A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"… WALTER HUSTON (April 5, 1883 – April 7, 1950)


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???). And speaking of “character” actors, Mummy is going to introduce everyone to the concept of a “character LEAD”!! These actors may not have been lyrically handsome or beautiful, but they often played the leading roles in the most interesting and classic films out of Hollywood. Technically, Bette Davis was one!... almost from the very start of her career. And by her OWN choice! Spencer Tracy was another. Well, my next guest here is not only a classic example, but his range of both comedy and drama, heroes and villains, insure him a seat at the Olympus of character leads! And he started one of the great Hollywood dynasties as well! Walter Huston! (April 5, 1883 – April 7, 1950)

You’ve seen him everywhere, but he’s so chameleon that many folks don’t realize it’s actually HIM in some of the great classic pictures. Born in Toronto, Canada into a farming family and originally trained as an engineer, Huston turned to his other passion acting in 1902, appearing in Vaudeville and stage plays. In 1904, he married Rhea Gore (1882-1938) and gave up acting to work as a manager of electric power stations in Nevada and Missouri. By 1909, his marriage floundering, he began appearing in vaudeville with an older actress called Bayonne Whipple (1865 - 1937) (born Mina Rose). They were billed as "Whipple and Huston" and in 1915 they married. Vaudeville was their livelihood into the 1920s. In 1924 he starred in the premiere production of Eugene O’Neill’s DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS at the Provincetown Playhouse Theatre in Greenwich Village, which then moved to Broadway. To the end of his life, O'Neill (the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize for Literature) maintained that Huston’s performance was the greatest by any actor in any of his works. For the next few years, Huston appeared on Broadway and then moved to Hollywood as the “talkies” first began to appear. He immediately began starring opposite some of the great film actors of the early 30’s; Gary Cooper in THE VIRGINIAN (1929), Jean Harlow in BEAST OF THE CITY (1932), and Joan Crawford in RAIN (1932). His range ran from heroic icons like the title role in ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1930) to corrupt judges in NIGHT COURT (1932).

Huston received the first of his four Academy Award nominations for the eponymous DODSWORTH (1936), the role he had originated on Broadway in 1934. Huston continued to return to the stage over the years, alternating work between New York and Hollywood. He scored on of his greatest stage successes in KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY (1944) as Peter Stuyvesant singing the immortal Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson classic “September Song”. Huston once said, “I was certainly a better actor after my years in Hollywood. I had learned to be natural - never to exaggerate. I found I could act on the stage in just the same way as I had acted in a studio: using my ordinary voice, eliminating gestures, keeping everything extremely simple.”. Huston received his second Best Actor nomination playing Mr. Scratch in the film adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet’s THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER (1941) and his third Oscar nod (for Best Supporting Actor) playing the father of George M. Cohan’s (James Cagney) in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) the following year. Just before playing Lucifer, he had made a brief cameo appearance as the dying sea captain (uncredited) who delivers THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) to the office of Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart). That film represented the directorial debut of his son John Huston, who had established himself in Hollywood as a screenwriter in the 1930s. John Huston, as a practical joke, had his father enter the scene and die over 10 different takes.

Walter would go on to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1948 for his role as the old miner in his writer-director son John' s THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948), co-starring with Bogart. Accepting his Academy Award, the elder Huston said, "Many years ago.... Many, MANY years ago, I brought up a boy, and I said to him, 'Son, if you ever become a writer, try to write a good part for your old man sometime.' Well, by cracky, that's what he did!". Walter Huston died the following year in Beverly Hills from an aortic aneurysm, two days after his 67th birthday. The legacy he leaves is not only his own beautifully crafted work, but also the Huston dynasty; his brilliant actor/director son John, and grandchildren Angelica, Danny, and Tony.

