WHO CAN AFFORD IT
didn't mind too much when the price of haircuts went to 75 cents, then 85,
then a dollar . . . $1.25—even $1.50, which makes the rate to me about 15
cents a hair.
didn't complain when 2-cent newspapers—which were a penny when I first
peddled them—became a nickel, and 5-cent magazines 15 cents. I didn't even
object to paying 15—and sometimes 20—cents for a nickel hot dog ... a
dime to ride the IRT, to make a phone call.
when they double the tariff on Man's Best Friend—I rebel. I may even start
a movement to have Congress pass a law placing them under controls.
Commission to Control Commercial Closets, we might call the administrative
agency. Too bad Chic Sale isn't around to head up my CCCC.
voiced my plaint to Vincent Lopez at the Astor the other night. I had
drifted away from the, er— Coffee Shop, and purposefully pushed open the
hob-nailed leather door down the hall. gentlemen the sign said, but I
ignored that and walked right in, clutching the time-honored 5-cent piece in
my eager little hand.
was all I could do to hold my grip on the coin at what I saw. The little
tabs all had been changed. They now read: insert dime in slot. Virtually the
last lone remaining usage to which a nickel can be put was gone. That's
carrying inflation too far!
natural inclination, after bristling and bridling at the effrontery, the
inhumanity of the concessionaire, was to refuse them my business. But
another instinct, more persuasive and persistent, vetoed the idea. The
rebellion thus quelled I probed into my change pocket.
was barren of dimes. I rhumbad and sambad all over the place while the
attendant tried to make change— unsuccessfully.
in the lobby I dashed, to the cigar counter all the way down the other end.
When finally I got back to the torture chamber all four places lucre
my question, Mr. Anthony, is this: Have I a case against the Astor that will
stand up in court?
Lopez thought not. "You should always be prepared," he insisted
between "Nola" and "Kitten on the Keys." "Where's
your Boy Scout training? Be prepared. A man should no more think of starting
out in the evening without a dime than without his tie."
Los Angeles they go without ties," I insisted stubbornly if
beside the point," he snorted.
it's profiteering," I stormed, "a 100 per cent increase. It's
getting so a man can't afford to—well, how can you justify it?"
going up," said the pianist soothingly, "look at wages."
wages?" I demanded. "I've never had anyone yet wait on me in one
of those little booths."
prices are higher all along the line. Materials cost more
mind, never mind, I see your point. Well, of course there's always one way
you can beat them at their own game."
that?" I asked eagerly.
a room in the hotel," he flung over his shoulder as he headed back to
fix 'em. I'll take my business elsewhere.
wondered why the walls of the Empire State Building's observation tower were
given over to a pictorial exhibit of life in Turkey. One couldn't escape the
display as he waited his turn into the tiny elevator which shuttles tourists
between the 86th and 102d floors.
was only later that I learned this year marks the 500th anniversary of the
fall of Constantinople.
was 1453 which saw the final eclipse of the Eastern Roman Empire and the
ascendancy of its successor, the Ottoman, on European soil. The coup de
grace was the storming of the ramparts of Byzantium by the Osmanli of Sultan
Mahomat II on the 29th of May. Thus 1453 for the Turks is comparable to 1066
for the British and 1776 for us.
a strange and fascinating thing, history. We learned to loathe the terrible
Turk and cheer the Crusader; World War I propaganda had us bleeding for the
Armenian, persecuted by the ruthless infidel, but now they're our allies and
friends and bulwark against Soviet aggression and we join them in paying
tribute to Fatih.
not? It's a cheap price to pay for Turkey's valuable friendship. For ten
years Russia has sought to revise the Montreux pact to restrict control of
the Straits of the Bosporous and the Dardanelles to the Black Sea powers,
which means her satellites Romania and Bulgaria in addition to herself and
Turkey. Since the days of Peter the Great, Russia has sought free egress
from her warm water ports on the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.
is to our interest to see that Turkey succumbs to neither Soviet wiles or
pressure. So we celebrate with the Turks in spirit as they illuminate the
brilliant ivory facades of the great mosques of Suleiman the Magnificent
along the Grand Seraglio, and generously devote our loftiest showcase to her
Montreux agreement expires in 1956.
Dragonette's recent TV appearance—and I don't mean "St. George and
the Dragnet"—inevitably recalled the days when she and Frank Munn
were the golden-voiced
"Olive Palmer and Paul Oliver" of radio's Palmolive Hour in the
got into a nostalgic conversation about the great pleasure the two had
brought us through the years with their superb singing, and we wondered what
had happened to Munn since his beautiful smooth tenor had left the airwaves.
For years he was a glorious part of Abe Lyman's delightful "Waltz
always was something of a mystery, was Frank Munn. He never made public
appearances of any kind, confining his artistry to radio and records. The
fact that he spurned movies, the theatre, concert halls and recitals where
he could be seen led to all kinds of rumors about him. One had it that he
was a priest; another that he was a victim of elephantiasis. He seemed to
shun publicity and remain aloof from the gossip columnists, too. I never
remember reading; anything about his life. All I knew was what my ears told
me: that he had one of the sweetest, most listenable voices I've ever heard.
suddenly Frank Munn was in the news. A week or so after his partner of so
many programs emerged from her own retirement the papers carried Frank
Munn's obit. The stories of his death did little to clear up the mystery,
except to refute the rumors. He was fifty-eight when he died— somewhat
older than I would have guessed—left a widow, and there was no inkling of
any disease so horrible as to have confined him to unseen roles.
to this day I never recall having seen a picture of Frank Munn; haven't the
faintest idea how he looked. But I know how he sounded. His glorious voice
enriched our lives during radio's heyday. If the angels needed a songbird in
Heaven, here's their man.
