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  • mistermuse 1:17 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: At The Circus, Barnum & Bailey, , , , , , Ringling Bros., The Big Top, the Circus, Wizard Of Oz,   

    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 risqu√©, 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.

     

     

     

     

     
    • D. Wallace Peach 6:16 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      How fun to listen to that song. I went to the circus a couple of times as a kid and took my daughter decades ago. Now, with greater awareness of the impact on the animals, the circus has lost its luster, but sad too that it’s gone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:33 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You ain’t lion, Diana. We still have zoos, but some people would like to do away with them too. I don’t agree, because I suspect that zoos are the last best hope of saving some on-the-verge-of-extinction animals (and zoo animals are no doubt, on the whole, better treated than circus animals were).

        Liked by 1 person

        • D. Wallace Peach 7:46 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink

          Yes, I agree about the zoos, especially since humans seem committed to destroying their natural habitats or just killing them for fun. Like the Trump boys.

          Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 6:49 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      oh that first tune brought back many fond memories … second video was not available.

      Would love cc’s Circus, think I’ll look for it ūüôā
      Lydia packs a punch, the song and it’s fascinating history, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:34 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You should be able to find viewable clips of Charlie Chaplin’s THE CIRCUS fairly easily, Kate. When I Googled it, I saw various scenes, and even the whole movie, available on Youtube.

        Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 7:52 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Of course I know that melody! It’s one of the background songs of the circus that is my life ūüôā La la la la!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:41 pm on March 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Now you’re talking my La la la la language, mm! It’s one of those songs that, once you hear it, you won’t forget it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 6:46 am on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I learned a lot from Lydia…

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:59 pm on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I wonder if Trump learned anything from Lydia? Even if he did, he wouldn’t give her credit, so kudos to you. ūüėČ

        Like

    • Rivergirl 8:40 am on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I spent my childhood at Madison Square Garden with Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth. As a kid? It was 3 rings of pure magic…

      Liked by 2 people

    • Elizabeth 5:08 pm on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Barnum came from Bridgeport Connecticut, so he is well known around here. My grandfather introduced us to “Lydia” in 1957, much to the consternation of my grandmother! He always liked innuendo.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:11 pm on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Sounds like Lydia meant SINnuendo to your grandmother, Elizabeth. Bless her heart, I shudder to think how she would feel about today’s culture.

        Liked by 1 person

    • The Diary of a Country Bumpkin 5:18 pm on March 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Love the Marx brothers, brilliant!

      Liked by 1 person

    • kutukamus 2:01 am on March 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I never knew the title of that song before. Thanks! ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:49 pm on March 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’m another one who didn’t know the title of that famous circus song.

      As for Charlie Chaplin, I have not yet seen his film, The Circus, and the trailer you posted makes me want to see it immediately. Thanks for putting it on my radar. ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:43 pm on March 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I must confess that I didn’t know the title either….or rather, I knew it at one time but had forgotten it (courtesy of old age having crept up on me). As for The Circus, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it on Youtube.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:06 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Margaret Hamilton, Marjorie Main, , , Wicked Witch, Wizard Of Oz   

    HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: THE GRAMMAR GIRLS 

    Speaking of distinctive actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age, we turn from glamour girls (in my previous post) to a group of gals who made up in individuality what they lacked in allure. There were perhaps no actresses more unique and unforgettable in any category than the so-called character actors. Bring up such names as Margaret Hamilton, Marjorie Main, and Margaret Dumont (apart from their photos) to any classic film buff, and there’d be no problem matching which name belongs with which (or witch) face; same with their immediately recognizable voices. In a manner of speaking, they were vocal gold.

    BTW, I have something in common with That Hamilton Woman. Like my wife, she was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and was once a teacher….but unlike my wife, she was unlike my wife (and vice versa….or is it verse vica).

    Character actresses may not be leading ladies, but there’s one who was always the Main attraction :

    My last post started with a birthday girl; this post ends with one….and what a one: Margaret Dumont (born Oct. 20, 1882), the gloriously inimitable foil of Groucho in nine of the Marx Brothers’ thirteen films, as typified by the following story.

