I was watching the 1970 Airport movie a few nights ago and it struck me again during the scenes featuring Helen Hayes: she reminds me so much of James “Danno” MacArthur. The official biographies all assert that Hayes is his adopted mother. Some suggest that her husband Charles MacArthur was the real father while some speculate on James actually being the son of MacArthur family friend Lillian Gish. I’m not agitated enough about this to conduct any serious snooping, and I understand that family secrets are family secrets. But I have to admit to being puzzled that none of the theories about his birth origins I’ve come across acknowledge MacArthur’s uncanny resemblance to his adopted mother nor any willingness to consider the possibility of her being his real mother. Does no one else see the resemblance?
Archive for February, 2014
“Ooh Ooh” and “Do you mind?” were catchphrases for Joe E. Ross on Car 54, Where Are You? (1961-1963), a sitcom I first saw on Nick at Nite during the mid-80s. Not only is it a real hoot, but it’s also like “character actors on parade,” with each player specializing in facial distinctions that make it hard for viewers to turn away. Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis of The Munsters are here, for example, each of whom actually look more interesting without their makeup. Joe E. Ross, who played the dimwitted but loveable officer Gunther Toody, might also have transitioned nicely to The Munsters, but he was apparently a severe headache to work with. (A recent WFMU writeup deals the man’s loveability a body blow.)
A 1963 single featuring Joe E. Ross’s catchphrases is notable in that it’s so annoying it could have been used for a riotous episode in which Toody launches an ill-advised recording career. An album track by the suave jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson, on the other hand (written by Manny Albam), is notable for its mysterious inclusion on Jackson’s 1964 Jazz ‘N’ Samba album a year after the show had run its course. There’s gotta be a story there…
Milt Jackson – “The Oo-Oo Bossa Nova” (1964)