America Fall Down Go Boom

One unexpected benefit of cutting the cable cord last spring is that we can’t wallow in gloomy election-night coverage. We can, however, wallow in YouTube disaster-movie montages, so here’s New York getting repeatedly blasted off the face of the Earth to accompany your apocalyptic musings.


Oh, darn — Apple TV has an ABC News livestream. Guess I’ll have to wallow anyway. But just for awhile. I can quit at any time.

Kasich wins reelection in Ohio, ABC jabbers that he’s now Presidential material. In related news, I’m turning off ABC soon.

We are watching Olive Kitteridge – I have no idea what’s going on, and I don’t want to know. If the crazies take over, that’s OK, because maybe the electorate will have learned there is a difference by then. Maybe ….

@blogenfreude: The Crazies took over in 1981, and here we are.

Well, at least New Hampshire rejected the carpetbagger.

Tried ABC again for five minutes. Now I’m five minutes dumber.

TJ/ Say you worked for a gov’t agency, and two armed dudes decided to hang out in the lobby of the bldg in which your agency is renting space. Your building goes on lockdown via EMAIL that says there’s an emergency so stay on your floor and don’t go to X floor. Then you get an email saying CORRECTION, don’t go to Y floor. Assuming you read the email and aren’t already roaming about the building, you’re like, okay…hmmm…

There used to be an armed guard at the entrance, but armed guard is gone because of AWESOME new security system that has sucked since it went online a few months ago. Six floors of the building you’re in are about to be rented to other folks, hence the need for a new system that will allow new folks to get to their floors without infiltrating yours. Plus security guard is more expensive. Pfft.

Instead of new tenants, you get two armed dudes sitting in the lobby.

Now here’s where things get uncool: The local head of your agency sends out word, via email, that two homeless chaps wanted to sleep on the lobby chairs, and the police took them away. This sounds like a HUGE load of crap, so you go and talk to the police/sheriff people and ask what happened.

1. Two dudes go into lobby – building security (not the armed kind – the kind that wander around outside) sees one dude holding a weapon while entering the lobby and calls police.

2. Police come and get one dude, but second dude flees.

3. Police get second dude.

4. Dudes had guns, were gang bangers and felons. Off to the hoosegow with them.

They don’t sound like two sleepy homeless chaps to me.

We have a right to know the truth. The armed guards we used to have were there to protect the files and not us. BTW, “lockdown” really meant that the file bank was locked down. Some of us were obliviously roaming around because we didn’t read the fucking emails because we were not at our desks.

I am so pissed that people are being lied to. I mean, if people are like, “Fuck this armed felons crap – I quit!”, they should be able to say just that. If people want to stay (and I’m staying) they should decide to do so knowing what really went on, although this isn’t an assumption of the risk thing.

I requested the police report. If those fuckers keep lying, I’m smacking someone upside the head with that damn report. I think OSHA only cares if your face gets burned off by acid, and I don’t think this is an OIG thing. Maybe a Labor thing, especially if all of our PTSD is triggered and we start hiding under desks.

It’s the lying that sucks. The motherfucking lying.

If “management” decides to tell the truth before I get the police report, I might not make a ruckus. But I probably will, because they took away everyone’s right to make a choice – the right to decide if this job is worth really lax security. Some of my coworkers are aware of the lie. Many have concealed carry permits and might not care about the weapons on gov’t property thing when they come to work tomorrow, bc God KNOWS all we need are PTSD concealed carry employees wandering about.

What I do know is that we will have an armed guard tomorrow. Okay, that’s a guess. If we don’t, I work for some of the dumbest bastards ever.

The pig castrator won in Iowa. She has the laugh of a crazy homeless person. And she will be a US Senator.

Oh, and our dueling gun initiatives. This is a weird place.

On the bright side, D.C.’s marijuana legalization initiative passed 69-31.

Today we learned that a political party can run the economy off a cliff and get us stuck in two wars, but it only takes six years for the country to collectively forget.

We also learned that running away from your party’s Preznident like a chickenshit just makes you easier to pick off.

And our reward for all this learning is to suffer Nonstop Hillary for the next two years.

@mellbell: And how fast does the new GOP Congress put a stop to that fantasy?

@nojo: Our saving grace is that the DEA is chasing methheads. I’m wondering if the next president (Jeb?) will be like, you will respect my authority, and have the DEA open a can of whoopass on WA, CO and whoever else “legalizes” recreational pot in the next two years.

In a ray of good news, San Francisco voters raised the minimum wage to $15/hour (still won’t get you shit when the average rent for a 1 bedroom is around $2500/mo), and California voters passed Prop. 47 which will make a whole bunch of felony criminal charges (primarily drug offenses) now be misdemeanors in an attempt to cut down on our insanely stuffed-to-the-gills prisons.