    In a play in which she played Mrs. Rittenhouse (and which was later made into an early Marx Brothers film), the brothers abandoned the script during one performance and began improvising scene after scene….from here, I quote from the book THE MARX BROTHERS AT THE MOVIES:

    After some time she decided to take her chances and enter in the middle of it all. At that moment, Chico and Harpo simply walked off the stage, leaving the great dowager face-to-face with Groucho. So Groucho, with his characteristic speed of mind, gestured to a nearby divan. “Ah, Mrs. Rittenhouse,” he proclaimed. “Won’t you…er…lie down?” It had gotten a laugh on Broadway, so the brothers simply took it with them when they traveled to the Astoria studio [to make movies].

    There’s a scene in my favorite Marx Brothers movie, DUCK SOUP, in which Dumont’s character addresses Groucho’s character, Rufus T. Firefly, President of Fredonia, as “Your Excellency!”…to which he replies, “You’re not so bad yourself.”
    To which I can but add, You Bet Your Life!

     
    • calmkate 3:46 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      great history lesson, thanks!

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 8:12 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Kate. The title of the post is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but I couldn’t resist the play on words with HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE: THE GLAMOUR GIRLS (the previous post).

        Liked by 2 people

    • Carmen 9:10 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I recognized ‚Äėthe witch with the green face‚Äô (one of our daughters always referred to her that way) but the other two were unknowns to me… Well, until I read the post! ūüôā

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 11:13 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen, did you have to remind me how much older I am than you because Marjorie Main and Margaret Dumont were known to me, and unknown to you!!! Nonetheless, I forgive you, so here’s a short clip to give you a better idea of why I dig Dumont (note the “You’re not so bad yourself” remark at the end of the clip which relates to the end of my post):

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 9:33 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      A Marx Brothers movie without Dumont is a sad thing indeed…

      I did a piece on Kathleen Freeman, speaking of character actresses. She’s definitely one of my favorites…

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 11:31 am on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, masercot. I didn’t realize, until I checked, that Kathleen Freeman played (uncredited) the part of diction coach Phoebe Dinsmore in one of my fav musicals, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. Here’s a clip:

        Liked by 2 people

    • Elizabeth 5:52 pm on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Watching Groucho is one of my favorite childhood memories. I just loved when that duck came down. Great clips.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 6:16 pm on October 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m glad you made the connection between the last four words of my post and the name of Groucho’s TV show. I watched it often back in the day.

        Liked by 2 people

    • mlrover 7:59 am on October 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      What a wonderful post! I loved all of these ladies and especially the vocal coach clip. Jean Hagen should have gotten an Oscar for the Lamont role.

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 8:30 am on October 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Absolutely! What a “character!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 11:53 am on October 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I love the old b&w films. Especially the Marx Bros. Margaret Dumont was priceless!

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 5:55 pm on October 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        The Marx Bros. without Margaret Dumont is like a comedian without a Trump card — except that Dumont is aces and Trump is a jack(ass).

        Liked by 2 people

    • Silver Screenings 11:30 pm on November 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful tributes to all these women. I’m so pleased to see these women made the list, especially Marjorie Main. She is one of my all-time faves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:11 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Marjorie appeared in over 80 films, including some of my favorites, such as MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE HARVEY GIRLS, and FRIENDLY PERSUASION. Truly a wonderful character actress.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andy Razaf, , , , Jimmy Van Heusen, , , , , , , Wizard Of Oz   

    A com-POSE-r BY ANY OTHER NAME…. (Part 1 of 2) 

    Tomorrow, Feb. 15, is the birthday of one of America’s greatest composers of popular songs, Hyman Arluck.¬†Hyman WHO, you ask? Never heard of him? If you’re a fan of America’s Golden Age of Popular Music, this song of his is probably¬†one of your favorites:

    ….not to mention this one:

    You say you thought those songs were composed by HAROLD ARLEN?
    From what I hear, no doubt¬†they was….
    because…because…because…because…
    of the wonderful whiz he was.
    But before a wonderful whiz he was, he was¬†Hyman Arluck, so born on Feb. 15, 1905.¬†If you were¬†fooled, you should be grateful because, as Arlen (nee Arluck) notes in another of his songs, it’s….

