Friday, January 01, 2021

James Cagney, the consummate showman

It just occurred to me that many of you readers might not even know the name James Cagney but he was a very famous actor in the 30's through the 60's and winner of three Academy awards. He's played many different acting roles but it was his raspy voice and high pitched inflections that will always be his outstanding feature.

In 1961 James Cagney bought an 800 acre farm in Dutchess County, NY. It was in the same township where my husband, 3 children and I settled a few years later. Although the farm was just over the hill from our house we never saw the famous man.

He loved the country and would stay there whenever possible and finally retired there in the mid 70's. He was good to the county and everyone that met him was duly impressed. I, however, had never even spied him from afar.

One Spring day in 1974 I was grocery shopping at our little local store. My arms were full and, as I approached the door, I saw a small, hefty man holding it open for me. He was slightly hunched and had a plaid hat with brim covering his balding head. It was tilted to give it a rakish look, and as I turned to say, “Thank you”, he tipped it toward me and said, “The pleasure is mine, little missy.”

There was no mistaking that voice ! James Cagney was my doorman and his twinkling eyes told me that he knew it was a thrill for me. Even in his 70’s he was a captivating presence and you could tell that, as much as he loved his anonymity, he was still the consummate showman.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You have so many stories. Did this one make it into your book? I don't remember it if it did.

4:24 AM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Such a wonderful story. Love his work! Great actor!

5:01 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Don't you love it when the famous don't disappoint? I think you got one of his classic impish looks that he enjoyed giving as much as you did getting. Loved the "little missy" touch.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Regina M. said...

I can't believe this. Wow! Ginnie, I lived in Stanfordville, and often would see him riding his horse drawn cart. Of course, I was thrilled to see him each time we passed by on the road. My husband would laugh because I would belt out "I'm A Yankee Doodle Dandy...." That is a lovely part of NYS! Happy, healthy 2021.

7:35 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Yes, you do have so many good stories and I am happy you share them with us. So many of my old blog friends have stopped writing. Imagine meeting Cagney that way - lucky you!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Goldendaze-Ginnie said...

From my friend Jan ...

I am sure you can't imagine someone as old as I am having to look James Cagney up - but I have never been a big movie fan- so I could not place him. Well, DUH!
So I got a tiny video of his movie that has so often been misquoted as "You dirty rat" and can see I missed a lot not going to movies all those years. Oh well...
How cool for you to have 'run into' him that way. And how cool of him, little missy!

6:41 AM  

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