Saturday, December 21, 2002

Saturday December 21, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 AM

Nightmare Alley

Tonight’s site music in the garden of good and evil is “Hooray for Hollywood,” with lyrics by Johnny Mercer:

Hooray for Hollywood.
You may be homely in your neighborhood,
But if you think you can be an actor,
see Mr. Factor,
he’d make a monkey look good.
Within a half an hour,
you look like Tyrone Power!
Hooray for Hollywood!


From Pif magazine:

Nightmare Alley (1947)
Directed by Edmund Goulding
Reviewed by Nick Burton

“Edmund Goulding’s film of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel Nightmare Alley may just be the great forgotten American film; it is certainly the darkest film that came from the Hollywood studio system in the ’40s….

A never better Tyrone Power stars as Stan Carlisle, a small-time carny shill….  Stan shills for mind reader Zeena…. The… pretty ‘electric girl’…   tells Stan that Zeena… had a ‘code’ for the mind-reading act… Stan… decides to seduce… Zeena in hopes of luring the code from her.”

The rest of this review is well worth reading, though less relevant to my present theme — that of my 

Sermon for St. Patrick’s Day,

which points out that the article on “nothing” is on page 265 of The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. (This is also the theme of yesterday’s journal entry “Last-Minute Shopping.”) Here is another work that prominently features “nothing” on page 265… As it happens, this is a web page describing a mind-reading act, titled simply

Page 265

“Imagine this: A spectator is invited to take a readable and 100% examinable, 400 page, 160,000 word novel, open it to any page and think of any word on that page. Without touching the book or approaching the spectator, you reveal the word in the simplest, most startlingly direct manner ever! It truly must be seen to be believed.

The ultimate any-word-on-any-page method that makes all other book tests obsolete….

All pages are different.

Nothing is written down.

There are no stooges of any kind. Everything may be examined….

 ‘Throw away your Key. This is direct mindreading at its best.'”

From Finnegans Wake, page 265:

“…the winnerful wonnerful wanders off, with hedges of ivy and

and bower of mistletoe….”


Mercer’s lyrics are from the 1937 film Hollywood Hotel.”  For a somewhat more in-depth look at Hollywood, hotels of this period, and mind-reading, see

Shining Forth.

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