Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"End of the Road"

"No Longer Perfect."
By Fred MacIsaac (1886-1940).
First appearance: Collier's Weekly, April 25, 1936.
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at UNZ HERE (start), HERE (scroll down to page 82), and HERE (scroll down to pages 84-85).
"The Hollywood adventure of Emily Forest, Mr. Lowenstein's confidential secretary, who wasn't so perfect as she seemed, and Ted Owens, her unwitting partner in crime, who was the luckiest author ever to make the grade in Hollywood."
Sometimes a "crime" can be as harmless, as well-intentioned, as doing someone a favor:
She had betrayed her trust; committed a heinous act of disloyalty for no reason whatever. She sank into her chair, almost obeyed an urge to rush back and admit her crime. And then she stuck out her chin. "It's about time I did some-thing I want to do around here," she muttered.
Comment: Nothing gruesome here, just a cute boy-meets-girl story with a fantasized Holly-wood background that Wodehouse would undoubtedly have done better—come to think of it, he did:
Episode Number 5: "The Nodder." Original Air Date: 30 April 1976.
Wilmot Mulliner (John Alderton) is a lowly ‘nodder’ in a Hollywood studio whose sole job is to agree to the pronouncements of producer I.Q. Fishbein (Sydney Tafler). Wilmot falls for Fishbein’s secretary Mabel Ridgeway (Pauline Collins), but she won’t marry him unless he proves himself worthy. After apparently bravely tackling a violent gorilla (actually an actor in disguise), he does prove worthy of Muriel’s attention. Mabel, a former vaudeville birdcall-imitator, has a dispute with Fishbein over the proper manner of imitating a cuckoo for a film (cuckoo-cuckoo v wuckoo-wuckoo). Wilmot finds the courage to defy his boss and defend Mabel. — "List of Wodehouse Playhouse Episodes," Wikipedia
- According to FictionMags (HERE), Fred MacIsaac's writing career flourished during the '20s and '30s; he even had a continuing character, Addison Francis "Rambler" Murphy, prowling the pages of Dime Detective (HERE).
- MacIsaac's excursions into science fiction/fantasy earned him listings in the SFE (HERE) and the ISFDb (HERE).
- "The Nodder" is, for the moment at least, online HERE (30 minutes 16 seconds).

The bottom line: "Has anybody ever seen a dramatic critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good."
P.  G. Wodehouse

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