St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on July 24, 1959 · Page 47
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 47

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Friday, July 24, 1959
Page 47
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'FylVl)lf'w" The New Films " me ay uia Jays at Lincoln Beach Fifc Courtroom Drama "ANATOMY OF A MURDER," made by director Otto ; Preminger from the best-selling novel by Robert Traver (Judge John Voelker of the Michigan Supreme Court) strikes me as the most realistic courtroom drama ever filmed. Not only that but one of the best pictures of the year, a marvelously illuminating insight Into human character, motivation and frailties at several levels, as brought out In t murder trial in a small Michigan northern peninsula A TL. :t I. . i. ,u. CT T OT TTC yl lUWn. Ill U l U1B ill. LUUIJ THEATER. JQlUm This does not, as did another good courtroom picture, "Witness for the Prosecution," depend on trick melodrama for its climax, although it certainly has its surprises and moments of tension. Rather, this is an almost leisurely examination of human beings and how they tick, a candid, intelligent, sophisticated and honest study. There is the defense attorney, played with enormous conviction by James Stewart, a wholesome, easy-going sort of man, caught up in a case where he wants to be honest, but doesn't quite trust his own client or the client's wife. He is sly in getting over soma punches in an innocent country-boy way, and absorption in gaining a victory over the man who ousted him from office as prosecutor after seven terms gradually gains dominance over any passion for justice. The trial becomes a game to be won. The defendant is an Army lieutenant, a Korean war veteran, a man of action who cages a violent personality beneath a controlled sullen exterior. He says that when his wife returned to their trailer-camp home, she had been raped and badly beaten by a tavern proprietor, so he took a pistol and went to the tavern and pumped five bullets forthwith into the proprietor. He says ha doesn't remember what happened at the exact time of the shooting; obviously he is lying and seek-big a legal out Ben Gazzara plays him strongly, with brooding ferocity. His wife, strikingly done by Lee Remick, is a provocative, sexy and flirtatious creature who throws her charms about gaily, and has to be coached into a pose of demureness for the courtroom She tells her story convincingly, but hef character leaves an area of doubt. The special prosecutor from the Attorney General's office, in an equally trenchant performance by George C. Scott, is a man of urbanity and irony, who beneath his suavity is determined and almost vicious, striking a low blow whenever he can get away with it There is the Judge, a mild and fair-minded man, played with an absolute naturalism by Joseph N. Welch, the attorney in the Army-McCarthy hearings, who, in his homely manner, conducts the trial with temperance and authority as it often threatens to explode into an attorneys' circus. There are other vivid vignettes: a truculent bartender (Murray Hamilton) through whose testimony there emerges a picture of the murdered man as a likable fellow; an alcoholic old Irish lawyer, affectionately done by Arthur.O'Connell, who comes up with the legal gimmick that brings victory for tha defense; a keen young Army psychiatrist done by Orson Bean; Kathy Grant as the tavernkeeper's tragic-faced friend, and Eve Arden, as a mora or less conventional loyal secretary. As one who covered criminal courts and murder trials for years, and is often appalled by the artificiality of courtroom movies, I can vouch for the authenticity of this one. Tha fencing and maneuvering of the opposing attorneys is fascinating, as is the mixture of off-handed humor, shrewd plays for the benefit of the jurors, the rising anger of the battle. The courtroom language is often startlingly candid In testimony about the rape, but It is done for the sake of sober realism, not for a leering sensationalism. Director Preminger has worked out his canvas with minute thoroughness. The film is two hours and 40 minutes long, but so absorbing is it that it seems short It concludes on an intriguingly ironic note. The defendant Is acquitted, yes, but you're not quite sura that justice hasn't been subverted, that he hasn't really gotten away with what the prosecutor suggested beaten up his wife In anger because she went down a lovers' lane with the tavernkeeper, invented the rape story, then cold-bloodly murdered his rival in revenge. Jlitchcock Sutpenne Circut ALFRED HITCHCOCK must have had his tongue