Tuesday, February 25, 2014


"A dry martini you always 
shake to Waltz time."
~ Nick Charles

It’s confession time...

In my 54th year of life on this planet, I am finally ready to confess that I am... [*gulp!*] ...“gay”. Is that OK? Will you still like me anyway? ... “Not that there's anything wrong with that”(?)

I’m sure this will come as a shock to most of you. Sorry about that.

In truth, it comes as a shock to me, too!

Over the last couple of months, I have fallen in love with a man. Prior to that, I had no idea that I was really “gay”.

The man I am in love with is named NICK CHARLES, and it was actually my Ma who introduced me to him back when I was about 17 years old.

Knowing I loved movies and that I wanted to become a professional actor, my Ma suggested I watch one or two of the ‘THIN MAN’ movies with her. ‘The Thin Man’ was a series of 6 movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. (Nick was a detective until he met, fell in love with, and married Nora, who had inherited a lot of money. After the marriage, Nick gave up the detective business – or tried to, anyway – to concentrate on his drinking. Unfortunately for Nick, life and his wife had a way of dragging him back into the detective business.)

I remember watching one or two movies from ‘The Thin Man’ series when I was about 17, kind of shrugging my shoulders and thinking: “I dunno. I don’t get it. What’s the big deal?”

Of course I was young and stupid then and I thought every movie ought to be like ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Ordinary People’. I really wasn’t intellectually capable at 17 of following a story (and grasping the humor) of a movie like ‘The Thin Man’, and the 5 subsequent installments in the series.

Where I work, they have a book and DVD library, and seeing some of ‘The Thin Man’ installments there, and remembering how much my Ma had loved them, I took a DVD home with me one night.

And that’s how I fell in love with Nick Charles (William Powell) and got on this TOTAL ‘Thin Man’ series kick! (I guess I’m old enough, mature enough, mentally sharp enough to “get it” now, as opposed to when I was 17 and “knew everything” but knew nuttin’ at the same time.)
‘The Thin Man’ series, a total of 6 movies, revolves around Nick and Nora Charles, their dog Asta, and the murder mysteries they always seem to get drawn into.

“Asta! You’re not a terrier, you’re a ‘police dog’!”
~ Nick Charles

Nick just wants to retire from detective work and spend his time drinking and socializing at fancy, uptown joints and dinner parties, but somehow murder always finds him - and when it doesn’t, his wife Nora pushes him into the next adventure. She’s madly in love with Nick and just wants to watch the way his mind – and fists – work. Nick looks like a second-rate used car salesman with that soft body and cheesy moustache, but you’d better not let his looks fool you: Nick is always at least 4 mental steps ahead of everyone else, and he can knock a man down like he can knock a drink down!

Nick Charles and W.C. Fields – probably the only two men in history who could have drunk ‘The League Of Soul Crusaders’ under the table!
“Shaken, not stirred” – what a weak line. Only a sub-intelligent society could embrace a quote like that when Nick Charles had a Martini line so much better!

And that leads me to something ELSE...

Brother Nappy and I watched the first ‘Thin Man’ movie tonight (yeah, we’ve been going out of order, due to availability), and at one point I said to Nappy that most Americonned People couldn’t even keep up with a movie like ‘The Thin Man’ today. We have been so dumbed-down as a society that what was common entertainment back in 1934 is sometimes way, Way, WAY too complex for modern American movie audiences.

Below are the movies in the series listed by title and year...


1: The Thin Man (1934)
2: After The Thin Man (1936)
3: Another Thin Man (1939)
4: Shadow Of The Thin Man (1941)
5: The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
6: Song Of The Thin Man (1947)

So far, Brother Nappy and I have seen numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5. Numbers 4 and 6 are currently at the very top of my NetFlix queue.

According to the consensus, #1 was the best and #5 was the worst. But, so far, Nappy and I agree that #2 is the best we’ve seen, and if #5 (when Nick Charles goes “on the wagon” because he’s visiting his Pa, who doesn’t approve of “drinking the juice”) is the worst, well... it was still pretty damned entertaining! It includes a scene where a bunch of ex-cons go running out of a house, each one cradling an infant in his arms! (That’s another running gag in the series: Nick Charles is such a likeable detective that all the criminals he “sends up the river” or “to The Rock” eventually find him again, after parole, to shake his hand and share a drink with him. Some classic sh!t here, Peoples!)

Below is a collection of ‘Thin Man’ movie trailers I found at YouTube. These trailers, while amusing, don’t even begin to hint at the wonderfulness of the ‘Thin Man’ movies.

