Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008


by Ogden Nash

Hopeful each morning I arise
And splash the cobwebs from my eyes.
I brush my teeth and scrape my chin
And bravely at the mirror grin.

Sternly I force myself to say,
Huzza! Huzza! Another day!
Oh happy me! Oh lucky I!
Another chance with life to vie!

Another golden opportunity
To rise and shine in the community!
Another target for my aim!
Another whack at wealth and fame!

Almost I feel within me stir
A budding force of character,
Who knows, indeed, but what I might
Perhaps have altered over night?

Today may be the day, who knows,
That sees me triumph o'er my foes:
Gluttony, simony, and sloth,
And drawing on the table cloth;

Perjury, arson, envy, pride,
And renting tales of homicide;
Barratry, avarice and wrath
And blowing bubbles in the bath.

The differences this day may bring!
Perhaps I'll work like anything;
I'll travel to my tasks on foot,
And in the bank the carfare put,

And buy a haircut when I need it,
And if I get a letter, read it.
And every eve improve myself
by inching through the Five Foot Shelf.

The things I want to do I won't,
And only do the things I don't.
What lordly aspirations dawn
The while I draw my trousers on!

Oh beamish morning, big with hope
And noble tasks with which to cope,
If I should fail you, do not sorrow;
I'll be a better man tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Old Man of the Mountain

Noun 1. old man of the mountain - whitish hairy plant with featherlike leaves and a few stout stems each bearing an especially handsome solitary large yellow flower head; mountainous regions north central United States. Synonyms: alpine sunflower, Hymenoxys grandiflora, Tetraneuris grandiflora.

The Old Man of the Mountain, also known as the great stone face, was a series of five granite Granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire New Hampshire, that, when viewed from the correct angle, appeared to be the jagged profile of a face. First discovered in 1805, the outcrop was 1,200 feet above Profile Lake, and measured 40 feet tall and 25 feet wide. It collapsed in 2003
High above the Franconia Notch gateway to northern New Hampshire there is an old man. He has been described as a relentless tyrant, a fantastic freak, and a learned philosopher, feeble and weak about the mouth and of rarest beauty, stern and solemn, one of the most remarkable wonders of the mountain world. The Old Man of the Mountain may be viewed from Interstate 93, northbound, in Franconia State Park from several cutout parking areas. The area is well marked and you will have no trouble locating the viewing areas. Southbound on Interstate 93, take Exit 2 into the Canon Mt Tramway parking lot and follow the signs for the "Old Man viewing area".

The old man of the mountain
1933 animated short in the Betty Boop series, produced by Fleischer Studios. Featuring special guests Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, the short was originally released to theaters on August 4, 1933 by Paramount Productions. Calloway, who voices all of the characters in the cartoon save for Betty herself (voiced by Mae Questel) performs all of the music in the cartoon, including three of his own songs.

The Old Man of the Mountain
The legend of Hassan-ibn-Sabbah
Rick Lewis

The legendary Old Man of the Mountain was Hassan-ibn-Sabbah, the founder and grand master of a radical Islamic sect in the 11th century. His followers were viewed as heretics by other Muslims; according to the hostile reports of their contemporaries, they ate pork and held all their women in common.

Hassan's devoted followers were prepared to follow his orders unquestioningly, even when this would result in their own certain deaths. He frequently sent them on missions to kill hostile princes, the generals of armies sent to oppose him, and anyone else of whom he disapproved. His fanatical, highly-trained and highly-disciplined killers would blend with the enemy population disguished as merchants or soldiers, awaiting their opportunity. They would then sneak into their target's encampment or palace, and dispatch him with their long daggers. They were known as Hashishin from their habit of smoking hashish, either to generate visions of paradise or to give themselves courage before their (usually fatal) missions. This is the origin of the English word “assassin”.

After earning the undying enmity of most of the rulers of central Asia, Hassan-ibn-Sabbah was forced to retreat with his followers to the inaccessible mountain fortress of Alamout, which was reputed to be impregnable. There he lived to the enormous age of ninety, dying in 1124.

Hassan was succeeded by other grand masters who, like him, used assassination as a political weapon in an attempt to impose their ideas upon Islam. In the 13th century they made the mistake of tangling with Genghis Khan, who in 1255 sent a vast army to capture Alamout, finally stamping out the sect of the Assassins.

