Sunday, February 22, 2015

259 Quiz Answer

Gigi was an American Metrocolor film directed by Vincente Minnelli.  Following the family tradition, the teenager Gigi is groomed to be a courtesan and to learn etiquette and charm.  The young girl initially fails to understand the real reason behind her education.
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "g" is for "girl")

In the mid-1950s a couple of guys in the motion picture business were talking.  What’s the name of the film they were talking about?

“Remember that movie I told you about, the one I wanted to invest in?  You thought it wasn’t a good idea?”

“Well, it wasn’t a good idea.  It’ll never be made.”

“Ha.  You’ll be interested to learn that they’re going ahead with it; they start shooting in a couple of months.”

“I don’t believe you.  Such a film could never be shown in the United States.”

“It’ll not only be shown, it should be one of the biggest hits of the year.  The book was a best-seller in Europe, but the film will be so much better; it will have beautiful music, hit songs, dancing, beautiful scenes of Paris, the works.”

“Don’t forget its star, the girl.”

“Of course, and she’s a wonder.  She’s an ideal fifteen-year-old, full of life, charm, vitality – and she can sing and dance beautifully.”

“Not to mention that she looks pretty great, too.”

“Hey, you’re being won over.  I’m afraid it’s too late if you wanted to invest in the production.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t put any money in it.  I’m pretty sure it’ll never be produced.”

“What?  You’re whimpering about that again?  Here’s a film project that’s got everything going for it and you keep yammering on about how they won’t be able to make it.”

“Well, let me yammer a bit more.  Do you know what this film is about?”

“Wait a minute.  Don't inflict that on me.  The book was one thing; this movie will be something different.”

“The basic story is the same.”

“And the story is simple; it’s about a docile teen-age girl around the turn of the century.”

“Who is being trained – to be a prostitute!”

“Hold on; that’s too strong.  In Europe things were different.  She is being trained to be a companion to a gentleman.  She is learning the necessary social graces.”

“So some old rich geezer can buy and keep a teen-age girl as a 'companion'.  You think American film audiences will go for that?”

“In the movie’s script all that aspect is shoved aside, pushed under the rug.  The audiences probably won’t even be aware of it.”

(The answer will be posted Saturday.)




Sunday, February 15, 2015

258 Quiz Answer

An easy one this week.  Pharaoh had commanded that all male Hebrew children born be drowned in the river Nile, but Moses' mother placed him in bulrushes by the riverbank, where the baby was discovered and adopted by Pharaoh's daughter.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "F" is for "foster parent")

The following content might remind you of a well-known story.  What’s the story?

Today I’d like to tell you about a little-known historical figure, Edna Schneiderwegen.

You think you have it tough; consider Edna’s position.  Her husband, who was rarely sober, went off one day and, in the grand tradition of so many other helpmeets, just didn’t come back.

She suddenly was a single mom, with a baby, Eustace, and almost no income.  She desperately tried to find a part-time job and her housework was left undone.  Neighbors, perhaps trying to be helpful, reported her situation to the DCF, the Department of Children and Families.

The DCF folks decided Eustace would be better off with a foster parent so they told Edna to get his things packed because they’d be picking him up on the following morning.

She was miserable.  She loved her child and would do almost anything to keep him with her.  Early the next morning, just at daybreak, she took the baby’s basket and placed Eustace in it.

It happened that a river flowed through that area a block or so from her house.  Along its banks there was a lot of vegetation – grass, bushes, etc. – so she placed the basket, Eustace ensconced within, on the bank of the river.  Luckily it promised to be a warm, fine day.

She had made up a story for the Department of Children: her formerly long-lost husband, a ne’er-do-well of the first order, had come during the night and had taken the baby.  She had no idea where he, or they, might now be.  She thought, a bit over-optimistically, that the DCF types would then give up and forget about it so she could go pick up Eustace and bring him home.

Coincidentally, and it was a huge coincidence, Fran Garner and a few friends were jogging along the path next to the lake that morning, as they did most mornings.  What was coincidental was that Mrs. Garner was the wife of the head of the DCF.  When she saw Eustace in the basket she was at first deeply moved at the thought that some desperate mother had been forced to place her offspring in such a place.

