The Vikings won! You don't care. I understand. I am equally unmoved by the victory of your prefered team, but if you had a happy Sunday, I'm glad. The more we're all happier for a variety of reasons, the better.
No one ever cares much for a post-Halloween evaluation,either. But this year is different.
“This year is different,” you say. “Interesting. Do go on.”
The neighborhood kids assembled at the terrifying and bewitching hour of 4:30, and made up a parade to the water tower. Then they returned for bags of pre-packaged treats, assembled by the neighbors. We must have packed 60s bags, each of which had twice the usual quantity we hand out; these went to the kids coming back from the water tower, or kids braving the plague-ridden streets. They were gone by six. But there were more to come, so I packed about 30 lunch bags with excess Dum-Dums.
Didn’t see the parade but I did see one klatch of kids, tots really, waddling along in their costumes in the dark. And that was it for Halloween. Quiet and somewhat bereft.
I can’t say I missed the doorbells bothering the dog, and all the calamity that entailed. I’m not a big Halloween enthusiast. But if it felt drained and diminished to me, you know the kids felt it too.
Except for the smallest, perhaps; they had nothing against which to measure it, and were spared the awkwardness of speaking to strangers. Why, for them, it was great! You dress up and walk around with friends and neighbor kids and get big bags of candy! That’s Halloween for them now.
Sometimes I think of the kids who’ve been robbed of the formative experiences of the last year, and whether they’ll regard the return to Ordinary Ways with wonder and amazement, or hesitancy. Raised to regard everything as containing a lurking invisible threat, it’ll be challenging to trust again.
It will be easier not to.
I was at the Mall the other day to take advantage of some startling sales. Forty percent off . . . everything! Well okay if you insist. I entered in the portion of the mall built as an "entertainment" wing, with big hallways to the movie theater, restaurants, stores. It was ill-designed from the start, with bafflingly large spaces that seemd to anticipate throngs of theater-goers pouring into a central plaza, where they could mill about in a sociable fashion. it was always a dead space.
There are posters for upcoming movies.
Once again, that Omega-Man feeling.
It's a small thing, but this has never happened. Movies were promised and movies were delivered. The posters were rotated often to tout the new arrivals - and there were so many!
At the Apple store I had my temperature taken - they use the wrist now - then spoke to someone standing in a six-foot-square roped off area, after which I was sent into the right-side queue to wait at the proper distance. I knew the fellow who helped me - used to listen to me on the radio! - and we fell into easy palaver, punctuated by the store's proctor coming over to ask us to step back apart to the required distance. Public life is a high school dance in 1953.
The last one. The opening graphics are plain, with no hint of the plot - unless we’re supposed to think the wall is some Important Government Office.
A little theme to get us in the Masie Mood.
I wonder: did everyone in the audience automatically know this was LA?
Right away, a wolf finds her and makes his pitch:
She meets up with a dowager-type who just happens to be driving to LA and needs someone to keep her company. Off they go - road trip!
The rich dowager takes out a safe deposit box her husband installed in the car - dearie, why don’t you put your valuables in here as well? Sigh. We know where this goes: the dowager drives off at the earliest possible opportunity, taking all of Masie’s money and clothes. Our heroine goes right to the cops, where the detective is so impressed with her ability to recite the details of the thief he decides she’d be an excellent undercover operative!
Off to the Police Academy, then. She still has to take some phys-ed classes, though. Her instructor:
Douglas Fowley. Picture him wearing a director’s cap with a megaphone, having a fit in “Singin’ in the Rain.”
She falls in love right away with the big lug who’s training her, which is a problem because Barry Nelson is in love with her too, but he’s also angry and jealous. The lug courts her by teaching her judo, so they throw each other around a lot, and Barry - well, it’s combat of a different sort.
So she gets wrapped up investigating a swami. This means disguises!
This is what the 40s thought Eastern Mystics had for their decor:
The Swami Mystic was also a trope of the era; I don’t know where it started, or when - but the charismatic fakir, in both senses of the word and its homonym, was well-established by 1947, and was played out and turned into a cliche in the 60s, seemingly skipping the 50s altogether.
Anyway, she goes undercover to scotch a grifter pitch, and it’s neither hilarious or suspenseful, but that’s okay: we’re just happy to be hanging around with Maisie again.
That'll do; Matches await.