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  • mistermuse 1:00 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: actors, , , book rview, , , , , , ,   

    THE FIX IS OFF (for now) 

    Something has come up to postpone my out-of-town daughter’s Father’s Day visit until the following weekend ….so my browser problem will remain on hold, and without resolution, until the (offspring’s) fix is in. Meanwhile, back at the rant, I’ve finished reading the outspoken CARROLL O’CONNOR’s autobiography wherein he vents about many things. So, to fill in, let’s take up where my last post left off. After all, it’s All In The Family.

    O’Connor had a very varied pre-Archie Bunker life. Like many in their early adult years, he couldn’t find his niche. “I could not shake off a feeling of foolishnessa man of 26 plodding through the days and months with no plan, no answer for anyone who might ask “What are you going to do with yourself?” The eventual answer, after many dead-end turns, turned out to be acting….and, finally, stardom (which came with an Archie Bunker mentality).

    I — no doubt like most who read autobiographies — do so primarily to learn more about the author, his/her life and times. But I’ll also admit to the guilty pleasure of learning what the author thought of well-known contemporaries — in fact, such opinions may offer insights into other personalities and professions, which broaden (for better or worse) what I thought I knew about them. So, what were O’Connor’s impressions of….

    JOHN WAYNE: “He perceived America as the preeminent hero-nation, virtually a land of heroes in which he himself felt heroic (and actually was, as I knew him) and infused that perception into all his roles as naturally as if it were one of the primary  emotions.”

    JEAN STAPLETON: “Jean’s idea of Edith Bunker was not only original and perfectly suited to the American audience, but very comical and emotionally moving. If ever anything on television changed the country, not radically, not even obviously, it was the performance of Jean and the example of Edith. Did our series effectively attack bigotry and racism? We thought so at the time –”

    HARRY TRUMAN: “Nobody expected Truman to take part in a Korean civil war, if one should begin. His military chiefs had no battle plan; on the contrary, they had a plan for getting out of the way — withdrawing to Japan. I thought Truman was totally wrong — his political vision faulty, his practical leadership unintelligent, his moral justification false. For me, the issue of morality in war– whether or not it is a “just war” — turns on the question of choice. When you wage war because you have no choice you are acting justly. But when you have a reasonable choice and choose to wage war, you can’t call your war just.”

    MOVIE WRITERS, “though marvelously reliable in inventing space creatures — shriveled humanoids and hugely swollen insects — are unreliable in depicting intelligent life on earth.”

    AGENTS “are generally shrewd, knowing, clever people; good company, good friends. They have made my career; they make all careers; they are the most important people in the business.”

    ACTORS: “I shall never forget my first professional play rehearsal at The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, in the spring of 1951 — the immediate cordiality of my new friends the actors: they greeted me like an intimate. Now after all these years I am still unfailingly comforted, encouraged and elated in the company of actors. There is something about the work these dear neurotics do, investigating every kind of human character, that  develops in them an extraordinary tolerance, forgiveness and good humor. I commend their company even to normal folk.”

    ….and I commend this book of Carroll’s to you.

     
    • waywardsparkles 1:50 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Those were the days watching All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Maude! Ya know, I can’t remember a single episode of any of them; but I loved how Archie continued to open up as the show went on. Wait a minute, do you remember the episode when Archie had to get a transfusion? I do remember that episode. That was genius! Thanks for sharing about Carroll O’Connor’s autobiography, MM. Mona

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:42 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I vaguely remember that episode, Mona, but like you, I mainly remember the series in general, as a whole, not for individual programs. The same, I think, applies to MASH, although re-runs appear regularly on local TV and refresh memories of specific episodes much more readily.

        Liked by 1 person

    • blindzanygirl 2:42 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Aww. Sad your fix is off. But this is a very interesting post

      Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 2:56 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      sorry your daughter is delayed, but she will get there!

      So JW was just being himself, explains why he was monotonously the same in everything he appeared in … Carroll’s shares some good insights, particularly about war! Thanks for the review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:56 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Kate. I have several dozen biographies/autobiographies on my bookshelves, and O’Connor’s is one of the best.

        Liked by 1 person

    • obbverse 4:03 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t panic! Help sounds like its on the way. Autobiographies seem to become more interesting the older we get. Something to do with the human condition, or trying to understand it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:08 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I agree, o.v. The ‘search’ for understanding is never-ending (until the end), but to paraphrase an old saying, “’tis better to have searched and come up short than never to have searched at all.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 6:44 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      That book sound very interesting — what a character! Hope you get your fix soon, mister muse! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:57 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I hope so too, Carmen. The problems are getting worse (for example, my computer is increasingly ‘freezing’ on me — usually in the middle of writing a post or comment — requiring that I shut down and re-start). I wonder if it would help if I put my computer outside in the hot weather? 😉

        Like

    • Rivergirl 7:15 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      People always think of Archie when they think of O’Connor, but he really was so much more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:19 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely, Rg. If he were still alive today, it’s not hard to imagine Archie supporting King Trump and O’Connor railing against him as the emperor who has no clothes.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Ostertag 10:44 pm on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I spent a week at Leonard Nimoy’s house which was across the street from O’Connor’s. That entire week, Carroll O’Connor cut his grass. He would finish with the lawn and start over again. I wanted to go and meet him, I heard he was a kind and intelligent person, but I never had the time. The Nimoys said he was a great neighbor.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:42 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Very interesting. The Nimoys must have had the fast growing grass in town. I mow my lawn once a year whether it needs it or not. 😉

        Like

        • Don Ostertag 1:17 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink

          Not the Nimoy’s lawn.., It was Carroll O’Connor cutting the O’Connor lawn.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:47 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink

          Thanks for the clarification — I took “cut his grass” to mean that, because he was “a great neighbor,” O’Connor cut Nimoy’s lawn while Nimoy was away for a week. Out of even lesser misunderstandings, yards have been known to turn into battlefields!

          Like

    • annieasksyou 12:01 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting, mistermuse—especially O’Connor’s takes on Truman and John Wayne. Did he say why he felt Wayne was heroic?

      I don’t think computers like hot weather one whit, but I’m perhaps a tad more tech-adept than you, based on your description, so don’t byte a single bit of info I provide.
      Enjoy Father’s Day. Is this an actual —as opposed to virtual—visit?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:16 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        When he knew Wayne, O’Connor wasn’t as liberal as he later became, so I assume that was how he felt then, before he ‘matured.’

        My daughter’s visit will be “actual” in order to install a new browser, as I am virtually blogging “up a creek without a paddle” on my outdated browser (at least, I assume that’s the cause of the problems I’m having — if not, I’m thinking of drowning my sorrow, and I don’t mean in the creek).

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 9:21 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I hope your daughter rescues you forthwith. If not, I assume you mean drowning your sorrow in a “spirited” manner, to which I say “bottoms up.”
      I switched from Safari to Firefox at WP’s suggestion, only to learn that Firefox, for reasons I can’t comprehend, will not let me grab images the way Safari does. So I do my image search with Safari and my writing with Firefox. I am way beyond creek depth now with no daughter available to paddle me to safe land. Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:18 pm on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        It so happens that my daughter plans to switch me to Firefox. Before she does, I’ll bring your experience to her attention. She’s the head computer technician at the university where she works, but she doesn’t blog, so she may not be familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the various browsers when it comes to blogging. Thanks for the ‘heads-up.’