@SanFranLefty: And the City of Berkeley just passed a soda tax, despite the millions of dollars poured into the no campaign by Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
/reporting from the Peoples’ Republic of the Bay Area

@SanFranLefty: Oh! Is SF doing it incrementally? Seattle’s plan is tied up in court. We’re supposed to hit $10 or $11 by April 1st.

WA takes your guns! And we get some of our damn buses back.

Wait – Corbett’s gone? Awesome.

@nojo: The RepubliKKKans destroyed the government and the eCONomy, so naturally voters punished them by giving them total control of the government and the eCONomy.

Nation’s Poor Win Election For Nation’s Rich

WASHINGTON, DC—The economically disadvantaged segment of the U.S. population provided the decisive factor in another presidential election last Tuesday, handing control of the government to the rich and powerful once again…

“The Republican party—the party of industrial mega-capitalists, corporate financiers, power brokers, and the moneyed elite—would like to thank the undereducated rural poor, the struggling blue-collar workers in Middle America,” Karl Rove told reporters at a press conference Monday. “You have selflessly sacrificed your well-being and voted against your own economic interest. For this, we humbly thank you.” Regardless of their own interests, these citizens turned out in record numbers to elect conservatives into office at all levels of the government.

“My family’s been suffering ever since I lost my job at the screen-door factory, and I haven’t seen a doctor for well on four years now,” said father of four Buddy Kaldrin of Eerie, CO. “Shit, I don’t even remember what a dentist’s chair looks like… Basically, I’d give up if it weren’t for God’s grace.”

Kaldrin added: “That’s why I always vote straight-ticket Republican, just like my daddy did, before he lost the farm and shot hisself in the head, and just like his daddy did, before he died of black-lung disease in the company coal mines.”

Kaldrin was one of many who listed moral issues among their primary reasons for voting Republican.

“The alliance between the tiny fraction at the top of the pyramid and the teeming masses of mouth-breathers at its enormous base has never been stronger,” a triumphant Bush said. “We have an understanding, them and us. They help us stay rich, and in return, we help them stay poor. See? No matter what naysayers may think, the system works.”

One point of light: well-known Jewish lesbian, former State legislator and actress on the “Dobie Gillis” show (playing Zelda Gilroy) Sheila Kuehl beat rick, feckless Kennedy family good-hair candidate Bobby Shriver (Maria’s brother) for a seat on the LA County Board of Supervisors.

McConnell’s fat fucking face is on TV, the TV is on mute, and I am listening to Real Car Review videos to console myself. First Tom Magliozzi, now this.

And why does it always have to be Manhattan? Terrorists, big rubbery monsters, tsunamis, meteors, nuclear devices, sharknados, Tara Reid … enough already!

@Dodgerblue: Meanwhile, William Kennedy Smith, accused rapist and nephew of JFK, RFK, and Teddy, won, with 222 votes, a seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for Foggy Bottom, representing, among other things, the Kennedy Center and the Watergate, where he lives. (The rape charge, as some of you no doubt remember, received quite a bit of a media attention at the time, in part because he’d been partying with Teddy and cousin Patrick on the night in question.) No one even ran for the seat in my neighborhood, so I wrote myself in. Had I known sooner I would have tried to talk one of my neighbors into actually running.

@blogenfreude: They sent dinosaurs to Sandy Eggo, and nobody gave a shit.

@nojo: Of course we did! And LA took the brunt of Sharknado 1. But we regularly get destroyed, flooded, prehistoric monsters lay their eggs in Madison Square Garden (worst Godzilla movie ever, BTW). And they’ve blown up Congress, what, maybe twice?

And I am counting the minutes until my Dawn of the Planet of the Apes blu ray arrives. That and the first one should make up for that Tim Burton piece of shite.

@nojo: Loving that clip. Having recently been in NYC it’s all I ever wanted to see happen. All that’s lacking is Zabar’s being zapped and spewing whitefish on Broadway. Two pugs up.

OT. That is some grand anthemic musical theatre song.

If I can MAKE it THERE


Come on come THROUGH





(Yup ta didlly yup ta diddly fup ta diddly yup!

Cor blimey.

Yup ta diddly yup ta diddly yup ta diddly yup…

fadeout in background

Stagehands strike set. Actors sign Playbills outside the stage door. Drunks vomit in gutter. Autograph hound asks, Are you anybody? Young man of extraordinary ability and beauty thinks Jackson Heights is only 45 minutes away. Bed by 1. Tap class tomorrow at 9.

If I can MAKE it HERE. I could maybe teach DANCE in Iron Junction, MI. It’s up to you… IRON JUNCTION… MI!!!

Ya didlly yup ta diddly fup ta diddly yup!)

