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  • mistermuse 10:04 pm on May 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    PUTTIN’ ON THE ELLA 

    No series of great singers of America’s Golden Age of Popular Music would be complete without America’s “First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald, whose reign lasted well beyond that Age to become, in my opinion, THE female vocalist of the ages.

    http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/about/biography

    Over the years of this blog, I’ve posted a greater number and variety of clips of Ella’s performances than any other singer. For this post, I’ll concentrate on Ella’s recordings of one composer’s songs….for the simple reason that it’s his birthday, and she has sung so many of his songs. His name is IRVING BERLIN (May 11, 1888-Sept. 22, 1989), and these selections are from ELLA FITZGERALD SINGS THE IRVING BERLIN SONGBOOK:

    Remember this one?

    Seriously, this one is ‘unbelievable’….

    So what do we care how music fashions change form? We’ve got Ella to keep the old embers warm….

     
    • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 11:34 pm on May 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      She was wonderful, both inside and out, it seems.

      Liked by 2 people

    • JosieHolford 12:00 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! An Ella extravaganza. Can’t beat that! And now back to listening.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 6:58 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Now that’s what I call classic!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:18 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Classics from one of the classiest ladies and vocalists ever!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rivergirl 8:45 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink

          When I married my husband he had no idea what Scat even was.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 10:47 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink

          Sounds like hubby is more the heart (romantic) type than the ‘hip’ type. 😉

          Many Irving Berlin songs (like the middle two clips) are slow ballads which don’t easily lend themselves to scatting. The other two clips are more uptempo, but at the time of the first one, Ella wasn’t yet as much into scat as she was later (just a taste of it in the last clip).

          Like

    • josephurban 7:31 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I put on my Ella CD when I work in my woodshop. Wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ladysighs 7:46 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      It is hard to pick a favorite.
      I keep thinking …. where did I hear all those great songs???
      Oh! On the radio! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:10 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t recall where i first heard these songs, but 3 of the 4 were in old movies I saw years ago: PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ from the film of the same name, and YOU’RE LAUGHING AT ME and I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM from the 1937 film ON THE AVENUE.

        Like

    • masercot 9:12 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Ella and Abbott and Costello:

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:10 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the great clip. As I recall, “A-Tisket-A-Tasket” was her first big hit. A few years later, she sang it in the above scene from the 1942 film RIDE ‘EM COWBOY, which I’ve seen a time or two on TV.

        Like

    • dunelight 10:39 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Ritz…she makes swinging hard sound easy. Effortless. She’s not singing, that sound is coming out of her pores.

      Remember…omg, I’ve never heard this before, love the orchestration. Laughing at Me..never heard too much orchestration..yeah I am not fond of strings in my jazz ballads. I would listen to more Chet Atkins save for his choice of orchestrations.

      Thanks for starting my day right!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:36 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        My pleasure! I agree that jazz and strings generally don’t mix, but there are exceptions such as Joe Venuti and Eddie South, jazz violinists extraordinaire! You might want to check them out if you’re not familiar with them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Ostertag 11:35 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I have the good fortune to work her several times over the years and can attest to the fact, not only is she a great singer, she is as sweet as she sounds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:53 am on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for that, Don. I saw her perform many years ago in San Francisco. A man at a table right in front of the stage was smoking, and the smoke was drifting up in her face as she was singing. She stopped and asked the guy (politely but firmly) to put out his cigarette. A sweet gal indeed, but not afraid to speak up for herself!

        Liked by 1 person

    • dunelight 1:55 pm on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Argh..I stuttered..Stefan, as in Stefan Grappelli.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:21 pm on May 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        ….or Stéphane, as in “pardon my French” Grappelli (forgive me, but I love his and Django’s Hot Club of France records, and I couldn’t resist the touché)..

        Liked by 1 person

    • jilldennison 12:21 am on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Ahhhhh … that voice! Pure gold! Thanks for playing these!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 4:36 pm on May 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you I love Ella I even have an anthology of hers
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      Make Laugh not Sore

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 4:42 pm on May 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      She was marvelous. A great listen, Mr. Muse. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:05 am on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    I LIKE IKE 

    Those of a certain age may recall the “I LIKE IKE” campaign slogan of Dwight Eisenhower when he ran for President of the U.S. in 1952. Well, I like Ike too– but the Ike I like sang (rather than made speeches) into a mike: CLIFF “UKULELE IKE” EDWARDS, born 1895 in Hannibal, MO (of Mark Twain fame). You probably remember Ike (if at all) as the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney’s acclaimed animated feature PINOCCHIO (1940)….but before that, he was one of the most famous singers of the 1920s-early 30s, with his jazzy and novelty renditions of popular songs of the day. In short, he was just great fun to listen to:

    Ukulele Ike was past his peak popularity by 1935, but he still had A Little Magic:

    By the end of his life, Ukulele Ike had faded into obscurity. But, for a few of us, his memory lives on. So, by Jiminy, remember who could make dreams come true, the next time you wish upon a star:

     
    • MELewis 1:51 am on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      What a crooner on that last number! I love how those old songs take you back to another time and place. The ukulele is such a happy sounding instrument.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 2:04 am on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Umm, why is the chain-smoker picking lit cigarettes out of his ears, sleeves, tie and neck? Very strange behaviour. Was he entertaining a group of obsessive- compulsive magicians?

      Otherwise, great singer with that lovely mellow voice.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:33 am on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        That scene is from one of the Hollywood all-star extravaganzas which were popular from the early days of sound pictures (HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929) through WW II. This one, titled HOLLYWOOD PARTY, starred Jimmy Durante (did you notice him at the very start of the clip?), Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges, and many others The plot of the film, such as it was, was simply a contrivance to connect the scenes in which the various stars ‘did their thing.’

        Liked by 2 people

        • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 1:37 am on May 9, 2021 Permalink

          Thanks for the explanation. My comment was tongue-in-cheek but I also didn’t get what was supposed to be happening.

          Yes, I did catch that glimpse of Durante.

          Liked by 1 person

    • josephurban 1:21 pm on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      My all time favorite political ad.. one that says nothing but delivers visuals… an ad ahead of its time…. …..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4naX15vC4g

      Liked by 2 people

    • magickmermaid 4:49 pm on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      One can’t help but smile when listening to these tunes. Ukulele music always sounds happy. I still sing “When you wish upon a star” sometimes (still hoping for the best outcomes).
      Hopefully the strange orange animal will stay secluded in his own habitat. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:56 pm on May 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I like listening to those happy ukulele sounds too, mm. I call it FUN MUSIC.
        As for that strange orange animal, it’s the only animal I know of that has a cult following. I call THAT lowering yourself to the level of humans!