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 2:35 pm on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome. It happened to me with Google Advanced Image Search, which I use a lot, and with YouTube. But maybe your daughter the pro will be able to show you how to overcome my problem. And then maybe you can tell me!

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 5:20 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I hope you are having a nice Father’s Day!
      There was a Microsoft update this past week in which the new version of the Edge browser was installed. Much to my surprise it’s super-fast!
      I forgot to mention something regarding the “like” problem. If you have your Enhanced Tracker Setting for your browser set for “custom” or “strict”, that prevents “liking” on certain blogs. Just click on the shield icon in the address bar and you can uncheck the tracking. You will then be able to “like”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:08 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I AM having a nice Father’s Day — made all the nicer by my neighbor mowing my lawn this weekend (he is the father of the (no longer) little girl my wife and I took care of years ago while he and his wife worked). Now that’s what I call a good neighbor!

        P.S. I will pass your tip on to my daughter next weekend when she installs a new browser, as I will not be publishing any more posts until then.

        Liked by 1 person

    • josephurban 3:57 pm on June 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Nice article. If you like autobiographies I suggest the Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. I am currently reading it after watching a History Channel 3 part series on Grant. Fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:23 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      This looks like a truly interesting, well-written book with lots of insight. I think I need to find a copy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:42 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, SS. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the book.

      Like

  • mistermuse 8:12 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , bigotry, , , the Constitution, woman's intuition   

    IT’S ALL IN THE (HUMAN) FAMILY 

    Surprise, surprise. I’m back before Father’s Day — not because my browser problem has magically been resolved (or resolved itself), but because what I want to share in this post doesn’t require video clips unavailable to me until the “Father’s Day fix” previously delineated.

    Those of you old enough to remember the 1970’s TV sitcom ALL IN THE FAMILY will undoubtedly recall the name Carroll O’Connor, who played the role of bigoted Archie Bunker in that top-rated series:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_O%27Connor

    Ironically, as I began this post this afternoon, I didn’t realize that O’Connor died 19 years ago on June 21, which happens to be Father’s Day (the day I wrongly thought I’d resume blogging). Earlier today, again by happenstance, I’d started reading his autobiography (titled I THINK I’M OUTTA HERE, which I’ve owned for some time), and realized that this was an articulate man who had much to say and said it well. So, to make a wrong story short, some of what he had to say is what I want to share, because it’s even more relevant today :

    “Ruminating in later years on how nations have come under the control of haters and fools, I began to understand that it was only the brilliant foresight of the men who made the Constitution — that insistent clutch of intellectuals, not the ordinary mob of “good” people we praise so fulsomely — [who] prevented the most evil traditions of Europe from flourishing three centuries ago on these helpless shores, already defiled by slavery. And yet even so, the ordinary good people have retained their private benighted beliefs [which] have sickened the life of the country.”

    “I take women very seriously, far more seriously than most men take them, or than I take most men. If a woman disapproves of what I’m doing, I worry, regardless of whether or not her reason makes complete sense to me. Woman’s intuition may be an ancient cliché, but I believe in it, respect it, and sometimes panic in the face of it.”

    “My grandfather, being rich, shared the view of the rich that if private enterprise thrives, so will its dependents, the ordinary people and the poor, except a segment of the poor known as the chronic poor. “Ah, the chronic poor!” exclaimed my father in mock lament. “The rich man looks at the chronic poor and recalls the words of the Lord that they will always be with us, which the rich man understands to mean that he needn’t worry about them.”

    The above quotes come from the book’s first 33 pages, which is as far as I’ve gotten so far.  On that basis alone, I recommend I THINK I’M OUTTA HERE….which, as it happens, is what I am.

     

     
    • D. Wallace Peach 9:13 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      So interesting. He was a smart guy and ahead of his time compared to many Americans who still struggle with basic brain-function. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • obbverse 9:15 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Oh Jeez…
      Very odd how a very liberal man portrayed such a bigoted conservative so well.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:55 pm on June 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I confess I didn’t know much about Carroll O’Connor before, but I must have heard that he wasn’t anything like the guy he portrayed on TV, or I wouldn’t have bought the book a few years ago. Now that I’ve started reading it, I’m glad I did.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Totsymae 12:14 pm on June 14, 2020 Permalink

          Yes, I’d heard that he was a very nice guy and nothing like the Archie character. You have to think that during that time, there were so many informal ways to learn to be such a character as Archie since so many held those beliefs. If he were to play that same character today, he’d still have an accurate or similar portrayal, looking at the social climate now. He was such a natural, it didn’t seem rehearsed.

          Like

        • mistermuse 8:53 pm on June 14, 2020 Permalink

          For some reason, Totsymae, I’m unable to “Like” your comment even though I like it (I’m sure that makes no sense to you, but take my word — regular readers of my blog know what I mean). In any case, I appreciate the comment.

          Like

    • calmkate 2:00 am on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      well that gives testemony to his acting ability!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 7:56 am on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      He will be forever associated with a bigot from Queens, but in reality was far from it.
      As for the quotes, all you men should panic in the face of our intuition.
      😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 4:32 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I like this a lot, mistermuse. I do recall Archie Bunker’s arguments with his son-in-law, the liberal Meathead, played by Rob Reiner. They were all brilliant, especially Norman Lear, their creator, and I recall being encouraged by the program’s directness in addressing the prejudices that weren’t talked about then.
      Ok: here’s one for you. A few hours before reading this post. I released mine, in which I quoted a COVID-19 sniffing dog in an airport telling a traveler: “You’re outta here!” What are the odds…?

      Liked by 4 people

      • mistermuse 6:24 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Annie. Rob Reiner, as you no doubt know, is the son of Carl Reiner, who along with Sid Caesar was one of the stars of YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS and CAESAR’S HOUR, two of my favorite shows back in TV’s early years. I mention this because Sid (in his autobiography CAESAR’S HOURS) relates that “Carl would often bring his young son, Rob, to watch the show”….as if I needed a reminder that I am even older than Rob!

        I read your very interesting and informative post and left a Like but not a comment, which I hope you’ll forgive, as I didn’t feel as if I had anything interesting or informative to add (I haven’t owned a dog since boyhood, haven’t been in an airport since a trip to Ireland in 1984, and haven’t crossed a border since driving through western Canada to Alaska in 2001). In other words, I felt “outta the loop” relevant to your subject matter!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 8:48 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I had no idea that he was this sort of a man. I am sorry that I so easily confused the actor with the character he portrayed. Thanks for setting me straight.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:28 pm on June 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Some actors (like John Wayne) basically played themselves no matter what character they portrayed. Other actors (like Fredric March) were so good that they were completely believable as the character they played, no matter how different (if you saw him in INHERIT THE WIND and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, for example, you wouldn’t think it’s the same actor). Outside of ALL IN THE FAMILY, I haven’t seen enough of O’Connor to categorize him definitively, but obviously he didn’t play himself in that show….but, like you, I didn’t know that at the time.

        Liked by 2 people

    • masercot 9:32 am on June 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Only a very good actor could play Archie Bunker and still be likeable enough for people to watch. Same with Jean Stapleton. They made it look easy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:49 am on June 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’m further along in O’Connor’s autobiography, but still haven’t gotten to the Archie Bunker part, which should be very interesting (including what he has to say about Jean).

      Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 12:32 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse: of course I forgive you for not leaving a comment, and I appreciated the “like.” But Doggone it, there was some bad punning going on, and I wished you had pawsed long enough to add your two scents!

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 3:03 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I shouldn’t have said I haven’t owned a dog since boyhood, as I still own two….but in this hot weather, they stink so much when I take my shoes off that my wife has to put a clothespin on her nose and rub copious amounts of hand sanitizer on my feet. Now my love life has gone to the dogs and the rest of me is in the doghouse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 3:51 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      TMI😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • annieasksyou 6:56 pm on June 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Seismically, I’m sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , L:ove Song, , , Mack The Knife, , , The Three Penny Opera   

    A SINGULAR COMPOSER, A TWO-TIMING WIFE, AND A THREE PENNY OPERA 

    “THE ROMANCE of Kurt Weill, the Jewish cantor’s son, and Lotte Lenya, the Viennese coachman’s daughter, changed the history of Western music. Their work on The Three Penny Opera provides a knowing insight into their relationship: Weill was the creator whose work was backstage, unseen. Lenya was the performer who put the work into view. They heard the same unique music, but he gave it form while she gave it life.”
    –from the cover flap of LOVE SONG, by Ethan Mordden

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    If you like a bargain and biographies, I’ve just read a book I’m about to tell you about, titled LOVE SONG. The “bargain” is hinted at in the subtitle: THE LIVES OF KURT WEILL AND LOTTE LENYA — a double biography, two lives for the price of one. If you’re acquainted with the music of Kurt Weill and the mystique of Lotte Lenya, an individual biography of either would be a bargain at twice  – nay, thrice — the price.

    Kurt Weill was born in Germany in March 1900. As a young man (according to Mordden), “Music was his only interest, in total immersion.” He later fled the Nazi takeover and came to New York, U.S.A., in September, 1935. That month is notable for its namesake song, which may be the most unforgettable of his many memorable compositions:

    Lotte Lenya, twice-married to Weill and many times in bed with other men, was born in Vienna in 1898 and outlived her husband by 31 years. Quoting from the book, “Lenya was quick to adapt to her audience: a performer, but a warm and giving one, quickly intimate with anyone she liked….she could play everything from the merrily heartless Jenny of The Threepenny Opera to the helplessly coquettish Frau Schneider of Cabaret.” Here she sings one of my favorite Weill songs:

    I wish I could give you a front row seat at the real-life opera that is the LOVE SONG of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, for it is not only a love story, but an adventure and a 20th century history ranging from early success in Weimar Germany, escape from war-torn Europe, and finding the fulfillment in America which was cut short in their native land….but I could not begin to get you as caught up in their story as this “meticulously researched and detailed” book does. If you love the music of Kurt Weill, you will love this biography.

    I would love to post clips of such Weill classics as Speak Low, This Is New, and To Love You And To Lose You, but that would perhaps be too much of a good thing….so I’ll bring down the curtain with this Bobby Darin hit from The Three Penny Opera which my fellow seniors will well remember (assuming your memory is sharp):

     

     

     
    • obbverse 12:13 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Era defining, Mack the Knife. Not bad for a song written thirty years and a Second World War earlier. In the parlance of the day- killer track.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:25 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Not bad, indeed….and I dig your “killer track” juxtaposition with regard to MACK THE KNIFE.

        Like

    • calmkate 1:06 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      sorry I must be too young … or the memory is shot, don’t remember any of this!
      But totally love Mack the knife 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 7:06 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Weill I have heard of, but not Lotte Lenya, and I do know the songs and of course Bobby Darin. Great post. I’m sure you could write more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:48 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Ashley. I try to hold my posts to a reasonable length despite the temptation to keep going, as I realize that most of my followers probably have many blogs to follow, but only limited time….and if I go overboard, they may lose interest.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 9:17 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, Bobby Darin. Lost too soon..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:41 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Lost too soon….and forgotten too fast (but not by those who appreciated what a great talent he was).

        Like

    • equipsblog 10:36 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I not only remember the song, I saw Sting play Mac the Knife in Three Penny Opera at (I think) the National Theater in Washington, DC.

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 11:56 am on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      For some reason I know the September song. My parents liked Bobby Darin so I know Mack the Knife and Beyond the Sea.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 2:19 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I remember a Lenya vinyl album that my parents had. If I recall it correctly, she’s on the cover in a provocative pose, possibly with a cigarette in hand.

      Hello there. Bye till next time.

      Neil S.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:01 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        She lived to age 83 despite smoking and sexual promiscuity, so she must have had good Genes…and probably a lot of Toms, Dicks and Harrys, too.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 2:55 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Bobby Darin was a little before my time but I always like to hear music from that era. Hope things are well with you, mistermuse. Our province has declared an Emergency today and we are now limited to groups of five people; essential businesses/stores open but keeping the 6 ft. Distance in place. So far, we’ve not had a problem with self-isolation as we have lots of projects on the go! I’ll tell ya, watching the grandchildren cavort out on the lawn is preferable to cleaning up inside after they leave!
      And of course one can always listen to all sorts of hits from lovely blogs. . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:18 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Hi, Carmen — long time, no see. Good to hear from you again, and glad that you’re dealing well with the pandemic. I’m doing the same, but there’s no avoiding having to go to the store and/or pharmacy occasionally. Using hand sanitizer or wearing vinyl gloves while shopping helps, but social distancing is impossible in a crowded store, and lately it’s been crowded even at 7 a.m. (I’d go earlier, but I’d have to break in, since they don’t open until 7). 😉

        Like

    • annieasksyou 2:59 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      What a nostalgia trip this was! Haven’t thought about Bobby Darin for a while, but this was a welcome reminder.

      And for the first time, I was struck by the reference to “Miss Lotte Lenya” in Mack the Knife. That was like finding a jigsaw puzzle piece and placing it in its intended home.

      Thank you, mistermuse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:39 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I’m pleased that you enjoyed the post, Annie. Bobby Darin was one of my favorites back in the day, but Lotte Lenya was little more than a name to me until I read the book LOVE SONG and listened to her sing. I highly recommend the book if you’re interested.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Ostertag 8:42 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Many years ago I found a 4 LP set of the original Berlin production of 3 Penny with Miss Lotta in German. And huge program booklet with the English translation and pictures describing the production and the times. What a treasure.
      Weill was a musical genius. His work here in America is some of the best to ever appear on stage. September Song etc..
      Lotta never got as big here as in Germany, but she never got to be one of the most memorable James Bond villians.
      I will have to look the book up.
      PS: As much as I liked the Darin rendition of Mack, my favorite is the Louis Armstrong’s.
      Stay Healthy

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:29 pm on March 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      There is a discography at the end of the book LOVE SONG which lists a 1930 Ultraphon 78 rpm set of Die Dreigroschenoper (The Three Penny Opera) wherein “Lenya sings not only her opening-night role of Jenny but also Polly and Lucy and even gets a crack at the Moritat. Most listeners learned these readings from reissues by Telefunken on 78 and LP” — which is apparently what you are fortunate enough to have.

      Weill was indeed a musical genius. I hope you can find the book (published in 2012 by St. Martin’s Press), because I’m sure you would find it immensely interesting.