The Thin Man series - Trailer Compilation

Nick Charles... I love you, man!
“Not that there's anything wrong with that.”

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


  1. A couple of weeks ago I happened to flip on in the middle of The Thin Man and watched it for a while. I decided that it was pretty funny and I'd really need to see this film from the beginning. I don't recall ever having watched one of these films in its entirety.

    They play them fairly regularly on TMC and I'll have to keep my eye out for when one is on again.

    Asta is a regular crossword puzzle clue and as someone who works crossword puzzles regularly I did know that much.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

    1. BOIDLEE ~
      I'm a bit surprised that you weren't already familiar with this movie series.

      Of course, I now "play" the part of a drunk more than I really live it, but... back in my 20s (and even early 30s), I really was a major boozehound. I think 'The Thin Man' series will appeal even more to people who once spent a lot of time on "the sauce". But the movies are delicious no matter what: the chemistry between Powell and Loy is wonderful, the scripts are full of clever banter, and there's just one humorous scene after another (that is when someone isn't getting shot or knifed to death). It's truly GREAT stuffs!

      What's funny is that where I work there's this woman who is REALLY into old movies - much like I am - and although I don't see her often due to my "graveyard" shi(f)t hours, when I do, we always wind up yakking 'Old Movies'.

      She and I will just toss out old movie titles and we're both always amazed that the other person has also seen that same - totally forgotten by modern audiences - movie.

      For example, she once mentioned the movie 'Cabin In The Sky' and she was absolutely astounded to learn that I had also seen it. (I replied, "I love Jazz music, so I have seen most of the old movies that feature great, old Jazz tunes".)

      Anyway, to get to the point, I ran into her a week or two ago and mentioned that I had (re-)discovered 'The Thin Man' series in our employer's library and told her how much I was loving it. (The library contained 3 of the 6 movies in the series.)

      She then mentioned to me that 'ASTA', Nick and Nora's dog, often comes up as an answer in crossword puzzles. I've never been a crossword puzzle kind of guy, so that was news to me. Funny that only a week or two later you are confirming on my blog what my co-worker had said.

      ~ Stephen

    2. I've been familiar with the movie series since I was a kid, I'm just not sure I've ever seen one of them. I may have, but in 60 years I've seen a lot of movies and don't remember. Wasn't there also a "Thin Man" TV show in the 50's. Seems like I remember one, but I'm not going to look it up right now.

      I have seen Cabin in the Sky which is also played occasionally on TCM. An interesting relic of that era with some good music.

      An A to Z Co-Host
      Tossing It Out

    3. LEE ~
      I'm not sure about a 'Thin Man' TV series. But these movies are really fun to watch.

      Yeah, they made quite a few movies pertaining to, or simply utilizing Jazz. I've seen all or most of them. I'd watch anything with Satchmo in it, or Mahalia, or Benny Goodman.

      I remember about 1993 I turned my co-worker friend Don onto the movie 'The Glenn Miller Story'. Well, he was a really big Jimmy Stewart fan to begin with, and he totally loved the movie,

      When he found out from me later that 'Little Brown Jug' was actually one of Miller's earlier recordings, as opposed to the way they portrayed it in the movie and used it as a story device, it about broke Don's heart. (Wish I'd never told him.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    4. So I had to look it up. The weekly half hour show on NBC starred Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk. Jack Albertson played Lt. Harry Evans. It was probably syndicated after that for me to remember it, but then again maybe I was aware of it when it first came on.

      At IMDB the list of guest stars is pretty lengthy and includes people like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, and Dan Blocker (Hoss from "Bonanza").

      I always enjoy those old films about the show biz greats but I do with they'd stick to the truth. I don't think there's that much of a need to dramatize the lives more than they really were. Although I guess sometimes they have to change some names due to legalities.

      And speaking of the old films with jazz, every now and then TCM will fill in extra time with old short films with performances by jazz artists. Some of those are really great. I'd like to have some of those on disc.

      An A to Z Co-Host
      Tossing It Out

    5. LEE ~
      Hmmm... that's all news to me.

      I haven't seen TCM in many years, so I don't know anything about the short films of Jazz performers, but I can tell you for certain that if they ever released them on DVD (a wonderful idea, by the way), I would certainly buy it.

      There aren't too many of those Old School Jazz people that I don't like. Never really cared for Tony Bennett's singing, and Sinatra is just OK in my book (if my Ma had a grave, she'd be turning over in it right now).