Click here to read more how Richard I used the Old Man of the Mountain assassins to remove his opponents.


After reading this article by Isaac Asimov I started to search the origin of the name "the Old Man of the Mountain". It was interesting enough so I decided to share it with you.

Assassination - Isaac Asimov,
Published in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, October, 1989

Assassination is defined as murder done by stealth, or from ambush, as opposed to a death in open fight, in battle, in a duel, or in a barroom brawl. Somehow, though, assassination has come to be associated with political murders, with the killing of public figures.
In fact, when a public figure is killed, a political motive is usually found for it.
For instance, Harmodius and Aristogeiton were two young Athenian lovers in 514 BC. At the time, Athens was ruled by two brothers, Hippias and Hipparehus, and the Athenians were restive under them. Apparently, Hipparchus was the hypoteneuse of a love triangle and Harmedius and Aristegeiton decided to solve the problem by killing the brothers. They managed to kill Hipparchus, but Hippias survived, grew very nervous and became tyrannical. He saw to it that Harmodius and Aristogeiton were unpleasantly executed, for instance.
Hippias was expelled in 510 B.C., and the Athenians established a democracy. Harmedius and Aris-togeiton were then made into po
litical heroes, and the murder for personal reasons became an idealistic political killing. The grateful Athenians proceeded to put up statues to them as freedom-fight-ers.
In 336 Be, Philip of Macedon was getting married to a new wife. His old wife was going to be shucked off and his son (the later Alexander the Great) was to be disinherited. At the marriage feast, Philip was killed. Everyone thinks the first wife and son planned it. Purely persona, l, but, of course, it had a political effect.
Then there are political killings. When a political figure wins big, an angry loser may decide on revenge--so Marcus Brutus kills Julius Caesar in 44 b.c., and John Wilkes Booth kills Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
But how did all this come to be called "assassination"? Well, toward the end of the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks were doing very well. They beat the Byzantine Empire and took over most of Asia Minor. They also beat the Fatimids of Egypt and took over Syria and Palestine. The Turks and the Fatimids were both Moslems but of different varieties. The Turks were strong Sunnites, and the Fatimids were strong Shiites. The split between them came in 661, only twenty-nine years after Muhammad's death. In that year, Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, was killed. The Shiites supported Ali, the Sunnites opposed him, and the split between them has continued ever since right down to the present day, thirteen and a half centuries later.
With the Sunnite Turks winning big, the Shiites had to do something. The Ismailis were a group of Shiite extremists and one of them, Hasan ibn al-Sabhah, seized a valley in the rough country south of the Caspian Sea (in what is now Iran, as it happens). Ringed by mountains, it was virtually impregnable, and al-Sabbah (as well as each of his successors) became known as "the Old Man of the Mountain."
His followers were trained in absolute loyalty to the Old Man. It is said that he encouraged them to chew hashish, and then explained the drug-imposed hallucinations as visions of heaven--a heaven they would enter immediately, if they fell in the line of duty.
Because of this, the followers of the Old Man of the Mountain were called "Hashishim" ("hashish-smokers"). To Europeans, this became "assassins."
The method of operation of the new sect was simple, if terrifying. They did not act against the common people, or attempt to organize armies. They organized secret agents, instead, whose mission it was to kill rulers, generals, and leaders. They struck at the heart and were virtually unstoppable, since they knew they were going to heaven the moment they were killed while engaged in this task, and therefore made no effort to get away. A killer who is not in the least interested in getting away is almost sure to succeed sooner or later. It is only the difficulty of getting away that complicates most such plans. It is because of the activities of this sect that any political killing is now called an "assassination."
The prime targets of the Assassins were, of course, the Sunnite leaders, although the killers also aimed at those Shiites who were the wrong sort. (It is hard to satisfy an extremist.) Their first great coup was the assassination of Nizam al-Mulik, the vizier Seljuk, in 1092.
He was the most capable of all the Seljuk officials and without him, the kingdom split into fragments that began fighting each other. It couldn't have happened at a worse time, for in 1096 the Crusaders were on their way. They'd have been smashed if Nizam al-Mulik still guided a united Seljuk realm.
While Crusaders and Turks fought it out bloodily, the Assassins dashed nimbly in and out, aiming at both with grim impartiality. The Turks tried to crush the Old Man of the Mountain by military force, but they were easily held off once they entangled themselves in the wild mountain ranges. And while the Assassins defended their fastness, they established subsidiary strongholds in Mseopotamia and Syria. For a century and a half they kept up a unique reign of terror, and no ruler in the Middle East could sleep in security.
What happened to the Assassins? Well, they met their match. In 1206, Genghis Khan unified the Mongol tribes of central Asia and proved to be, perhaps, the greatest military genius of all time. Out of almost nothing, he created unstoppable armies, with a spy service, with communications, with mobility that wasn't matched until the mechanized armies of the twentieth century.
In 1255, a Mongol army under Hulagu Khan, a grandson of Genghis, moved into what is now Iran en route to the great city of Baghdad. They passed the Caspian Sea and they knew all about the Old Man of the Mountain and had no intention of fooling around. Hulagu sent his army swarming into the valley and up the mountains, and simply wiped them out, stronghold after stronghold. The Mongols weren't very pleasant, hut you had to admit they got the job done.
Se you see the role played by religion. You can offer hit men money but that leaves them careful. They want to live and enjoy the money. Offer them heaven and they don't care if they live.
It's not just the Moslems. During the religious wars in Europe, the Netherlands was fighting a long war for independence from Spain. The Netherlanders were Protestant; Spain was Catholic. The Spanish king, Philip II, an extreme Catholic, offered a reward for the assassination of the Netherlandish leader, William the Silent. On July 10, 1584, William was shot by Balthasar Gerard, a Catholic extremist.
Henry III was king of France at the time. He was a Catholic, but the exigencies of polities forced him to move into alliance with Henry of Navarre, a Protestant. That was enough. On August 1, 1589, he was killed by a Catholic extremist, Jacques Clement.
Henry of Navarre eventually became king of France as Henry IV. He turned Catholic in order to qualify, but that wasn't enough. On May 14, 1610, he was killed by a Catholic extremist, Francois Ravaillac.
I don't suppose that we'll ever be able to do anything about the assassination of political leaders. Four American Presidents have been assassinated and there have been failed attempts at several others.
In 1989, however, something new was added. A religious call went out to kill the author of a book that some people found offensive. It was complete with the offer of money and premise of heaven.
Now many books are offensive. One can refuse to read them. One can denounce them. One can demonstrate against them. I can easily (all too easily) imagine books that I would find so offensive I would join · marsh against them.
But it is wrong to attempt to force people not to read it, or use force against the writer. Think what a horrible precedent that would set. Any book, any book at all, is offensive to somebody Or other. If the present threat succeeds, it will encourage future threats of the sort. Think of what a chilling effect that would have on free speech. Even the United States wouldn't remain a haven. What is the defense against fanatics? It takes only one.
Will it become necessary for writers to weigh every word? Is this going to offend the baby-carriage manufacturers? Is that going to offend the pole-vaulters?
A certain well-known Cardinal denounced the book in question and said he would recommend that Catholics not read it because it offended another religion. And of course he was against the threatened murder. However, was he doing the right thing?
Since then, there has been a threat to blow up Dante's tomb be. cause in "The Divine Comedy," he placed in Hell some individuals that are revered by other religions. Would the Cardinal suggest that his flock not read Dante? Is he going to disown the Crusaders? Is he going to disown Philip H of Spain? And how about Torquemada? I find him offensive.
In other words, where does this sort of thing stop?

