Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 7, Mrs. Beasley, Where Are You?, 10/24/1966

My 10-inch Buffy doll with her Mrs. Beasley. They’ve never been removed from the box, but Mrs. Beasley has plummeted to the ground–hey, just like in this episode.

This week, the latest installment of my Family Affair series features a classic Mrs. Beasley episode–and some dolly digressions.

Season 1, Episode 7, Mrs. Beasley, Where Are You?, 10/24/1966

Teleplay by: Phil Davis and John McGreevey. Story by: Phil Davis. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

A seeming tragedy occurs when Mr. French accidently knocks Mrs. Beasley off the terrace, and the doll is nowhere to be found below.

What could go wrong here?

Yeah. That.

Meanwhile, a related subplot finds Uncle Bill’s weekend plans to “sleep, play golf and do a little mild socializing” thwarted by conflict with a neighbor–a neighbor whose little girl suddenly owns a doll (Effie Boots) the spitting image of Mrs. Beasley.

Effie Boots’ owner is the spitting image of Pamelyn Ferdin.

A despondent Buffy, however, testifies that the doll isn’t hers.  The whole Davis family suffers along with Buffy.

See the clothes these two are wearing while Cissy makes the scrunched-face-of-concern at Uncle BIll? Well, keep them in mind. We’ll get back to them later.

Jody offers to let Buffy sleep with his turtle. Awww.

A sweet sisterly moment. Double Awww.

When all seems lost, Uncle Bill and his girlfriend du jour find Buffy’s doll in the apartment building’s garbage cans.

“Competition is the lifeblood of free enterprise,” the ragpicker notes approvingly when he sees Bill and his date rifling through the trash. Aren’t ragpickers amusing?

The happy reunion.

Random Thoughts

It would take a cold heart to remain unmoved by Buffy’s suffering. As a Barbie collector, though, I enjoy the toy store scene the most: drool-worthy Mattel dolls as far as the eye can see. I don’t know if Mattel had released the Mrs. Beasley doll yet, but obviously the show had forged its relationship with the toy company.

The mid-1960s was a golden era in Barbie history. In this scene, you can see several “American Girl” Barbie dolls. These were only made for two years and are highly sought after today. The long-haired doll in the background is Barbie’s cousin Francie. The Barbie clothes of that era were especially glamorous. The doll in the foreground is wearing Fabulous Fashion. You can spot other dolls wearing Fashion Luncheon and Pan American Airways Stewardess. One price guide I own values the latter at $900 if it’s still in the box! The little dolls on the shelf above the saleslady are Barbie’s brother and sister, Tutti and Todd, along with their friend Chris. Mattel made a Buffy and Mrs. Beasley doll in that same size.

Guest Cast: George Nelson: Frank Maxwell. Diane: Joan Vohs. Clara: Ann McCrea. Saleslady: Cathleen Cordell. Melissa: Pamelyn Ferdin. Scotty: Karl Lukas. Ragpicker: Andy Albin. Maid: Pauline Drake. Pamelyn Ferdin is a familiar face, and voice, from the 1960s and ’70s. Among other roles, she played Edna on The Odd Couple and voiced Lucy in A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Fern in Charlotte’s Web. She also appeared (with Johnnie Whitaker) on Sigmund and the Seamonsters and was in the ’70s version of Lassie. On The Brady Bunch, she appeared in the episode where Jan sports a wig. She also played Francie in a 1972 made-for-TV version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She would appear in three more episodes of Family Affair. Joan Vohs appeared in a second-season epidsode as Mrs. Scofield, then appeared in six third-season episodes as Miss Cummings. Andy Albin was a regular performer on Bob Newhart’s short-lived first series in 1961.

Continuity Notes: Cissy explains that after the death of her mother and father and separation from her siblings, Buffy had only Mrs. Beasley left as a friend.

Continuity error–Cissy and Uncle Bill are wearing the same clothes in this scene as they did in the “concerned conversation” scene above, but this scene takes place the next day.

Notable Quotes: “People you love always go away–I know.” Buffy

Well, that quote’s a bummer. So I will close instead with two random Buffy pictures. In Buffy’s happy scenes in this episode, Anissa Jones seems more animated than usual.

