GO TO HELLISTAN

Yesterday, I commented on Rivergirl’s March 25 post titled “THINGS THAT FALL INTO THE WTH? CATEGORY”, which told of (among other things) a place known as the Door to Hell in Derweze, Turkmenistan. As I mentioned in that comment, I’ve actually gone to Hell (by car, by the way; not in a handbasket) — the town of Hell in Michiganistan, which may not be as hot as Hell in Turkmenistan, but is more convenient. I figure this is more than enough to qualify me as an authority on anystan’s Hell, hence this post.

When I say “more convenient,” I of course mean convenient to my followers here in the good old United Statesistan. If you live in Asiastan, you will undoubtedly be able to go to Hell more conveniently in Turkmenistan. On the other stan, if you live in Hindustan (aka The Republic of India), you’re stuckistan in Hindustan because India is in total lockdown due to the coronavirus (I would’ve said coronavirustan, but I understan that’s sickistan).

Anyway, the Hell I’ve been through in Michiganistan has an official website; rather than me give you the scoopistan, here’s the official poopistan straight from the horse’s mouth:

https://www.gotohellmi.com/

Now, if that doesn’t make you want to go to Hell, I don’t know what willistan. I happen to know a guy (his name is Stan) whose wife is a real clothes horse and looks hot in green, gray or white; he often takes her through Hell no matter what she’s wearing, even though….

I close with this thought: Where do people in Hell tell each other to go?

 

BEWARE THE BRIDES OF MARCH

March 15 being THE IDES OF MARCH (but still winter), I thought I’d work on a post I’d call THE BRRRR-IDES OF MARCH — however, it hasn’t been very winter-like where I live, so it’s no weather for snow jobs. Thus I’ll settle for a post about The Brides of March, of whom there have been some blushing ones, some gushing ones, some rushing ones, and a mother lode of if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed-try-try-again ones….such as singing star Peggy Lee, whose marriage to jazz guitarist Dave Barbour was her first of four such gigs.

Here are twenty March brides who gave it the old collage (French for to stick together) try, listed by March wedding day (along with the names of the grooms, just for the wreck of it):

March 1, 1968   JUNE CARTER / Johnny Cash
March 8, 1952   NANCY DAVIS / Ronald Reagan
March 8, 1943   PEGGY LEE / Dave Barbour
March 9, 1796   JOSÉPHINE de BEAUHARNAIS / Napoléon Bonaparte
March 13, 1946 MARY WELSH / Ernest Hemingway

March 15, 1964 ELIZABETH TAYLOR / Richard Burton (again)
March 16, 2002 LIZA MINNELLI / David Gest
March 17, 1905 ELEANOR ROOSEVELT / Franklin D. Roosevelt
March 18, 1869 HARRIET TUBMAN / Nelson Davis
March 19, 1918 DAISY PARKER / Louis Armstrong (who recorded this song 3/2/1932):

March 20, 1969 YOKO ONO / John Lennon
March 21, 1945 LAUREN BACALL / Humphrey Bogart
March 21, 1963 BARBRA STREISAND / Elliott Gould
March 21, 1984 SARAH BRIGHTMAN / Andrew Lloyd Webber
March 23, 1985 CHRISTIE BRINKLEY / Billy Joel

March 24, 1950 INGRID BERGMAN / Roberto Rossellini
March 27, 1916 GLORIA SWANSON / Wallace Beery
March 28, 1920 MARY PICKFORD / Douglas Fairbanks
March 28, 1939 CAROLE LOMBARD / Clark Gable
March 28, 1957 BILLIE HOLIDAY (LADY DAY) / Louis McKay

All but three of those ladies married multiple times, and one of the three (Daisy Parker) died soon after her divorce from Louis Armstrong. Lost passion being the fashion, this quote seems a fitting way to call it a day:

“I guess the only way to stop divorce is to stop marriage.” –Will Rogers

So ladies, this be your day to be given away. Gents, beware the BRIDES OF MARCH (apologies to Shakespeare) — not to mention, pity your poor (after the divorce) befuddled comrades-in-arms who married them.

 

 

 

 

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

Does this melody ring a bell?

Does the name Ringling Bros. ring a bell?

If it does, the connection between the two should be clear as a bell, because that melody was used for decades on Hollywood soundtracks to accompany circus footage. The most famous circus of them all was Ringling Bros., which was founded on April 10, 1871, merged with Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth in 1919, and closed on May 22 2017.

I recall seeing a circus as a young boy (regrettably, I don’t recall if it was Ringling Bros.)…. but this post’s focus is on circus movies, two of which I’ve seen several times since I was a teenage boy: Charlie Chaplin’s THE CIRCUS, and {The Marx Brothers) AT THE CIRCUS.

THE CIRCUS (1928) is not as well known as such Chaplin masterpieces as THE GOLD RUSH, CITY LIGHTS, and MODERN TIMES, but it is still a great show. Here is the trailer, followed by the closing scene when the circus leaves town with the circus girl he loves:

AT THE CIRCUS (1939) isn’t one of the Marx Brothers’ best films, but it has one of Groucho’s most famous scenes:

How this song came to be written is a story in itself, but the history of Lydia actually pre-dates the song. In Germany in the 1920s, an entertainer named Wilhelm Bendow had a stand-up act as Lydia Smith, the tattooed lady, in which he wore a body cast and performed a satirical sketch. It is no stretch to assume that American lyricist Yip Harburg had heard of that act when he and composer Harold Arlen wrote the song in 1939 (yes, it’s the same Harburg and Arlen who earlier in 1939 wrote OVER THE RAINBOW and the other great songs in WIZARD OF OZ).