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: Why is this day different from all other days?

The Farce Awakens???? I didn’t know it was asleep.

@¡Andrew!: Just makes it all the more painful to see the October economic numbers how more than 200K jobs were added and the unemployment rate dropped. That ne-THONK sure has messed up everything, better vote Republican.

@JNOV: Incrementally to 2018.

@SanFranLefty: The last time the RepubliKKKans seized total control at the state and federal level in 2004, it was such a warp-speed catastrophe that it caused the Democratic Blue Wave in 2006 and led directly to Obama’s election in 2008 if that’s any comfort (it’s not).

In more important news (because it concerns me):

The Polish Tea Room is closing!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! They can’t do this!! It’s an outrage. I am personally outraged. I am going to write to people. There will be blood in the streets. Thank God Bruce Adler didn’t live to see this day of infamy.

@¡Andrew!: That’s what I keep telling myself. The next two years’ worth of shitshow will get millennials off their fucking asses to vote.

Meanwhile, this analysis of the Texas gov-nuh race is so fucking spot on:

Among voters, 94 percent of Black women, 90 percent of Black men, 61 percent of Latinas, and 49 percent of Latinos in Texas voted for Wendy Davis.

Meanwhile, just 32 percent of white Texas women who voted did so for Wendy Davis.

You’ll hear that Greg Abbott “carried” women voters in Texas. Anyone who says that is also saying this: that Black women and Latinas are not “women,” and that carrying white women is enough to make the blanket statement that Abbott carried all women. That women generally failed to vote for Wendy Davis. As if women of color are some separate entity, some mysterious other, some bizarre demographic of not-women.

@Benedick: Good point.

I am exhausted with your bullshit, America. Why are you all such stupid tools? These people crash and burn the country every time we put them in control. Every.Fucking.Time. Fuck this noise.

How are all of you? I have been involved in more corporate skullduggery, as usual. This time at WB. My team is winning, for now. Why we just don’t do our jobs and stop screwing each other over is beyond me. Yet we do.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: There you are! How’s the new house & neighborhood?

I’m fine; doing the Desperate Househuzband thing (not by choice, as I’m terrible at it). I’ve applied for about a zillion jobs, but no love connections yet.

On the plus side, this is the first election in 20 years in which we haven’t had to listen to some bug-eyed Southern Republican screeching about “Beel Clintuhn’s payniss!!1!”

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: Good point. Good Point??!!! Which of many, bra? As regards SS. Bullshit America didn’t I say we needed Denmark to invade? Did I. Not. Say. That?? Did I not provide pictures of typical Dane shouldering barrel? (I’ll try to stop shrieking but, you know, it’s hard. As the actress said… ) Do I need to post those pictures again?? Do I? Lars stripped to the waist after three years at sea? Do you really need to see that???

Big breaths. Of course we can’t govern ourselves because we have The South. (OK, southern Stinque go fry chittlins) Also the Midwest. Plus Maine. Plus… Wait… I just need a refill here. Mmmmm. K. WB. You have a team? Darling, of course y’all (a southern locution that makes me want to punch pole dancers where it counts) can’t stop screwing each other over because that is the point of a free market and the movie industry is about the free marketyest of free markets that free markets can get. The point of Hollywood is I DON’T RETURN CALLS. The crap up there on some screen in Scranton is irrelevant. It’s all about deals.

@¡Andrew!: Because the mooslim kenyan marxist communist libral Soros-lovin, fancy-pants sissy gay-lovin secret homo with bull-dyke pretend wife shoving it all down our throats while FEMA unrolls the barbed-wire is better than the Clinton dick? (I hear it’s not that great. Shocker, I know)

@Benedick: Oh just wait until Hillbot 3000 gets the nomination. It’s gonna be all payniss, all the time.

“The hue-mahns shall have the abortions, and the Cor-porations shall have the tax cuts. They shall have the Cor-porate abortions. The Wall Street pro-testors will be ex-ter-mee-nay-ted. (Beep click pop whirr) End transmission.” – Hillbot 3000.

@¡Andrew!: I see your Hillbot and raise it Margaret Atwood style.

/spending Saturday night researching emigration to New Zealand and Iceland.

@¡Andrew!: Good! We had trick-or-treaters which was awesome. Plus I get to garden, which is fun. It’s amazing how little money you have after you buy a house, however.

@SanFranLefty: @¡Andrew!: We may as well get excited about her. What’s the alternative?

@Benedick: AOT, K.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: What’s the alternative?

Not getting excited about her.

We’re back to Hollywood Squares voting: “I’ll take Hillary to block Ted Cruz.”

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: Darling, you’re not spending money you’re investing it. Plant tulips.

