David Bruce: The Funniest People in Movies — Audiences, Autographs, Automobiles, Awards


• When Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight premiered in London, it was a great success. Mr. Chaplin was present, and after the film was over, he walked out on the stage and said “thank you” to the audience. However, a woman in the audience said, “No! No! Thank you!” Soon all the members of the audience were thanking Mr. Chaplin.

• Mario Van Peebles’ New Jack City contains a scene in which a character accepts drugs. When this scene was shown at a theater in New York City, an African-American man stood up and yelled at the screen, “Just say no, man!” Mr. Van Peebles says this is one of the best things he has witnessed in his life.


• Groucho Marx once sat for a caricature for the Brown Derby, a famous Hollywood restaurant on Vine Street. When the caricature was finished, he autographed it, “To Al Levy’s Tavern — the best restaurant on Vine Street! Groucho Marx.” Al Levy’s Tavern was part of the competition, so the manager of the Brown Derby tore up the caricature. Years later, Groucho was asked to sit for another caricature for the Brown Derby, and he agreed — provided that the manager wouldn’t censor his autograph. This time he wrote: “To the Hollywood Brown Derby — the best restaurant on Vine Street, but only because Al Levy’s has gone out of business.”

• Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti comes from Modena, Italy, where people make sure not to give celebrities special treatment. Paul Newman visited Modena twice, where he ate in public restaurants twice. Both times, no one asked him for his autograph. He marveled, “What a polite city — no one bothered me.” However, he couldn’t help but wonder, “To interest the people of Modena, who do you have to be?”

• A young boy once asked comedian W.C. Fields for his autograph. Mr. Fields glared at the boy, then said, “Go back to the reform school, you little nosepicker.”


• Wilson Mizner was an expert at deflating the pretentious. Once, he went to a Hollywood movie premiere where the fans were admiring the fabulously expensive limousines of the stars arriving at the theater. Mr. Mizner, however, arrived in a beat-up Ford. The driver of the car handed the keys to a haughty parking attendant who sneered at the car, then asked Mr. Mizner, “What shall I do with it?” Mr. Mizner said, “Keep it,” and walked into the premiere.

• Very early in his career, Lou Costello went to Hollywood in an unsuccessful attempt to break into the movies. He was so impoverished that he couldn’t afford blankets, so on cold nights, he slept between mattresses. Later, he couldn’t afford to rent a room, so he used to sleep in any unlocked car he found at night.


• Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart was made a Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserve, something that angered Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who believed that Mr. Stewart was unqualified. Discussing the promotion with such people as the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Chief of Staff, she asked why he should be made Brigadier General and was told he deserved it because of his performance in the movie Strategic Air Command. Senator Smith was aghast and said, “Then why you don’t make June Allyson a Brigadier General for playing the female lead in Strategic Air Command?”

• When Felicity Huffman won the Best Actress award at the Independent Spirit Awards for her performance as a transsexual in the movie Transamerica, she recounted a story about a grip working to correct some malfunctioning equipment. Perched precariously on a ladder, he muttered, “This f**king film better win a f**king award.” Ms. Huffman then held her award up and said, “Here’s the f**king award.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Christy Lynn Band — “Goodbye on My Mind”


Music: “Goodbye on My Mind”


Artist: Christy Lynn Band

Record Company: Aldora Britain Records

Record Company Location: Rothley, England, UK


“Spoil My Party is the name of this week’s compilation. The title comes from a track by Anthony’s Attic, a psych pop band from Germany. Confusingly enough, a different song from the group is included on this album. We like to keep you on your toes! We also welcome back Doghouse Roses, Americana-tinged folk rock from Scotland, and Pavey Ark, an indie folk collective from Hull. As always, please download, listen loud, dig deeper with your discoveries, and support Aldora Britain Records and independent music. There are 22 songs in total, so you are sure to uncover at least a few gems!”

“AB Records is an e-zine and record label that promotes the music and work of authentic independent or underground artists from all around the world. Originally established in 2013, they revamped themselves in 2018 with a brand new approach. Their first weekly compilation, aptly titled THE SECOND COMING, was released in late 2019. They now also release original singles, EPs and charity projects.”

Price: £2 (GBP) for 22 songs by various artists

Genre: Folk. Alternative. Various.




Aldora Britain Records