Title: Wry & Danish To Go
Source: MelodyMaker magazine, by Brian Case. Photography by Tom Sheehan. Thanks to Kevin Molony for donating scans
Date: Copenhagen. May 5, 1979
Key Words: Copenhagen Montmartre, Jack Kerouac, Emmet Kelly, Rock Dreams, Why Is The Dream Always So Much Sweeter Than The Taste?, Burma Shave, Paul Hampton, Potter's Field

Magazine front cover: Copenhagen, early 1979. Photography by Tom Sheehan.

Accompanying pictures
Page lay-out (first page of article). Photography by Tom Sheehan. Thanks to Kevin Molony for donating this scan
In front of The Montmartre, Copenhagen, early 1979. Photography by Tom Sheehan. Thanks to Kevin Molony for donating this scan
Backstage at The Montmartre w. Greg Cohen (L), Copenhagen, early 1979. Photography by Tom Sheehan. Thanks to Kevin Molony for donating this scan
Copenhagen, early 1979. Photography by Tom Sheehan. Thanks to Kevin Molony for donating this scan


Wry & Danish To Go


Tom Waits lives in Los Angeles because it's where lives grind to a halt; you can't go no further West. BRIAN CASE observed the apostle of Method behaviour in Copenhagen.

"Now the dogs are barking And the taxi cabs parking, A lot they can do for me."
Tom Traubert's Blues. (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen)

More of a flounder out of water than the little Mermaid herself, Tom Waits hunches against the canal wind on an intersection of the Old City quarter of Copenhagen - verdigris green spires and turrets and palaces, one upright heritage - and flags at the passing cabs with a deuce of lunch-hooks no burgher would let near the Lurpak, accompanying each signal failure with a gesture copped - guess I'm guessing here, soldier - from some 37-year-old knock-nutty pug still indelibly inked as The Kid, while the smart money in this town rides on Danny Kaye, fare, tip and anthem.

It is a diligently disseminated no-secret that Tom Waits resembles a freightcar arrival and frightwig, one of those collar-up shivers atop the spine of a transcontinental B&O, who yet feels the iron jolt of unofficial locomotion deep in the tendons of his right hand, and broods upon a new-leaf future of pan-handling with his left. Copenhagen ain't buying, and delivers the back of the neck.

"Mmugh - cabbie!" he roars, as dairymaids churn by on bicycles, and hausfraus and hobbies snug reindeer-motif knitwear with the pewter clasps stride a wide berth. "Mmugh - taxi!" Hell, maybe it doesn't translate...

A curious joint to open a tour, and he has Vienna, the Palladium, Dublin and Australia yet to come, all of which sounds more like a B. Traven predicament than a tilt at the stars. A tricky talent to place, undoubtedly, but this itinerary recalls the Palookaville Scenic, no offertory boxes or blood-bank credit accepted.

"Trying to cut down onna road because everything gets run down. I got run down. Lotta travelling. No sleep. Bad food. Get tired of myself, usually wanna get 12 hours of sleep and some 12-year-old scotch. Huh-huh. Trying to get healthy. Doing push-ups now. In the hotel room. All by myself. Feel kinda stoopid. Hafta do something."

He ducks under his elbow and chafes the back of his head like a man rotating a bowling-alley ball to try the fingerholes. Heavy, everything's heavy, and the white negro delivery just about manages to swat the trigger-words - road, hotel room, sleep, scotch - before dipping before the barometric pressures.

He prowls the thickets of his voice-box, somewhere near the threshold of speech, and it's like watching a pair of six-ounce Everlast gloves pick up a nickel from the canvas.

The fifties marketed two extremes of style, and Tom commutes between both. The Method boxers, Brando as Terry Malloy, Newman as Rocky Graziano, dumped us with the premise that illiterate spells integrity, and Stallone - with whom Tom Waits collaborated on "Paradise Alley" - is mumbling out a retread for the Seventies, so don't ah worry 'bout a t'ing, Ma.

The beat poets took the opposite route to the same righteous end, Kerouac in particular loosening the lexical sphincter and pulling the critical verdict from Norman Podhoretz that "what you get in these books is a man proclaiming that he is alive and offering every trivial experience he has ever had in evidence." We have been here before, and then some.

In the lobby, we talk across the tables and chainsmoke. Didn't Ann Charters' biography of Kerouac prick the myth, the King of the Beats spending much of his life in his mother's parlour?

