Jimmy Durante goes Loopy (1934) 🇺🇸

Jimmy Durante | www.vintoz.com

December 07, 2021

Betrayed by Garbo and bitten by Lupe, Jimmy stands amazed — a thorn between two roses

by Barbara Barry

It’s my patriotic complexion what done it. Just the Demogogue in me, see? If a swell guy like Roosevelt can give da whole woild a “new deal,” who am I to be stingy wit a ting like my masculine platitude? Who am I to put myself outa circulation just on account of Garbo happens to be a one-man woman???

Garbo’s a nice kid. Me an’ her was practically like “that.” But she betrayed me. That’s what she done... betrayed me! Me... what give her the best years of my life, sequestioned myself from society. Me... what can mingle wit da elete... da intelligentria. I give up everyt’ing — body an’ soul — jus’ to prove dat I meant business. An’ she betrayed me! Da rank futurity of it eats into my soul like asafetida!

Garbo was one of dem strong, silent dames what a guy can talk to without needin’ a coal chisel ta get a woid in horizontal. Night after night, I sits in her patio, talkin’ about da physiology of Life. An’ stuff. Night after night, see? Of course, she’d be in-a kitchen, eatin’ lapska. But, we didn’t innerfere wit each other. Dat was da utter philanthropy of da ting. She lets me talk. An’ I lets her eat lapska. What could I lose??

Why did Garbo go back to Sweden da las’ time? Ask me, why did she go?? It was a misunnerstandin’, dat’s what it was. I’m over to her house, see? An’ she wants ta play cro-kett.

“Cro-kett??” I says. “Naw — dat’s askin’ too much. I can’t be coy,” I says. “I’m all man. Justa mass-a muscle.” An’ I show her my magnificent bipeds. “If ya gotta play,” I compromises her, _______

“make it juiy jitsoo. I been takin’ a correspondence course in-a manly art of self presavation, and I’ll show ya a twist I loined in da last lesson.”

So I takes her by da right ear and da left heel an’ den I goes t’rough da motions, like it says in da book, see? Well, I come out all right, but, it seems I was a little prevalent wit dat particular lesson. ‘Cause I just nicely gets ‘er in what looks t’ be a combination half-Nelson an’ a two-an’-a-half gainer, when somethin’ slips, an’ dere she is — da goil friend, see? — all tied up like a four-in-hand — an’ me witout da combination! Ah-h-hh, da mortifyin’ humidity of it! Da heart-rendin’ frugality of da whole episode!

Far into da night I sits on Garbo’s front porch, waitin’ for da mailman to get dere wit my next lesson. An’ when he finally gets dere an’ I put her back in-a perpendiculus... what does she say?? I ask ya... does she tank me like I desoives? Me, what sat up all night, waitin’ for da mailman, wit’ my heart full-a compensation for her predicability?

NA-A A-AH... she ups and says: “Ay tank ay go home” — dat’s what she says! An’ den she goes, witout foider ado about nuttin’. I’m busted wide open wit angwich. My goil walks out on me, an’ it’s all my own respirability. On account of I won’t play cro-kett!

“Jimmy,” I says to myself, “ya buttered your bread — now lie in it.” Tryin’ ta be psychological, see? But, I can’t take it. I jus’ can’t take it. So, what does I do? After a mont’ of not eatin’ more dan free meals a day an’ sleepin’ less dan eight hours a night, I breaks. Bruised an’ bleedin’ under da burnin’ injustice of da ting, I gives in an’ cables her. Collect.

“Come home,” I says in-a cable. “All is forgiven. P. S. — I’ll play cro-kett.”

Da magnitude of it should-a touched a heart of amalgamated steel. But, does she answer?? Ha-aa-a-ah... not a woid! Not a woid ta soothe da irrigation of my desecrated poisonality!

An’ den all of a sudden Loopy comes inta my life.

Funny, how her an’ me happened ta

get “that way” about each other. Here we was, workin’ on-a same lot... practically eatin’ off-a da same plate, witout realizin’ dat a Big Moment was about ta sneak up on us... see?

It was when we worked in-a same show, in Noo Yawk, that da dam busted. Honest, I get all over gooseberry-pimples when I think of it.

There was a scene when I comes out on-a stage in a bathin’ suit, see? That was what done it. Da bathin’ suit. Wit me hangin’ outa da open spaces.

Little did my Public suspect what was goin’ on underneat’ my Beau Broomel exterior. It was a shock, see? Even da audience didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So, dey laughed.

Dere I stood in all my masculine platitude. Justa massa-a muscle.

What did Loopy do? What did she do? Ha-a-aa-ah? She’d been kickin’ me in-a... well, in-a first act, when I had my clothes on, see? But what does she do when she sees me in da bathin’ suit? Oh, Boy! Fer a minute, she jus’ stan’s dere, gaspin’. Den she hops over to where I’m standin’ an’ plants da kick of da season right in my... well, anyhow, in-a second act. An’ — dere it was! Love at foist sight!

It wasn’t no ordinary kick, see? It was different. Fulla meanin’ an’ sediment. A beautiful fought, boy. A beautiful fought!