      But, man, Brubeck, Davis, Basie, Goodman, Getz, Adderley, Webster, Peterson, Blakey, Miller, Holiday, Ramsey Lewis and on and on... I LOVE THOSE CATS!

      I still dig a lot of the Blues singers too, like Wolf, and Muddy, and Hopkins, etc.

      "I started out on Rock 'N' Roll but I soon hit the harder stuff" (to paraphrase Dylan).

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  2. I love 'The Thin Man'. I haven't seen one if the movies in years but remember them fondly, although I didn't know there were six (I'm pretty sure I've only seen the first two.)

    I agree with you and Nappy completely about the complexity of these stories and the detail included in the movies. I particularly enjoy the way they tend to tie up ALL of the loose ends and don't expect the audience to make those extreme leaps of faith (or departures from reality), that are so common in movies today.

    From the first time I saw that little 'police dog', Asta, I've wanted a Wire Hair Terrier. Oh and, BTW you can't have Nick Charles, cause I want him. Ha!

    POSTSCRIPT - It doesn't change a thing.

    1. >>... Oh and, BTW you can't have Nick Charles, cause I want him. Ha!

      Sorry, Honey, but Nick has already divorced Nora and he and I are driving to SanFranCrisco next weekend to be married by a Progressive "Phriekst".

      However, I'm pretty sure our Phriekst wouldn't mind marrying you to Asta, if you think you could love a dog until death do you part.

      Keep in mind that 1 Human year is like 7 dog 'ears, so chances are you'd outlive Asta and would then be free to move on later to marry a cat, or an alligator, a chipmunk, or even an Obama (should you become totally desperate).

      ~ Stephen

  3. Well, this isn't going to come as any shock, but I haven't seen The Thin Man - any of them.

    However, I do understand "falling in love" with various characters. It happens to me on a regular basis. They are sometimes men and sometimes women. Sometimes movies. Sometimes TV shows. Often books.

    The only problem I can see with naming your dog "Asta" is that you would constantly have to repeat it for people....
    "Oh, your dog is so cute. What's the name?"
    "I don't get it. Why would someone name their dog Aster?"
    "Not As-ter. As-TA."
    "No. Let me spell it. A-S-T-A."
    "Oh, I see. What's an Asta?"
    Then, I'd say something snarky like, "What's a (insert that person's name)?"
    And it would all deteriorate from there. Not that it would have very far to go. And not that there's anything wrong with that...

    1. ROBIN ~
      Yeah, that dog's name could be a pretty good conversation starter. Not a GOOD conversation, but a starter anyway.

      Speaking of movies, have you seen any of those I sent yet? And if so, what say you? Good, bad, or so-so?

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    2. Arnold could play Nick in the remake and decide to get a new dog...

      Hasta la vista, Asta!

    3. I often don't come back and read the response to the comments until the next post.

      <<<---Speaking of movies, have you seen any of those I sent yet?

      Yep. Mom and I watched Born Yesterday. Really, really liked it. I can see why YOU like it so much. Judy Holliday' Billie has some of THE BEST lines. That bit at the end when she and Paul confront Brock was loaded with one good one after another. I laughed and laughed. And that ending line to the police officer "Look it up" just nailed it. Not sure which one we'll watch next...

    4. Well, you're off to a good start then because, if you recall, I said that 'BORN YESTERDAY' was the ONLY one I sent that I couldn't be absolutely sure you'd like.

      It's a total classic from Hollywood's 'Golden Era'.

      Two moments in the movie that I've always loved are... when the Senator asks Billie if she is one of his constituents... There's this long silent pause... and then Billie starts leaning over to one side, and you (the viewer) are thinking: What the hell is she doing?

      But then the camera angle widens and you see she is being pulled toward the dictionary like it's a magnet and she's caught in its power.

      That is a brilliant piece of directing there!

      And then that scene where she and Brock are playing gin. She's just annoying the crap out of him while also kicking the crap out of him. I think it's one of the all-time greatest movie scenes utilizing the most minimal amount of dialogue.

      Well, pleased to know that so far my recommendations are on a good track. Please keep me in the loop as you go along, letting me know what you (and yer Ma) be thinkin'.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  4. Though I have only seen part of one TM movie as a yout', I do agree that most of today's movie watchers couldn't handle dialogue driven classics like they used to make. You have to be willing to think as well as be entertained.

      Yup! The 'Thin Man' movies have lots of characters and lots of things going on - one actually needs to concentrate and pay close attention in order to follow the plot twists. Plus, the witty dialogue is delivered quickly with lots of sly innuendo, and subtle, humorous references.

