There are 10 million windows in New York. S story lies behind every one. One of the windows is at 77-12 35th Av. Jackson Heights. Behind it sits a man with a broad, unlined face. He wears horn-rimed glasses and he reads his newspaper slouched low. His wife talks to him as she bounces frm kitchen to dining room with dishes and cutlery. He half hears her and he answers with grunts.
The wife is dark and pretty and stout. Her name is Helen Kane. She is 53, Dan Healy is 69. Between them, they once had the heart of the world in their hands. Now they are broke. And uncomplaining. And so devoted to each other that they make you think "This is the way marriage should be, Always,"
You may not remember either of them, Helen was the Boop-Boop-a-Doop girl, Dan was master of ceremonies at the Cotton Club in Harlem.
These two have had tremendous ups and dismal downs. Helen was 28 years old when she invented the Boop-Boop delivery and sang "That's My Weakness Now" and " I Want to Be Loved by You" and "Button Up Your Overcoat." Overnight, she was earning $100,000 per motion picture, $50,000 per record, and she had a Hollywood mansion, servants and a big car, a yacht, and a lot of friends.
This was a long distance from little Helen Schroeder of the Bronx. She had an Irish mother and a German father. Dad always had lordly ideas. but no job. Mother worked washing other people's laundry at $1 a day. When momma found out that she could get a month's free rent by moving, the Schroeders moved all over the Bronx.
Once they moved out while father was still shaving and a strange woman stuck her head in the bathroom door and said: "Who are you?" Pop Schroeder said: "Who are you, I live here" The lady sad: Maybe you used to live here, but i live here now and if you don't get out of that bathroom before my husband arrives, he'll break every bone in your body."
These are the dear dead days, Momma Schroeder is gone, So is Pop, Even Father Moose MeCeurack, whomarried Helen to Dan, is gone. Fame is gone, A whole new generation has come up and they ask. Who is Helen Kane? Who is Dan Healy?
The millions these two earned are gone, too A fewyears back, Dan almost bled to death with an angry ulcer, Nobody cared. Except Helen and a few friends, Then Helen got cancer of the breast and went off for an operation. It wasn;t worth an item in a column.
Both look in the pink. They came down to dea Bright, N, J., to see me and we had dinner at the Colony in Rumsen and all of us laughed so hard that we drew frowns from other diners.
I was talking money to Helen a little later and she told me that the last of her jewelry $40,000 worth has been in the buck shops so long that it will be forteited next month.
"Why don't you pay interest? I said, She laughed, "You kidding? Dan and i couldn't change a quarter."
Helen Kane would make a fine television cmic with maturity has come a wonderful sense of humor and a great heart. She's fat and funny and the face is as beautiful as ever.