Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Blogging the Wolfe Book, A Rain Check


After spending so much time on Elizabeth Short’s autopsy, Wolfe is heading into autobiographical material. Given all the nonsense surrounding our last foray into the Wolfe household (remember “Uncle Vern” who used to house-sit for neighbor Bugsy Siegel, except Siegel moved in three years after the Wolfes moved out?) I may take a rain check and come back if this proves to be significant regarding the Black Dahlia case.

Page 36

Wolfe is going to talk about his stepfather, studio executive Jeffrey Bernerd, who died in 1950, although we don’t seem to get that little factual bonbon.

Lots of mob stuff regarding the role of organized crime in the studios.

Page 37

Hm. Joseph P. Kennedy founding Monogram Pictures. Now isn’t this interesting. Wolfe spends an entire page on Kennedy and doesn’t once mention Kennedy’s close associate Bernard Baruch, one of the most powerful financiers of the 20th century. Did I mention that Baruch is Wolfe’s great-uncle? Now why do you suppose he’s left out of this book? I just checked the index and sure enough, there’s no citation for Baruch.

Page 38

More about Kennedy and Wolfe’s stepfather Jeffrey Bernerd. And not a word about good old Great-Uncle Bernard.

I don’t know where any of this is going and it would be a life’s work to check everything here. It doesn’t appear to be at all related to the Black Dahlia case.

But let’s check a random fact and see how Wolfe is doing. He says his stepfather took Alfred Hitchcock out of the cutting rooms and made him at a director.

“It was at Gaumont British Studios that Jeff [Bernerd] was executive producer of such cinema classics as ‘The Lady Vanishes,’ ‘The 39 Steps’ and ‘Pastor Hall.’ ”

Quick, Watson, to imdb!

Looks like Bernerd’s producing credit somehow got left off “The Lady Vanishes.”

And “The 39 Steps.”

You want to make any bets before I check “Pastor Hall”?

Guess what.

No producing credit for Jeffrey Bernerd.

You’re surprised, right?

Sooooo. Let’s see if Jeffrey Bernerd is in Truffaut’s book on Hitchcock. Any bets before I check?

Oh my. Poor Jeffrey Bernerd, forced to make Gale Storm pictures and snubbed by Francois Truffaut. I suppose it’s some oversight that Hitchcock never mentioned him, eh?

Page 39

Wolfe concludes this section by saying the streets of Los Angeles were “mob infested” in the postwar era. Organized crime certainly flourished into the 1950s, when, for example, Jack Dragna died in his sleep (in pink pajamas) in a hotel on Sunset Boulevard. And the assassination of Jack “The Enforcer” Whalen in 1959.

Sun’s out. Time for a walk.

Shout out to:

MasterCard International: (12.22.157.254)

Chase Manhattan Bank of New York: (170.148.92.21)

Universite Du Quebec A Montreal: (132.208.158.100)

Hurry back!

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