Sounds Off With Sydney Skolsky
You have to be a kind of a double- feature character to stand out among the characters at Schwab’s. Clegg Hoyt is such a character. The ordinary characters point him out. He’s special!
Now that I’ve called attention to Clegg, you’re certain to notice his name in the cast of some TV show and get a look at what he looks like. He is of average height, but double-feature around the waist. He isn’t good-looking by a long shot, but he has a pleasant face to match his personality. People take a liking to Clegg; people like Rod Steiger, who had Clegg staying with him at the beach and took him to Europe with him. This was before Rod met, romanced and married Claire Bloom. I think Clegg was best man, too.
What I want to tell you about first is that European trip. There’s Rod Steiger and Clegg Hoyt in London; it isn’t costing Clegg a penny and he’s traveling first class. He’s in the other bed in the hotel room, and before turning out the light he says to Rod, “I wonder what’s happening at Schwab’s?” Rod tells him to forget it. He’s slightly annoyed—he has listened to this same question during dinner at a fashionable restaurant, at the theater and during the day while visiting famous places and people. Who cares about Schwab’s?
Next morning. Rod and Clegg are up early, because they’re on their way to Paris. First words from Clegg, as they arise, are, “I wonder what’s happening at Schwab’s?”
“You’ll have to cut that out,” says Rod. “There’s many an actor who’d like to visit Europe for free without wondering all the time what’s happening at Schwab’s.”
That whole day, Clegg makes a real effort to restrain himself. He manages to maintain a low batting average. But in the early dawn, as they’re readying to hit the sack, and Rod is discussing what a wonderful day and night they had in Paris, Clegg comes back with, “Yes, but I wonder what’s happening at Schwab’s?” What a wonderer!
This is too much already! Steiger responds with, “Would you rather be sitting in Schwab’s, not doing anything, than seeing Europe?”
“It only looks like I’m not doing anything,” replies Clegg.
Steiger doesn’t understand the genuine characters who make up the floor show at Schwab’s. But he is disgusted with Clegg.
“You don’t have to continue this trip with me,” he says. “Tomorrow I’ll get you a ticket for Hollywood.”
Well, it’s not much more than a day later that Clegg Hoyt is sitting on a stool at the soda fountain at Schwab’s, his baggage parked next to him. And he’s no longer wondering what’s happening at Schwab’s. He knows. It doesn’t matter to him that nothing is happening. Except that one of the leading characters of the floor show is back in the cast. Himself! Clegg is perfectly contented.
Clegg likes Schwab’s, food, gambling and girls in that order. Clegg will often okay and get a check cashed for an acquaintance. He then collects a dollar fee for getting the check cashed. When he has enough dollars, he hurries to a poker game. Clegg is a happy loser.
It’s as if he’s gone into the game not expecting to win.
One evening, after Jack Schwab got hip to this procedure, he sought out Clegg, who was in a booth in the dining room, and let him have it.
“Please,” said Clegg, “don’t holler at me in my living room.”
Another evening, Clegg approached Martin Schwab and asked him to cash a check. It was one of Clegg’s own checks. Martin okayed it and Clegg was ready to take it to the cashier when Martin said, “You’ll have to write your phone number on it.” Clegg quickly wrote, “Oldfield 6-1212.” Martin was satisfied for about a minute . Then suddenly he noticed something. He said, “Hey, that’s the phone p number of this store!”
“I know it,” answered Clegg, not even blinking, “but this is my home, isn’t it?”
With the many changes he has been making in his “image,” it seems that Pat Boone wants to be anybody but Pat Boone. . . . I wonder what the real Cleopatra would have thought of “Cleopatra” and Elizabeth Taylor. . . . I think it’s a bad idea, having the stars of Hollywood on the sidewalk of Hollywood Blvd. They’re stepped on enough without this added opportunity. . . . They don’t make a movie about the West as wild as the kids who see a Western on Saturday afternoons. . . . I recall a time (B.C.—Before “Cleopatra”), when the chief executives of two major studios said that Richard Burton was a fine actor but he didn’t have any sex appeal, that the gals didn’t go for him. . . . The number of drive-ins are getting less and less in Hollywood and the number of tall buildings (tall for Hollywood) are getting more and more. . . . Why should stamps cost more merely because they come out of a slot machine? . . . The actresses who wear the least clothes in public always take the most luggage with them on a personal appearance tour.
