Matt Weinstock, Dec. 5, 1959
Three days a week Edgar Allen Jones Jr. rushes from UCLA, where he is a law prof, to ABC-TV studio, where he puts on a robe and becomes Judge Edgar Allen Jr. of the program "Day in Court."
He has presided over the camera courtroom for more than a year, during which he has heard approximately 600 cases, ranging from adoption to murder. The program, incidentally, is an outgrowth of "Traffic Court," over which he also presides.
The actors, who sometimes reach such realistic emotional pitches that watchers think it's for real, are rehearsed in their parts but Jones isn't. He ad-libs his decisions, based on the testimony. Sometimes he reverses the anticipated verdict on some quirk of the law, giving the show unexpected spontaneity. His decisions are the high point of the show and are usually accompanied by a "lecture" to the defendant or plaintiff, known as "the hearts and flowers." By the way, Jones in real life isn't as grim as her appears.
Through it all Jones must be on solid legal grounds. His law students keep trying to trip him up, arguing he made a wrong decision. They haven't won one yet.
FOOTBALL NOTES -- Herb Eder, former UCLA student taking graduate work at LSU, writes that Coach Paul Dietzel asked students at an assembly to pray for the Bruins to defeat Syracuse today so maybe the Grangemen would be dethroned from the No. 1 spot and LSU move up . . . As Bob Bowden passed, a road crew on Malibu Canyon Rd. had "Caution. Men at Work" signs posted and two flagmen 50 feet apart were warding off motorists as one workman shoveled gravel on the shoulder. That's really protecting the passer.
I'm hypnotized by pack-
Lift each flap 'til my back's
Line behind thinks I'm the
But I don't care, I'll get
SCARLETT O'HARA, who takes them off provocatively at the Follies, is piqued about a singer here who is using the same name, also her picture in ads. Of course, it isn't, her real name either. But stripper Scarlett claims priority. She has been using the name for seven years and she says, actually read "Gone With the Wind."
THE UPROAR has already started over Stanley Kramer's film, "On the Beach," and doubtless it will get louder when it is premiered simultaneously all over the world Dec. 17. I saw it at a press preview and it's easy to understand why.
It's the chilling story, based on Nevil Shute's novel, of atomic doom. Someone probably thought he saw something on a radar screen, scientist Fred Astaire muses, and pressed a button. And so the innocent survivors, wait in Melbourne, Australia, for the radioactive cloud to smother them. You leave the theater comforted vaguely by the double-entendre Salvation Army banner, "There Is Still Hope, Brother."
ONLY IN L.A. -- A young woman seeking a divorce, which she said would be routine and uncontested, asked lawyer Isadore Moidel how much it would cost. When he told her, she said, "I can give you $10 now and I'll be in with the rest on Dec. 19, 1960." Why then, he wondered. "Well, I'm going to the bank now to start a Christmas savings account," she said. "I'm giving myself this divorce for Christmas."
FOOTNOTES -- Yes, that is the Grant Fought service station on Wilshire Blvd. in West L.A. Understand, however, he's a very peaceful fellow . . . Ed Brasloff, magazine photographer who recently returned from a trip east, reports there's a Garbage Can Cafe on Highway 66 in Missouri and a dress shop on W 57th St. in New York that has a sign, "Se habla espanol. We also carry half sizes."