Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, Dec. 30, 1959
December 30, 2009 | 2:00 pm
Pappy Coates Cases Learning With Kids
Feeling good all over, today. In this age of neurotic juveniles and delinquent parents, I, at least, have met my responsibility as a father.
Maybe you don’t know “Where Are Your Children, Tonight,” but I know where mine were, last night.
They were with me, getting a firm foundation in their religious training.
While other youngsters were out carousing in poolrooms, dancing in dance halls and lounging in front of pizza parlors whistling at girls, mine were in the balcony of Fox Wilshire Theater.
I took them there to see “Solomon and Sheba,” a wall-to-wall, silver-screen, religious epic about two nice kids in love. In living color.
Bloated though they were with hot buttered popcorn and box after box of Black Crows, my children emerged from that theater with shining faces at the knowledge they had gained.
And I learned a thing or two myself.
The way I had always read it, the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon was an elaborate but routine social call.
She came bearing gifts of spices, precious stones and gold. She had a few summit conferences with him. They became good platonic friends and she left, carrying with her gifts of spices, precious stones and gold.
That, according to my book, was all there was to it. Her visit didn’t start any wars. There were no earthquakes. No pagan orgies. No intrigue.
But, I must admit, the version I read was in a pretty old book. The new, revised United Artists’ edition tells quite a different story.
What my kids learned was that Solomon was a bit of a rake who wore a jazzy toupee which he miraculously managed to keep from going askew in his vigorous, passionate displays of jujitsu with the Queen of Sheba, who talked like Chef Milani and had a fixation that she was going to be smothered if she wore any attire above the waist.
They learned about battles that never took place. And they heard about goings-on between Sheba and Solomon that even the wise men who wrote the Bible never heard.
That’s about all, except, oh yes! She becomes pregnant with Solomon’s child. And then finally, having clearly overstayed her welcome, she goes home.
It’s not the Bible. But it’s box office.
And that brings me to my next point. I’ve got a little plot for a quickie which could be a real sleeper, if we don’t use any name performers. It’s about David and Goliath, see? And this Bathsheba. Now, they’re both in love with her. But Goliath, is like, you know, a regular Vic Tanny. And David is one of those 97-pound weaklings who always come through when the chips are down.
Then we’ll take the bundle we make on that and we’ll do a Civil War thing. It’ll be about Grant. How when he takes Richmond, he meets charming Dolly Madison. You follow me?
Socko for the South
Then there’s this big scene at the climax. We film it right at location at Appomattox. Lee surrenders his sword. But Grant shakes his head. He refuses to take it. You get the picture?
Then he makes his impassioned speech that he cannot accept Gen. Lee’s sword because in all truth the Union Army didn’t win. As far as he’s concerned, it really ended in a draw.
I know. I know what you’re thinking. But let’s be practical. We don’t want to ignore the whole southern market, do we?