others can never master it
from Mark Lloyd’s channel, with gratitude for his posting and description.
On the vocation of puttering, from Frank Capra’s 1931 Platinum Blonde. Halliwell Hobbes as the butler Smythe and Robert Williams as the restless newspaper reporter Stew Smith.
- Smith : Smythe, what do you do with yourself, I mean when you’re not carrying those double straights [whisky?], what do you do with yourself?
- Smythe : Well sir, I putter.
- Smith : [smiles, unbelieving] Smythe... When you’re alone, and you want to amuse yourself, then what?
- Smythe : I just putter.
- Smith : [nods] Ok. Do you have to have a putter, to putter?
- Smythe : No Sir, I putter with my hands.
- Smith : Well, isn’t that nice. You just go right ahead with your [raises his hands]... that’s all right. How do you do that?
- Smythe : Well, Sir, I’ll show you.
[moves to table: moves some objects about, straightens lamp shade, blows some dust off it... all done silently, as if pantomime]
That’s puttering, sir.
- Smith : No... that’s... well well well... well, it’s all right, if you like it... Can anybody, anybody can do that?
- Smythe : Oh, no sir. Some people are natural putterers; others can never master it.
- Smith : Oh my, you mean some people are born... and never will become putterers, eh?.
- Smythe : Yes.
- Smith : Oh my, wouldn’t that be tragic, not to know that you could never be a putterer?
- Smythe : Yes.
- Smith : How about me? Do you think that if I concentrated and put my whole soul into it, that someday I might be a putterer?
- Smythe : You, sir? Hmmm, You could never be a putterer, not a good putterer, sir.
- Smith : Oh well, if I can’t be a good, I don’t want to putter. If I can’t be a good putterer, there’s... [pause] ... why, what makes you think I couldn’t be a good putterer?
- Smythe : Well sir, to be a putterer, one’s mind must be at ease. A person with a problem could never be a putterer. For instance, sir, a fish can putter in water, but not on land, because he’d be out of place. An eagle can putter around the rugged mountain tops, but not in a cage, because he’d be restless, and unhappy. [Smith nods, hmm hmm in understanding] Now, sir, if you’ll pardon me, with all respect, as a Smythe to a Smith, you are an eagle in a cage.
- Smith : Bird, in a gilded cage?
- Smythe : [nods up and down], yes.
- Smith : That’s all I want to know.
notes and asides
on the film, see wikipedia : link
dialogue by Robert Riskin (1897-1955), wikipedia : link
“They fall in love and soon elope, horrifying Anne’s widowed mother, Mrs. Schuyler (Louise Closser Hale), an imperious dowager who looks down on Stew’s lower-class background.”
Louise Closser Hale (1872-1933) has appeared previously in these putterings —