Friday, March 6, 2009

Walter Mitty Rides Again

James Thurber's 1939 short story"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is about a suburban guy who, while waiting for his wife to finish up at the beauty parlor, imagines himself in heroic ways. He pretends that he is a wartime Navy pilot, a brilliant surgeon, a dastardly assassin and a dashing RAF pilot. Note the preference for exciting forms of transportation - we'll be coming back to that in a minute.

Of course he's just doing all this in his head while Mrs. Mitty gets blued and rinsed.

The story was made into a 1947 movie with Danny Kaye. But did you know what really happened to Walter Mitty after the end of the story? (Maybe you don't care, and that's OK too. This post isn't very long!) Just take a look at the ad. He has scaled down those heroic dreams, all right.

Now it's 1948, and he gets his jollies pretending to be a debonair delivery boy. All thanks to the Cushman Motor Works Package-Kar. Sometimes he even pretends that he's a superspy driving a car that is two-thirds invisible. Something went wrong with the bit that's supposed to make him invisible, too. He'd better work on that. There's still a few minutes before the missus needs to picked up from the Salon de Beauté de Levittown.


Tori Lennox said...

Wow! Look how fast that sucker goes! 30mph!!! Bet that'll get you pulled over by the cops.... for slowing down traffic. *g*

Dee said...

But does it go ta-pocketa pocketa? said...

And it is funny to see the guy in the ad wearing a suit!

Back then, everybody wore a suit and hat.


Eat Well. Live Well.

Lidian said...

Tori - You could really zoom around on that thing!

Paul - Yes they did, and into the mid-1960s they did too. I remember that, vaguely - and the women equivalently formal.

HumorSmith said...

Perhaps when he's picked up for slowing down traffic and being a highway hazard, he can plead mittygating circumstances?

David said...

The equal of any fine car!!!

Hmmm...nostalgia for the good old days isn't what it used to be.

Bill said...

Despite the suit & tie, he reminds me of the pitiful redneck making a beer run on the riding lawn mower after losing his license to a DUI charge.

Relax Max said...

Never heard of this. (The delivery motor scooter, not Walter Mitty.) The Cushman Eagle regular scooter would do 65 mph on the highway, though. Not cool though. Cooler to walk. I'm guessing Levittown wasn't that cool either for you ritzy Brooklynites. So cruel.

Hairball said...

Poor fellow needs a canopy to shield him from the sun on hot days.

Lyn said...

Time payment plan..good thing in hard times..About Mitty and invisible parts, I'm concentrating on that picture..
and remembering the beauty parlors of Levittown!!! Oh my!

Lidian said...

HumorSmith - Good one! :)

David - No it isn't...This was more fun than the Segway, I'd bet.

Bill - He may well be making a beer run...odd that the ad did not mention how handy it would be for that.

Max - I was a ritzy Manhattanite with Brooklyn roots, I'll have you know! Not that there's anything wrong with living in Brooklyn (au contraire!). I don't have any experience of Levittown, though.

Hairball - Yes, a canopy would really look sharp.

Lyn - Or even the older beauty parlors in NYC. I remember the one my mother went to before they Starbucked up the neighborhood. It was not ritzy! :)