Ten Things Old Toys Teach Us

Melville purposefully distorted and misrepresented
the character of what was, in fact, a truly terrific white whale.

The ultimate “Prairie House” was designed not by Frank,
but his son John.

In 1959, a drive-in theater could show TV reruns and Terrytoons
and still get at least one carload of people to show up.

The 1950’s were not kind to Mickey Rooney.

It took months to correct the confusion created by
The Batman Modeling Team’s
contribution to Urology Awareness Week.

Social skills atrophied quickly
when an obsessive passion for coloring
developed in six-year-old Ted Nugent.

Hitchcock’s main source of income in the 1950’s was UK merchandising.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control estimates
that robots who quit smoking add an
average 14.2 hours of battery life.
Depression-Era “Bankrupt Donald Duck,”
considered “topical toy” in 1932,
might just be poised for a big comeback.

Tragedy has all the elements necessary for “family fun.”

You can’t help but wonder what horrifying board games
might be on store shelves today if The Ideal Toy Corporation
of Hollis, New York were still around.

The Sinking of the Titanic Game featured a
“new 3 piece movable game board”:

Actual Excerpts From the rules:

THE OBJECT of the game is to be the first player to board the RESCUE SHIP – with at least two passengers, two water tokens and two food tokens. The Titanic starts to sink after each player has taken his first turn.

When desired, a player may abandon his current stateroom assignment and proceed by the roll of the dice to a lifeboat. Should an assigned stateroom sink under the water line before the player gets to it, his Passenger Card is returned to the bottom of the deck.

A player forced to move to the lifeboat launching area without a lifeboat loses all his passengers, food & water. A player who leaves the lifeboat launching area without a lifeboat is considered to be “swimming.”

And from the box lid:

You have to be ready to repel your fellow players’ attempts to board your lifeboat and take your food and water. It’s a merciless struggle, especially when the rescue ship heaves into sight – because the first player who reaches it with at least two passengers, two food and two water tokens is the winner. And what about the others? Well, you might say they’ve lost at sea.

And speaking of being repelled…

The New Game Across The Atlantic
“From Liverpool to New York without touching icebergs”
… came out three weeks after the Titanic sunk.

Some things never change.
That’s what old toys teach us.

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What A Mouth On That ‘Tippi’ Hedren in "Marnie"

Those are not little comets orbiting Miss Hedren’s head. Read on.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie (1964) tends to divide Hitchcock fans – some love it, some loathe it. I recently watched Marnie again and one thing’s for sure – love it or hate it, it hasn’t changed much over the past few decades. For those who find it the most personal film Hitchcock ever made, as I do, and can bear repeated exposure to the southern deep fried performances of Marnie’s mother and the child for whom she babysits, as I barely can, the movie does somehow become more fascinating with each viewing, however.

Not for nothing, but who’s the villain in this film?

The only completely likable character is played by sunny Mariette Hartley, who ironically suffered a real-life childhood not entirely unlike that of the fictional Marnie Edgar, a story Ms. Hartley would not share with the public until quite a few years later.

Sean Connery’s interest in, indulgence of, and desire to wed the most frigid Hitchcock blonde of all time is as bizarre as it is unexplained.

So are the single quotation marks around ‘Tippi’ in ‘Tippi’ Hedren.

Usually, quotation marks denote a nickname when the real name also appears, i.e., Eddie “Rochester” Anderson. The quoted nickname often indicates a fictional character with whom the actor is closely associated. That’s how you wind up with Bob “Maynard” Denver, Bob “Gilligan” Denver, and, over at Wikipedia, Robert Osbourne “Bob” Denver.

So… to be entirely correct… one would have to write Robert Osbourne “Bob” “Gilligan” Denver.

Awkward and clumsy, as would be Nathalie ‘Tippi’ Hedren. When you drop the Nathalie, you can drop the quotes, too. But somebody – Hitchcock, Universal, Nathalie herself – asked that the at least a set of single quotation marks stay.

Whatever flaws there may be in Marnie, the film stands as a punctuational and linguistic watershed.

1. So far as can be determined, ‘Tippi’ Hedren is the first actress in the history of film to say “Bite me.”

2. At one point, Diane Baker calls Sean Connery a “ratfink,” something Connery has never been called in a film since.

3.Marnie (‘Tippi’ Hedren) telephones her mother, and when her mother answers, it sounds for all the world as if Marnie says, “Yo momma.”

4. When Connery states that a marriage license signed “Minnie Q. Mouse” would still be considered legal, Hedren responds, “I’m Minnie Q. Thief.”

Hedren’s performances in Marnie and The Birds have earned her a place in movie history; I doubt if any actress ever came as close to the embodiment of the perfect Hitchcock heroine. The story goes that Hitchcock cast Hedren because he happened to see a shampoo commercial she made. Interesting that we do not see Hedren’s face in Marnie until a vigorous shampoo turns her into a blonde. Or would that be “blonde”?

Never mind. Just be sure, when you say her name, that you add the always-charming “air quotation marks” by bending fingers of both hands as you say ‘Tippi.’ Oh, and be sure to use only one finger on each hand when you do.

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