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 7:48 am on May 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 9:35 pm on May 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I knew of Clif because of Jiminey. But hearing his history really add life to a long missing story Thanks for this. The Ukulele and tha cigarette magicain are great too
      ,
      ,,
      ,,
      Laughter increases your Face value

      Liked by 1 person

    • Geo. Raymond 3:52 am on May 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Big Cliff Edwards fan. One of my favorite recordings of Cliff’s is a small number titled, “Stumblin'”. I remember, as a kid, I recorded it off of the radio onto a cassette tape. That was how I made mix tapes back in the old days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:49 am on May 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I know the song, but I can’t find a clip of Cliff Edwards playing it — you are fortunate to have it. It was quite popular in 1922 (the year it was composed), and I’m sure i had it on an old 78 before I sold my record collection a few years ago. Here’s one of a number of other recordings of it:

        Like

        • Geo. Raymond 5:20 pm on May 11, 2021 Permalink

          I did a search on the song a few years ago. I located the song on a copy of his radio show episode 3 (subtitled Alabamy Bound). I bought the CD but the quality was so poor that if I turned the volume up to 1 the sound became severely distorted. Finally, unable to find a better copy on Ebay, Amazon, Itunes, et al, I wrote to a Cliff Edwards collector and explained my dilemma and he sent me a down-load! I can forward it to you, too, if you would like.

          Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:30 pm on May 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I appreciate your thoughtful offer. Can you forward it in another comment/reply, so that any interested readers can enjoy it too?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Geo. Raymond 6:57 pm on May 11, 2021 Permalink

          I don’t think that is possible, old chap. Perhaps, I could make a youtube video of the song, but I’ll have to study on that a bit.

          Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 3:37 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    THE THING ABOUT BING 

    Having just completed a five-post series of my favorite “Hollywood’s Golden Age” comics, I had nothing in particular in mind for my next post(s)….until I noticed that May 3 (1903) is the birthday of a man who gave me the idea for a similar series — this time, favorite vocalists of the “Golden Age of Popular Music.” That man is Harry Lillis Crosby — better known as Bing.

    The thing about Bing is that, despite a 50 year period of great popularity which lasted into the 1970s, he was NOT one of my favorite (far from it) singers of that period’s latter decades. His vocal approach and range changed abruptly from his jazz-influenced, virile style of 1924-39 to his lower octave, more conventional singing style which many of us are familiar with (as typified by his hugely popular recording of WHITE CHRISTMAS in the early 1940s). I much prefer this Bing Crosby from 1931 (particularly notice the free-wheeling way he “gets you” at the end):

    There is a lot more I could say about Bing, but I’d rather let his singing do the talking. Here is the romantic Bing crooning a Rodgers and Hart song in the 1935 film MISSISSIPPI (co-starring, btw, W. C. Fields):

    Before Bing became a big name on his own, 1926-30 he was a featured vocalist (often as one of “The Rhythm Boys” vocal trio) with the hugely popular Paul Whiteman band. We close with this Irving Berlin song from that period:

    My next featured vocalist in this series will be….who knows? Not me (it might have been me, except that I can’t sing….but I can spell — at least, better than whoever spelled the above album title).

     
    • willedare 3:47 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for these musical taste of Bing. I loved reading about his life. Before The Rhythm Boys, as you probably know, he was half of an increasingly successful duo with a man named Al Rinker (whose sister was the wonderful singer Mildred Bailey). Ms. Bailey was singing in a speakeasy — if I am remembering correctly — run by her husband in the Hollywood Hills when Bing and Al arrived from Washington State in a 1916 Model T. Mildred helped them make new connections in the entertainment industry, which among other things led to the formation of the The Rhythm Boys.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 5:13 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Right on, Will. As it happens, Mildred Bailey is at or near the top of my fav female vocalists of that era, and will surely be one one of the those I feature in an upcoming post. She was married to Red Norvo, who is my absolute favorite vibraphonist (even more so than Lionel Hampton). Red and Mildred were known as “Mr. & Mrs. Swing” back in the day.

        Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 4:17 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I loved White Christmas and all the “Road” films with Bing and Bob.
      I really like the first and third songs. (I guess the person who posted the third song was also whitout a dictionary.)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 4:47 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I was never a Bing fan. Maybe all that I’ve read about the real man tarnished the performer for me…

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 5:29 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Those “Road” films were (and still are) a lot of fun, mm, with Bing and Bob constantly competing for the affections of delicious Dorothy Lamour. ROAD TO RIO and ROAD TO UTOPIA were especially funny, in my opinion. Re the spelling error, when in doubt, one should always look it up in the dickshunairy. 😉

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 5:40 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not a fan of the latter-day Bing, but the 1920s-30s Bing was a completely different singer. He was convinced to change his style (I believe for commercial reasons) by Jack Kapp, Decca Records executive, and it was definitely not a change for the better.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ 7:40 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        My late mother liked Bing and Dorothy too, less so Bob.

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 9:38 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink

          Lord Halifax said “Hope is generally a wrong guide, though it is very good company along the way.” He obviously didn’t have Bob Hope in mind, but I nonetheless thought Hope was “good company along the way” (such as on the Road to Rio and on the Road to Utopia).

          Liked by 1 person

        • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ 9:47 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink

          Dear mistermuse,

          Thank you for your witty reply. Assuming that I remember well, Bob Hope always reminds me of the song “Thanks for the Memory”, which he sang with Shirley Ross. In that sense, Hope was “good company along the way” on our memory lane too.

          Did you have a chance to observe and photograph the April super pink moon, which is the very first super moon of 2021 just two days ago on the 27th? What a night it was to look upon the full moon shining upon the landscape in all its grandeur, and to reflect deeply in the moment!

          I would like to resonate with you through my most animation-intensive post presented to you as a courtesy of my dramatic attempt to bring the Full Moon alive, so to speak, in the form of Music Animation with Dynamic Visualization presented in high definition and imbued with a scintillating full moon surrounded by eye-catching astronomical phenomena and stellar activities!

          This post has not only been extended but has also been improved from top to bottom. It is now covered in animations throughout!

          In order to see all of the animations, please make sure that you view the post on my blog and not via the WordPress Reader. Please enjoy to your heart’s content the mixed-media offering of “If My Name Were Moon Tonight…” and its beautifully rendered Music Animation with Dynamic Visualization on the big high-resolution screen of your desktop or laptop computer. Switch the video playback to full-screen mode. The animation starts calmly and will gradually climax.

          Apart from the stylish presentation of my rhyming poem extended with a postlude, there is also the opportunity to savour my own rendition of “Clair de Lune” recorded on the organ.

          The direct link to the post is https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2020/10/10/if-my-name-were-moon-tonight-with-clair-de-lune/

          I am very curious of what you think and look forward to receiving your feedback there.

          Happy May to you!

          Like

        • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ 12:38 am on May 4, 2021 Permalink

          Dear mistermuse,

          Please pardon my mistake/typo: I meant “just a week ago on the 27th”, not “just two days ago on the 27th”.

          Like

    • annieasksyou 10:59 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      It was fun to see the young der Bingle (don’t know where I heard that), with what used to be called “bedroom eyes.” I liked “It’s Easy to Remember” the best.

