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Beau
November 21, 2010 9:50 PM   Subscribe

Jimmy Stewart once recited a poem about his dog, on the Johnny Carson Show. It's an awwww moment... now...go pet your dog. I can't believe this hasn't been posted on Metafilter yet.
posted by HuronBob (63 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
THERE MUST BE SOME DUST IN MY EYE, THUS THE LIQUID.
posted by item at 9:56 PM on November 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


As I was enjoying the feel good moment at the end, reveling in how Mr. Stewart could sure recite a poem, my dog ( laying on her bed here in the office ) emitted one of her trademarked silent-but-deadly, peel-the-paint-off-a-battleship dog farts.

As I held my breath and cried, I patted her on the head anyway.
posted by HannoverFist at 9:59 PM on November 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


Also, I remember watching this on TV when I was a kid, but I was 4 years old most of 1981 so it must've been on a 'best of' show. That, or maybe my parents were friends with Jimmy Stewart. Good ol' Uncle Jimmy.
posted by item at 10:00 PM on November 21, 2010


I saw it in AskMe once. Truly choking-sob inducing, but wonderful. I'm proud to be related to that guy.
posted by HopperFan at 10:02 PM on November 21, 2010


"In your poem, 'Old Rocking Chair,' you write: You sit in the corner/Old rocking chair/It makes me feel good/To know you are there."

"Yeah..."

"I feel emotionally obliterated."

"I'm glad--glad--glad to HEAR that, y'see, good poetry is about DESTRUCTION."

"Under what conditions does a man experience such raw truth?"

"Well, Dieter, it's no picnic, I can tell you that right now. I was holed up in a Mexico City slum. I hadn't eaten in weeks, and what few pesos I had, I'd spent on alcohol. Some cheap crap called chocho. I was down and out. That's when I wrote 'Good Old Rockin' Chair.' You see, you've gotta go through the PAIN."
posted by Iridic at 10:02 PM on November 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


HopperFan... related?? tell us more, please.
posted by HuronBob at 10:06 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Stewart was a General and a Poet.
posted by clavdivs at 10:12 PM on November 21, 2010


It's nothing that special, really - our families are both from the area around Indiana, PA, and we're* distant cousins. My grandfather knew his dad (who ran the hardware store) quite well. My Dad didn't know Jimmy very well, because he (Jimmy) was a few years older. Saw him around, though. I know all the genealogy because of my uncle, Clarence.

* Er, before he passed away, that is.
posted by HopperFan at 10:17 PM on November 21, 2010


Oh wow. I haven't even watched that clip yet, but I remember it. I've seen it twice. The first time was when it originally aired. The second time was years later when I walked into a freak bar in Morgantown, WV, and saw it on the set behind the bar. I didn't need to be told: James Stewart was dead. Wow. Thank you so much for posting this. I'm getting sniffly just thinking about it and I haven't even watched the clip yet.
posted by frodisaur at 10:21 PM on November 21, 2010


Clarence looks like he was a fine gentleman... Thanks... made me smile...
posted by HuronBob at 10:24 PM on November 21, 2010


Clarence, terror that he is, is still alive. It made my Dad furious when he realized that the old battle-axe was going to outlive him.

Anyway, the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana is pretty cool and worth the trip, too. I was just there last year for our family reunion.
posted by HopperFan at 10:27 PM on November 21, 2010


Stewart was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party[83] and actively campaigned for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. He was a "hawk" on the Vietnam War and told interviewers that he "absolutely hated" students who dodged the draft, condemning them as "cowards."[84]

... but he liked his dog.
posted by philip-random at 10:28 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


This led to a joke in a pretty brilliant SNL sketch when Jim Carrey hosted.
posted by EmGeeJay at 10:31 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


if someone who loved his dog that much condemned me for my position on the draft...hell, he might have been right...'cuz he was sure right about dogs.
posted by HuronBob at 10:32 PM on November 21, 2010


"he "absolutely hated" students who dodged the draft, condemning them as "cowards."

You should've clipped the other part of the Wiki article, too - where it talks about how his adopted son was killed in Vietnam at the age of 24.
posted by HopperFan at 10:33 PM on November 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Or we could ignore the finer points of Stewart's biography and focus on the lovely poem, which has nothing to do with politics whatsoever.