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......to be a gypsy in those days was to wander the countryside appearing in county fairs, carnivals, and village festivals of questionable repute. Little Giselle had come from a long line of fortune-tellers, clairvoyants, phrenologists, palm readers, and crystal ball gazers... She herself was considered a prodigy and possibly a savant in her ability to hear a customer's birthday (day, month, year!), and their birthplace, and, without a globe to check longitude and latitude or any sky charts to check for astronomical details, she could perfectly recite their zodiac profile... all the planets, aspects, conjunctions, rising signs, the trigons and trines, everything in a chart that it would take the average astrologer a week to diagram on paper, she could do in her head in seconds. And, even if the client was a skeptic and didn't believe in astrology, Giselle could then astound people with their subtle personality details, the hopes, the dreams, even their fears. Her family and the extended "family" of the other travelers in the caravans and carnivals would whisper and nod sagely whenever little Giselle would walk into the communal tents for lunch, often alone as her parents knew that she was old, wise and very old for her years, which numbered only six. Everyone knew she could handle herself with great dignity and composure. And at a time of greater innocence when children were less likely to be harmed by strangers, and when families watched out for each other's children more aggressively, no one worried about her independence.. It was in this world that Giselle, (Giselle Barund-Keelikov), wandered off from the encampment one afternoon in early November when the chill had started to settle in on the world of the open road and the lifestyle that was lived there. The morning frost had reluctantly given way to the grey sun that fretfully wandered low across the horizon and was already promising to disappear behind the leafless trees to the West, and at 4:30 in the afternoon! Parents were folding up their trade carts and novelty-wagons a little earlier...the clouds were rolling up and some of the older folks could "smell rain", possibly in the next hour or so. Visitors to the sad little carnival had been few and far between, and many of the gypsy families were already planning their yearly trek down to the Southern towns and villages for their warmer weather and cheerier atmosphere. Giselle had been seen sitting with her bowl of sweet turnip chowder and her beloved butter-crackers that Widow Crentski made especially just for her. A few of the older men tipped their caps to Giselle, giving their respects to her parents, or conferred with her about important matters, a cow's successful calving in the Spring, a possible match made between the tinsmith's son and the saddlemaker's daughter... When she was finished, she paid the nice lady the correct amount of money and left the proper gratuity which her parents had carefully educated her about. She smiled and nodded to the other diners. She thanked the wife of the candy-maker who complimented her on her nice hat, and then moving out of the tent with a short glance back over her shoulder, she was never seen again.... A local miller was questioned by authorities several weeks later who claimed that he'd seen a little girl sitting on the roadside, perhaps on the day in question, he couldn't be sure. He remembered that she seemed to be conferring very seriously with a dog and a horse... he was sure he heard her elaborately discussing something about the stars and the "constellations" (a word he recalled from a scientist who had visited a pub and told fascinated listeners about over several tankards of ale). Oh, and one other thing too... he heard the little girl say the words "pegasus", "can us major" or something like that, and that she was very "serious" about it all. She would pat her animal friends as she chatted, looking deeply into their eyes, and the miller remarked that the dog and horse seemed to be listening intently and appeared to be deep in thought. The authorities were somewhat impatient with him and asked why he didn't speak to the little girl, especially since she was unaccompanied on the open road. Why didn't he question her, or find out where her family was... he paused, looked down for a minute and then said without irony that he didn't think it was his place to interrupt what was clearly a serious conversation. Didn't she use the term "serious" over and over in the few sentences he heard as he passed by? Didn't she point at the sky and then trace an arc of some sort from the South East to the North West and then point first to the dog and then to the horse...?? What could it all mean. He told the inspector that he wanted to stay and listen.. Though only slightly educated and forced to leave school as a teenager, he had always been fascinated by wiser people, and the little girl seemed to be very, very wise... strangely so. Was he at all concerned that she might have come to harm being alone on the road, accompanied only by a dog and a horse in the gathering twilight as the sun vanished and the first stars started to twinkle in the dusky East?... "No.", he said and smiled. "There are souls here that move among us with a journey of their own... we are mere watchers... and we should stand aside as they pass."



TRUE STORY!!... this is the only known photo of the horribly tragic incident of "Joan Crawford & The MGM Transporter".... L.B. Mayer, in an attempt to save travel expenses for his major stars going on location shoots in the 1930s, invested in advanced scientific research at M.I.T. Albert Einstein and a handful of radical physicists claimed that they could "transport" props, camera equipment, and even movie stars around the globe in an instant and have them back in Hollywood for dinner after a full day of filming on the other side of the Earth. And no more faking foreign sets on Hollywood backlots!! Joan Crawford, being one of the biggest stars at the time, pushed her way to the front of the line on the day that they were to inaugurate the new "Now-Ur-Here/Now-Ur-Not Time Bender".... it was located just off the MGM Commissary near the dessert counters. After knocking Clark Gable and Franchot Tone to the floor, Crawford threw herself into the glass travel-booth...there was a blinding flash of silvery blue light, a whirring sound of gears and steam.. ending in the grinding of metal like a soda fountain milkshake-maker gone awry... a scream and maybe some swear-words, and when the brown smoke cleared, there remained only a dish of beans and franks where the great Joan Crawford had just stood.... Fortunately with Einstein's great mind, his team's determination, and L.B.'s vast resources, they were able to bring Crawford back, a little at a time, over the following 3 weeks, although cafeteria-goers kept trying to eat her...