      Yes, Bing and Bob were a happy duo, especially when they went after “L’Amour.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:35 am on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I like both “Easy to Remember” and “I’m Gonna Get You” best. “Waiting at the End of the Road” is a great song, but I don’t like Bing’s rendition nearly as much as this one in the movie (“Hallelujah”) from which it comes:

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 11:18 pm on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Whitout (alt. sp. prep.) archaic – witout; in the absence of wit. The silly fool demonstrated substantial witout. Modern – witless. Syn. politician.
      😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:55 am on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Very interesting. If politicians were only witless, it would be bad enough, but those on the far right are also clueless, useless, truthless, mindless, worthless and fitless (for office), which scares me shitless.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 2:12 am on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Hahaha. 🙂 You forgot rudderless, reckless, careless, feckless, and hopeless. 😉 Maybe a fit or two would be good for them. Give that fat void between their ears a workout.

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:46 am on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Soundeagle, I have very little interest in heavenly bodies (other than the female anatomy), so I didn’t observe and photograph the April super moon.
      I also have very little spare time (as I’ve made known to you previously), but I thank you for the link mentioned in your comment, will try to check it out in the next few days, and leave brief feedback.

      Like

    • Don Ostertag 11:43 am on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      My mother became a Bing fan after he played a priest in Going My Way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:02 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I was raised Catholic, but became less of a Bing fan after going my own way as an adult.
        OK, I admit that was more coincidence than correlation. Although I like the humorous Bing in the “Road” pictures with Bob Hope, I’ve never been a fan of Bing (and even less so, the older I get) in his serious roles, such as the priest in Going My Way.

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 12:04 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      It infuriated me that he hawked orange juice…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:19 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I’d forgotten all about that, so I had to ‘refresh’ my memory. Enjoy!!!! (hahahaha):

        Like

    • snakesinthegrass2014 2:49 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for highlighting “I”m Gonna Get You.” I’m not familiar with that one. I think I prefer his jazzy period more than his crooner one. – Marty

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:32 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I agree 100%. “I’m Gonna Get You” is great fun, and the ending alone is worth the “price of admission.” I’ve already listened to it several times.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 7:19 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I think you forgot a detail in your description of Bing. In the middle thirties was when the vocalist satrted rising, untill then the band leader was the king and the singer just another instrument. When it was his turn he picked his sound and it defined him. I don’t dissagree with you I like the jazzier stuff myself. But if he hadn’t picked the crooner we may not know he existed. He does go gack to his roots in his Radio show though.
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      Laugh a while, See what happens

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:06 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Actually, there were quite a few very popular crooners prior to the mid-1930s, though almost all of them are all but forgotten today. Perhaps the most popular was Gene Austin, who had more than a few #1 hits until the Great Depression came along in late 1929 to severely curtail record sales and Austin’s career. Another very popular crooner of the late 1920s-mid 30s was Rudy Vallée. I could mention more, but the point is that, although band leaders such as Paul Whiteman sold millions of records, singers (both male and female) were by no means left in the dust. I had hundreds of their old 78s in my record collection until I sold it a few years ago, and I’ll be profiling some of those singers in upcoming posts.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 10:16 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink

          This is a fact I will have to recheck. Sorry But this is how I heard it.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 10:31 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink

          No problem. I just happen to be very familiar with the music of that era because I collected those old recordings for decades, as well as many books on the subject.

          Like

    • The Coastal Crone 3:04 pm on May 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Bing is the ultimate crooner. “White Christmas” always made me sad somehow. I enjoyed the old recordings and like those better than the later ones. They were new to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:53 pm on May 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I like a number of Christmas songs (I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, for example) more than WHITE CHRISTMAS, but we all have our own favorites. In any case, we’ll be hearing them all soon enough, as it seems the Christmas ‘season’ keeps starting earlier and earlier every year.

        Like

    • Klausbernd 7:27 am on May 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Seen it from today, Bing C. sounds very kitschy – at least to us.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Wishing you all the best
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:22 am on May 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        You said it! That’s why I dig the jazzy Bing of 1931 (in the first video clip “I’m Gonna Get You”), but not the later, “kitschy” Bing.
        .
        Thanks for commenting.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:12 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    LAST, BUT NOT LEASHED 

    We come now to the last of the five ‘Hollywood’s Golden Age’ comics/comic teams mentioned in the first post of this series: THE MARX BROTHERS. Like Laurel and Hardy (the fourth post), The Marx Brothers threw sanity to the winds in their films — perhaps because there was no sanity clause in their contract.

    Both L & H and The Marx Brothers were, in a word — make that two words — lunacy unleashed. But, whereas Laurel and Hardy’s reactions to situations were childishly outlandishy, The Marx Brothers made a mockery of sanctified institutions and human pretense, violating social norms mercilessly. Or, as Groucho put it….

    To quote film historian Gerald Mast: “The Marx Brothers could get away with subversion because of their sheer madness.” But (unlike Charlie Chaplin and, early in his career, Buster Keaton) “The Marx Brothers lacked complete control over their material [and] were dependent on their writers. And at Paramount, those writers [including Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby*] gave them very surprising, iconoclastic things to do. Their three best films at Paramount — Monkey Business (1931), Horsefeathers (1932), and Duck Soup (1933) — all hurl comic mud at the gleaming marble pillars of the American temple.”

    Duck Soup is even more striking [than Horsefeathers] in the thoroughness of its conception. Every action in the plot is a burlesque of some important governmental function. The film climaxes when Sylvania declares war on Freedonia (“the land of the free”) for some absurd breach of etiquette (a comment on society’s worship of honor and propriety). The immense war that follows is a multilevel parody. But beneath the parody is a reduction of the solemn events of American history to total nonsense. At the end of the film (and war), after Freedonia achieves a miraculous — and inane — victory, Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) bursts into a stirring chorus of Hail, Hail, Freedonia”…. and the world is again safe for democracy (and for laughing my ass off).

    • Kalmar and Ruby were a famous 1920s-30s songwriting team, including such hits as WHO’S SORRY NOW and THREE LITTLE WORDS. They met the Marx Brothers in 1930 and wrote the scores and screenplays for Horsefeathers and Duck Soup, as well as several other films.

     
    • obbverse 3:44 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Very anarchic- it’s no wonder they were one of Spike Milligan’s faves.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 8:19 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Groucho would’ve loved this Spike Milligan quote, which I’d like to think was said when Trump came into power — but alas, Milligan had already died by then: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, which is just long enough to be President of the United States.”

        Liked by 2 people

    • ladysighs 6:30 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      When all the rest are long forgot, these will remain in our thought.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 8:30 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I grew up with the Marx Brothers. My father, a very distinguished Englishman, loved them…. as do I.