"No. I actually'd prefer to see the other side. He wasn't a hero who could do no wrong. He saw a lot, got around. he wasn't nearly as mad and impetuous as Neal Cassady. Fact, after Neal died, Kerouac would not admit that he was gone. 'Neal's coming - Neal'll be here,' you know. Never admitted that he was dead. Kept him alive.

"Jack was sittin' poker faced with bullets backed with bitches, Neal hunched at the wheel puttin' everyone in stitches." - Jack & Neal.

Tom drew an ace in a beer puddle on the table-top. "Ace is a bullet, bitches is queens. He died in St. Petersburg. I was in St. Petersburg(1), played a concert, thought a lot about Kerouac."

He retreated back into a cloud of tobacco smoke. There was a long silence while he rummaged among his wreaths.

"Emmet Kelly(2) just died," he announced. "Famous American clown. sad clown. Sarasota, Florida. S'where all the old carnies live in the off-season. Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey circus. Yeah, he died. He was taking the garbage out. Just fell down on the lawn, died. He was old vaudeville."

American heroes. He is collaborating with Rock Dreams artist Guy Peellaert(3) on a book of heroes from Meyer Lansky to Lenny Bruce. he loves lists, hip lists and shit lists, tends to brandish them as credentials, or to rope off the stand from the squares. It's that kind of era: no originals, wide readers.

"I don't know how I'm looked upon in the context of American culture. It has to do with how long you stay around. How long you're allowed to stay around."

We climb into the hotel lift, a phone-booth-sized creaker with a vestigial mezznine memory, failing short or overshooting the designated floor by a foot or two. Maybe Tom brought it with him.

"I'm trying to do an R&B album(4) when I get home. Trying to do something a little more - uh - mix-it-up. Trying to find a way to combine it. because I don't get played on the radio ever. Marcel Marceau gets more airplay than I do. I heard myself once in North Dakota, that's all. I was in Michigan somewhere and I was listening to the radio, and I called the disc jockey. I said, listen - I just played a concert, sold out a twenty-five hundred auditorium. And I'm bustin' my chops, would ya mind, you know? He said, Who is this? I said, My name is Tom Waits. He said, No it isn't. Hung up on me."

"I'd like to make some kind of breakthru. When I get home. I've got two months to write an album and I've got no idea of what I'm gonna come up with. I'm waiting for it to drop on me. I usually go to a room and I stay there until I'm done, and that's where my real rewards are. It's a little difficult for me in the studio. I don't feel comfortable. It's like so antiseptic, you know. I pull away from anybody who's tried to give me any sort of direction, never had anybody look over my shoulder, tell me what to do. I don't turn it into a party or anything."

"I don't wanna play beer bars for another seven years. In the States I'm starting to play auditoriums now. Old movie theatres. I like that fine." The lift gulped to a halt, and we clambered down to the carpet. He went off to his room to rest. "How can I miss ya if ya won't go away?" he said.

He has made six albums since Herb Cohen heard him at an audition night at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, in 1972. Back then, Tom Waits was scuffling as a dishwasher, toilet attendant, fireman, ice cream truck driver, bartender and doorman, summed up for him in the phrase "a jack-off of all trades." He sang Ray Charles material before getting his track on 4 a.m. and his pipes have grown harsher and heavier since his debut on "Closing Time. "Uh - they're ALL low notes now. Don't like to listen to my first coupla albums. Sound like a little kid."

Fact or fiction, he is trapped in his own image now, can't extend beyond the hip coterie without endangering both. Last Christmas he wrote a screenplay called Why Is The Dream Always So Much Sweeter Than The Taste? about a used-car dealer in downtown L.A.

"It's about a guy who's a success at being a failure, and a guy who's a failure at being a success; and it all takes place on New Year's Eve. Hope it's as good as I think it is. Never done anything that large before."

There's a Super 76 petrol pump on stage at the Montmartre(6), from the painting "Gas,"(7) 1940, by Edward Hopper, painter of The Great American Loneliness: "Nighthawks," "Automat," "The Barber Shop," "Corner Saloon," "Drug Store," "The El Station, " "Four Lane Road," "Freight Car," "Hotel By A Railroad," "Two On The Aisle," "Second Story Sunlight." There's also half a Buick in the wings, unattributed, but the Beat photographer Robert Frank, who directed Pull My Daisy, might have tilted it "US 90, Texas."

None of it seems to bed down too well in the Montmartre, Denmark's premier jazz club, which for some unfathomable reason is done up like a home for voles and riverbank folk, with tree-roots and plaster boulders and elves-picnic gingham tablecloths all working outa the Kenneth Graham bag.

