... from Sybil Bruncheon's "EASTER EGGS-traordinaries”... behind the MacGregor house...

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"Ok, Flopsy, you break into the Clemson's! Take all the silver, and don't forget the hidden compartment in the hutch! They've got some Georgian stuff in there that's worth a fortune! Mopsy, you get the Fearson's and grab the two Picassos and the Warhol!... and you, Fred! Kick in the back door at the MacGregors... empty the vegetable crisper of every goddam carrot and any other roughage you can find! And if MacGregor bursts in on you??... kill him if you have to!... KILL ALL OF THEM!... but whatever you do, don’t forget the bib lettuce!"...

A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... FLORENCE BATES (April 15, 1888 – January 31, 1954)

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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 periodically 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???). And here is one of my very favorite actresses of all time. Even in the smallest roles or briefest appearances on screen, she shines, NO!! BLAZES! And many of her fellow actors almost need to shield their eyes when she steals the scene! She started late as careers go, but wasted no time becoming one of Hollywood’s most memorable “grande dames”! She’s Florence Bates (April 15, 1888,- January 31, 1954)

Born Florence Rabe (pronounced “Robbie”) in San Antonio, Texas, the second child of Jewish immigrants, Bates showed musical talent as a child, but a hand injury inhibited her from continuing her piano studies as her mother had hoped. Very bright and getting excellent grades in school, she went on to college and in 1906, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in mathematics, after which she began her career in teaching and social work.

In 1909, she met and married her first husband and gave up her career to raise their daughter, Mimi. Always a voracious reader, she became interested in a friend’s library of law books, and read his entire collection. When her marriage eventually ended in divorce, she began, with the encouragement of her lawyer friend, to study law and, in 1914 at the age of 26, passed the bar examination. She holds the distinction of being the first female lawyer in her home state of Texas, where she practiced for four years in San Antonio.

After the death of her parents, Bates left the legal profession to help her sister operate their father's antique business. She traveled extensively around the country and especially to Europe to acquire more stock for the shop, where she became fairly fluent in other languages. Being bilingual completely (English-Spanish) she also became a radio commentator in San Antonio whose program was designed to foster good relations between the United States and Mexico. In 1929, following the stock market crash and the death of her sister, Florence closed the antique shop and married a wealthy oilman, William F. Jacoby. Unfortunately, as the Depression deepened, Jacoby eventually went bankrupt in the oil business, and the couple moved to California in the late 1930's, briefly becoming proprietors of a bakery, which was successful.

At this time, Florence, a heavy-set woman of matronly appearance and well into her middle age, developed an interest in acting and auditioned for the part of Miss Bates in the Pasadena Playhouse production of Jane Austen's “Emma”. This proved to be a momentous career choice. Her popularity became such, that she went on to leading roles with the same company, changing her name from Florence “Rabe” to Florence “Bates” as a nod to her perceived good fortune. In 1939, she was introduced to Alfred Hitchcock, and through a fluke, auditioned for him. Her screen test convinced him to cast her in her first major screen role, the vain dowager Mrs. Van Hopper, in REBECCA (1940). Her excellent performance was the first in a collection of memorable characters: wealthy socialites, henpecking wives, irritable hotel managers, pushy theatre owners, and gossipy landladies, and she would go on to act opposite the greatest and most established stars in Hollywood. Bates appeared in more than 60 films over the course of the next 13 years. Among her cinema credits are KITTY FOYLE, LOVE CRAZY, THE MOON AND SIXPENCE, MR. LUCKY, HEAVEN CAN WAIT, LULLABY OF BROADWAY, MISTER BIG, SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, KISMET, SARATOGA TRUNK, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, WINTER MEETING, I REMEMBER MAMA, PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, ON THE TOWN, and LES MISÉRABLES.

Because of her versatility, she appeared in dramas, comedies, and even musicals. And as Hollywood began to focus on the new medium of television in the 1950s, she made guest appearances on “I Love Lucy”, “My Little Margie”, “I Married Joan”, and “Our Miss Brooks”, and had a regular role on “The Hank McCune Show”. Through her career, Bates was known as witty , warm, a wonderful hostess, and for the fact that she never went to any set or studio without her knitting. She had only one daughter, Miriam Rose Rabe Ramer Oppenheimer (1911-1937), but was survived by her granddaughter and great granddaughter. Florence Bates is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles with a modest stone marking her grave. But for her many fans around the world, that voice, that face, her commanding carriage, and onscreen presence make her unforgettable, luminescent, iconic.... a Star!!! 