      Liked by 3 people

    • masercot 8:38 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      They did have excellent writers like S. J. Perelman writing for them. Perelman and Groucho stayed friends for years after working together…

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:46 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Kalmar and Ruby worked with Perelman and Will Johnstone on HORSEFEATHERS, but were the only screenwriters on DUCK SOUP, according to Gerald Mast. Mast said a lot of credit also belongs to “the iconoclastic producer” of the two films, Herman J. Mankiewicz, who was primarily a screenwriter (CITIZEN KANE, IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD, WIZARD OF OZ, etc.). His grandson, Ben Mankiewicz, is a TCM host, as you probably know.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Ostertag 11:30 am on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Being a stage hand, naturally my favorite is Night At The Opera. But I can take any of them, put one in the player and laugh until my sides hurt.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:51 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I can certainly appreciate ‘where you’re coming from’ regarding NIGHT AT THE OPERA, Don. It’s my favorite (along with DUCK SOUP) Marx Brothers film as well

        Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 12:55 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      The Marx Brothers were the best! I’ve watched their films so many times and they are still funny! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • JosieHolford 1:44 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve always thought it interesting that Groucho and T.S Eliot were friends. Here is Groucho in classic form at Eliot’s funeral in 1965. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqbzT5NzQxc

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 1:51 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      They definitely left their marks, as it were. 😉 They were a lot of fun and asked their audiences to think a bit, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 3:11 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Well quipped, Lynette (though it might be asking too much of the right wing of today’s audience “to think a bit”). 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • snakesinthegrass2014 3:09 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Years ago, I read a very catty appraisal of Groucho’s alleged “improvising” in which the writer said that his performance on “You Bet Your Life” was scripted to the nth degree. I don’t know if that’s really true mainly because I don’t think anyone was quite sure what would come out of the mouths of all those guests who appeared on the show, and with whom Groucho would have those funny conversations before play started. But even if it’s true, and it was scripted to such an extent, so what? Groucho did a fantastic job in the role, as he did in all those movies. He was a great comic actor. – Marty

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 3:57 pm on April 27, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Do I agree? YOU BET YOUR LIFE!

      Like

    • Elizabeth 5:46 pm on April 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      “Say the secret word and a duck will come down and give you 50 bucks.” I still say that one whether the people around me know what I am talking about or not.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 11:29 pm on April 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      ….or, if you really want to make people wonder what you’re talking about, try this: “Say the secret word and a buck will come down and give you 50 ducks”…..or even “a buck will come down and give you his doe” (as in “dough”).
      I’ll stop here before I think of an even worse pun. 😉

      Like

    • calmkate 4:39 am on April 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      and still we lunatics allow them to perpetuate senseless wars! When will we ever learn …

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:51 am on April 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Einstein is said to have said “The World War after the next one will be fought with rocks” — which seems logical, because the heads of too many heads of state (and those who elect them) have rocks for brains.

        Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 6:45 pm on April 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Herman Mankiewicz was the subject of the film “Mank,” which was supposed to win all kinds of Oscars, but won only two. I don’t think the film did him justice.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:09 am on April 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for reminding me of that, Annie. I haven’t seen “Mank” — I rarely see new movies any more, but that’s one which interests me enough to tempt me to get it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 8:45 pm on May 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      You saved the best for last. I;m a huge Marx fan. The thing I alwaysed loved is when in the middle of the film you were reminded of their talent as Harpo Played the harp Beautifully. Ps I can’t pick a favorite
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      Laugh together with those you love

      Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 9:13 pm on May 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Do you recall the name of the quiz show that Groucho hosted? Oh wait, I’ve got it: You Bet Your Life.

      Liked by 1 person

    • dunelight 9:02 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      “There ain’t no sanity clause.” God bless the Marx Brothers. I’ve loved them since discovering them in childhood on Saturday Night Movie Night where the local station played old movies. Brilliant, just brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:32 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I’ve watched A NIGHT AT THE OPERA at least half a dozen times and still laugh at that scene every time.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:00 am on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    RESTING ON MY LAUREL’S (AND HARDY’S) 

    Continuing my series of classic Hollywood comics, I’ve been caught up in Laurel and Hardy films since I was knee high to a piano — which, by the ‘weigh,’ was the ‘heavy’ in their Oscar-winning short, THE MUSIC BOX. If you don’t think this scene from the film is funny, take steps to trade in your high hat for a whoopee cap — you are way too ‘sober’:

    Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were first teamed at Hal Roach Studios in 1927. Film historian Gerald Mast calls them “the most artful practitioners of the Roach structure of accumulation” — in other words, with L & H, it’s just one damn thing after another. Mast continues: “The starting point of every Laurel and Hardy film is that they are overgrown children, simply incompetent at any human task. They are terrible carpenters (The Finishing Touch), terrible salesmen (Big Business), terrible automobile drivers (Two Tars), terrible escaped convicts (Pardon Us), terrible soldiers (Beauhunks), terrible furniture movers (The Music Box), and terrible husbands (Sons of the Desert).” The latter film and title subsequently became the inspiration for: https://sonsofthedesertinfo.com/
    Here is the film’s trailer:

    My two favorite L & H feature-length films are BABES IN TOYLAND (1934) and WAY OUT WEST (1937). Here, Stan and Ollie do a wonderful soft shoe dance in a scene from the latter film:

    Like his one-year older contemporary, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel was born in England and became a member of the British theatrical troupe, Fred Karno Company (where he was Chaplin’s understudy). Hardy was a Georgia-born American actor, a year and a half younger than Laurel, usually playing the villain or minor roles until his 1927 teaming with Laurel. The rest is film history.

    I can think of no more fitting way to end this post than with these achingly beautiful strains….

    ….and these immortal words:

     
    • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 2:26 am on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Now I just rest. My laurels were squished flat a long time ago. 😉

      Liked by 4 people

    • masercot 10:15 am on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      The Music Box is indeed their best… brilliant. I think a lot of what I like about the duo is the anticipation. When Hardy says, “Now quit fooling around and give me that hammer” you KNOW something painful is about to happen…

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 11:05 am on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        You said it! I have to laugh just thinking about remembered scenes depicted in books I own such as THE LAUREL & HARDY SCRAPBOOK and LAUREL & HARDY (THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE GREATEST COMEDY TEAM IN MOVIE HISTORY!), although it has been decades since I’ve seen many of those movies.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Ostertag 1:42 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Forget Rogers and Astaire. Give me Laurel and Hardy any day.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 3:28 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll take both duos any day, Don. It seems a bit like comparing apples and orchids: they’re both good, but in different categories. There’s room for both in my memories.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 4:56 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I know I’m in the minority here but I just never liked Laurel and Hardy. Not even sure why…

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:09 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        It may be akin to the “Three Stooges syndrome,” Rg — I’ve heard that most males love, and most females hate, The Three Stooges. I could strain my brain speculating on the reason(s) for this dichotomy, but digging deep into me might take a lobotomy, and that would take a lot o’ me out of me.

        Liked by 2 people

    • magickmermaid 5:57 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Well, here’s another fine post you’ve gotten me to read! Laurel and Hardy are so much fun to watch! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:22 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Well, your comment was so much fun to read that it made my day, mm (or at least saved it from being another fine mess). 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Wistful Nostalgic 9:02 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      They were hilarious. My whole family loved watching them on TV.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:58 pm on April 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Unfortunately, where I live, they’re not shown on TV anymore, except once in a great while on Turner Classic Movies….but some are available on YouTube.

