I posted that picture up there in the hopes that this week would be like that. You know: summer. Last evening around suppertime the sun came out like an explosion, and lit up the world with the most glorious light imaginable, and I know that’s so because we’ve been imagining light for some time, deprived as we’ve been of the actual thing itself.



Monday was supposed to be warm and bright. Cloudy and cool . . . until 4 PM, when everything opened up again. Hard to believe it hasn’t been like this for weeks. Hard to believe it will stay. Trust is now a word for “unaware of actual behavior.”


Noted on the work blog that I went shopping for groceries at Menards. It’s an enormous hardware store. They used to have peanuts and jerky, but now there’s a full range of foods, including frozen items. Most of the offerings are remarkably unhealthy, if you ate nothing but. Lots of Larry the Cable Guy-branded items. I picked up some peanuts, because they sell peanuts at a reasonable price: the container of GoldenRoast that’s $3.39 at the grocery store is $1.49, because once you remember that you will come back any buy more. Except they don’t have any; it was a loss leader. But you need some batteries so you pick up a box of those. Boy, you get a lot of batteries for four bucks.

I was looking for a lock for the back door. It locks, but that’s not enough. It doesn’t yield. When the door closes the little part that’s supposed to slide in and go click! just bangs, and there are few things around the house that irritate one like a door that bangs all the time. I wandered around the Door Locks department, and didn’t find what I wanted - turns out I have a custom back door, of course, so I need to get a custom lock for it. I have to look inside the door frame to find the model number.

“If they still make it, that is,” said the clerk.

Yes, that’s a problem. It’s likely the door was superceded years ago by all the blazing innovations in door technology we’ve seen in the last few years.

Since I didn’t find a lock, I had to make a decision. I had a basket with one jar of peanuts, and two boxes of Special K bars. I could put them back, since I’d picked them up on the assumption they would be accompanied by a door knob. But with no such knob likely to appear, this meant I’d be checking out of the hardware store with nothing but food.

But that is what I did. I explained to the clerk that this was not how I hoped things would turn out.

“Aw, that happens all the time,” said the clerk.

Here's the thing: no payoff on this anecdote! No lessons learned, no twists, no meta-scale insights. Just that sometimes you end up buying peanuts at the hardware store because they don't have the lock.

Sorry, but it's a column night, and I am up to my brow in Not Having a Topic. But there's much below.


I mentioned that I had another B&W World, because there was such a resigned indulgence of my tiresome Monday staple clamor for more. Again, this has nothing to do with movies. It’s how things looked. Or at least how movies said things looked, which is different - unless there’s documentary footage, that is.

The movie is “The Glass Wall,” and features a rather anguished-looking fellow who was imported from Europe to be European and anguished. He was married for a while to Shelley Winters.



Denied entrance into the United States because he’d stowed away on the ship that took DPs to the promised land, he jumps ship and wanders around New York looking for the jazz musician who will back up his story: since he helped the musician when both were soldiers in WW2, he’s entitled to enter the US. He goes to Times Square, and that’s why I mention the movie. Terrific shots of Times Square in 1953, interspersed with unconvincing rear projection. Shall we?




The Bond Building, of course - those enormous neon-draped nudes would later morph into Pepsi-Cola bottles when the sign was redone in the 60s, I believe.



The Whelan drug store, which held down the corner after Toffinetti’s vacated the premises:



An interesting animated sign:



The tail moves. I guess this makes you want to watch channel 2. See the Eveready sign on the right?



The Teeming Masses:



Eventually we meet our Jazzman, who's wailing it solid, Jackson, in some Times Square joint:



You’re looking at one of the most prolific directors of TV sitcoms. Jerry Paris. As quoted on imdb:

My trouble as an actor was twofold, I was too tall, and I wasn't handsome enough. Richard Widmark wanted me in a couple of movies, and they told him I was too tall; I'd make him look short. Widmark said what the hell, we can dig a hole. And I remember I was Robert Taylor's roommate in D-Day the Sixth of June (1956), and I had to sit down all the time. Yeah. I remember the scene where I was leaving, and I was supposed to bid him goodbye. The director told me to sit on the bed. What's this? I said. I'm leaving, and I'm sitting on the bed? The director says, "Give him a can of beer or something. He can be drinking a can of beer, and then we cut to him outside the door".

He’s auditioning for this guy:



The great Jack Teagarden. Another example from elsewhere, with some other guy you might have heard of:



To see and hear these guys together is one thing; to know that the cornet player in the background was Bobby Hackett, who gave the Jackie Gleason Orchestra disks their glorious ache. Without him they were just strings trying to saw their way out of a pit of honey.

And now, back to our movie, already in progress. At the end he makes for the new UN Building. It's this-a-way, in case anyone has any questions about that enormous new building:



He believes, his plight will be heard. Alas, it's the weekend. He only finds an empty room, where he makes an anguished speech full of anguish, and then heads to the roof to jump off. There are some nice interior scenes of the building, and its stark modern interiors play well off the grubby interiors we’ve seen so far.



That’s the thing about the movie: New York is grubby. Shabby. Times Square has its allure, but there’s a scene in an arcade that looks like a dump.




To look at hoochie-girls in their underwear - or less - you had to bend over that peep machine.



But look how they’re dressed:



Later these people will bother our hero, who just wants to sleep; he hasn’t slept much in two days and has a busted rib. He passes out in a photobooth, and the chubby boor puts a coin in the slot so the light flashes and wakes him up. This brings back memories of the war. We see the tormentors from his viewpoint: again, picture this on the big screen.



But now and then you get a shot of Old Manhattan.




My favorite:




I love that shot. A bigger version here. It could be this. I don't know.




And the usual usual here and there. See you around.



blog comments powered by Disqus