Matt Weinstock, May 22, 1959
May 22, 2009 | 4:00 pm
TV Stool PigeonsThe upsurge of the private eye on TV has brought into focus a rather nasty bit of behaviorism which, let us hope, is not quite as true as it is made to appear. This is the sequence in these tough guy dramas in which the resourceful hero is fresh out of clues as to whodunit. People are scared, see, so they clam up.
Eventually he comes to this hotel clerk (or bartender or ex-con who is going straight) and asks where he can find George, the wicked villain. The hotel clerk, a man with shifty eyes, says he doesn't know.
IT IS obvious he does but he wants no part of other people's trouble.
So the private eye flashes a bill under his nose, which twitches. The hotel clerk grabs it and says maybe he can furnish a hint. But he can't seem to remember the wicked villain's address until the eye produces another bill. Then he becomes the most loquacious stool pigeon you ever heard.
The watcher is left with the disquieting feeling that a normally discreet person can be bought cheaply. Bribery thus becomes an accepted procedure, condoned and tossed off with a wisecrack.
AS YOU MAY have read, an organized rattlesnake hunt is in progress in the Palos Verdes area.
The other day a woman in Rolling Hills stopped the Helms bakery man and said she wanted a loaf of bread. She was walking toward his truck to get it when she stopped in terror. A rattler was between them, Frontier life being what it is, the bakery man killed the snake so he could consummate the sale.
OWED TO A HUNGRY PIG
Dear china pig upon the shelf,
You gave so freely of yourself.
You are my friend; I think you're swell,
Payday I shall feed you well.
TODAY'S LESSON in resourcefulness, with a tinge of sneakery, involves two 15-year-old Long Beach boys who pooled their savings, $10, and bought an old car at an auto wreckers, then discovered it had no battery. The problem was now to get it home so they could fool around with it.
Suddenly inspired, one boy borrowed his mother's auto club card, phoned, and reported his car wouldn't start. And while both barely breathed, the unsuspecting truckers hoisted and towed the car home.
A RECENTLY opened section of the San Diego Freeway adjacent to Sepulveda Blvd. in West L.A. has a new concept in center dividers. Instead of a guardrail or a curb or a wide, planted area, it has a row of large concrete posts similar to bowling pins. Well, this is to report that someone has scored a strike knocking down a flock of them. If it keeps up the highway people may have to install automatic pin-setters.
EAVESDROPPING -- One man to another about a third, at a party in Beverly Hills: "He has been saving the world for so long it's too bad he can't get any cooperation from the U.N. and the Russians" ... A man with a briefcase to a companion in Civic Center restaurant: "At first, I thought he was a congenital idiot but then realized he was really a do-it yourself idiot."
MISCELLANY -- Hollywoodians are talking about writer Hal Kanter's wonderfully ribald ribbing of Jack Hellman in observance of his 25 years with Variety, at a Brown Derby lunch ... People keep asking about the cryptic markings on personalized Bank of America checks. They have something to do with a new cancellation processing system soon to be started ... Jim Cagney had to learn to smoke so it looked natural for his portrayal of Adm. Halsey in "The Gallant Hours." He doesn't. Halsey is rarely without a cigarette ... AlbertoDiaz, unofficial alcalde of Belvedere, is plumping, and boy, is he overweight, for a National Tortilla Week.