@nojo: She won’t be terrible, just center-right. You know, just center-terrible. Anyway she will make Ann Coulter’s head explode. I vote for that.

@Benedick: I wish we were spending it on something fun like tulips. It was worth it to bring the insulation up to the maximum standard, it just wasn’t very sexy.

ALSO: Arguments about decorating are the new black.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: Policies aside, she’s also a terrible politician. And by 2016, she’ll be a terrible old politician — 69 on election day.

We may be stuck with her nomination, but I would take nothing granted about her election, especially if the Thugs run somebody who can keep a straight face. Oh, hi Jeb!

Nobody is electing a fucking bush again period. Surely even our mouth-breathing electorate is smart enough to see that. Good God Almighty, they couldn’t really actually be that stupid…

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: Well, that sounds like a double dare if ever I’ve heard one.

@¡Andrew!: It’s the intellectual equivalent of watching somebody drink bleach and die and then deciding to give yourself an enema from the same bottle. It would be madness.

@Benedick: The great Bernadette Peters graciously signed Playbills for my worshipful daughters after a performance of Gypsy that she toughed her way though although afflicted with a cold. And, having represented all the Hollywood studios except Disney (those assholes), I think you are dead on when you say it’s all about the deal. What’s on the screen is to sell popcorn.

Jeb vs. Corey Cory. We have two years to spell his name right, although no one pronounces Colin Powell’s first name correctly. I wonder why that is.

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: You’re kidding, right? If this election proved anything, it’s that these morons will make the same mistakes over and over and over. It is madness. It is insanity, if that is indeed defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. The only thing that will doom Jeb is being too liberal for the immigrant-haters.

@Dodgerblue: The only woman who didn’t win the Tony as Rose in Gypsy was Merman. She lost to Mary Martin for THE SOUND OF FUCKING MOTHERFUCKING MUSIC FUCKING YOU UP THE ASS IF YOU’RE LUCKY.

Darling, it’s not about popcorn. I’m thinking of the Iceland youngsters going out in the summer months to murder, rape, and pillage. It was a respectable occupation. Same with Hollywood except the studio heads need to see blood on their blotters. The deal proves manhood. Whatever the fuck is on the screen… Bullock, Clooney, are you fucking kidding me? Where is Batman?…is irrelevant. The industry exists to not take your calls.

@Benedick: Mary Martin couldn’t carry Ethel Merman’s jockstrap.

A bit of kvelling: my younger daughter when in her early teens knew about and appreciated Ethel Merman. She also can play softball and poker, and roots against the SF Giants. I’ve done something right.

@Benedick: Come on, how could anyone hate a musical with this song that was left out of the movie? Max and The Baroness explain life to The Captain. I have always loved Theodore Bikel’s voice since first hearing the original cast album.

“You dear attractive dewy-eyed idealist,
Today you have to learn to be a realist.

You may be bent on doing deed of derring-do,
But up against a shark, what can a herring do?

Be wise, compromise.

Compromise, and be wise!

Let them think you’re on their side, be noncommittal.

I will not bow my head to the men I despise!

You won’t have to bow your head: just stoop a little.

Why not learn to put your faith and your reliance,
On an obvious and simple fact of science?

A crazy planet full of crazy people,
Is somersaulting all around the sky.
And everytime it turns another somersault,
Another day goes by.
And there’s no way to stop it,
No, there’s no way to stop it.
No, you can’t stop it even if you tried.
So, I’m not going to worry,
No, I’m not going to worry,
Everytime I see another day go by.

While somersaulting at a cockeyed angle,
We make a cockeyed circle ’round the sun.
And when we circle back to where we started from,
Another year has run.

And there’s no way to stop it,
No, there’s no way to stop it,
If the earth wants to roll around the sun.
You’re a fool if you worry.
You’re a fool if you worry,
Over anything but little number one.

That’s you!

That’s I!

And I!

And me!

That all absorbing character.

That fascinating creature.

That super special feature,


So every star on every whirling planet,
And every constellation in the sky,
Revolves around the center of the universe,
That lovely thing called, I.

And there’s no way to stop it.
No, there’s no way to stop it,
And I know, though I cannot tell you why.
Just as long as I’m living,
Just as long as I’m living,
There’ll be nothing else as wonderful as I.
I! I! I! Nothing else as wonderful as I!”

@Tommmcatt Au Gros Sel: Happy birthday, doll!1! May you celebrate with assless chaps and a hot Asian man!

@Dave H: When I auditioned for Max that was not an option. Never heard of that song before. It aint on youtube. Just scanning the lyric I’m thinking they substituted Something Good. Lovely story-telling song. Mit schlag.

@Dodgerblue: The only actrine who did not win the Tony for playing mama Rose was Merman. May I point you to what I regard as one of the great achievements of the American Musical, Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Merman’s first film. Director Henry King defines epic cinema.