Anissa Jones cuteness.

I love that outfit, too. It reminds me of the Gymboree outfits I tried to get my daughter to wear when she was 4 and 5. (No dice.)

Today’s Bonus Feature

An article from Doll World, December 1996, about the small Buffy and Mrs. Beasley doll.

Read my whole Family Affair series!

Weird Words of Wisdom: Betty Betz and Vintage Teen Etiquette That Rhymes Edition

This is the latest installment in my Weird Words of Wisdom series.

“As mother used to say, ‘Be pretty if you can, witty if you must—and pleasant if it kills you!’”

Your Manners are Showing: The Handbook of Teen-Age Know-How, 1946
By Betty Betz

About This Book: Your Manners are Showing differs from most vintage teenage advice books in one key way—it shows teens how to behave with copious illustrations by Betty Betz. Verses by Anne Clark accompany the pictures; in between the illustrations, Betz provides short chapters on topics ranging from money to “vice” (drinking and smoking). Etiquette in verse actually strikes me as a pretty handy aid for mastering tricky concepts, like who gets introduced to whom.

About the Author: Where do I begin? Betty Betz journeyed from Hammond, Indiana, prom queen to 1940s and ’50s queen of all media. She was a Midwestern swimming champion, and her high school classmates named her Most Popular Girl in their school of 1,800. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and earned a guest editorship at Mademoiselle, which became the first magazine to publish her drawings. She went on to work for Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar. Eventually, she began to specialize in teenagers, writing a syndicated advice column for them and publishing several books. Her illustrations of teenage life turned up on everything from stationery to scrapbooks to jewelry boxes.

She was married briefly to Josef Lanz, the Austrian fashion designer who popularized the dirndl dress, a 1940s teen wardrobe staple. His family owned Lanz of Salzburg, which still exists, producing mostly nightgowns.

In 1956, she married her second husband, Frank McMahon, whom Time described as an “oil-rich Calgary wheeler-dealer.” She raised two daughters and settled down into a life of charity work and Palm Beach socializing. Betz died in 2010.

Among the other highlights of her brief career:

  • She published comic book stories featuring “Dollface and Her Gang.” (Dollface’s best friend was named Bun Brain. Really.)
  • She marketed a line of teenage clothing that included a hideous but creative item called a blouse-slip. As a slip, you could lounge around in it at home. If company stopped by, you could wrap a skirt around yourself and be good to go.
  • She hosted a TV talk show that Billboard called “a routine and lifeless concoction, devoid of warmth or sincerity.”
  • She founded the Betty Betz Angels Club for her fans, who pledged “to show respect and consideration to everyone, regardless of race or color.”
  • She served as a Hearst correspondent during the Korean War, providing readers with insights like this one from July 29, 1951: “…what baffles me most of all is the fact that communist ‘wacs’ don’t care for perfume or lipstick.”
  • She published Manners for Moppets, an etiquette book for children, in 1962. At the time, her family shuttled among homes in Vancouver, New York City, and Palm Beach. “An English nanny and a private plane make commuting painless,” The Calgary Herald wrote. “Having complete wardrobes in each house so she doesn’t have to pack and unpack all the time and hiring temporary help for each house as she gets there are other time and trouble savers.” I’ll bet.

Weird Words of Wisdom from Betty Betz

For the most part, I’ll let Betz’ illustrations (and Clark’s verse) speak for themselves. I can’t resist including a few quotes, though.

On tipping: “At least ten percent of the total bill is a sufficient tip, but never leave less than ten cents per person.”

On saying goodnight: “There’s no excuse for a couple to stay out past midnight except for special parties, so make those good-nights short and sweet. Dawdling on the doorstep doesn’t get you anything but a razzing from the neighbors, and a black mark from the girl’s folks.”

On fashion for boys: “You’re no Percypants if you are particularly particular about which tie you wear with what suit, so give your clothes combos a little more thought…The best clothes for men are the traditional ones which never go out of style, so if (a salesman) tries to sell you Seabiscuit’s blanket for a sports jacket, tell him to give it back to the Indians.”

