Sybil Bruncheon's "NEWS ITEMS FROM THE DISTANT FUTURE"!!!

TRUMP Buried (1023B).jpg

February 18th, 2317..... and here we have an artifact that has just been excavated from possibly 300 or so years ago... Archaeologists believe it may be the remains of a political figure of some sort as it was found on the site of what may have been the so-called White House in the former "United States of America", but which we now know as the pan-continental Northern Atlantic Corporate Brotherhood. Much of what we surmise about this period was buried in the Great Wars of 2020, 2031, 2044, and in the final ecological catastrophe of 2097 in which most of the world's 131 trillion people died of starvation, ennui, and heat rash....

However, this lucky person died long before that in a relatively calm time, although the expression on his face, the pursing of his lips, and his orange coloring indicates a sour temperament...and possibly the old maladies of dyspepsia, dropsy, carbuncles, and gout....

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!] 

 

A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... Edward Arnold (February 18, 1890 – April 26, 1956)

EDWARD ARNOLD Collage.jpg

Darlings! Mummy has made a decision! After reading dozens of posts and having hundreds of conversations with well-meaning folks who just don't know about the great CHARACTER actors who gave films the depth and genius that surrounded and supported the so-called "stars", I am going to post a regular, special entry called SYBIL'S "WHO'Z DAT??"....there'll be photos and a mini-bio, and the next time you see one of those familiar, fabulous faces that you just "can't quite place".......well, maybe these posts will help. Some of these actors worked more, had longer and broader careers, and ended up happier, more loved, and even wealthier than the "stars" that the public "worships"......I think there may be a metaphor in that! What do you think???.... while you’re considering, I’d like to introduce one of my very favorites of all time; Edward Arnold (February 18, 1890 – April 26, 1956). I think I loved him from the very first time I saw him in film…and I loved him even when he played villains, which he did fairly often. But he did something that so few even great actors can do; he played both lovable characters AND villains, both of them convincingly! And he even played villains who became lovable during the course of the story! In dramas, melodramas, and comedies!!

     He was born Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of German immigrants Elizabeth (Ohse) and Carl Schneider. His schooling came at the East Side Settlement House. Orphaned at 11, Arnold supported himself with a series of manual labor jobs. He made his first stage appearance at 12, playing Lorenzo in an amateur production of The Merchant of Venice at the East Side Settlement House. Encouraged to continue acting by playwright/ journalist John D. Barry, Arnold became a professional at 15, joining the prestigious Ben Greet Players shortly afterward. After touring with such notables as Ethel Barrymore and Maxine Elliot, he did bit and extra work in the early days of silent film at Chicago's Essanay Film Studios and New Jersey's World Studios during the early 'teens. His first significant role was in 1916's THE MISLEADING LADY. In 1919, he left film for a return to the stage, and did not appear again in movies until he made his talkie debut in OKAY AMERICA! (1932). He recreated one of his stage roles in one of his early films, WHISTLING IN THE DARK (1933). A burly man with a commanding style and superb baritone voice, his role in the 1935 film DIAMOND JIM boosted him to stardom. He reprised the role of “Diamond” Jim Brady in the 1940 film LILLIAN RUSSELL. He also played a similar role in THE TOAST OF NEW YORK (1937), another fictionalized version of real-life business chicanery, for which he was billed above Cary Grant in the posters with his name in much larger letters.

     During this time, Arnold appeared in over 150 movies. Although he was labeled "box office poison" in 1938 by an exhibitor publication (he shared this dubious distinction with Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Fred Astaire, and Katharine Hepburn!!!!), he never lacked for work. Rather than continue in leading man roles, he gave up losing weight and went after character parts instead. Arnold was quoted as saying, "The bigger I got, the better character roles I received." He was such a sought-after actor, he often worked on two pictures at the same time.

