No, Frondo Frone is not some obscure character from The Lord of the Ring. We will get to this mysterious character shorty, but first I must set the stage.
As Robert and I have both alluded to in various entries, a large influence in our early years was television, movies, and books. We found ourselves engrossed in them, waiting anxiously for the next segment, sequel or chapter. We discussed the plots and characters at length, much of the time speculating on how our heroes would fare next time. We also spoke excitedly about how they had been “so cool” in handling a particular crisis, often, if not all the time emerging victorious and vindicated. In many ways, we lived vicariously through them. We grew up in an era when families, in general, watched TV together, went to movies together and often read the same books.( see Robs post on the Queen of Crime).
Music was also big in our family. Much of it stems from the fact that our Dad was a musician. He was the leader of a Big Band, ( hopefully you know what that was) and his love and appreciation for music were passed on to us. For that, Dad, we will always be grateful. Like the movies, television, and books, we spent a good amount of time talking about our favorite bands and singers. In the face of the generation gap, again thanks to Dad, Rob and I loved all music.. from Sinatra and Basie to Jagger and the Stones from Dylan to Cash… we loved music and discussed it often.
One of the things that I will always remember fondly of our parents was their willingness to watch “our shows” ( the TV shows that Rob and I were hooked on), and to listen to our music, in spite of the fact that The Stones were a far cry from Sinatra, Como, and Martin. I’ll also give some props to Rob and me here as well. We never looked at our parent’s music as outdated or just “for old people”. We listened to what they loved as well, and in most cases, came to greatly appreciate it.
All this to say that many of our family conversations, whether at the dinner table or in the car, centered on TV, movies, books, and music.
For the most part, things went fine, except when Mom or Dad couldn’t remember the name of one of the actors or singers they were attempting to speak about. Unfortunately, for Rob and I, this was not an infrequent happening. No matter what, it turned out to be our fault that we could not quickly identify whomever it was they were trying to reference.
They both handled it in different ways, but the end result was the name. Rob and I were pretty dense for not knowing of whom they were sparkling.
Dad’s Mode Operandi was to get quickly angry at our obvious stupidity.Here’s a typical example of Dad trying to give a compliment to the frontman of one of the bands we liked. Noble intention, yes.
Result: Robert and I were idiots:
Dad: “I really like that guy’s voice from the band you like!”
Rob: and I quickly see where this is leading and, very softly, one of us asks:
“what guy? What band?”
Dad: ( a bit surprised we haven’t grasped it)
“You know! The guy from the band!!!”
Me: “ uh, can you tell us what band?”
Dad: ( getting annoyed) “The Band you like!!! Geez, I already told you that!!”
Rob: ( starting to panic)
“ we like a lot of bands….”
Dad: ( getting pissed) THE Band!! The Band!!! You know! How times do I have to tell you!!”
Me: ( in a foolish attempt to get out of this)
“ Ok… can You describe the guy for us?..”
Dad: ( totally frustrated and voice rising big time )
“OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! THE GUY !!! YOU KNOW!!! THE GUY YOU LIKE!!! THE ONE WITH THE HAIR!!! All THE HAIR!!)
Note: this was the late 60’s…quite a few bands had front men with hair… and a lot of it.
Rob and I knew we were doomed.. there was nothing to do but sit there with our mouths hanging open and looking dumb.
It would usually end with Dad getting totally frustrated, throwing his hands up in the air and walking out of the room mumbling something about his two knucklehead sons who
Didn’t know anything. .. and so it went.
Now, Mom had a different approach. She would not get mad or frustrated. She would simply get “superior”; content in knowing that she was clearly correct and her two lovely boys just were not as knowledgeable as she was. Perhaps we would “get it” when we grew up. She was different in her description as well. She would not give some vague, general description that could be one of thousands; she would give us a name, and, shame on us for not knowing the famous person she was speaking of. Enter, Frondo Frone
Mom: “You know, I really like Frondo Frone… he’s a
Good actor and handsome.
Rob and I look at each other in bewilderment. We whisper to each other: “Frondo Frone? Who the hell is Frondo Frone??”
Rob: “uh, Mom, we don’t know who that is?
Mom; ( in a loving “Mom knows best” voice )
“ Yes you do.. you like him too. Frondo Frone.”
Rob and I look at each other again, wide-eyed. We know where this is going.
Me: “What movie was he in?”
Mom; (sighing, thinking what would her boys do without her)
“The movie you liked… The cowboy movie”
Rob and I exchange glances again. A ray of hope!)
Rob: ( hopeful now)
“What cowboy movie, Mom?”
Mom: ( sighing again. Her poor boys she thinks… they are so
“The one you liked. He wore the hat.. it was black. Frondo Frone”
Note; do you how many actors played cowboys??? Do
Have any idea how many of them WORE COWBOY HATS!!!
Me: ( reaching now)
“Was he a good guy or a bad guy?”
Mom;( showing just a
Hint of frustration)
“You know! He was a bad guy… the other guy you like played the good guy. The bad guy was Frondo Frone!!!
( oh good lord )
Me: ( desperate now..)
“The one who played the good guy….who was that ?”
Mom: (sounding like the teacher who has kids in her class who are really challenged)
“The Guy you like… the tough guy… Charlie Brown, or something like that. Frondo Frone was the bad guy.)
(CHARLIE BROWN!!!!! What the hell!!)
Thank goodness for Rob! He figured it out:
Rob: “you mean Charles Bronson???”
Mom: ( condescending )
“Yes, that’s what I said ..Charlie Bronson. Frondo Frone was the bad guy.”
Robert and I almost leap off the couch in jubilation !!!!
HENRY FONDA!!! YOU MEAN HENRY FONDA!!!! Frondo Frone is HENRY FONDA!!!!!
Mom: calmly as she leaves the room, shaking her head.
“That’s what I have been saying”
And, so it goes.