A few weeks ago, David, oldest son of Dana Andrews, came home bearing a big box; he and Mary Andrews had been shopping for a new suit for him. The instant mother and son set foot in the house, Dana knew from Mary's quizzical smile that something special had happened.
David was agog. "Here is my new suit," he announced, divesting himself of his pullover sweater and squirming into the coat. He added, "It's a lot like that gray pinstripe of yours, Dad."
It was. But something was seriously wrong. "Better slip into the trousers, too, son," Dana said, hoping that the complete ensemble would show off David's figure to better advantage. David is now at that growing-boy stage where he strongly resembles a triangle - broad at the base and receding at the shoulder line.
He hopped into the trousers, then strutted around in his finery. Dana rubbed his had over his chin, looked at the floor, exchanged glances with Mary, and tried to think of some way to break the news gently. He decided that this was one of those juvenile tragedies for which there is no soft pedal. "Sorry, David, but I don't think we should keep that suit," he said. "It isn't quite right in the shoulders, and those pleated trousers don't do a thing for you."
David looked stricken. "But the material is so good," he pointed out. "You don't get material like this nowadays. Don't you thinnk that a few alterations..."
Dana wanted to say yes. He wanted to indulge David, but he knew it would be foolish -- the suit was wrong. It was expensive, too, and Dana is sensible about cash -- he always wants to buy the best, and is willing to pay a reasonable price, but he can't see the sense in extravagance.
"You'll outgrow that suit in two months," he pointed out. "The sleeves are just right now, but they'll be too short before you can get the value from the suit."
David bit his lower lip and tried to be nonchalant about it, but his disappointment was evident. Sadly, he removed the beloved suit, restored it to its tissue paper, and closed the box. "But it's so much like that suit of yours, the one I like best," he said plaintively.
Modern Screen magazine, May 1946
At which point Dana had an inspiration. "I'll make a deal with you," he announced. "If you'll cut down on sweets and lose ten pounds around your middle, I'll have a suit tailored for you. Probably my tailor still has some of this same material, and we'll duplicate my gray pinstripe. Okay?"
"Gosh," gasped David. "Oh, swell. That would really be super!" Studying his dad's physique, he added, "Guess I could stand to lose a little. I'd sure like to have shoulders like yours."
Dana, one of the best-dressed men in town, in an entirely unobtrusive way, has a build that any many might envy. His shoulders attest to his years of good hard work; something about his easy walk and his big hands assure you that his coat hangs as it should, not because of over-padding, but because the tough muscles are there.
So, David is on a diet. It isn't easy. His grandmother, knowing a small boy's love of sweets, occasionally slips him a dime or 2 for candy bars; lately, David has been saving the coins and depositing them in a small iron bank. He also gets an allowance from his father, but that weekly sum is deposited in a bank account in David's name, and whenever the total reaches $18.75, it is invested in a bond. In this way, David's university career is assured.
What that career will be, no one can guess. One week Dana thought he had a radio specialist on his hands; the next week, all indications pointed to the presence of another actor in the family.
The radio suggestion happened this way: Dana was set for a radio guest spot, so he took David along to the station with him. He parked David in the sponsor's booth, then went downstairs for rehearsal. Afterwards, he stopped in the control room to say, looking at the knobs, panels, and lights on the instrument board, "My older boy, David, is upstairs. He'd really get a kick out of seeing you men operate those dials."
"Bring him on down. Glad to have him," said the technicians.
So Dana, grinning, went up the steps two at a time, stuck his head in the sponsor's booth to ask David, "Have any interest in seeing how this business operates? Like to see the control booth?"
Is a cat happy in a fish market? continue