Now excuse me, my dog is rolling on the floor and requires a belly rub.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:38 PM on November 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


He sent it to Dear Abby.
posted by brujita at 10:39 PM on November 21, 2010


Here's some more background on Beau.
posted by HopperFan at 10:41 PM on November 21, 2010


I swear on all that is even slighty holy or half-assed consecrated that if some of you are going to bring your well-lubed and assuredly righteous and all-knowing political dicks in here to wave around in a post about Jimmy Fucking Stewart and a poem about his dog I will spend all of the rest of my days trying to invent a time machine and then I'll stick a GOTO 10 line into it just so I can come back and cut you over and over.

Seriously.
posted by Cyrano at 10:56 PM on November 21, 2010 [77 favorites]


Cyrano's comment should be side-barred... the "goto 10" made me fall off my chair....
posted by HuronBob at 11:02 PM on November 21, 2010


Pie.
posted by pracowity at 11:07 PM on November 21, 2010


Godwin liked dogs.
posted by philip-random at 11:15 PM on November 21, 2010


Pets of the Great Dictators
posted by pracowity at 11:40 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Shout, Mr. Tracey"
posted by clavdivs at 11:45 PM on November 21, 2010


I've attempted to write a similar poem about my cat, Winston. Problem is, first I can't work out a decent rhyme scheme about trying to comb poo out of his exceptionally long bloomers; second, no one would believe that my wife used to bite the scruff of his neck to make him feel a part of the family.

Finally, I'm so devastated by his loss that I can't talk even talk about him here without crying blindingly.
posted by Graygorey at 12:06 AM on November 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you're a dog lover who really wants a good cry watch Last Minutes with ODEN
posted by muta at 12:10 AM on November 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I can't work out a decent rhyme scheme about trying to comb poo out of his exceptionally long bloomers
You're gone now Winston but still snagged in our hearts
Like the dried lumps of poo on your furred nether parts.
The comfort of memories brings a warmth amidst grief,
Its bite touching softness, your scruff in my teeth.
posted by Abiezer at 12:38 AM on November 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Holy goddamn, muta. I hate you and love you for that link. Damn you, thank you.

*goes to give my dog a bellyrub*
posted by kmz at 12:41 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


hell, he might have been right...'cuz he was sure right about dogs.

He might have been British. We care more about animals than people as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:53 AM on November 22, 2010


I cried like a baby. Afterwards I showed my kids, 9 and 10, explaining about the unusual rhyming scheme, and how deeply affecting the delivery of a truly great actor is, and how deeply affecting a well constructed poem is, and here was a perfect example. It came to nothing! they were interested, and then it was bed time. Big deal. Mongrels!
posted by milkwood at 1:49 AM on November 22, 2010


The man piloted a B-24 Liberator deep into Nazi territory on over 20 occasions. Until you do something comparable, kindly save your snark.
posted by Optamystic at 1:52 AM on November 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Jimmy, he was a nice fella, ya know, and his good friend Henry Fonda, who was a liberal Democrat ya know, they loved, they loved to talk politics, but ya know, they stayed real good friends, they did.
posted by tommyD at 3:21 AM on November 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm happy being a sucker for Jimmy Stewart in a dozen different movies, particularly because of the way he could gaze at a woman - be it Jean Arthur in "Mr. Smith goes to Washington," or Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story," or Grace Kelly in "Rear Window" (my favorite movie of all time) just after she leaves the note at Thorwald's door.

I loved this. We're cuddling our dogs now.
posted by goofyfoot at 3:36 AM on November 22, 2010


Until you do something comparable, kindly save your snark.

I like the poem, like JS, could care less about JS's politics (however lame they may seem to me)--but this is BS.
posted by maxwelton at 3:42 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't think that a man with extensive combat experience who lost a son in the Viet Nam war might be justified in his personal antipathy toward anti-war demonstrators?
posted by Optamystic at 4:21 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always thought one of the sexiest moments on screen, ever, was between Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in It's a Wonderful Life when they're both on the phone talking to someone on the other end. He's completely inhaling her -- it's intoxicating to watch. Anyway, his politics were born of his time, his deep beliefs, and a long-gone idealized vision of America -- not the fashion of the day or pure self-interest or tunnel-vision righteousness. His politics may not be mine or yours, but there is no way to mistake that man as anything other than A Good Man, very like my dad.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:25 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder if his dog also visited Lake Baringo with him.
posted by inturnaround at 4:36 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


In most cases, if there is an artist whose work you love, it behooves you to not delve into their personal life and beliefs. In most cases, there's something there to disillusion you, something reprehensible or something that you cannot admire, something that will take the shine off of their work for you.

