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Matt Weinstock, Aug. 5, 1959

August 5, 2009 |  4:00 pm

Aug. 4, 1959, Comics

Russian Dancers

Matt Weinstock Audiences who saw the Russian dancers at Hollywood Bowl over the week end remain enchanted by their agility and precision. Meanwhile, the Russians, although friendly, remain an enigma.

There was, for instance, the thing Tom Cassidy of KFAC, who narrates the bowl events, ran into while walking along the corridor under the stage.

As he approached a dressing room he heard an odd sound coming from the open door. As he walked past he glanced in and saw and heard half a dozen male dancers chanting in unison the incongruous phrase, "Only you can prevent forest fires!"

He could only guess that the Russians, in traveling about the country, have picked up the line and are using it to try to improve their English. But he got the impression that they didn't know what they were saying but were merely imitating an inscrutable phrase out of undisciplined America because they liked its sound.

Aug. 4, 1959, Deathbed In any event it's a tribute to the power of American advertising.


THE TV stations continue to grind out the reruns in which bare-breasted, war-painted, bow-and-arrow-shooting Hollywood Indians harass the grim settlers who have invaded their lands.

Mike Molony ran into a different kind of drama the other day while having a cooling drink in the San Carlos Hotel bar in Yuma. A handsome young Indian, strictly Joe College, came in and said to the bartender, "Want um firewater, with beer chaser -- ugh!" Obviously he was a regular of the place and this is his way of kidding the palefaces.


Tell we not in mournful numbers
Of the tax hikes I must pay,
Let me revel on in ignorance
Till that dratted payment day.


PROBABLY nothing will come of it. But humor writer H. Allen Smith (latest book: "Don't Get Perconel With a Chicken") started something on CBS radio a few days ago that bears watching -- a crusade against finger snapping. It seems to be on the upgrade.

Worst offenders, he said, are girl singers who apparently don't know what to do with their hands. It is possible they were overly impressed with Charleston dancers in their youth.

"On the dance floor," he told Mitch Miller, "I understand they are now snapping to Strauss waltzes. And I heard of an American girl standing on the sidewalk in London while a funeral passed. The band played a dirge and she stood there and snapped."

All those who disapprove of synthetic enthusiasm will please prepare to view with alarm.


ANOTHER word game has cropped up in the always provocative Rocky Mountain News of Denver. This one was devised by Vincent L. Eaton of the Library of Congress in Washington. The idea is to figure out new definitions for old words. Examples:

INCOMPARABLE -- A yarn you tell the tax collector.

SOLECISM -- Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc.

MARIGOLD -- A chorus girl's ambition.

SURREPTITIOUS -- Waffles, pancakes and the like.


ITEM NO. 38 -- In the list of government surplus property for sale by bid at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard is, "Sale, with carrying handles. No serial or ID numbers. Closed, cannot be opened. Condition: Used, poor."

So if you're thinking of jumping off a pier and want to stay down, John Threlkeld says here's the buy of the week.


AROUND TOWN -- Eeriest sight any 7:40 a.m., says Harold Mallon, is coming upon the 707 jets at International Airport on their way to the gate as they cross Sepulveda Blvd. at bloodshot eye level . . . During a preview of a movie in which the muscular hero takes up his spear against a huge dinosaur a man in the audience yelled, "Don't kill it, you fool! They don't make them like that any more!" Brought down the house.