On shoes for boys: “If they’re scuffed with run down heels they label you right in the jerk department, so keep your booties laced and polished. When you buy shoes, get the strong and sturdy type which look more manly and last longer than the ‘cute and fancy’ styles. If it’s a dressup party, don’t wear your saddle shoes or moccasins, and never wear rubber soles for dancing.”

On fashion for girls: “If you think you can wear that dress three years from now and still adore it, it’s a good buy. But if it’s a poorly made ‘gag-rag,’ then don’t waste your money.”

On shoes for girls: “Exaggerated heelless or toeless siren sandals are downright unattractive on young legs, so avoid them.”

On girls’ accessories: “A neat purse, immaculate gloves, fresh handkerchiefs and simple, becoming hats are the classic equipment of fastidious and fascinating femmes.”

On where girls should turn for dating advice: “Say, your mother should know a little bit about it, since she managed to snare herself a pretty nice husband, and probably over some pretty high competition, too.”

Acceptable gifts for boys to give girls: Books, records, candy, flowers, a compact, or “your best photograph (unautographed, please).”

Acceptable gifts for girls to give boys: wallets, key chains, books, records, hand-knit socks, or “your prettiest picture.”

Traffic advice that cracks me up: When crossing streets, boys should walk on the side closest to traffic, “so that if there’s any mishap, he gets hit first.”

Wow! A Password?!: “There’s a password, ‘cabbage,’ which is used every time a boy doesn’t take the curb side of the sidewalk when he’s walking with one or more girls. Actually, there’s no need for a password, because every young man should automatically take the outside place without even thinking twice.”

On smoking: “If you like the taste of tobacco and your parents approve, there’s nothing harmful about smoking in moderation.

On drinking: “Light wines and beer are your best bet if you must drink something alcoholic. My favorite is a ‘Sherry Cobbler,” which sounds like a grownup drink, but actually is a plain lemonade with a little wine added.”

Recommended non-alcoholic drink if you want to appear to be drinking alcohol: A “Horse’s Neck”—ginger ale, with a slice of lemon peel.

On conversation: “My Mommy done told me that as long as I wasn’t really a brain-box, I should develop my ear for listening.”

And a final thought: “The trouble with etiquette books is that they’re like dentists…you never pay any attention to them until you’re in agony, and then often it’s too late.”

Read more Weird Words of Wisdom.

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Edgar Allan Poe, Part 2

As Halloween approaches, I present more old-time radio versions of Poe stories to entertain you on chilly nights. In this and Part 1 of my Poe playlist, I’ve tried to represent a large range of Poe stories and radio programs.

“The Tell-Tale Heart”

Columbia Workshop

July 11, 1937

“The tell-tale-heart effect, which you heard, was an actual human heartbeat, amplified more than 10 billion times.”—Announcer, Columbia Workshop

NBC Presents: Short Story

“My senses sharpen. Every second makes them sharper. I can hear the rhythmic beating of the old man’s heart…the beating of his heart.”

1951 (Unaired)

About These Series: Columbia Workshop was an early radio series that experimented with the new medium’s narrative possibilities. In dramatic radio’s dying days, NBC Presents: Short Story dramatized work by some of the world’s greatest writers. Try to imagine a major TV network airing series like these now (at its own cost—neither of these shows had a sponsor). Columbia Workshop aired on CBS for eight years, but the NBC program didn’t fare as well. According to The Digital Deli Too, the network pre-empted it frequently and ultimately left 11 episodes, including this one, unaired.

Thoughts on These Episodes: Though the sound quality is better on the NBC Presents episode, I prefer the Columbia Workshop version. The voices the NBC protagonist hears—and his reaction to them—become almost comical. In contrast, the voices that cry out from the wind and the rain and walls in the CBS version are eerily effective. The police are none too swift, though. Sample exchange:

Murderer: “You’re laughing at me! You’re torturing me! You’re making believe that you don’t hear so that I’ll confess!”

Policeman: “My dear young man, you’re working yourself into a frenzy. I think we better leave you to yourself.”

These officers should really lay off the wine.

Read “The Tell-Tale Heart

“Metzengerstein”

Columbia Workshop

December 16, 1937

“Tonight is the end of the house of Metzengerstein!”

