Interesting, this: yesterday's FarmLife site broke a dam I didn't know I'd built. Wrote a lot. More tomorrow; have to strain the torrent.

At nine in the morning I was watching “Tangled,” which means I was either starting off the day in a most irresponsible fashion, or was sitting in a children’s dentist office. The latter. Very responsible. They always have a Disney disk going in the corner; for a year it seemed as if it was nothing but “Cars,” and as much as I adore the opening sequence with that great driving Sheryl Crow tune, it’s just not what I want at 9 AM.

When we walked in I said “I’ll bet the TV is playing ‘Tangled,’” since that’s what it was playing last time. Sure enough: it had a sketchy drawing of a king and a queen and a yellow flower.

“This is the storyboard version,” my daughter said, and dad was so proud. It was indeed. Since they put the disk in and hit “play” and leave it alone, you have to sit through allll the extras that run before the movie starts, including all the ads for upcoming movies in Blu-Ray. Now you can see Dumbo’s hallucinations in the crispest possible picture! I’m not sure I want to. Then came a video celebrating all Disney animated movies, ending with the numbers 50 with Mickey in the 0, whistling away in “Steamboat Willie.” Except that wasn’t an animated movie. Snow White was the first.

Question: Is there anyone in “Steamboat Willie” named Willie? (No.) It’s not Pete, whom you already met in the Oswald shorts. I didn’t know this: Pete’s the oldest continuing character in the Disney world. He started out as Bootleg Pete, then Pegleg Pete, Putrid Pete, Black Pete, and so on. He was mostly a bear until he became a cat in the later 20s, and lately appears dog-like. During WW2, he was the mascot for the Merchant Marine - and also a Nazi spy in the comic strip.

In Italy he is known as Pietro Gambadilegno; in Portugal, Bafo-de-Onca, or “Jaguar Breath."

Okay, enough paraphrasing wikipedia; work calls.

Oh, and “Steamboat Willie” refers to the song Mickey was whistling, “Steamboat Bill,” and possibly a Keaton movie, “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” that came out a while before.

Anyway, look Dad! No Cavities. We drove back to school, and I marveled at the return of winter:




Mostly slush by noon. You'll note the gazebo roof is down: this is my ingenious way of ensuring I don't have to buy another one in three months. I'm smart like that.


Last weekend I watched “Sunset Boulevard” again, and yes, it’s relevant to something else. Don’t be so impatient. There are always things I forget, such as this:


Why, it’s the fabled Schwab’s, where young women went to be discovered as they sat at the counter, swiveled around to face the door, and sipped a Coke while trying on various expressions from Winsome to Vixen. Lana Turner was discovered there! Except that she really wasn’t. The movie has shots of the interior, but it’s a copy. It was demolished in 1983, and they built a shopping center and movie theater on the spot. The name? Laemmle’s Sunset Theater. Or so I just discovered, anyway. This was surprising: Laemmle was the last name of that famous producers you met in the Ballyhoo section. Same Laemmle? In a way; the chain was founded by cousins of the producer, in 1938.

Anyway. There’s a scene in which Norma Desmond, Faded Star, watches an old movie she made a million years ago, or 25 years ago, or something.




It’s from Gloria Swanson’s “Queen Kelly,” but the ending they didn’t use for the final cut. Since the director of “Kelly” plays the butler in “Boulevard,” it’s a nice little joke. Then there are the Waxworks, the friends of Norma Desmond. They play themselves. H.B. Warner, who was Pops the Drunken Pharmacist in “It’s a Wonderful Life” . . .




The great Buster Keaton:



. . . and this one. The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.



I’m absolutely 50% certain that 99.8% of the audiences didn’t know who she was. It’s possibly they recognized her from other pictures. Well, you’ll meet her today at her peak, in Ballyhoo. Head HERE!

One more thing about "Sunset" - I'm always surprised to realize it has Jack Webb - like you've never seen him before! And probably don't want to see him again.












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