Friday, October 24, 2003

Nick & Nora blog.

A bit of intergenerational information exchange at the office this week. The youngest person in my office is 24. At 42, I'm biologically old enough to be her father, but I feel only old enough to be an uncle. My oldest nephew, after all, is only four years younger than she is. In any case, I'm not to the point at which I know too much to learn anything. With any luck, I may never be that way, though as middle age advances, it seems to be a risk.

Somehow or other, the subject of Nick and Nora Charles came up. Someone else in the office brought it up. Odd things sometimes arise in the course of office work.

The information exchange was this: the youngest person in the office, Angie, had never heard of the Thin Man movies. But she knew that there's currently a line of pajamas and other sleepwear called "Nick and Nora." I'd never heard of that. I looked them up, to discover that they're expensive, making the case for sleeping in a t-shirt and shorts, but nice-looking nevertheless. Nowhere on the Web site that I saw was any acknowledgement of the fictional characters -- it can't be a coincidence, but yet another example of panning nuggets from the stream of past decades (see also: Phoebe Snow, just to cite another example that comes to mind).

We discussed at moderate length the characters, the first movie's superiority over the later ones, William Powell and Myrna Loy, Asta, even the Dashiell Hammett source novel, which I haven't read. Someday, Angie will probably see The Thin Man. It will, I hope, be as enjoyable as my first viewing, ca. 1982 at the student center cinema at Vanderbilt. It helps, I think, to have an appreciative audience with you for a movie like that.

Reporter: Say listen, is he [Nick] working on a case?
Nora Charles: Yes, he is.
Reporter: What case?
Nora Charles: A case of scotch. Pitch in and help him.

A light tale of witty, hard-drinking, wealthy detectives during the worst of the Depression. Something you aren't going to get from Hollywood any more.


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