      Most of today's Americans do not have the mental focus to take it all in, because we have become used to very broad humor, and have been trained to expect to have our hands held and have everything explained to us in easy-to-follow ways.

      It's too bad. And I think that if 'The Thin Man' movies were brand new and released today, in living color, they would flop at the box office, never coming close to being the hugely popular movies they were back in the 1930s and '40s.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  5. I read Daschiel Hammett's book a couple of decades ago, but have never seen the films.

    Americans might surprise you a little, Stephen-films like The Matrix and Inception were box office successes that had pretty complex plots.

    However, they also were special effects-laden affairs.

    So maybe a remake called The Thin Man Versus The Avengers would need to be produced to get the box office draw.

    As for the witty dialogue-I'll have to agree with you, there. Americans won't get it unless it fits on a bumper sticker.


    1. LC ~
      I don't think I ever saw 'Inception', but I did see 'The Matrix', and I honestly thought about that movie while I was composing my comment to Brother Martin, and I wondered if maybe that disproved what I was saying.

      Upon further reflection, I concluded that it probably didn't, and here's why...

      I think the great appeal of 'The Matrix' was, like you mentioned, the special effects and all that ultra-phony martial arts crap that goes into most movies today because Americans devour that garbage like pigs eat slop.

      And I'd be willing to bet that a large segment of 'The Matrix' fans couldn't really even explain the underlying concept of it - they probably get confused and just enjoy all the fighting.

      If you were to rewrite 'The Matrix', utilizing that same concept, but approached it in a more sophisticated, intellectual way, and removed most of the action scenes, I think 'The Matrix' would bomb at the box office.

      And I don't think Ahnold could pull off the "suave, smooth, super-sleuth" character, but I'll grant you that was a pretty good line you came up with there. Bravo!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    2. Did the first Matrix have all of the fighting? I remember that from the second film (never made it thought it), but may have just put it out of my mind from the first.

      That's why I added the comments re: the effects-hard to tell what actually drove the public's interest.

      But even the film "Sixth Sense" got a lot of attention-all story.

      I am going to rent the first film (not included in my Amazon Prime) to see if it holds up to my memory of the book.

      And as for your doubts about Ahnold's acting prowess, well all I can say is...

      "Ah'll be bach!"

    3. LC ~
      Yeah, there was a LOT of that fake martial arts crap in the first 'Matrix' movie (the only one I ever watched).

      I'm sure I must have told you this before but... for years, whenever someone would hear me expound on my Spiritual beliefs, they would respond by saying it sounds a lot like 'The Matrix', and then they'd ask if that's where I got it. I'd tell them - truthfully - that I had never seen 'The Matrix' and didn't know the first thing about the movie.

      Well, after having this same discussion so many times, I decided to find out for myself and borrowed a VHS copy of 'The Matrix' from a person we both knew at Cigna.

      I put it in the player and within 5 or 10 minutes all that ridiculous martial arts fantasy nonsense had started up and I thought: I can't possibly put myself through 90 minutes of this crap.

      So I took the tape out and returned it.

      Close to a year later (and after hearing several more times from various people that my Spiritual belief system sounded like the 'Matrix' concept) that same guy upgraded to DVD and simply gave me his VHS copy of the movie to keep.

      So one day I finally decided to tough it out and watch the whole damn thing, and when it was over I was thinking: Wow! Pretty cool! The concept that movie was based upon really was a lot like my Spiritual philosophy.

      In the end, I actually liked the movie, not because of all the action scenes and the ridiculously overblown martial arts nonsense, but because I enjoyed and could so identify with the general concept the movie was based on.

      I have no idea how much the first 'Thin Man' movie follows the original book story, but I can tell you that it is very comedic, and somehow I can't imagine Dashiell Hammett including much humor in a book. So you may find the movie to be more "lightweight entertainment" than the original book it was based on.

      But if you go into the movie willing to be entertained, even if the story has been considerably altered for movie audiences in the early 1930s, I can't imagine that you won't enjoy it.

      As I said in this blog bit, it seems the consensus is that the first installment in the series is considered to be the best, but Nappy and I both liked #2 the best. But then again, that was the first one we saw, so perhaps the surprise of it, and the newness novelty played a part in our assessments.

      But... so far I've seen 4 of them and have greatly enjoyed every one. Let me know later what you think of it, please.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Undergrround'

    4. You realize, of course, that William Powell has been dead for thirty years....which makes you a gay necrophiliac....

      Is that "out of the closet" or "out of the crypt?"

