wouldn’t want to miss any modeling assignments.” Aunt Bee gives Millie a big wink.

And so, through the machinations of Aunt Bee and Millie, Renee’s attempts to lure the unsuspecting Sam into her web have been foiled…though he seems a bit disappointed. When Renee and Aunt Bee are out of the kitchen, he laments: “I don’t know…just don’t know…”

“What do you mean by that?” Millie asks.

“I had a great thing going there and you just blew it…” Millie playfully strangles Sam…but let’s see that ménage a trois photo one more time…

Okay…let’s wrap this one up.

Hanging out at Emmett’s playing darts—as if he didn’t have a care in the world or a farm to run—Sam is being questioned by Emmett and Goober:

GOOBER: Everything okay with you and Millie now?
SAM: Oh, yeah…sure…
EMMETT: Well, why wouldn’t it be? It wasn’t Sam’s fault that some beautiful sexy female wanted to chase after him…
GOOBER: Huh…shows what you know about females…they take a thing like that and twist it all around until it was all his fault… (To Sam) Did you and Millie kiss and make up?
SAM: Well, now…that’s…that’s a little personal, isn’t it, Goob? (He then succumbs to a sneeze)
GOOBER (to Emmett): They kissed and made up...

You know, the last couple of times Aunt Bee has been on an R.F.D. episode it’s like she’s there for evil, and not niceness; someone needs to get her a white cat to stroke…nevertheless, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s patented Mayberry R.F.D. Bee-o-meter™ moves up a notch to eleven appearances in total for both the first season and the series. I’ve previewed next week’s episode, “The Church Bell,” in advance and while it’s no great shakes it does feature a bodacious number of familiar TV character faces…so please make it a point to join me.

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