As for the song’s lyrics, Harburg was a friend of Groucho, and both were fans of Gilbert and Sullivan. One evening (as AT THE CIRCUS was being developed) at a gathering at Groucho’s house, they were playing G & S records and singing along. Harburg was inspired to show his G & S-like inventiveness with rhyme scheme and verbal dexterity by writing a song for Groucho for the film, and the result was Lydia, The Tattooed Lady.

But the song ran into trouble with the Breen office censors. Quoting Harburg: “That song was thought to be risqué, and we had a hell of a lot of trouble with it. This was 1939 and censorship was at its full height. We were told we would have to cut it out of the picture. Harold and I were mad. Finally, we got an idea of how to save the song. We put in a final verse to legitimize [it]”:

She once swept an admiral off of his feet
The ships on her hips made his heart skip a beat
And now the old boy is in charge of the fleet
For he went and married Lydia.

There have been other circus movies (including the 1952 opus with the same title as this post, starring Jimmy Stewart as a circus clown), but that would make a three-ring circus of this post, and two is enough for this old boy.

The Big Top stops here.

 

 

 

 

The Man in BLACK and BLUEberry Hill

Today being the birthday of two bygone giants of popular music, I thought I’d do a bit of a musical remembrance, because one of them is one of my favorites, and the other may be one of yours (if you’re into the early days of rock ‘n’ roll).

I’ll start with the former: The Man in Black, JOHNNY CASH (2/26/1932–9/12/2003). I seem to recall doing a post on Johnny several years ago, so I won’t spend many words on him here. If interested in bio details, here a link you can check out:

https://www.biography.com/musician/johnny-cash

So let’s get to the music, beginning with a song which tells you something about where you’ll usually find me and my partner in time:

Speaking of doing time:

Here’s Johnny….cashing out this segment with wife June Carter Cash, in one of their hottest numbers:

We close with “Mr. Blueberry Hill” himself, FATS DOMINO (2/26/1928–10/24/2017):

Bio:  https://www.biography.com/musician/fats-domino

 

 

 

TRUTH BE TOLD….so it is said

When I come across a quote I love, and which is so true that it hits home (home being where the heart is), I often tell Cupid to get lost while I grab a pen, because in my heart….

Yes, I want to be alone so I can write down said truth on whatever scrap of paper is handy before I get distracted and forget it….even then, I often don’t recall where I left that lovely quote, and Cupid will call me stupid (but then, aren’t we all when Cupid is involved?).

Anyway, I haven’t written a post since I got home from the (soap) opera six days of our lives ago, so today I thought I’d seek out and gather up some of the bold and beautiful quotations I misplaced, for you alone (you ARE alone, aren’t you?):

I don’t want to be alone, I want to be left alone.” –Audrey Hepburn, actress

“In Genesis, it says that it is not good for a man to be alone, but sometimes it is a great relief. –John Barrymore, actor

“Solitude is un-American.” –Erica Jong, novelist and poet

All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” –Blaise Pascal, writer, inventor, and theologian

“The trouble with opera in the United States is that it is trying to sell caviar to a hamburger-eating country.” –Helen Traubel, opera singer

“Opera: a play about life in another world whose inhabitants have no speech but song, no motions but gestures, and no postures but attitudes.” –Ambrose Bierce

Opera: where anything that is too stupid to be spoken, is sung.” –Voltaire

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.” –Aldous Huxley

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” –Mark Twain

There is a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.” –Maya Angelou

I will close with a timely quote in which the words alone, opera, and truth do not appear….but I would say that truer words were never spoken (despite who said them):
“Democracy counts heads without regard to what’s in them.” –Lenin

 

 

A NIGHT AT THE (SOAP) OPERA – Act IV

As the curtain rises on Act IV, we pick up where we left off in Act III:

We’ve come at long last to the denouement (aka the point in the presentation where it’s time to wrap up the plot before the popcorn runs out): Fiorello and Tomasso abduct and gag lead tenor Alasprairie during the onstage uproar and take him to a site out of sight, where he’s fit to be tied. Gottliebchen is in a bind: a replacement tenor is needed to quiet the affronted audience, as well as those seated in the rear. Ricardo Macaroni happens to be handy. Gottliebchen gives in. Ricardo and the lovely Rosa Grossa sing an aria. The audience is enthralled. Miraculously, everything has worked out in….

THE END?

But as we all know, it’s not the end until the fat lady sings — a requisite which is unaccountably missing in this opera. Fortunately for our fannies, the fat lady who doesn’t sing in this opera did sing to end this earlier opera, which will serve our purpose here:

Now that’s what I call leaving on borrowed time.

 

A NIGHT AT THE (SOAP) OPERA – Act III

When last we met, leaving our three stowaways on the good ship Lollipoop, Tomasso had cut the beards off of three Russian aviators, and he, Fiorello and Ricardo had assumed their identities….or so you were left to assume. But you don’t have to take my word for it….

Having escaped from the speakers’ platform outside City Hall with plainclothes detective Henderson in pursuit, the stowaways and Driftwort take refuge in a nearby hotel, where they have a flat and retire. In the a.m., they have room service send up their breakfast.

Just when you thought the opening night of the opera season would never arrive, it does….and so does Driftwort, only to learn that he has been fired by Missis Playpool for associating with riffraff (how riffraff got into the act, I’ll never know). Not to be denied, Driftwort (together with Tomasso and Fiorello) goes to Gottliebchen’s office, locks him in a closet, replaces Gottliebchen as Missis Playpool’s escort, and delivers the opening night address, which is the same as the day address, but not as easy to see:

Is there no end to this madness? For the answer to that question, you will have to return for Act IV. Until then….