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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 2013/ 14 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

Hope for horror

By Greg Crosby



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When it comes to horror movies, for those of us of a certain age, the tried and true classics of which all spooky pictures are measured usually feature Lon Chaney, Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and maybe Vincent Price. And then there are the comedy spook flicks such as "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," "Hold That Ghost," and Bob Hope's "The Ghost Breakers" co-starring Paulette Goddard.

"The Ghost Breakers" (1940) was actually a follow up to the Hope/Goddard screen hit of 1939, "The Cat and the Canary." Classic film fans are probably familiar with "The Ghost Breakers," but many may not have ever even heard of, let alone seen, "The Cat and the Canary," which would be a real shame since it is the better of the two. For years it was kept out of circulation due to legal complications, but thankfully it is available now.

"The Cat and the Canary" is itself actually a retelling of an earlier silent picture which was taken from a stage play. John Willard's stage melodrama "Cat and the Canary" was filmed four times over a fifty-year period. The silent 1927 version stars Laura LaPlante as one of several potential heirs to a huge fortune. Brought to a foreboding, gothic mansion on the 20th anniversary of their eccentric benefactor's death, the heirs must sit in silence as the lawyer reads the terms of the will. This is one of the original "old dark house" stories where lights flicker, bookcases open up to hidden passages, people are pulled through trap doors, and things go bump in the night.

Bob Hope's version is terrific and has been cited as the picture that made Hope a first class movie star. This is the film where Bob appears for the first time in his famous film persona; you know, the cowardly braggart who also manages to be the heroic leading man. That characterization is the one audiences came to know and love so well throughout his film career.

His one-liners in this picture are pure Hope such as when he refers to the old, decade-long-deceased Cyrus Norman, who in his time was so crooked that "when he died they had to screw him into the ground." Or when one of the relatives asks him, "Aren't you afraid of big, empty houses?" to which Bob replies, "Not me; I used to be in vaudeville."



It's the kind of Hope picture I love best, one that mixes comedy with solid storytelling and in this case mystery, horror, and eccentric characters. Nobody did that kind of picture better than Bob Hope. Along with beautiful co-star Paulette Goddard the other stars include Gale Sondergaard, John Beal, Douglas Montgomery, Nydia Westman, Willard Robertson, Elizabeth Patterson, and George Zucco as the lawyer (ironically named Crosby).

The screen play was written by Walter DeLeon and Lynn Starling, based on the Willard play and directed by Elliott Nugent. The Charles Lang's cinematography makes terrific use of shadows and lends the film considerable atmosphere and plenty of chilling moments. Produced for Paramount by Arthur Hornblow, Jr. it was Hope's first starring A-picture.

Critics and audiences alike loved the picture when it opened in November 1939. Critic Howard Barnes wrote in the New York Herald, "Mr. Hope is a pillar of strength in holding the film to its particular mood of satirical melodrama." Another review in Motion Picture Herald called Bob "one of the funniest comedians who ever faced a camera." Charlie Chaplin, one of Bob's idols and Paulette Goddard's real life husband told Bob, "Young man, I've been watching the rushes and I want you to know that you are one of the best timers of comedy I have ever seen." There is no doubt that "The Cat and The Canary" was the film to at last give Hope his first opportunity to use wisecracks and one-liners in a way that seemed to be completely spontaneous, as if he were ad-libbing in front of a stage audience.

If you've never seen the picture, you should, especially if you are a Bob Hope fan. It's probably available on Netflix, or you can purchase it on DVD in the Universal Vault series and as part of the Thanks for the Memories Collection. That collection also includes "The Ghost Breakers" which makes for a great double feature. So spend this Halloween with Bob and Paulette in a spooky old house and a creepy castle. Karloff, Lugosi, and Chaney will still be around next year, this year go for the laughs along with the screams.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2008, Greg Crosby

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