In cheek with his latest suspense yarn. "NORTH BY NORTHWEST," at LOEW'S STATE. He and his scripter, Ernest Lehman, have Invented about as outrageously Illogical a spy-chase story as the law allows. But he keeps the baubles of lurid thrills shooting through the air so fast distracting you like a magician does to prevent you seeing the palmed card or the hand sliding Into the trick vest, that you don't hava time to reflect on the flaws. You sre being vastly entertained, as by an Edgar Wallace mystery, and it doesn't have to make much sense. Mr. Hitchcock, along with cohorts Cary Grant and Eva Maria Saint charms you, so even if you realize you've been had, you like it. Thia is done in the usual Hitchcock style of bouncing from one Intriguing, far-out situation to another. Mr. Grant, a Madison Avenue man, Is suddenly kidnaped In a restaurant by some sinister strangers, bundled off to a mansion In the country where he meets a sleek, suave man of mystery, James Mason, who makes him drunk and tries to kill him by sending him and his car over a cliff. Cary can scarcely believe his own story when ha tells It to police. Certainly they don't believe it Then we have such episodes ss a diplomat stabbed In tha back In the United Nations building with Cary left holding the knife, and a mysterious, glamorous blonde (Miss Saint) who unaccountably hides Cary from the police, makes lova to him in her compartment on tha Twentieth-Century, then frames him for another murder attempt by a crop-dusting plane in an Indiana crossroads. Just how Cary could hava ever been persuaded to be out in the middle of a Hoosier cornfield eludes me, but the murder attempt is vicious and terrifying. There Is sn enigmatical bidding for an antique at an auction, and a scare finale around Jefferson's nose on tha Mt Rushmore monument yes, Mr. Hitchcock has unabashedly revived cliff-hanging. Mr. Grant goes about his work of being a clay-pigeon for spies and FBI men with slickly debonair authority. Miss Saint Is surprisingly alluring, and Mr. Mason cold bloodedly villainous. You can forget that Leo G. Carroll looks snd sounds mora like an Oxford don than a G-man, and just why tha head of a spy ring had to have a luxurious stone and redwood modernistic lodge right in back of the Mt Rushmore monuments. Joseph G. Molner, M.D. Losing His Voice "DEAR DR. MOLNER: I would appreciate a few words about gradually losing one's voice. I am M and getting quite concerned. MB." I cant go Intn details on the various causes ef this In limited apace but I do say solemnly! gradual loss of tha voice Is nothing to view lightly. Some change Is taking place In your vocal enrds, and you should sea a throat specialist promptly. "DEAR DR. MOLNER: Is there any way of bleaching hair on the upper lip? A. S. Yea, but that's a job for a beauty parlor, not for me. However, I've suggested this very thing from time to time ss a good solution for excess hair. Bleached, It seems to disappear. Tnted tip or nil tvpri of dinlttin arc firm In mr , booklet, "IhahrlnTho Sneaky Dittau." To rareira your ropy, writ to me In rare of thti PoH-Wtpatrh, Inrloiing a large, --rerf, itamped rnrrlnpt and 2."ir In min to tow handling. Meramec 'Regulars' of '20s and '30s Hold Reunion, Recall Songs, Dances, Home Brew, Even Swimming 't ; - . . ..... . v .. ... . . . ... ex. - : . ' : 1 .,, .;: ,. -s i . " - ' : . ; ' . ; ' .X. - .., O f A --.-- .- - - .' - " ," -- S By Dickson Terry Of tha Po$t-DIpnteh Staff THERE NEVER WAS an era quite like the 1920s, unless it was the '30s, and as many St Louisans will tell you there never was a place quite like Lincoln Beach on the Meramec river. Put the time and the placa together and they spell nostalgia, which Is what we ran into a lot of at tha Ambassador-Kingsway Hotel the other night where a strange sort of reunion was being held. It was a reunion of people who used to go to Lincoln Beach and other beaches along the Meramec back in the '20s and '30s. People who were young in an era when a canoe and a ukelele spelled romance. When there was no rock 'n roll music and portable phonographs wound with a crank played "Yes Sir. That's My Baby" while young people danced the Charleston. The days when home brew was the favored beverage, when people still went out to the Meramec on tha Missouri Pacific commuter train and when a man could have a big weekend on a five-dollar bill. "I remember one summer during tha depression." said. Charley Tace, a golf pro who came to the party all the way from Union City. Tenn.. "Jim Flan-nery and I hitch-hiked out to Lincoln Beach early in the summer. We had about 30 cents each. We stayed all summer