Archive for January, 2013

Fred Hembeck on Jenny Wren and a Phantom

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

from Fred Hembeck

Being the semi-literate Beatles fan that I am, upon learning that the central character (and murder victim) of 1932’s “The Phantom of Crestwood” was named Jenny Wren, I immediately assumed Paul McCartney must’ve been up late one night watching the tube when he was inspired to write a similarly named tune for his 2005 release, “Chaos And Creation In The Backyard”. Then I went to Wikipedia and learned that Jenny Wren was also a character in a Charles Dickens novel I’d never heard of, “Our Mutual Friend”. Oops. Well, at least I’m pretty sure I know where “Magneto and Titanium Man” came from… (By the way, what a crazily unique movie! Apparently NBC ran a radio serial of the same name, left off the final chapter, invited listeners to submit their own solutions to who killed Jenny (with 6000 1932 dollars divvied up amongst the winners), and then come see this RKO Radio motion picture to see WHO–NOT necessarily using the winning entry–did the dirty deed! All of this is explained by a radio announcer standing in front of a full orchestra before the title credits commence! A decent mystery with a fair amount of atmosphere (dig that death mask!) Ricardo Cortez and Karen Morely head the cast, ably abetted by the adorably named Richard “Skeets” Gallagher. And every time, early in the picture, Cortez gave out the fake name, “Mr. Fonbons”, I had to laugh, as it sounded an awful lot like Don Martin’s “Fonebone”! )

from Thursday January 24 2013