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Tour-ette in Boston's North End... dinner DELISH!… 4/5/2019

… Italian restaurants for as far as the eye can see!!

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Sybil Bruncheon's "Origins Of Popular Phrases--- The Gleaming Gloat"

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... um... I drove a 1936 gleaming Gloat for a few months! A convertible... and bright crimson red!.. to match my favorite lipstick. My contract at MGM had me making a walloping $40,000 a week for my musicals with the Nicholas Brothers, Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, John Payne, and Muriel the Society Hostess Chimpanzee. And then one night, after a drinking binge, I drove my Gloat convertible over the edge of Stardust Canyon just outside my mansion. I was only slightly injured, but the unmistakable smell of Prince Matchabelli on my breath (my martini of choice) and the spilled Maraschino cherries all over the front seat got me arrested for DWI. I threw myself on the mercy of the court! But I think it's because I threw up right afterwards that got me thrown in jail for ten days.... even though the judge said that my vomit smelled nice!... just like his grandmother…

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...from Sybil Bruncheon's "EASTER EGGS-traordinaries"... Poka-Ma-Hola, Idaho.

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As folks get ready for the Easter celebrations, many young ladies of style and refinement pay a visit to the local Beauty Parlor for a new Spring hair-do.....and that's just what's happening at the Mr. Nancy's Fine & Fancy Cut 'N' Couture Castle..... down on Merrybee and Main in the heart of town. Hiram Nancy, the founder and colorist, has continued his tradition of dressing up as the Easter Bunny and advising his clients on the new hues for each season over the last 37 years. And look who he has in his chair today! None other than little Felicia Trusedale, the new spelling bee champion and first runner up for the "Our Indian Heritage - Miss Pow WOW" title given last week at the Veteran's Palace of Fine and Interpretive Arts. Little Felicia had finished first in the Swimsuit competition (two-piece / 8 and under) and first in the talent competition (her talent was "How to Scalp a Barbie") but apparently froze up during the question and answer when she was asked "How do you say Nebuchadnezzar backwards?.. and use it in a compound declarative sentence!"...

Never a poor loser, little Felicia is seen here discussing the new auburn options to cover up her grey, especially at the temples! ...and just in time for her Elementary School Cotillion! She has her eyes on handsome dodge-ball champion, Richie Palinsack from the Our Lady of Constant Cataclysms Academy. Be home by midnight, you two Lovebirds!! ...and Mr. Nancy? Don't forget little Felicia's Tootsie-Roll Pop after her comb-out!!

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Tour-ette in a puddle-jumper... rather cozy and nice windows… 3/27/2019

... and I guess I could help with wing-maintenance if requested!

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Sybil Bruncheon’s "Manners Are Nice #44”...

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... Neal thought it would be fun to have a tea party in his new apartment, especially because he had just moved to the big city a week earlier, and he wanted to impress his new neighbors, all of whom had been so welcoming. The folks back home had warned him that people in big cities were unfriendly, perhaps even snobby, or prone to inappropriate touching in elevators, subways, movie theatres, and the fresh produce aisle at the grocery. But Neal had met only the nicest men and women. And so, on his first weekend, he baked lingonberry scones and Belgian chocolate croissants, brewed very fine and rare Da Hong Pao tea, and set out various other delicacies. He invited the nice girl next door, Emily Hankle, and she asked if she could bring her father Malcolm. He was visiting from Grennith Falls which was coincidentally a town only 27 miles from Winnetka Pass, the town that Neal had just moved from. Emily knew they would have so much in common to talk about; one of the nicest ways to break the ice between new acquaintances. Neal and Malcolm did indeed seem to enjoy each other's company, and Malcolm was glad to see that Neal was such a gentleman with his daughter. Even when Malcolm gobbled down most of the home-made pastries, all the jellies right out of the bowls, and ate the teapot, Neal was gracious...and invited them both back the following Saturday. He'd read in a book on manners that "A gracious host always makes his guests feel welcome, and never, ever skimps on refreshments!!" .....even if they happen to actually be his grandmother's Royal Doulton china....