Thoughts on This Episode: This episode does a good job capturing the story’s creepy atmosphere. Castles, curses, horses, fire—what more do you need for an exciting half hour?

Read “Metzengerstein

“Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”

Weird Circle

September 19, 1943

“The wind was screaming through the sails like an insane witch on a broomstick.”

About This Series: Many radio series explored horror and suspense. One thing that differentiated The Weird Circle was its source material; it frequently presented “literary” horror stories, including several of Poe’s tales.

Thoughts on This Episode: I’ve tried to read Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, his only novel-length work, but just can’t plow through it. I think I’m allergic to nautical adventures. I’ve read enough, though, to know that this adaptation takes major liberties with the story. It also abandons the 19th century setting for a modern one. Phrases like “The captain’s nuts!” and “Awww, shut up!” jar in a Poe story. I would still rather listen to this than try to read the novel again, though.

Read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

“The Pit and the Pendulum”

Suspense

November 10, 1957

“Minutes…hours…days… Who can say how long it was? It might have been many days before that hideous blade swept so closely as to fan me with its acrid breath.”

About This Series: Suspense billed itself, with ample justification, as “radio’s outstanding theater of thrills.” Extremely popular, it ran for 22 years (1940-1962). For much of that time, it attracted top Hollywood stars, who often got the chance to play roles that contrasted with their on-screen image. By 1957, the show’s star power was diminishing, but it was still presenting outstanding radio drama.

Thoughts on This Episode: Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe—an unbeatable combination! I think this is my favorite Poe story—it’s exciting and has a merciful lack of beautiful dead women. It needs little elaboration to succeed as a radio drama, and Vincent Price (who would star in the Roger Corman film version of The Pit and the Pendulum four years later) gives a good performance.

Read “The Pit and the Pendulum

“Berenice”

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

January 9, 1975

“The teeth! The teeth! The terrifying teeth!”

About This Series: Although not exactly “old-time radio, CBS Radio Mystery Theater represented the last major gasp of network radio drama. The show ran on weeknights from 1974 to 1982. E.G. Marshall hosted, and radio veteran Himan Brown produced the program.

Thoughts on This Episode: CBS Radio Mystery Theater presented an entire week of Poe stories in January 1975. With about 45 minutes to fill in each episode (not counting commercials), the program had to expand on Poe’s shorter stories.

“Berenice” sticks with the outline of Poe’s story but adds a love triangle and lets us meet Berenice for ourselves; in Poe’s story, we only see her through the narrator’s  disordered vision. (The most interesting part of the short story, to me, is Poe’s detailed description of Egaeus’ mental illness. I wondered how modern professionals would diagnose him and found this interesting paper suggesting he was schizophrenic.) The story doesn’t benefit from these additions, but the ending still packs a punch.

Read “Berenice

“The Masque of the Red Death”

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

January 10, 1975

“Oh, wow. I mean, like, wow.”

Thoughts on This EpisodeCBSRMT transports Poe’s plague story to the apocalyptic future that is 1996 (hee) and turns it into an ecological morality play. The morality is confusing, though—I’m a liberal, card-carrying Sierra Club member, and even I don’t understand how the rich capitalist is making the world’s situation worse by protecting his family from the red death. The episode lacks the lurid atmosphere that illuminates Poe’s story, but it’s entertaining as a window into 1970s concerns.

Read “The Masque of the Red Death

Next week, I’ll be posting a bunch of Halloween-themed old-time radio!

My other old-time radio posts:

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Edgar Allan Poe, Part 1

Old-Time Radio Episode Spotlight: Those Magnificent Cats in their Flying Machines

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Till Death Do Us Part (and That Might Be Sooner Than You Think)

Old-Time Radio Episode Spotlight: A Snapped-Worthy 1920s True Story

Old-Time Radio Episode Spotlight: CSI, 1940s Style

Old-Time Radio Playlist: London Calling, Part 1

Old-Time Radio Playlist: London Calling, Part 2

Spin Again Sunday: Dr. Kildare Game

Dr. Kildare Game, Ideal, 1962

It’s time to take two aspirin and enjoy the latest installment in my series about vintage board games.