"Anybody know where I can buy a silver dining service set?" asks Herb Hardesty, from a stool on stage, which wouldn't be anybody's first-choice characterization for Fats Domino's original tenorman. "Everything I've seen has been too dear."

"Ya wanna get married, Herb," says Tom from the piano. "Get given one for free." He fools with a little blues, very Avery Parrish, half-a-yard of jawbone canted back like the shank of a violin. The band leans into "Gee Baby".

They take a break, and Tom goes behind the bar for a beer. It could be better. No brass rail, no pretzel bowl, no sawdust, no bartender's horsecock equalizer, no spitoons. It's nothing like Nelson Algren's Tug & Maul Bar, which carried the shingle over the counter" "I've been punched, kicked, screwed, defaulted, knocked down, held up, held down. lied about, cheated, deceived, conned, laughed at, insulted, hit on the head and married. So go ahead and ask for credit. I don't mind saying NO".

Tom drinks from the bottle, handling it as he handles everything, with the mannered gawkiness of a newsie's gloves. Mismatched halves of a black suit, tongue of tie hanging below the vest, hair springing strongly from his head like a Sov-Art inspirational sculpting, billy goat gruff goatee.

"Where I live, Tropicana Hotel(8), Santa Monica Boulevard, guy in a rockabilly band has had Eddie Cochran songs tattooed al over his arms. He's committed. When I first played the Roxy with Jimmy Witherspoon(9), all the lights fused along Sunset Boulevard. I dunno."

"Frying Cody Jarret on Alcatrez?" I ventured. What was his obsession with gangster"? "Small change got rained on with his own .38."

Did he get "Burma Shave" from the Nick Ray movie, They Live By Night, from 1947?(10)

"Yeah, that's the one. In fact that's a great story. Very sad at the end where he gets mowed down at the motel. Farley Granger does soap operas now, I think. He was in Minneapolis and this woman disc jockey played it for him and he got a real kick out of it. He always played the baby-faced hood. He don't work much any more. I guess Sal Mineo got most of his roles. Yeah, I used that. I kept coming back to that movie image.

"Also, I have a lot of relatives in this little town called Marysville, and a cousin, her name is Corrine Johnson, and every time I'd go up there from Los Angeles in the summers, she was always like you know 'Christ man - I gotta get outa this fucking town. I wanna go to LA.' She finally did. She hitch-hiked out and stood by this Foster Freeze on Prom Night. Got in a car with a guy who was just some juvenile delinquent, and he took her all the way to LA where she eventually cracked up. Burma Shave was a shaving cream company. Abandoned in the late Fifties. Useta advertise all along the highway. I always thought it was the name of a town." He took a slug of beer, backed away from further definition.

"I twist whatever I see, you know. Most of my writing is a metaphor for something else. This buddy of mine, Paul Hampton, he married this millionaire, got in tight with her old man, and he was like in charge of all the money. he came home one night and caught his wife in bed with the chambermaid and he pulled out a .38 and put it in her ear and - then stopped.

"He was writing at the time. so he wrote this real strange story called 'Two Hour Honeymoon'(11) which is about an automobile accident. It starts with the sound of a car crash, and then - 'AAAGH - don't move me!' - you know, all that, and in the background is a screaming arrangement sounds like 'Harlem Nocturne', I would never have made the connection between him and his ex-wife and an automobile accident, you know." He set fire to another cigarette. "So... there's always something underneath."

Who chose clarinet for "Potter's Field?"

It was a collaboration between myself and Bob Alcivar. All I had was the story and a bass line, so I came in and we managed to stretch it a little further. I was gonna do it with tenor and upright bass, but he said no. So we took it in sections. Clarinet was like the opening of 'Rhapsody In Blue'. That was what I had in mind." What I had in mind was Widmark(12) on the prow of a barge, bringing Thelma Ritter's coffin back from the pauper's burial ground of Potter's Field in a grey dawn: Pickup On South Street, Sam Fuller, 1952(13). Why the identification with losers? Or was that just L.A., where every second cat is a failed something-or-other?

"Yeah, It's kinda sad. The girls still come from like Nebraska(14) and stuff, go out there and, you know, wanna be in pictures. Where I live, I hear a lotta them stories. They end up on their backs in one of the rooms. Yeah, there's a lotta sadness. I see a lot from where I'm living. I don't see much hope. Can't go any further West."

But he wasn't a loser, and he still came on romantic about failure?

