It was an August 1932, issue of Real Screen Fun picked up in a used magazine shop. The ads were the kind that might have once sent the reader for the scissors to clip the coupons to "Learn to Draw," or about "Sex Life in America". There was a sneaky one near the end with headlines, "No More Whiskey Drinking." It continued, "Odorless and tasteless -- Any lady can give it secretly at home in tea, coffee or food."
There was a drawing of a smiling man with his young daughter, her arm draped around his shoulder and the caption saying, "We're all happy now -- says little Mary Lee, because Mother found how to end Papa's whiskey drinking." You wonder what she slipped the poor guy.
There were a few gossip columns, slightly off-color jokes, but mostly pages of "lissom lassies" risque for their day but wearing more clothes than a modern young woman heading for the office on a warm summer day.
"Bob-oh-boy" and "yowsah, snazzy," ran through the captions under "seductive sirens" in their step-ins and negligees.
These "pulse-hopping, voluptuous, breathtaking, statuesque, alluring, eye-filling beauties.
"Stunning, charming, captivating, vivacious, scintillating temptresses, with languid and lovely elusive charm."
Reading on , I thought, I might have been part of filmland if I had the talent my mother thought I had.
I never really knew how she became smitten with the smell of the grease paint and the roar of the crowd, but at an early age in my life she felt show-biz was where I should be.
An early recollection that comes back whenever I am standing in a line anywhere was the day my mother took me to an amusement park where some publicity group was running a look-alike content for "Our Gang Comedy."
The line was long. I was wearing a sailor suit and staring at the kids around me. None of us looked alike and I wondered who I was supposed to look like.
About two hours later I stood before a group of men sitting behind a long table as one man whispered to another and crushed a potential movie career with a wave of his hand.
During the long subway ride home I glanced at the determined look on my mother's face and wondered what her next plan was to get my 6-year-old career off the ground.
Realizing that behind every child actor was an ambitious stage mother and not wanting to turn a carefree childhood into one like Jackie Coogan's or Mickey Rooney's, and knowing I had no talent.
Tap-dancing lessons came along for about one hour each week, a secret I managed to keep from my friends. I finally skipped so many lessons I was dropped.
My next shot at the footlights was a vaudeville show she volunteered me for at the local Catholic church.
My tryout was cut halfway through as a pair of talented twin brothers stole the show.
Being tall, I struggles in the back row of a packed chorus singing to the tune of "Jingle Bells," "We are members gay, of the Everett I.C.B. [Immaculate Conception Brigade] Behind the lights we play, laughing full of glee.'"
There were a couple more tries at the local vaudeville circuit, like the Elks and the Knights of Columbus, but I was unable to convince my mother I wasn't for show business.
I could carry a tune, do a half tapdance, tell a couple of old jokes, but those twins were stealing all the lights and were appearing in Boston on a local radio show.
Not only was Hollywood a thousand light years away, I was having trouble getting to Boston only a few miles away.
In junior high, at an age when my voice was cracking badly sometimes in the middle of a word, I lost the part of the priest in Evangeline to Dickie Flanagan whose voice remained level.
Still trying to keep peace at home, I tried out for a school musical and got to stroll across the stage carrying a fishing pole with a girl holding my arm as the chorus sang, "Down by the old mill stream."
Switching to serious drama, I landed a part in a melodrama about war, rehearsed loyally each day.
In the second act they let me walk across the stage with another guy, both of us carrying suitcases as someone asked, "Where are you going?" and we answered in unison, "We're going to war."
In high school my pursuit of success continued and it was awarded with the part of Marc Antony.
It seemed there were a thousand rehearsals and opening night found a bunch of nervous wrecks backstage.
In a first act scene I was standing close to Caesar, who like the rest of us had a bed sheet wrapped around him that dragged on the floor.
As he walked quickly away I was standing on the hem of his bed sheet and it came off.
Luckily he wore a school basketball uniform underneath as the audience roared with laughter at what was supposed to be a very dramatic moment.
In the gray of the day I again leafed through the old magazine. I realize I never made it but never gave up entirely.
For occasionally at a New Year's party or some other celebration I might don a straw hat, grab a cane and do a little soft-shoe, singing, "Every leetle breeze seems to wheespair Louise."
Hoping that somewhere my mother might be happy knowing that I had not given up trying.