If you want a friend

It was then that the fox appeared.
"Good morning," said the fox.
"Good morning," the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.
"I am right here," the voice said, "under the apple tree."
"Who are you?" asked the little prince, and added, "You are very pretty to look at."
"I am a fox," the fox said.
"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince. "I am so unhappy."
"I cannot play with you," the fox said. "I am not tamed."
"Ah! Please excuse me," said the little prince.
But, after some thought, he added:
"What does that mean--'tame'?"
"You do not live here," said the fox. "What is it that you are looking for?"
"I am looking for men," said the little prince. "What does that mean--'tame'?"
"Men," said the fox. "They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?"
"No," said the little prince. "I am looking for friends. What does that mean--'tame'?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."
"'To establish ties'?"
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . ."
"I am beginning to understand," said the little prince. "There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . ."
"It is possible," said the fox. "On the Earth one sees all sorts of things."
"Oh, but this is not on the Earth!" said the little prince.
The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.
"On another planet?"
"Are there hunters on that planet?"
"Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?"
"Nothing is perfect," sighed the fox.
But he came back to his idea.
"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.
"Please--tame me!" he said.
"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."
"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."
"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.
"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."
The next day the little prince came back.
"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . ."
"What is a rite?" asked the little prince.
"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--
"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."
"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . ."
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"Then it has done you no good at all!"
"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added:
"Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret."
The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.
"You are not at all like my rose," he said. "As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world."
And the roses were very much embarrassed.
"You are beautiful, but you are empty," he went on. "One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you--the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.
And he went back to meet the fox.
"Goodbye," he said.
"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."
"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . ."
"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