@SanFranLefty: Darling, he’s past that. These days it’s all wakey-wakey, hello, prune juice and BMs. And Donna Summer! What a time that was. We are family. Bless him. Kisses on his special place.

I heard Harvey Fierstein interviewed this aft on our local NPR station. I can’t help it, I start laughing before he finishes his first sentence, and then it just gets better.

@Benedick: Look for “No Way to Stop It – Lyrics” on youtube. It’s by some revival cast or other – by no means as good as the original.

One story is that all songs by The Baroness were deleted in the movie because Eleanor Parker couldn’t sing. I think “Singin’ in the Rain” showed there are work arounds for that problem. Most likely they decided to make The Baroness an ice queen to make Julie Andrews seem more angelic.

For the Stinquers slurping Ethel Merman, I have just two words for you to demonstrate that Mary Martin was in fact superior. Get ready. Set:


Anyone trying to imagine Merman pulling off that role?

In fact, I have two more words to show Martin’s genetic dominance:


@Dave H: Hell, My Fair Lady showed there are workarounds for that.

@nojo: I have read they dubbed Christopher Plummer’s singing in Sound of Music. Personally I thought the new songs added for the movie were lame at best, and poor compensation for the songs that were deleted from the play.

@Dave H: Didn’t know they dubbed Plummer. Rex Harrison sang (well, pattered) live for Fair Lady, which was a technical achievement at the time — radio mic, hidden in plain sight. Tie pin.

Hepburn, of course, was dubbed by Marni Nixon, in a role that Julie Andrews originated on stage. Which leads to the Mad magazine parody lyrics of Climb Ev’ry Mountain that’s stuck with me for fifty years:

When we beat Fair Lady,
Vengeance… will… be… MINE.

OK. I’ve been away and see the result. And no, I haven’t yet been taken away though that be well be in the cards. Just to be clear, I am calm, I have had a BM today, I even walked in the woods, I don’t have a nosebleed, and I don’t care if Matt Bomer is wearing a shirt or not. Let’s roll up our sleeves and look at musical theatre:

@Dave H: The movie was refocussed on the main story. So they cut the subplots. Movie structure not like theatre structure. Theatre does detail and character. Movie does snacks. So the Baroness was cut because it was there to advance the plot- show us what the Captain doesn’t want. In musicals of that epoch you couldn’t have a subplot without ghastly comic turns that should be got rid of as soon as possible. The rôle was cut not to make Ms Andrews – blessed with a musical theatre soprano of crystalline purity – for some egotistical reason it was cut to focus the story. And now here we go: story is not plot and plot is not story. Robert Wise was a wonderful director. He turned the dreadful stage musical into a dream of love that happens unexpectedly and that can’t be denied.

@Dave H: Darling, you say you’re not gay. I believe you . Cross heart. So you can have no idea of the hurt, the trauma…

I can’t complete that sentence. Merman’s performance has never been equalled. Mary Martin was 40 playing a girl of… musical theatre nun girlness 19.

I had a dream.
It wasn’t about you, Peter Pan.
And if it wasn’t ’bout me,
just where would you be Tiger Lily?

Christopher Plummer was not dubbed. He’s an extremely accomplished actor. As before: a movie can’t hope to capture the reality of the play. The stage musical was panned everywhere it played and ran for years. Not unlike the shows by another composer beloved by our own dear noje.

Trinkley, darkly,
who let off the farty?
Nothing is the same
as it ever was before
Come and smell the fetor on my right.

Marni Nixon, a woman of great talent and accomplishment, dubbed some of Eliza’s singing voice. Not all. It’s a mix.

Rex Harrison was not wearing a mic. That’s not how films are made. When he was offered the part for the B’way production he turned it down. His then wife, Lili Palmer (late of the Third Reich), found a specialist in sprechspiel to coach him. He presented this approach to the part (Higgins’s music is gorgeous, you only hear it in the show from the underscoring. Fritz Lowe must have been unferspchregenspielacht about it). Harry Warner wanted Cary Grant to do the movie. When approached, Mr Grant said that not only would he not do the movie he wouldn’t see the movie without Harrison.

Pan back. The musical My Fair Lady , (Mary Martin turned it down declaring that the boys had gone mad) opened in New Haven. Harrison was so terrified that he refused to enter the stage. Julie Andrews talked down his fears and got him out there.

Because spit spot.

@Benedick: Robert Wise also thoroughly ruined the first Star Trek movie. Win some, lose some.

(I also think, in retrospect, that Sound of Music is somewhat padded. Don’t tell Mom.)

@Benedick: Rex Harrison was not wearing a mic. That’s not how films are made.

