Posts Tagged ‘sallies’

Shortly after Lana Turner was ‘discovered’ behind a counter and made into a film star, a number of girls standing behind counters and waiting on tables were also ‘found’ by Hollywood. At a Beverly Hills party a talent scout for Warner Brothers’ was bragging about the good taste and shrewd instinct of his employers. Kaufman who despised Hollywood, cast a withering look at him. “They don’t want actresses,” he said, “they want waitresses.”

His second marriage proved out to be good in that it turned him from a dour man to one who went out to please his wife; and then his phobias or fear of heights for one,  disappeared. He could just laugh about his fears. When a collaborator who was waiting for Kaufman was found leaning over Park Avenue, Kaufman crept up behind and whispered, ”Don’t jump. The second act can be fixed.”

Once he went shopping to everyone’s amazement with his wife. In the drapery department of Bloomingdales while his wife was elbow deep in materials and fabrics, George stood a picture of misery. Taking pity on him a salesman approached and asked if he could be of help. “May be you can,” George answered, ”do you have any good second act curtains here?”

Towards the end of his life a friend visited him. In an attempt to cheer up the unhappy Kaufman the visitor mentioned that a mutual acquaintance who had a spotless reputation till recently, had acquired a young woman as a mistress.
Kaufman’s arm shot out and his index finger pointed to the door. “You get out of here…”Kaufman roared. His caller realized that he has made a mistake by bringing gossip of this nature to his host. Before he could excuse himself he heard his host who added, “… and do’nt  come back until you find out who she is.”

Once at the Round Table, Alexander Woolcott called Franklin P. Adam, “You goddamn Christ Killer”. As he had intended the company laughed. Dorothy Parker who was half Jew  and who had tried to hide the fact, said nothing. Kaufman taking note of her silence, and in mock fury said, “I’ve heard enough slur on my race. I am now leaving this table, this dining room, and this hotel.” A pause. Looking at Mrs. Parker he added, ”and I trust that Mrs. Parker will walk out with me, half- way.”

Kaufman was an incorrigible hypochondriac. Afraid to shake hands, afraid to open door, afraid of every known illness he suffered continuously and secretly. Once he went out to dinner with an actress after a rehearsal in Washington D.C. As the actress was dieting she skipped the first course. But when the cream of tomato soup was brought for Kaufman she could not resist trying it. Rather than drink what was tasted by his date, he ordered another. No amount of coaxing would make him touch it. “I’m terribly sorry,” Kaufman told her, “I’m rather particular about these things.”
Later in the night Kaufman kissed her. “I can’t understand your kissing me that way when you won’t let me taste your soup.” His companion said.
“Well, miss” he said, “your tasting my soup was one kind of risk. My kissing you was another. Let’s concentrate on the second.”

In order to ease some of his pain Kaufman turned to psychiatry; but gave it up half way ‘because she’s asking too damn many personal questions.’
He mistrusted doctors; One sunday morning  Kaufman frantic with worry called his physician who was reputed to be one of the internists in New York. He was out. Around five his doctor came in his white cable -stitch  tennis sweater. Kaufman roared to which he meekly explained that he had been playing a little tennis to keep himself in shape, the better to serve Kaufman.
“I pay the doctor to look after my health, not his.” Was his comment.
He did not want to take his chances with his next physician that one day he put in a call. “I need you immediately.” and he hung up. He lived in the neighbourhood and sensing an emergency he rushed across Park Avenue and told the elevator man to take him to Kaufman’s penthouse.
When he reached the apartment, he saw Kaufman standing in the foyer with a stop- watch in his hand.
“Mr. Kaufman I thought you were ill” He gasped.
“I’m, but I wanted to see how long will it take you to get here If I were really ill.”