        Arnold was an expert at playing a wide range of lovable rogues, powerful villains quietly pulling strings, and heroic authority figures, always with wit, intelligence, and energy. As a matter of fact, Arnold was so vivid onscreen that it was nearly impossible for even leading actors to get the attention of audiences whenever he would appear in a scene. He was the first actor to portray Rex Stout's famous detective Nero Wolfe, starring in MEET NERO WOLFE (1936), the film based on the first novel in the series. He went on to appear in major Hollywood productions and was best known for his roles in COME AND GET IT (1936) with Frances Farmer, Westerns like SUTTER’S GOLD (1936), the aforementioned THE TOAST OF NEW YORK (1937) again with Frances Farmer, Frank Capra’s YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (1938) with a star-studded cast including Lionel Barrymore and Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) again with Capra, Stewart and Arthur and co-starring Claude Rains, MEET JOHN DOE (1941) (Capra again!) with Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper, and THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER (1941). Arnold actually played both the Devil AND Daniel Webster in succeeding years, playing Webster in THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER and the Devil in the WWII propaganda short INFLATION (1942) the following year. He played blind detective Duncan Maclain in two movies based on the novels by Baynard Kendrick, EYES IN THE NIGHT(1942) and THE HIDDEN EYE (1945). In 1940, his autobiography, “Lorenzo Goes to Hollywood”, was published, and he was president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1940–42. As film work for him stalled in the 1940s, Arnold became involved in Republican politics and was mentioned as a possible G.O.P. candidate for the United States Senate. He lost a closely contested election for Los Angeles County Supervisor and said at the time that perhaps actors were not suited to run for political office.

       From 1947 to 1953, Arnold starred in the ABC’s radio program MR. PRESIDENT portraying a different U.S. president each week. He also played a lawyer, "Mr. Reynolds," in THE CHARLOTTE GREENWOOD SHOW, and in 1953, he was the host of SPOTLIGHT STORY on the Mutual Broadcasting Network.

       He gradually withdrew from show business, retiring with his family and died at his home in Encino, California from a cerebral hemorrhage associated with atrial fibrillation, aged 66. Arnold was married three times: Harriet Marshall (1917–1927), with whom he had three children: Elizabeth, Jane and William (who had a short movie career as Edward Arnold, Jr.); Olive Emerson (1929–1948) and Cleo McLain (1951 until his death). A lifelong conservative Republican and staunch anti-Communist, he was nonetheless an early and ardent opponent of the studio blacklisting of suspected Communists, which brought him into direct conflict with many of the giants of the industry who cooperated in the “witch hunts” that destroyed so many careers and reputations. (Coincidentally, Arnold shared exactly the same February 18th birthday with Adolphe Menjou, one of the most notoriously right-wing witnesses in the HUAC-House Committee on Un-American Activities in its hunt for Communists in Hollywood.) He was interred in the San Fernando Mission Cemetery. During his career, he had managed that rare accomplishment of being a “Starring” character actor and at three major studios, MGM, Paramount, and Universal. The inscription on his modest gravestone is “He is not dead – He is just away”.

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!] 

A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... Thelma Ritter (February 14, 1902 – February 5, 1969)

THELMA RITTER Collage.jpg

Darlings! Mummy has made a decision! After reading dozens of posts and having hundreds of conversations with well-meaning folks who just don't know about the great CHARACTER actors who gave films the depth and genius that surrounded and supported the so-called "stars", I am going to post a regular, special entry called SYBIL'S "WHO'Z DAT??"....there'll be photos and a mini-bio, and the next time you see one of those familiar, fabulous faces that you just "can't quite place".......well, maybe these posts will help. Some of these actors worked more, had longer and broader careers, and ended up happier, more loved, and even wealthier than the "stars" that the public "worships"......I think there may be a metaphor in that! What do you think??? With a face, a voice, and a manner that could be described as "every woman", but as unforgettable as the most luminescent star, she remains Hollywood royalty: THELMA RITTER! (February 14, 1902 – February 5, 1969)....born on Valentine's Day in Brooklyn.