WIDE, WONDERFUL WORLD
something happens that makes you think the world isn't such a bad place
after all. But twice in one day?' Isn't that above par for the
started at the railroad station in Newark on a recent Monday. I had to be in
Trenton before 5 p.m. so I set my sights on the 3:14 out of Newark. I missed
the 3:25— the Nellie Bly— by the minute it took to stop and greet Chet
Ligham, the state rent director, as he was leaving the terminal.
Patriot from Boston, due at 3:44, was half an hour late. Neither it nor the
regular 4:14 could get me there in time. My steam was rising by the minute,
my safety valve gauge fighting a losing battle with my gorge. I was, in
short, about to blow my top when the sleek, silvery Florida East Coast
Champion slid in at 3:49, normally an all-Pullman bound for Miami. But as it
slithered gleamingly past, I noticed two chair coaches deadheading up front.
my most forlorn expression that I fancied better typified pathos and pain
than Hedda Gabbler's morose demeanor, I sought out the conductor and said
appealingly: "Would you take a fellow as far as Trenton in one of those
he replied kindly and immediately, to my amazement, adding: "Just be
sure no doors are left open when you leave."
I was all alone in this beautiful, luxurious, air-conditioned pride of the
Silver Fleet, the last word in comfort and elegance, lovely enlarged
Kodachrome cine-scenes of my much adored Miami Beach adorning the walls. As
effortlessly and smoothly as a sail on a becalmed lake we flowed along, to
pull into Trenton at 4:19. Think of it: 45 miles in 30 minutes.
I love conductors.
my business in Trenton ended and I started homeward—I customarily drive
to Trenton, train from there—I discovered that the fuel tank was low but
my resources even lower. My wallet was home. That's what comes of having two
suits. I had exactly 31 cents in my pocket.
I couldn't make it to Roy Hullings' in Moorestown, I pulled into the
Bordentown Sunoco station opposite Hamburger Heaven where I refuel
I interest you in selling me 31 cents worth of gas?" I asked the owner
he replied. Then, as the indicator began to go around: "You can have
more if you want it."
is all the money I have with me," I explained.
okay," he countered.
I won't be up this way until Thursday."
fine, if you're willing to trust me."
much do you want?"
it up, of course, if you're that much of a gambler."
people aren't so cold and suspicious after all.
GANGS - AND WAGS
never a dull moment when Atlantic City newsmen get together. They're not
only able reporters but tops as entertainers. Every time a Jim Hackett
leaves for other fielda a Joe Grossman comes along; if a Josh Weintraub
isn't available a Reese Smith is.
were relaxing in the elegance of Haddon Hall's smart Derbyshire Lounge over
a Coca-Cola or two while some clients of mine were convening in AC recently.
This is one of those modern setups where divans and all kinds of chairs and
benches are arranged with studied carelessness in the approximate vicinity
of a table, and a party of six or seven sprawl around like the club car of
Tomlinson, the Associated Pressman, and Allan Jones, AC Press staffer and
Newark News correspondent, were recalling some of the high spots of
newspaper life down there, of which there are none higher, when Joe Grossman
of United Press went into the act that enabled him to fight the war as a
member of Melvyn Douglas' entertainment unit. With International News
Service's Smitty, he regaled the gathering with the tales of a frontline
troubador. Ted Gray,, a visiting fireman from Columbus, Ohio, joined the
'em about the time you started going with girls," prompted Smitty.
seems that Joe, a handsome, dashing young bachelor, squired Christine
Jorgensen around while she was booked into Atlantic City night spots. That's
a story in itself—wish I could tell it.
came Miss America time and Joe made his own selection. Miss Kansas. They
were in the 500 Club when one of Joe's press pals came to their table and in
a stentorian bellow that drowned out the orchestra, roared: "Well,
Joe, it's good to see you out with a girl."
EACH HER OWN
was in the midst of the dinner Senator Hap Farley gave for Paul Troast, with
GOPoliticos from all over South Jersey as guests, that a Walt Whitman
bellboy brought the message: Call Operator 288 in New York.
I went to a phone booth and put in the call.
is 289," a voice finally said. "Please call your operator."
did. Again I got 9.
your hook," she suggested.
hook is all jiggled out," I replied in despair. "Can't you help
not," she retorted, indignation in her voice. "You want eight, I'm
I'm tense," I said, hanging up in disgust.
didn't find out who called. Maybe the Duke of Windsor arrived in town and
wanted me to cut a caper or keelhaul a kipper with him, don'tcherknow! Now
I'll never know.
Elman's recent appearance at Robin Hood Dell, a tremendous triumph as
always, recalled an anecdote the artist likes to tell on himself. I should
point out that Elman studied with my uncle and namesake, who used to delight
patrons of the Mastbaum in its early days, when stage shows still were the
rage, with his violin solos. As a boy he played at
the wedding of my mother and father forty-seven years ago; twenty-six years
later he played at mine.
Elman tells of meeting a dowager, following one of his concerts abroad, who
told him: "Mr. Elman, the last time I heard you play you were a
curly-haired boy of ten."
was a long time ago," smiled Elman ruefully. "Why, I have a son
now who is older than that."
he play the violin?" asked the lady eagerly.
little," Elman replied.
nice," she beamed. "If he practices real hard, maybe he'll grow up
to be another Heifetz."