Summer ended with a perfect day, and replayed it Sunday as a lovely parting gift. I painted the front porch railing. Made hamburgers. Seeded the lawn. Went out with friends on Saturday night. Perfect weekend. Although:

Walking to the piano classroom on Saturday I saw a sign for Prosofterope, which was a jump-rope competition. I looked at it and thought “pro soft her ope,” and constructed a series of questions I would ask daughter as we walked from piano to the room with the sign.

“Hey, do kids talk about something called an ope?”

“What? No. Is it an instrument?”

“You don’t know what it is? A soft ope? You could have a hard ope, and a softer ope?”

She’s baffled. “I guess some people would be professionals at it. Girls. She'd be a pro soft her ope.” I said this just as we reached the sign and I pointed at it.

Pause of great astonishment and dismay.

“Wow, dad.”

I’m pleased how well that worked out. Pro Soft Her Ope. We get downstairs and a mom with a kid waves us down and asks where the jump-rope competition is.

“Pro soft her ope?” I say, not thinking at all, and immediately correct myself. “Pros of the rope?” She nods.

At the end of my directions she asked again if I was talking about the jump-rope class. I really can’t blame her.

I mentioned last Friday that the characters of Charlie and Madge in a 1958 radio sitcom had been written out because people didn’t like them. I was mistaken. I misheard. It’s a reminder how we can rewrite the past, and it makes me wonder if it’s a skill we don’t learn in dreams.

Saturday afternoon I strew grass and stripped tape from the previous weekend’s painting job (remembering, as I do, which old radio show I listened to as I did the job; I still think of the gazebo construction and remember a radio adaptation of “Pit and the Pendulum” with Vincent Price. The hierarchy of senses: smell > sound > sight. “Touch” is a poor simple cousin) while listening to another show. Laid down afterwards for a weekend nap and was pitched into a complicated narrative.

I was walking to a bar after work with a co-worker who was taking issue with something I had defended. Not done or wrote but defended. “Look at it this way,” I said. “It’s like making a point about people with small hands that is actually factual - people with small hands have small fingers. That’s just truth. It doesn’t mean he discriminates against people with small hands.”

He would have none of it. At the bar there was a sudden argument about a book;

What difference does the publishing house make, said one person at the table with bored contempt for the niggling details of the world. What matters is getting the book out.

But a larger house can promote it and get it in bookstores, I said. There are small houses with excellent books that never get traction.

Then everyone disappeared.

When I left the bar I intended to go back to the newspaper office, but I kept losing my way. Every turn produced a new vista of interesting buildings with grassy plazas. I tired of the confusion and got out my phone to call up the maps so I could find my way back, and as I set out towards the building my wife passed me. She was 20 years younger. I called her name. She stopped.

“Pretend you didn’t see me,” she said, I knew I had ruined a surprise, a plan. Because she was wearing a white turtleneck. She wore a turtleneck on our first date.

“You’re dressed up like the girl in the picture I used on the Bleat to advertise the release of Interior Desecrators,” I said. She nodded. I promised to forget.

Bang! Woke! Laid there thinking that was when I had a small graphic on the left side and the text on the right, which is one of the layouts I’d been playing with the previous night for the 2014 overhaul. Laid there letting my mind revisit the dream, and realized there was a scene where police had been frisking people near the convention center because there was an appearance by a pop star. I knew her name in the dream. I couldn’t remember it now.

Laid there thinking of my wife, 20 years younger, walking past me looking as if she hoped I didn’t recognize her. Thought back to the bar. The tiny-hands thing. I got that from Buzzfeed.

So I misheard, or misinterpreted, or flat made up Peg’s reaction to writing Charlie and Madge out of the show. I know this because the phone burbled at 2 PM and said CALL PEG LYNCH as a reminder. It had been a while. I called her up and we chatted for a while and I told her I was wondering about writing out Charlie and Madge, and why that was.

“I didn’t like them,” she said. “I didn’t think they were very good.”

Which struck me as remarkable, since they were very well-drawn and hilarious characters. It’s hard to make annoying people welcome, but you always knew you were in for complications when they showed up. I told her she was wrong, my dear, and they were hilarious and very well-written. I could hear her smile when she said “do you think so?”

So that’s how it all works out. Fifty-four years after she wrote them out, someone thought they were good enough to tell her she’d done a grand job with those two.

Bonus info, for fans of the show: the fellow who played Charlie was a bit like that in real life, too.

Maybe that’s why she wrote them out.




Not a review, but a look at the faces and history revealed by old popular entertainment. Meet a happy couple:



Donna Reed, of course, and Glenn Ford. They're seeing their adorable young son off to school. The apple of their eyes! All four.

Glenn goes to work, where he's the boss. His brother works for the firm, and reminds him what Dad Would Have Done.



Ainslie Pryor, whom imdb says "Father of actress Ainslie Pryor." About her imdb is rather curt, noting that she began her career in "Pornografolies," moved along to "Weiners and Buns Musical," "The Devil's Cleavage," and "Nudes: a Sketchbook." Be that as it may, she also appears to have written several children's books, including "The Baby Blue Cat and the Smiley Worm Doll." I think they're children's books. Another was "The Baby Blue Cat and the Dirty Dog Brothers," so you never know.

There's a nice little scene where tensions flare at home; Donna fires up a heater, and Glenn goes for the bottle. "If you keep taking a drink every time you get mad," she sniffs, "you're going to end up an alcoholic."

"I don't have time to be an alcoholic," he says.



Glenn Ford is a rich man, and has servants. What they would have called colored servants.



Juano Hernandez. "Son of a Puerto Rican seaman," spent his childhood in the streets of Brazillian towns singing for his supper. Got into the circus business, went into radio. Vaudeville, movies. Retired in Puerto Rico and died in 1970.

Drat the luck: Glenn Ford's situation has attracted the police, and where the police are involved, opportunistic newspapermen can't be far behind. The Cop in the middle looks like Les Tremayne, but he's not. It's Robert Keith, the father of Brian.

As for the ink-stained wretch:




Oh, come on. You know him. And you know the guy in the middle below:




Olan Soule, identified by IMDB as "Coffee Drinking Bank Clerk." Later the Laboratory Guy on Dragnet. Fun fact: voiced Batman in animated adventures from 1968 to 1984.


This lady stood out:



I don't know why. The ur-1956 outfit, the hard-as-nails "professional woman" attitude. Patsy Novak, I think. She did one other film, and then kaput.

You can guess why I grabbed this:


Anyway, the rich troubled man goes on TV, stares into the camera, and tells the men who kidnapped his son that this is as close as they'll ever get to the money.

Sound familiar?

In a world where trailers really did begin with the words "in a world":

Here's Glenn Ford's version.

Matchbooks today; Work blog around 12:30 and Tumblr as well. See you around.





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