Today’s Game: Dr. Kildare

Copyright Date: 1962

Mystifying Subtitle: “Medical Game for the Young.” I wonder why they felt the need to specify that it was for the young.

Game Box: I’m sure the draw for potential buyers was the large photo of dreamy Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare, who is staring intently ahead and listening to an invisible person’s heartbeat.

The Analyzer

Recommend Ages: 7 to 14. Actually, it says “Approved for ages 7 to 14.” That’s a strangely officious way to put it.

Game Board: The board offers a cute representation of a hospital, with green corridors, patient rooms, an operating room, and more. The patients all seem happy, even the one traction.

Game Pieces: Dr. Kildare’s dreamy face again.

Game Play: Pretty cool. Players make their “rounds” through the hospital and diagnose their patients with the help of the “Analyzer.”  Patients’ conditions are written in code on diagnosis cards. I decoded two of them just for fun—nose bleed and sprained back.

Nice Touch: The instructions say that you can play the game by yourself.  I used to play board games against myself all the time—my brother was not really a board-game guy.

My Thoughts: I’ve never actually seen an episode of Dr. Kildare. It was a bit before my time. I saw The Thorn Birds at an impressionable age, though, so I can appreciate Richard Chamberlain’s charms. The game looks pretty entertaining—what kid doesn’t love decoding messages?

Another photo of Dr. McDreamy from the box insert. Okay, we get it, he’s handsome!

If you enjoyed this post, read the whole Spin Again Sunday series!

Family Affair Friday(ish): Season 1, Episode 6, “Room with a Viewpoint,” 10/17/1966

This is the latest installment (and, this week, the late installment) of my weekly series on the TV show Family Affair.

Season 1, Episode 6, “Room With A Viewpoint,” 10/17/1966

Written by: Austin and Irma Kalish. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

The arrival of Cissy’s pink princess phone provokes a surly reaction from Buffy.

Every 1960s girl’s dream phone.

Her mood worsens when Uncle Bill’s current girlfriend, Nedra Walcott, redecorates the girls’ room.

This is the woman who designed this living room.

Refusing to do homework or sleep in her own room, Buffy won’t tell anyone what’s bothering her. Things come to a head when a workman arrives with a room divider, and Buffy locks herself in. Finally, she confesses that the changing room is not the problem; it’s the way “the room made Cissy change.” The episode ends with some sisterly bonding.

Random Thoughts

A-ha! Uncle Bill has used Miss Walcott’s decorating services before–so now we know who is responsible for the Festival of Fug that is the Davis apartment. (Seriously, there is so much to admire in mid-century décor—and so little of that made its way onto the Family Affair set.)

Nedra Walcott decorating tip: A bunch of old Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedia sets can make any homeowner seem erudite.

Buffy’s return to deadpan “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” replies keeps the viewer guessing along with everyone else about what the problem is. Personally, I think she just had better taste than the other Davises.

This is the bedroom as Nedra designed it originally. And you’re giving her another chance?!

Nedra Walcott decorating thought process: Let’s keep the green walls and bring out their vomity properties with a gay print.

See the artwork Nedra adds to Buffy’s wall? The poor child is an orphan–hasn’t she suffered enough?!

Guest Cast

Miss Walcott: Kathleen Crowley. Ted Gaynor: John Hubbard. Telephone Man: Wayne Collier. Kathleen Crowley was Miss New Jersey 1949. She made a slew of TV appearances in the ’50s and ’60s on such shows as My Three Sons, Perry Mason, Bonanza , Batman and  Maverick. She would appear in Family Affair again in “A Family Group.” I’m happy to report that she’s still alive.

Remember ladies: Remove one white glove to hold your cigarette. It’s okay to leave your cape on.

Fun Facts

The Davises live on the 27th floor, in apartment 27A. Buffy’s favorite colors are pink and green.

The Davises share a happy moment, despite their hideous surroundings.

Continuity Notes

Another Velvet Vultures reference. Dinky, Jody’s turtle, is mentioned.

Random oddity: Buffy is learning multiplication in first grade. (And she only attends half-day sessions.) Also, she does her homework on a slate.