The documentary included with the restoration is very specific about this. Harrison could not, would not, lip sync to a prerecorded track, so they had to rig up a wireless mic to record him live on set. It’s not how films are made (except Les Mis), but it’s how that film was made.

@nojo: Alright, big boy. Just spent a half hour discussing this issue with the master who concurs that the idea of Harrison wearing a throat mic is impossible. Such microphones did not exist at the time. The very idea of such mics did not exist. I did a Kurt Weill show in the West End in ’70-something. We were not miced, the band was not miced, because there was no such thing as a throat mic. For Hair on Broadway the cast handed around a wireless hand mic – for its time the latest in hi-tech wizardry. I would suggest that story is Horlicks. If he forgot the words why would he care? Some asshole yells “Cut! Reset for the top, people! Mr. Harrison, we’re going again.” “Oh, fuck you, George, you cunt. I hate this fucking song! What does it mean anyway? Somebody bring me a gin.” and Bob’s your uncle. Or is it about integrity? Seems far-fetched given that we’re talking about Sexy Rexy.

If perhaps they’re talking about a boom mic hanging over his head then yes. That’s how dialogue was recorded and I suppose they could have made wild tracks of the orchestra then mixed them later but it seems very unlikely. Hello, Stereophonic Sound at Radio City Music Hall. Look at the size of the sets, mon vieux! Most of I’ve Grown accustomed to her Face is done in a long shot. If you were a boom operator tasked with recording an original cast album where would you put the mic? Have we not seen Singin’ in the Rain? I suppose next you’ll tell me you don’t know who Jean Hagen is. I think At Long Last Love was recorded live. It has some very charming things in it and was plagiarized for the recent B’way débacle Nice Work if You Can Whatever. I was compelled to attend because friends. M Broderick, the most charmless actor imaginable, forgot the words and spent the afternoon trying to corpse his cast mates. At $149, thank you very much.) And I think the magical Umbrellas of Cherbourg was shot like that. But stop and think, Hermes Pan recorded the tap sounds for Fred Astaire and G Rogers. Sidebar: My God those films are terrible.

I would repeat: we work on our numbers with the conductor and director and composer and arranger and when we’ve got it we record it with the orchestra. When the number is shot we mime to the playback. Have we not seen the outtakes of A Star is Born? (No not with Streisand. Can we at least try to stay focussed?) During the shooting the actor will often sing along so the throat and mouth and cords look like they’re making the sound we hear. But they’re not. Eg. In the extravagantly dreadful film of Phantom of the Op’ra (Dear god in heaven, the point of the story is that it’s set in the Paris Opera so why invent some other opera house in Paris that you can burn down? When the whole point of the story is that it happens in the fucking PARIS OPERA!!!!!!!! Because the author of the novel was using Notre Dame de Paris as his model, you asshole! Yes, the fucking phantom is supposed to be Quasimodo. Safety tip, do not attempt to watch the recent Eurotrash ‘musical’ (ha!) of the story available on youtube unless you want to kiss sleep goodbye.) the one actor who admits to being dubbed (Ha!) is that Strine chick, what the hell is her name? Midge Something? Buster? Sheila? Anyhow she admits to being dubbed. She is also the only member of the cast who convinces one that she’s singing.

So, no. I call bullshit. Same with Les Miz (full disclosure, I lasted about 10 minutes). Yes they may have been ‘singing’ but no, that’s not the dreadful din we hear in our living room thanks to the wonders of Netflix (will no one think of the pugs????). Though why we should care wether or not the voices are ‘real’ when nothing on the screen exists outside some dork’s Mac Pro beats me. We don’t even hear real voices in the theatre any more. Everything is miced, even most plays, and I say it’s horseshit.

@Benedick: Into The Woods is sacred in my family. Despite having seen the misleading Disney trailers, the whole mispoche is going to see the new movie on Dec. 25. Our plan is to have our liquor supply topped off for post-movie bitching and kvetching, if required.

@Benedick: I need to round up my daughter, buy some expensive hooch and come sit at your feet and listen to these stories. It would be like having Moses talk about receiving the Torah. “Miriam, you can’t believe what happened. I come down the fucking mountain and these goat-fuckers have built a golden calf and are having a fucking orgy! It’s like that “Aristocrats” joke, but for reals. So I’m thinking, fuck these morons, I’m going back up to tell Yahweh to forget it. I go up to the top and He is agreeing with me, and then I think hey — no Jews, no musical theater, no Ethel Merman — I can’t live with that. So you know what — I get into a fucking argument with Yahweh and I beat him! I won an argument with the Almighty, blessed be He! So my ass is totally on fire now, I hustle back down and the rest, as they say, is history.”

@Benedick: I kiss you!

@Dodgerblue: Into The Woods very well could be a religious experience. I have high hopes.

