WHAM

Consider Gussie’s lines from the 1948 movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House — it’s her culinary and linguistic creativity that saves the day. I’ve seen the movie; I now want to read the novel to see if the key plot point rests on the character of the black woman.

Gussie is played by Louise Beavers

***************

Shooting script

“MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE”

Screenplay by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama Based on a novel by Eric Hodgins

               Gussie's head appears from the kitchen.

                                     GUSSIE
                              (brightly)
                         Come and get it! Breakfast everybody.

                                     BETSY
                         Good! I'm starving! What are we 
                         having, Gussie?

                                     GUSSIE
                         Orange juice, scrambled eggs and you-
                         know-what.

                                     JOAN
                              (making a face)
                         Ham?

                                     GUSSIE
                         Not ham -- Wham!
                              (cheerily)
                         If you ain't eatin' Wham, you ain't 
                         eatin' ham!

               Gussie's head disappears.

               CLOSE SHOT - JIM.

               CLOSE SHOT - Jim.

                                     JIM
                         What did she say?

               He reacts with the sudden exhilaration of Balboa first seeing 
               the Pacific. He snaps his fingers.

                                     JIM
                         Darling, give Gussie a ten dollar 
                         raise!

Those lines that sound like a jingle

Gussie: If you ain’t eatin’ Wham, you ain’t eatin’ ham.

are appropriated for the ad campaign that is marked as wildly successful and bringing in the money to cover the by now extravagant new house. Earlier lines that set up the conclusion (but aren’t in the shooting script)…

Gussie : The children like Wham.

Jim Blandings: Well, there must be other things that we…

Gussie: Mrs. Blandings likes it, too.

Jim Blandings: Just the same…

Gussie: And I consider it very tasty!

Just like a snippet from a commercial — they all like it and so should you — no arguing with the arbitration. A case of she who rules the roast, rules the roost?

And so for day 2523
09.11.2013

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