From: “Little Princ” by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wild Is the Wind

Johny Matis

"Wild Is the Wind" is a song written by Dimitri Tiompkin and Ned Washington. The track was originally recorded by Johnny Mathis for the 1956 film Wild Is the Wind, and later covered by Nina Simone on the album Wild Is The Wind (1966).

Nina Simone

Love me love me love me
Say you do
Let me fly away
With you
For my love is like
The wind
And wild is the wind

Give me more
Than one caress
Satisfy this
Let the wind
Blow through your heart
For wild is the wind

Touch me...
I hear the sound
Of mandolins
Kiss me...
With your kiss
My life begins
Youre spring to me
All things
To me

Dont you know youre
Life itself
Like a leaf clings
To a tree
Oh my darling,
Cling to me
For were creatures
Of the wind
And wild is the wind
So wild is the wind

Wild is the wind
Wild is the wind

David Bowie recorded a version of it in 1976 for his album Station to Station. Bowie was an admirer of Simone's style, and after meeting her in Los Angeles was inspired to record the song for Station to Station.

In 1981, an edited version was issued as a single by RCA to promote the compilation ChangesTwoBowie. Despite relations with RCA being at an all-time low (he would only record the Baal EP for the label before signing with EMI in 1983), Bowie consented to appear in a video. This was a simple affair, featuring Bowie and the musicians performing the track in a circle, filmed in monochrome by David Mallet. The single reached #24 in the UK, and Bowie would perform the track on his Serious Moonlight and 2000 tours.

Seven years later

It was Wednesday seven years ago. I lived in Milwaukee, WI and worked in Kenosha 37 miles south. I was driving to work when I heard that the airliner hit a building in New York. My first thought was that every idiot can get a license today. I arrived to work. A few people were discussing the news, but no one knew what was going on. My colleague Dave Johnson saw on CNN news that another plane hit another building. We didn't understand how serious was that and we started joking about drunk pilot and ....

Two hours later my wife called me. She couldn’t get her aunt in NY on the phone. Her family is in Queens, close to Manhattan. That evening I saw it in the news. Horror... History was always some old event described in the book. That day I felt for the first time that I'm living the history.

Three buildings in the World Trade Center Complex collapsed. Excluding the 19 hijackers, 2,974 people died in the attacks. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 different countries.

I still remember next few days and brave actions by President Bush, NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and all New Yorkers. The New York City Fire Department lost 341 firefighters and 2 paramedics. The New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers, as well as a K9 dog named Sirius. Private EMS units lost 8 additional EMTs and paramedics.

US responded with actions against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. Popularity of President Bush went up to 83%. Today he is the one to blame for everything from hurricanes to price of oil and hard life of polar bears. For the last seven years we didn't have any terrorist attack in US.

Quote from Ann Coulter's article:
" By my count, roughly one in four books in print in the world at this very moment have the words 'Bush' and 'Lie' in their title. Barnes & Noble has been forced to add an 'I Hate Bush' section. I don't believe there are as many anti-Hitler books. As Bush has said, we have to be right 100 percent of the time, the terrorists only have to be right one time. Bush has been right 100 percent of the time for seven years -- so much so that Americans have completely forgotten about the threat of Islamic terrorism. "


Monday, September 8, 2008

Energizer bunny has nothing on this girl

OK, here's a question. What do you get when you mix Ginger Rogers, Doris Day, Lucille Ball, Drew Barrymore and energizer bunny?
Well.... it's a super star singer, dancer, actress, funny face.. the girl you have to love.
Here's a hint: Bob Hope called her once "a vitamin pill with legs."
Yes, it's amazing Betty Hutton.

I watch her videos, and wonder does she ever get tired. Can't she just stand there, look pretty and sing? She must be one of the first diagnosed with ADD. I don't think they spent any money on her choreograper. All that shaking, and jumping was so natural for Betty. It was swing era, and the jitterbug was a free (street) style of dancing. Betty was born for that. I can't stop watching her. She always leaves a smile on my face.

