Tuesday, February 7, 2012

World's tightest corset

This clip from the Italian film Beautiful but Dangerous has to be the ultimate cat fight: Gina Lollobrigida in the tightest corset ever made, somehow able to fence well enough to beat the crap out of her female adversary. She even bags a "trophy" at the end. It's not in English, but who cares? A good cat fight transcends all language.



Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book
    It took me years to write, will you take a look

Moannn. . . it's Joan

Zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom!  Zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom!
"Ayyyyeee. . . maahhh-reeed Joaaannnnnnn. . . "

No, I did not imagine this show, though the memory of it seems to reside in the deepest synapses of my brain along with a fear of monsters in the closet. In other words, I was probably a baby when this came on, or else it was already in reruns. I remember the "doo-WAH, doo-WAH" chorus which you heard even during the show itself, as a segue to the next scene. I don't know if any other show did this. I kind of hope they didn't, because it was putrid, but IMJ was fascinating for revealing classic '50s mores: a cute little housewife, half out of her tree with absent-mindedness and spinny '50s incompetence, having to be married to the dull Jim Backus who only really came into his own years later as Mr. Magoo (and then there was Mr. Howell, but he was pretty dull too).

Old shows scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.  I didn't understand them and they seemed to come from a million years ago. Topper was horrible, hats and gloves and things moving around by themselves in mid-air. December Bride seemed to come out of the medieval period. Really, these shows were maybe about ten years old when I saw them, and I don't know why they seemed so ancient. Then there was "YE-E-E-SS, it's Pete and Gladys!"

I think it was this: in the early '50s, TV was just radio with pictures. Sometimes there was even a stage with curtains and an audience, as in Jack Benny.  Shows were loudly, formally announced in the same way: "The Jo-o-o-o-oan Davis Show! America's favorite comedy show! Starring America's Queen of Comedy (what, no Lucy?), Joan Davis!"  There was something smudgy and dreamlike, even nightmarish about the old shows. TV screens really did flicker then, which people still refer to, incredibly ("the flickering blue screen"). It's like asking, "Do you dream in colour?" Well, why the hell WOULDN'T you? Why are people so damned stupid?