Thursday, June 3, 2010

Contest Answers

Happy to report that three loyal readers correctly identified the films and characters saying the lines. I think the last one may have stymied a few people (the word "hairdresser" was the clue). SloaneView Editors thank each of you for participating. The prize is a comp ticket to any future performance of mine in or near your city. Here are the correct answers:

A: Casablanca
Ilsa to Rick at LaBelle Aurore.

B: The Women
Spoken by Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen to Norma Shearer as Mary Haines in the dressing room of fashion salon.

C: It's A Wonderful Life
Town floozy Violet Bick played by Gloria Grahame when complimented on her dress.

D: Close Encounters/Third Kind
Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary to his children after he has seen a UFO.

E: Educating Rita
Marie Conmee as a customer of Rita the hairdresser played by Julie Walters.

We now return you to our regularly-scheduled program.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who said that?

There are hundreds of famous movie quotes, i.e.,

"Fasten your seat belt: it's going to be a bumpy night."

"I coulda been somebody ... I coulda been a contender."

"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

"What a dump."

Herein, a contest begins and a prize for correctly identifying each of the following movies and actors will be awarded by a panel of impartial judges.

In which movies do the following not so familiar quotes appear and who speaks the lines?


"Where were you say ten years ago?"
"Ten years ago ...let's see. Yes, I was having a brace put on my teeth. Where were you?
"Looking for a job."

Hint: 1942 B&W, One-word title.


"If I'm wearing something Stephen doesn't like, I take it off."

Hint: 1939 B&W, Two-word title; unique cast


"What? This old thing? I only wear this when I don't care how I look."

Hint: 1946, B&W, Four-word title


"C'mon kids! This is better than goofy golf."

Hint: 1977 Color, Six-Word title


Client to hairdresser:
"Is that a book you're reading?"
"My husband's got a lot of books like that".
"What? Somerset Maugham books?"
"No. Bondage books".

Hint: 1983 Color, Two-word title.

Submit answers by clicking THE TIME OF THE POSTING, and good luck to all. As you can tell, this is just stuff and nonsense, but might be a bit of fun. You can also easily discern that I am a b&w movie fan, preferring films of the late 1930's and 1940's. I'll keep this going until I can acknowledge a winner.

Have a great weekend and GO CELTICS! GO SOX!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mel Brooks Visits My Apartment

I was going to tell you about several fun-filled meetings with Mel Brooks which occurred in the earliest days of my life in Greenwich Village. In 1958, I lived in a one-room basement apartment in a building which still exists. I know: I paid a brief nostalgia call to the address recently.

My neighbor, Charles Morgan Harris, a darling, starving illustrator, lived in an identical cramped unit beside mine. We learned quickly that we shared a love of jazz and our friendship lasted until his untimely death. Our small building contained six other tiny apartments, one of them the second-floor residence of an elderly, very patient lady named Mrs. Eleanor Biddlecomb. Perfect! Lacy, genteel, a cat/owner lover.

Our digs faced an indoor courtyard, an area which softened street noises and provided my cat the opportunity to pay a Curiosity Call on neighbors who left windows open. The building which fronts West 15th Street also housed a woman who provided secretarial services. One of her clients was Mel Brooks.

On a balmy spring night, Charles and I were sitting in the couryard sipping our favorite beverages with Miles Davis sounds in the background. We recognized MB as he approached and pulled up a chair. Mr. Brooks was not as well-known as he is today, and should it be possible you know not of his accomplishments, please go here.

Before long, Mel had us reeling with his jokes and hilarious takes on people and life in general. He was soon scheduled to appear on The Late Show Starring Johnny Carson, and he couldn't resist rehearsing his schtick for us: He would sit in the Number One Guest Chair and after a few minutes, Johnny would mention, feigning naive curiosity: "You like to sing, don't you Mel?" To which Mel would reply: "Well, yes ... and if I may ... I'd like to ... may I?" "Of course, please do", responds JC.

Mel: (To Skitch (Henderson, band leader): I'll sing "Dancing In The Dark" if that's okay ... just give me an arpeggio in C ... "

Mel begins to sing, and gets as far as " ... so deep in my heart, you're really a part of me", suddenly breaking off. "No, sorry Skitch, that key's too low ... could you take it up a half-step." Skitch complies. Mel stops in the same place. "Sorry, it's still a little too low ... another half-step please?" Mel stops at the same place again, and this time he's standing, presumably to make it easier to reach the low notes. The back-and-forth continues, taking Mel progressively into higher musical range. He's now standing ON the chair. Still no luck. Finally, Mel is standing on Johnny's desk, audience is screaming and JC looks appropriately bemused. Charles and I are now hysterical, holding our sides and gasping for air.

Before he left us, we asked about future projects. "Well, I can tell you now that I will one day produce a Broadway show called "Springtime For Hitler". We explode into tear-producing laughter: "Oh Mel! STOP ... we can't take it any more!

P.S. Please take special note next time you see it: In the movie "The Producers", starring Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock and Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom, there is a scene in which CPA Leo Bloom is carefully entering the names and amounts little old ladies have contributed to Max Bialystock's forthcoming project. One of the checks is signed "Mrs. Eleanor Biddlecomb".

Originally posted May 27, 2007
Labels: Mel Brooks Visits My Apartment

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The World's Greatest Invention

I'm lucky. I have one of those new-fangled gadgets called a television remote control. I'm sure you've seen them? Had it for a long time, actually. Long ago, I mastered the art of "mute" control and can successfully "zap" commercials filled with acidic clanging guitars and images of a band whose members appear not to have seen the inside of a shower stall for months as they all vaporize into silent grotesque mad men gyrating in an asylum. How sweet it is.

The high decibel count of most movie sound tracks also seems to reflect a significant erosion of the audio-intake capacity of today's sound engineers who most probably spent their idylic youth and entertainment dollars standing as close as possible to the Greyhound Bus-sized speakers de rigueur for any rock concert.

I was in the Mets' dugout for a Rolling Stones' Concert at New York's Shea Stadium. (That's a nice but long story I will happily relate at some other time.) I only mention it as a reference to the near-fatal assault on my fragile sense of hearing by quoting this insane statistic from The New York Daily News:

" .... the band almost erased the sound of the jets from nearby LaGuardia Airport, thanks to their 2.4 million watts of amplification." [Emphasis added] I'm sure some Staten Island residents and a few unfortunate New Jerseyites also heard the band from the comfort of their own front yards.

But why, I hear you plaintively ask, choose this as a focus for today's Blog? Good question. I was thinking about one of Mel Brooks' most famous characters, The 2,000 Year-Old Man. During his historic interview with Carl Reiner, he was asked if he would name mankind's greatest discovery. Quickly came the reply: "Saran Wrap! You can make a sandwich and it clings ... you can look right through it. The greatest thing that mankind ever devised. Saran Wrap." I dispute this claim. The greatest thing that mankind ever devised is The Mute Button!

Tomorrow, a Blog reprint of a famous meeting with Mel in my Greenwich Village apartment. You'll love it. I did.