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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Burns and Allen, Damsel In Distress, , , Gracie Allen, , , , , ,   

    THIS POST IS FOR THE BURNS 

    My last post was published on the birthday (Jan. 20, 1896) of GEORGE BURNS. This post is being published on the birthday (Jan. 25, 1759) of ROBERT BURNS. The former lived to the ripe old age of 100, the latter to age 37; a punster might say (0f the disparity) that they Burns the candle at both ends (of course, I would never say such a thing).

    Some of you no doubt remember George Burns as God in the 1977 hit film OH, GOD!, and as the Academy Award winning Best Supporting Actor in THE SUNSHINE BOYS (1975), but we geezers best recall him as straight man to wife Gracie Allen in the comedy team of BURNS AND ALLEN. After she died in 1964, he immersed himself in work, remaining active for another three decades in TV, movies, and as author of ten books.

    Here are Burns & Allen with Fred Astaire in two fun scenes from DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (1937):

    http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/374102/Damsel-In-Distress-A-Movie-Clip-Stiff-Upper-Lip.html

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

    Many of you probably do not remember ROBERT BURNS (aka RABBIE BURNS). Even I, ancient as I am, do not recall him. But history tells us he was known as the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire (Scotland), and as a pioneer of the Romantic movement. Regarded as the National Poet of Scotland, in 2009 the Scottish public voted him the Greatest Scot, evidently as a belated promotion from Great Scot! Among his best known poems are “Auld Lang Syne,” “A Red, Red Rose” and “To A Mouse” (said to have been written when he accidently destroyed a mouse nest while plowing a field). I suspect the mouse would have preferred if Burns had restored the nest, but nonetheless, the poem was a mice gesture.

    In closing, it might be nice to see what the Burns boys had to say in their own words (George’s quotes are in italics, followed by Robert’s in what I take to be post-Old English):

    Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

    Nice to be here? At my age, it’s nice to be anywhere. (Tell me about it!)

    First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up, and finally, you forget to pull it down. (Don’t tell me about it.)

    When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick.

    It takes only one drink to get me drunk. Trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the 13th or 14th.

    Oh wad some power the giftie gie us / To see ourselves as others see us!

    Gie me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire, / That’s a’ the learning I desire.

    An’ there began a lang digression / About the lords o’ the creation.

    Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, / O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

    The best laid plans o’ mice and men Gang aft a-gley.

     
    • New England Nomad 12:41 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Interest that you should mention Robert Burns. Funnfact: there is a statue of him in my home city. It seems kind of random to see it since he never resided in Massachusetts and I’m not sure he ever lived in the states. To make a long story short, a Scottish heritage group, called the Scottish clans of America in honor of all of the Scottish people who had settled in the area.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:26 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for that interesting info. I wonder if there is a similar statue in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, which was a Scottish colony for a brief period in the 17th century.

        I don’t know if you watch JEOPARDY!, but if so, perhaps you’ve noticed that Rabbie (Robert) Burns turns up relatively often as a question (answer).

        Thanks again for commenting.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 6:06 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I am bat-sh*t crazy about “back in the day” tap routines — but would you believe that I either didn’t know (or had totally forgotten) that Burns was a tapper? And an excellent one too! I mean, anyone who can keep up with Astaire is NO slouch!!!

      I had to watch this 3 times, putting my attentional spotlight on each of them. BRILLIANT routine! Such lightness in their execution – and CLEAN as a whistle taps.

      I also think that G. Burns was one of the few (besides me, of course) who really appreciated Gracie’s comic genius – in addition to his being able to set her up perfectly – one of the best straight men in the biz.

      Bobby, on the other hand, is my personal guru of oh-well. I am a repeat winner of the Bobbie Burns award, having ganged oft aglee more times than *anybody* can count!

      Thanks for 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

    • mistermuse 7:12 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about George Burns. He, like most entertainers back in the day, started out in vaudeville and could do more than one thing. Astaire, for example, was not only a great dancer, but an actor, singer (I personally love his way with a song), choreographer, percussionist, and even wrote a few popular songs. In those days, you had to have talent — you didn’t get to be famous for being famous.

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    • Don Frankel 9:05 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, I remember the TV show from when I was a kid. While Gracie and Harry Von Zell would be plotting, George would be upstairs in his den watching it on TV. I thought that was the coolest thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:01 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Although George wasn’t my favorite comedian, George and Gracie as a pair were “the coolest thing” indeed. If I recall correctly, at the end of the show, he would tell Gracie, “Say goodnight [meaning ‘to the audience’], Gracie.”….and she would repeat, “Goodnight, Gracie.”

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    • arekhill1 10:21 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      To return to your favorite subject, Sr. Muse, if God is going to get started with giving out the gift of perceiving how others see us, He could start with Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:40 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        You got that right, Ricardo. Even when he does perceive how others see him, it’s through the lens of his megalomania. Talk about a legend in his own mind!

