February 15, 2014

Mailing babies and bees, dancing the Frugue and the Watusi, and how to spell Lucy/Luci.

The news from 100 years ago.
Babies are not mailable. The post office so holds in an edict barring them from the parcel post. The question arose over a request by the postmaster at Stratford, Okla., for a ruling by the department as to whether a patron of his office could send a 2-year-old child by parcel post from Twin Falls, Idaho, to Stratford. The postmaster was greatly puzzled, because he could find nothing in the regulations covering such a case. It was the first time the authorities here had been asked to rule upon the question and it caused a mild sensation. After reference to the parcel post regulations it was discovered that the Oklahoma postmaster was right, that there was nothing in them covering such a case. It was therefore decided that all human beings and live animals are barred from the mails. The one exception is the queen bee, which is the only living creature that can enjoy the privileges of the parcel post.
The news from 50 years ago:
President Johnson's 16-year-old daughter, Lucy Baines, danced the 'Frugue' last night, surprising White House aides and acting just like an average American teenager. Lucy was attending a weekend high school conference on religion at Buck Hill Falls in the Pocono Mountains. The attractive brunette, wearing a navy blue skirt and white blouse, arrived at the dance for conference delegates about 10 p.m. Lucy was the hit of the dance. She danced with seven or eight young men. They twirled away dancing the Frugue, a dance popular with teenagers.
I could only find video of Luci dancing the Watusi: here. The bad news is: The clip has no audio. The good news is: She's dancing with Steve McQueen. Did the newspaper quoted above misspell her name? Is it Luci or Lucy? The issue of how to spell the name of the President's teenage daughter was also in the news 50 years ago. From March 2, 1964:
President and Mrs. Johnson's younger daughter may prefer to spell her name "Luci," but her mother says firmly that the official spelling remains "Lucy."...

Mrs. Johnson's verdict on the name came when Malcolm Kilduff, White House press aide, was checking the guest list with her. With pencil poised, he asked: "Luc-I?" Quickly Mrs. Johnson said: "No, spell it L-u-c-y."
And what's with "Frugue"? Isn't it "Frug"? And how do you dance the Frugue/Frug? Here's how you dance it if you are rich:



If you're utterly awed by that — and I was — here's the whole movie.

14 comments:

DEK said...

When fish had long tails and ruled the world and I was a little boy on my grandparents' farm I can recall mail-order baby chicks. This was shortly after WWII.

I have also read of earlier days when the PMG was far away in Washington and local postmasters could take more initiative (and also got paid a portion of the postage they sold) that people would take advantage of the low rates to send unlikely things like dogs, who would probably get along better in the fellows in the mail car than a two-year-old.

Ron said...

The Frugue was, of course, created by J. S. Bach....the Batusi comes from Haydn, and the Mashed Potato, naturally, comes from Vaughn Williams...

#RonExplainsTheClassics

St. George said...

Choreographer Bob Fosse is one of the dancers in "From This Moment On" in "Kiss Me, Kate." He's the guy who slides out at 2:40.

And then there's Ann Miller wishing to marry any "Harry, Dick, or Tom" or is it "Tom, Dick, or Harry"?

Amazing what you could get away with with a few winks in the 1950s.

Will Cate said...

Funny how the smoldering cigarette is used as a prop in that dance routine.

CStanley said...

A young man in attendance complimented her full skirt. "Give it a twirl," he suggested.

"I'd rather not," replied Luci.

David said...

Fosse = fabulous.

The female lead in that dance is amazing. So much from so little.

Fosse Frug Barbie.

betamax3000 said...

Re: St. George said...

Choreographer Bob Fosse is one of the dancers in "From This Moment On" in "Kiss Me, Kate." He's the guy who slides out at 2:40.

I Just Saw This Again Last Week. Amazing How Charismatic Fosse Was as a Dancer. Even Sharing the Screen with Two Other Dancers Your Eyes Keep Coming Back to Him.

Sharc said...

Agreed, David. Nice write-up about Susanne Charney and the Frug here. Sweet Charity was her big break, and she did pretty well moving to an acting career.

Timotheus said...

My family was getting baby chicks in the mail as late as 1962. (We only stopped after the price of chicken feed went up so much that my mother calculated that it was cheaper to buy chicken from the supermarket in town.)

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Steve McQueen was so sexy. Lucky girl.

Rich Rostrom said...

"It was therefore decided that all human beings and live animals are barred from the mails."

Would that include "dago pigs"? Because it appears they could be shipped "railway express".

broomhandle said...

Baby chicks are still mailable. I'll walk into the local post office some mornings in the spring and the place will be absolutely a twitter.

virgil xenophon said...

I can attest that baby chicks were avail via mail into the early 60s. Some fraternity brothers of mine had a couple dozen mailed to a fellow fraternity bro as a prank circa 1965. The campus P.O. in the Student Union frantically called the house saying "PLUUUEEEZE come pick up these chickens!" (who were shitting all over the place, LOL)

kentuckyliz said...

You can wear a bright colorful wig, or long gloves, but not both.

Long gloves chick moves beautifully. Wow.