"Stalking a Daddy" by
a synopsis by Janie Tate
(A novel written by my aunt, a movie actress, in the 1950ís and resurrected for submission.)
This is a series of adventures encountered
by a teenage girl. She and a friend ran away from home to search for the
father of her child.
If I was editing a movie of this book for clips to use as a trailer (preview) I would open with a huge man with an angry face shaking his fist at a handsome and very diplomatic young man. With his Scottish brogue he threatens the surprised young man and tells him to leave town and stay away from his 16 year old daughter. A subtitle would read "1907".
I would then show 2 beautiful teenage girls in very old fashioned clothes, with only one train ticket, crammed into a pullman birth on a rattley, bumpy train as the porters come walking down the isle tracing the aroma of whiskey (not allowed on trains) from a broken bottle under their bunk.
A quick shot of them fighting their way out of a brothel against the wishes of the madam and then laughing as they walk down a dark street for parts unknown would leave the viewer intrigued.
Mike Dugan...A charming, restless, drifter traveling from one carnival to the next. Selling, promoting, always on the edge of being legal. He is caring and loving but unpredictable. He has no knowledge of Stella's child by him.
Stella McKay... An incurable romanticist, devoted to Mike, and totally focused on finding him after her father ran him out of town. Her immaturity shows in her willingness to leave her baby with her mother and her lack of awareness of the dangers of travel and associating with strange men.
Fanny...Stella's devoted friend and side-kick throughout her adventures. Fanny is a little more sensible and conservative. The 2 girls have frequent bouts of laughter in the most dangerous of circumstances. They use Pig-Latin for secret communications.
Scotty...Stella's dad, of strong mind and body, spent their early family years living and working in a mining camp with his gentle wife Betsy, Stella, and her brother.
The girls narrowly escape gang rape, white slavery, arrest, and injuries in their travels. The reader is always wondering where and how they will get the money to follow the trail of the unknowing Mike Dugan, (who still misses his young lover,) wondering if she'll ever find him.
She does find him and they return to Salt Lake to her father on his death bed and their toddler child. Their unstable marraige is interrupted again and again by Mike's wanderlust and Stella almost gets involved with one of the nicer men she met in her travels.
The last pages are enjoyable and free from tension as the couple is found, in middle age, with jobs in an exclusive country club.
The Authors Style of Writing
May Cruze was born Helen May Bosen in 1891 in Ogden Utah. She took the stage name "Cruze" as did her brother, James Cruze, who was a famous motion picture director in the 1930's. He directed "The Great Train Robbery", among others. May herself worked as an actress in her younger years and continued working as an extra, well into her 70's. She passed away in the early 1960's. Her nephew, my ex-husband, was violently nauseated that night and the next morning when we found out that she had passed we considered that she had made him an unpleasant visit on her way out. She was angry with him at the time. She had a powerful spirit.
This book was written in the 1940's and 50's and she was probably 70 when she finished it. May knew very well the lives of teenage girls in the early 1900's. She was there. No one will ever know if some of these adventures were her own. The story begins in Salt Lake City Utah. May was one of 12 children during the days of polygamy in the Mormon Church. Her mother was one of 3 wives. The family she writes about were not Mormons.
The writing style is interesting. It was considered a status symbol and a mark of the educated in the 50's to use large words that would confound your listener. This mindset is evident in the book in a few places.
Having divulged the story on the first page let me say that most of my enjoyment of this book came from the way it was written, and how people talked in the early 1900's. It is dramatized in an almost syrupy style and tho' sex is frequently read between the lines, it is never openly discussed. May must have led a pretty wild and rebellious life in the early days of Hollywood and traveling with vaudeville shows. I know she was married twice and had no children. That required quite a bit of sophistication in the days when birth control and abortions were illegal.
The way clothing is described and the way people lived, traveled, and communicated makes the reader acutely conscious of the changes 100 years can bring to a progressive and inventive society.
The manuscript is typed, double
spaced, and consists of 434 pages. If I were to edit it I would change
the chapter breaks as I believe they are too long and need to be repositioned.
I also think it is a little slow to get into in the first 10 or 11 pages.
I can easily imagine a TV series based on this book.
First page of this novel.
It tells of life in the 1930ís and two adventurous teenagerís travels to find the father of a child born to one of them out of wedlock. They have some hair raising experiences and the terminology of the time is interesting.
This has been scanned with a character recognizing program from an old fashioned typed page.
"The way these hicks are rubbering, you'd think that was the first gasoline buggy ever in this burg." Jack Morgan turned to his companion as they stood on the outer edge of the crowd.
The attraction was a shining black, two-seated automobile of the primitive 1907 vintage. A canvas banner was stretched across the back of the high rear seat, proclaiming to one and all that the proud owner's name was Dusty Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes, a middle-aged man, sat in the front seat and, with the air of an exhibitionist, volubly answered the numerous questions of the inquisitive throng clustered about him. His long, tan linen duster was buttoned up to his neck despite the fact that it was early in September, a month which is prone to produce some very warm days in Salt lake City.
"She does twenty miles an hour just like fallin' off a log," he boasted, pushing his goggles up over the narrow visor of his cap, "and she sure makes the dust fly. But dusty roads don't faze Dusty Rhodes, heh, heh, heh." His laugh was hollow and artificial.