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Pixie, a formerly friendly kitty who lived at 2242 Maple Grove Blvd. suddenly began having strange notions. Talking to herself, hiding cheap costume jewelry but leaving expensive items in place, eating vegetables but rejecting sardines and even caviar, trying on hats, lip sticks, etc., etc. Everyone noticed, but hoped it was all a passing phase...something that was quite innocent! It wasn't until that awful night in late November, when Pixie had taken down a cleaver from the cupboard and hid in the sheers in the parlor waiting for kindly old Matilda the housekeeper to meander by... and then the screams, the terrible screams.... the carnage!.... and then all the reporters prying, prying, prying into the crime, the photographers and the flashbulbs...and the scandal.... the shame of I.F.M.!!! (Inherited Feline Madness!!!). Look!!! There in the curtains!!! Behind you!! IT’S PIXIE!!!!! …oh God, NO!!! Pixie!.. NO!!!..

Dateline Hollywood... ANGELA LANSBURY....

DATELINE Hollywood!!...... The producers of the new James Bond film SPECTRE (2015) have just revealed that the great Angela Lansbury has made a cameo in it as "Poosy Galore"...still sexy, curvaceous...and..um...frisky... Co-star Daniel Craig acknowledged at a press conference that Lansbury "Sure is a great kisser!...once you get past the whiskers!.....and the yowling..."


Millie had started out as most urban kitties do, abandoned very early in life by a neglectful mother either too drunk or too busy with gentlemen-callers (or both!) to raise her litter properly.……Although Jacob Riis photographed her at one of the most dire times of her young life, Millie’s natural beauty shone through, and brought her enormous notoriety in all the gazettes of the day. Society matrons flocked to her neighborhood near Five Points in an attempt to “rescue” her and be seen as the “great philanthropists” that wealthy citizens found to be the most fashionable hobby. She did indeed go on to a very comfortable life, but she became an inveterate thief of people's personal property; it started out with small unimportant objects, pieces of string, a paper clip, rubber balls, coins, things left on dressing tables....You know the type! But then she began to raise the stakes. The police couldn't trace the crimes for years because there was no rhyme or reason to them... a rubber band on Monday would be followed by a $2000 earring on Wednesday... What she couldn’t carry off to her hide-aways, she’d simply knock off the edge of tables in an off-hand sort of way, usually when no one was looking, but sometimes right in front of them! Finally, the authorities tracked her down...she was hiding in a seemingly abandoned paper bag….but her rustling gave her away. As they closed in, she leapt out at them in one final burst of surprise scaring the crap out of all of them. Yowling triumphantly, she escaped and was never really caught again...although there were reports for years that she could be seen lying on other people's desks, pillows, sweaters, bathmats, open romance novels, fashion magazines, dress patterns, gentlemen’s “French Calendars”... you get the idea. She could, on occasion, allow the unwary to scratch behind her ears and compliment her on her lovely whiskers as she did her bathing. Reportedly she was very well loved in spite of, and perhaps because of, her life of narcissism and mischief. …..She had private accounts at Luchow’s, Tony Pastor’s, "21", The Stork Club, The Russian Tea Room, The Rainbow Room, oh, all over..... Of course, she never paid her bills, but they kept seating her anyway…. And at the best tables. She lived to the ripe old age of 22, although she lied about her age till the very end, claiming she was only 3 or 4. She might have lived longer, but she was killed in a motor car accident of her own design. Her friends had warned her not to drive herself, but she insisted, even though it was very difficult for her to see over the steering wheel of a Duesenberg, and a stolen one at that! She was laid to rest in a very expensive cigar thermidor of carved mahogany with her favorite lobster fork and a brass door knocker in the shape of a pineapple. Her many kitty friends delivered hours of eulogies in the alleyway behind Bergdorf’s …at the top of their lungs…. And the nice people at the Plaza Garden Court catered the luncheon….