and came home with more money than we started with. We'd bottle home brew for people on Wednesday so they could drink It when they came out on S a t u r d a y. People who came for the weekend would leave us canned goods and stuff. We'd lie on the beach all day no money, no worries and we lived like kings." That was one aspect of life on Lincoln Beach. Most of the habitues, however, were weekenders, many of them young people with jobs in town. "That was before the five-day week." explained Edith Roedder. Edith, who is now in the advertising business, was one of a group of girls who had a clubhouse on the river. She helped organize the reunion. "Most of us worked a half day on Saturday. We'd take our parked suitcases to the office. Then at noon, If we didn't take time to eat we could just catch the Missouri Pacific commuter train which went to Pacific and back, and stopped at about six different places along the river, places Ilka Castlewood, Fern Glen, Drake and Valley Park." Lincoln Beach was a long stretch of sandy beach at a bend in the Meramec, and it was reached by crossing the river, usually by canoe, from Castlewood. As Saturday afternoon progressed, old-timers recall, the beach was filled with people and the water was filled with people and canoes. And the nights were filled with dancing and noise, The big thing was to belong to a club. Miss Roedder explained. There were more than 1200 of them along the river, ranging In sire from one-room cabins to lodges with eight or 10 rooms. At Castlewood there was a large hotel where those who could afford it, or who didn't belong to a club, could stay. There were two other hotels at Drake, the Jefferson and the Washington. The days were spent getting Sun-tanned, playing beach ball, cork ball and badminton. Nights Lincoln Beach on the Meramec river in tha good old days this photo shows a summer Sunday in 1922. a lafeaasi)ftakBi V iaMltJaV 1 1 W V ne. VV V-'' ' v"( 5 t 1 " .- ' i ' 'I f L 5ff I J - hf t i Soma of tha Old Lincoln Beach gang harmoniia on tha old songs at tha reunion. From laft ara BILL OBERBECK, strumming ukulele. JAMES FLANNERY, CITY COMPTROLLER JOHN POELKER, POLICE CAPT. LESTER MARTIN. MRS. MARTIN and CHARLES PACE. were spent drinking home brew and dancing at one of the several dance halls in the vicinity, or at the cottages. Sunday was more of the same, and Sunday evening there was the train ride bark, tired but happy. That was Lincoln Bearh as a lot of St. Louisans knew It during the 20s and Into the '30s. Then the river changed its course. Lincoln Beach disappeared, and so did an era. Among the bearh boys of tha period were Bill Oberbeck, now a photographer and public relations man, and Tom Godfrey, now chief of Instruction for the St. Louis Fire Department. A few months ago they got to talking about the old days at Lincoln Beach and decided it would be fun to have a reunion. "We got some of the old crowd together," Oberbeck said, "and had a meeting at my house. W started calling those who still live in St Louis and writing letters to others. Tha thing just seemed to snowball. Everybody told everybody else about it, and they started writing and calling for tickets." Upshot of It wss that mora than 500 persons gathered at tha hotel for tha reunion. Not all of them were former Lincoln Beach-ites. Many brought husbands and wives who had never seen the place but who had heard plenty about It. There were among the crowd, however, many husbands and wives whose romances started at Lincoln Beach. Among them were Capt. Lester Martin of tha St. Louis police force, and Mrs. Martin, who is a freelance writer. "I belonged to a club called The Gay Cabellem,' " Martin recalled. "Bill Oberbeck belonged to the same club. He played the ukulele and we used to put on musical skits. There were seven members of the club and ona automobile. When it wasn't available we went on the train." All the clubs had names, like "The Spooks." "The Nekers," and "The Happy Hoboes." "I started going to Lincoln Beach away back In the early 20s," Mrs. Martin recslled. "When we first went out there we camped. The accepted costume among the girls came from Barney's Army Store. It consisted of a pair of sailor pants and an oversize sweatshirt. And until they got good and dirty, you felt out of place. The dirtier they got the better. "Sometimes we would go down on Wednesdays. There were dances every Wednesday and Saturday night They played songs like 'When My Baby Walks Down the Street' and 'Sleepy Time Gal.' Nearly every cottage had a small phonograph. Crank it up and play records all evening." The night usually would end with a visit to Joe