      Thanks for the comment, and you stay healthy as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eliza 10:31 am on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing

      Take care of yourself

      Love, light and glitter

      Like

    • Elizabeth 4:32 pm on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      My grandson learned “Mack the Knife” from me when he was about two. He sang it joyfully.”Look out old Mack is back.” My daughter finally heard the words and was duly appalled that I had taught him such a gory song.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:38 pm on March 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        How times have changed, Elizabeth — nowadays, that song wouldn’t appall anyone, except maybe the younger generation who would be appalled at how “outdated” it is.

        Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 8:01 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for some lovely old songs, and info on the writers/performers that I did not know. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 7:03 pm on April 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for 2 things:
      1) for the book recommendation, a subject I’ve been long curious about but have made no effort to research; and
      2) for posting Mack the Knife.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:06 pm on April 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I’m pleased to recommend the book because, although I was fairly familiar with Kurt Weill and his work, I too was curious was about Lotte Lenya and the relationship between them. It’s a fascinating story. As for Mack the Knife, Bobby Darin’s version is my favorite, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 9:15 am on April 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent review and show!

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 7:09 pm on April 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Kurt Weill is one of my very favorite composers – along with Brecht…geniuses. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:10 pm on April 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Weill and Brecht were indeed musical geniuses, but their relationship hit some sour notes, mainly because of Brecht (according to LOVE SONG, the book mentioned in my post). Nonetheless, they made beautiful music together.

        Like

  • mistermuse 12:06 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , gangster films, , , , Little Caesar, , The Public Enemy, The Roaring Twenties, Yankee Doodle Dandy   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: THE “BAD” ACTORS 

    “The gangster film has always been one of the staples of the American cinema. Though the record shows that there were several motion pictures with a gangster theme as far back as the silent era, the genre did not really begin to flourish as a popular form until the thirties. Depression-era audiences responded strongly to all the action, violence and romance that these films contained, and were more than willing to get caught up in the colorful on-screen exploits of Edward G. Robinson,, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. In a sense, the movie gangster, with the rebellious breaking of society’s rules and regulations, and his aggressive drive to “get somewhere” regardless of consequences, became something of a hero to filmgoers of the period.”
    “Robinson, Cagney and Bogart are, even today, the three actors most associated with films of this type, which isn’t surprising, since all three achieved their initial fame in a Warner Brothers [the king-of-the-hill gangster film studio] crime drama.”

    –Robert Bookbinder, author of CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    There were a lot of “bad actors” in Hollywood in those days. Robinson, Cagney and Bogart weren’t the only famous names to have become famous names playing bad guys in 1930s gangster films, but most (e.g. Peter Lorre) remained typecast as character actors. We will take a look at the “bad character actors” in our next post; this post will look to the stars.

    Quoting further from Robert Bookbinder’s excellent book CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS, “Little Caesar [1931] was the first of the great gangster films. It made a star of Edward G. Robinson, who had been working in films since 1923, and it laid the groundwork for all the fine Warner Brothers gangster movies that followed.” Here’s a clip from the film:

    How tough was Edward G. Robinson? Tough enough to get Doris Day and Jack Carson out of a pickle:

    Just as Little Caesar made a star of Robinson, Warner Brothers’ second gangster film (later the same year), The Public Enemy, made a star of James Cagney. In this scene, after Cagney’s friend is shot to death by a gang, he vows revenge and arms himself with two 38s:

    By 1942, Cagney had made a clean break from the “gangs” — here he is in scenes from his Oscar-winning performance as showman George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy:

    As for Humphrey Bogart, he was the last of the three to attain stardom after years of supporting roles in gangster films. In The Roaring Twenties (1939), he is third-billed (Cagney stars):

    All three, as we know, went on to bigger (if not badder) things in such films as Double Indemnity (Robinson), Mister Roberts (Cagney), and, of course, Casablanca (Bogart), among many other memorable performances. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

     

     
    • calmkate 5:30 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      violence and crime … not a good mix! But thanks for the trip down memory lane 😎
      John Wayne is the same in every movie … these three could act 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Rivergirl 7:55 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Growing up I had a life size Bogie poster on my bedroom door. My Godfather grew up and was childhood friends with Jimmy Cagney. Wish he had lived long enough to tell me some stories…
      And did you know tough Edward G was actually an art connoisseur? He amassed an amazing collection in his lifetime recognizing talent before anyone else.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:59 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for that fascinating comment, Rg. I’m guessing your Bogie poster was from a scene in one of his most famous films, like CASABLANCA, MALTESE FALCON, or AFRICAN QUEEN.

        I too would’ve loved to hear your Godfather tell some Cagney stories. As for Edward G., I’ve read his extremely interesting autobiography titled ALL MY YESTERDAYS, so I did know about his art collection. Despite this tough guy image, he was actually “a man of wit, of dignity, and of great sensitivity” (so described by movie producer Hal Wallis, who knew Robinson well).

        Liked by 2 people

        • Rivergirl 10:54 am on November 1, 2019 Permalink

          Not sure what movie the poster was from. Trench coat, slouched hat, cigarette. Could have been any of them.
          My godfather grew up in a tough section of NYC, I bet the stories were colorful.
          And yes Edward G was the antithesis of his rough and tumble characters. Odd, that.

          Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 10:32 am on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      With Bogart as with Lorre, you always felt a little menace from them, even when they were playing benign roles…

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 3:08 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Always with Bogart, ALMOST always with Lorre — my (tongue-in-cheek) exception is the first clip in my new post today.

        Liked by 1 person

    • literaryeyes 8:31 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved Peter Lorre. Even when he was at his baddest I couldn’t help chuckling. Great actors who didn’t mind chewing up the scenery. The molls were good too, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:16 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Lorre has long been a favorite of mine too, Mary. You may not know that he was a “song and dance man” in one of his last films — check out the SWEET SIBERIA clip in my new post today!

        Liked by 1 person

    • davidbruceblog 9:34 pm on November 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on davidbruceblog #2.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Silver Screenings 11:53 pm on November 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      James Cagney as gangster can be chilling, especially in “White Heat”, which is one of my fave Cagney performances.

      Yup, I’d say these three are the trifecta of bad guys. Talented actors, all.

      Didn’t Edward G. Robinson once say (and I’m paraphrasing): “Some actors have talent, some have good looks, and I have menace.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:43 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure about the Robinson quote — he may have said it, but I don’t remember it. He did indeed have menace, but not in all of his films – including one of my favs, DOUBLE INDEMNITY. He could also play menace for laughs, such as in the very funny LARCENY, INC.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Silver Screenings 10:31 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          I love his performance in Larceny, Inc. And his meek clerk in The Whole Town’s Talking, where he plays dual roles.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 1:44 pm on November 17, 2019 Permalink

          Thanks for mentioning The Whole Town’s Talking – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it.
          Have you read Robinson’s autobiography, ALL MY YESTERDAYS? I’m sure you would enjoy it.