There was no one with more energy than Betty Hutton. She could out run Energizer Bunny. Her frantic, manic, comic style was totally unique. She was known as the "Blonde Bombshell" and "Bouncing Betty", and became the musical queen of Hollywood. She was beautiful, sexy, and a dynamo who could act, dance and sing better and certainly louder than almost anyone.

Life story that only Hollywood can make.
Betty was born Elizabeth June Thornburg in 1921 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Her father walked out when she was two and killed himself sixteen years later; her mother was a factory worker turned bootlegger turned alcoholic. When Betty was three, she and her five-year-old sister Marion began to sing for the customers, and, when Betty was eleven years old, the sisters sang in the streets and in other speakeasies for coins. They joined Vincent Lopez's band at 15. Glen Miller hired Marion Hutton away and she became lead singer of the Modernaires with the Glen Miller Orchestra. For a short while, Marion became the bigger star. In 1942 at age 21 Hutton was signed to starring role in The Fleet's. She made 14 films in 11 years during the 1940s and early 1950s, including Annie Get Your Gun for MGM in the role of Annie Oakley. Her career extended into the '60s, what with drugs, booze, bankruptcy, a failed suicide, and, eventually, God, it didn't get better. Married four times with three daughters, Hutton lived near Palm Springs, California until her death in 2007. None of her three daughters attended the funeral.

Time Magazine article, April 24, 1950

It was not an auspicious debut. Mom strummed the ukulele in the blind pig that she operated in Lansing, Mich., and out onto the floor came a skinny, freckled five-year-old named Betty June Thornburg, with her sister Marion, seven. While the speakeasy customers sipped needled beer, the blonde moppets sang and wriggled their way through Black Bottom and other favorite anthems of the year 1926.

"Mom didn't do anything real bad," recalls Betty Hutton, as larger audiences have since come to know the freckle-face. "How is a woman supposed to make her living with two kids when her husband deserted her? Mom just ran a joint on a small scale. We'd operate until the cops got wise. Then they'd move in and close us down, and we'd move somewhere else. Marion and I would entertain the customers by dancing and singing. We really lived that way until we were 12 and 14 years old . . . Things were really tough. At one time we were down to one can of beans."

When she could get it, Betty's mother, Mabel Lum Thornburg, took daytime work on the assembly lines in automobile factories at 22¢ an hour. For a time, after she and the children had begun to share a Detroit basement flat with two other families, she worked as a "tackspitter," tacking upholstery into car seats. She would come home at night "with nails in her fingers where she'd missed." Says Betty grimly: "I made up my mind then that no one—no one—would keep us like that."

No one has. Last week 29-year-old Betty Hutton was a $260,000-a-year movie star on the verge of her splashiest success. She was still going strong on the momentum she had picked up on the wrong side of the tracks. Her relentless determination to get to the top had flung her from speakeasies to street-singing to bandstands, then onto Broadway and into the startled public eye as the frenzied high priestess of a nameless chaos-with-music that has been wrongly called jitterbugging.

It has been nine years since she zoomed into Hollywood. All but bursting with vitality, she tore into her film career with a bellicose zeal and a tomboyish winsomeness that suggested a cross between one of the Furies and Little Orphan Annie. Last year, having made two duds in a row (Dream Girl and Red, Hot and Blue), she decided, probably correctly: "My career needed a jolt."

Plotting & Prayers. Within the fortnight, U.S. moviegoers will see the jolt her career has gotten: MGM's Annie Get Your Gun, 1950's biggest, costliest ($3,200,000) musical. The star: Betty Hutton. As something extra, Actress Hutton will pop up as co-star with Fred Astaire this summer in another brightly colored song & dance film, Paramount's Let's Dance. Though Hollywood's box office has been slumping, there are still surefire receipts in a lavish Technicolored musical—and not enough surefire cinemusical stars to go around. As the cinemusical girl of 1950, Betty holds just about as firm a grip on the immediate future as Hollywood can offer.

Impatient but determined, Betty had prayed, pleaded and plotted for the role of Annie from the time she saw Ethel Merman do it in the 1946 Broadway hit. She never doubted she would get it, even after M-G-M outbid Paramount, her home studio, for the film rights. With Judy Garland cast in the lead and shooting already begun, Betty still insisted on betting an M-G-M executive that she would play the part.