        Like

    • milliethom 4:18 pm on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      A great post, told in an appealingly humorous way. I remember Gracie Allen well. I was a teenager when they were on TV quite a lot and my mum loved them. George must have done something right to live to a hundred … perhaps he always ate his greens or something. Lol The tap scene is amazing. All three are wonderful dancers.
      In a comment above, you wondered whether there was a Robert Burns’ statue in Nova Scotia. I looked up about statues of Burns around the world, intending to add some to my post, and I know there are a few in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I think there’s one in British Columbia and one in Halifax in Nova Scotia. I didn’t get as far as looking to see whether there were any in the USA. I intend to do another post about Rabbie, this time about his life and poetry. I thought I’d talk about the many statues then.
      Thank you for connecting to my post. I enjoyed reading yours.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:12 pm on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the kind words. Anyone who’s interested in more info (along with some very nice pix) about Robert Burns should check out your Jan. 25 post by clicking on your name above.

      Like

    • eths 10:57 pm on January 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      When I was a kid, my family and I listed to Burns and Allen weekly. Loved them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 1:20 pm on August 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:57 pm on August 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      George Burns thanks you, Robert Burns thanks you, and I thank you (if you don’t believe me, ask them!). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 8:25 pm on December 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Buster Bailey, , Cootie Williams, Damsel In Distress, , Fletcher Henderson, , George Stevens, , J.C.Higginbotham, , , Red Allen, Rex Stewart, Sid Catlett   

    SMACK AND GEORGE 

    Today I’d like to pay tribute to two giants of jazz and film born on this date: Fletcher Henderson, jazz immortal, born Dec. 18, 1898, and George Stevens, master film director, born Dec. 18, 1904. Though gone from the scene for decades, both have left records of creative achievement in their respective fields which have stood the test of time for mortals who appreciate such things.

    FLETCHER HENDERSON, nicknamed “Smack” for his habit of smacking his lips, was a trailblazing jazz arranger and leader of outstanding big bands for two decades. At various times from 1924 to 1935, his band included such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong, Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams, Red Allen, Buster Bailey, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Sid Catlett and J. C. Higginbotham. In early 1935 he broke up his band and began arranging for the fledgling Benny Goodman Orchestra, launching the new and exciting sound of the swing era which would define American popular music until WWII. Although he put together another band in 1936 and had one hit record, within a few years Henderson had disbanded in the face of heavy competition. Thereafter he worked primarily as an arranger between short stints leading big bands. He suffered a major stroke in 1n 1950 and died Dec. 29, 1952. According to jazz critic Stanley Dance, Henderson’s was the first big jazz band and set the standard for many to come. Here is a typical Fletcher Henderson swinger:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0Ts6vZNyqk

    GEORGE STEVENS, though you may not remember his name, directed some of the best movies you have seen, if you are a classic-film fan. These include (in chronological order):

    ALICE ADAMS (1935), starring Katherine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray.
    SWING TIME (1936), the best (in my opinion) of the Astair-Rogers musicals, with outstanding Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields songs, including the Oscar-winning “The Way You Look Tonight.”
    A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (1937), the first Astaire musical without Ginger Rogers, nonetheless notable for its George Gershwin score (his last before his premature death that same year). Joan Fontaine co-stars as the English “damsel in distress.”
    GUNGA DIN (1939), starring Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

    WOMAN OF THE YEAR (1942), starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in their first picture together. Oscar-winning screenplay by Ring Lardner Jr. and Michael Kanin.
    THE TALK OF THE TOWN (1942), starring Cary Grant, Ronald Colman and Jean Arthur.
    THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943), starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea and Charles Coburn. Stevens was Academy Award nominee for Best Director.

    A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. Academy Award winner for Best Director.
    SHANE (1953), one of the all-time great Westerns, starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Jack Palance.
    GIANT (1956), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. Academy Award winner for Best Director.
    THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959). Film version of well-known true story of Jewish refugees hiding in WWII Amsterdam. I can especially relate to this film, having actually been decades ago in the building (now a museum) where Anne hid with her family and others and wrote her diary.

    Here is a clip from Stevens’ A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS, in which Fred Astaire is doing his best to escape detection behind the chorus during a function at the castle where damsel Joan Fontaine resides:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1C-_Adawq8

    THE END of our post (but not of our inheritance)

     
    • Michaeline Montezinos 8:21 pm on January 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I was more interested in the movies you selected that were directed by George Stevens than the music, sorry. I have watched each and every one of these films many times and they are some of my favorites, I used to watch a lot of television during my recovery periods after my joint replacements. Of course, I had to go out for the physical therapy but it was a pleasure when my husband set up the old Samsung in my room. I appreciate the Barbra Striesand movies more now although they tend to be more like musicals, Just saw THE WAY WE WERE with Robert Redford last night while I was puttering around. I did not have the opportunity to visit the room where Anne Frank stayed in Amsterdam as you did but I did get a copy of her book from the library. I cried after I finished it.

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    • mistermuse 10:28 pm on January 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love almost all of the George Stevens’ movies listed in this post, but the one I’ve seen the most and could still see again and again is SWING TIME. I just checked a youtube clip of the “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off” scene where Fred dances Ginger around the dance studio floor to show her boss how much she has taught him – it has had an amazing 5,722,000+ views, so obviously I’m not alone in my admiration. I first saw this about 60 years ago in an “art theater” before it began appearing on TV, and I’ll never forget the audience spontaneously & loudly applauding at the end of that scene — something almost unheard of in those days. .

      Like

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