@Dodgerblue: BTW, these are the Chinese lessons that I mentioned. They’re so awesome, they bring a tear to my eye. You simply start the videos and will be speaking Mandarin in minutes.

@Benedick: Such microphones did not exist at the time. The very idea of such mics did not exist.

Okay, I’m going Full Chewtoy on this. Let’s go to the Fox Press Release announcing the restoration:

In 1964 it was reported that Rex Harrison refused to lip-synch his musical numbers like all the other actors and insisted singing “live”, performing each song in a single live take while wearing one of the very first wireless microphones (which incidentally can be seen as a bulge underneath Harrison’s tie throughout the film). The unusual request may have forged a performance of sublime spontaneity and presence, but it also caused major headaches for the restoration. Due to the difference in technology, Harrison’s “live” songs have a harsh and brittle sound, not the lush, warm sound he would have had if he recorded them on today’s equipment. And the mic, though sophisticated for its time, ended up registering such very un-Shavian sounds as police radio broadcasts and taxicab calls.

No boom. Radio mic. In the necktie.

Good day, sir.

@Dodgerblue: I saw it on the stage. Good first act. I hear they’ve softened the story. Not that it was harsh to begin with. You know of course that Hammerstein was Sondheim’s mentor and teacher. In Rogers & Hammerstein there is always an anthemic uplift number, usually late in the evening (e.g.Climb Ev’ry Mountain). But not always. Sondheim says this about their shows. He does it too. Being Alive in Company, for example. Into The Woods boasts No One is Alone which struck me in the Mark Hellinger (since renamed) as a particularly specious bit of sophistry: plenty of people are alone.

@nojo: I still say I’m right. For the simple reason that I cannot imagine how it could ever have worked. Sounds like a way to handle a difficult star (“Calling Mr. Harrison.” “Piss off.”). I’m thinking of Kubrick getting Nabokov to write a movie script of Lolita to make him shut up. Of course he didn’t use a word of it. I did not know they had throat mic then, or whatever the hell they call them. Now I think they use them exclusively on movies. No more booms. Booms go bye bye. In period musicals they now can mount the transmitters in wigs. What’s funny I think is that Harrison was so terrified on the show’s first night in New Haven where it was trying out, that he refused to go on the stage. Moss Hart, who directed it, credited Julie Andrews with getting them all through the early performances. He is wonderful in it, if a touch old. We watched it a little while ago and the hubby is raging at the screen: “Why are there so many servants?!” As the voice of reason I tell him, “Chorus. Plot. Costume changes.” “Poooooooooooooooooooooooor Pruffesser Higgins.” Guess who was first choice? Mary Martin. She turned it down, after Lerner and Lowe played the score for her, saying she thought the boys had gone mad.

I’ve given this some careful thought and I still say I’m right.

@Benedick: I cannot imagine how it could ever have worked.

I imagine it was easier than getting Harrison to lip-sync his own patter on playback…

And heck, they were experimenting with sound anyway, employing a new six-track system. In 1964. Take that, Beatles!

Plus, crossing threads, a note on fundraising:

Most of the material was held by CBS to whom the rights reverted in 1971 (CBS originally financed the Broadway play in order to produce the soundtrack album).

I wonder whether that was standard procedure for Columbia, or a one-off because nobody else would touch it.

@nojo: I imagine it was easier than getting Harrison to lip-sync his own patter on playback… I don’t see how. Though he was famously, heroically ‘difficult’.

That’s a theatre term that translates approximately as ‘raging asshole’. The hubby tells of overhearing a desperate director (yes he had slept with him, thank you for asking) who was attempting to direct a play that starred Rex begging two young actresses in the cast that no matter what he said, they should say their next line. It didn’t matter if it didn’t make sense. They had gone far beyond the place where making sense mattered. They were now fighting for their sanity.

But he was brilliant. So many wonderful performances. And was reputed to be shall we say generously endowed? It is also said that he never got over the death of his wife Kay Kendal. A woman of great beauty and talent. Rattigan’s play In Praise of Love was written in tribute to them. And then there was Rachel Roberts who, when he left her for Lilli Palmer, killed herself by drinking drain cleaner.

But good to know we both think I’m right.

I’m not understanding the block quote. Does it refer to movie rights? Because rights when they revert revert to the author. I know that Twiggy bought the movie rights to The Boyfriend when MGM went bust and sold off any assets they could. (They’d bought them as a possible vehicle for Debbie Reynolds) That’s how Ken Russel got to make the (awe-inspiringly terrible) movie. I know this because Sandy Duncan showed up at a Christmas Day dinner party we were hosting (god my life is glamorous) drunk as a Portuguese tart, raging at the whirligigs of the movie industry. In those days it wasn’t uncommon for a record label to produce, or be a major investor. It cost doughnut money for them and if lightning struck – and did it ever strike with Lady – they made out like, well, record companies. The last show that I know of that had major record money was Dreamgirls – I pause to recombobulate myself after uttering that holy name – in which David Geffen played a large part getting it to the stage after 4 very expensive workshops.