        Like

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 12:01 am on April 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      These are great and thanks for the memories. All the classic comediand had a style all their own
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      Lose Weight Laugh for twenty minutes a day

      Liked by 3 people

    • annieasksyou 6:21 pm on April 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I was going to write that these two hardy performers have every right to rest on their laurels, but I see that’s already old here in mm’s punland.

      For the record, I have always hated the Three Stooges and never given a thought to Laurel and Hardy. But that soft shoe routine was well worth the price of admission. Thanks, mm.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Elizabeth 8:11 pm on April 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Our marriage survives by the occasional quip from one or the other of us noting “another fine mess you got us into!” Good thing we both grew up on Laurel and Hardy and recognize the line.

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 9:42 pm on April 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      My wife and I also share a quote that helps our marriage survive: “Getting married, like getting hanged, is a great deal less dreadful than it has been made out.” –H. L. Mencken

      Liked by 1 person

    • smbabbitt 2:15 am on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Great fun! I almost feel as though my father, a fan who waited all year for BABES IN TOYLAND to show up on television Christmas morning, were watching with me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:37 am on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I think whoever thought of starring L & H in BABES IN TOYLAND was thinking ‘outside the box,’ but it was a great idea — their version is the best of the BABES films that I know of. BTW, did you know that “Babe” was Oliver Hardy’s nickname?

        Like

    • Silver Screenings 6:25 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      They never get old, do they? They’re legends for a reason.

      Thank you for sharing this wonderfulness.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Carol A. Hand 12:36 am on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      This may be off topic, but the duo is memorable to me for a totally different reason. Decades ago, before one could enroll in classes at a university online, I was standing in a long line in the hallway of the registrar’s office – the H’s through the L’s line. After about half an hour, the person in front of me was finally at the window. I heard the staff person asked him, “What’s your last name, first name, and middle initial?” And I laughed when I heard the answer. “Laurel, Hardy, N.” I remembering wondering at the time about the taste of people who would do that to a child.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:53 am on May 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Carol, it’s not off topic as fa as I’m concerned….and furthermore, I love your ‘story.’ And further furthermore, I applaud the parents of “Laurel,Hardy, N.” for giving their son such an unforgettable name. Long live Laurel N. Hardy!

        Thank you for taking the time to make such a great comment!

        Liked by 2 people

    • dunelight 9:05 pm on May 13, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Basolutely brilliant! Oh dear, Absolutely brilliant!

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:09 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    THE GREAT STONE FACE ROCKS! 

    When I published a post about W.C. Fields (HAVING A FIELDS DAY) on his birthday (April 9), I counted him among the preeminent comedy film stars of his time….but I didn’t think of it as the first in a series of connected posts. Several days thereafter, I noticed that April 16 loomed as the birthday of another comic star I’d referenced — thus I came to publish LAUGHING AT A LITTLE TRAMP (Charlie Chaplin). Now I find myself writing yet another such post, thanks to a reader who commented on April 17 that he watched and loved many old movies with his dad as a kid, particularly BUSTER KEATON, the deadpan comic known as “The Great Stone Face.” I agree with that reader: Buster Keaton rocks!

    The above scene (from the 1925 film SEVEN CHANCES) is all the more extraordinary when you realize that Keaton did his own stunts. “He was a fatalist. Ever since he was an infant, Buster had miraculously survived train wrecks, fires, and dangerous storms. He firmly believed that no matter what he did, fate would determine the outcome.” –Frank Manchel, author of YESTERDAY’S CLOWNS (subtitled The Rise of Film Comedy).

    How does one assess Keaton compared to Chaplin? Here’s how film historian Gerald Mast (in his book THE COMIC MIND (subtitled Comedy and the Movies) sees it:

    “It is difficult to compare Chaplin’s and Keaton’s gifts. Chaplin’s fertile period lasted 38 years; Keaton’s lasted about ten. Chaplin’s art depended upon a minute perfection; Keaton’s relied on speed and and a tumult of imaginative, farfetched ideas.”
    “Keaton never took the world as seriously as Chaplin did. Whereas Chaplin’s films, even his individual comic bits, are pointedly social, intellectual, concerned with hunger, humiliation, justice, and freedom, Keaton as an artist was never conscious of trying to say something; he merely tried to do something that he found funny. But beneath the surface there is more. The situations that Keaton found funny, the way he comported himself in relation to objects and the world, the way he solved his comic problems — all these imply an attitude toward human experience, whether Keaton was conscious of it or not. The tension between surface and depths begins with the Keaton face. The fact that Keaton’s face reflects no reaction to any event around him — no smile, no laugh, no tear, no puzzlement, no inquiry, no anticipation, nothing — lures some into assuming that Buster neither feels nor thinks. But he is not unfeeling, and he is certainly not stupid.”
    “In The General (1926), for example, two little town lads tag along behind Buster as he goes to visit Annabelle, his girl. They walk behind him into her parlor and sit down. Buster, without changing the look on his face, stands up, puts on his hat, and starts to walk toward the door. The two boys stand up to follow. Buster opens the door and the two boys walk out; Buster then closes the door behind them, takes off his hat, and goes back to sit beside Annabelle, again without changing the look on his face. The objective has been accomplished.”

    If Keaton’s films were less “pointedly social, intellectual,” etc. than Chaplin’s, I ask you: does that leave “The Great Stone Face” in “The Little Tramp’s” artistic dust? Far be it from me to cast the first stone.

     
    • obbverse 2:53 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      What a time the birth of the movies must have been. An all new medium and sheer unbridled talent shone through.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:12 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        You nailed it, obbverse. It’s as if the ‘stars’ aligned to bring the world perhaps the greatest marriage of art and entertainment human beings could have dreamed of….with exactly the perfect creative talent living at the perfect time to make those dreams come true.

        Liked by 1 person

    • smbabbitt 3:15 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent background and clips!

      Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry 5:43 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      OK, colour me intrigued. You make references to your previous articles ‘HAVING A FIELDS DAY‘ and ‘LAUGHING AT A LITTLE TRAMP‘… but why don’t you link to them here?

      No rush, you can tell me later (I’m just going to read those, now).

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:31 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, pendantry, but the post already has those links: the HAVING A FIELDS DAY link appears under “Related” right after the “Likes,” and the LAUGHING AT A LITTLE TRAMP link is at the very bottom after all the comments. I suppose I could have linked them in the body of the post as well, but being the technological neanderthal that I am, I am loathe to take the time and trouble to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry 8:04 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink

          Well, even a techno-neanderthal can be taught new tricks, surely? Hey, it’s your blog, your rules. Me, when I refer to old posts, I add links to them§ on the grounds that it means my (tiny) audience doesn’t have to go hunting around for them.

          § It’s really very easy to do, especially on WordPress.com — I’m happy to help if they’re causing you trouble.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 8:40 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink

          Thanks again. If you can tell me a “really very easy” way to link to old posts, I’ll give it a try the next time I refer to old posts in a new post. I appreciate your offer.