She typically played working class characters and was noted for her distinctive voice, with a strong Brooklyn accent. After appearing in high school plays and stock companies, she trained as an actress at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She established a stage career but took a hiatus to raise her two children by her husband, Joseph Moran, an actor turned advertising executive. Ritter's first movie role was in MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET in 1947- She was 45 at the time!!! She made a memorable impression in a brief uncredited part, as a frustrated mother unable to find the toy that Kris Kringle has promised to her son. Her “big break” came in 1950’s ALL ABOUT EVE in which Ritter played Birdie, the long-suffering personal maid to stage diva Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Down-to-earth Birdie is the first person in EVE to grow wise to the title character’s machinations, and Ritter does a wonderful job in helping the audience see the first glimmers of deception in Eve’s story. And it’s no wonder Ritter is so phenomenal in the role: the film’s writer/director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, wrote the part with Ritter specifically in mind after having worked with her in the previous year’s A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (although she was uncredited!) Ultimately, Ritter’s performance was noteworthy enough to garner her first Academy Award nomination (one of fourteen nominations for that film, incidentally). A second nomination followed for her work in Mitchell Leisens' classic ensemble screwball comedy THE MATING SEASON (1951) starring Gene Tierney and John Lund. She established herself among costars, directors, and studio heads alike as a master of the "throw-away line" and perhaps Hollywood's most lovable "scene-stealer". When she was onscreen, even the greatest stars knew that audiences might be watching Ritter not just for her own one-liners, but for her shrugs, smirks, eye-rolls, or deadpan stares in reaction to their lines.

Ritter enjoyed steady film work for the next dozen years. She also appeared in many of the episodic drama TV series of the 1950s, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, and The United States Steel Hour. Other film roles were as James Stewart's nurse in REAR WINDOW (1954) and as Doris Day's housekeeper in PILLOW TALK (1959). Though she found a great deal of success in Hollywood, Ritter was also an accomplished stage actress, winning a 1958 Tony Award for Best Leading Performance in a Musical for her role in NEW GIRL IN TOWN, a musical adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s play ANNA CHRISTIE (which was so memorably brought to the screen as Greta Garbo’s first “talkie” in 1930). Ritter shared the Tony award with her costar, Gwen Verdon in a rare tie.

The 1960s brought Ritter several more acclaimed roles, including a supporting part in THE MISFITS (1961), the final completed film for Hollywood icons Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe; a sixth Oscar-nominated performance as the mother of the titular character in BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ (1962) with Burt Lancaster; an appearance next to Debbie Reynolds in the star-studded Western epic HOW THE WEST WAS WON (also in 1962); and a reunion with Doris Day in 1963’s MOVE OVER DARLING. Although best known for comedy roles, she played the occasional dramatic role, most notably as an underworld figure who is eventually murdered in the film noir PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET (1953) with Richard Widmark and as a character based on (“the unsinkable”) Molly Brown in TITANIC (1953). Her last work was an appearance on THE JERRY LEWIS SHOW on January 23, 1968. Ritter died of a heart attack in New York City, just nine days before her 67th birthday in 1969. 

At the time of her death, she was survived by her husband of forty-two years, Joseph Moran, an actor turned advertising executive, and her two children Monica and Joseph Jr. She left behind a body of work comprising more than thirty films and a wide variety of stage and television performances. She never won an Oscar, but she was one of the most-nominated actors of all time. During her career, Ritter was nominated for an Oscar six times, tying with Deborah Kerr and Glenn Close as most nominated for the award in an acting category without a win. Kerr DID eventually receive an honorary award from the Academy, however, (coincidentally presented to her by Close!) but Ritter has the distinction in 1954, of having co-hosted the Oscar ceremony, notably trading wisecracks with Bob Hope. Despite having only spent two decades in Hollywood, Thelma Ritter certainly is an unforgettable and iconic presence on the classic cinematic landscape. A birthday on February 14th??... For me, Thelma Ritter is truly one of the greatest Valentines of all time!!

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]

 

 

Sybil's "Hysterical Hollywood History"...

27788796_1610201519069196_7037688068607629369_o.jpg

True story! Before Honor Blackman got the role of Pussy Galore in GOLDFINGER, Ian Fleming explored all sorts of different concepts for the character. He spent months struggling, worrying.... until over tea one day, he heard Sean Connery read those famous lines, "Hello, POOOSY!".....

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]

Sybil's "Weekend Weight-loss Weirdness"....

Ladies Weight Loss (1095).jpg

Ladies, when it comes to dieting, did you know that our mothers and grandmothers lived in a much tougher time than we do. Here's a photo from the Adipose-AWAY Spa in Carlton Corners, California in 1920. Dr. Lorne Fornecetti proposed a radical new approach to slimming and trimming milady's figure and form; "anger and angst" therapy.