@Benedick: But good to know we both think I’m right.

I haven’t let go of my chewtoy. I’m just letting you tug it a little.

[History records that The Author never threw a fatter pitch.]

@Benedick: I’m not understanding the block quote. Does it refer to movie rights? Because rights when they revert revert to the author.

Here’s my guess: Columbia financed the play, for rights to the cast recording. Columbia then sold film rights to Warners, which produced the movie. The film rights reverted to Columbia (CBS) in 1971. Thus CBS owned the film, for purposes of the 1994 restoration.

So, at minimum, CBS owns that film. Whether it owns any film of My Fair Lady, or any of the other myriad rights available throughout the universe in perpetuity, would depend on the original financing contract.

@nojo: I’m just letting you tug it a little. Darling, you should have told me before. I always knew it was fat. I have flyer miles and no reason to live.

Because in our most sacred, deepest, darkest places, we both know I’m right. As Wittgenstein once famously said, I would be hugging you in my heart if the thought hadn’t disabled the action.

@nojo:Here’s my guess: Columbia financed the play, for rights to the cast recording. Columbia then sold film rights to Warners, which produced the movie. The film rights reverted to Columbia (CBS) in 1971. Thus CBS owned the film, for purposes of the 1994 restoration.

That’s so hot.

@Benedick: I’m sure I’ll burn in hell for contradicting a god of musical theater, but if you will take a look at good old NPR here you will see Christopher Plummer confirming that his songs were dubbed by Bill Lee (not the former pitcher for the Red Sox). Mr. Lee appears to have done a lot of singing for others in movies.

I humbly beg your forgiveness for my rank impertinence.

@Dave H: Wow. See now that’s news we can use. I had no idea. He acts a good number. Plus he’s very good in it. He wears a fine loden bum-freezer jacket and the pants hug where they should. And it’s an altogether beautifully done film. Beautifully directed by the great R Wise. Like many of my generation when I was at school I knew enough to mock it. Some years later, after a time in NYC, when I was living back in the land that time forgot I was working somewhere and in the spirit of knowing what it is you mock I went to see it. I was so overwhelmed by the artistry of its production and the beauty of its story I went back the next night to see it again. The script I read when auditioning seemed very crude in comparison but things change in production. I thought that Call Me Madam was an astonishingly philistine piece till I was in it and experienced the sweetness of the score.

Darling, you’re not impertinent. You’re perhaps a tad brash.

@¡Andrew!: Watch me whip out my switchblade and dance.

(Still wondering how in God’s name “Officer Krupke” ever made it to the screen.)

@nojo: Hey! That’s how I learned about VD. Don’t take that away from me.

@JNOV: You didn’t learn about VD from that cute ad jingle like the rest of us?

@Dodgerblue: I really think that you and Mrs. Dodger and the Dodgerettes should do a road trip from NYC to upstate with a case or two of good red wine in the trunk to throw shade with Benedick and Mr. Benedick. God knows how many bottles of wine Cynica and I went through in San Francisco at an amazing lunch with him, that also included the deceased Ewalda and the only here for basketball shit-talking Libertarian Tool.

@SanFranLefty: Is it true you can find no record of his existence prior to the death of Jim Backus?

@Dodgerblue: Unfortunately, yes they can. And frequently do. And even if they don’t you’ll most likely drop it, or forget where you put it. Or the dogs will chew it. Or a child will drop it in the toilet.

Lovely song. My absolute fave is their song Our Love Is Here To Stay. The last song they wrote before George’s death: talk about foreshadowing. Unfortunately almost never performed with its graceful elegiac verse.

I saw her a few times when I was a kid. As I remember she sang with the Ellington orchestra. Not as a band singer but when they came to London they would share the billl. She would wear large amounts of chiffon in improbable colors. I remember her standing stock still, engulfed by nerves, making those inimitable voice sounds come out of her mouth hole. Mind you, this was the Festival Hall. She would have a matching chiffon square she clutched by one corner. As the concert continued she would slowly wrap it about her hand then just as slowly unwrap it. I found it mesmerizing.

I wonder if anything about that memory is true?

@nojo: Ain’t it the truth. Russ Tamblyn – one badass mo’fo. Remind me to tell you about how Anna Maria Allberghetti went to the john during intermission and the sound tech forgot to turn off her throat mic. Oh, and also about the Cats matinée incident involving a curry lunch, diarrhea, and a french horn.

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