    Speaking of which, I thought it might be fun (for me, anyway) to¬†fool around with a¬†selection of birth names of¬†other great Golden Age songwriters¬†(each of them listed¬†with¬†one of their most popular songs), followed by a¬†list of their noms de plume in scrambled order.¬†Unless you Arluck-y, you’ll probably¬†be unable to correctly¬†pair more than 70% of the names¬†(but at least¬†half¬†are guessable¬†even if you don’t know them):

    a. Israel Baline (HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN?)
    b. Benjamin Anzelwitz (SWEET GEORGIA BROWN)
    c. C. K. Dober (BARNEY GOOGLE)
    d. Vladimir Dukelsky (APRIL IN PARIS)
    e. Charles N. Daniels (CHLOE)
    f. Albert Gumm (TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME)
    g. Johnny Kluczko (RACING WITH THE MOON)
    h. Edward Chester Babcock (LOVE AND MARRIAGE)
    i. Andrea Razafkeriefo (MEMORIES OF YOU)
    j. William Samuel Rosenberg (I’VE GOT A FEELING I’M FALLING)

    1. Albert Von Tilzer
    2. Irving Berlin
    3. Ben Bernie
    4. Con Conrad
    5. Vernon Duke
    6. Neil Moret
    7. Billy Rose
    8. Andy Razaf
    9. Jimmy Van Heusen
    10. Johnny Watson

    In Part 2, I’ll¬†post the answers¬†plus clips of a few of the above¬†songs. Meanwhile, if you’d like¬†to¬†hear one of the¬†songs in particular, comments are open — please¬†make a request. I’ve got a feeling I’m filling¬†it.

     

     
    • Superduque777 12:08 am on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 7:09 am on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the Over the Rainbow clip. I never tire of hearing Judy Garland sing it. ūüôā
      I’m rubbish at guessing the real names!
      But I’d like to hear April in Paris Thank you ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:57 am on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I knew Israel Baline was Irving Berlin as a relative of one of my relatives was his accountant. Sometimes I got some really great seats at the Music Box Theater. Then I knew who Edward Chester Babcock was as he worked with and was a close friend of Sinatra. I could guess who Billy Rose was as the names are pretty similar but then I had a lot of fun looking up the other ones.

      I’ve always thought that Somewhere Over The Rainbow is one of the finest examples of blending words and music you can ever find.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:55 am on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Glad you enjoyed it, Don. Unbeknownst to me, your comment came in while I was in the middle of replying to scifihammy’s comment, so my Billy Rose example had already been guessed by you. I guess great minds really do think alike (at least, I prefer that explanation over coincidence, How About You?).

        Like

    • mistermuse 9:21 am on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, scifihammy — I’ll be glad to play “April In Paris”….maybe even before April in Paris (like in my next post). ūüôā

      As for guessing at matching the songwriters’ names, what I meant by “half are guessable even if you don’t know them” is best shown by this example: the real name of the writer of I’VE GOT A FEELING I’M FALLING, William Rosenberg, can be deduced from its similarity to his professional name, Billy Rose. Thus, j. is 7. There are several other instances whereby a match can be made by comparing the first and/or last names in the first list with those in the second list.

      Like

    • moorezart 9:52 pm on February 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:07 am on February 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks, moorezart. I wonder if a reblog by any other name would smell as sweet? A thorny question indeed. ūüė¶

        Like

    • Don Frankel 7:53 am on February 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      That’s a great song by Morris Hyman Kushner but I had to go look that up. When I did I found out that he also wrote the musicals ‘On a Clear Day’ and ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ in addition to a lot of other great songs. I also found out he discovered Francis Gumm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:57 pm on February 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        HOW ABOUT YOU? was indeed composed by Morris Hyman Kushner (aka Burton Lane), with lyrics by Ralph Freed (aka Ralph Freed). I wonder if Francis Gumm (aka Judy Garland) was related to Albert Gumm, composer of TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME? I’ll have to check that out.