Notable Quotes

“All this kids’ stuff is new to me, Ted. I don’t know the difference between stomachache and heartache.”—Uncle Bill (He’s also mystified by teenage slang, including “outasight.”)

Today’s Bonus Feature

An article from TV Picture Life, May 1967. It’s best to take these fan magazine articles with a grain of salt. The photos are great, though.

Weird Words of Wisdom: Where the Boys Are (You’d Better Wear a Skirt) Edition

Connie Francis (suitably skirted)

“Never wear slacks on a date, unless it’s a rugged outdoor picnic or an evening at an amusement park. Otherwise, I think slacks are an insult to a boy.”

For Every Young Heart, 1963

By Connie Francis

About the Book: We’ve encountered celebrity advice books before in this series, but Connie Francis is both our first female celebrity author. Of course, one always has to wonder how much “authoring” these celebrities did. Francis’ book feels more authentic than most. Her advice—both the good stuff and the weird stuff—feels specific and individual. Knowing little about Francis when I picked up this book, I quickly formed a clear mental image of her—tough, smart, moody, romantic, and ambivalent about her parents’ influence in her life.

About the Author: I’m always happy to write about an author who’s still alive. Connie Francis is a survivor, in every sense of the word. As a teenager, she appeared on a TV variety show called Startime Kids, and she received much criticism about her looks and weight during those years. Her recording career was slow to take off, and she was on the verge of giving up when American Bandstand made Who’s Sorry Now? her first hit in 1958. (She had brains to fall back on—she received a scholarship to New York University and was planning to study medicine.) And as an adult, she would endure many tragedies (which I don’t want to write about here, lest it ruin the mood for laughing at her fashion, beauty, and dating tips.)

Okay, Then—Let’s Start With Hair Care: “Going to the beauty parlor is an art in itself. Some ladies lean back, close their eyes, and snooze. Others read movie magazines or daydream. This is okay if you’re over forty and have money. But it’s not for you…Sit up and take notice.”

“Wash your hair with regular shampoo, rinse thoroughly, then soak with beer just before setting. It adds tremendous body to fine or limp hair.” (Note: You have to leave the beer, open, outside the refrigerator for two or three days prior to use.)

On Teasing Your Hair: “This is one of the most useful tricks a girl can learn. It involves back-combing the hair from underneath, which adds body, so that with very little curl you can make your hair look like something special. Right this minute, my hair needs setting, but if I had to go out unexpectedly I could whip it into a definite bouffant style by teasing, hold it with hair spray and breeze out for the evening with perfect confidence.”

On Washing Your Hair, Um, Frequently?: “My hair is very oily, so every three days it gets washed.”

On Fashion: “The little black dress or navy suit is the backbone of my wardrobe. I have five or six basic outfits that can go anywhere, from the office in the morning to dinner at the Stork Club and dancing at the Peppermint Lounge at night. The only change I need is a scarf or a piece of jewelry.

On Fashion for Petite Girls: “So instead of buying three strands, you buy one. Instead of the big chalk beads, you buy little ones. And if everything you wear is small, like you, you’ll have a larger overall appearance. Stay away from medium or heavy patterns, circular designs, and two-tone outfits. Verticals give you height. Solid colors, small all-over patterns, and lightweight, clingy fabrics are most flattering.”

On Makeup: “Dark minimizes, light accentuates…For instance, my nose is too wide, so I always use a darker makeup on its sides than on the rest of my face.”

On Lipstick: “For most women, this is a good rule: Darker by night, lighter by day, and always coordinated with the color of your outfit.”

On Brows: “The outer line of the eyebrow should end a 45-degree angle from the tip of your nose.”

On Eyeliner: “This is the most valuable cosmetic I ever found. After experimenting with many kinds, I think black pancake makeup is ideal.”

Getting Along with Boys

“…from the age of nine or ten, (a girl is) more alive, happier, and more of a person with a male around. It doesn’t matter how old he is—nine or ten like herself, twenty-two or eight-five, married or single. All he has to be is male.”

