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Matt Weinstock

March 5, 2008 | 10:43 pm

March 5, 1958

Matt_weinstockd A few days before his father died in 1936, F.B. Kelley sent him a postal money order for $50.

Last month, in going through some old papers, Kelley came upon the familiar green piece of paper--uncashed.

It was made out at Rockefeller Center Station, New York, Serial No. 345914, dated Nov. 17, 1936.

Kelley, advance man for the play "Middle of the Night" at the Biltmore Theater, tried to cash it. He was told he'd have to fill out a form requesting issuance of a duplicate and submit it to the Money Order Center in St. Louis. He did.

A few weeks ago he received a printed slip stating, "We regret that it is not possible to accord favorable consideration to your claim as the Public Law No. 65 (84th Congress) stipulates no money order shall be paid after 20 years from the last day of the month of original issue."

"Everywhere I travel I see post offices," says Kelley, who lives in Delaware, Ohio, "so I assume they are still in business. But that doesn't get me back my $50. I suppose a law is a law."

G. BERNARD SHAW, in his day a stern advocate of spelling reform, once spelled fish as ghoti--the gh as "rough," the o as in "women," the ti as in "fiction."

Publicist Felix Mendelsohn Jr., who agrees with old G.B.S., has taken it from there and coined the word potzwabshmuckeling.

Pronounce the p as in "psalm," the o as in "leopard," the l as in "valet," z as in "rendezvous," w as in "wrong," a as in "head," b as in "tomb," s as in "demesne," h as in "catarrh," m as in "mnemonic," u as in "four," c as in "czar," k as in "know," e as in "awe," l as in "could," i as in "cruise," n as in "condemn" and g as in "reign."

In short, potzwabshmuckeling is an utter deathlike silence.

ONLY IN HOLLYWOOD -- A man named Al who lives in a second-floor flat answered the doorbell at 11:35 the other night and a young man said, "I'm with an organization that's trying to help people. We're making a survey--"

Talk about fully loaded: This GMC pickup has a dome light! A lock on the glove compartment! Vinyl insulation instead of cardboard!!!!


"Not at 25 minutes to 12, you're not," interrupted Al, "and if you don't get out of here I'll throw you out!"

The young man fled but ever since Al has been wondering, are things that tough?

A MATRON met a friend at a women's club and after a few minutes' chatter reached in her purse and said, "Have I shown you the latest snapshots of my grandchildren?"

"No," squelched the friend, "and I'm certainly grateful to you."

SILVER LINING NOTE -- Vic Knight argues that people shouldn't worry about a recession or whatever it is. Any day now, he predicts, all the things amateur do-it-yourselfers put together will start falling apart and professional craftsmen will be called in to correct their mistakes, creating a business upturn.

MISCELLANY -- One of the most popular desk signs at Northrop is "Are you helping solve the problem or are you part of it?" ... L.E. Emigh of Woodland Hills is afraid his wife is watching too many TV westerns. When she drives her tiny Metropolitan on the Hollywood Freeway she gets a panicky feelings, "like the head heifer in a stampede" ... Diabolic inquiry from Barney Hutchison: "Tell me, is President Hagerty's golf game improving?" ... The internal revenuers have been checking Irish sweepstakes winners in Culver City. So beware, happy horse players ... Have you noticed, people say "There's more truth than poetry" when there isn't a fragment of verse in sight ... Nobody will believe it but a gray squirrel has joined the blue jays, sparrows, towhees, juncos and thrushes in the backyard. Permits you to come within about three feet before jumping onto a tree. Loco, hombre, loco!