"I guess so. Two impostures, huh? I don't care who I hafta step on on my way back down."

And if the career runs out of gas?

"I BEG your pardon? Are you looking as if you're predicting the future? OK - you mean IF it all comes down. Uh. I'll move out to Palmdale somewhere, live in a trailer, raise a family, dunno..." He turns to the stage crew. "Hey - wadda we gonna do with the pump? Leave it draped? Uh-huh."

Somewhere in Copenhagen there must be a couple of cats who know an Eighter from Decatur from a baked potater, because the Montmartre packs solid for the show, wall-to-wall skimmers and stubble, and Herb Cohen finally breaking cover with the kinda expression that reads Stick-With-Me-Kid-And-You-Can-End-Up-Wearing-Stripes.

Tom Waits holds the mike-stand like a rum-dum adhering to railings, stands on one leg, and rubs the back of his head. On stage, the gesture, which is habitual, takes on the dumb wonder of the wino who wakes on an all-alley cat audience. he shields his eyes from the light, releases a cloud of cigarette smoke, and staggers. Choreographically, he ain't shit, but he does occasionally get a row together that would not be disowned by, say, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, the Lard of the Ring. In the lights, he is pavement-coloured.

He lurches into a frowsty "One That Got Away", Greg Cohen's bass walking sweetly, Arthur Richard's guitar whining and withering on the stem, Big John Thomassie's drums - now tamped down with a cushion in the bass drum - cracking them out.

He does "Step Right Up", psufferin' psuccotash delivery, all confidential snake-kiss sibilants and birth-flesh cavernous eversions catch one word in five. "Jitterbug" slides into "New Orleans", Waits' mission-hall piano clinging to nostalgia, times gone, loves lost, like convolvulus onna burnsite. For "Sweet Bullet" he beats a guitar, fitting as featly as a grifter in a sandwich-board. He does "Muriel". dedicated to Ernie Kovacs' widow(15), dons a stingy-brim for "Pasties & A G-String", and it's here we go down 'n' dirty for the step right up Little Egypt bump 'n' grind.

The spotlights drill for the grainy black-and-white old movie stock finish. A few numbers come dunked in hellish red or a cold Spears and Jackson midnight mortuary blue, and there's a bandage yellow beam that would look good on a gum-shield. Smarter'n a shithouse rat, got th'ole experience, you betcha, Tom Waits plays it for the house percentage, milking "Summertime" for "Burma Shave", "Waltzing Matilda" for "Tom Traubert's Blues", and leaving the audience with that flush of familiarity that breeds contentment.

Backstage in the bar, he sits dumped an despairing. He stank, he says. He didn't even come up, he says, to his own snuff. He looks as self-recriminatory as Wallace Beery waking with a hangover and his boots on in a Wendy House. It's not like back home, he says, where his father turns up at his performances with a bunch of good loud buddies to heckle him. The memory cheers him up. "Well . huh. He always tells me, If it's difficult - do it. And tell ya kids the same thing. Not that anyone'd marry ya. Hafta be crazy."

We sit at the bar. "Y'ever see this?" he says, unslips his tie, drapes it outside his collar with an end in each hand. "Guy I see in Amsterdam, blue-collar workingman, wearing a tie to work. I asked this girl, why does he do that? She said, He's an alcoholic. Shakes all the time. Can't hold a glass, so..." Tom winds the tie around two fingers and grips his beer, draws on the other end like a pulley to hoist the hooch to his mouth.

I trade him the story of the Durham miners' wives. They buy butcher's hooks, decorate them with sequins, stab them into the bar counter as hangers for their handbags on Ladies Night Out.

"I kinda like that," he says.

"I kinda knew you would," I tell him, but there was a better Tom Waits story waiting for me and Tom Sheehan out in 4 a.m. Copenhagen. In the only bar they'd forgotten to dust, we hit on an All-Woman Eskimo Chapter of the Hell's Angels and one solitary Mancunian drunk. Copenhagen was a great place, he said. He'd been there two years, slinging hash in a pizza house. Before that, he'd been slinging hash in a Torquay(16) pizza house in the holiday season. he had fallen in love with the summer's sunburned blondes from Scandinavia, couldn't get them out of his mind through the winters, so he'd pulled up stakes and moved direct to source. Copenhagen was where it was at, he said, waving his Carlsburg in the general direction of the Eskimo Chapter, and he came here every night. Soldier, you got it made.