      I read the book so long ago, I do not know if I will catch the modifications for the screen. In fact, when I started reading the post, I was thinking of "The Big Sleep" which is of course Raymond CHandler (Phillip Marlow).

    5. >>... which makes you a gay necrophiliac....

      Not that there's anything wrong with that. ...Right?

      I've seen the movie adaptation of 'The Big Sleep' a couple of times, and I liked it. Well, you know, ANYTHING with Lauren Bacall in it. Sheesh! That was one hot woman.

      But I vaguely remember something I read somewhere years ago (couldn't begin to guess where though), about Chandler's story 'The Big Sleep'.

      Someone in the entertainment industry read it and said it didn't make any sense at all; that there were huge gaps in the plot, etc.

      So this person asked Chandler about that and the author said something like, "I know. It never made any sense to me either." Ha! I love anecdotes like that.

      Then there's the one where some interviewer asked John Ford what it was like to direct John Wayne and Lee Marvin in 'Donovan's Reef', and Ford replied: No one directed that movie. I was just on the set to try to keep those two guys sober enough to recite their lines.

      And then there's the story of John Wayne bringing a cow up to the balcony of his hotel so that he, and Ward Bond, and his other drinking buddies could have fresh milk in their Irish Coffees. (That's apparently a TRUE story, by the way!) And that's exactly the kind of thing 'The League Of Soul Crusaders' would have done... had we known where to get a living cow in Santa Monica.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  6. After reading some extremely pro-gay literature a dear friend sent me, I've come to the conclusion that I must be gay too. See, this book was all about the love of a man and how it's often misinterpreted into being something that it's not. The writer teaches us how to love this man properly, and now that I've read it, I love this man too. Which makes me extremely gay.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    I've actually had a shortage of things to watch lately, so something like The Thin Man is right up my alley. I'll let you know what I think when I see one. So far the McCarthy recommendations have not failed me...

    ...so far.


    1. 6-B ~
      The book you described does not sound like something I would enjoy reading. I'd rather live gayly than just read about the gay life.

      What was the title of this book? 'Brokeback Outlaw', or something like that?

      Hey, anytime you have a shortage of things to watch, just let me know, because I'm full of it. Recommendations, I mean. I have 101 movie recommendations.

      Have you seen 'The Man Who Would Be King' yet? If not... what're you waitin' for?

      So, there's already 7 movie recommendations for ya: 6 installments of 'The Thin Man' + 'The Man Who Would Be King' = 7.

      Let me know when you need more,
      'cause I still got 94 more.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      By the way, don't think the review isn't going to get written and posted. I have saved the 'Surfin' Savior' picture, and am just waiting for the right timing for it.

      BOTB tomorrow. Then probably a political mishmash thang. And then the review just before the next BOTB. Timing is everything, and I want the review to appear directly below a BOTB post (for more exposure, hopefully).

  7. Nope, it wouldn't matter a bit... but NOW I understand the clip Robin dedicated to you... (A perfect choice!)

    "The Thin Man"... yes, fabulous movies, although it's been many years since I saw them. Matter of fact, I think a lot of the old movies are fabulous. The dialogue in some of them is so nuanced and clever. Not that some of the modern movies don't have some good lines, too, but they're more "special effects" driven.

    1. SUSAN ~

      >>... Nope, it wouldn't matter a bit...

      It would to ME!

      Yes, my favorite movies are the old Black & Whites and up through the 1970s, maybe very early '80s. Anything later than, say, mid-'80s, there are very few I really love.

      The well went dry and Hollywood has, for the most part, run out of good ideas. Thus we keep getting remakes of old classics, movies made from cartoons and superheroes, and special effects action-martial arts crap with unbelievable characters.

      The movie industry today is in a sad, sad state.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

  8. Hey Stephen:

    Believe it or not, I thought there were only 5 Thin Man movies and I thought I was an expert -- having seen all of them multiple times. I need to keep an eye out on NetFlix for the 6th installment.

    By the way, there was a television series back in the '60's called The Thin Man which starred Peter Lawford (of Rat Pack fame) and Phyllis Kirk.

    Cheers. . . ~The Aard~

      Oh, for shame! I look to you as the expert I can trust on all things 'Black & White'.

      I haven't seen the final installment yet myself, but expect to have seen it a week from now.

      What a surprise and a pleasure to find the Flyin' Aard flyin' in to leave a rare comment.

      Feel free to fly in any time, Pal.

      Yak Later...

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'


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