In addition to the usual steam cabinets, massage tables, indian club calisthenics, and heavy weightlifting, he included hours of running in place in front of just-out-of-reach tables of the richest delicacies while being anchored to cast iron wall brackets. Sympathetic (but ruthlessly firm!) attendants would walk up and down the line of patients serving them endless glasses of warm water and lemons as they sprinted faster and faster in place towards fudge brownies, chocolate milkshakes, steaming kettles of clam chowder, Lobster Newburgs, Oysters Rockefeller, mashed potatoes, buttered croissants, banana splits, potato chips, french fries, pizzas, pies, puddings, and cakes! The room was soon full of grunts, panting, sweating, and screamed epithets and threats of physical violence, by both staff and clients alike.

A minor earthquake gave the good doctor the idea to attach his patients to a row of electric sewing machines and vibrate them even more towards the slim and svelte silhouette they (and their husbands!) were seeking! And the added bonus was the new market in "gymnasium couture" being sewn by those clients who were resting after their workouts. Henry Ford visiting the weekend coined the phrases "burning fat" and "assembly-line lean"! Within a year, the thousands of laborers working in his Detroit factories were considered "the most shapely men in America" by both "Physique Pictorial" and the "National Nudist" magazines.

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]

The Pumpkin House... scooped!

Pumpkin House Collage #2 (751B).jpg

...there I am at "21" having lunch with Pet Harkness as she tells me about the famous "Pumpkin House" going on the auction block... you know the one, right? It was 1936, and it had been built in the 1920s. I'd been at dozens of parties in it and had always wanted to own it even if it WAS a bit far uptown…and cantilevered off the edge of those cliffs up near Inwood! But the views! And the quiet!...oh my God! Of course there was the danger of it falling down in an earthquake, but that nice seismologist, Dr. Ibrahim McSulzberger at Rockefeller University had reassured me that they were fairly rare in NYC, and he showed me his seismic water displacement theory while we were taking a bubble bath together. No matter how... um... "turbulent" the water got, it was unlikely that the bath tub would fall off its foundations! …and we tried many times!! I was ever so relieved! …and my goodness, the doctor got so frisky when he was describing tectonics, but I told him I could find no "FAULTS in his technique"! He laughed and laughed at my little joke! Sadly, I lost out on the bidding for the Pumpkin House!! To Pet Harkness!! She used a pseudonym!…"Kitty Walensky"…or… "Pussy Gabor"… and then she moved into it... with Ibrahim!! …..(selfish bitch!).

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]

BREAKING NEWS!!... Hollywood rocked by Oscar scandal!

LUMIERE BROTHERS Collage.jpg

THE SHAPE OF WATER has been revealed to be a stolen script from the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, film pioneers in Paris in the 1900s. They had written the original story and screenplay about a girl who falls in love with a sea creature, and it seems that Hollywood execs thought that a century passing would hide their plagiarism... but! The original actress Madame Felitrice "Pou Pou" Fellatione who played the heroine is still alive and filed claims in court. She stated that she and her late husband Jean-Clemence, the actor who played the "Man-Guppy", had improvised much of the original dialogue during filming, and had choreographed all the dance numbers and mime sequences. The title of the film was J'AI MOUILLÉ MON LIT NUPTIAL (1915) and the original black and white print was hand-tinted in color, frame by frame, but lost in a tragic cheese fondue fire in the 1930s. Auguste Lumière had a complete nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for three years in the Instituer Pour Les Incommodés Émotionnellement. He was subjected to round the clock pelting with stale croques monsieurs, tepid cafe au laits, and live snails. Eventually, he returned to his senses, but insisted on wearing petticoats and swim-fins with his business suits for the rest of his life. Louis went on to a very successful life as a Fuller Brush salesman in Avignon....

Needless to say, all Oscar nominations for THE SHAPE OF WATER have been revoked...except for Best Catering. Details at 6. Silent film at 11.

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]

A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... ERNST LUBITSCH (January 29, 1892 -November 30, 1947)

To Be Or Not To BE FILM Collage.jpg

A German-American actor, screenwriter, producer and film director. His urbane comedies of manners, including TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942), gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director; as his prestige grew, his films were promoted as having "the Lubitsch touch." In 1947 he received an Honorary Academy Award for his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture, and he was nominated three times for Best Director.

