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Monthly Archives: April 2006

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Glorious Technicolor and Stereophonic Sound

Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum offers his ten favorite offbeat musicals (via Something Old, Nothing New). Thanks to his list, I put Red Garters on my Netflix queue and will have another opportunity to marvel at the underrated comic appeal of Jack Carson. And it’s nice to see some love for That’s Entertainment! III, the ignored stepchild of that filmic trilogy.

Gonna Be Strong

pitney.jpg
Like many others, I was sorry to hear of the death of singer Gene Pitney at age 65. Pitney was a true original who has unfairly been lumped in with other, less substantial “teen idol” singers of the early ’60s. Unlike all those Bobbys and Fabians, however, he was also a talented songwriter in his own right with great ear for other songwriters — be them known (best ever male interpreter of Bacharach-David) or unknown (also recorded early songs by Mick Jagger/Keith Richards and Randy Newman). He was also the kindest, most approachable famous person I know of. Back in the mid ’90s, Pitney was among the few celebrities to have an active part in his own AOL discussion group. People would constantly ask him questions, both stupid and interesting — and he would always answer each one cheerfully and with great insight into his unique career. I’ll miss him.

Smile and a Ribbon

Keen! Check out this unique animated commercial for the British Lottery which uses Patience & Prudence’s 1950s hit “A Smile and a Ribbon” to excellent effect. (via the Sound Scavengers list)

Remembrance of Things Pastel

Have you ever thought of something fleeting from your childhood, then spent hours trying to track it down? For some ungodly reason, I recalled these cool in-house promos for some theater chain (AMC?) which I remember seeing in the late ’70s/early ’80s. It was animated with these spacey optical effects showing a guy in a movie seat. A re-recorded version of Steely Dan’s “Everyone’s Gone to the Movies” played on the soundtrack (an odd choice considering the lyrics). Alas, I can find nothing on the web about this — not even a peep from a fellow nostalgic weblogger. Anybody else remember this?

That also led me to try and find info on a Saturday Morning TV show I used to watch during the same period — a short-lived live action/animated show with some generic sounding title about people who worked in an animation studio. Probably it was a crappy show, but at the time I loved it because I wanted to be an animator when I grew up and it was cool to see people (even silly, broadly drawn characters) who enjoyed doing that for a living.

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

Want something to make you smile? Better catch Blow Up Doll’s upload of “Bubbles” by The Free Design before it goes. For the uninitiated, “Bubbles” is the most brilliant, weirdest, description-defying song ever made. Another recommendation — “Love So Fine” by The Four King Cousins, a sunny bit of 1968 girly pop from (as far as I know) their only LP.

Another corny but cool find on Bedazzled!: Carol Burnett and The Carpenters performing a medley (including one song all too familiar for me) on The Carol Burnett Show circa 1970. Somebody needs to release this stuff on DVD, and soon.

Peter Pan Meets The White Stripes

Queasiness to spare in New York Magazine’s cover story on “Grups”, trendy Manhattanites in their 30s, 40s and 50s who still live like indie hipsters in their 20s. I kind of see a little tiny bit of myself in these folks (pushing 40, underemployed and still lunching on ramen soup), but mostly the article’s anecdotes are of the jaw-dropping variety — spending three figures on delapidated blue jeans, women emulating Mary-Kate and Ashley’s homeless lady-chic look, parents forcing trendoid music and baby concert tees onto their children (cripes, I hate when parents try to mold their kids into “mini me” versions of themselves). Try to avoid the photos of them lined up in grids, looking like clones. Do people really like being walking, talking clichés? It’s depressing.

By the way, today marks the tenth anniversary of the purchase of my baby, the beautiful 1927 brick bungalow we live in. I always think of this event as my own true entry into adulthood. Take that, Grups.