(1) I was in St. Petersburg: only known show in St. Petersburg is: July 13, 1974: Bayfront Centre. St. Petersburg/ USA. Opening for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Jack kerouac died in St. Petersburg. During their second stop on the first national tour in Cambridge, Massachusetts (April 1973, Passim Coffeeshop), Waits and Bob Webb took one day to travel to nearby Lowell, MA to try to locate the grave site of Jack Kerouac (Source: Ken Langford, 2005. Email conversation with Bob Webb. July 22, 2004). Further reading: Performances

(3) He is collaborating with Rock Dreams artist Guy Peellaert: The collaboration is also mentioned in: "Tom Waits For No One" Circus Weekly, by Stan Soocher. January 23, 1979 (Guy Pellaert's new book, Vegas). There's no confirmation this book was ever published, or this collaboration ever took place.

(4) I'm trying to do an R&B album: This next album wouldn't turn out as planned. This is Waits at the low point of his life. Within a couple of months he would move to New York and break up with Rickie Lee Jones. Early 1980 he would be approached by Francis Ford Coppola to work on the score for "One From The Heart". The next album was "Heartattack And Vine" released only September 1980.

(5) Why Is The Dream Always So Much Sweeter Than The Taste?: The mysterious project that would never be realized. It is generally assumed the script was later used for Waits's play "Frank's Wild Years". A small part at least was used for Coppola's "One From The Heart":
- The one original movie script that Waits developed with writer/ actor Paul Hampton, Why Is the Dream So Much Sweeter Than the Taste?, didn't attract much industry attention, but a fragment from it, a scene called "Used Carlotta," turns up in One From the Heart: Hank conducts a symphony of blinking headlights in his surreal junkyard - appropriately named "Reality Wrecking." (Source: "Tom Waits: Hollywood Confidential", BAM magazine (US). Travelers' Cafe/ Echo Park. February 26, 1982).
- Also mentioned in "The Neon Dreams Of Tom Waits" New Musical Express (UK), by John Hamblett. London. May 12, 1979: "I understand that you're currently working on a film script. "Yeah, I just started working on the project in December when I got off the road. I'm working on it with a gentleman by the name of Paul Hampton who used to be Bert Baccarach's old songwriting partner; he used to write for Famous Music in New York during the '50s, writing for Gene Pitney and cats like that. And he is also an actor, and we're collaborating on this film script about a used car dealer in Southern California, and an old friend of his who are reunited on New Year's Eve. It's a nice story. It's about a guy who's a success at being a failure and a guy who's a failure at being a success. Do you have a picture of your leading man? "Yeah. Me. Actually we haven't got anyone to release the film yet. The whole thing's being written on spec. The characters are Jack Farley Fairchild, of Fairchild Dord. Torence, California, and Donald Fedore, his partner and side-kick. I never tried anything like this before. I don't find it at all easy. In fact, it's the hardest thing I've ever done... well, the most challenging anyway."

(6) Montmartre: From about 1960, some Danish jazz clubs began to change into 'jazz houses' (i.e. jazz restaurants). The most important of these was the Caf� Montmartre, which opened in 1959 in Copenhagen and until 1976 introduced the Danish public to lots of Americans groups and soloists, besides using quite a number of Danish musicians. They had an almost cultlike devotion to jazz music and they worshipped jazz musicians as heroes. This was the era when American jazz musicians by the number settled in Copenhagen. Names like Stan Getz, Kenny Drew, Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Ed Thigpen, Horace Parian, Ernie Wilkins, Thad Jones, Etta Cameron and Duke Jordan were a huge source of inspiration for the insatiable Copenhagen jazz fans, especially at Montmartre. Live recordings from Montmartre resulted in a fantastic concert series, and among the record companies involved in the Montmartre recordings was the Danish 'SteepleChase' label. All the recordings encapsulate that magical atmosphere which always arises when great musicians get together and the audience really gets into their music. Musicians from outside Denmark were fulsome in their praise of Montmartre, describing it as one of the best clubs in the world and hailing the Copenhagen audience as easily the best in the world! After some 30 years as an indispensable part of the Copenhagen and European jazz scenes, Montmartre is now definitively closed. When it closed, a new Jazzhouse Montmartre carried on at another location, and after this had been commercialized, Copenhagen JazzHouse took over the roles of the two Montmartres in 1991.

(7) Gas: Edward Hopper, 1940 Oil on canvas 26 1/4 x 40 1/4 inches The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

(8) Where I live, Tropicana Hotel: Further reading: Tropicana Motel.