Kaufman had an uneasy relationship with his collaborator Edna Ferber. Miss Ferber in a gallant attempt at reconciliation invited the Kaumans to a large Sunday evening dinner party.
The dinner began and Kaufman who was finicky about his food became almost ill at the sight of dishes served. His wife, realising the importance of patching things up between him and Edna, ate his portion as well. At then end of dinner she got up to leave the table. A buckle of her dress had caught the lace of the table cloth. Unaware she moved away from the table sending the silver, the china, the coffee and the mint, crashing into the floor.
Kaufman looked at the broken china and then at the hostess,”’ That’s what I call pulling off a few good ones.”

One fall day Kaufman was met on the street by a friend of composer Irving Berlin. Kaufman had previously worked with Berlin and their relationship was not trouble free either. Kaufman was presently working  on a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.
“How’s it going, George?” Berlin’s friend asked him.
“Great,” answered Kaufman, ”it is wonderful working with a dead composer.”
compiler: benny

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In fifty years as a newspaper man and a playwright Kaufman was exposed to, and had scrutinized every form of fakery. Once a con man approached him with a promise that a quick investment in a gold mine would bring  him untold wealth.
“You don’t even have to dig the gold,” he was told, “it’s just lying around”. “Hold on,” Kaufman demanded,” do you mean I’d have to stoop over and pick it up?”

At an early Hollywood dinner party an English author was shredding the reputation of a Broadway actress, capping it with, “She’s her own worst enemy”.
To which Kaufman quietly  added: “Not while you’re alive.”

An early acquaintance once ran into the gloomy Dean of Broadway who was brought over by M.G.M. Congratulating George on the good work he’d done on the Marx Brothers picture, she asked if he remembered her brother, Stewart Stewart in New York. George remembered him, whereupon she confessed that their family name had been Muckenfus, but they had changed it.
“You mean your brother’s name, “George demanded, ”was Muckenfus, Muckenfus?”

Once while he was being driven about Hollywood by a chauffeur a policeman stopped the car for going through a redlight. Kaufman sat impatiently, reading a newspaper, while the officer wrote out the summons. When his ensuing harangue proved too much, Kaufman leant forward too much, Kaufman leaned forward, showing the front page to the police man. It listed the statistics on unsolved crimes in Los Angeles. Then he addressed the cop, “Two weeks ago, all my clothes were stolen from my hotel room. I called the police and they said they’d be in touch. That was two weeks ago, and now,” Kaufman continued pointing to the summons, “they’re finally gotten in touch with me!”

The Hollywood moghul Adolf Zukor once offered thirty thousand for the movie rights to a Kaufman play. Kaufman shot back a telegram offering Zukor forty thousand for Paramount Pictures.

During a gin rummy session his friend Charles Lederer was humming a tune of Sir. Arthur Sullivan’s with words of his own making, ‘O he nodded his head and never said no, and now he’s head of the studio’. Impressed Kaufman made a deal with Lederer who did not see any merit in his impromptu lyrics. ”You’ve just given me a brilliant idea for a show! I’m going to call it ‘Hollywood Pinafore’.
‘Hollywood Pinafore’ turned out to be a flop. Sometimes later he ran into Lederer again Kaufman clamped his hand over Lederer’s mouth, and said: “For God’s sake don’t sing anything!”

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Once Disraeli feeling indisposed got up from his seat in the Treasury office saying to his secretary, ”Don’t bother me with the routine work. Please attend to all of it yourself.” He walked towards the door and opened it. “But of course if there is any really important decision to be made..” he paused and seconds before closing it behind he added,”…make it.”
A M.P who had been offered a knighthood did not feel easy and he consulted Dizzy who advised him to accept it but tell everyone that he had refused it.
“Because you get all the credit of having rejected it until you recieve it.”
“And then?”
“You will get all the glory of receiving it after having rejected it.”
While engaged in talk with some cronies he at one point said that he could not remember the pub which came up in discussion. The ‘King’s Arms’ at Berkhamstead it was.
One recalled a barmaid who was a very handsome and a jolly girl. ”You must have been in the ‘King’s Arms’ one insisted.
“Perhaps if I had been in her arms I might have remembered it.”Dizzy answered.

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