FIRE THAT Redhead!
She was sweet and reasonable as most young wives go. She took an interest in his career as an artist as long as he painted innocent apples and shapely vases and dead fish. But redheaded models are not still life. They are dynamite
20 January, 1950
Mr. Gil Breckenbridge Gilbert. Breckenbridge Associates Engineering Consultants Toronto, Ontario Dear Dad,
Even though you’re my father-in-law I hope you’re going to be on my side in this fight. I’ve had with Ann.
She’s my wife and I expect her to act like a wife. Send her home immediately. She had no business running back there anyway.
GILBERT BRECKENBRIDGE ASSOCIATES Engineering Consultants Toronto, Ontario
22 January, 1950
Dear Pete my boy,
What on earth are you talking about? What fight? What happened? I haven’t heard or seen from Ann for three weeks. Rush your answer immediately, as I’m very concerned.
I don’t know what the scrap’s about but if you don’t think Ann knows how to give and take, you’ve a horrible lesson coming. Believe me, my
boy, I’m on your side, because you’ll need me more than she will.
24 January, 1950
Gilbert Breckenbridge G. Breckenhridge Associates Engineering Consultants Toronto, Ontario Dear Dad,
Your daughter is the most bull-headed, unreasonable female mule that, ever kicked down a door. I love her but, she’s driving me crazy. She doesn’t seem to understand that it is the function of a wife to keep a nice home and let the man make the money in the way he knows best. As you know I’m an artist, free-lancing. Ann dropped into my st udio unexpectedly and took a dislike to my model. Which is the most ridiculous thing imaginable. Mary Carter, my model, happens to be a redhead. Ann took one look at her, coldly told me she never did like redheads and next thing you know we were quarreling.
She’s hiding out somewhere, making me sweat.
If you hear from her, tell her I’ll forgive her if she’ll come back and stick to the kitchen, like a good wife. And I’ll have Mary dye her hair black. This thing isn’t fair to Mary who is a lovable kid.
Tell Ann, if you hear from her, my black eye is okay and that I can be just as stubborn as she can.
24 January, 1950
Gil Breckenhridge Associates Engineering Consultants Toronto, Ontario Dear Pop,
Please send me $500. I am going into business as a photographer.
I presume you’ve heard from Pete? If not, let me inform you that I am in the process of teaching that rash young man that I am no mere kitchen slavey to be treated patronizingly, or to be underestimated in any manner.
As a good wife should, I attempted to show an interest in Pete’s career as an artist. I told him I’d drop down and watch him work, since I had little to do at home. He objected rather strenuously. My curiosity was aroused. So I dropped in without announcing it beforehand.
Hah! Enough said. You can imagine my shock and horror when I walked in on him and found him staring lasciviously at a virtually nude young woman boldly standing before him without the slightest shame. These models are certainly full of brass. I fled, burning with outrage and waited all day for him to return.
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When he came I demanded to know how come he, an artist who works on “spots,” which are decorative illustrations, sort of, suddenly is painting nude redheads.
“It’s what is known as ‘fine art,’ ” Pete said weakly. “I don’t want to be a mere ‘spot’ man forever. I want to get ahead.”
“Can’t you paint her with clothes on?” I asked.
“She looks better with them off,” he shouted, then turned red when he realized what he said. He tried to explain that he meant the human body is more interesting as an art subject, but it was really mighty poor excusing. Then, can you imagine, he had the nerve to get angry and say an artist painted whatever he wanted to. I softened a little at this point. After all, I’m a very reasonable person.
“Pete,” I said pleadingly, “promise me you won’t paint her or any other woman without clothes on.”
“Darling,” he said impatiently, “don’t be silly. It doesn’t mean a thing to me. After all I’m an artist, don’t you see. Why, I’ve been studying and painting the human form ever since I was seventeen, and started through art school.”
“Oh?” I said icily. “You’ve been, around, hey? Well, you’re a married man now and you’ll cut it out. After all there isn’t much point in my shopping around for filmy negligees to hold your interest when you’ve got a bunch of hussies parading . . .”
He got mad and interrupted. “Now see here,” he said grimly. “This is ridiculous and I’ve had enough of it. You stick to the kitchen and let me take care of my career.”
“I demand,” I yelled, stamping my foot, “that you fire that model.”
Pete folded his arms. “No,” he said
scornfully. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself, wanting her to lose her job. Mary is a swell kid and . . .” That’s when I socked nim right in the eye.
So send me the $500 Pop. I need it for rent and a good camera. I’ll show that guy.