(9) I first played the Roxy with Jimmy Witherspoon: May 19, 1977. Further reading: Performances.
This is the hilarious incident as told by Chip White: "We went to Japan one time. We went to Japan and he met a lady over there, and there was some confusion because she got kind of friendly and everything and she thought that he was asking her to marry him - to get married but he was not asking her to get married. So then we go back to California and we're playing at the Roxy on Sunset Strip one night with Jimmy Witherspoon. There were the two bands. We're playing and a strange thing happened because a car crashed into a telephone pole and knocked all the lights out in the club, completely blacked out and just at that moment this lady came from Japan to meet him. It was incredible because everything got dark and somebody'd light candles and then she walked in just when we lit the candles. So it was strange. And then we thought they'd fix the power but they could not fix the power so all the clubs - everybody went out in the streets and they were drinking and smoking - so the whole Sunset Strip is like one long party and he's there with this lady from Japan that's gonna marry him. But he's not gonna get married." (German/ Swiss? interview with Chip White - date unknown. Transcription by Gary Tausch as sent to Raindogs Listserv Discussionlist, August 8, 2001). Also mentioned in: "A Rumor In My Spare Time" Hit Parader magazine, by Deane Zimmerman. October 1978.

(10) They Live By Night: motion picture (w. Farley Granger) by Nicolas Ray released October, 1949.

(11) Two Hour Honeymoon: recorded by Burt Bacharach/ Hal David as a 1960 single (Dot). "Two Hour Honeymoon," a 1960 Paul Hampton single complete with car-crash sound effects and morbid spoken-word passages, which not only predates The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack" but merges it with a swanky "Harlem Nocturne" coda.

(12) Widmark: Richard Widmark. From his very first film, Widmark laid claim to some of the best twisted film sensibilities ever recorded. In Kiss of Death, his 1947 debut, Widmark played creepy killer Tommy Udo with such glee that no one who has ever seen the film will forget Widmark throwing an old woman in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs. Kiss of Death starred Victor Mature, but Widmark made his mark and no one ever forgot that snarling animal performance. Unconventional behavior was backed up by unconventional good looks. The diminutive actor boasted a chiseled face, all angles and shadows, with a rubbery nose. His gravelly voice always comes as a surprise when you first see him. Then you know it: this guy is tough and he means business... One of Richard Widmark's best roles is the title role in the 1968 policer Madigan... Widmark's star was on decline by the seventies. His screen time was mostly in supporting roles and he turned more to television. Maybe as his hair thinned and sprinkled gray the dangerous aura that surrounded his screen presence was too diluted to command the big roles. (� 2001 Films on Disc Stuart J. Kobak ALL RIGHTS RESERVED).

(13) Pickup On South Street: Pickup On South Street (1953) A pickpocket becomes the target of both federal agents and communist spies after inadvertently stealing some microfilm in Samuel Fuller 's espionage thriller, based on a story by Dwight Taylor. Cinematography by Joe MacDonald. With Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter... When Joey the commie murders Mo (Thelma Ritter), the old stoolie who sells ties from a suitcase as totems for the underworld information she really sells, Skip (Richard Widmark) is moved into his first selfless gesture. In one of many great photographic moments in this film, he recovers Mo's coffin from the death boat before transportation across the river to an undignified burial in Potter's Field. It is the least he can do for this quasi-mother whose last words to him to were, "Stop using yer hands, start using yer head, Skip -- the kid loves ya..." Mo dies for her beliefs and Skip, like a series of other noir heroes seeks to affirm value, faith and hope in the face of darkness. In a poignant moment, Skip reclaims Mo's body from a tugboat, readying to take her in box 11 to potter's field. "Relative?" the captain asks. "Nope," Skip says with Hemingway terseness. "I'm going to bury her."

(14) The girls still come from like Nebraska: referring to "A Sweet Little Bullet From A Pretty Blue Gun" (Blue Valentine, 1978), "Well it's raining it's pouring you didn't bring a sweater Nebraska will never let you come back home."

(15) Ernie Kovacs' widow: Edie Adams, lost both her husband and her daughter to separate car accidents. When her husband died in a car accident (January 13, 1962), he owed the IRS several hundred thousand dollars in back taxes (he felt that the tax system was unfair, and simply refused to pay it). Edie Adams took it upon herself to pay the back taxes, refusing help from her celebrity friends, and appeared in television commercials and other TV work to raise the money. After several years, the back taxes were fully paid off.

(16) Torquay: South Devon at the South West peninsula of England. Three towns Torquay, Paignton and Brixham are also collectively known as the English Riviera.