Willow trees and Texaco,
Mobiloils and marigold,
and other fruits of men and mould
Oh, how my town-tried heart desires
to know the peace of Kelly tires
to hear the robin in the grass
Sing "Socony", as I pass!
Some day I shall fly the rut
and build a small, bucolic hut,
Trim a hedge and hop a stile,
Walk my Camel for a mile,
Milk a mid-Victorian cow
Eventually, but not now.
Samuel "Sam" Hoffenstein (October 8, 1890 - October 6, 1947) was a screenwriter and a musical composer.
Born in Russia, he emigrated to the United States and began a career in New York City as a newspaper writer and in the entertainment business.
In 1931 he moved to Los Angeles, where he lived for the rest of his life and where he wrote the scripts for over thirty movies.
These movies included Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, The Miracle Man (1932), Phantom of the Opera (1943), The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Laura (1944)
Laura was a 4 star elegant film noir, that managed to encompass the darkest sides of its players in a sophisticated setting as a hired detective (Dana Andrews) comes on the scene to investigate a young woman's murder. Laura (Gene Tierney), believed to be the victim, reappears and becomes a suspect.
Laura was relegated to the B-picture unit at Fox, where the producer Otto Preminger and the writer Jay Dratler worked on the script. Preminger got supervisor Bryan Foy's permission to hire Hoffenstein and Reinhardt to work on it. The revised script moved the picture up to A status, and Zanuck took over the supervision.
The new treatment told the story from two viewpoints. Hoffenstein practically created the character of Waldo Lydecker, the acid-tongued columnist whose narration guides the first half of the picture. The second half was told from the viewpoint of the detective, who falls in love with Laura's portrait, a haunting image of her mystery.
The scene in which the detective dozes in a chair and suddenly the woman in the portrait appears before him is one of the most poetic images in movie history.
The movie Laura inspired aa Escondido husband and wife to name their daughter Laura, who I met in 1996, and she was amazing. You'd easily mistake her for a young Valerie Bertinelli. I believe she told me she was 1/2 Irish and 1/2 Japanese, but she was probably the most perfect woman I'd met, and she was the type of outgoing young woman tv shows revolve around. And one day she fell asleep in my arms on the beach.
Anyway, I ran across Sam's poetry book, and it's a lot of fun. In its day, it was quickly known as a classic, and favored by Dorothy Parker and H. L. Mencken.