Ruth Anne Snively (862).jpg


TODAY IN THE NEWS!..... The warning signs had been there for several months. Mrs. Ruth Anne Snively of 1148 Pembroke Lane had complained to her neighbors of strange voices, coming at first from the telephone, the radio, the television where it seemed strange voices always might have been heard. Indeed, "Ruthie", as she was known to all the Girl Scout Troop mothers, had been known for her quick wit, her sparkling sense of humor, her quirky imagination, and for her desire to be a stand-up comedian in local clubs "once the kids have grown up" as she put it. She even managed a couple of tentative debuts at the local Kiwanis and Shriner's clubs where her little act was described by the local critics as "refreshing"....and "a charming bit of whimsical and timely fluff filled with social commentary and some recipes".

Perhaps it was no surprise when Mrs. Snively began to exhibit eccentricities like a growing diet of Hostess Ding Dongs, Pringles Potato Chips, and vegan "beef" jerky. Frequently, she would answer her front door with facial masks of Marshmallow Fluff and Peter Pan Extra-Crunchy Peanut Butter. Her dependence on increasing dosages of St. Joseph's Aspirin for Children did not go unnoticed at PTA meetings...And on weekends, she could be found incoherent in back alleyways completely drunk on cocktails of Tang ....and Woolite....and Maraschino cherries. After her husband Arthur left her taking the children to Chillicothe, her friends tried interventions and enlisting the aid of the Come To Jesus Society Of Sobriety down on Walnut Street... but nothing worked.

It was finally on that terrible day in January when Snively wandered into her kitchen and overheard all her appliances talking behind her back. Oh yes!..They quickly smiled and pretended to change the subject, but it was too late. She had heard the worst!...and the jokes at her expense.... comments about "that tired old apron", and her "water-weight gain after the Holidays".....It was all too much! TOO MUCH!...and so, lovely, sweet, witty Mrs. Ruth Anne Snively calmly went to her former friend the Sunbeam waffle maker, laid her perfectly coiffed head down on its non-stick surface, and slowly pressed herself into a fluffy breakfast treat for the police to find later in the afternoon. Her suicide note was found on the counter beside an unopened bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's and a virgin stick of Land 'O' Lakes lightly salted butter. (You know Land 'O' Lakes? The one with the Indian maiden on the front whose knees look like breasts??)

Well, Ruth is now being treated for first degree burns and minor cheek-dimpling at Flower Of Mercy Hospital downtown, and will be receiving a lovely re-contouring of her complexion while being housed in their newly opened Extreme Neurosis Wing. She's slowly being re-acclimated to Kitchen Chore duty.... but under strict (and loving!) supervision.... (she continues to wear earplugs to ...shut out.. "unwelcome" chatter"...)

Joe Zaso's Cafe Himbo Cookbook II

(click to enlarge) 

Hey Gang!!! The Holidays are headed our way!! And I DON'T just mean Thanksgiving and Christmas!! How about HALLOWE'EN?!? Well, if you're looking for a fabulous gift that celebrates food AND sheer terror, here's the perfect item!!! It's Joe Zaso's Cafe Himbo Cookbook II... (don't you adore sequels!? I do!!!). This one has great recipes hand-picked by the Handsome-Himbo himself.....including one from Mummie on page 92.....can you tell I'm blushing? I was also featured in the first volume!! This book looks just as good under the Christmas tree as it does tucked into some cutie-pie's Trick-Or-Treat Pumpkin! Darlings, run, do NOT walk to this link and order yours today! And if you ask really nicely and bat your eyelashes, Joe will autograph your copy for you!!! I love when people are extremely pretty AND nice, don't you? Even if they DO carry knives...Xoxoxo!

Peter Boruchowitz, Registered Wedding Officiant / NYC, NY

Let me help you have the wedding you've always dreamed of!

Let me help you have the wedding you've always dreamed of!

After many years of uniting people in matrimony, Peter is THRILLED to finally be able to legally marry same-sex couples. Now that we are achieving marriage equality in the North East, you need someone to officiate at your wedding. He is happy to offer his services to same-sex couples. Whether you choose a private ceremony in a New York City park, a candle-lit church with hundreds of guests, a grand wedding at your reception venue, or an intimate ceremony at your home, let Peter share in your hopes and dreams and make your day the most it can be.

As your officiant, he will guide you in planning a non-denominational wedding ceremony which reflects your relationship, as you define it. Because he is passionate that each wedding ceremony is as unique as each couple, he invites you to participate in preparing your ceremony by writing your own vows or by selecting from his library, which offers a diversity of choices from spiritual to civil ceremonies.

Allow Peter to be part of your special day. You can contact him directly at peter@NYC-Gay-Weddings.com  and at NYC-Gay-Weddings.com