          Like

    • masercot 5:44 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Keaton is definitely my favorite silent film actor. He bridged a lot of intellectual and creative divides in my life. He made a surrealist film with one of my favorite authors called, “Film”. He also had roles in two of those dumb beach movies from the sixties that I inexplicably love.

      You are right, his comedy does kind of rely on speed, but there’s also an elegance. Like that scene in Steamboat Bill Jr where he is picking out a hat. He goes for style but his father wants functionality. They go from him looking at himself in the mirror from all angles to his father smashing a work hat on his head. He DOES walk out with the hat he wants…

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 7:52 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I absolutely love STEAMBOAT BILL JR. It’s one of those masterpiece films you can watch over and over again and never tire of it. As for “those dumb beach movies,” I was going to say that it’s a pity that he had to appear in such mindless trash near the end of his career, but then I checked film critic Leonard Maltin’s review of one of them (BEACH BLANKET BINGO), and he gives it 3 (out of 4) stars! Now I’ll have to keep an eye open for it and watch it to see what I missed (beyond the obvious).

        Liked by 1 person

        • masercot 8:00 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink

          In that movie, Keaton is paired with the most beautiful sixties girl I’ve ever seen: Bobbi Shaw…

          Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 7:48 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Apples and oranges. Comedy yes, but isn’t it wonderful there are multiple types.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:10 am on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Apples and oranges, cats and dogs, Chaplin and Keaton — no matter which you prefer, you can’t go wrong. Thanks, Rg.

        Liked by 2 people

    • magickmermaid 12:35 pm on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I didn’t know about Buster Keaton’s early life. Even though I’ve seen his incredible stunts multiple times, they are still phenomenal. I wonder what he would think about today’s special effects. Definitely one of the best of all times!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Ostertag 1:04 pm on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Buster Keaton is so great. I love the setting up and the long wait for one of his great bits.

      Liked by 1 person

    • snakesinthegrass2014 2:40 pm on April 20, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, so glad you posted and gave a tribute to Buster Keaton. He was a comic’s comic and understood what the audience was looking for in that period. As Masercot points out, there’s definitely a certain elegance in Keaton’s work. Later comics all acknowledge him as an influence (i.e. Ernie Kovacs). – Marty

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 6:02 pm on April 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I loved his escapes and had no idea he did his own stunts. The best in this clip was jumping off the cliff onto the tree which then fell over. Brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 12:07 am on April 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      The comparison is interesting but you can’t really comparte them. Like trying to compare Abbot and Costello to Laurel and HardyAll hilarious but very different I have always been a keton fan myself I love frenetic pacing.
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      ;The most wasted of all days is one without laughter

      Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 8:18 pm on April 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      his pace and stunts are amazing! Thanks for transporting me to another world for a moment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:27 pm on April 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      MY pleasure, Kate.

      Like

    • Silver Screenings 6:33 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I love both Chaplin and Keaton, for different reasons. This Keaton tribute is terrific, and I’m glad you featured him on your site.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 8:28 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Chaplin makes you FEEL INSIDE; Keaton makes you LAUGH OUT LOUD. That may be an over-simplification, but they’re both the best at what they do.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 2:00 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    LAUGHING AT A LITTLE TRAMP 

    We must laugh in the face of our helplessness against the forces of nature – or go insane.” –Charlie Chaplin

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I began my previous post (HAVING A FIELDS DAY, 4/9/21) by proclaiming my amore for the great film comedians of yesteryear, starting with the irascible W.C. Fields, who was born on April 9 in 1879. Ten years and one week later (4/16/1889), there arrived on life’s stage Charlie Chaplin, the London-born comic genius* who became known the world over for his portrayal of a shabbily-dressed character who walked funny: the Little Tramp.

    “His conception of the Little Tramp was so advanced that it could take its place with the great comic creations of all time. In the [silent] films of this period and in the films he made later, we can sometimes find the dimensions by which masterpieces are measured. Chaplin has come very close to achieving these dimensions many times, and did it in perhaps what is the hardest way, comedy.” –Gerald McDonald, author, THE PICTURE HISTORY OF CHARLIE CHAPLIN

    • Not just my opinion; Chaplin was considered a “genius” by many distinguished contemporaries, including no less a personage than George Bernard Shaw, who called him “The only genius in motion pictures.”

    Again quoting Gerald McDonald (while Chaplin was still living): “Chaplin reached the heights, but during the course of his remarkable career, he has often left himself vulnerable. Attacked sometimes fairly, sometimes most foully, he has had his own war with the world [shades of W.C. Fields!]. He believed in himself, but as an egoist was never able to see himself through the eyes of others. If he has made it difficult to be happy over his public image, perhaps it may not greatly matter. The best of him is in his films.”

    Speaking of his (feature) films — he made many ‘shorts’ prior to his first full-length THE KID (1921) — my favorites are THE GOLD RUSH (1925), CITY LIGHTS (1931), MODERN TIMES (1936), and THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940). I close with the iconic ending of MODERN TIMES, which I confess brings a tear to my eyes although I’ve seen it many times before:

     
    • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 3:01 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      He lead an extraordinary life.

      Liked by 1 person

    • tref 3:21 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      The only filmmaker who matters. Happy Birthday Charlie Chaplin!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:37 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I’d qualify that a bit by saying he had complete artistic control over the masterpieces he made, compared to many filmmakers of the Hollywood moguls-era. Nonetheless, he was undoubtedly one of the relative few who matter.

        Like

    • calmkate 4:15 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      a most informative post and videos … I had no idea of his early childhood, addiction to pretty young wives and his exile …. thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:45 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        You’re welcome, Kate. His life is a prime example of why I love to read the biographies/autobiographies of creative/artistic personalities, especially from bygone times.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 7:13 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Chaplin is a star for the ages. When you’re young you laugh, when you’re older you appreciate the subtlety. Shame he didn’t enjoy it…

      Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 7:57 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      A few days ago, I watched the last scene from City Lights to see if it still made me cry…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:48 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Of my four favorite Chaplin films, MODERN TIMES and CITY LIGHTS are undoubtedly the most ‘human.’

        Liked by 1 person

    • JosieHolford 9:45 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      “Smile though your heart is aching …”

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 1:37 pm on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Charlie Chaplin is truly one of the greatest! His advice certainly resonates in these strange modern times we find ourselves in. Excellent post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:48 pm on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I opened with his “We must laugh….” quote because I thought it perfectly set the stage for the post. He wasn’t ‘known’ for his quotes, but when I came across that one, it had the ring of truth which is the test of all great quotes..

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rosaliene Bacchus 2:26 pm on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I only saw a little of his work, but he left a long-lasting impression. A genius without a doubt!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Handyman cheap Services 2:32 pm on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      WOW ‘ most informative post and videos. 👍
      I am very glad to read your article you are giving very good information to the people I have seen your website has been made very beautiful and I thank you again and pray that you Keep up the good.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Ostertag 3:54 pm on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      What a genius

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 4:27 pm on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. I really haven’t been very familiar with him and learned a lot from this series of videos.

