A Nickel’s Worth of Grub at the Automat

We are fascinated by Automats, those self-serve restaurants that asked diners to drop nickels in slots in order to raise one of dozens of small glass doors to access a serving a meatloaf or apple pie.

Horn and Hardart opened the United States’ first Automat in Philadelphia in 1902, but they are mostly closely associated with New York City, where they thrived for decades before dying off in the 1980s and early ’90s. There were only a handful remaining when we arrived in the Big Apple in 1982, and we just made it to the last one before it closed in 1991.

But the Automat lives on in old (and not-so-old) movies, and we’ve devoted a playlist on the Cladrite Radio Youtube channel to scenes depicting these grand old eateries.

The most recent addition, from a 1925 silent called The Early Bird, can be viewed below, but if you wish to see full playlist of a dozen clips (and you do, take it from us), just follow this link. You’ll enjoy scenes featuring Joan Crawford, Ray Milland, Jean Arthur, Doris Day, Cary Grant, Debbie Reynolds, Sylvia Sidney, and many more.

Mirror Images: Jane Leeves and Lillian Bond

What sweeter treat could exist for any classic movie buff than to see oneself (or a more-than-reasonable facsimile thereof) on the silver screen in a movie from the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s, or ’50s?

No, we’ve not discovered our own cinematic doppelganger, though we’d like nothing more.

But we have found, over time, a handful of actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood who very strongly resemble prominent contemporary figures (and we’d love to hear from you, the members of the Cladrite Community, if you’ve found some we’ve missed).

Our first pair of (nearly) identical twins separated by several decades is the lovely contemporary actress Jane Leeves, best known for playing Daphne Moon on the long-running hit television show Frasier, and her Golden Age lookalike, actress Lillian Bond.

Don’t you agree that, allowing for differences in the hair and make-up styles of their respective eras, these two are very close to a matched set? At the very least, Leeves would be an ideal choice to play Bond if ever there were a biopic called “The Lillian Bond Story” produced.


These very alluring mirror images are/were both English by birth, with Bond having been born and raised in London and Leeves making her debut in lford, Essex, and growing up in East Grinstead in Sussex.

Bond often played the “other woman” in pictures (as she does in the clip below), while Leeves has long specialized in comedic roles.

So while their careers may not have been similar, we think their facial features are strikingly so. And we envy Jane Leeves that—not because we wish we resembled Lillian Bond, but because we think it’d be fun to be watching an old movie late one night and suddenly see “yourself” acting in it.

Below are two clips featuring the actresses. The first features Leeves in an episode of Frazier; the second finds Bond appearing opposite the lovely Sylvia Sidney in a 1933 picture called Pick-Up. See if you don’t agree there’s a very strong resemblance.