One Way Passage - Friday, August 28, 2015

The American Treasure Tour blog devotes a lot of time to the movies on display in the Music Room and the Toy box for a few reasons - first, there are a lot of them; second, they span the entire history of cinema from the silent era to modern times; and third, they're really cool.  Hopefully you agree with the third reason - let us know!  Today''s film dates to what is referred to as the Golden Age of Hollywood, which spans from the 1927 release of the first talking picture (The Jazz Singer) into the early-1960s, when the way movies was made changed with the collapse of the studio system a few decades prior, and the drop in attendance in part because of the rise of television.

One Way Passage was released in 1932. Starring William Powell and Kay Francis, the romantic comedy tells the story of a convict on his way to the electric chair falling in love with a terminally ill woman.  The story line alone suggests that this is hardly a straight comedy, and there are tales of some attendees leaving the theater in tears.  Still, it is a well regarded, positively-reviewed film that did well enough to justify a remake just a few years later, 1940's 'Til We Meet Again.
QUESTION:  Aline MacMahon played the part of "Barrel House" Betty in the film.  Under what alias did she travel on the cruise across the Pacific Ocean?
A)  Betty Friedkin
B)  Betty the Barrel
C)  Countess Barilhaus
D)  Queen Betty
ANSWER BELOW

ABOUT HALFWAY THERE.   When there is unoccupied land, tradition has it that the first people to arrive there are the rightful owners, at least when it comes to European affairs. There are few opportunities to exploit this opportunity these days, but back in 1867, the United States government claimed a small (2.4 square mile) collection of islands located about one-third of the way between Hawaii and Japan called Midway.  At the time, few likely took much notice to it, but the atoll became hugely important during World War II, when a naval battle occurred off the islands between the United States Navy and Japanese forces between June 2nd and 4th, 1942.  Against all odds, the Americans won the battle, but we don't want to tell you how the war ended.  No spoilers here!

STERN.  Yesterday, we celebrated the birth of Macauley Culkin.  It stands to reason that his Home Alone archnemesis Daniel Stern should celebrate his birthday today!  The accomplished actor turns 58 today.  His first major roll was in the 1979 classic Breaking Away,  and he has really not stopped ever since, showing his range in comedy, drama and narration. He was the voice of the adult Kevin Arnold for the six years of The Wonder Years, and has appeared in film and television ever since.  Happy birthday Daniel!

QUOTE:  The only other thing I can really remember wanting to do besides acting was [working as] a gas station attendant. - Daniel Stern

ANSWER:  C)  Countess Barilhaus