        Like

    • arekhill1 1:21 pm on February 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Let’s make this about me. I’ve never changed my birth name. One of my many shitty career moves, probably.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:24 pm on February 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Maybe it’s not too late, Ricardo — which, by the way, suggests a name you could change to and gain instant fame: Ricardo Montalban Jr. After all, the original Ricardo Montalban had good luck with it until he died, but that could happen to anyone.

      Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Billy Gilbert, , , , Grady Sutton, Hattie McDaniel, , , , , , , , , Wizard Of Oz   

    A PAST OF CHARACTERS 

    For some time, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to do a post on one-of-a-kind¬†character actors from Hollywood’s Golden Age, most of them long forgotten except to old¬†film buffs like myself. There are¬†familiar¬†exceptions, of course —¬†non-starring actors who appeared in classic films which continue to be shown today, such as Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West in THE WIZARD OF OZ) and Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet (Ugarte/Joel Cairo and the fat man, respectively,¬†in CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON). But today I want to focus on the rule, not the well-remembered¬†exceptions.

    It was while researching April 5th birthdays for notables born on this date (and finding the likes of Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis and Gregory Peck) that I¬†saw among them¬†a long forgotten character actor whose name¬†(Grady Sutton, born 4/5/1906)¬†rang a bell….so I¬†decided to¬†do such a post today and include him among those I pay tribute to. To make it a bit (player) more interesting, I’ll list six names, followed by¬†clips (not¬†in the same order)¬†of scenes in which they separately appear. Can you¬†spot one of the six¬†in each¬†clip?

    1. Eric Blore
    2. Margaret Dumont
    3. James Finlayson
    4. Billy Gilbert
    5. Hattie McDaniel
    6. Grady Sutton

    a. 

    b.

    c.

    d.

    e.

    f.

    How many could you identify? Hint: the names match the clips in reverse order; e.g.,
    1. Eric Blore¬†is the British valet being “summoned” in “f.” For more on Blore, click here:
    Eric Blore: What a Character!

    2. Margaret Dumont (clip “e”)¬†should pose no recognition¬†problem for Marx Brothers fans. For those who aren’t Marxists, mark this: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0241669/bio

    3. James Finlayson (clip “d”) should pose no recognition problem for Laurel & Hardy fans. When you can’t imagine any other actor in his L & H¬†roles, you know he was¬†truly unique: http://www.wayoutwest.org/finlayson/

    4. Billy Gilbert is the man (Pettibone) in the middle in this¬†clip (“c”) from HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940). Like Finlayson and Dumont, another one-of-a-kinder: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0317970/

    5. Hattie McDaniel (clip “b”)¬†plays Aunt Tempy¬†and sings “Sooner or Later” opposite James Baskett (as Uncle Remus) in this scene from Walt Disney’s¬†SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946). Best known role: Mammy, in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939): http://www.biography.com/people/hattie-mcdaniel-38433

    6. Grady Sutton (clip “a”) plays new assistant (Chester) to W.C. Fields in this scene from YOU CAN’T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN (1939). He was also a Fields foil in¬†MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE (1935) and THE BANK DICK (1940).

    Yes, my friends, there were great character actors¬†in the land of make-believe¬†in those days. If¬†some were but¬†“bit” players, they¬†made their small parts singularly indispensable. We shall not see their like again.

     
    • Don Frankel 7:39 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know I was thinking Hattie McDaniel is well known. I mean she has an Academy Award and she had her own TV show… and then I realized, no I’m just old enough to remember. But these are those great actors that would pop up in all those old movies and they were very believable in all their roles.

      There’s another actor in the Billy Gilbert clip and wasn’t he the Judge in Miracle on 34th Street?

      Like

      • mistermuse 9:43 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Don, you’re right about the Judge in Miracle on 34th Street being the same actor (Gene Lockhart) as the sheriff (the man with no hat) in the Billy Gilbert clip. Lockhart appeared in many films and was interesting in his own right, but Gilbert and the other guy in that clip (Clarence Kolb) steal the scene. Their fast-paced exchange, especially in the last 20 seconds or so of the clip, is hilarious.