How 11-Year-Old Connie Learned “a New, Improved Formula for Getting Along with Men”: At a Halloween party, she encountered a boy named Eugene who had been picking on her at school:

“And then—whether it was the costume or the lipstick or the fact that I really did feel like a gypsy princess for one wonderful night—a strange thing happened. A lovely, soft, feminine feeling crept over me, transforming the glare to an angel’s smile. Instinctively, I minced forward, lowered my eyes shyly and cooed, “Hel-loo…”

“G-g-gosh!” Eugene breathed, “you look pretty!” “Oh,” I said coyly, “do you really think so?” Half an hour later, there I sat, perched on a cold radiator, collecting kisses from the stag line—and now it was the other girls turn to glare!”

Connie’s First Real Date: A showing of should It Should Happen to You with Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon, and a second feature of Francis Joins the WACS with Donald O’Connor. (She got so disgusted with her date’s loud guffaws that she stormed out of the theater and went home. If he was laughing at Francis Joins the WACS, I can understand her reaction.)

Telling Tales on Herself: That is one of several unflattering stories Connie tells about herself. Others include the times Connie:

•        Beat up a fellow seventh-grade girl

•        Got into a shoving match with an overweight male classmate on her first day of high school

•        Threw a cup of coffee across the room and stormed out the studio after recording Who’s Sorry Now?

Dating Don’ts

“There are certain places a girl should never go alone, or even with another girl—certain hangouts, bowling alleys, bars, and other places where boys tend to gather and girls don’t.”

“Don’t ever stand near a bar and talk. Never drink at a bar, even if you’re drinking ginger ale.”

“Most people can tell right away who’s a lady, just by the way she talks. And the quickest way to lower yourself in the eyes of anyone—a boy, especially, is to use even one unladylike word.”

“Every man likes a woman to allow him to be a man. Unfortunately, some women, especially in the United States, don’t allow men to be men. They do everything for themselves, because they’re always trying to prove how independent they are.”

“A woman who doesn’t expect the little courtesies isn’t a lady, and a man who doesn’t perform them isn’t a gentleman…I think an unmannerly man is 95 percent the woman’s fault.”

On Sharing Expenses on a Date: “Out. Not under any circumstances should a woman touch one nickel of her own money on a date, unless she’s stranded 50 miles from home and her date needs 15 cents for a subway token. But why get in such a silly fix, anyway?”

“A girl who goes out deliberately to get picked up lives dangerously. And most boys will assume that she’s what she probably is.”

Dating Dos

“Of course, the best way for a girl to be interesting to a boy is to be interested in him. I’ve sat through many an evening not knowing what on earth my date was talking about, but just nodding and smiling and looking at him very, very intently, and occasionally putting in a word of my own like ‘Really!’ or ‘My goodness!’—and he’s walked away thinking ‘Gee, what a brilliant conversation we had!’”

“Anyhow, not only does a kiss on the first date not compromise a girl’s reputation, but nowadays a boy expects it. That doesn’t make it right, of course, but it doesn’t make it wrong, either. A girl knows instinctively the kind of boy she can trust and the kind she can’t. She can sense when a boy respects her, and if a date doesn’t have any real feeling of warmth and friendship for you, he doesn’t deserve a kiss—or a second date, either.”

“The one unfailing way to let a boy know you like him is this: Tell him. I believe letting a boy know in a very lighthearted, casual way that won’t embarrass either of us…When we’re standing in line for a movie or waiting to get into a restaurant, I’ll say: ‘Know something? I like you,’ very casually, then change the subject.”

“As far as necking is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with it in moderation, if there’s a warm, respectful feeling between two people.”

Suggested questions to get dates to open up: “Are you a lonely person? Are you Happy? If you had 48 hours to yourself, what would you like to do most?”

Putting on the Brakes

“If a boy really loves you as much as he says, he’ll want to put a ring on your finger.”

“A girl can become sexually aroused just as quickly and irrationally as any boy. She wasn’t born with any handy ‘monitor’ that automatically helps her put on the brakes, but she has to develop one in her mind in order to protect her self-respect and reputation.”

(Connie wasn’t just talking the talk about chastity. In 1984, she told People Magazine that when she married her first husband, at age 26, it was because “because I wanted to have sex.” That marriage only lasted three months.)

