Third Point in the Triumvirate

I read, yesterday, that Ann Savage, who created one of my three favorite film femmes fatales – Vera of the noir masterpiece, Detour – died on Christmas Day, at the age of eighty-seven.
By all accounts, the actress, whose most recent screen appearance occurred in 2007, in the highly regarded Canadian feature, My Winnepeg, was a far cry from the vicious Vera, the hitchhiker who proves the undoing of perennial loser Al Roberts (Tom Neal).

There's Barbara Stanwyck's steely Phyllis Dietrichson of Double Indemnity, Jane Greer's cold-blooded Cathie Moffat of Out of the Past, and Ann Savage's savage Vera: the Femme Fatale Triumvirate. Though no less lethal than her noir sisters, Vera is the only one among the deadly three to display any vulnerability. She is the crudest; unlike Phyllis and Cathie, she has no intriguing, beguiling veneer – but ultimately she arouses sympathy, even as she inspires repulsion.

Al Roberts in Detour:

That took me by surprise and I turned my head to look her over. She was facing straight ahead so I couldn't see her eyes, but she was young, not more than twenty-four. Man, she looked as if she'd just been thrown off the crumbiest freight train in the world. Yet, in spite of this, I got the impression of beauty. Not the beauty of a movie actress, mind you, or the beauty you dream about when you're with your wife, but a natural beauty, a beauty that's almost homely because it's so real.

Ann Savage was indeed "not more than twenty-four" when she played Vera. Nice acting, kid.

Who Comes Down Your Chimney – Santa or Santy?

I have been fascinated by the word Santy – a variant of Santa, as in Santa Claus – since first I heard it, some years ago, uttered by
the most recognizable child actress of all time, in one of her films. Why Santy and not Santa? I wondered. Encountering Santy again, in other vintage movies, but still not in real life, I imagined the word to be a colloquialism fallen out of favor in these homogenized times in America. (Since forming this conclusion, I have happened upon, in song and verse, the rather rustic-sounding "chocolate [substitute flavor of your choice] sody" for "chocolate soda," which seems confirmation.)

Whence Santy and does anyone in this day exercise this pronunciation option? This from "The History of Santa Claus" at

In the 1600's, the Dutch presented Sinterklaas (meaning St. Nicholas) to the colonies. In their excitement, many English-speaking children uttered the name so quickly that Sinterklaas sounded like Santy Claus. After years of mispronunciation, the name evolved into Santa Claus.

According to Wikipedia, Santy Claus is one of a few designations used by the Irish for the jolly, bearded one.

I kind of like the air of informality in "Santy," with its
t softer in emphasis than that in "Santa." I find myself keeping track, in my movie-viewing, of who says "Santy" and who says "Santa":

Clark Gable says "Santa" in It Happened One Night
Ginger Rogers says "Santy" in I'll Be Seeing You
Kay Francis says "Santy" in In Name Only (this floored me, by the way)
Shirley Temple and James Dunn say "Santy" and Jane Withers (playing Shirley's inappropriately named nemesis, Joy) says "Santa" in Bright Eyes
Betty Grable and Robert Cummings trade choruses on Robin and Rainger's jauntily romantic "You Started Something" – Betty singing "I believe in Santa Claus" and Bob singing "I believe in Santy Claus" – in Moon Over Miami

In popular music, (the ill-fated) Joe Harris baritones "Santy Claus came in the spring" in Benny Goodman's version and Cliff Weston tenors "Santa Claus came in the spring" in Tommy Dorsey's version of the winning Johnny Mercer concoction.

A New Deal-era Santy
(Some viewers may find certain images, reflecting racial stereotypes, offensive)

For whom are you leaving out milk and cookies tonight?

"[A] force of nature"

Davy Graham,
"The Complete Guitarist"
November 22, 1940 - December 15, 2008

Davy Graham, virtuoso guitarist, chief exponent of the DADGAD tuning system, melder of geographically native musical styles, innovator and fearless improvisor, has died – this I just learned from my fellow web journalist and friend, who, incidentally, introduced me to this astonishing artist.

Those initiated, listen to "Anji" ... and then work your way through the recordings; those not, discover the miracle that is Davy Graham.

Your Hand in Marriage?

[...B]ut, you see, marriage is a very tricky business. People have impulses, compulsions, drives, let us say, towards escape – escape from loneliness. They seek that escape in the companionship of someone else and, lo, just when they think they've achieved it, they find they've put on their own handcuffs.
Sydney Greenstreet as Dr. Mark Hamilton in Conflict

Though it's not in my nature to knock something I haven't tried, I, a bachelorette, incline toward this belief held by Sydney Greenstreet's Dr. Mark Hamilton – the character himself a bachelor.