Sunday, December 25, 2005

It ain't a fit night out for man or beast...

I realise not everyone thinks WC Fields funny, and many seemed shocked by his attitudes, but I think it very unseemly that so much of the planet should have a raucous party on the day he died. Much worse taste than anything he ever said or did. Observers say he never appeared drunk, but he was touchy about it sometimes. When The Christian Science Monitor complained that Never Give a Sucker an Even Break had "the usual atmosphere of befuddled alcoholism," he wrote back: "Wouldn't it be more terrible if I quoted some reliable statistics to prove that more people are driven insane through religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol?"

For the younger generation who don't like Black and White movies, can't get his films on DVD (out of fashion), have only ever seen bad prints with muddy soundtracks on late night tv - it must seem strange. I love him as a juggler who brought character to the performance, rather than that pure 'Olympian' skill. I remember him as a person in love with words, and as a fellow curmudgeon (the kind of Dickensian word he loved).

Upon hearing a Christmas carol on the radio, Fields shouted
"Turn it off! Cease! Give me an ax, a heavy tomahawk! The royal mace of England! I'll smash the thing and its illegitimate fugue!"
(Will Fowler, "Sleigh Bells Give Me Double Nausea," Life, Dec. 15, 1972)

According to the Hippy Calendar, on this day in 1965 Tim Leary got busted on the Mexican border, and given 30 years in jail for a small quantity of pot.

How nice to live in a rational and non-judgemental culture.

Godfrey Daniel!

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