          Like

  • mistermuse 12:11 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book Reviews, , ,   

    SHORT AND (NOT SO) SWEET 

    Lately I’ve been (and remain) a bit under the weather, so rather than strain my brain trying to write something original, this post will quote from three book reviews which have something pertinent to say about the likes of our favorite President, either directly or by extension (book titles in caps):

    KILL IT TO SAVE IT by Corey Dolgon

    “Dolgon’s astute look at the conservative turn in US politics … offers a fascinating look at the phenomenon that made Donald J. Trump the preferred choice of many voters. The long-term fallout of this turn has many of us thinking far less critically than we should be–exactly as intended–and how and why we’ve learned to tolerate the intolerable.” –Eleanor J. Bader (reviewer)

    UNDER THE COVER OF CHAOS by Lawrence Grossberg

    “In damning detail, Grossberg here lays bare the deep roots of Trumpism. Rather than a break from some imagined pure, nuanced conservatism, Grossberg shows Trump’s manic nonsense is actually a continuation, the result of a long struggle between the new right and the reactionary right. Everyone should read this book if they want to understand the rise of authoritarianism in the United States.” –Henry Giroux (reviewer)

    THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE FREE by Milton Mayer

    An account of the rise of fascism in Germany from 1933-45. As such, “A timely reminder of how otherwise unremarkable and in many ways reasonable people can be seduced by demagogues and populists.” –Richard J. Evans (reviewer)

    Upon further review, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

     

     
    • Paul Sunstone 12:23 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Trump will either be defeated or be the ruin of us. There’s no third way.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Lisa R. Palmer 8:08 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hope you feel better soon, mistermuse, though I can’t hope any of us can feel better about our president or the state of our country. I don’t want us to. We can’t quit until this ends, one way or another…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:54 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Lisa. You couldn’t be more right — this must end, one way or another.

        Like

    • masercot 8:24 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Read Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here”…

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 10:20 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Good book choices!
      And I hope you start to feel better soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Garfield Hug 10:58 am on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Feel better Mistermuse. Garfield hugs! I hope sonething gets done to solve Trump’s mentality and improved government style

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:22 pm on September 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, ladies, for the good wishes. Saw my doctor today and he said I’m healthy as an ox (an ox who’s seen better days). Luckily, I’m a night person. 🙂

      Like

    • dunnasead.co 11:44 am on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      1. Hope you feel better soon. 2. Thank you so much for writing. Twice even. 3. I don’t ever comment on politics- personal beliefs, but I do like your blog in general very much. 4 the reason you can’t reach me, is that my blog has been turned off so many times, by my psychotic troll, or, in two cases, by me since the comments were so vile I didn”t want anyone looking at them and this was the only way. (I have done music therapy with the very ill- I’m no shrinking violet. These are very very sick people.) 5. Please don’t take the problems personally. They basically locked off all the people who can think or have a heart. But many are now back. And I’m a-workin on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:09 pm on September 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, dunnasead. I can relate to your feelings, and I appreciate your taking time to express them. 🙂

        And speaking of heart….

        Like

    • markscheel1 5:59 pm on September 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hoping the “weather” improves soon, Muse!

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:35 pm on September 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Mark. I saw my doc on 9/12. The bad news is that he couldn’t determine what’s ailing me. The good news is that I’m starting to feel better anyway. I could’ve stayed home and been just as well off!

        Like

    • Carol A. Hand 10:32 am on September 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Sending hugs and best wishes, Mister Muse. ❤

      Like

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , David McCullough, , flight, , , , , , , , Orville Wright, , , rhymes, , Wilbur Wright, William Howard Taft   

    LET US TURN BACK TO THE WRIGHT, BROTHERS AND SISTERS 

    PROLOGUE:
    We had to go ahead and discover everything for ourselves.
    –Orville Wright, 1901

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Friends, Readers, Countrymen —

    If you have spent many a sleepless night
    tossing and turning ’til dawn’s early light,
    wondering if I’d e’er host another post,
    take such worries off thy plate — they’re toast.

    Yes, Brothers and Sisters, thy long wait is o’er.
    I’m back, and who of you could ask for more
    although I must confess
    that most may ask for less. 😦

    Never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters,
    it is written in the stars that I must return to the scene of my rhymes and other crimes. It’s Kismet.

    Notwithstanding the never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters, I digress.
    I come here not to berhyme the Wrights, but to praise them.

    Thus this follow-up to my May 17 post, THE DAY THE WRIGHTS DONE ME WRONG, because, by ancient axiom, it’s the Wright thing to do (If at first you don’t succeed, fly, fly again). And if this discourse has the unintended consequence of being the sleep-aid you need to catch up on those zzzzz, the added benefit comes at no extra charge.

    But I doubt that will be the case with THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, which, it so happens, is the title of a book I just finished reading (by my favorite historian, David McCullough). It’s no less than you’d expect from a Pulitzer Prize winning author: a masterful biography which (quoting from the dust cover) “draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including personal diaries, notebooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence, to tell the human side of a profoundly American story.”

    The Wrights spent years of trial and air working to construct the world’s first ‘aeroplane,’ but as reader Don Frankel noted on May 17, America paid scant attention even after their successful first flight Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (and Don wasn’t just whistling Dixie in his comment). Finally, in 1906, after numerous improvements (including a more powerful engine) and many test flights, “much of the scientific world and the press [began] to change their perspective on the brothers”, and they started to attract commercial and government–especially French, not American– interest.

    To the latter point, President (and fellow Ohioan) Wm. Howard Taft spoke as follows in presenting the two brothers with Gold Medals on June 10, 1909, in Washington D.C.:

    I esteem it a great honor and an opportunity to present these medals to you as an evidence of what you have done. I am so glad–perhaps at a delayed hour–to show that in America it is not true that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country.” It is especially gratifying thus to note a great step in human discovery by paying honor to men who bear it so modestly. You made this discovery by a course that we of America like to feel is distinctly American–by keeping your noses right at the job until you had accomplished what you had determined to do.

    There are many stories within the story of THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, many twists and turns and mishaps along the way. The Wrights weren’t ‘stick’ figures with no interests and little to commend beyond their mechanical genius. Wilbur, for example, wrote home from France in 1906 of long walks and “the great buildings and art treasures of Paris, revealing as he never had–or had call to–the extent of his interest in architecture and painting.”

    Read this bio and you will surely be taken along for the ride, as was I, by “the human side of a profoundly American story” of two men most of us know only from dry history books.

    So fasten your life jackets and come fly with me.

    EPILOGUE:
    We dared to hope we had invented something that would bring lasting peace to the Earth. But we were wrong. We underestimated man’s capacity to hate and to corrupt good means for an evil end. –Orville Wright, 1943 (during WWII)

     

     
    • Carmen 12:50 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A timely subject, Mr. Muse. . I’m flying from Melbourne, Australia to Halifax, Nova Scotia on Friday. :). Those Wright Brothers started somethin’, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:15 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        It certainly sounds Wright that from Down Under, there’s hardly anywhere to go but up…so have a safe flight home, Carmen. I’ll look forward to reading all about your trip if you post it on your blog.

        Like

    • calmkate 4:31 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      lol love your opening poem and your review sounds interesting but … 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:53 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        No buts about it, Kate — my reviews are always interesting (except when they’re not). 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • calmkate 7:26 pm on June 13, 2018 Permalink

          except the topic holds no interest for me .. but as you wrote it I still read it 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • Silver Screenings 10:12 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Re: Orville Wright’s 1943 quote – ain’t it the truth! As I read your last post on the Wright Bros., I thought, “In a few short years, folks would be arming this marvellous invention in an effort to kill more people.”

      The biography sounds fascinating. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:28 pm on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        You’re more than welcome, SS. As for the quote, “ain’t it the truth” indeed.What an ugly and beautiful mixed bag of a world this is!

