We keep learning more about that little town with the infamous toll booths near the George Washington Bridge.
For example: Buddy Hackett– the comedian with the rubbery face and reputation for salacious jokes -- used to live there.
I always associated Hackett with Brooklyn. New Utrecht High School. Living next door to Sandy Koufax's grandparents in Boro Park as a child. What was he doing across the bridge?
Turns out, Hackett bought the large home in Fort Lee that had belonged to Albert Anastasia, a leader of the mob, until an unfortunate incident in the barber’s chair in a Manhattan hotel in 1957. The incident did not involve a slip of the razor or the scissors, but rather automatic weapons used by two visitors.
I learned this from Alan Rubin, a frequent contributor to this site, a former goalkeeper with his own web site about soccer.
Alan wrote this the other day. It deserves a separate posting:
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The Hacketts, at least his wife, kept a kosher home. Buddy tells of coming home very late from performing in Manhattan and wanting something to eat. In kosher homes, meat and dairy utensils are kept separate.
For some reason, he decided to use a meat knife to put cream cheese and jelly on a piece of toast. As by some heavenly signal, his wife woke and caught him.
She was FURIOUS and demanded that he kasher the knife (make it kosher again for meat) by burying it. She stormed off to bed and slammed the bedroom door. Hackett went outside to bury the knife and the door slammed behind him.
He rang the doorbell but his wife was so angry she refused to answer. He called her, below the bedroom window, but she refused to answer.
The neighbors hearing him banging on the door and shouting at his wife, called the police. Two cops came to the Hackett household and asked Buddy what was up. He started to tell them that he was locked out. He said his wife had been furious with him. And they saw the hole he had dug in a shrub bed and the meat knife, with a glistening red blade.
Also, Buddy was only wearing a short night gown. The police asked him to raise his hands, but he refused.
They took him in, wrapping the knife for evidence, and other cops forced the door open, expecting to find the wife lying on the floor. She was even more furious that the door had been broken down. At the police station, Hackett demanded that they examine the knife which they discovered was smeared with cream cheese and strawberry jelly.
There are many Jews who do not understand cleansing a knife by burial, but try explaining to Italian and Irish policemen at two in the morning wearing a short night gown.
Also, Buddy could tell a better story than Governor Christie.
That is what happens when you elect a clown rather than a comedian.
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Ouch. With thanks to Alan Rubin, whose web site is:
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.