      Liked by 1 person

    • snakesinthegrass2014 4:44 pm on April 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      One thing the pandemic has done is given me plenty of time to watch old movies and TV shows. I haven’t gone so far back to the silent era, but I really should do so. I remember watching them with my dad as a kid and loving all of them, particularly Buster Keaton. But admittedly Chaplin was in a class of his own Thanks for giving me a push to reacquaint myself with these old classics. – Marty

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:24 pm on April 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        You’re more than welcome, Marty. I too am a big Buster Keaton fan. My two favorite Keaton films are THE GENERAL (1926) and. STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928). I’m thinking about doing a Buster Keaton post one of these days. Stay tuned!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 12:01 am on April 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Such a gtreat post. I laugh just thinking about Chaplin. Too bad his personal story isn’t so funny
      ,,
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      Laugh on the inside, then spring a leak

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:12 am on April 21, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I spring a leak every time I go to the john, but my wife doesn’t think it’s funny, because I usually leave the toilet seat up when I’m done….however, I figure that makes us even, because she leaves it down when she’s done. But every marriage has its ups and downs, so I guess we might as well laugh about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:12 am on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    HAVING A FIELDS DAY 

    “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” –W.C. Fields

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    As far back as I can recall, I’ve been a fanatic fan/addict of the great comedy stars of the 1920s to early 40s: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, The Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy — and the most irascible of them all, Wm. Claude Dukenfield (better known as W.C. Fields). On this, his birthday, I mean to stay awake, have a Fields day with this post, and drink a toast to the man who “Once during Prohibition, was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water”….and also contrived to “gargle with whiskey several times a day, and I haven’t had a cold in years.”

    Fields was born April 9, 1879 in Philadelphia. Although he ran away from home at an early age, he thought often of his hometown. For example , many years later, he remarked that “Last week, I went to Philadelphia, but it was closed.” On another occasion, he said “I once spent a year in Philadelphia–I think it was on a Sunday.” Asked what he wanted for the epitaph on his tombstone, he replied “On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.” To prove it, here’s his last request (about 50 seconds into this trailer):

    According to film historian Raymond Rohauer, “Fields always presented himself on screen as a braggart, a windbag, and a schemer–and perpetually in need of or in search for a drink. And if he happened to have emerged from his perennial fight with a hostile world, then surely it was by accident. Still, the audience sympathized with him, not because of any hectic antics, but because he was invariably surrounded by such repulsive villains and sheer imbeciles that his own vices appeared, if not necessarily endearing, at least comparatively acceptable.”

    Earlier, we touched on Fields’ “last words.” In the spirit(s) of this celebration, we close with more quotes to pour over:

    I never worry about being driven to drink; I just worry about being driven home.”

    What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?”

    Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snake bite, and furthermore always carry a small snake.”

    A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.”

    It is hard to lose a mother-in-law. Almost impossible.”

    Women are like elephants. I like to look at ’em, but I wouldn’t want to own one.”

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again; then quit–there’s no use being a damn fool about it.”

    Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.”

    If I had my life to live over, I’d live over a saloon.”

    The world is getting to be such a dangerous place, a man is lucky to get out of it alive.”

    Fields didn’t get out of it alive — but luckily, the words of his war with the world did….and even in Philadelphia, that’s PA (pretty acceptable).

     
    • Lynette d'Arty-Cross 3:00 am on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Men are like snapdragons; I like to look at them, but I wouldn’t want to listen to all that noise. 😉

      Liked by 4 people

    • obbverse 3:58 am on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      He had that very ‘in character’ nose too.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 7:51 am on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Speaking of which, get a whiff of the opening exchange (and again a minute-and-a-half in) between W.C. and Charlie McCarthy in this clip from their famous radio ‘feuds’:

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 8:57 am on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, Fields. Reading his quotes make me realize we must be related..

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:11 am on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know about his “Women are like elephants” quote, but I can see the relation between you and the others. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Ostertag 11:57 am on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Like you, Mr. Muse, those great comedians you mentioned are my ‘addictions’ also and make up a large part of my DVD library. One of the grandkids commented. ‘Grandpa only laughs when the movie don’t have colors.’

      Liked by 3 people

    • tubularsock 12:24 pm on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent. Made Tubularsock laugh aloud with

      ” Are you busy? About as busy as a pickpocket at a nudist colony!”

      Thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

    • magickmermaid 5:51 pm on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      LOL! One of the greats! 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:31 pm on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely, mm. Like the other comedy stars I mentioned in the first sentence of my post, he was unique. There was no one else like them, which is one of the things that made them great.

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 7:55 pm on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I must say I think Charlie McCarthy got the better of him—stringing him along, as it were.

      I once took my daughters to a pediatrician who liked to adopt a WC Fields persona. Made me a tad nervous.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:14 pm on April 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I especially liked Charlie’s zinger about 43 cars stopped at the corner of Hollywood & Vine waiting for Fields’ nose to turn green.
      BTW, I hope your daughters’ pediatrician didn’t have a red nose like W.C. Fields — they might have thought he was Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 3:39 pm on April 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I live by the if at first you don’t succeed try again then quit. I have a greeting card that says “find something you are no good at and then don’t do it.”

      Liked by 3 people

    • Ricardo 8:09 pm on April 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      “Who put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?”

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 9:24 pm on April 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for reminding me of that one, Ricardo. I should’ve included it in my post.

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 10:58 am on April 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Your article inspired me to look into his background a bit. I found a source that lists specific addresses where he lived with his family in Philadelphia. It’s interesting to me, because I lived in Philadelphia for many years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 6:44 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I just realized, I OWN a copy of My Little Chickadee, and have never seen it. Well, I’ll be remedying that very soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:39 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Film critic Leonard Maltin says the team of Fields and West is good in this film, but should have been funnier (given the pairing of two such great talents). They wrote the screenplay, so if it’s not as good as it could have been, they have no one to blame but themselves (not that it’s bad).

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 7:58 am on May 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Mr. Muckel, the blind man, is so politically incorrect and so hilarious. From “It’s a Gift”…

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 1:32 am on April 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    DEAD MEN LEAVE NO ENTRAILS 

    Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.” –Somerset Maugham

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Once upon a time, I published a very dreary little book of poems and epitaphs, titled GONERS. Today, April 6, being PLAN YOUR EPITAPH DAY, and April being NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, I thought I’d dig up what’s left of that cryptic tome and (having nothing better to post) see what I could do with a slew of its bygone remains. I’m counting on findng good bones, because no doubt the meat of the missive has long since become the diet of worms.

    OLD ED YOUNG

    Dismissed as “minor” poet
    By critics half his age,
    Young, Edward, found no solace
    Could pacify his rage.

    Yet, his epitaph managed
    Homage to his skewers:
    Those who can are poets;
    Those who can’t, reviewers.

