Sunday, December 2, 2012

Margaret And The Monkey

As I mentioned earlier in the week, the author of The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father's Twentieth Century, Margaret Talbot, was at the AFI-Silver Saturday to introduce the pre-Code film Three on a Match, starring Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak, Bette Davis, and Margaret's own father, Lyle.

The film is a terrific little example of a Warner Brothers-style pre-Code film, 63 lightning-quick minutes of gangsters, booze, drugs, fast women and actresses in their skivvies (here, Bette Davis rather than Joan Blondell, who must have been grateful to keep her clothes on for once). (By the way, it occurred to me, after watching Davis rolling on a pair of stockings on a screen thirty feet high, to do a Pre-Code Stocking Stuffers piece in a few days. I guarantee you, if you want to make Junior happy for the holidays, give him a couple of pre-Code movies—that'll keep him busy.)

Afterwards, Margaret Talbot talked about her book, her father and the history of entertainment from the 1910s to the 1960s. She's just as interesting in person as she is on paper—how rare is that?

Normally, I wouldn't pester someone at a public appearance, but since she actually dropped by the comment section and made me swear I would, well, what was I going to do? I'm as compulsively honest as Abe Lincoln and the only promise I've ever willingly broken is the one to finish writing this blog.

Not only was Margaret Talbot kind and gracious—not surprising, if you've read the book—but it also turns out she's a faithful reader of the Mythical Monkey!

Which did take me by surprise. I confess that, Katie-Bar-The-Door notwithstanding, I think of myself as writing this blog for an audience of one—my dog, Angie, off whom I bounce ideas as we walk two miles in the morning and another two in the evening. She never comments, but I'll bet she knows more about silent movies than any other canine on the east coast.

I guess this means I need to start paying a bit more attention, huh. (Looking for a quick entree into the Mythical Monkey? Click here and here.)

For my part, you'll be glad to know that upon meeting Margaret, the Monkey was as smooth as a schoolboy who's just turned a corner and run headlong into the homecoming queen. "English second language my is! Also only language!"

Did I really used to litigate in federal court? No, you must mean two other Monkeys.

Of course we didn't have a camera, and my cellphone is so old, you have to crank a handle and ask for Sara at the switchboard, so I have photo-shopped the encounter for you. That's me on the left.

It was nice to meet you yesterday, Margaret (do you mind if I call you "Ms. Talbot"?)—and let's do get together for that drink. I'll take a refresher course in English by then, I promise.

(Read the latest from Margaret Talbot, a piece for the Wall Street Journal, here.)

12 comments:

thingy said...

Wow. Big time, baby! I can say I knew ya when...

theduckthief said...

I think Steinbeck also tested his work out on his dogs first. :)

May I suggest "The Age of Consent" as a possibility for your pre-code post. Read a great post about it here and had to check it out for myself.

http://willmckinley.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/the-age-of-consent-1932-from-warner-archive-pre-code-passion-at-its-most-lustful/

Mythical Monkey said...

I think Steinbeck also tested his work out on his dogs first. :)

The dog is very supportive. Actually, as long as I feed her and let her sit on my lap, she doesn't much care what I do.

You know, come to think of it, Katie-Bar-The-Door is pretty much the same way ...

Mythical Monkey said...

May I suggest "The Age of Consent" as a possibility for your pre-code post.

I will look into it!

Mythical Monkey said...

I can say I knew ya when...

"He seemed like such a nice, quiet fellow ..."

mister muleboy said...

Actually, as long as I feed her and let her sit on my lap, she doesn't much care what I do.


I thought ye were talking about Ms. Talbot.

If you need learn speak, me need learn read. . . .



Well, we've always agreed that the AFI Silver is a magical place. Well played, sir.

VKMfanHuey said...

...great work, MM!

I need to hunt this down... of course, ever the G-ologist, I know Ginger and Mr. Talbot made a few 'whodunnits' in 1933, 'The Thirteenth Guest' and 'A Shriek in the Night'...both were somewhat low budget (...you know, 1933 and all...), but were both pretty entertaining... and I thought Ginger and Lyle made a pretty smart couple... would have liked to have seen them meet up in a 'big-budget' feature...

As to the meeting of celebrity - yeah, that's something I'm not even pretending to be good at...heck, there's a local newscast lady who's also a mom at my daughter's school... and I see her at many functions, still can't really put a sentence together around her... yupyupyup. But, to actually be 'singled out' by celebrity...well, offspring of celebrity even...(er...hi, Ms. Talbot!) ...is a stupendous feat, my friend... you are in rare air in the blogosphere!

Have a most triumphant week, MM!

Hu
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KC said...

She reads you?! That is so cool. Don't be so surprised though!

Mythical Monkey said...

She reads you?!

Which reminds me somehow of a bit from Groundhog Day, after Bill Murray and the groundhog go over a cliff in a stolen truck.

"He could still be alive."

BOOM!!!

"Well, no, probably not now."

Mythical Monkey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mythical Monkey said...

Or something like that.

I work on the theory that if you find you've dug yourself into a hole, just keep going, you'll eventually wind up in China ...

Mythical Monkey said...

... in China, where nobody knows you.