item 1 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†!… Things are going to be a little out of order today. You’ll see why. But back on 2/19, when I mentioned Brigitte Bardot’s little sister Mijanou, and the French actress Miou-Miou, there was something gnawing at the back of my mind. There was someone else, but I couldn’t think of who. Well, it finally occurred to me…Patachou! And Patachou was a French singer and occasional actress, actually I belief she’s still alive at age 92. And here’s a classic clip… Pata sings Irma. She was born Henriette Ragon, and her stage name comes from pâte à choux, a cream puff pastry at a cabaret-restaurant which she managed early in her career.
item 2 >>> Word Association up the Wazoo…Because Patachou reminded me of Piccola Pupa. She was a young Italian singer and actress “discovered” by Danny Thomas. He gave her a small roll on his sitcom, as “herself,” and she sang on Shindig, Ed Sullivan, Hollywood Place, etc. Even got a shot in the last Beach Party movie The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, singing “Stand Up and Fight.” But none of her records ever charted because, well, um, er…she couldn’t sing, see. So no, we won’t hear her on our Now Playing feature. But hold on…
item 3 >>> Back to France…There isn’t much on the internet about Ms. Pupa. Even Uncle Wiki doesn’t have a page on her, and that’s saying something. Apparently she retired from performing early on…and is now a grandmother and by all accounts a warm and gracious person who appreciates those who still remember her fondly. And what the heck, she was part of that whole crazy time, so God bless. But there’s even less info out there on French actress Poupée Gamin. The Internet Movie Data Base has just 3 citations…small roles in an episode of I Spy, the Roy Orbison movie The Fastest Guitar Alive, and as Dr. Vina the alien in one of the most boring scifi flops of all time, Journey to the Center of Time from 1967. But no biographical info at all…neither does TCM, nobody. In fact, I’m just assuming she’s French…I’ve seen 2 of her acting appearances, but don’t recall if she had an accent. Poupée Gamin can’t be her real name…poupée is the French word for doll (as is pupa in Italian) and gamin is a young boy, a street urchin. The feminine gamine was used in the 50s and 60s to describe a certain female type…thin, boy-like, wide-eyed, sexually mischievous…the ultimate example being Aubry Hepburn…and of course, it became a trendy fashion look for a while.
item 4 >>> OK, we finally get to…Now Playing!…Which is “Poupée Brisée“…aka “Broken Doll,” one of the more interesting Al Hirt cuts from the 60s. Poupee Brisee It’s on the 1964 LP “Cotton Candy,” and it has an unusual (for him) arrangement, with twangy guitars and a smokey, sinuous organ part. Produced by Chet Atkins, as were all his great RCA LPs, aided and abetted by the Anita Kerr Singers…neither contribution I appreciated at the time, but I sure do now!
item 5 >>> Would You Believe…that up until this very day, it never occurred to me to check out the origin of this fascinating tune. And I didn’t have far to look…it was a giant hit all over Europe for Johnny Hallyday (born Jean-Philippe Smet), an icon hailed as the “French Elvis.” Like Elvis, he branched out into acting, seen mostly recently in Pink Panther 2, but unlike Elvis, he’s still going strong. And here’s his original… Johnny’s Poupee
item 6 >>> Shifting Gears…Back on Valentine’s Day, I was mentioning precious gems and the unusual brown Smoky Quartz, as unusual for a ring as are brown-colored cars. But back in the day, brown cars weren’t completely unheard of, and tomorrow or the next day I’ll be featuring some. But one I found stood out…the Chrysler Traveler, said to have been available only in a brown-and-tan combination. One year it was Catalina Tan and Rossini Brown…the next Cream and Tobacco Brown, like that. It was produced in the Windsor line for 4 model years, 1948-51, and was never a big seller, with about 4000 built over the 4 years. The idea was to add station wagon utility to a sedan…the rear seat folded down, giving you 8 feet of cargo space thru the trunk, and it had those fancy wooden roof racks. And take a look at the “control panel”…wow! For a couple of years, DeSoto made a similar model called the Carryall.
item 7 >>> But Oddly Enough…For roughly that same period, 1949-53, Kaiser offered a similar model, also called the Traveler. Altho they probably sold one car for every 100 Chrysler did, so who cared? It had the same fold-down-seat deal, but unlike the Chrysler, it was a true hatchback in that the rear window also folded up for additional ease of access. For a couple years, stable-mate Fraser called theirs the Vagabond. The illustration on the left shows the typical exaggerated lines…the copper (brown?) car shows it’s true dimensions. Kaiser never made a station wagon, altho the “artist’s conception,” bottom right, is a doozie, nez pah?
item 8 >>> Upside-Down Bath-tub on Wheels…Oh, and I found this one too…from 1951-54, Nash took a back seat out of their station wagon and called it a Deliveryman. Seen here next to the Cross Country, with the fake wood just around the windows, remember?
item 9 >>> It Wasn’t Just the Age of Plastic…The Auburn Rubber Company went out of business in 1969, but all thru the 50s and 60s you could get rubber, not plastic, toys…especially cars and trucks. Do you remember playing with these? I do…that lady in the truck window rings a bell…
Back in the 1980s, National Lampoon magazine had a monthly feature where people would sent in pictures of funny signs..one of the last funny things I remember them doing. They called this group “To Spell the Truth.”
Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)
Resume at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com
Audio samples coming soon…or just check the podcasts…twc-rr really blows…