Archive for WC Fields By Himself

Talk is cheap, whisky costs money

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on April 21, 2011 by dcairns

“What I am about to relate is the unassailed truth, and my good friend Gregory La Cava will bear witness. He was visiting me at a sanitarium where I was recuperating from a collection of malaises. As I say, I hadn’t touched alcohol in any form for three months. As we sat there on the porch sunning ourselves I glanced at some nearby trees and suddenly saw rearing up in them a herd of gigantic dogs as big as elephants–bigger. They were frothing at the mouth and rearing fiercely. On each dog’s back was a little man with a flowing beard, and wearing a long green coat and a tall hat. Each little man carried under his arm a vicious looking Assegai.

Artist’s impression.

“You can imagine my consternation when the dogs turned in concert and leaped out of the trees. They headed straight for me with loud outcries, and in my sober condition I could plainly see that they were intent on my destruction. My first thought, of course, was to warn La Cava. I might not be able to escape the terrible fate so rapidly approaching, because I had bum legs, but at least I could tell La Cava to get the hell out of there. I was about to scream for him to fly for his life when a thought struck me. Who is La Cava, I thought, to escape death while I sit here and take it? If he’s a friend of mine he ought to be glad to expire with me. So I held my tongue.

“The dogs and the little men with the Assegais were almost at my throat when they fortunately turned aside ever so little. I felt their hot breath on my face. I could hear their hoofs pounding, the Assegais clanking on the metal harness and they brushed my sleeve as they lumbered past. An unfeeling fellow, La Cava all this time had been blissfully unaware of his grave danger.”

~ From WC Fields By Himself, edited by Richard J Fields. You can find this passage in the index under LaCava, Gregory, narrowly escapes death 151-52.

A Fieldsian Forgotten this Thursday, over at The Daily Notebook. And as an added bonus, here’s a cartoon by Mr La Cava from his animation days — it’s not quite like anything else. It has some of the clean-line elegance of Winsor McKay and some of the goofy/sinister weirdness of the Fleischer Bros. But it’s its own thing.