HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: END OF THE TRAIL

Just as all good things must come to an end, so too must all bad things (even Trump’s evil rule will run out of recourse eventually — e.g., the fat lady’s last aria at the opera seems to go on forever; will it end short of becoming a hoarse opera?). What it all a-mounts to is….

Meanwhile, back at the ranch , we bid happy trails to “bad” actors not named Trump, and end our HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE series with a roundup of some of the era’s great song & dance stars, starting with this incomparable pair whose magic outlasted their time:

When it comes to high-energy dancing, no one outshined Gene Kelly. Here he is in THE PIRATE (1948), clowning around with the fabulous Nicholas Brothers:

I do have one regret about this retrospective: so many musical stars, so little time and wherewithal for them all. Perhaps, as time goes by, I will use a favorite star’s birthday as an occasion to do an occasional post.

In closing (speaking of when A STAR IS BORN), if ever someone was born to be one, it’s this star-crossed girl/woman with whom we bring down the curtain on this series:

I BE NOMINATED FOR THE KIESTER AWARD!

Friends, I am proud, humbled and honored to tell you that I (will) be nominated for the Kiester Award for blogging (over, above and beyond the call of duty, no less). Yes, friends, I foresee that you will see fit, after reading this, not only to get off (or on) your kiester, as the case-ster may be, to nominate me….but also to kick yourself in the kiester for not doing so before. So, though your awakening may be in arrears, it is appreciated.

But I’m conflicted, friends. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for the Kiester that you are aching to bestow upon me; however, there are others much more deserving. I would therefore caution you to control yourselves, because worthy as I may be, it’s only right (wing) that you should nominate someone with far superior qualities, such as:

THE DONALD — aka The Orange (T)error. America’s bully boy and wall nut who is able to leap (t)all Republicans in a single bound and make them kiss his ass in a single tweet. Drains swamps by filling them in with b.s. Loves everyone (who loves him), but retains Godfather complex (for those who don’t).

THE MIKESTER — aka Straightarrow Mike. Joined to The Donald at the hip while being the least hip VP in American hipstery. Even a dog couldn’t be more loyal. Leading contender for the Cardboard Poodle award.

THE MITCH-ELAINE MAN — aka Monotone Mitch. The Blue Grass State’s gift horse to the U.S. Senate. Was once caught smiling, and vowed never to smile again. Doesn’t parrot The Donald as much as The Mikester, but is nonetheless for the birds. Married to Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation in the horse’s ass administration.

THE HUCKABEE WASP — aka Sarah the married Spinstirrer. White House Press Secretary and daughter of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Christian Minister and former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee. Read her lips. She may not be a dummy, but The Donald’s got her back (or is it the other way around?).

DUMBO THE UGLY ELEPHANT — aka The GOP. It’s the body the Republican Party has become since The Donald took power, as Ronald Reagan turned over in his grave. Who knew Ronnie’s reign as President would one day turn out to be, not only The Good Old Days of fond memory, but the elephant in the room, the ghost of civility past?

In closing, friends, a few of you may think I misspelled Keister, but in my dictionary, Kiester is also acceptable. Spelling can be like pronunciation:

BLANK

Normally, when I write a post, I think about what I want to say — the body of the post — and at some point during this labor of love (after considerable cogitation), a title is born. With my last post, the title came first and I then had to work to shape the body (after considerable consternation) in language of the what-have-I-gotten-myself-into kind. Believe me, friends — it’s a pain in the brain to be boxed in by a title, so with this post, I decided to leave the title BLANK. I feel better already.

But, now that I have a blank canvas, one would think I should be able to paint a word picture; yet it’s like I can’t see the blog for the fog. Have I become color blind?

So it’s just the time of day, a mere matter of mind over time. Tomorrow the fog will clear and this will seem like a black and white dream….

And you know what they say about a clear day….

JAZZ FOR LAUGHS (PART 05)

If you haven’t been following this series, you don’t know what you’ve been missing (athough some might claim ignorance is bliss). If you are a follower, you may think the humor has been pretty juvenile. This first selection of Part 05 should assuage all concerns:

3 to 1 you now think this series is for the birds….but you ain’t heard nothing yet. Here’s a real turkey:

OK, I don’t need a straw vote to tell me the next selection has nowhere to go but up….

Now that’s what I call ending on a high note (as opposed to starting on a high chair). And so we come to the moment you’ve all been waiting for….

You’re welcome.

MER-SEA

In comments to a Jan.2 Peach of a post titled Fallen Angel, I included links to BEYOND THE SEA and LA MER (English and French versions of the same song). Diana Peach’s preternatural post & both song links can be found here: https://mythsofthemirror.com/

I bring this up because that song is just one of several ‘beautiful’ sea songs I recall, and I thought I’d take a stroll down memory lane — or should I say, memory beach. I invite you to join me….that is, if you don’t mind getting sand — as I don’t mind getting….

And now let us start our stroll:

Of course, there is more than one way to see the sea — you can join the Navy:

You say the Navy’s not your cup of sea? Then let us end our stroll like Mr. Bean, oblivious to all else, bidding glorious adieu to….

Mer-sea beaucoup.

Y ME, LORD

Friends, if you Xpected an X post after my W post, U haven’t been paying attention, because as I’ve previously Xplained, X is out. Even X post facto, there is no X factor here. Y? There are no old songs with girls named X in the title, that’s Y. That’s Y U C Y here.

Now that we got that straightened out, a word to the Ys: even if I were a Ys man (or a Ys guy, for that matter), I am not Ys enough to know more than one or two Y girl songs. So let’s start with that, and then, if necessary, I’ll pray for God’s help to find another Y song.

Sorry I asked, Lord. I could have done without that last one.

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