Category Archives: Dinner At Eight

Not everything is visible

A few weeks ago at work, something happened that I didnt exactly feel thrilled about, but decided to give it a pass at the time, but then yesterday, to misquote Jean Harlow in Dinner At Eight, “I was reading an article yesterday, and…” discovered that someone else at work had also suffered a similar issue, which for want of a better term, I shall call ‘Invisible Disability’.

The shameful thing, for which I blame the fact that I was reading it between several phone calls at work, is that I cant remember her exact issue. All I can remember is that someone called her out at work, over a disability that most of her colleagues knew about, and that he either didnt want to accept, which I think it was, or was the one person in the office who didnt know, but either way, she was rightly distressed by the events, and I dont blame her in the slightest for being so.

Mine, funnily enough, I can remember. I arrived at work, and headed for the lift, to get up to the first floor. I can just about cope with standard stairs, though even then, I dont tend to tackle them unless I really have to. No, that doesnt yet stretch as far as using Eric’s stair lift at home, but other than that…I tend to be practical. Down isnt as bad as up, but Bradford Interchange is still the only place (other than home) where I tend to do that, but only because there is only 1 small lift, which has actually been out of order for quite a while, but anyway…

Oh, and workplace is an old mill building, those steps are large! So no go, either way, believe me! So yes, I use the lift, but then again why shouldnt a (partially?) disabled old lady do so?

Fine, what happened, I can hear you shouting! There was one other man waiting for the lift by the time it arrived, having been outside for a smoke. Anyway, he started asking me why I was using the lift, and why shouldnt I use the stairs. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt, explained the situation (lets face it, my brace is hidden under clothing), and he wasnt impressed. So, I showed him the brace, same reaction. But agreed, I shouldnt need to have to explain why I was using the lift in the first place.

But you know, the reason I still nearly reported him, he got off at the first floor as well! Admitted he was just using the lift because he couldnt be bothered to go up the stairs. Anyway, rather than asking him why it was fine for his lazy self to use the lift, but not a disabled lady, I just walked/hobbled away before I erupted in his face, and let off the verbal backlash.

Strangely enough, he’s avoided me ever since then!

So yes, people, before any of you comment about a ‘lazy person’ using the lift, instead of using the stairs, just stop and think, there may be an unseen reason why they cant use the stairs, before putting your foot in your mouth. Not that it seemed to concern him, but anyway… Just please, dont let it be you, next time!

Right, video time. Some old Genesis for you, with as apt a title as I could think of.

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Knee issues, and a need for a generous benefactor!

So fine, the last 3 days have generally been quiet, mainly due to the state of my knee (stiffness) after the tumble I had, but given I’m actually running out of time now, and need to get a few places, I’ll have to grin, and bear it, I guess? Today is the only day I havent actually been out, but not been going mad either. Well, if money was no object, I might have gone mad yesterday, but more on that at the relevant point.

Friday, I had planned to go out, but I knew I wasnt going to go far. Yes, the knee was sore, so any serious trips was out of the question. So I did some reference work in the morning, planning to go down into Hollywood “proper” for a late lunch at least, and maybe do a bit on the strip, as it has to be done at some point. The beauty of the bus service up here, by Dash, is that you can follow the progress of the bus at all times. So, when I see it at a certain point en route, I head out for the bus stop, to catch it. Which is fine, until the ‘old lady’ pulls up a little stiff on the way there, and as she’s about to cross the road to catch it, she sees it going down, on the other side of the road, missed it. And no, I wasnt going to wait 25 minutes (or so) for it to return. So instead, I just headed up the hill, and ate at the local cafe up there instead. Then I went shopping, came home, and that was it. Well, I might have watched some baseball, but otherwise…

Yesterday, I did get out, and I got to where I planned to get to, as well. Down town LA, there was a vintage clothing fair, so I went to investigate. As someone used to these things costing a couple of pounds to get into, at most, the entry fee of $15 was a bit of a shock. But hey, this is the US, I’d gone down there for this, so…I went for it. I guess the difference between my normal purchases (vintage look), and the genuine vintage stuff, unsurprisingly, is the price! A look at a couple of nice looking items quickly confirmed I wouldnt be buying anything at those prices! The main delight, I found this, in pink, quite literally. Fredericks of Hollywood, so really quite an item.

