The Jazz Butcher Etc | Letters From Pat 13Sep94 Peter Lorre

> Date: Fri, 29 Jul 1994 19:09:53 -0400
> From: Christopher Camfield (ccamfiel[at]
> Subject: Peter Lorre question
> I was typing up the lyrics for Peter Lorre earlier and a question
> floated into my mind - Is the song supposed to be serious or sarcastic?
> I've only seen Peter Lorre in _Casablanca_, _The Maltese Falcon_,
> and _All through the night_. In _Falcon_ and _All through..._ he is
> rather NOT like he's described in the song - he's NOT the guy you'd
> want to trust, like the song says, and in _Falcon_ he is scared of
> Sydney Greenstreet's character. Is anyone on the list a b&w film buff,
> who can say a bit more about Peter Lorre? I presume the song was written
> because he died not long before? I don't know.
> Chris
He looks really cool. I was not fully sober when I first had the idea of writing about him. It's an imaginative thing; yeah, he was the bad guy, but imagine some scary-intrigue-casbah type picture where he was your pal. Yeah?
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Verification of "squidgy bear"
There are a number of photos of Peter in various states of undress (notably a 1944 Life magazine photoessay about a Hollywood spa in which Peter, Humphrey Bogart and Bing Crosby are shown naked except for tiny towels in their laps) that confirm that Peter actually was what in current gay slang is called a "bear," and naturally quite squidgy in the sauna.
Anne Sharp, USA 26Feb2010 8:27 AM
He's a pet
You rock. My best friend and I have started using the word "squidgy" or the phrase "squidgy bear" in everyday conversation to describe any handsome or adorable guy, as Peter was both of these. "Scott? Oh, he's really squidgy!" "Patrick is SUCH a squidgy bear." Thank you for adding to my vocabulary, and thank you for writing this song, which seems to have become the anthem for Peter admirers. And I'm sure Peter himself would have gotten a kick out of it.
Iowa, USA 16Aug2002 3:12 PM
Peter Lorre
Yes, I'm a member of the Peter Lorre mailing list as well! Do you know we LOVE the lyrics of this song? Mr. Fish, I think you captured the very essence of Peter in your insightful lyrics. Now if only we could get a copy of the entire tune! We've listened to the little snippet you've given of it on the web, and are actively looking for the whole thing. OK, we got outbid on eBay the last time someone was selling a copy. But this is only a temporary setback. I think this is going to be our theme song.
I can well understand that you came up with this song after watching him in "Casbah." He IS a squidgy bear in that movie! He is also one of the finest actors to ever appear in film. Thank you for the fine, positive Peter Lorre song!

SimPanda 19Feb2001 3:21 PM
Peter Lorre was most definitely a squidgy bear!
I had to laugh when I read the lyrics to this song -- did you guys know there's a whole e-mail discussion group full of women who adore Peter Lorre and who think he's one of the handsomest men ever to have graced the face of this earth? (
I'm a member, of course.... Who WOULDN'T think Peter was a squidgy bear? He was simply adorble, let's face it. As for his villainous image, that was the fault of various studios like Columbia and Warner Bros who grossly underused his talents and who cast him repeatedly as a bad guy and a bogeyman. Peter had a gift for comedy as well. Now, Jazz Butcher, when are you going to release this song on a CD? Or where can I get a hold of it?
Eve Bercovy 19Feb2001 12:42 PM
Peter literacy
In his innocent way I think the lyricist penetrated to the heart of Lorre's onscreen mystery. When I first read the lyric I thought, "He must be writing about 'Black Angel,'" the 1946 film noir in which Peter plays a tough, cute, jaunty little underworld character who runs a nightclub. Though the film tries to cast suspicion on him as the perpetrator of the film's central murder mystery, he turns out in the end to be a guy it wouldn't be bad at all to have on your side.

And Peter was indeed a squidgy little bear. Just look at those pictures of him in the steamroom from the 4/24/44 edition of "Life." Sigh. 19Dec2000 5:29 PM