It was a cold night and Helen Kane came into The Lambs looking like a sexy penguin. The dining room is arched in dark wood and further back is the bar, the pool tables and the kitchen. Boop-a-Doop wore a white hat over her jet hair and a black crepe dress. It was her first appearance in the famous actors club in two years.
She and her husband Dan Healy, sat and ordered dinner. He is 73 and still has the unlined face and hearty laught of the great master of ceremonies he is. Miss Kane still has the moon-face, the saucer eyes and the squeaky voice which made "I Wanna Be Loved By You" famous.
Once they were big stars and had lots of money, Today theyhave the talent. They has barely sat at the table when actors came from all corners of The Lambs. Martin Begley, the shepherd walked over. Bert Wheeler kissed Helen and sat. Allan Mowbray the famous British actor kissed the lady on the back of the neck and murmured "I always do this to our colonials.".
Senator Ford of Can You Top This? stopped by. Johnny Johnston the singer, sat. Smith and Dae were in the wings. The bartender blew a kiss. All of it was unrehearsed love for Helen Kane.
Years ago she has a breast operation for cancer and later she has two more chest tumors removed. Last year she broke her right arm. "Now" she says trying to lift it, "it's only good for blessing myself and thumbing my nose".
Her husband got out of the hospital recently. The actors know that Helen and Dan never complain so instead of commiserating they sat around telling stories. There were so many going at once that the laughter cascaded in roars over the next story.
Somebody told the one about the grouch who showed up at a tourist office.
"Where do you want to go?" the clerk said the sour one said he has been everywhere
and seen everything. The clerk thought about it a moment. "Ever has D.T.'s?" he said "No?"
Then you haven't seen anything. Someone else came up with a philosophical one about the man who sat at breakfast. "I had an amazing dream he said to his wife i dreamed i was a butterfly and i led a wonderful life among the pretty flowers. It was very real. Now i think i'm awake, but i'm not sure how do i know i'm not a butterfly dreaming that i'm a man?
Helen was telling about how she was singing her heart out in Harry Delmar's Revels, trying to get a big break, when someone asked Frank Fay to take a look at her. Fay was aciduslous and blunt. He took a look and said to Miss Kane "Oh, no little girl, Oh no".
Two years later she was a big star making personal appearance at the Paramount Theatre while Fay was playing to small crowds at The Strand.
She went up to see him and when he finished his low-key routine she stood up in the orchestra shaking her head. "Oh no, Frank," she yelled. "Oh, no". Fay who later starred in Harvey has a ego the size of Rockies. He was at The Lambs when he called a waiter. "Keep the black coffee coming" he said. I don't want to fall asleep while i'm talking about myself.
Johnny Johnston brought the conversation over to Joe Frisco whose stuttering wit trips down the halls of time. For years the goverment collared him in conderence his wit was so uproarious that Uncle Sam agreed to let him go if he agreed to pay up. Joe Firsco agreed.
On the way out with a federal agent he saw an actor "What are you d-d-doing here?" Frisco said. The man said he was behind in his taxes. Frisco smiled at the agent. "Let him g-g-go" he said. Just p-p-put it on my tab.
He was in Hollywood at a cheap hotel out of work when his agent phoned. "Relax" the agent said "I just got you two weeks at the Mocamabo for fifteen hundredapeice.
Bert Wheeler told about the time Fay was at Toots Shor's and he called Mr.S "Tavern Keeper" he said augustly if the people clamor for me i'm willing to stand up and sing solitary chorus of a song.
By 10pm Helen Kane was edging her broken arm into her coat. She has tears in her eyes from laughing. The actors hams all- stood around adoring her with their eyes. Nobody fools them. They know she and Dan tipped the waiter, said good night to one and all and walked out into the cold.
Funny when she was a big star, Helen Kane used to enjoy giving Cadillacs to her friends.