Tag Archives: 1960s

Why You Should Watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) (Or Settle Less To Get More…Maybe)

Moon River, 3.5 readers. Moon River.

I wrote a review about this movie awhile back but I am too lazy to post a link to it. As lazy bloggers go, I am one of the laziest there has ever been…except for those bloggers who are so lazy they never even start blogs that are read by only 3.5 people. Those bloggers are truly the laziest.

But I digress. This movie is old but IMO, it holds up. It’s about growing up and how sometimes we have to settle for less to get more. Sometimes we have to abandon far fetched dreams in order to cling to the real success that is all around us.

Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) is a Manhattan socialite, always invited to every party. Her only means of support come from a) bilking dates out of money for the washroom, because apparently in 1961 you had to pay to poop (she would run out the back door without bringing back the date’s change and/or never made change because she never pooped in the first place) and b) delivering coded messages in the form of “weather reports” between the mafia and their imprisoned in Sing Sing don, though whether she understands the gravity of what she is doing is debatable. Spoiler: She probably does.

Holly’s great dream in life is to one day be a trophy wife, to land a big fish of a husband who is rich and able to pay for all of her needs and wants and desires so she can just have fun and live a happy, carefree lifestyle.

Ironically, her new neighbor, Paul Varjak (George Peppard) is, in a way, living the life Holly has always dreamed of, though he doesn’t enjoy it. Paul is a struggling writer but has won the “patronage” of a wealthy older woman who pays for his apartment and all of his expenses, under the auspices that she is a patron of the arts and believes in Paul so much that she wants him to be able to focus on his dream of writing that great mindbending, once in a generation novel that becomes the toast of the literary world. (But really, the underlying deal is that Paul is her personal man candy and has to give her the old badoinkity doink whenever she snaps her fingers.)

SIDENOTE: If any wealthy older women want to strike up a deal like that with yours truly, I’m all ears. Your sponsorship of all my living expenses will help me focus on writing my Toilet Gator novels, to the literary world’s benefit and I mean, if you’re a 5 or higher I guess the old badoinkity doink can be arranged.

Back to the movie. As Holly and Paul become friends, they realize the love they have for one another is pure and better than anything they could hope for, yet they must find it in their hearts to give up their long held dreams in order to grasp the real love right in front of them.

This means that Holly must abandon the notion of being a rich man’s kept trophy wife. This premise becomes more and more likely as Holly’s dates become increasingly boorish, leading her to include that it is unlikely that a rich man who would be OK to marry a woman who is only in it for the money would be anything but a miserable brute who would boss her around and try to control her.

This also means that Paul will have to, horror of horrors, abandon the arrangement he has with his older grand dame, say goodbye to his hope of spending years on writing a fantastic novel, and GASP get a day job! Ack!

From there on, it’s a will they or won’t they scenario. You don’t want them to abandon their dreams, but you don’t want them to abandon their love either. Ultimately, for their love to work, they’ll both have to become 9 to 5 working stiffs and lead a middle class life. Their pie in the sky dreams will be dashed but they will have their love which is real.

So ultimately, the film is an argument for settling for less to get more and I can tell you, 3.5 readers, that I settled a long time ago and…I wish I hadn’t. I really regret it. Maybe I shouldn’t. But that’s the human condition. We grab hold of something real in lieu of something we might grab tomorrow and then rather than appreciate what we grabbed we start thinking, “Well, what if I had waited another year? Would I have gotten what I wanted?”

Maybe Paul would have written that great novel if he had just kept badoinking that old gal for another year. Maybe Holly would have one day met that rare, one in a million rich man with a heart of gold willing to be her personal ATM machine while not trying to control her comings and goings and doings.

But maybe they would have also just grown old and alone. Maybe the old rich lady would have found a younger struggling writer to patronize and kicked Paul to the curb. Maybe Holly would have never found a rich man and would have just ended up living in her apartment all alone forever.

You never know, 3.5 readers. You only know how your choices worked out. You never get to learn how the paths you didn’t take would have worked out, so try not to wallow in regret…or do. It’s a free country.

But above all else, remember to settle because it will make you happy…but also, it might not, so I guess, don’t settle and keep shooting for your dreams.

Do whatever. It rarely matters anyway. I mean, seriously, Audrey and George are long dead so nothing we do matters in the grand scheme of things. All we are is dust in the wind as the song goes.

SIDENOTE: It was fun to see George as a young man because I only knew him as Hannibal, the leader of the A Team when I was a kid. George didn’t settle for less. He went all in on his acting dreams, was the leading man in this movie and then was rewarded later in life by having to don a parachuting lizard costume in a TV show as an old man. So, it worked out for him. I assume he enjoyed it. Maybe not. He’s dead so I can’t ask him.

DOUBLE SIDENOTE: Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Holly’s Asian neighbor is awful. I know it was 1961 but even so, you’d think one person on the set would have been like, “Dude, WTF?”

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BQB’s Twilight Zone Reviews – S3, Ep. 30 – Hocus-Pocus and Frisby

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Lying can get you in a lot of trouble, 3.5 readers.