Jean ready for bed

Given the original was an Adrian design, and Fredericks didnt actually exist until 1947, its not the same one, but matches it almost exactly. Yes, I loved it, and even got to put the gown on, and it was wonderful! Oh, the cost, a mere $375 lol! So unless I can find my own Dan Packard, I’m not going to own, or wear it, but…oh goodness, it was wonderful. It made the trip, and entry cost worthwhile at least.

Today has ended up being a stay at home day. There is no bus service, its a mile-mile and a half into town each way, and I’m pretty sure my knee would have objected very strongly to that. There were a couple of movies I considered, but I decided to play it safe, probably wise.

The snag is, I’ve realised I’m beginning to run out of time, and still got 4 trips I want to do! So I’m going to have to ignore the knee, and just get on and do it! In truth, if I could find a benefactor/sugar ‘daddy’, so that I could stay on a little longer, I’d love it, but not going to happen. I should see the 1st game of the World Series, but the 2nd game, I’ll be flying, and the rest will be in the silly hours of the morning in the UK, so…Yes, I know, not going to happen, but…

Right, finally, the video. Yes, that lingerie item, as featured in Dinner At Eight. I know, I wish…

Dinner At Eight (1933)

This posting is an added extra bonus for my readers, as part of the Classic Movie History Project Blogathon, wonderfully run by Movies Silently, Once Upon A Screen, and Silver Screenings. Well, fine, thats their Twitter tags, I know them by other names too, but for you…that will do.

So, in no great shock horror moment, I’ve picked a Harlow movie to review. To be honest, it was a toss up between this, and Bombshell (where Jean pretty much plays herself) for my choice, and Dinner At Eight won out, probably because of the closing line, at her expense.

Its said that MGM tossed a pile of stars at this movie, and it shows. 2 Barrymore’s amongst many, and of course, Jean Harlow. Funnily enough though, for me, its none of them that steal the movie, its Marie Dressler, as Carlotta, and Wallace Beery, as Packard who do that.

It is a Pre code movie, and it shows. In that half the characters are having illicit affairs, and just about everything else goes too. For those readers who dont know what I’m talking about, prior to 1934, things were a bit more “relaxed” as to what was permitted in movies, than was for the next 30 years or so. The other thing you can tell, is that its set in the Depression era, as most of the characters are either down on their luck, or heading that way.

Yes, most. The Packard’s are the newly rich, and I suspect not entirely in a lawful way, but anyway…Everyone else seems to be struggling with money, or loves, or…something! And irony, the 2 people who said dinner is being held for, go off elsewhere instead!

Jean, as Kitty, is sassy, tarty, and having a sly affair with her doctor. Beery, as her husband, makes the perfect foil for her. But one stands out amongst others, and that is Marie Dressler, as Carlotta, the down on her luck actress. She plays the part with relish, and of course, at the end, just before they go into dinner, shoots Kitty down in flames wonderfully. This is it!

There are tales that it was either added to the script at the last moment, and no one told Jean, to get a natural reaction. Equally that Dressler simply ad libbed the line into it, but I would be amazed if that was the case, given the way films were made back then.

The sad irony of this movie, is that Dressler makes a comment about death, and how even the young cant stop it coming, after a failed, drunk actor committed suicide. Why ironic? Well of course, as is well known, just 4 years later, the very young Jean Harlow was dead, at 26, due to kidney failure, which wasnt curable back then. But also, just 2 years after this movie was made, Dressler was dead too, from cancer, at the age of 65.

If you want to see an excellently cast, superb movie about life in the Depression era, then you should try to see this. Its not actually (at time of writing) available in full on You Tube, but it can be cheaply picked up at Amazon, or Ebay, and other places as well I’m sure.

Yes, there is crossover with Harlow, and Kitty, a character, to put it mildly. But if you want a light hearted biog of Jean Harlow, go watch Bombshell. Its not strictly true, but its a closer match than either of the films made about her in the 60’s. Of course, it doesnt include the end of her life, but anyway…

Lastly, the video. Well, the song has the perfect title, so…