Dere I stand, see? Overcome wit emulsion. My heart playin’ a xylophone solo on my ribs. I couldn’t help it. De emulsion was too great. I hadda show my feelin’s, audience or no audience. So I picked ‘er up an’ tru ‘er in-a orchestra pit.

Dat excruciatin’ kick had brought out da Tarzan in me, an’ Nature — an’ us Durantes — in da raw, is never mild.

Well, dey pried Loopy outa da bass vile an’ she scrams back up on-a stage. Her beautiful brown orbits is shinin’ with love-lights, or somethin’, an’ I stands dere, kinda relapsed, see? Waitin’ for Nature to take its course.

I don’t have ta wait long, either. Wit a whoop dat would make Tarzan look like a dummy, she does a “flyin’ Dutchman” an’ makes a poifect free point landin’... right in my top-hair! Boy, what a night! What a night!! Hotcha-aa-cha-a-aa-a!

Loopy bites my ears, kicks me in-a shins, an’ kisses me... Ha-aa-ah! Them kisses!! I looks in-a mirror an’ yells for a doctor, f inkin’ I’m bleedin’, see? But it’s lipstick. Da prevalent kind dat don’t come off easy. I gotta go f rough da rest of da show wit da mark on my pan.

Da audience tinks it’s all in-a act, see? An’ dey roll in-a aisle, little suspectin’ dat me... da Casanova of da Pacific Coast... has just been caught on-a rebounce.

After da foist shock, I tries to get hold-a myself. Da show must go on, see? Besides, da repoignance of love in-a bud should be confiscated to da privacy of a guy’s sanctum sanatorium, an’ not tossed like a silk poise before swines’ ears.

So I tries to be nonplussed. “She’s nuts!” I tells da audience. But Loopy ain’t got no control a-tall. She ain’t got no control.

“Oo-o-oo-o, thees Jee-mee!” she yells, sinkin’ her teeth inta my schnozzle. “I love heem!... He eees so bee-u-ti-fool!”

After da peace an’ quiet of my romance wit Garbo, it was like takin’ a vacation in-a rivetin’ department of a boiler factory. Noisy, but different.

By the time we gets back to Hollywood, I’m losin’ weight steady, besides taken’ all my meals off-a da mantel, on accounten de ultra-violent a la mode of Loopy’s technicality. I ain’t complainin’, see? Love has me in it’s power-house an’ I kin take it witout gripin’. But, not witout a struggle, see? If she wants-a make a wrassle out-a da Great Emulsion, I says to myself, I’ll drag my juiy jitsoo out-a da mothballs... winner take all.

SO I does. An’ what happens? Da humiliatin’ morbidity of da ting practically grinds my spirit inta da asphalt! Loopy knows more holds dan Gus Sonnenberg. An’ what does she do? She gets me in-a compromisin’ position, an’ den she goes out wit Johnny Weissmuller, just-a make me good an’ jealous, see?

Da next day, I reads in-a paper where Garbo’s comin’ back to Hollywood. If jus’ like I fought... she can’t forget me. My poisonality has got under her skin, an’ she’s comin’ back to pick up da busted f reads of our immoral romance. I’m on-a spot an’ I gotta tink fast. Two wimmen crazy about me — an’ what wimmen! Dere’s only one answer.. I should-a been twins. Boy! I should-a been twins!

Wit Loopy runnin’ around wit Tarzan— just-a make me jealous — I figures I gotta right to precipitate. What’s sauce for da goose is applesauce fer Gandhi I says. So I goes down to da boat to meet Garbo. I ain’t one to hold-a grudge, see? If she’s sorry fer walkin’ out on me like she went an’ done, who am I ta be obdurante about it?

I’m standin’ on-a dock, ready ta let by-gones be by-gones, when da boat pulls into da parkin’ place an’... dere stands Garbo, lookin’ more glorified dan ever.

She ain’t got no disguise on. No colored glasses... no collar turned up. Nuttin’. I’m dumfloundered! My heart’s thumpin’ like a rivetin’ machine. An’ den... what does she do? She talks! Garbo... what I been dependin’ on ta kep da peace, like she got me used to... opens her mouf an’ what does she say?

Ha-aa-ah... da disilluminatin’ super-acidity of da whole ting!

She says, “One never knows what tomorrow will bring, does one?” Dat’s what she says!

Da bitter injustice of it cuts me to da quits. Stealin’ my stuff! My physiology! My very woids!! I’m overcome wit da ungratitude of it.... da ungratitude of it.

I can forgive her fer talkin’. But, she betrayed me... Ha-aa-a-ah I wants to drop da asbestos on-a whole humiliatin’ episode.

Like a whipped dog I slinks back to Hollywood... an’ Loopy. Dere’s a woman! Haa-a-ah! She might go out wit Tarzan now an’ den, just-a make me jealous, see? She might bite my schnozzle an’ out-smart me at juiy jitsoo. But, she wouldn’t betray me. Not Loopy! No... not Loopy! Not much!


What-a-man Durante in a special pose showing what the well-dressed man can wear — if he can get away with it.

Left: Jimmy and Lupe in a scene from the RKO picture “Strictly Dynamite.”

The New Movie Magazine, July 1934