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Sybil Bruncheon's "Manners Are Nice #43"... Down On The Farm...

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Bill explained to Helen that using motorized vehicles, mechanical devices, and even farm tools for personal bodily functions was not lady-like... and probably unsanitary. Helen didn't hear him at first because she was thinking about something else...and her eyes were closed. But when he honked the horn she decided he might be right....especially when he threw the Oldsmobile into reverse. Always the gentleman, Bill offered to help her down...and to unsnag her stocking from the spokes....and then they went to the soda shop.

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Sybil Bruncheon's "Manners Are Nice #49”... Jackie-Ann Remembers Sunday School…

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Jackie-Ann was very excited to be flying to New York City from her home in Nevada. The airline was highly recommended though NOT one she had heard of on television commercials or seen in the ladies' magazines at the beauty parlor. Still, her cousin Rita had booked the entire trip through the travel agency she worked at, and Jackie-Ann didn't want to seem ungrateful. "Ingratitude for kindnesses is very impolite and the blesséd Savior hates discourtesy... and burns it in Holy Fire!" is what her Aunt Francina had always taught her in Sunday School. And then she would light a piece of paper in an ashtray and say, "Look little children! That is a soul that is going to HELL!"... (Jackie-Ann would comfort the children who might start crying, and tell them that even though her Aunt Francina might sound mad, she was actually very nice and made delicious oatmeal cookies.)

Anyway, Jackie-Ann boarded the flight and sat next to a salesman named Fritz from Las Vegas who said he sold ladies' clothes for special occasions, like if they danced onstage and liked to kick their legs up, or even put them behind their heads. Jackie-Ann said she had never seen that kind of dance before, and Fritz said he'd like to show her sometime. Then he ordered champagne from the nice stewardess who seemed to be a friend of his because she kept calling him "Fritzy". The stewardess' name was Bambi-Lynn, and she poured herself a glass of champagne too and winked at them and said "For LATER!". She and Fritz giggled.

After a while, it was time for dinner to be served. Jackie-Ann noticed a couple of things. First of all, the inside of the plane seemed to be rather chilly. She didn't mind so much because she was wearing a charming bouclée suit in purple that she had made in sewing class in high school a few years back. But when Bambi-Lynn came back down the aisle, she was wearing a wool poncho with an attached hood and gloves! Not ladies' gloves! SKIING gloves! And Bambi-Lynn wasn't pushing a beautiful cart with all sorts of fancy dinner items on it like roast beef, pork chops, and Mignonettes d'Agneau Avec Groseilles à Maquereau et Œufs de Caille, hot rolls, steaming vegetables, and glorious desserts. Instead, Bambi-Lynn set up a "TV tray" that was slightly bent and rocked a little, and put plates of rolled up cold-cuts and cheeses, and said "Help yourself, Folks! I'll bring some mayo and mustard! Do you like Wonder Bread?". She also had a tray full of Ritz crackers that she had put peanut butter and olives on, or sardines and grape jelly... or Marshmallow Fluff and Raisinettes. Bambi-Lynn said the Marshmallow Fluff ones were her "favorites" because Raisinettes are actually "French". She even pronounced them as "Rayson-ays". Fritz seemed very impressed and said, "Isn't Bambi-Lynn a pisser?".

Jackie-Ann had never been outside of Nevada and was very concerned that she might not seem sophisticated or fancy to the people she might meet on her travels, but she began to suspect that maybe Bambi-Lynn and Fritz weren't all that fancy themselves. Nevertheless, she remembered her Aunt Francina, and Sunday school, and the burning paper, and she thought that good manners meant that she should laugh along with Fritz and Bambi-Lynn when they said jokes and winked. She hoped that it would make the flight be more fun even if it was freezing cold, the food tasted stale, and the TV tray finally fell over when Fritz got drunk and tried to sit on it so he could be in front of her when he explained about the strange leg-dancing. Jackie-Lynn kept being polite even with mustard and olive loaf on her skirt.

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