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 11:02 am on June 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Isn’t that last quote the truth? And the brothers Wright never even heard of Facebook.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Don Frankel 8:49 am on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That’s a great book Muse. I was amazed at all the things they had to develop in order to figure how to take flight. It is an amazing story. But I still can’t get over how they are flying just about everyday in Dayton and the only person who wrote about it was a traveling bee salesman in his little magazine which would be a the equivalent of a blog today.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 9:29 am on June 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I’m glad you mentioned the bee magazine, Don — it’s the perfect example of how under-appreciated and almost ignored the Wrights were when you consider the game-changing nature of their accomplishment. The failure to recognize what seems so obvious reminds me of the old saying, IF IT WAS A SNAKE, IT WOULD HAVE BIT YOU.

        Liked by 1 person

    • chattykerry 9:21 am on June 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I am going to work at the airport today and I will consider the amazing achievements of the Wright brothers as I attempt to deal airlines and passengers who think they are riding a Greyhound bus…😁😁

      Liked by 3 people

    • barkinginthedark 6:51 pm on August 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Orville’s regret is too sad…to see your marvelous invention being employed to kill…too sad. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:08 pm on August 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      “We underestimated man’s capacity to hate and to corrupt good means for an evil end.” Today, Orville’s 1943 quote has an even wider application than airplanes, as (courtesy of Donald Trump) democracy itself is being corrupted for an evil end.

      Like

  • mistermuse 8:25 pm on September 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    LIKE WISE 

    Noble goal like chasing rainbow — beautiful while it lasts.

    If the above quote sounds familiar, you have the memory of an elephant. It — the quote, not you or the elephant — appeared in my previous post as a Charlie Chanism which I made up after a trip to the latest local library book sale where my returns are becoming re-nowned and their books are becoming re-owned….and one of my new buys was titled CHARLIE CHAN — The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History, by Yunte Huang.

    If you’re an old movie buff like me, you’ve probably seen a number of 1930s-40s Charlie Chan films (based on the 1920-3os novels by Earl Derr Biggers) in which Charlie chanted such gems of wisdom as these:

    Hasty deduction, like ancient egg, look good from outside.
    Mind, like parachute, only function when open.
    Trouble, like first love, teach many lessons.
    Facts like photographic film — must be exposed before developing.
    Advice after mistake like medicine after funeral.

    You will find these, and many more, Chanisms in Appendix I of the book. But that’s just a bonus — the real story of this book is “The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective”…. a story I can’t tell you because either I would have to kill you (leaving no clues), or it would spoil the story and leave you without a motive to buy the book. But I will tell you that the fictional Honolulu detective Charlie Chan was based on real-life Honolulu detective Chang Apana, who was a character in his own right and whose career included jobs ranging from gardener to gumshoe. So get the book, plant yourself in your favorite chair, and enjoy the read.

    Speaking of flowery characters, Earl Derr Biggers was no shrinking violet. Before turning novelist, Biggers (a Harvard grad)) was an outspoken newspaper columnist and drama critic. In one of his columns, he wrote of “a citizen of Mingo, Okla., [who] whipped out his trusty six-shooter the other day and shot the mustache off another citizen. We sincerely hope that the gentleman who lost the mustache appreciated the fact that he had a mighty close shave.” Shades of such baldfaced punsters as Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde and mistermuse! (The latter includes himself in such company on the grounds that the dead can’t object.)

    But enough about me. Here’s Charlie!

     

     
    • linnetmoss 8:26 am on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hahaha! Is that Tim Conway?
      What cracks me up about the Biggers story is the name “Mingo, Okla.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:17 am on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, that is Tim Conway, and that clip is like a scrambled egg — it breaks me up. 😦

      “Mingo” reminds me on “Mongo” in BLAZING SADDLES — which also breaks me up. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ricardo 10:32 am on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      One of the Facebooks groups I belong to has the parachute quote on its home page, Sr. Muse, only they attribute it to Frank Zappa. Since Chan preceded Zappa in the popular canon, it’s probably a misattribution. However, let’s face it–the fictional Chan never thought of it, either. It sprang from the brain of a now-forgotten writer. Such is the eventual fate of all we scribblers.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:21 pm on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe I should have that “Noble goal like chasing rainbow” quote etched on my gravestone, Ricardo, so at least one of my scribblings survives long after I’m gone.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:36 am on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I went looking for a Charlie Chan saying for this case. “Blond hair can be obtained from a bottle – or wig maker.”

      I also semi-remembered something about Number 1 son. Looked that up too. He was played ,many times by Keye Luke who went onto to be in a ton of movies. He might best be remembered by TV fans as the old master in Kung Fu the TV show..

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 9:37 am on September 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Don, here’s a bit of trivia for you. As you know, the best Marx Brothers movie is generally considered to be A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1935). The best Charlie Chan movie (according to film critic Leonard Maltin) appeared a year later: CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA (1936).
      Coincidence?

      Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 4:37 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I love the wisdoms in Chan, so concisely put. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 8:49 pm on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve never seen a Charlie Chan movie, I hate to admit! I’ll have to check it out sometime.

      Funny Carol Burnett sketch!

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:08 am on September 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Charlie Chan movies were fun when I was young, but I must admit that most of them don’t age well. Of the few that do, I’d recommend CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA.

        Liked by 1 person

    • eliza rudolf 1:15 am on September 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice post❤💖❤💖

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Borscht Belt, , Carl Reiner, , , Dancing In The Dark, , Howard Dietz, , Imogene Coca, Isaac Newton, , , , Sid Caesar, television, , , Your Show of Shows   

    A LAUGH AND A SONG AND DANCE 

    If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. –Sir Isaac Newton

    Comedian Sid Caesar, in his autobiography, CAESAR’S HOURS, quotes the above and adds, “I too stand on the shoulders of giants. Nobody does anything alone.”

    To me, to call Sid Caesar (born 9/8/22) a comedian is akin to calling Newton a physicist — accurate, yes, but hardly adequate. In a down-to-earth way, I might even say that what Newton was to gravity in the 1680s, Caesar was to levity in the 1950s. The bottom line is, I was in my teens then (the 1950s, not the 1680s), and still reasonably sentient at the time; thus I can bear witness to the comic genius that I, as a geezer, still see in Caesar.

    And just who were those giants on whose shoulders Caesar stood? He tells us in his book: “I always wanted to be Charlie Chaplin. He was one of my earliest comedic heroes, along with Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and W.C. Fields. Most of their comedy came from their character. They each believed in what they did, and I believed them.”

    Caesar was an up-and-coming comic performing mainly in the so-called Borscht Belt in New York’s Catskill Mountains when this opportunity arose in the infancy of network TV:

    It was called YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, and what an innovative show it was. It premiered live on 2/25/50 with writers like Mel Brooks, Max Liebman (who also produced) and (later) Woody Allen. Said Caesar: “For nine years, I presided over what was arguably the best collection of comedy writers ever assembled in the history of television, and possibly in the history of the written word — unless you think the U.S. Constitution is funny.”

    Add co-stars Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris, and the show was both a commercial and artistic success from Hour One. Here, they show you why:

    Again quoting Caesar: “Until that time, the only big things on television were bowling, wrestling and Charlie Chan. [Max Liebman] wasn’t interested in the American public’s lowest common denominator. He wasn’t going to dumb down. His goal was that the quality of the show would drive its popularity and ultimately elevate taste.”