        Like

    • arekhill1 9:22 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll just take my “F,” please.

      Like

      • mistermuse 10:00 am on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        In my classroom, you get an “A” just for showing up (or, if you prefer, an “a” for “arekhill1”). You also deserve an “A” for Attendance (as in perfect attendance).

        Like

    • M√©l@nie 1:53 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      wonderful and emotional tribute to those non-starring actors of several classic films(“films-culte in French!) – we call them “personnages secondaires”(secondary roles)… they play small parts, but most of the times they’re great actors who have contributed to the success of the film…

      • * *

      I’ve seen all these movies, but I must have watched “Casablanca” 4-5 times, and I’ve never been tired of it!!! ūüôā

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:12 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        For those of us who either grew up with, or later came to appreciate, those old movies and the essential part the non-starring actors played in them, we know the part they have played in making our lives richer. Vive le Casablanca and all the rest! ūüôā

        Like

    • linnetmoss 6:36 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I love Erik Blore, whom I know from the Astaire-Rogers films. Another brilliant comic actor along these lines is Erik Rhodes (“Your wife is safe with Tonetti! He prefer spaghetti!”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:21 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Coincidentally, I was going to include Erik Rhodes in my “cast of characters,” but decided to limit the number to six in order to keep the post to a reasonable (however arbitrary that may be) length. Rhodes was absolutely wonderful in that role, and I well remember the lines you quote!

      Like

    • RMW 11:33 pm on April 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “Character” actors make a very good living without all the hassles of being “stars.” If I had another life to live that is one of the careers I think would be very satisfying to me. Would not want to be a “star” for any amount of money.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:41 am on April 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree. A few of the stars in the old days (like Greta Garbo) sought to be virtual recluses outside the studios, but I’m sure even trying to avoid the spotlight was a hassle.

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 4:41 pm on February 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hooters, , opinions, , , Wizard Of Oz   

    NO BRAINER DAY 

    February 27 is NO BRAINER DAY. I think, if the day only had a theme song, it would be:

    For a be-careful-what-you-wish-for opinion, an “in the KNOW BRAINER might say this:

    The brain is a thinking machine whose chief use is to find reasons to keep thinking as we already do. –-Evan Esar

    Yet, what good is thinking if we can’t say what we think:

    Should headstrong opinions ever be repressed?
    ‘twould be a shame to leave them unexpressed.
    Relative thinking gets no respect from the majority;
    To impress, you must express opinions with authority.
    mistermuse

    But let’s look at it scientifically:

    Men’s minds are merely neurons;
    Men’s brains are but computers.
    Men’s eyes: brain switch-offs in the head
    When activated by women’s hooters.

    –mistermuse

    In my humble opinion, that’s enough to think about on NO BRAINER DAY. If you have an opinion, save it….unless it agrees with mine.

     
    • arekhill1 5:25 pm on February 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t want to think about it.

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:35 pm on February 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      No problem, Ricardo. I know you’re a big Oz fan, but as Scarlett O’Hara said in that “other” 1939 film, “Tomorrow is another day.”

      Like

    • Don Frankel 2:02 pm on February 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, you know how people say this is my day. Well this is my day. Why? That’s a no brainer.

      Great clip. Great movie.

      Like

    • mistermuse 2:16 pm on February 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You got that right, Don. Outside of CASABLANCA, I guess I watched WIZARD OF OZ more than any other movie (especially when I was younger).

      Like

    • M√©lanie 1:48 am on March 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      @”unless it agrees with mine.” – hopefully and fortunately, it does… ūüôā I also loved “Oz” as a kid and I did watch it several times… as for “Casablanca”, I still continue to watch it – each time it’s on some TV channel… so welcome to the “Oz & Casablanca” fan club and play it again, Mister Muse! ūüôā

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:03 am on March 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Melanie, you’re obviously a gal after my own heart — if I only had one! I’m off to see the wizard…..