I have found exactly two exceptions to this, two instances where the more you learn about this person, the more you admire and love them. One is Jimmy Stewart, the other is Louis Armstrong.
posted by jbickers at 4:38 AM on November 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Look, if there's one thing that Growing Pains has taught me, and yes, there is only one thing, it's that if you like the art of someone, you don't have to like the artist. Especially if he's Brad Pitt and he's cheating on his wife.
posted by inturnaround at 4:51 AM on November 22, 2010


People's lives are compartmentalized. Some of those compartments are sunny and wonderful. Some of those compartments are not. Some are full of weird old shit you don't understand. You don't have to totally love (or totally hate) someone based on the contents of just one of those compartments, even if the contents of that one compartment are pretty wonderful (or awful or weird), and you can open one compartment and talk about what's inside it without flipping open all the doors at once. This post is (or was) about an old guy reciting a sentimental poem he wrote about his dog. It's not about a guy dropping bombs on German people or getting the vote out for Richard Nixon, regardless of what you think about doing those things.
posted by pracowity at 4:55 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm reading every comment in this thread in a Jimmy Stewart voice, even this one. Now you're all doing it, too! We're gonna turn this thing around!
posted by The White Hat at 5:01 AM on November 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sometimes Metafilter is a parody of itself. Turning a sweet Jimmy Stewart poem about a dog into an argument about Vietnam is one of those times.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:31 AM on November 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes, sir, you look a little older without your clothes on.
posted by pracowity at 5:34 AM on November 22, 2010


You know who else loved his dog?
posted by briank at 5:57 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


One is Jimmy Stewart, the other is Louis Armstrong.

I'd like to add Mr. Rogers to that list. The more I read about him, the more saintlike he seems--and I say that without any trace of snark, irony, or mockery.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:08 AM on November 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Our dog died this year. I was too busy with a 3 month old baby to take much notice of it, other than trying in vain to comfort my husband, her best friend. He thought I was happy to 'be rid of her', having misconstrued my thankfulness that she hadn't had to suffer for long.

Now that life has stabilized a bit, it's begun to hit me. She's gone. Thanks for this. RIP, MJ. We miss you.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:31 AM on November 22, 2010


Sunshinesky, I went through the same thing - lost our dog when our baby was tiny; dog and husband best friends; he was nearly inconsolable (I was glad we had the baby got distract him, actually). It didn't really hit me for months. It sucks. Hang in there.

(I haven't watched this, because I'm at work, and just the thought of Jimmy Stewart and a poem about dog makes me want to cry.)
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:39 AM on November 22, 2010


You know who else loved his dog?
He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or stormtroopers
And I felt like it,
But mostly he didn't come at all...
posted by pracowity at 6:41 AM on November 22, 2010


That was really nice. I just got back from a weekend convalescing with my old basset who had a pretty major surgery last week. I spent it rereading Where the Red Fern Grows, crying every three pages like I always do. Dogs. Is there anything they can't do? (besides open cans and call out for pizza?)
posted by vito90 at 8:35 AM on November 22, 2010


that dog was a damned Truther.
posted by philip-random at 8:45 AM on November 22, 2010


I met Jimmy Stewart once. He was in DC for a screening of Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at the National Press Club for the movie's 50th anniversary. I think the Press Club had hosted the Washington premiere in 1939 and practically ran the film out of town afterwards because of the way it portrayed the press, so this was a way of making amends. My dad happened to be in town from Maine that day and knew the man at the press club who was putting the event together. He called me at work and asked, "How would you like to meet Jimmy Stewart?" I dashed home to get something appropriate for an autograph and the only thing I could find was a paperback copy of Frank Capra's autobiography, The Name Above the Title. So I showed up at the press club, stepped off the elevator and looked into a room off to my right and saw my dad sitting there talking to Jimmy Stewart. They came out, my dad introduced me and I told him the only book I had for him to sign was Capra's. "Why, this is a wonderful book!" he said and signed it for me. He spent the rest of the evening mingling with the crowd, talking with everyone who came up to him, and living up to his reputation as a kind and decent person.
posted by Man-Thing at 9:22 AM on November 22, 2010


... it behooves you to not delve into their personal life and beliefs. In most cases, there's something there to disillusion you, something reprehensible or something that you cannot admire

- Beloved actor Jimmy Stewart was a rabid supporter of the Tea Party, and actively campaigned for Sarah Palin to be President before she was even born!