    As Charlie Chan might say: Noble goal like chasing rainbow — beautiful while it lasts.

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Originally, I came to this post with the idea of making it a birthday (9/8/1896) tribute to Howard Dietz, one of my favorite lyricists, whose autobiography (titled DANCING IN THE DARK) I also commend. Then I learned that Sept. 8 is the birthday of Sid Caesar as well as Howard Dietz, and I thought I GUESS I’LL HAVE TO CHANGE MY PLAN.

    Hold on — it wouldn’t be right not to dance with the dude what brung me, so rather than ditch Dietz, I’ll sing his praises here too….starting with his first big hit (above), then an excerpt from early in the book, closing with a realization of the song which titles his story.

    The following is quoted from the book’s forward by Alan Jay Lerner: As for that quality of life known as charm, I can only shrug sadly and chalk it up as another victim of that creeping nastiness called modern civilization. I think about the man whose reminiscences are contained in this book. They come to mind because of that special gift of charm that is so characteristic of his lyrics. Howard [Dietz]  is the Fred Astaire, the Chevalier, the Molnar, the Lubitsch of lyric writers.

    Dancing in the dark
    Till the tune ends
    We’re dancing in the dark
    And it soon ends
    We’re waltzing in the wonder
    Of why we’re here
    Time hurries by we’re here
    And gone

     
    • scifihammy 2:41 am on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know Sid Caesar too well but I have seen that hilarious clock clip. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ricardo 9:44 am on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Your talent for bringing back things I barely remember from childhood continues unabated, Sr. Muse. My dad was a big fan of “Show of Shows.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 4:31 pm on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I can still remember seeing that Bavarian Clock piece when they first did it in the early 1950s. It made such an impression on me that I still think it ranks as one of the most original and funniest skits ever done on TV….especially when you consider how ‘primitive’ television was back then.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jay 12:17 pm on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hardly adequate: you’ve got that right.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 4:39 pm on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      That makes it absolutely certain, because two rights can’t make a wrong. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 8:40 am on September 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I was a little too young for that show and then it didn’t get syndicated, or at least we didn’t see it where I lived. I only heard about Sid Caesar later, but of course I knew of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. Speaking of Mel Brooks, I just watched “Young Frankenstein” last night and could not stop laughing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:19 am on September 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        In his autobiography, Sid Caesar has some very interesting and funny things to say about Mel Brooks when Brooks was a 20-something year old CHARACTER (that’s character with a capital CHARACTER) working for YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. I have a feeling you would enjoy the autobio (CAESAR’S HOURS) tremendously if you have time to read it (Amazon has it in both hardcover and paperback).

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Scheel 10:05 pm on September 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse,

      Wow! That takes me back all right. You’ve got a great talent for bringing back the blast from the past! Thanks for the memories.

      Mark

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 5:17 pm on September 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse most people are familiar with Sinatra’s upbeat version of Dancing in the Dark but he also sang it like this from time to time a little slower and more poignant.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:40 pm on September 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don — I hadn’t heard this version before, and must say I prefer it to the upbeat version. I usually prefer Frank’s older & more mature voice, but in this case, I think he’s more in tune with the way the song should be sung and no doubt the way the songwriters (Dietz and Arthur Schwartz) envisioned it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jadi Campbell 3:02 am on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for a grreat post! I had the incredible good luck to see Sid Cesar and Imogene Coca together on stage. They did a piece without any words and it was amazing. I knew I was watching legends at the height of their gifts. Still shake my head at the memory, all these years later.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:31 am on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        That was indeed incredible good luck, Jadi — and it was an incredible pleasure to do this post, bringing back such recollections as the “Bavarian Clock” sketch which I hadn’t seen in decades.

        Thank you for sharing your memories.

        Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 4:38 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      LOVE a song and dance man 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:28 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Song and dance men don’t come any better than Fred Astaire!
        I especially love the DANCING IN THE DARK dance with Cyd Charisse — so sensual, so effortless, so perfect.

        Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 11:43 am on September 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , flim noir, gangster movies, , , , , , , , , The Naked Gun   

    GANGSTER WRAP 

    I trust that you remember my March 30 post titled HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE. If not, maybe you could use a nudge from Police Lt. Frank Drebin to refresh your memory:

    Maybe now you remember: my March 30 opus delicti distinguished between film noir (theme of that post) and gangster movies (this post’s theme), while allowing for crossover in films like WHITE HEAT (classified as film noir in one book, and gangster film in another). To anyone not ‘into’ such films, these thorny details may strike one as nothing more than a distinction without a difference….but I’ll assume you aren’t “anyone,” because I’ve got a job to pull — I mean, a post to write — and the subject ain’t roses.

    That’s odd. I could have sworn the subject was not roses.

    Wait a shrouded minute! Now I remember — the subject was supposed to be gangster movies. My bad. Sorry for the hold up.

    In the introduction to his book CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS, by (appropriately enough) Robert Bookbinder, he writes: “The gangster film has always been one of the staples of the American cinema. Though there were several motion pictures with a gangster theme produced as far back as the silent era, the genre did not really begin to flourish until the thirties, when it reigned throughout the decade as one of the public’s favorite kinds of “escapist” entertainment. Depression-era audiences responded strongly to all the action, violence and romance, and were more than willing to get caught up in the on-screen exploits of Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. In a sense, the movie gangster, with his rebellious breaking of society’s rules and regulations, and his aggressive drive to “get somewhere” regardless of consequences, became something of a hero to filmgoers of the period.”

    It is worth noting that, although the gangster film by no means passed completely out of the picture, its most productive period (1930 to 1941-42) led to the era of classic film noir (1941-59)….which began with THE (never-surpassed) MALTESE FALCON. The above three stars were equally without rival in both genres.

    Bookbinder’s book binds together the above transition, providing a fascinating look back at 45 gangster films (several overlapping into film noir), complete with credits, cast, commentary, photos and synopsis for each film, ranging from LITTLE CAESAR in 1930 to BONNIE AND CLYDE in 1967 and THE BROTHERHOOD in 1969. Of the latter, Bookbinder states: “It was not especially successful, and it has been almost completely overshadowed in film history by the more expensive and elaborate Godfather films of the early seventies. The picture deserves a better fate….what a truly entertaining gem it is.”

    Now, I will admit that, in general, I am not as big a fan of gangster films as I am of film noir. I have an affinity for the more tangled and convoluted plots (in most cases) of the latter, compared to the more macho and less sophisticated gangster films….but then, “sophisticated” is not a term one normally associates with gangsters — so, by Sam, let’s call a spade a Spade. It’s not a bum rap.

    But there is one bailiwick in which gangster films win hands down — I mean, hands up! (ha ha) — and that is in gangster film spoofs such as the all-time classic, SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959), which lost out to (would you believe?) BEN-HUR in practically every Academy Award category for that year. Oh, well — nobody’s perfect. 😦

    And that’s a wrap.

     

     

     
    • linnetmoss 7:14 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      According to Variety, Liam Neeson is on board to play Sam Spade in a new movie. He’s not the actor I would have thought of, but I’ll give him a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:49 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Haven’t seen much of Neeson since SCHINDLER’S LIST (I don’t keep up with the current movie scene much anymore), but unless he’s aged really well in the last 24 years, he seems a bit long in the tooth for Sam Spade. I, on the other hand, would be perfect for the part of Methuselah if they decide to make a movie about him.