Your loving daughter, Ann Breckenbridge Stanford c/o Hotel Parkley NYC
CPR TELEGRAPH TORONTO, JANUARY 26, 1950 ANN STANFORD, HOTEL PARKLEY, NYC WHAT KIND OF NONSENSE IS THIS? GO BACK TO YOUR HUSBAND AND KISS AND MAKE UP. MY SYMPATHIES COMPLETELY WITH HIM. YOU'LL GET NO MONEY FOR WHATEVER FOOL SCHEME YOU’VE IN MIND, FROM ME.
CPR TELEGRAPH TORONTO, JANUARY 26, 1950 PETE STANFORD, HOTEL PARKLEY, NYC ANN IS AT HOTEL PARKLEY. I’M ON YOUR SIDE. WOMAN'S PLACE IS IN THE HOME AND MAN IS MASTER OF THE SHIP. QUELL THIS MUTINY NOW OR IT’LL BE A HARD LIFE. NEXT VISIT TO NEW YORK SOON TO GET, BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR WORK. ALWAYS DID HAVE AN INTEREST IN ART. "FINE ART" THAT IS.
FRED SJOBERG CONTRACTING SUPPLY NYC
27 January, 1950 Gilbert Breckenbridge Associates Toronto, Ontario Dear Gil,
Thanks for the last order, old pal. We’ll ship it out immediately. By the way, when you send the cheque, please add $500 to it. Your laughter Ann dropped in today and said she needed it very badly as Pete was sick and she needed it to cure him. I was very sorry to hear that and of course lent her the money immediately. She said you’d reimburse me and the debt would be owed by her to you.
They certainly are a happy young couple, aren’t they? It does my heart good. Too bad Pete is ill. I’m sending him flowers.
CPR TELEGRAPH TORONTO, JANUARY 28, 1950 FRED SJOBERG-SJOBERG CONTRACTING SUPPLY, NYC
YOU OUGHT TO HAVE ENOUGH BUSINESS SENSE TO CHECK WITH ME BEFORE LENDING MONEY TO ANN. LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE OUT FIVE HUNDRED BUCKS.
FRED SJOBERG CONTRACTING SUPPLY
28 January 1950
McBranty Detective Agency, NYC Dear Joe,
Enclosed please find a carbon of my letter to Gil Breckenbridge and his answering telegram. Per our discussion by phone today, I want you to get on the ball and find out what the devil is going on here.
I phoned long distance three times to Breckenbridge and couldn’t get him. Finally his secretary told me he left instructions to tell me I’m a dunderhead and to restrict my activities to supply contracts. How do you like that? I lend his daughter $500 and I’m a dunderhead. I’m sore as a boil about it. I ought to call the cops. But I can’t. Gil’s an old pal, even if he is somewhat brusque. And he throws plenty of business my way.
Put Holloway on this. He was
assigned to them last time we tailed Ann, wasn’t he? He knows what they look like and you know the address.
I want my $500 back and I intend to get it. Even if my bill with you runs up to more than that I still intend to fight this through. Gil isn’t going to sneer at me. Either somebody in the Breckenbridge family pays that back or Ann will be in the can.
Find out what gives, please. And work fast.
McBranty Detective Agencv NYC
Case 10401-A Ann & Peter Stanford Report No. 1—by Holloway To Mr. McBranty—Copy forwarded to Fred Sjoberg
Operative studied correspondence and file of previous case. Decided anonymity was not good in this assignment and had opinion okayed by Mr. McBranty.
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Went down to Brooklyn address of Ann and Pete Stanford. Knocked on door. Door opened. Operative received quite a shock.
Man facing me was cove ^d with week-old beard, had circles under eyes, unhappy, glazed stare. Recognized me. Invited me in. I went in and received another shock. Never saw such a mess in my life. Dishes piled high in sink, unwashed. Clothes strewn over chairs, couch. Dust obvious on furniture.
Man asked me how my furnished room was. Told him frankly that I wasn’t a neighbor, was a private detective. Told him about his wife, Ann, borrowing $500 from Sjoberg.
Told him his wife would get into serious trouble. Young man smiled bitterly. Said wouldn’t that be too bad ! Operative said Ann could conceivably go to jail. Young man looked alarmed. Said wife meant well, but was bullheaded. Operative agreed most wives are, at times, and pointed out it might have to be told to the judge.
Young man hurriedly got into his coat and invited me to join him in persuading wife to return money, return home and be a loving, dutiful wife. Operative agreed to assist in this wholesome task.