After 30 days of expensive shooting by two directors, MGM's Garland had a nervous breakdown, and the studio had to start again from scratch. Betty sent emissaries scurrying to MGM's Louis B. Mayer, who said: "We'd be silly to give the part to somebody on another lot." But after rummaging around among its own players, the biggest star constellation in Hollywood, M-G-M decided that it needed Betty just as badly as she needed the part.

It was a decision that audiences are likely to approve. Originally tailored to Broadway's first lady of musicomedy, Annie Get Your Gun demands a star with high-voltage showmanship and an earthy flavor. Betty Hutton, who is not remarkably pretty, by movie standards, nor a remarkably good singer or dancer, has a vividly unique personality in a town that tends to reduce beauty and talent to mass-produced patterns. Watching her in action has some of the fascination of waiting for a wildly sputtering fuse to touch off an alarmingly large firecracker.

Annie Get Your Gun breaks no new ground. But thanks to irrepressible Betty, Irving Berlin's fine ten-song score and a showmanlike production, it should leave moviegoers feeling that they have been roundly entertained. The picture sticks close to the original musicomedy book by Dorothy and Herbert Fields, takes all its music & lyrics from the original Berlin tunes. It loses a few laughs getting by the censor, as well as five of the show's lesser songs. It gains trom jettisoning a conventional romantic subplot and from the broader canvas of the screen.

Brimming with colorful costumes and extravagant, Hollywood-style Wild West shows, the film is a fictional embroidery of the romance and rivalry between Sharpshooter Annie Oakley and Crackshot Frank Butler (Broadway's Howard Keel). Annie, who can't miss anything she shoots at, eventually learns that You Can't Get a Man with a Gun. She gets him by learning how to shoot and miss.

Betty carries the show with such riotous energy and eagerness to please that she threatens to carry it too far. She plunges into her first two numbers like a bronco out of a rodeo pen, filling the screen with so much motion that it is hard to listen for the words—and impossible to ignore the singer. She lacks Ethel Merman's craftiness with comedy, but along with her unbridled vitality, she gives the role something that brassy Ethel Merman never attempted: she kindles the love story with poignancy, makes it seem something more sincere than a musicomedy plot. In a slow, sentimental number like They Say It's Wonderful, performed with breathless tenderness, she puts together the rare blend of singing and acting talent that makes lyrics carry emotion as well as melody. And, toward the end, when she bounces back into animal spirits to join Keel in Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better, her strident comic style and Berlin's flamboyant duet seem to have been made for each other.

"Hiya, Dollface!" Betty's all-out assault on an audience is a trademark that she carries into every appearance, public or private, that might conceivably make the world more Hutton-conscious and thus advance her career. Her clarionlike entrance into a restaurant ("Hiya, dollface! Hey, got my table?") is one of the digestive hazards of eating out in Hollywood. During a wartime bond tour, she stole the headlines in most of 20 cities from a trainload of more prominent stars by rushing to kiss the mayor on arrival; in one city she had to leap onto a police motorcycle to beat the rest of the troupe to City Hall.

When she is working on a picture, Betty makes it a point to be in bed by 9 p.m., turns out before 6. On the rare occasions when she is not playing to the crowd, she is likely to be quiet, moody, tortured by self-doubt. During the filming of Annie, she would telephone Director George Sidney at night: "Were you really satisfied with that take? . . . But you didn't smile at me very much. Are you sure you aren't mad at me?" Or she would telephone Sidney's wife to ask fretfully if the boss had come home in a good mood. Betty cries easily, suffers insomnia, confesses at times that her success has not brought her happiness. Once, with the candor that makes her pressagents tremble, she-blurted to an interviewer: "You know what I think I've done? I think I've loused up my life."

A Real Bad Hurt. Betty's life began on Feb. 26, 1921, in Battle Creek, Mich., "by the railroad tracks between Postum and Kellogg." She was two when her father, a railroad brakeman named Percy Thornburg, drifted off to California with another woman. Soon after, the mother took Betty and Marion to Lansing. They did not hear of Thornburg again until 1937, when he killed himself in a Los Angeles suburb and left the two girls $100 each.

