Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welch + Welsh (for Welsh or Welch)

In the 1962 movie Only Two Can Play, which is based on a novel by Kingsley Amis, Peter Sellers plays a married Welsh librarian with the "seven-year itch." In the opening scene, while shelving a stack of books, he drops one on the floor. As he picks it up, the camera lingers lovingly on the cover: Is Sex Necessary? by James Thurber and E. B. White. Everywhere our hapless, hormonally challenged hero looks, women appear to be coming on to him. When he hurries down the hallway of his apartment building in the morning, a half-dressed neighbor seems to have neglected to shut her door. When he gets crushed against a buxom blonde on the crowded bus, she gives him a flirty, instead of a dirty, look. When he stoops to a lower shelf to retrieve a title, a pair of shapely gams comes directly into view. He simply cannot escape his constant thoughts concerning, as he fretfully puts it, "women in general." I highly recommend this charming film, but especially for you "librarians in the movies" types. Oh, and the utterly apt quotation that introduces it is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "It is not observed that Librarians are wiser men than others." Which might not make the best sig file for your email, but it's perfect here. We found 92 cases of Welch + Welsh in OhioLINK and 697 in WorldCat. Not all of them are legitimate typos, however, so take care to examine the work in question, particularly in the case of transcribed fields.

(Screen shot of Peter Sellers in Only Two Can Play.)

Carol Reid

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