Saturday, April 30, 2011

Walked This Way

Like hypnotized slaves of Rasputin
They drift through this fave from Val Lewton
It's a classy affair
Made with passion and flair
Though the title don't sound high-falutin'.

David Cairns

Christine Gordon and Frances Dee in I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943). Handed the cheesy title, producer Val Lewton applied taste and talent to create a sublimely eerie film, following the pattern he'd established with Cat People (also with director Tourneur). Walk to an an earlier limerick on Lewton here.

This concludes our month-long feature on the superb limericks of movie-mad maestro David Cairns. But don't worry, there's more to come from Mr. Cairns, writer of the horror-centric film blog, Shadowplay. We've all sorts of goodies scheduled for May, including a tribute to actor and horror film star Vincent Price on the centennial of his birth. So stay tuned to Limerwrecks, island of the poetry of the living dead.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Unsmiling Lieutenant

The stubborn Gerard loved the law
But something was stuck in his craw:
That fugitive Kimble
in truth was a symbol
that justice was marred by a flaw

Though there were plenty of hints that police Lt. Phillip Gerard (Barry Morse) grew to doubt the guilt of Dr. Richard Kimble, the obsessive cop never let up in his dogged pursuit of The Fugitive. Neither do we on Fugitive Fridays.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sister Cracked

Two sisters, identical twins,
exist in identical skins
One's good, one's from hell--
but where, none can tell,
one ends and the other begins

Olivia de Havilland is reflected in The Dark Mirror ( Robert Siodmak, 1946). Are you seeing double yet? There's more double trouble here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Doubles Exposure

Identical girls, one is bad.
But how can an ID be had?
The vamp's negligee
gives her badness away,
while the good girl's more modestly clad.

David Cairns

The Guilty (John Reinhardt, 1947), starring Bonita Granville and Don Castle. Based on a novelette by Cornell Woolrich, this modest Monogram mystery has Granville as twins, though the entire twins bit was added for the film. David first posted this as a comment on an earlier rhyme on the same film, Double for Nothing.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dr. Strange Love of Martha Ivers

When Martha is hitting on fellas
she's strange and a bit overzealous
To have and to hold them
she'll manage and mold them
like a bitch in the telenovelas
Kirk Douglas, Van Heflin and Barbara Stanwyck in The Strange love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946). Image source: Silver Screen Oasis. A telenovela is a television serial novel popular in Latin America.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Imbalance of Power

This triangle's angled all wrong
'cause none of its sides get along
She bears her mate's name
but cares for old flame
They'll find who is weak and who's strong

Van Heflin, Barbara Stanwyck and Kirk Douglas in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Arranged Love of Martha Ivers

It's early, but still you can tell
this couple will never end well
As bride and a groom,
their love-nest a tomb,
they're doomed to a marriage from hell

Child actors Mickey Kuhn and Janis Wilson grow up to be unhappy couple Kirk Douglas and Barbara Stanwyck in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946). Read an earlier limerick on this uncivil union here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pick-Up's Line

A stoolie, she still had her pride
As proved by her words when she died
To wit, Thelma Ritter
was never a quitter
Her fitting obit was "I tried."

David Cairns
Character actor Thelma Ritter is unforgettable as Moe in Pick-Up on South Street (Sam Fuller, 1953). Ritter is seen here with Richard Kiley. David first submitted an earlier draft of this rhyme about Moe's last words as a comment on Pigeon Toe-Tagged.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lam on Wry

Doc Kimble was one of the damned
The door to his future had slammed
Then fate intervened:
his train car careened
And freed, as a fugitive, lammed

David Janssen was The Fugitive on television. Image source: DVD Talk. Stay tuned for weekly installments of Fugitive Fridays.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Roadhouse Broken

In love, he's just playing at nice
He gets what he wants in a vice
Don't cross crazy Jefty--
the cost can be hefty--
'cause ev'rything comes with a price

The calm before the storm: Richard Widmark (as Jefty) thinks he can buy Ida Lupino in Roadhouse (Jean Negulesco, 1948).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meyer for Hire

A fissure instead of a maw
Like a maniac scissored his jaw
The cartilage nub
Of his nose is the hub
Of a face that's beyond any law.

David Cairns

As a character actor, meaty Emile Meyer often played a cop. He's very scary as corrupt officer Harry Kelo in Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957). Image source: Flickr (top); If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger (above).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Sid Falco's a weasely creep
who seems not to need any sleep
He sneaks from his hole
each eve with one goal:
to crawl to the top of the heap

Fawning press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) will do anything to curry favor with gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster): Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957). Image source: DVD Beaver (top); A scene from Sweet Smell is Totally Looped for imrov comedy on Youtube, here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweet Smell of Excess

A life to this villain is cheap
The power to kill's in his keep
His cynical "eyes"
spread rumor and lies
His victims can read it and weep

The "Eyes on Broadway" gossip column is used as a guillotine by J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) in Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957). Image source: Dr. Macro's Movie Scans

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Column A-Hole

His writing is vicious and vile
Each "item" is viscous with bile
This columnist leech,
if not for free speech,
for libel would likely stand trial

Burt Lancaster is venomous columnist J.J. Hunsecker in the searing Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957). Image source: DVD Beaver.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Hunsecker Proxy

He authors a popular column
pretending his purpose is solemn.
But J. J. Hunsecker's
a relationship wrecker,
with lips dripping poison like Gollum.