"Betty was jealous of her sister right from the start," says her mother, who has since remarried and lives in Hollywood not far from Betty. "She was always in my lap, always after affection. She would stand on her head, do cartwheels, yell or do anything to attract attention away from her quieter sister." As the girls grew up, Betty envied Marion her more luxuriant hair and her pretty face.

When she was five, an older boy playfully threw Betty off the end of a pier. She hit a nail in one of the pilings and snagged her left cheek, near the eye; the scar is still faintly noticeable. "It made my inferiority complex worse," says Betty. "The kids called me 'Bad-eye Bodie' and nicknames like that, that hurt real bad. So I acted fresh and tomboyish, as if I was tougher than anybody on the block."

The family moved to Detroit when she was eight, but it was still the wrong side of the tracks. "I'd do anything to escape," says Betty. "I got broody and bad. I'd dance and sing on street corners. I never did anything real wrong, but I landed in juvenile hall sometimes." At eleven she played Mae West in a school theatrical, and began doing well on amateur nights in Detroit theaters. At 14, she became a vocalist for a band of high-school boys. At 15, tired of waiting to be discovered, she packed off with some musicians to dazzle Manhattan, which refused to be dazzled. Somebody gave her the fare to get home. After that, Betty, just past her first year in high school, went to school no more.

One night in January 1938, her future finally beckoned. Bandleader Vincent Lopez, playing in Detroit and looking for a new girl singer, saw her performing in a nightclub. He gave her the job at $65 a week, and she celebrated by eating steak for the first time—at breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. But she soon began to worry tearfully that she was not getting over. Then, at dinner one night in Philadelphia, a trombonist in the band confided that she was going to be fired. Betty gulped three brandy-and-benedictines and went to the theater in the reckless conviction that she had nothing to lose.

That night the Hutton style burst upon a relatively powerless world. Between choruses of Dipsy Doodle, she began to throw her body around as if she had no further use for it. She mugged, turned somersaults, hopped on musicians' laps and pulled their hair, fought off imaginary adversaries, tore up sheet music, swung Lopez off his feet, made a flying tackle at the microphone. In a favorite metaphor, Betty says: "I murdered the people."

Lopez decided that his vocalist, whom he had first billed as Betty Jane, deserved a new name. A firm believer in numerology, he let the numbers lead him to "Hutton." "I tried to get a vibration that would make her a lot of money," he says. "It was a five-eight vibration. After that she did fine." By the time the band played Billy Rose's Casa Mañana, Betty had whipped her own vibrations into enough of a frenzy to dazzle Manhattan at last—and to make Rose caution her not to "tear down my theater."

The Dangerous Life. In her new glory as "America's No. 1 Jitterbug" ("As a matter of fact," she says, "I couldn't jitterbug"), Betty worked up to $175 a week for Lopez. Then she quit him, though their contract still entitled him to 20% of her earnings. She went into a Broadway revue, Two for the Show, and got rave reviews.

During the show's run, hardworking, hard-cussing Actress Hutton spared her fellow performers no more than she spared herself. She thrashed about so violently that once she catapulted off the stage and onto a drummer in the orchestra pit. In a number that required her to maul Keenan Wynn, she once toed him into a dead faint, forced him to take to protective padding. Among her later victims: Bob Hope, whose teeth caps she sent scattering over a soundstage floor during a bit of jujitsu; Cinemactor Frank Faylen, whom she knocked out with a right to the jaw when the director demanded realism; Eddie Bracken, who, in a saloon scene, caught a Hutton slap on the back that looped him over the bar and into a heap on the other side. "When they work with me," crows Betty, "they gotta get insurance policies."

After Two for the Show closed, Bandleader Lopez inadvertently helped Betty to get her next big break. She had stopped paying his 20%, and he sued her for $646.50. Betty stormed into the office of Theatrical Attorney A. L. Berman, whose clients included Buddy De Sylva, the Broadway and Hollywood producer and songwriter. While she was in the office, De Sylva telephoned Berman from California to get "someone like Betty Hutton" for a supporting role in Panama Hattie, the musicomedy he was then casting for the Manhattan stage. "Why not Hutton herself?" asked Berman. "I've got her right here." Betty won both the part and the lawsuit.

$10 Down. With her talent for a nonstop fireworks display and her brash, kid-sisterly appeal, she also won something more important: the role of De Sylva's protégée. He soon became Paramount's executive producer, a post he held for four years. One of his first decisions was to take Betty out of Panama Hattie and on to Hollywood.