With the Above Said, the Most Racy-Sounding Passage in the Book, if Taken Out of Context: “I finally had to force myself to have fun. I went to Europe and Las Vegas and forced myself to date one boy after another. I kept dating until I found the feelings I had for one or two boys weren’t so fantastic after all. I found, in fact, that I could feel just as happy and have just as good a time with 25 others.”

Connie’s First Real Love (Bobby Darin?): “I was in love in my teens, and at the time it was the most important thing in the world to me. Every day, because I was in love and my parents didn’t approve, there was an argument at home. School became secondary. My singing became unimportant compared to my feelings for this boy. The day was happy or sad depending on what he said to me or what I said to him, or what my parents said or didn’t say about him or me or us. Then, when we did break up, it took me just as long or longer to get over it.”

It’s tempting to assume she’s talking about Bobby Darin here. Certainly the part about parental disapproval fits. Here’s an exchange she had last year with Village Voice blogger Michael Musto:

Musto: Your father was extremely strict, right?

(Connie): He wasn’t just strict — he was a vigilante with every boy I had a milkshake with. I was not allowed to date in high school or go to the prom, and even in college he had a problem.

(Musto): Is it true he broke up you and Bobby Darin?

Connie: With a gun. He learned Bobby and I were starting to elope one night. We were 18, 19. I was doing the Jackie Gleason show and Bobby and I were cuddling in a corner. He barged through the rehearsal room of the Sullivan Theater with a gun in his pocket and a fierce determination to obliterate Bobby once and for all. One of the biggest regrets of my life is I didn’t marry Bobby.

In For Every Young Heart, some of Francis’ ambivalence toward her parents comes through. She describes how she taught herself shorthand because her mother was always snooping in her diary. She also talks about how she learned a confusing version of “the facts of life” in a whispered conversation with a girlfriend because her parents never told her anything.

“Every child has a right to know about life,” she asserts. “The day a youngster asks his first question about sex is the day he deserves an answer.”

Connie’s Ideal Husband: “He shouldn’t be overemotional, yet he must be very affectionate, responsive and warm. His laugh shouldn’t be so loud that everybody turns around to look, but he has to have a wonderful sense of humor. He has to be subtle and self-contained—the type who can say two words and I’ll understand; a man who can look at me across the room, and every look will mean something. Oh, yes, and he has to be very smart, alert, witty. He has to know he’s the boss without saying, ‘Listen here, I’m the boss.’ He can’t shout at me, but he’ll know just how to tell me what to do, because every woman loves to be ordered around the right way.”

Hmm. You start to get an inkling about why none of her four marriages lasted longer than five years.

More Wisdom from For Every Young Heart:

“The opinion that smoking is a drag—on your health, most of all—is pretty modern these days. Every day, new data piles up pointing to possible links between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

“If a boy has never been in a bar or never tried to drink or smoke by the time he’s out of his teens, he would be very unusual. These are things most boys have to experience in order to feel grown up and manly.”

“The only time a boy may have a feeling of responsibility for himself and girl is when he’s deeply in love, when he has a true feeling of respect for her, and when he’s far-sighted enough to think of the future, including the day they’ll want to get married with a fresh, wholesome start toward life together. But 99 percent of the time, the boy doesn’t feel this way, and that means the girl has to.”

“A girl must always have the kind of reputation that will make a boy very, very proud to take her home and introduce her to his mother.”

“…there’s just one reason for going steady, and that’s as a prelude to engagement.”

“Not only does a wife have to be a mother, friend, advisor, and scrubwoman—she must also never let her husband feel that it’s a great burden for her.”

“In my teens, I used to think it was the most important thing in the world for a woman to be tremendously independent. But I know now that no matter how independent you are, if you really love a man, nine times out of ten his wishes are more important than yours.”

“I will want nothing less than a big wedding, in a pretty church, with all my family and all my friends there to share it. That’s a girl’s one big day, and anybody who says you’re not entitled to it because it’s corny is not going to make the greatest or most understanding husband.”

If you enjoyed this post, read the whole Weird Words of Wisdom series!

Bonus Feature: Connie singing what I’m officially declaring the Weird Words of Wisdom theme song.

Bonus Feature 2: More advice from Connie! This article from the October 1961 issue of Teen Talk Magazine is called “Who Should Say No First?”