Matt Weinstock, Jan. 28, 1960
January 28, 2010 | 4:00 pm
Leap Year Pitch
For a while it appeared we might tiptoe into 1960 without arousing the usual corny, anachronistic nonsense about leap year and the girls chasing the boys, object matrimony. No such luck. The subject was merely dormant. Now it has busted loose all over, not merely among TV emcees and night club comedians specializing in double-entendre.
A press release from Chicago traces the origin to Scotland where in 1288 it was decreed that ladies "of bothe highe and lowe estait" could propose during leap years. If a man refused he was fined, unless he could prove that another woman had a prior claim on his affections. The purpose was to put money in the treasury and take spinsters off the welfare rolls.
And where do we learn all this? In an encyclopedia the press release is plugging. Yes, even leap year is only an excuse to sell something.
AS ALWAYS DURING EPIDEMICS, the City Health Department has received dozens of calls and letters with suggestions for halting the flu.
One man stated he never got the flu, although everyone around him did, because he was very careful about keeping flies off his person. This he accomplished by chewing raw garlic.
Another man was surprised the health people had never heard of his preventative -- putting a slice of raw onion in each shoe every day.
ONLY IN L.A. -- After searching vainly through the stationery stock in a notions store, David K. Williams asked the clerk if she had any graph paper. She assured him it was on the counter he'd just inspected. He said all the paper there had lines running only one way. "Well, on our graph paper," she said proudly, "the lines only run one way!"
He's only a clothier's
A part of the window trim,
With a wooden sneer to
My suit looked good on him.
"PEOPLE DON'T have fun anymore," a man I know deplored the other day. Exception, please. Publicist Paul Snell, with a log record of practical jokery. He used to order 20 bales of hay delivered anonymously to friends' homes and things like that.
His most recent effort had to do with his wife's yearning to raise baby chicks. He got over 20 of them and arranged with the poultry dealer to exchange them weekly with day-old chicks without her knowledge. She couldn't understand for months how they could keep eating and not grow.
YESTERDAY I received a cigarette lighter (Made in Japan) with an ad for a Las Vegas gambling joint all over it. An accompanying business card from publicist Hank Kovell has imprinted on it the horrid word "Payola," indicating a new era of truth and honesty may have arrived. But thank goodness I remain pure. The lighter doesn't work.
AHEM DEPT. -- The public address system at the Sports Arena has outlets in all sorts of nooks and crannies so no one will miss a thing. Which will explain the case of the nervous woman who rushed out of the powder room during a recent event. She heard a man's voice and thought she was in the wrong place.
AT RANDOM -- A Santa Monica lady named Margie, who lets her parakeet Tweet (its one word vocabulary) fly around the room, reports it crawls under the covers with her these cold nights . . . Another TV cliche rapidly rising to the top 40: "I didn't say that!" . . . Among the most frustrated persons in town is a newsman recovering from a bad cold. He went to the Smell-O- Vision movie, "Scent of Mystery," the other night and didn't smell a thing . . . Comedian Ray Hastings took a group of youngsters to the mountain last week end and as they neared the summit one boy said, "Hey, if we go much higher we're going to run out of sky" . . . A lady named Sylvia reports that a Lido Isle dress shop which for a long time has advertised a "Slight Sale" now announces a "Beeg Sale."