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]

Sybil Bruncheon's "KNITTING NEWS NEAR & FAR"…….

Knitting News.jpg

Gronklin, Missouri: A Miss Harriet Sneeden was admitted to the Gronklin Intensive Care Rehab Clinic for Substance Abuse By Elderly Persons Who Should Know Better. It seems that Harriet (a much beloved 3rd grade geography teacher for over 37 years) had finally succumbed to the temptations of oxycontin, crack cocaine, ghb, crystal meth, poppers, and secret super 8 films of the local high school football team in their locker room. An intervention was staged last Fall by her fellow gardening club members, and she was housed in the "incorrigible ward" at the clinic where she received daily psycho-therapy, specially designed diets, hydro and electro-convulsive therapy (sometimes at the same time!), and craft classes. Sadly, although Harriet showed definite signs of improvement and sobriety, her crocheting took on increasingly ominous aspects, and she was found just this morning nearly swallowed by a 400lb. "onesy" that had morphed into an entire sofa. The rescue workers who burst into her room were nearly blinded by the conflicting chevron patterns and her grotesque color choices… Two of the EMTs were temporarily blinded and suffered projectile vomiting and ringing in their ears. Miss Sneeden has been confined for an indeterminate amount of time in a grey flannel strait-jacket and a giant Maytag washing machine cardboard box with the flaps closed….

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]

Sybil Bruncheon's "Hysterical Healthful Histories"... The Philbert Institute For Defused Alienation.

Watermelon SPIT (338A).jpg

With the close of the 19th century, social scientists, philosophical and political observers, anthropologists, and medical professionals discussed the new phenomenon of angst that seemed to be consuming people in all walks of life in industrializing America. As greater and greater numbers of citizens left farming in the rural countryside and built their lives and careers in overcrowded cities, there seemed to be a loss of basic family constructs and communal feelings between neighbors. Dr. Joshua Philbert was a scientist who, in addition to his extensive medical background, was immersed in research into nutritional and specialized exercise programs to improve mental and physical health. Philbert created his institute for patients (or "enrollees" as he preferred to address them) to find an all-consuming wellness and inner peace that would sustain them even after they had returned to their stressful lives.

A two-week stay involved daily schedules of classes, exercises, spa treatments, lectures, crafting, movement seminars, gardening, physical exertion, and nudist culture. Sing-alongs, square dance, wicker-weaving, and watermelon war-games were all especially popular with the enrollees. Here we see a typical Watermelon War-Game in which the jolly participants are instructed to eat as much melon as possible and to spit the seeds at opposing "warriors" as quickly and violently as possible. All physical contact between aggressors must be done only through the seeds being spat and on no account should there be any touching or even cross-words. The war-games were also a sensible way to settle any bickering, arguments, petty quarrels, or personal jealousies among the enrollees and even the institute staff as well.

Two unfortunate issues did come up though during the war-games; 1) The more aggressive the "battles" became, the more watermelons the participants would consume resulting in extraordinary amounts of water weight being put on during their stays. Guests also complained of severe stomach cramps, excessive urination, and unpredictably explosive diarrhea often in front of visitors and at mealtimes. …and 2) Some seeds ended up putting people's eyes out or even choking enrollees…. to death.

These tragic setbacks were not lost on John Harvey Kellogg over at his Battle Creek Health Sanitarium. His version of aggression therapy involved patients being costumed in gigantic elasticized one-piece pajamas gathered at the wrists, ankles and neck and filled with bales of milkweed fluff. They were then given huge pillows of the same stuff and instructed to hit each other as violently as they pleased and to yell hideous epithets while confined in huge padded gymnasiums. This exercise would go on for hours until finally, exhausted, they would be found sleeping peacefully and happily mumbling names of beloved childhood pets. The staff would gently carry them back to their separate cells. Kellogg of course charged a fraction of the same fees as Philbert did and the Philbert Institute soon went out of business…. Later, Professor Philbert changed his name to Filbert, moved to Monte Carlo, and made a fortune importing nuts... the edible kind.

[Want to read other fun and funny stories here on SybilSez.com? Just enter any topic that pops into your head in the "search" window on the upper right! Who knows what might come up?...and feel free to share them with your friends!]