Gas station owner Somerset Frisby (Andy Devine) is an epic teller of tall tales.  Some people might embellish or exaggerate their accomplishments but Frisby outright lies.  Gadflies hang around the station all day long just to laugh at his whoppers – from how he single handedly won World War I, to his thirty-something advanced degrees (he claims to hold doctorates in all the sciences) and his many inventions.  Mention any device and he’ll tell you he invented it.  Celebrities, politicians, captains of industry, so he says, all consult him regularly, why, Henry Ford even contacted him for assistance in constructing one of the first car engines.

While the townsfolk think he’s a goof, a duo of passersby take Frisby seriously…perhaps a little too seriously.  They kidnap the liar and whisk him away to a spaceship, where they remove their human masks to reveal their alien forms.  They’re intrigued by Frisby’s “accomplishments” and they want to take him to their home planet in the hopes his allegedly brilliant mind will solve all of their problems.  You see, these aliens have never heard of “lying” before so they take everything they hear as the truth, which makes me think this episode might have influenced Ricky Gervais’ “The Invention of Lying.”

As goofy as the show may seem, every episode of “The Twilight Zone” comes with a moral lesson.  Here, it’s don’t lie, or rather, don’t write checks with your mouth that the sum of your experience can’t cash.  Perhaps none of us run around telling everyone that we won wars and hold over thirty degrees, but maybe we embellish once in awhile and doing so could come back to bite us.  Saying you can do something you can’t in a job interview, for example, could leave you looking pretty stupid when you get hired and fail to deliver.

It’s funny, as I watch this show I have spotted many influences on pop culture that I never realized were there before.  There are a number of episodes where I can see an impact on movies, TV, comedy, parodies etc. that came later.

Do you know that old Will Ferrell Saturday Night Live sketch where Will and friends would gather around a bar and tell tales about their amazing friend, Bill Brasky?  Bill Brasky did this, Bill Brasky did that, etc.  Notice how Will and whoever joins him has crooked teeth and flushed faces.  For the longest time, I always thought that was just a random choice to make them look like dummies but now I figure that’s got to be an homage to Andy Devine aka one Mr. Somerset Frisby.

Have you ever gotten into hot water by claiming you can do things you can’t?  Discuss in the comments.

EDIT: I searched the Internet and couldn’t find confirmation that the Bill Brasky sketch was influenced by Frisby but come on, the similarities between Frisby and the Brasky buddies are pretty obvious that it makes me think these sketches were an homage:

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RIP Adam West – 1960s Batman

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.  You know, after a while, I decided I wasn’t going to write about every celebrity’s death.  Unfortunately, they happen often, and talking about it just makes me sad.

But this is a nerd blog and Adam West is an icon to nerds everywhere.

When I was a kid, I loved Batman.  The Michael Keaton Batman movie came out in 1989 and I became obsessed with the idea that maybe a man could become a superhero without any superpowers but rather, just a lot of money and training.

The training would be easy to find, I thought, and what kid doesn’t automatically assume that he’s going to be a billionaire the second he becomes an adult?

Oh well.  My Batman plan didn’t pan out, although I did become the owner of a blog read by 3.5 readers, so I’d say I broke even.

After school, I would watch reruns of the old 1960s Batman TV show.  I’m not sure as a kid I got the humor.  The writing seemed hacky and even as a boy I remembered scratching my head and thinking, “Bat Shark Repellant?  Really?”

I also was incredibly confused as to why every episode ended on a cliffhanger where Batman and Robin would be put into some kind of intricate killing device set up by the evildoer, only to easily break free in the next episode.  One wonders why the villain just didn’t pull out a gun and blast the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder, but I suppose that would have been anti-climactic.

All I know is that even though you knew they were going to get free, that dramatic voice announcer asking “Will Batman escape this time?  Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel” always got me to tune in to the same Bat channel at the same bat time.

But I loved the show, the bright colors, how it looked like a comic book had been brought to life, complete with the “Biffs” and “Pows” flashing on screen during every Batman vs. henchmen scene.

It was only as an adult that I realized a) the writers were goofing on the comic book genre and b) it was the 1960s, a time when adults were expected to put away childish things and comic books were considered the ultimate in silly kid stuff.  Attempts to portray Batman as a serious crimefighter would have fallen flat.  Therefore, the only way Batman could have succeeded was as a wacky, campy show for kids.

Adam West played the role perfectly, being very serious as Bruce Wayne/Batman, saying ridiculous things in a completely deadpan style, as if you were the one who is an oddball for thinking it is weird that Batman keeps a hefty supply of Bat Shark Repellant on hand at all times.

In later years, Adam West found a resurgence as his fans got older themselves.  He was cartoon-ized as the Mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island on Family Guy, again called upon to say things that are hysterical in a voice that says, “I don’t think the Mayor realizes this is hysterical.”

One thing to keep in mind is that without the 1960s Batman show, all subsequent Batman films and possibly other comic book superhero films, TV shows may not have ever happened.  The Hollywood suits had to be shown that comic book fans would follow their favorite characters to TV and film, and West paved the way.