    LET NO MAN WRONG MY EPITAPH

    Here, for good, lies Chastity Wood,
    Her casket wood, sin’s snares withstood.
    The wood without is without flaw.
    The Wood within, men never saw.

    SATAN NEVER SLEEPS

    So. Help me God!

    IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

    Now I lay me down to sleep;
    I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
    If I should die before I wake,
    I pray there’s been ONE HELLUVA MISTAKE.

    POETIC LIAR-SENSE

    The Great American Novel
    Is the Everest of climbs;
    I have written it myself
    Any number of times.

    And I have written lyrics
    To the music of the Spheres;
    The sound is magic to the soul
    ….and yet, tragic for the ears.

    One last triumph yet remains
    When, at my mortal ending,
    Doth expire the greatest lyre
    Since Orpheus descending.

    HELL TO PAY

    Ego
    Ergo
    We go.

    ALL THIS AND HEAVEN TOO?

    Lord, what fools these mortals be
    ….and You get to watch for free.

    JOURNEY’S END, JOGGINS, NOVA SCOTIA

    On the fossil beach at Joggins,
    One finds fossil bods and noggins.
    Comes high tide, the sea Atlantic
    Summons sleep with the Titanic.

    IMPOLI-TICK

    Tempus fugit.
    Please excuse it.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Please excuse it? Hold on. Where is the life that late I led?




     
  • mistermuse 9:29 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply  

    E-Z P-Z PLEASE-Z ME-Z 

    If you (like me) have noticed the growing trendiness lately of the term “easy peasy,” you (like me) may have wondered where this seemingly recent phrase originated….so I decided to check into it. Turns out that it’s not all that recent. I was in fact please-zeed to learn that its first known appearance was in the January 17, 1953 edition of my hometown newspaper, The Cincinnati Enquirer: in a review of the 1952 film BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER, journalist Ellis Radcliffe wrote “The flight is such an easy-peasy affair for the air travelers….”

    It should come as no surprise to my regular readers to hear that this gave me an idea for a ‘songs’ post — specifically. a post about songs with the word EASY in the title. Lucky for you, I remember several such songs from the Golden Age of Popular Music, and they are decidedly….

    Listening to a great vocalist sing a great song by a great composer — now that’s what I call….

    It is said that When you gotta go, you gotta go — but why not go as we came?

     
    • equipsblog 9:56 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      EZ 4 U 2 say….. I thought with all of the Zzzing around-it was going to be a Zombie thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:03 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not really into zombies, although I often feel like one due to not getting enough sleep. Fortunately I’m most wide awake first thing in the morning, which is when I came up with this post.

        Liked by 1 person

    • willedare 10:07 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      One of my favorite co-workers — our invaluable and always helpful computer guru Scott —used to say “easy peasy” sometimes when I would present yet another problem to him for help… And your song selections are delicious. Starting the day with Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter is sublime. THANK YOU!

      Liked by 2 people

    • ladysighs 10:48 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I clicked on each of the videos and got them to play at the same time.
      That made it sorta easy to listen to and get on to the next blog on my reading list. Gotta keep moving.

      (not that I don’t enjoy spending time on your blog …… ) 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:47 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I fear you are taking multi-tasking to a ‘whoa’ new level if you don’t ease up , Edith….though I empathize with having so many blogs to follow that it’s sometimes necessary to take shortcuts to keep up (which is why I don’t have time to comment on other bloggers’ posts as often or as much as I’d like).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 11:06 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      My husband has an old uncle who says easy peasy Japaneasy all the time. Have no idea where that came from, and all attempts at stealing him toward political correctness are ignored.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:56 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I came across “easy peasy Japaneasy” when I was researching the origin of “easy peasy.” According to Wikipedia, it’s nothing but an extended, childish form of “easy peasy”….though I agree it’s not PC.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rivergirl 11:57 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink

          It’s cringe worthy, but he’s been saying it for nigh on ninety years… so it’s here to stay.

          Liked by 2 people

    • rawgod 11:23 am on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Probably not related, but back in the early Sixties a group of people decided to use a new look at ig-pay atin-lay. I have no idea where the idea came from, but in mixed company (adults, teachers, kids from rival cliques) we started using pe-az-ig leazatin. Could that and easy peasy have common roots? Anything is possible.
      Good songs.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 12:21 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I seem to remember hearing pig Latin in a few movies from the 1930s-early 40s. I too don’t know where it originated, but I’m guessing it was a teen age fad back in those days.

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 1:36 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      An easy-peasy post to like! All great songs. I always liked Mario Lanza’s song Be My Love.

      Liked by 2 people

    • magickmermaid 3:39 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      I like this one as well! So romantic!

      Liked by 2 people

    • obbverse 4:54 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      All 3 = easy to Like. Easy peasy has been in the family lexicon since waaay before I became mummys treasured little darling. (of course, that’s easy for me to say. Mom would probably have phrased it differently!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:43 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I first heard someone actually say it about a year ago, though I probably heard OF it before. In any case, I’m even hearing it on TV occasionally now. Why? I don’t have an easy peasy answer.

        Liked by 1 person

    • JosieHolford 10:16 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      You always find the best tunes!
      Thank-you.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Wistful Nostalgic 11:16 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Great song choices mistermuse. Al Bowlly also recorded Easy To Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9rUx3wbt1Q

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:47 am on April 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your comment and link. EASY TO LOVE is such a great song that, according to Jimmy Stewart (who was complimented for his singing of it in the 1936 film BORN TO DANCE), anybody could sing it. He was of course just being modest, but he did sing it well. I like Bowlly’s rendition, but to be honest, I like Ella’s version (in my post) more.

        Like

    • annieasksyou 11:37 pm on April 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Easy peasy—what the hell…

      I can’t get enough of Ell—a.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 12:03 pm on April 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Hello there. Ella’s songbook albums are so great. I never get tired of them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:26 pm on April 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        I have four of them (Irving Berlin, Porter, Gershwin, and Rodgers & Hart) in my collection. If there are more, I missed out.

        Liked by 1 person

    • josephurban 11:46 am on April 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for clearing things up. I thought “easy pees-he” was the mantra for those of us who had prostate operations.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:40 pm on April 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        My wife tried to do such an operation on me when I was in the prostrate position on her nice clean sheets with mud on my shoes. I don’t know what this world is coming to when a guy can’t even take a nap after working hard in the yard digging up dirt ’til I hurt.

        Like

    • Elizabeth 12:57 pm on April 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      “Summertime and the living is easy.” Not yet of course. I had never heard that phrase before I had grandkids. I have no idea where they picked it up.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:50 pm on April 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      It’s of course a lyric in the song SUMMERTIME by Gershwin (from Porgy And Bess). I couldn’t use it in this post because the word EASY isn’t in the song title. I can’t imagine where your grandkids picked it up, but I’m glad they did!

      Like

    • Mr. Ohh's Sideways View 5:12 pm on April 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Now these were easy to hear and love. You can never go wrong with Ella and Billie
      ,,
      ,,
      ,,
      Spread Laughter Today

      Liked by 2 people

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