Gabrlsch's hotel and restaurant. Joe. now in his seventies, was at tha reunion. "I had a dance hall and rented canoes too," Joe told us. "They'd come pilmg Into my place and dance and eat until about 4 o'clock In the morning. Then at ( o'clock some of them would be hammering on the door want ing breakfast." Joe closed the placa and retired In 1938, so he and his wife could get soma aleep, ha said. "In those days we served a steak dinner for six bits, a big hamburger for a dime. During the depression days most of them came down on tha train and if they had half a buck to spend they had a lot." Another popular place, Oberbeck recalled, was one called "The Midnights." They sold home brew. There was a sign over the door, Oberbeck recalled, which said: "Warm beer made today, 20 cents; Cold beer made today, 25 cents. Cold beer made last week, 35 cents." During prohibition days the final function of every weekend, it was generally agreed at the reunion, was the setting of a batch of home brew for tha following weekend. Some cama down on Wednesday to bottle the brew. Charley Pace recalled how he made a good thing of bottling home brew. "By the time that summer was over," Psce recalled, "Jim Flannery snd I had a regular business. We started serving meals In one of the cottages. Did all our own cooking, and offered people all they could eat for 35 cents." You could buy a 10-rlde ticket en the Missouri Paclfie for S1.3. Mlsa Rnedder recalled. You could buy a ham for J 1. 25 and for a five-dollar bill you could have a spread. Tha most expensive thing. In fact as the lea, which cost a cent a pound. Tha "season" at Lincoln beach officially opened on Memorial day. Prior to Memorial day most of the groups and clubs would hava scrubbed and cleaned their cottages. And that Miss Roedder recalls, was about the last real cleaning most of them got The season officially closed on Labor day. This wss marked by a mock election in which candidates ran for various offices such as mayor, dog-catcher and vice chairman In charge of conduct. The clubs nominated their various csndidates, who made loud and lusty campaign speeches. The campaigns wese climaxed by torchlight parades with all the paraders dressed in the weirdest costumes they could assemble. Saturday night dances were "nickel -a -dance" affairs. The favorite band leader was Hal Havird, at the Castlewood. Hav-ird and his orchestra played for the reunion. "We called It nickel-shooting Havird recalled with a laugh. "We played four hours a night, and every dance lasted exactly a minute and a half. A couple of choruses and a quick encore and that was It. About 130 times an evening. That was the only way we could make anything at a nickel a dance. The songs? 'Easy Melody,' 'Dinah.' 'Sweet Sue,' 'Shimmy Like My Sister Kate, 'Cheatin' on Me,' just to name a few. We played Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. "Things began to get pretty rough along toward the end of the era. In fact It got so rough at Castlewood that we had to put up a chickenwire screen In front of the band to protect the Sf foit-Dnptc fhotogrjphw. musicians when the fights started and they got to throwing things. We even had an es cape hatch back of the orchestra pit." As Sunday waned, tha movement back to town began. Canoes were tied up, beach clothes were exchanged for town clothes, cottages were locked, and then came the mad dash to catch the last train for town. Jerome Tegeler of Dempsey. Tegeler Investment Co., recalled the train rides out and back as high spots of the weekend. "The whole train would ba full of people going out," he recounted. "Sometimes they wero packed In so tight you couldn't move. But someone always had a ukelele and we'd sing all the way out. "All weekend we played cork-ball and badminton and pitched horseshoes. The losers had to buy the beer. At night we'd dance, or some club would throw a party. The clubs wera always putting on shows; we'd see the stage shows downtown, and then we'd put on the sama skits for our guests. Then thera was the rush to get on the train for the city. Sometimes it would be so jammed you wera lucky to get on. We didn't hava much money, but we had a lot of fun." That was Lincoln Beach. STAVFFFMmm HOME REDUCING PLAN SUV IT OS aiNT IT ST TMS MOUTH QalL WY. 3-6065 mi i t im i iim "TNI tMGlC eoucu MfWOrit TNI riaSIC U.OVCK"! S ' ". - mm J - - - V... . - ' "mi nmn, I iiTjajj 17 ' - Jw' FriH July 24, 195? ST.LOUIS POST'DISPATCH Tha Rad Cross patrol en tha Meramec fmed for it. retcua work, shown in 1932. 3 0 BteMnKLiL, ' "' ... $2.25 Wtek ill f MiiilV ntuil i. v ...

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