But then, when she saw what a cute little nipper the baby was, she thought that she’d talk her husband into allowing her to be a foster parent for the child.  Later she might even be able to adopt him.

Today, of course, we know that as our story evolved the little tyke grew up to be a strong, upstanding young man, and ultimately a great leader.

(The answer will be posted Saturday.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

257 Quiz Answer

Wallis Simpson, of Baltimore MD, married as her third husband the Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, who abdicated his throne in 1936 to marry her.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "E" is for "extreme")

I’ve always been interested in those folks of the historical record who might not have been important in themselves, but somehow they made a huge splash in history.  In the following scenelet they’re talking about a certain woman.  Who was she?
“She could almost have been Queen of England! Who could have imagined such a thing when she was a kid back in Baltimore.”
“Not much chance of that happening.”
“You mean because she was a foreigner?  England had foreign queens in the past, you know.”
“Not like her.  Trust me.”
“You mean because she was divorced, right?”
“She wasn’t divorced; she was twice divorced.”
“Yes, I can see that would put the kibosh on it.  But the King was crazy about her.  She could have been his Royal Consort, or some such thing.”
“Again, not a chance.  The entire royal establishment would frown on it.  Fact is, they couldn’t stand her.”
“Makes me wonder just what he found so wonderful about her.”
“It was like this.  She was always devious; she could be sort of venomous and yet also clever and funny, and she specialized in sarcastic quips and remarks, often made to the King about his family.  He had never heard anyone talk like that; it blew him away.”
“And he didn’t object?”
“He loved it.  She went to the extreme.  Her name for the Queen Mother was ‘Cake,’ because she felt that her fashion sense made her look like a wedding cake. And she called the Princess, who after all was to become queen, ‘Shirley,’ as in Shirley Temple.”
“A wonder they let her stay in the country.  Though come to think of it, they didn’t.”
“She had experienced the ultimate fairy tale: becoming the adored favorite of the most glamorous eligible bachelor of his time, and then – well, it all went wrong.”
“As fairy tales often do.”
"Wallis and Gromit" 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

256 Quiz Answer

The answer is Richard III.  Lady Anne Neville is Prince Edward's widow and the daughter-in-law of the late King.  Although she knows Richard is the "fiend" responsible for her husband and father-in-law's deaths, she allows herself to be manipulated into marrying him.

She is most famous for succumbing to Richard's charms when he successfully woos front of her father-in-law’s corpse.

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "D" is for "diabolical.")

I wrote the following scenelet, two young women talking together.  Who’s the guy they’re talking about?

“Sit down and relax.  Tell me what’s been going on while I’ve been away.”

“Not much to tell, as far as my story is concerned.  But as for our friend Anne – you know what happened to Anne?”

“Well, I know she was having problems with that same creep.  He kept pursuing her.”

“He’s not pursuing her any more.”

“Good.  I’m glad she got rid of him.”

“H’mm.  I see you’re not up to speed about all that’s happened.  He’s not pursuing her because he got her.  They were married.”

“What?!  Anne marrying that…  Tell me you’re joking!”

“No, it’s unbelievable but true.  I was there when it happened; I saw it all.”

What happened?”

“Well, Anne was at this funeral procession for the death of her father-in-law.  She has had such a miserable time, what with the death of her husband earlier.  And this unspeakable character – after all, he was the one responsible for the old man’s death – he comes up to her and tries to turn on the charm.  Makes you shiver just to think of it.”

“What was her reaction to that?”

“Wild.  Really wild.  She was yelling at him, cursing him, she even spit on him.  He doesn't wilt; he takes it all calmly, continues talking about how he’s in love with her and so on.”


“Especially incredible because while this was going on the old man’s corpse was right there a few feet away.”

“The rumors I heard were that he may have been the one who did away with her husband.”

“Turns out those rumors may well be true.”

“But after all that you say she married the beast?  He's diabolical!  How on earth could she ever do such a thing?”

“Well, the guy – you’d have to see it to believe it – he seems to be able to talk anyone into anything.  He went on with how special she was and how it was a pure, true love he felt for her and how much he desired her.  Then to top it off – get this – he blamed her for all the bad things that had happened, saying that she was so wonderful, so beautiful, that he just couldn’t help himself.  So it was her fault.” 
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