Thursday, June 10, 2021
I wrote a book about cigarette lighters and then I forgot about it. For a while, though, after it was too late, I would come across this or that detail that I knew in my heart I should have included in my cigarette lighter book, and that my cigarette lighter book, truth be told, was incomplete without it. That hardly ever happens anymore. But! Last night I watched PHFFFT for the first time since 2008, and Kim Novak says to Jack Lemmon - I believe this is an exact quotation - "Put your hot one up against my cold one and make my cold one hot." She is asking him to light her cigarette with his cigarette, the latter of which has already been lit. Now, there is quite a long passage in my cigarette lighter book about this manner of lighting cigarettes, for which manner of lighting said cigarettes there exists a shocking slang term unprintable in a family newspaper. I know this is not a family newspaper! It is sort of a family newspaper. In any case, Ms. Novak's request would have been a perfect complement to the slang term, lending the dubious weight of anecdotal evidence to my questionable conclusions. When she said it, it seemed so familiar to me that I could have sworn I wrote about it somewhere, if not, pathetically, in my cigarette lighter book, but I can't find evidence to support that insistent feeling, not even in an old email to McNeil. In conclusion, the title PHFFFT is given an exclamation point by many internet sources (an error duplicated in my original "post" on the subject), but the title card of the actual movie does not include an exclamation point, at least in the print I watched. Maybe I will devote the rest of my life to exploring the discrepancy.