As we started to leave, doorbell rang. Boy with flowers. Huge bouquet from Fred Sjoberg and get well card. Peter eagerly seized flowers, removed them from vase, and took them along for
We went to Hotel Parkley, asked for Ann Stanford. Informed she was out. Questioned desk and found a business address. Girl not at business address. It turned out to be an old loft with plenty of dust and an echo. Questioned landlord, discovered it had been hired for advertising photography firm. Apparently girl has gone into business.
While questioning Peter Stanford as to reasons for this venture, messengers started arriving, bearing packages. Camera, tripod, arc lights, reflecting screens. Peter looked apprehensive. Agitatedly said it looked like money was being spent. How would she give money back?
Operative assured Peter Stanford he’d better figure out a way or else.
Peter Stanford signed for all packages, picked some up, told operative to take the rest of them, and taking a cab, returned all packages to supply house where purchased. Supply house took packages with extreme reluctance and said they would hold until Ann Stanford contacted them personally.
Peter Stanford looked extremely pale. Said this was awful. Was thinking hard. Came up with idea. He’d call his model, named Mary Carter, and have her explain personally to wife that everything was legitimate, strictly artistic business, no monkey business. An unfortunate decision.
We took cab to studio where model was waiting to start posing. Just as Peter started to talk to model, his wife Ann stepped out of elevator. Saw him holding flowers. Saw unshaven face and bleary eyes. She made a few succinct remarks about him having himself a time with hussies. Redhead got sore and made a few crackling remarks that astonished operative. Peter blushed.
Wife turned and stepped back in elevator. Doors closed fast. Ran after young man down eight flights of stairs, leaving model up in hall, and followed young man into taxicab. We tried to follow Ann Stanford, but lost her cab in traffic.
Advised young man he was in a spot. Informed him we would bring police
charges within 24 hours unless he produced money.
Young man said he’d give in. He’d find Ann and surrender, and promise to paint apples, vases and dead fish. Anything, so long as she came back. Young man was quite emotional.
Operative approved idea, but suggested he get a shave and a haircut first.
Went with young man while he got shave and haircut. Got one also. Barber discussed Balkan situation while cutting my hair. Got very indignant about Balkans while shaving my throat. Close shave.
Young man looked better and decided to do the job right. We went back to his apartment and he put on freshly pressed suit and clean shirt. He looked worriedly at messy apartment but operative advised him it was evidence wife was sorely missed. Young man winced and decided to clean dishes himself because of argument with wife over staying in kitchen where she belonged. He said dishes wouldn’t be nice for her to see.
Operative had to help wash dishes.
By this time it was four in the afternoon. We then proceeded to Ann’s business address by cab. Operative was sure that case would soon be ended. Operative was mistaken.
There were lights on in photographic studio. Young man humbly took his hat off, had abject look on his face as we approached. Obviously rehearsing speech of surrender and reconciliation.
We walked in.
Never was so startled in my life.
Young lady was squinting through finder of camera on tripod. She was taking picture of male Apollo of heroic, muscular proportions clad in skinfitting pair of bathing trunks. Operative was overcome with awe at the sight of legs like tree trunks, arms like Hercules, muscles like melons, handsome and healthy face like movie star. If was woman would whistle. Am man so had uneasy dislike and was immediately aware of my own legs like pipestems, head like bald melon, face like old potato.
Young man uttered squawk and face turned red with anger. Ann turned and stared coolly. Smiled faintly. Introduced her male model as winner of last year’s Mr. America contest. Mr. America smiled genially.
Young man demanded to know meaning of this disgraceful exhibition. Ann said crisply that she was taking photos for a bathing suit advertisement. She was free-lancing, too, she said. She looked at her model with deep approval and voiced her opinion that her pictures of this man would wow the women of America and make the men rush to buy the bathing suits.
Young man uttered strangled sounds. Operative came to his aid. Informed her I was a private detective and that legal and police action would be taken against her unless she returned equipment immediately and returned money to Fred Sjoberg. Operative thereupon put hands upon camera and was joined by Peter Stanford who seized other equipment.
However, Mr. America proceeded to put hands upon us and ejected us forcibly. We picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off and the latest Status of this affair is that Pete Stanford has locked himself in his studio and is sulking and raving, the money doesn’t seem to be recoverable, Mrs. Stanford is still squinting at Mr. America, and your operative is waiting for instructions. Shall we call in the
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FRED SJOBERG CONTRACTING SUPPLY NYC
January 30, 1950 McBranty Detective Agency
In ten years of doing business with you I’ve never been so badly disappointed in a job you did for me. What do you mean, shall we call in the cops? If I wanted to call in the cops, what would I need you for? I hire you so things won’t get to the cop stage.