      Like

    • Joseph Nebus 5:10 pm on March 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I missed the whole day, and went about thinking over too much stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 5:37 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Wizard Of Oz,   

    A DISTANT RAINBOW 

    Once upon a time, in a sepia-toned place called Kansas (before landing in the colorful and Merry Old Land of Oz), a girl by the name of Dorothy sang a song called OVER THE RAINBOW. We all (many of us, at any rate) know who sang that song in the film, but the man who composed it is now long past recognition by almost all. He was born on this day (Feb. 15, 1905), and his name was Harold Arlen. This post is simply an appreciation of the man and his music, each of which encompasses much more than one man and one song….for, in those days, popular songs generally did not live by melody alone and were not born of one person alone. Composers/songs needed lyricists/words.

    Arlen himself (according to biographer Edward Jablonski) acknowledged that words – even the title – were just as important as the melody, often saying that “A good lyric writer is the composer’s best friend.” The lyricists who collaborated with Arlen were among the best in the business: Ira Gershwin, Ted Koehler, Johnny Mercer, E.Y.”Yip” Harburg….and the songs they wrote were among the best in popular music history (many of them done for movies and Broadway shows). Here are some of them:

    1930 – GET HAPPY
    1931 – BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA
    1932 – I’VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING
    1933 – IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON; LET’S FALL IN LOVE; STORMY WEATHER
    1934 – ILL WIND
    1935 – LAST NIGHT WHEN WE WERE YOUNG
    1939 – OVER THE RAINBOW; WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD; DING-DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD
    1941 – BLUES IN THE NIGHT
    1942 – THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC
    1944 – AC-CENT-CHU-ATE THE POSITIVE

    But even those who remember Harold Arlen the composer probably do not know that he was also a fine singer who made a number of recordings, such as this one in 1933:

    Harold Arlen died April 23, 1986, but his music should never die.

     
    • arekhill1 6:57 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If I only had a brain, I’d write something wittier here.

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    • mistermuse 7:13 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’d try to respond in kind, Ricardo, but I’d only be grasping at straws.

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 11:44 pm on February 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      As I listened to this beautiful voice singing one of many of my favorite songs you had listed, I think I fell into love all over again with this rich and lovely music. Have seen the movie many times. Thank you, mistermuse for awaking the romantic in my soul. It is so sad that Harold Arlen could not become a great vocalist. He certainly deserved that in addition to his career as a lyricist.

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    • Joseph Nebus 12:26 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Boy, that is a heck of a list of songs, ins’t it?

      Like

    • scifihammy 12:42 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      While I know most of the songs you list, it is as you say, I did not know the composer. Thanks for the enlightenment ūüôā

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    • mistermuse 6:26 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “They don’t make ’em like that anymore.” Thank all of you for your comments.

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    • Don Frankel 10:29 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You know I remember seeing on TV an older Yip Harburg sitting at a Piano and explaining how he came up with the lyric for Somewhere Over The Rainbow. He played the opening notes on the Piano and showed how he kept thinking of the sound and then how “Somewhere” just seemed to pop out so naturally. It was fascinating.

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    • mistermuse 11:39 am on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, the story of Harbug’s and Arlen’s writing the score for THE WIZARD OF OZ and their difficulties with”Over the Rainbow” is indeed fascinating. My Jan.13 2014 post RAINBOWS FOR CHRISTMAS covers it in some detail, for those interested. Just click January 2014 in the “Archives” column to the right, and scroll down to Jan. 13.

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  • mistermuse 11:25 am on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blacklist, Burton Lane, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead, , , , If I Only Had A Brain, L. Frank Baum, , , The Merry Old Land Of Oz, We're Off To See The Wizard, Wizard Of Oz,   

    RAINBOWS FOR CHRISTMAS 

    My melodies always sounded better with a Yip Harburg lyric.¬† –Burton Lane, composer (Finian’s Rainbow)

    ****************************************************************************

    I have the rainbow reflection of Yip Harburg’s lyrics¬†on, and in, my mind as¬†I write this review of a biography I received for Christmas. The book, titled Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz?¬†¬†was co-written by his son, Ernie Harburg, and Harold Meyerson….but in a sense, it was written by Yip himself, suffused as it is with¬†the words of his songs, his¬†quotes and, above all,¬†his spirit.