        Liked by 2 people

        • linnetmoss 6:43 am on April 11, 2017 Permalink

          He has aged well, since he’s still playing action roles in his 60s, but I agree that it’s a bit of a stretch.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:35 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The Gangster films live on of course and some were even funny. Not ‘Some Like It Hot’ funny but still funny. Funny how you might ask?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:59 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Good one, Don. Another Don (Rickles), who just died four days ago, couldn’t have played it any better

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:48 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Has anyone ever done a gangster film in total “Airplane” style? Bet it would be a hoot.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:12 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I hear that plans for such a film are up in the air right now, Ricardo, but we can always hope (just like you can always hope that most of my puns don’t fall flat).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 12:08 am on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Groaned my way down through the comments to “Leave a Reply” primarily to make sure I said thanks for the HOT clip. One of my favorites. The only possible reason it lost out to Ben Hur was that the Academy voters were “not very bright” that year! (always love MM – another severely under-rated talent, IMHO)

      I vote with you on Noir vs. Gansta’ btw. Another great post.
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
      ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mél@nie 2:27 pm on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      @”Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart…” – holy Molly!!! THE Dream-team, by excellence… 🙂 btw, Edward G. Robinson was born in Romania, like me… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:51 pm on April 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Speaking of three-member Dream teams, how about Edward G. Robinson, you….and Bela Lugosi, all born in Romania!

        Like

    • mitchteemley 5:15 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I never get tired of watching Some Like it Hot.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Allen Poe, , , , Howard Hawks, , , , , movie poster art, , , Raymond Chandler, , ,   

    HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE* 

    The film noir of the classic period (1941-59) is normally associated with the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood and its aftermath. In truth, the creative impetus for its most influential literary content dates back a full century.
    In April 1841, Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia published the first detective story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe and thus, mystery fiction was born. –
    -Lawrence Bassoff, CRIME SCENES

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    In my 11/30/16 post titled BOOKS RIGHT DOWN MY ALLEY, I wrote of finding a large cache of old movie books at a local library’s used book sale. One of those books was CRIME SCENES (subtitled Movie Poster Art of the Film Noir), from which the above quote is taken. How could I resist buying such a book, given that Film Noir has long been one of my favorite film genres, which includes such classics as THE MALTESE FALCON (1941), MURDER MY SWEET (1943), DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944), LAURA (1944), THE BIG SLEEP (1946), SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950), and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951). The introduction states it “is the first genre retrospective collection of movie poster art on the topic ever published in book form.”

    Bassoff writes that in the summer of 1946, ten American films whose French releases had been blocked by WW II (including the first five of the above) arrived in Paris theaters to be viewed by “new product-starved French filmgoers”….films based on American novels the French called “Serie Noire” by such authors as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The term “film noir” (first attributed to Frenchman Nino Frank in 1946) literally means “black film” for the “often low key, black and white visual style of the films themselves.”

    And what great films they are! Even after having seen some of these films more than once, I could return to the scene of the crime once again;  no doubt you could too — assuming you’re a film noir buff, which it would be a crime if you’re not. The test? Can you name at least half of the directors and stars of the above films? Answers (directors in CAPS):

    THE MALTESE FALCON — JOHN HUSTON (making his directorial debut), Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet
    MURDER MY SWEET — EDWARD DYMTRYK, Dick Powell
    DOUBLE INDEMNITY — BILLY WILDER, Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson
    LAURA — OTTO PREMINGER, Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
    THE BIG SLEEP — HOWARD HAWKS, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
    SUNSET BOULEVARD — BILLY WILDER, William Holden, Gloria Swanson
    STRANGERS ON A TRAIN — ALFRED HITCHCOCK, Farley Granger, Robert Walker

    Moving on: if Basssoff’s book were not confined to Hollywood film noir, no such list would be complete without THE THIRD MAN (1949), a British-made classic directed by Carol Reed, starring Orson Wells and Joseph Cotton. And of course there are many other Hollywood tour de force classics worthy of being kept alive, including such killer-dillers as:

    WHITE HEAT is considered by some to be in the gangster film realm rather than film noir, but there’s no law against crossover — in fact, WHITE HEAT is classified as film noir in CRIME SCENES and gangster film in CLASSIC GANGSTER FILMS (the latter being another used book sale find, which I may review in a future post). Meanwhile, I highly recommend the former — as Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) said of the bogus Maltese Falcon: It’s “the stuff dreams are made of.” And nightmares.

    *HOLLYWOOD, DEAD LEFT ON VINE is a play on the famous intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. I heard on the grapevine that the site was a ranch, and then a lemon grove, until 1903.

    20161005_Hollywood_and_Vine_historical_marker

     

     
    • linnetmoss 7:03 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Good fun–I will never forget the creepiness of seeing Fred MacMurray in “Double Indemnity,” after growing up with him in Disney movies like “Son of Flubber”!

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 7:41 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Now that you mention it, I recall thinking the same thing the first time I saw “Double Indemnity.” And I can’t think of a better way to characterize these ‘bad’ movies than as “good fun” — seriously!

        Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 10:29 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Living la vida noire out here on the Left Coast, Sr. Muse. Did you see that the head of the European Union was going to start advocating for US states to leave the Union in retaliation for Trump promoting the dissolution of the EU? Ohio was specifically mentioned. Hopefully, I won’t need a passport to visit you if I ever get the chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:24 am on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I hadn’t heard (or seen) that, Ricardo, but I think the best place to start would be to advocate for Trump to leave the union….better yet, leave the planet (though I can’t imagine that the inhabitants of any other world would be gullible enough to fall for Trump’s con job).

        Like

    • BroadBlogs 4:28 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      My mom loves old movies. She’d love this list!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:22 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Prudence dictates keeping my posts to a reasonable length, or I’d have listed many more movies. Sometimes I wish Prudence would mind her own business! 😦

        Like

    • Don Frankel 5:04 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great movies of course I’ve seen them all and more than once. They did a remake of Out Of The Past called Against All Odds with Jeff Bridges, Rachel Ward and James Woods. In a bit of smart casting they also had Jane Greer in there.

      But White Heat is one of the all time any type of movie you want to call it and no mention of it would be complete without…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:20 pm on March 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        These movies had it all: great writing, atmosphere, directors, stars, supporting casts — the works. I’ve only watched WHITE HEAT once or twice, but I’ve seen MALTESE FALCON and THE THIRD MAN at least 5 or 6 times each, DOUBLE INDEMNITY and SUNSET BOULEVARD probably about 3 times.

        Like

    • Mél@nie 11:00 am on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I did watch them all… just like you, I may have seen “Maltese Falcon” 4-5 times! 🙂

      • * *

      @film noir – en français dans le texte, SVP… 🙂 MERCI, Monsieur Muse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:34 pm on March 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Mercy me — I fear my very limited French fails me in getting the gist of the sentence before “SVP” (which I understand stands for “s’il vous plait”). If you please, please translate into English. Merci!
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mél@nie 3:25 am on April 5, 2017 Permalink

          SVP = s’il vous plaît = please… 🙂 you’re too modest, Sir… my very best and respectful regards, Mélanie Bedos

          Liked by 1 person

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