During her first weeks in Hollywood, in 1941, Betty sobbed over the telephone to friends in New York about her feelings of loneliness and rejection. But Hollywood caught no glimpse of that mood. She quickly bought a mink coat (on $10 down) and a Buick convertible, sampled two apartments and then leased a penthouse—all without being quite sure how she would meet the monthly payments. At Paramount she insisted on the services of the head make-up man as well as a downstairs dressing room (just between those used by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby). She made pressagents tear up her first publicity stills and shoot another set. When she visited the music department and was asked what sort of thing she did, she leaped onto Composer Johnny Mercer's back with a wild yell: "I do something like this. Get it?" She greeted dignified Cecil B. DeMille with "Hiya, dreamboat."

On her first picture, The Fleet's In, Betty complained to De Sylva that the director and cameraman were leaving her out of things. They politely explained: "We can't keep her in the camera." De Sylva had a camera dolly rigged up and told the director to follow her all over the set if necessary. "You can't keep her quiet," he said. "You'll lose her." But as he brought Betty slowly along to starring parts, De Sylva tried to impress her with the need for channeling her energy instead of letting it run all over the lot.

Qualms & Classics. In her fourth film, and her most memorable, Betty showed convincingly that it could be done. Having asked for her to star in his The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, Writer-Director Preston Sturges exploited not only her comic verve but her unsuspected capacity for pathos in a non-musical part. Says Sturges: "She's a full-fledged actress with every talent the noun implies. She plays in musicals because the public, which can do practically nothing well, is willing to concede its entertainers only one talent."

After Miracle, Actress Hutton got choosy about her scripts for the first time. As her stature in Hollywood grew, so did her qualms over her meager education. When De Sylva asked her what she wanted for Christmas one year, she asked for good books, got a set of 100 classics, and actually started reading them. She also became irked with her "blonde bombshell" publicity and engaged Margaret ("Maggie") Ettinger, one of Hollywood's higher-powered press-agents, to give her more tone. Maggie introduced her to the right people and schooled her in how to get on with them.

In September 1945, after many a romantic attachment, Betty married a wealthy, handsome Chicago camera manufacturer named Ted Briskin, then 28. They had met in a nightclub and "it was love at first sight." Six months later they separated, and quickly reunited as Betty explained: "Ted has been after me to give up my career . . . I love Ted very dearly, but I have worked all my life to get where I am, and I can't give it up . . . Ted understands now." They had two daughters, Lindsay Diane, 3½, and Candice, 2. After another separation last year, Betty and her husband parted again three months ago. This month she got a California divorce for "mental cruelty."

Living It Up. Last week Betty was hard at what she calls "living it up." She had bought a complete new wardrobe, spent a frenzied two days in San Francisco singing for the fun of it at nightclubs she visited. Every night she was out on the town, mostly with different escorts. In the daytime she burned up excess energy by taking golf lessons. Buoyed by the raves of the movie trade press for Annie and her performance, she treated nightclubbers (including her ex-husband) at Hollywood's Mocambo to an impromptu performance of the whole score. Then she impulsively grabbed customers as dancing partners and swung half a dozen of them around the floor.

She decided in midweek to stop seeing Cinemactor Robert Sterling for a while, "because I'm not in a position to get too serious, and we were seeing each other, y'know, every five minutes." For weeks she had been showering Sterling with gifts and public displays of affection, and had had her friends trying to dig up better jobs for him. Openhandedly generous, Betty gives heavily and anonymously to charities, has given cars to her mother and her ex-secretary, once gave her hairdresser a mink coat. But she never mixes generosity with her career. De Sylva, who, after a long illness, has been trying to get back into movie production as an independent, stopped speaking to her last year. She had refused to do a picture "for him because she did not like the script.

Betty has worried some lately about her special problem of getting the right husband. "I could marry someone in the business who was higher up than me, or making more," she says thoughtfully. "But when a real man comes up against the situation where he gets second billing, he walks. I don't know how I'm going to be happy."

On Top. This side of happiness, Betty seems to have just about everything. She has far outstripped sister Marion, who borrowed the Hutton name and made her own show-business success as vocalist with Glenn Miller's orchestra and in radio and movie jobs. Betty's children have all the things she went without, including a nurse to change their beautiful dresses five times a day. After moving ten times in five years to successively grander Hollywood living quarters, she has an eleven-room ranch-style house in Brentwood