David Cairns

Powerful gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) waxes vitriolic in Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957). J.J. pulls the strings to break up his sister (Susan Harrison, below) and a jazz guitarist. Image source: If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger (top); High Def Disc News (above); DVD Beaver (below).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flee Circus

The fugitive flees from the law
to find one-armed man that he saw
This innocent guy
was sentenced to die
when fate moved its huge hairy paw

The Fugitive ran from 1963-67. Photo: David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, in the custody of Barry Morse as Lieutenant Philip Gerard, on their way to the death house. It's Fugitive Fridays at Limerwrecks.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

La Cage Awful

The saying is, "Hope springs eternal"
But straight from what chasm infernal
Could such a Hope spring
Oppressing 'Sing-Sing'
This matron so far from maternal?

David Cairns

Monstrous prison matron Hope Emerson lords it over newbie Eleanor Parker in Caged (John Cromwell, 1950). Image source: A Tribute to Hope Emerson.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ygor Blimey

Old Ygor's as ugly as heck
A mental and physical wreck
Surviving the scaffold
Leaves local cops baffled
And him with a pain in the neck.

David Cairns

Bela Lugosi in Son of Frankenstein (Rowland V. Lee, 1939).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friend Bad

Though he's really an evil old creep,
the monster thinks Igor's his "peep"
Pretending they're friends
to serve his own ends,
he gave him a vest made from sheep

Boris and Bela team up in Son of Frankenstein (Rowland V. Lee, 1939).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Annoy All Monsters!

The torch-bearing townsfolk beleaguer
Our monster, whose brain-power's meager
When asked why he crouches,
He meekly avouches,
"I don't want to appear over Ygor."

David Cairns

Boris Karloff as the monster and Bela Lugosi as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein (Rowland V. Lee, 1939). This is one of my favorites of David's limericks. He first posted it as a comment on an earlier Son of limerick, Rated X-Ray. Finding such gems buried in the comments, I knew David had to join our crew.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tommy Gunsel

This psycho likes shirts that are black
He'll give your old lady a smack
One way or another
he'll prey on your mother
On sidewalks he'll step on a crack

That first step's a doozy. Giggling killer Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark) enjoys pushing an old lady in a wheelchair down the stairs in Kiss of Death (Henry Hathaway, 1947). David Cairns informs us that his mum is a big fan of Mr. Widmark and that she'll get a kick out of the limerick.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Udo's Kudos

His laugh's a cacophonous cackle
(Hyena if crossed with a jackal)
His heart, like his shirt,
is blacker than dirt,
His tendencies quite maniacal.

David Cairns

Richard Widmark made his memorable film debut as killer Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death (Henry Hathaway, 1947).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tempus Fugitive

When falsely convicted he ran
and hides out wherever he can
Pursued by a cop,
Doc Kimble can't stop
till finding that damn one-armed man

The Fugitive ran on television from 1963-67. David Janssen played the man on the lam with a nervous smile, Barry Morse was his relentless pursuer, Lt. Phillip Gerard, and Bill Raisch was the elusive One-Armed Man. Image source: DVD Talk. Fugitive Fridays is now up and running at Limerwrecks.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Killer in Hyde

He swallows a bubbling potion

and feels a most troub'ling emotion

The evil set free

Goes on criminal spree

And causes a mighty commotion.

David Cairns

Fredric March is both Dr. Jekyll and Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian, 1932).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Velvet Touch of Evil

When crossing the border by crane
We see Rudy Linneker slain
A subsequent crime
Is solved in no time
Since the culprit neglected his cane.

David Cairns

Janet Leigh and Charlton Heston cross the border in Orson Welles's noir masterpiece, Touch of Evil (aka Badge of Evil, 1958) . This entire opening scene in a single crane shot is one of the most elaborate and celebrated in film history. Watch it on Youtube, here. Image source: DVD Beaver.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Report Retort

As secret as those of Aladdin
are the riches of Mr. Arkadin
This native of Georgia
's a latter day Borgia
Confidentially, Gregor's a bad 'un.

His accent's wild, woolly and weird
It's strained through a ludicrous beard
This rich man of leisure
pretends am-a-nesia
His history's quite disappeared.

David Cairns

Orson Welles is Mr. Arkadin (1955), aka Confidential Report. Feigning amnesia, Arkadin hires dopey American Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden) to investigate his past as a means to secretly eradicate all trace of his criminal beginnings. "Am-a-nesia" is the odd way actor Arden pronounces amnesia. The plot was expanded from "Greek Meets Greek", a script Welles had written for his Third Man radio series, The Adventures of Harry Lime. Image source: DVD Beaver.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Scat People

She sure is a cute little Serb,
Her figure and face are superb
The boys make a beeline,
discover she's feline,
and kitty gets kicked to the curb

David Cairns

The feline Irena (Simone Simone) will scratch your eyes out in Cat People (Jacques Tourneur, 1942). This April Limerwrecks is proud to feature the putrid poetics of David Cairns. In addition to his day job (most likely at at a mortuary), David writes his blog Shadowplay, and yet still has time to write his lurid limericks for us. When does watch all those movies?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nicholas Uncaged

Overacting was meant for the stage
but no one told Nicholas Cage
He rants and he raves
and seldom behaves
On Facebook his status is rage.

Nick Cage goes nuts--again and again--in this hilarious and profanity-strewn montage on youtube.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Grease Monkeyshines

When fleeing from bullet-barrage
the place to hole-up's a garage
So try not to panic
Become a mechanic:
You'll be safe till at least the montage

David Cairns

David reminds us that Impact, The Killers, and Out of the Past all feature heroes who lie low by working in gas stations. Top: Robert Mitchum and Paul Valentine chat about old times in Out of the Past (1947); Above: Ella Raines gets greasy in Impact (Arthur Lubin, 1949). Image source: hal0000; Lost in the Frame.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Plumber and Dumber

Arising from fondling his tools,
her eyes were two big, limpid pools
Her drooling had drenched
his extra-large wrench--
You thought I meant family jewels?

April fools!