Monday, February 28, 2011

On Pete, Pully and the Postcard

It would have been my father-in-law Pete's birthday this week.  He was a guy who lived life to the fullest, and spent much of it in the company of...certain people.  To give you an idea of what I mean, The Wife, her mother and sister and I went to see Casino, and they spent most of the film reminding who each of the character really were, and how they knew them; "Oh, that's The Corporal, and that's supposed to be Uncle Tommy..."

Pete was the kind of guy that when we went out to eat on the weekends, people would come over and introduce other people to him.  Far more a Damon Runyon type of company than Mario Puzo, if you know what I mean.

This is a story as much about Pete as it is about character actor B.S. Pully.  Pully is best known for playing Big Julie in the film version of Guys and Dolls, a role he created on Broadway.  Before that, he was a nightclub comedian, and recorded an album, "B.S. Pully's Fairy Tales".  A joke from his act went:

"I was in the elevator in the hotel, and I accidentally bumped into a lovely lady with my elbow.
'I'm terribly sorry, madam' I said, 'but if your heart is as soft as your bosom, you'll forgive me.'
She says, 'If your cock is as hard as your elbow, meet me in room 519'! "

When Pully was called to Hollywood to reprise his role in Guys and Dolls, he was short on cash, and went to Pete for a touch.

"I'll pay you as soon as I get out there," Pete recalled in one of our Saturday afternoon lunches, doing a passable impression of B.S., a voice not too far from his own..  "They can't pay me till I get there."  So Pete fronts him the money, and off he goes.  Two weeks pass, no word from B.S.; three weeks, four, nothing.  Pete figures that's money he'll never see again.

Six weeks later, a postcard arrives to Pete's restaurant.

"Dear friends, am having a wonderful time filming the movie, miss you all terribly, (signed) B.S. Pully.
P.S. - Dear Pete - enclosed, please find the money I owe you."

Pete flips the postcard around in his hands once or twice, and asks for a really sharp knife.

"I thought he was crazy enough to paste it inside somehow."

I miss Pete.

1 comment:

  1. That's one of my favorite stories about Dad, and you tell it so delightfully! Dad adored you, you know. One day we must write that autobiographical romp Mom and I were going to work on, THE PERFECT ROB ROY. Thanks for sharing this and putting a smile on my face!