DAMES BOND

On August 8, a piece was posted on SWI (Speak Without Interruption) titled 60+ Years of James Bond (007), which reminded me of a poem I’d posted on SWI a few years back. Today being the 50th anniversary of the death of Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming (5/28/08–8/12/64), it occured to me to revise and re-publish the poem here — especially considering that it was one of many posts purged in the SWI meltdown almost a year ago and no longer appears there.

According to Wikipedia, in the beginning Fleming envisaged that Bond would resemble [in appearance] the composer, singer and actor Hoagy Carmichael….therefore, as an “extra added attraction” (and as postscript to my previous post TODAY CAN SPEAK FOR ITSELF), the poem will be followed by a Soundies film of Hoagy singing his composition Lazy Bones.

DAMES BOND

Bond.
Dames bond.
Dames bond in order to bond.
In order to relate (secrets?).
To navigate their pain.
To celebrate broad-based gain.
To advocate and proclaim.
To concentrate their aim.
To do what guys have done.

Guys bond.
Guys bond in order to do.
To do what guys have to do.
To play at war.
To play the game(s).
To play (or not) the dames —
Dames bound to bond James?
Hold on.

The guy who loved me
Is a spy — it’s in the book.
You know the One who wrote the Book?
Revelation. Plot twist.
You only think you know the One.
The One whose agents are everywhere.
The One whose clues lead nowhere.
It’s all so mysterious, so indecipherable.
How does it all end?

P.S.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXvX56WjhvY

 

 

SOUNDIES — THE SEQUEL

For those who watched the Jukebox Saturday Night clip in my first SOUNDIES post and may not be familiar with The Ink Spots (the great 1930s-40s vocal quartet which was so humorously spoofed by the Modernaires in that clip), here is a clip of “the real thing”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvwfLe6sLis

When the previously mentioned James Roosevelt became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1941, Tin Pan Alley great Sam Coslow (composer of many 1930s-40s hit songs) took charge of Soundies operations. As Coslow tells it in his autobiography COCKTAILS FOR TWO:

“Panoram was a glorified juke box that ran films instead of records. Roosevelt decided to find someone who could produce a regular program of short musical films [and] decided that my background was right for the post. I had twelve years experience with musicals, writing songs and special material, recording and scoring, and, more recently, producing a feature film.”
“Jimmy’s office was down the hall from mine in the Goldwyn studios, and we had a number of talks. He finally arranged for me to fly to Chicago to meet with [the] president of the Mills outfit. We agreed to set up a new production company called Roosevelt, Coslow and Mills, Inc., later shortened to R.C.M., Inc.”
“I was named as production head….to turn out three shorts a week in Hollywood, plus another three a week at a studio in New York. One of the first things we did was a series with Louis Armstrong. At first I played it safe by using established musical names who happened to be around Hollywood or New York. Besides Armstrong, I hired Duke Ellington & his Orchestra, Spike Jones, and bands like Les Brown’s and Stan Kenton’s.”
“What was more notable about the talent used in the Soundies, however, was an array of great performers who were destined to become top names in the entertainment world.  Like Doris Day, for instance….Nat King Cole….Cyd Charisse….Dorothy Dandridge….Gale Storm….Ricardo Montalban….Liberace.”
“The concept of seeing as well as hearing popular performers had great novelty value for audiences of the day. Television was still in its experimental stage, and Soundies had the same kind of exotic appeal. The machine even makes a gag appearance in a Hollywood feature film, Hi Diddle Diddle (1943).”
“But the machine was no joke to movie theater owners. People were spending their dimes in the Panoram, not at the box office. Theater operators banded together to combat the movie-machine menace. Several states proposed severe licensing and taxation measures to discourage the proliferation of film jukeboxes. Fortunately for Panoram owners, the proposed legislation was tabled upon the outbreak of World War II.”

I could of course go on “Soundie-ing off,” but I need to wrap this up sooner or later, and found a clip that does so nicely:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeSlF2VDck8

 

SOUNDIES

In reply to a comment to my last post (A WASTE OF BREADTH), I suggested a theme song for the commenter’s blog, “The Immortal Jukebox.” The song I recommended was “Jukebox Saturday Night” as performed in this film clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK72A_eV8Lg

If you were paying attention (and even if you weren’t), the film opened with “Soundies Presents….” And therein, as they say, lies a story — a story that, unless you were around in the 1940s, you’ve probably never heard.

“Soundies” (yes, “Selfies” generation, they had cutesy-sounding names for things back then too), were essentially three-minute jukebox movies — a marriage of jukebox and movie projector on a machine called Panoram. The concept was developed in 1938 by a Los Angeles dentist (that’s right, a dentist), who didn’t have the resources or business connections to refine and promote it. Enter Fred Mills and James Roosevelt.

The Mills Novelty Company was the then-leading manufacturer of jukeboxes. Roosevelt, son of FDR, was a prominent businessman (Globe Productions). In Feb. 1940 they joined forces as Globe-Mills Productions to market Panoram, which they introduced in Sept. 1940 with several demonstration films produced by Globe; the Mills unit became The Soundies Distributing Corporation of America, which was also the title of a 1991 book subtitled A HISTORY AND FILMOGRAPHY OF THEIR “JUKEBOX” MUSICAL FILMS OF THE 1940s. Well over 2,000 Soundies produced from August 1940 to Dec 1946 are listed in this book, from which I quote:

“The term “Soundies” is often used as a catch-all label for musical shorts in general, the same way such merchandising trademarks as “Band-Aid” are used generically. Music lovers don’t seem to care about the “authenticity” of Soundies, however, so many a collector’s prized collection of Soundie films includes a fair number of imitations (feature-film abridgements, etc.) promoted as “Soundies.”

“Imitations” or not, it’s all good. Well, at least the ones I like are all good. Does that sound right?

TO BE CONTINUED