"I never said I wouldn't give you any chewing-gum, but you'll have to wait until the taste's gone!"
"No, I'm not on holiday - I'm with an accident insurance company!"
"I'll take it if you'll take Miss Hart in part exchange."
"I decided to carry a commercial."
By Jean Qui Rit
Pictures by Peynet
The most fashionable initials to have in France at the moment are "B.B.," pronounced Bébé. They stand for Bernard Buffet (painter), Bernard Blier (actor), Bernard Berenson (art expert), and Brigitte Bardot (actress). Most famous bébé of all, of course, is Miss Bardot, and it was to please her that an Italian journalist said gallantly the other day, "You remind me of an old Botticelli" - to which Brigitte replied, "You're not so hot yourself!" As France's most inflammable starlet, it was interesting to hear her definition of a safety match. "It's about as safe as a woman," said Brigitte. "You set it alight, and, bing! it loses its head!"
Brigitte likes the story about the missionary who, cornered by cannibals, produced a cigarette-lighter and flicked on the flame. The cannibals were so impressed that they released him. "It's a miracle!" cried the chief. "The first darned lighter I've ever known to work first time!" Anybody who listens at all to the French radio must have noticed the fine collection of hoarse and husky voices possessed by the men whose job it is to present the leading programmes.
Although an announcer, of course, must have a clear diction, it does seem that an animateur is all the better for a chronic cold in the head or a spot of laryngitis. A cracked vocal chord seems to add a note of sincerity which is lacking in the purer forms of enunciation. The same phenomenon may be observed among singers. When Charles Aznavour sings a love-song, the sounds seem to come through two feet of gravel, and you wonder if the poor man will ever survive. In short, he's won your sympathy from the start. No matter what the words may be, you feel he must mean every one of them - because surely he wouldn't be killing himself like that for nothing!
In his latest cabaret act Jean-Pierre Dorian tells of the lady who, at breakfast, informed her husband, "I dreamt that you gave me a wonderful string of pearls. What do you suppose it means?" The husband is mysterious. "You'll know tonight," he says. Of course the wife can hardly wait. At last the husband returns from work with a neatly-tied parcel. Tearing off the string she finds - a book. Its title? The Meaning of Dreams.
Albert Simonin, who wrote Touchez pas au Grisbi and other novels about the underworld, has just brought out a dictionary on the lines of the Petit Larousse Illustré. But this one contains only slang words and is called the Petit Simonin Illustré. Come to think of it, there's another book which may interest you. It's about a Mediterranean village and is by J. Q. R. himself - but, like the Guide Michelin and other good things, it won't be out till Easter or thereabouts.
Henri Jeanson, the famous script-writer, has a thing about actors. In a radio quiz he quoted one of Juliet's lines and asked a celebrated actor to name the play. The actor didn't know, and Jeanson afterwards expressed his surprise. "But you've played in it a hundred times - I saw you myself." The actor shrugged his shoulders. "I know I did, my dear fellow, but I was Romeo." Jeanson says you can't keep actor-friends after they're thirty. "They either chuck up the job and you never see them again - or they become famous and big-headed and you never want to see them again." One of the saddest and shortest stories of all (according to Jeanson) is about the man who rang his home and spoke to the maid. "Tell Madam she'd better go to bed and I'll be along as soon as I can." The maid said, "Yes, sir. What name, sir?" But Jeanson's favourite joke is even shorter. It was autumn in the Garden of Eden and a fig-leaf drifter down from a tree, "Oh look, Adam," said Eve, "the Invisible Man!"
Film star Pierre Fresnay tells the story of a young naval officer who was asked by his Admiral for a reading of their position. After studying it carefully, the Admiral said, "Take you cap off, young man - according to this we are now passing through Chartres Cathedral!"
Conductor Paul Paray at a recent rehearsal was handed up a note from the soprano soloist. "She's very sorry, but she's unable to sing," he announced. "At last she's realised it!"
Fashion Note. - The "Marlon Brando" haircut, in vented by Paris coiffeur Michel Grémillon, was adopted not only by the entire younger generation but by many older men as well, e.g. Robert Rocca, Jean-Jacques Gautier, Cecil Saint-Laurent, and even Marcel Achard, who is certainly no chicken. But we've noticed that Marcel has let his hair grow and is brushing it backwards again - and we wonder if this is the turn of the tide.
P.S. - A French colleague just back from London had quite an adventure when he tried to phone Stockholm from a call-box. The operator told him how much it would cost, so he ran into a tobacconist's and returned with six shillings, 29 sixpences and 13 pennies. He'd just begun feeding them into the instrument when he realised he was being observed through the glass by a gentleman waiting outside. With an apologetic gesture he feverishly pushing sixpence after sixpence down the slot, feeling (he said) like a mad miser filling his money-box. But when he finally emerged, distraught and dishevelled, all the man said was, "It looks as if we might have a spot of rain."
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I have a perfect cure for a sore throat - cut it.