Are you admitting defeat? If so, please let me know right away so I can turn the case over to a more efficient agency. For the fees I pay you guys I expect results. Get that money, get Ann and Pete reunited. Or else.
McBranty Detective Agency NYC
Case 1040-1-A Ann & Peter Stanford Report No. 2—by McBranty Direct to Fred Sjoberg Dear Fred,
You will note I’ve taken the case over myself, but you mustn’t think it’s because I agree with you that Holloway didn’t do a fine job.
Holloway and I talked the situation over from every angle and the way we saw it, it was a simple case of stubborn lovers. A situation like this is like one of those puzzles where if you get the right twist, the whole knot unties in your hand.
I made Holloway take me down to Pete’s place first. We found him painting the redhead. Yipes! No wonder Ann Stanford blew up. She is a shapely lass, believe me, and she has a pair of come-hither eyes that I have no doubt whatever were busy telling Peter to come hither, only he, being in love with Ann, who is no slouch herself, didn’t read the message correctly. Ann, however, must have spotted its exact degree of willingness the way women do, and she was, properly, alarmed. She knew what she was doing in getting sore. There’s a dame that will hold her
This made me extremely thoughtful because now, with Pete sore at Ann for eyeing Mr. America’s torso, he was teetering in a state of mind where he was liable to tip over foolishly into an action that would cause a permanent breach. It’s one thing for a wife to be angry because of what could happen. Once it actually happens, irreparable damage is done.
I pointed this out to Holloway, who pondered the problem in between glances at the redhead, who was posing in a handkerchief and a wisp of veil.
He suggested that if I could get Pete out of sight for a half hour or so, so he could talk to the redhead, he might be able to work something out.
I asked him rather strongly what he had in mind. He stared at me coldly and informed me he was the father of four kids, that he was pushing fifty, and that he had proved himself a loyal and loving husband through twenty years of temptation that working for
me had thrown him into contact with'
After awhile Holloway wandered out into the hallway and gave me the high sign and we both beat it down the stairs and I asked him what he’d figured out.
Holloway said I’d see later. He wasn’t sure if his idea would work out and since he was already in the doghouse for not satisfying you, Mr. Sjoberg, he was darned if he’d let me know what he was going to do before it was successful.
I argued with this infantile notion, but Holloway is a stubborn guy. That’s why he’s so good as a detective.
So I had to follow him down to Ann’s photographic studio, as if he were the boss of this outfit instead of me, and let him do what he wanted.
This Mr. America guy wasn’t there, but Ann Stanford was. She was wrapping up some prints in between cardboard to mail out. She was pretty grim and not very easy to talk to. She said that as far as she was concerned, until Pete admitted he was wrong and got rid of that redhead, she would never go back to him. Holloway pointed out that Pete felt the same way about her Mr. America and that he had come prepared to give up the redhead as a model even though he still felt she was unreasonable, but that he found her with this guy in the bathing suit. He asked Ann why she didn’t make the first move.
She got sore at this. She said Pete had made the first mistake by telling her to stay in the kitchen and refusing to fire the model when she asked him to and that she was getting to kind of like Mr. America. He was a nice guy to talk to.
That’s what got me scared, Mr. Sjoberg. That’s what I was afraid of. Trouble starts small and grows like a weed. With two pigheaded youngsters, anything could happen.
I glared at Holloway and said aloud that no wonder he hadn’t wanted to tell me his idea. He ignored me. He asked Ann to show up at a certain restaurant and see for herself that the redhead meant nothing to Peter. Peter was going to be there with the redhead, waiting for her to talk the whole thing
Ann’s face got red. All right, she agreed. She would come too, and bring Mr. America. Her eyes glittered with competition. I didn’t like this. The situation was dynamite.
I looked worriedly at Holloway. He grinned broadly.
That’s when I saw what Holloway had in mind. The man is a genius.
Just what you must have guessed, by now, would happen, did happen. Mr. America took one look at the redhead and the redhead stared with large eyes at the shoulders and neck muscles on Mr. America and they went for each other like a ton of bricks. She gave him a come-hither look and this big chunk of muscle quivered like he was jelly. He gave her a white-toothed smile and a silly love look came over the redhead’s face. They got up, went into a clinch and danced cheek to cheek with Pete and Ann staring.
Then Pete grinned sheepishly at Ann and Ann’s eyes began to shine and I pulled Holloway’s arm and we beat it. That Holloway, he had an idea the two models would go for each other. Smart, huh?
That picture of Mr. America sold to an advertising agency and Ann owns her equipment free and clear. She and her husband, Peter, are going to have adjoining studios. I understand photography and art go well together.
Enclosed find my bill.