He will be missed.

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TV Review – Mad Men (2007-2015)

Dun dun…dun dun…dun dun….dun dun…cartoon silhouette of a man falling out of a window combined with violin music.

Hard drinking, chain smoking 1960s advertising men and Christina Hendricks’s jumbotrons = a compelling historical drama.

BQB here with a review of Mad Men.

3.5 readers, I like to consider myself an educated person. I read books and shit after all.

But few shows brought to life for me the women’s rights struggles as this show did.

Ironically, that’s not what the show is about but it is what I’ll probably always remember it for.

The set-up – Don Draper (Jon Hamm) lives the life of a free wheeling, perpetually fornicating Madison Avenue advertising executive (aka he is a “Mad Man.”)

Because its the 1960s, he’s pretty much free to boink any babe he wants and just tell his wife he had to stay late at work if she asks any questions.

In fact, his comrades at the firm pretty much do the same thing.  His boss, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and his underling Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) rival Don in their hard drinking, smoking, and extramarital affairs.

We often look to the past as simpler, more innocent times yet this show does put on display things that were commonplace in the past that would turn a head today, the most glaring example that everyone at the firm has their own fully stocked bar in their office and walking around the office with a cocktail in one hand and a smoke in the other happened all the time.

Good luck trying that today.

The formula is pretty standard:

  • Don cheats on his wife because he was once a poor bum who never thought he’d amount to anything and now that he is on top and the world is his oyster he feels this driving need to drink, smoke and boink as much as possible before his life is over.
  • Extramarital boinking is fun for five minutes but then he realizes family is the real deal, that one night stands will never bring him the long lasting happiness that being a family man will.
  • Don decides to straighten up only to start boinking again. In his defense, women just throw themselves at him so it is hard to avoid the boinking. It is easy for me to say that I’m not an evil boinker since no one is offering to boink me.
  • Don’s colleagues at the firm all experience the “be faithful to your spouse vs. boink while you can” conundrum.
  • Along the way, we learn a lot about the history of commercial advertising, how some of the advertising campaigns that fool us into buying crap we don’t need got started and continue today.

There are times when the show seems tedious, like it is going nowhere.  I get the main premise, i.e. love the one that’s loyal to you because the side action will never be as loyal.

If I didn’t bear a striking resemblance to a gargoyle, I would take this to heart and tell the side action to take a hike. Alas, I am too hideous to attract side action.

But maybe I’m the lucky one. Maybe Don would have been better off if he weren’t so damn handsome and having so many women throwing themselves at him, demanding that he be unfaithful.

I mentioned the women’s rights movement earlier.  So, what I noticed is that Betty (January Jones) who is super hot and frankly, would be enough for me (I’d be racing home from the office to get all up in that) basically has to put up with Don’s bullshit.

She’s a housewife. No money. No career. No job prospects. If you’re a 1960s housewife and your husband cheats on you, your choices are a) put up with it and lose your dignity or b) leave and be poor because the best job you’ll be able to find is waitressing if you’re lucky and also you’ll lose the kids because your husband has the money to hire a lawyer and you don’t.

So thanks a lot, Don, you big time douche. Dudes like you who had no idea how good you had it created a world where women had to take charge and alas, I don’t have January Jones waiting for me when I come home now.

Aside from the man drama, you also have Joan (Hendricks) and her enormous sweater cannons, which are basically characters in and of themselves and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) paving the way for women in business, showing what working women had to go through.

Throughout the series, we see Peggy go from mousey secretary to female Don Draper while Joan must navigate her way through a sea of perverts who want access to her sweater cannons on her quest to be taken seriously as a businesswoman.

All seven seasons available on Netflix. Set your TV to widescreen mode so you can take in Joan’s chest rockets in their entirety.

Seriously, its like watching a movie when you the theater is packed and you have to sit in that damn row that’s right up against the screen.  You have to look to the left to see the left boob then crane your neck to the right just to see the right boob.

Very stressful.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Top Ten Mad Men Series Finale Predictions

10.  Some random business guy enters the room to talk about business.  You’ve paid so little attention to the business side of the show that you can’t tell if this is a new character or if he’s been around since the first episode.

9.  Don dies.  Wakes up to find his vision of Heaven is to be surrounded by women who are cool with him cheating.

8.  Spin-off:  Roger and Don move to Hawaii to become private detectives.  AMC next fall – “Sterling and the Drape!”

7.  Flash forward to the future.  They’re all in the 90’s, decrepit and old.  “Internet marketing?  That’ll never go anywhere!”

6.  Meanwhile a middle aged Peggy sees the Internet as the next best thing, invests, becomes uber rich.

5.  Joan remembered as the leader of the hot women’s right to be taken seriously in the business world movement.

4.  You suddenly remember there are other people on the show besides Don, Pete, Peggy, Joan and Roger.  What happened to them?  Oh well, who cares.

3.  Megan’s cover of Zou Bisou Bisou ranks at the top of the charts.

2.  Don quits the ad game to become Super Dad.

1.  Roger gets a bionic heart, continues peddling ads till the end of time.

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