That’s Me With A Capital I
I had the impression, while watching “Four For Texas” being filmed, that Anita Ekberg could have taken Frank Sinatra in a boxing match. . . . Whenever I hear an actress say, “I like to walk in the rain,” I don’t believe her—but I do believe that she’s trying to be a Garbo in some department. . . . The fact that Vince Edwards is a big hit as “Ben Casey” has changed him. He now loses more money at the track. . . . I think it would help Eddie Fisher if he stopped trying to be Al Jolson. . . . Suzanne Pleshette will be one of the screen’s greatest actresses. There’s only one thing that can stop her—and his name is Troy Donahue. . . . Hermione Gingold declared, “I’ve got all the schooling any actress needs; I can write well enough to sign contracts.”
I know Joan Crawford from long ago and far away, and I would have bet that she’d never become a business executive. . . . I wonder if Joanne Woodward thinks of Paul Newman when she plays in a movie with Marlon Brando. . . . A Lena Horne album still sends me. I’m waiting for a producer to use her in a picture. . . . I’ll tell you a secret. When Debbie Reynolds was first starting, she wanted to be another Lucille Ball. For all I know she still does. . . . Debbie’s married life with Harry Karl is so peaceful and contented that she should send Liz Taylor a note of thanks. . . . I wonder if Tuesday Weld feels better on Tuesdays. . . . Montgomery Clift claims that money doesn’t interest him when it comes to making a picture, he’s more interested in the script. Yet, without caring, Clift manages to get $250,000 a picture. . . . Did you ever notice how much Frank Sinatra is like Monty Clift when he’s acting or selling a song? It goes back to “From Here To Eternity,” when both were in this picture and Clift was aiding Sinatra. . . . Jayne Mansfield will take off her clothes for popularity, yet she told me, “Those kids that hang around for autographs. Honestly, I love them and all, but honestly, they’so so uninhibited. The way they tug at me, I have to go and take care of my bruises.”
So why doesn’t George Chakiris really give out with a dance in a picture! . . . Dean Martin admits he had his nose fixed. Dean would like to have his hands fixed if he could. He believes they’re too large and rough. . . . I know the romance is fading with Elvis Presley and his latest when he no longer calls her by a pet name. . . . I’m almost as surprised by Ann-Margret’s sudden and big success as Ann-Margret is. . . . If you happen to think about it, you’ll become aware that in all his movies, Cary Grant always allows himself one beef-cake scene. . . . Hollywood is a place where a stranger feels at home quickly. Especially if said stranger is working. . . . I’m pleased that Gregory Peck finally won an Oscar. He did have a difficult time keeping the door to his den open. . . . I don’t know why, but Tony Martin always looks better to me when Cyd Charisse is standing next to him.
Mamie Van Doren told me that white is her favorite color because it makes her feel so pure. . . . Audrey Hepburn is the only actress I can think of quickly who is trying to put on weight. . . . In this town, when an actress talks about a faithful husband she means one that pays his alimony right on time. . . . I wonder why Ricky Nelson refers to his wife Chris as “the old lady.” Is that any way to talk about an expectant mother? Guess it’s just a hunk of Americana. . . . Shirley MacLaine is a sleep walker. And I couldn’t think of a nicer girl to meet on a sleep walk. . . . Lana Turner believes that love is the best beauty treatment for any woman. . . . At a party, Kim Novak, talking about a certain actress, said, “She rubs me the wrong way. I can’t even like her when she’s agreeing with me.”
And That’s Me With A Capital I Sounding Off.
—BY SIDNEY SKOLSKY
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE OCTOBER 1963