Last night Movies!, channel 5–2 on over the air antennas in NYC, ran yet another film I’d never seen, Johnny Eager (1941), part of its Noir to Die For series. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, it’s the story of a parolee masquerading as a cabbie to hide his nefarious doings. Although a main plot point strains credulity, it’s an entertaining romp, most notable for Van Heflin’s turn as the protagonist’s drunken confidante, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, the flick’s only nomination. The other most interesting aspect is the cast: Lana Turner, Glenda Farrell, Edward Arnold, Barry Nelson, Paul Stewart, and Robert Sterling, who would go on to star in 78 episodes of TV’s Topper, which ran weekday mornings in syndication into the ‘60’s. One of my favorite bits of Hollywood trivia is Taylor’s real name: Spangler Arlington Brugh. He was the son of a doctor. There are 79 titles beneath his name at IMDb, which includes 97 episodes of The Detectives, which ran from ‘59-’62, and ten appearances on Death Valley Days. Although he was never nominated for an Academy Award, he received a Golden Globe in 1954 as World Film Favorite — Male, shared with Alan Ladd. He contributed to the WWII effort by directing nine shorts on Flight Training. And he sang in at least a dozen films. Of course he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was married to the legendary Barbara Stanwyck for 13 years, and to Germany-born actress Ursula Thiess, with whom he had two kids, for 15 years until his death. She appeared in 15 episodes of The Detectives, and has eight other credits. A three-to-five pack a day smoker, “The Man with the Perfect Profile” had his life and phenomenal career cut short by lung cancer at 57 in 1969. Here’s the Taylor family:

RIP Lute Olson, 85, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The Lute Olson Award is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I player, selected by a 30-member committee. Overall, at Long Beach State, Iowa and Arizona, his record was 781–280, 589 of the wins coming with the Wildcats, who won the NCAA title in 1997. The team made three other appearances in the Final Four. Olson also guided Iowa to the FF in 1980. He won one Big Ten and eleven Pac-Ten titles. During his tenure, Arizona qualified for the NCAA tournament 23 straight years. Well done, sir.

Here’s great news from maxpreps.com: “At least 34 states plan to have teams hit the field (football) this fall.” Some are planning a spring schedule, which I won’t mind as much as college teams playing then. At least 90% of high school football players will never again don pads after their last game. It would be terrible if seniors are denied their final season.

Very rarely is a donation to the floating book shop lackluster. Two of today’s three fell into that category. Mike gave me a handful of textbooks that are borderline in terms of marketability, and another gentleman delivered about 20 titles, among which only three were useful, two on coin collecting and one on stamps from 1965. Wolf bought those, which made the entire delivery worth it. He missed out on the excellent haul, half Russian, half English, that a middle age woman brought. Every one of those is likely to sell. My thanks to these kind folks, and also to the guy who purchased a hardcover thriller in Russian, and to the woman who for some reason chose the huge tome on Biology, and to the man who selected a guitar basics manual for a nephew. He no longer plays himself, as he has suffered nerve damage. He gave one of his daughters his Martin acoustic, which is now worth in the neighborhood of $25,000. Unfortunately, it is MIA. The only downside of the day was hauling the rejects to the lobby of our co-op. Usually, just about anything I put there is taken. I’d be surprised if that were the case with several of today’s discards, although there may be eggheads who will go for the ones on engineering and statistical analysis, even though they are very old.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.