Frankie Sinatra: Homefront Dreamboat

He was the skinny boy with the big voice who made the girls melt while their boyfriends fought overseas. And he was born 98 years ago today in Hoboken, New Jersey. Here are the first mentions of him in Photoplay in the final quarter of 1943.

First, a detractor in the letters to the editor column. Kind of a weak prophylactic attack, because one month later, he was all over the pages of that magazine.
Shortly on the heels of this statement, a full measure of appreciation by a nearly gushing Louella Parsons. Sorry, M.G.



And suddenly, he was all over Hollywood, leaving only long enough to go get the Nancys for a long-term stay.


For the time being, anyway, Bing remained unconcerned.



Cheese food on the Homefront

Velveeta has an undeserved rap. It is what it is, but it isn't what a lot of people think it is. It's a product made mostly of cheese, but has nothing in it that isn't perfectly okay to eat. It's mainly just got emulsifiers to stabilize it and keep it from separating when it melts, as regular cheese will often do. Actually, it used to be better; more flavorful and less salty, but I digress. For making inexpensive melty sauce dishes, it had its place on the Homefront, for sure, and if you ever eat a cheeseburger from a fast food place or buy American cheese, you have no cause to be snobbish about Velveeta. 

This is from a 1944 issue of Cine-Mundial (the Spanish-language Moving Picture World,) and I was very proud that I had to look up only a handful of the terms after interpeting the recipe. I never studied Spanish, but it has sort of rubbed off on me over the years. At least, to read simple things.

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Melt 1/2 lb. Velveeta in double boiler. Mix with 3/4 cup milk,
remove from heat and allow to cool. Add 3 egg yolks,
1 3/4 cups bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon
mustard powder. Incorporate 3 egg whites beaten until meringue (stiff.)

Pour the mixture into 6 well-greased pudding molds. Place in
a tray with hot water for 30 minutes hornéense slow fire.
Take the souffles from the molds and serve with tomato sauce.

It seems hornéense has to do with baking, so I guess they just mean
"in a slow oven," like 300º.

Oh! With Velveeta also is made a rich and smooth cheese sauce
to serve with vegetables and meats!


Le da un rico sabor a sus comidas means "gives a rich flavor to your meals."


Notes on this new page and project

First of all, I'll work more on this page than my main "blog" through the winter. But there'll be updates there from time to time, about concerts or operas I attended, bits of Christmas or food or snow. This weekend, the Met is live-streaming Falstaff. I'll have something to say about that. And I did promise two people I'd share Thanksgiving dinner photos...

The main focus this winter will be the WW2 American Homefront, but with serendipity included, such as the introduction of a new film or singing star, intriguing advertising, etc. Most of the material will come from 1940-1943 Photoplay and will focus on the Hollywood Homefront, but beginning in 1944, that publication started a renewable copyright, so there's little Photoplay material online from that point forward.

1944-1945 material comes mainly from the following magazines:

Popular Mechanics
Radio Mirror
Good Housekeeping
The Rotarian
Popular Science

and will focus more on everyday life, home economy, and emerging technology. I have a few industry yearbooks for more celebrity material. However, I'm not presenting it strictly chronologically. And I'm not in a particular hurry; I fuss over these things and at the same time, try not to spend too much of my day looking at a screen, but upcoming topics will include the butter shortage, Frankie Sinatra, and the emergence/changing perceptions of the "negro" in Hollywood's consciousness. That said, you can't be taking any of this too seriously. I'm no scholar, just a wandering dilettante. 

The page is of a wide single-column format to make the most of some of the images.

Hey, how about that temporary prune shortage? Prunes were an important component in desserts because they helped with sugar rationing. For most cake recipes, you'd have to save up a couple eggs, unless you had chickens. But baked and steamed puddings could be made without them, or with only one.

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Introducing Gene Kelly

Here is Gene Kelly as Photoplay introduced him to readers in the December 1942 issue, then February and June of 1943.
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Lew Ayres was totally on a few minds while For Me And My Gal was being made. Stay tuned for a post on the nearly overlapping tearing down and subsequent building up of his character. The movie itself was one of a burgeoning set of stories that both entertained and sent a message about our Duty to the Free World.