The family has just come in. Roddy enters like a steam roller on the loose. His sister Virginia comes in like a queen and assumes an attitude of despair as she views her brother's antics. His mother enters, tired. She's always tired, but she never slows down. After her inevitable remark, "Oh, if I only had time," she exclaims loudly, "Roddy get me a cold drink," and out comes the fizz water.
When the telephone rings — and it rings a lot — Roddy is likely to answer it in a disguised voice with something like "This is the Hollywood morgue ... Yes? ... No, I'm sorry, you have the wrong number. The McDowalls don't live here. This is the Hollywood morgue." He hangs up. The phone rings again. Once more: "This is the Hollywood morgue." Again he hangs up. Again it rings. When the harassed person on the other end of the line finally concludes that this must be the McDowall house and asks for Win, Roddy finally calls out, "For you, Baby." Win comes to the phone after five or 10 minutes and in a weak, slumbering voice says, "Hello ... hello ... hello." While the person on the other end is yelling "Hello,!" Win turns to Roddy and says, "There's no one on this phone." A slight pause. Then she says into the phone, "I was asleep. I couldn't hear you." And the conversation begins. After a minimum half-hour conversation, during which Win does most of the talking, she will put down the receiver and remark, "Didn't have a thing to say. Why must people call so often and stay on the phone so long?"
A soldier, not hep to the McDowall routine, was visiting the manse one night and heard a terrific crash. He rushed to the foot of the stairs and discovered Roddy, lying in a heap.
"Mrs. McDowall!" he cried out. "Roddy's fallen downstairs!"
"Oh, really," Mrs. McDowall said, and went on reading her book.
"But — didn't you hear me?" the guest said again. "Roddy's fallen downstairs."
Then Roddy, while the soldier stared, got up laughing. And a few minutes later was falling down again.
"He saw a man do that in a picture once," Mrs. McDowall finally explained. "He had a few rather bad bruises while he was learning how to do it, but now he can fall down as easily as he can walk up."
With his mother, Roddy likes to rhumba. With his father, Tom McDowall, who is back with his family after five years in the British merchant marine, Roddy likes to wrestle. During the war Roddy had a lot of practice in the art of manly defense. The house was filled constantly with servicemen who taught him plenty. So well did they teach him that on one occasion, when a husky soldier was "talking big," Roddy stood it as long as he could and then picked up the fellow and lugged him out.
At 17 Roddy is naturally girl-conscious. Press agentry, imaginative business that it is, has tried to corral him with several girls, notably Jane Powell, also of "Holiday in Mexico," — about the only girl he's even vaguely interested in.
"Girls are okay," Roddy admits casually, "but they wear so much make-up you can't tell them apart any more. But why should I worry about girls? I'm still young. Looking after my mother — who's quite a case — is a big enough job for me."
Roddy is still young enough to enjoy teasing his sister. One of his hobbies is his imaginary studio, Imperial Eagle. On paper he has designed the whole motion picture studio. He casts pictures, books those pictures into imaginary theatres, keeps a record of the box-office standings of his players, and even draws all advertising posters for his productions. When his sister Virginia hid his big display poster on one occasion, he painted advertising blurbs all over the mirror in her bedroom and bathroom. And, of course, there are the routine pranks of smearing Virginia's make-up before she goes out on a date and teasing her in front of a boy friend.