- Nelson Mandela: a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle and the father of modern, multicultural South Africa. But, few know that he also has the world's largest collection of Nazi memorabilia!

- Mahatma Ghandi freed India from colonial oppression with non-violent protest - when he wasn't practising child sacrifice to his dark God, Moloch!

- Jon Stewart is our modern patron saint of rational thinking with a wry, comedic but ultimately inclusive tone. How we wish he wasn't also responsible for the entire sex-slave industry of Albania!

- Matt Howie. By day, an internet community pioneer - the Johnny Appleseed who sowed the very orchard of metafilter. But why oh why does he drown a little puppy every time a thread is deleted? Is it because he is actually - Dick Cheney's robotic love toy???
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:27 AM on November 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whenever I watch The Philadelphia Story, I get a crush on Jimmy Stewart all over again. Don't care about his politics... just that fabulous lower lip and his sexy, cynical manner. My very favorite Stewart role.

I agree with thinkpiece--that scene in It's a Wonderful Life radiates desire--Stewart's intensity is breathtaking.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:55 AM on November 22, 2010


The man piloted a B-24 Liberator deep into Nazi territory on over 20 occasions.

I always found it interesting that Stewart was an actual war hero but generally portrayed nice guys in the movies, whereas he-man John Wayne for whatever reason avoided military service at the same time. I am especially thinking of the contrast between their characters in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I had the good fortune to see Stewart on stage in Harvey in London, even though I was only 10 years old it was a very memorable experience. I felt like every line he delivered was being spoken directly to me.

I can't watch this at work but will definitely look at it when I get home. I have an older dog that won't be around much longer (as in a few days) so I can really identify with the sentiments in it.
posted by TedW at 10:45 AM on November 22, 2010


"If my life had come to an end then for me personally - I can say this - it would have merely been a liberation from worries, sleepless nights and grave nervous disease. It is only the fraction of a second, and then one is freed from all that and has one's quiet and eternal peace."
posted by swift at 10:47 AM on November 22, 2010


Look, if there's one thing that Growing Pains has taught me, and yes, there is only one thing, it's that if you like the art of someone, you don't have to like the artist. Especially if he's Brad Pitt and he's cheating on his wife.

AND WHAT IS WRONG WITH ALAN THICKE?

The one thing that Growing Pains taught me is this: What's the difference between an Elephant and a Rhino?











Elefino.
posted by norm at 10:51 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Stewart was very close friends with Henry Fonda, a lifelong liberal. There was a time when you could be close to somebody even if you didn't share their politics.

He was one of America's finest film actors. He was, by all accounts, a kind and generous man. He didn't share my politics. Once upon a time, that was a sign of the marvelous diversity of the American population. Today, it's a call to war.

In fairness, we didn't declare this war. In further fairness, today's GOP is not Stewart's brand of Republicanism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:26 AM on November 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bill Murray told a good Jimmy Stewart story on Letterman recently.
posted by chococat at 11:26 AM on November 22, 2010


The one thing that Growing Pains taught me is this:

that one can completely and deliberately skip the entire run of an indeed long-running American sitcom and not suffer a single regret.

it's the one where the family ends up being cannibals, right?
posted by philip-random at 1:58 PM on November 22, 2010


Jimmy Stewart never smoke cannabis.
posted by clavdivs at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2010


posted by the quidnunc kid

Are you Hodgman?
posted by evilcolonel at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2010


If you're a dog lover who really wants a good cry watch Last Minutes with ODEN

Oh wow, I am sobbing right now, sobbing like a small child. That was brutal. I've been thinking about getting a dog and this video reinforced my desire to get a dog and also completely put me off it, in almost equal measures.

damn.
posted by rubyrudy at 2:48 PM on November 22, 2010


Dog lovers might also appreciate Old King; he went runnin' after deer, weren't afraid of jumpin' off the truck in high gear...
posted by TedW at 4:41 PM on November 23, 2010


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