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Monday, February 2, 2009

Ruby McAnney- New Gretna's own Jimmy Stewart

I'm generally not an old time movie buff, but I do like old Alfred Hitchcock films and Jimmie Stewart. Combine the two and you get one sure fire thriller - "Vertigo." 

For those of you who are unsure about the meaning of the title, Webster defines vertigo as  "a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual's surroundings seem to whirl dizzily." The dizzy, whirling sensation is usually associated with heights. Such was the case with Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock's "Vertigo."  

Jimmy Stewart became dizzy, panicky, and broke out in a sweat when he climbed the Mission San Juan Bautista's bell tower in the film "Vertigo." (Photo from Google Images.)

Ruby Asbury McAnney is best remembered locally as the owner and operator of Allen's Dock in the mid 1960's into the early 1970's. 

Business card courtesy of Margaret Cramer McAnney.

Few are aware that Ruby was a fearless dare devil in his earlier days. Jimmy Stewart may have panicked during his three story climb of the Mission Bell Tower, but that would just be small potatoes for young Ruby. You see, Ruby was a "greaser" at the 820 foot tall Tuckerton Wireless. A three story Mission Tower would mean nothing to him. It was Ruby's job to mount a boatswain chair, work his way up the main cables of the Wireless Tower, and apply a liberal amount of grease to the cables to prevent them from rusting. He might also do a few other small repairs along the way. It was a important job and not one for the weak or squeamish. Certainly not a job for one who has vertigo. It was right up Ruby's alley. He was one tough hombre!

Just a quiet day's work for Ruby on the Wireless Tower.  You can see one of the shorter towers in the background. I wonder how they got Ruby to take off his hip boots. Also, I wonder who took the photo. (Photo from the Tuckerton Historical Society Charles Below Wireless Photo Collection.)

Had Hitchcock known about Ruby, who knows where it might have led. I'm glad it turned out the way it did, though. I just can't see Jimmy McAnney as a Hollywood brat.

Pete S

PS- Thanks to Bob Mathis for bringing the photo of Ruby on the tower to my attention. 

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