It is odd that the way one thing leads to another. If East Midlands Trains hadn’t experienced their little local difficulty in the region of the Langtons on Saturday I might not have found the time to read Tanya Gold’s article that I was mentioning the other day and so I wouldn’t have been reminded about Judy Holliday – so thank you for that East Midlands Trains.
If I hadn’t thought about Judy Holliday I wouldn’t also have come across the clip that this is leading to, and I wouldn’t even have known that Tallulah Bankhead had her own radio show. In this excerpt Miss Bankhead congratulates Judy H. on her Oscar with the help of various stars of the day. You certainly can’t fault the woman’s bravery – not only did she defy Senator McCarthy, but here she also teases Bette Davis. Note how JH drops her Betty Boop voice ( the one she used when dealing with the Senate) when speaking to Ethel Barrymore, the Grande Dame of the American theatre. Winston Churchill, incidentally, proposed marriage to Ethel Barrymore in 1900 – he clearly had a thing about Americans – and Tallulah Bankhead – herself an unusually liberal Democrat – had a father who was the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Tallulah Bankhead lead an eventful life, some of the details of which are frankly unsuitable for publication in a family blog such as this – Eventful life. Makes the confessions of the wife of our own dear Speaker – Sally Bercow – seem rather tame. One of the more bizarre things she was alleged to have done was to have “seduced up to half a dozen public schoolboys [from Eton] into taking part in “indecent and unnatural” acts” in a hotel in Berkshire. (See here). This, however, seems to have been a total fabrication by MI5, proving, I suppose, that our security services were every bit as devious then as they are today, if a little more imaginative in their methods.