    Yip, as you no doubt know if you know anything about the Golden Age of popular music and movies¬†in America, is the man who put the rainbow in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz¬†(as well as¬†in the 1947 Broadway musical¬†Finian’s Rainbow).¬†Actually, there was no reference to a¬†rainbow¬†in the book on which the film is based, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). The idea of a rainbow was the creation of Yip Harburg, who “told Harold [composer Harold Arlen] about it and we went to work on a tune.” That “tune” was,¬†of course, Over The Rainbow, which went on to win¬† the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was named #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 top songs. How hard was it to write? It was the first song in the film, but the last to be written, after the whole score had been finished: a score which included We’re Off To See The Wizard, The Merry Old Land Of Oz, If I Only Had A Brain, If I Were King of The Forest¬†and Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.

    But….the witch wasn’t dead. Little did Yip know that little more than a decade later, he would be off to see the witch hunters of the McCarthy era and blacklisted for suspected Communist sympathies (he was never a Communist Party member, though¬†admittedly¬†“an avowed democratic¬†socialist,” which wasn’t/isn’t unlawful but was and¬†continues to be conflated with Communism in some circles, even today). Shunned by Hollywood, TV¬†and radio throughout the 1950s, Harburg still had standing on Broadway, but his shows never again attained his previous success.

    In addition to his creative talent¬†and sense of social justice, Harburg had a great sense of humor: One of the things that bothered me about my society was that there were so many problems in the world. My approach to solving these problems was to make people see the folly of them, the foibles of them, or the mythology of them. If you look at them like Puck in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and say, “What fools these mortals be,” then you can make people laugh and see their follies.
    That doesn’t say humor is the only approach. Everybody approaches his art through his own psyche and methods. I am giving you mine. My approach is through satire because humor is the greatest solvent that I know of. It takes the arrogance out of people. We all hear many different political views. People disagree so strongly they even want to kill each other.

    Just as Harburg’s¬†socialism ran afoul¬†of political spoilsports like Joseph McCarthy, so his humor was hounded by the Hayes Office (Hollywood’s censorship czar) in the late 1930s. The following song, which he wrote for Groucho Marx in AT THE CIRCUS, ¬†was censored until he added a final verse (listen for it) to legitimize it. Say, have you met Lydia?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4zRe_wvJw8

     
    • Daniel Fergus Tamulonis 3:32 pm on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      How extraordinary and welcome are your thoughtful comments on Harburg and his refreshing look at the world. The Harlem Repertory Theatre is in the middle of producing a double bill of “Finian’s Rainbow and Flahooley, both with books and lyrics by Harburg. The latter was written in response to Harburg’s grossly unfair treatment in Hollywood and truly Puck-like, he thumbs his nose at the injustices of those witch hunts. If you are anywhere near New York City, please pay us a visit and thank you for your comments. Your prose merits at least a free front row seat! (Tell them I told you so!)
      Sincerely and gratefully …

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    • mistermuse 5:12 pm on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am extremely pleased by your comment, Daniel, and would certainly take you up on your invitation to visit if I lived anywhere near NYC, but unfortunately I do not. It is good to know that “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Flahooley” are still alive and well at The Harlem Repertory Theatre, and I urge my blog friends in the area to pay you a visit in my stead and enjoy the show. Look to the Rainbow!

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    • Don Frankel 5:06 am on January 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I actually saw Harburg on TV getting interviewed years ago. He was explaining how he had come up with the lyrics to Somewhere over the Rainbow. He was playing the opening notes and showing how the word somewhere seemed to be the only word to fit. It was priceless. You don’t get to see stuff like that very often.

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    • mistermuse 4:52 am on January 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. The book of which I write in this post devotes over four pages just to the difficulty Harburg and Arlen had writing this song, including this Harburg quote: “he [Arlen] gave me a tune with those first two notes an octave apart. I tried I’ll go over the rainbow, Someday over the rainbow [etc.]. For a while I thought I would just leave those first two notes out.. It was a long time before I came to Somewhere over the rainbow.”

      I would love to have seen that interview you saw.

      Like

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