Be patient, it isn’t nine o’clock yet

Shortly after the opening credits to the 1965 Disney Films incredi-opus That Darn Cat starring Hayley Mills a bank of newspaper vending machines are shown curbside to a street. The troublesome feline, DC, on a nightly prowl of the town is schmoozing one of the antagonists of the film for food. DC follows the villain which eventually leads the cat into a kidnapper’s den and kick-starts the adventure of a meddlesome kid and her pet.

While the vending stands vary slightly in design the common elements of the machines is that the newspapers are not secured and simply rest in an open rack. A slot cut into a box or tube is provided so a customer can insert a coin and then take a paper. My memories of 1965 are a bit hazy from the distance of years but one thing I do recall is that the hippies were everywhere stealing anything not nailed down or bartering for food by spewing plagiarized poetry as they cleaned out a fruit-stand.

Like today, I can’t imagine that the honor system of paying for your goods resulted in anything but serious financial losses on the part of the vendor. In my world within a half an hour those racks would be empty and a gum wrapper would be shoved into the money slot. But on Main Street, USA the narcissistic villain being stalked by DC in the movie actually pays for each paper headlining the crime he perpetrated. I guess bank robbery and kidnapping can be a plot point in a Disney film but the studio was reluctant to show an actual crime in progress, no matter how petty. Either that or the villain was playing it cool and behaving so as not to draw attention to himself.

In the film the full vending stand attests that for the most part the unattended machines appear to be successful in practice. But would that honor system work anywhere but in the idealized Disneyverse? For the answer, let’s ask Hayley Mills. She knows everything!

That’s right, Hayley! In the real world machines and semi-unattended stands, even those inside stores within full view of cashiers and staff are routinely raided and emptied to be hawked by unofficial newsies at intersections and street corners all over the nation. So while art may have imitated life at one point it didn’t take long for vendors to wise up and call for securely locking vending machines.

For those into head-knodding, finger-snappin’ smooth tunes while waiting your turn to play the bongos at open stage night at the Coffee Bean here are the opening credits to 1965’s That Darn Cat as sung by Bobby Darin. It’s cool, Jones, cool. At the end of the clip you can see the newspaper stands being used in practice by bad guy Iggy, played by the scene-chewing Frank Gorshin.

By the way…The remake should be burned, the ashes salted and the ashes burned again.

The only thing that would have made the remake watchable is if the bank-robbing kidnappers were the Gecko Brothers.

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Missed Connection

I’ve seen you around, did you see me? I bet you know I’ve been watching you for for a long time. Last night when you entered the store you made my heart beat ever so fast!

Your four-sizes-too-big jacket and pants with the other jacket and pants with all the extra pockets and tied-off waist and legs on them…Well, you certainly do cut quite the image when you come swaggering in. You make everybody notice. Aren’t you hot wearing all that stuff? I know I am. Yet for someone so slim and tiny you sure do seem to walk like you carry a lot of weight. You have me worried. Are you in good health?

I ask because on July 30th at about 10:15 p.m. when you took that donation jar off the check stand and ran out the store to jump into that waiting white [redacted] with California license plate #[redacted] driven by that obese woman who left the passenger side door waiting open you seemed to have trouble moving your legs and arms. You know, if you were sick I could understand you needing that jar of money reserved for cancer patients. Maybe you needed to cut out the middle-man to had to pay off that guy who gives you your medicine.

Now, some would say you are in pretty good health since you have to carry all those DVDs, packages of food, liquor and pharmacy supplies stuffed in the sleeves, waistband and legs of your under-layer of clothing and that is what slowed you down and made you walk funny. I don’t know. Maybe you have been prescribed weight training? If you had told me you had cancer I would have given you the $23 myself to save you the exertion of running. Those coins must have been way too heavy for you because you supported the jar by sliding it up into your jacket sleeve. Fortunately all those layers of extra clothing made sure you didn’t drop any change on your way out of the store. Every nickle is important!

But last night was so special. I just can’t forget how adorable you were when I took all those pictures of you with my cell phone. You acted all sheepish, covering your face as you ran away from my attentions after I saw you cutting open that Wedding Crashers DVD case. I don’t blame you, how else can you be sure that the disc is actually in the case before you buy it? And Oh-Em-Gee, you looked so gangsta when you pedaled away on your Huffy!

But why so shy? A guy like you should not be ashamed of your looks. I’ve seen your face plenty of times from the high-quality videos and still-frames taken off the store surveillance system. Let me just say you look just like who I’ve been looking for: A Hispanic male, long brown goatee, shaved short black or brown hair, 5′ 1″, approx 150 pounds, mid-20s. Mmmmm!

You know, I show your pictures and videos to everyone at work. Everyone wants to meet you. Particularly my pals in the San Diego Police Department (a truly fine bunch of really strong, muscular guys and gals) all agree that you seem to be an interesting person (or person of interest, I forget exactly what they said because I was distracted. Me and uniforms, hello!) and they want pick you up, too! Drat! How can I compete with them? They wear bullet proof vests and carry guns and clubs and hand-cuffs for hand-cuffing and they drive those totally tricked out cars with the lights and horns and wire cages…

What was I doing? Oh, yeah. Sigh.

But I realize that after all this time I don’t even know your name! That is just one crime among many, I know. Oh, I’m sure I’ll find out who you are eventually. It is I think fated that we meet again. Perhaps soon we will see each other across a crowded room. I’ll stand up and point to you and say “That’s him!” and then everyone will know how I feel. I can wait. After all, the next time you attempt to register that car or it gets pulled over while you are in it I’m confident my pals in blue will give me a ring and we’ll be able to discuss our relationship and your future living arrangements.