|Day two of the no-Mom Experience goes well enough.
On the way home, out of nowhere: “I’m talking to God in my brain now.”
“Does the President watch over you, God?”
“It’s the other way around, hon. God, President, Mom and Dad, Teacher, You. That’s the chain of authority.”
“What’s the chain of authority?”
It means that if Mom and Dad are assassinated, the Teacher gets the nuclear codes. “It’s the order of things. Who’s more powerful.”
“Bubbles has powers. Play Powerpuff Girls song so I can sing it to God.”
So I did.
I’m working on the Newhouse column now. I wrote the first part while Gnat watched “The Backyardigans,” an intermittently charming computer-generated cartoon that’s modeled after operettas. Three little animal kids who sing their dialogue in off-key kid voices to classical melodies. It’s the new addition to the CGI kidverse; there’s also “The Higglytown Heroes,” which features nesting dolls who sprout arms when the situation requires. Theme song performed by “They Might Be Giants.”
This is the golden age of kid’s TV theme songs, perhaps because so many rockers have kids and say “hell yes” when called upon to contribute to the genre. Gnat and I do a sock-hop dance every time “The House of Mouse” comes on, and you should too: the title is a tidy little bit of rockabilly by national treasure Brian Setzer.
On “House of Mouse” Clarabelle Cow just said “Word on the street that Goofy is just too goofy.”
I wasn’t aware that Clarabelle had sources in the ‘hood.
Tonight’s book: Now It’s Fall, by Lois Lenski. I bought this last year at the Barnes and Noble on Fifth Av. in New York. It will be easier to read than last night’s book, which was “Tough Cookie.” I read the entire thing in a Bogart voice. It gave me nodes. Funny enough, but it requires that kids know the conventions of the noir genre, and I’m here to tell you: they don’t.
And thank heavens, given the conventions. This weekend’s Noir Movie was “Killer Bait,” which I’m sure some call a classic because it features a hard-nosed broad who’ll do anything for a buck. It’s okay. For a low-budget movie I was surprised to see a matte shot:
I zoomed in, and found this.
There was no Prop 24 on the ballot in 1948 or 1949. How odd. Anyway, the anti-hero was the super-creepy Dan Duryea, a B-movie staple whose reedy voice and charmless smile let you know you’re in Noirville for sure. If he’d played the Tin Woodman you know he would have been groping Dorothy every chance he got.
The movie is another example of the incoherence of 1940s interior design, a strange mix of modernism and frou-frou crap. Let’s use Distort-o-vision on the painting:
If Paul Cadmus subjects rode horses, these would be their steeds. Now who’s this? Billy Joel?
He stands out in the movie, because he acts on a different frequency than the other characters. I can’t quite explain that assertion, but you probably know what I mean. He had a limited career, but according to imdb he's Billy Halop. in "Tom Brown's School Days" he played Flashman. Uh- no. All wrong for Flashman, I think. Flashy'’s more of a Cary Elwes type. (Speak to me not of Malcolm McDowell. I can see why they thought he'd work, but Flashman needs the hearty bluff beefeater bravado McDowell lacked. But having seen Gangster One, I can see him as elder Flashman writing his memoirs. Ah. Don't get me started. The fact that there are three Matt Helm movies, and there aren't 12 Flashman movies - a blot, that. A stain. )
This is the Nice Guy who gets tangled up in the Web of Intrigue.
Just looking at that face, his eventual career is no surprise at all. It seems inevitable, in fact.
More 40s interior design; this kitchen wallpaper was apparently patterned after Space Invaders.
Finally, another creepy guy, this time a young lech at the train station who wants to put the moves on Lizbeth Scott. (Good luck, pal.) He looked oddly familiar.
Great rollin’ doughnuts, it’s Uncle Jesse.