Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day before hollywood (d)reaming

Over the last few days, as I've busied myself this this project or that, I've kept my eye on the tv (now cable) dial for some of my old friends of the season from Hollywood and other entertainment purveyors. Some of the cable channels have been running soapy by the numbers supposed to be heartwarming not really inspirational claptrap whose connection to the holidays is often as tenuous as a game of pin the tail on the donkey. Where have the movies and shows we've all come to love gone? Well, I found them all-right. They are now available as cable and internet "on demand". Which means that they now make you pay about $3.00+ a pop for everything from old tv shows to movies. The collection of stuff to watch covers everything from Hanukkah (all for free) to Holiday music, also free where you can experience such classics as Jessica Simpson singing "O Holy Night", No Doubt's "Oy to the World" (oh, my God, Christina Aguilera  was even younger once?), or even Twisted Sister.There are three different versions of the Nutcracker (but not the classic Balanchine NYC Ballet version which has been filmed a few times now. There are Yule logs (free!), Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree with music, snow covered covered bridges with soothing music, Santa on radar, even "Yule Dog" in which three basset hounds sing a song. There's a selection of Disney movies. And the $3.00 movies. Bam Margera did a Christmas special? There's even the Harry Potter section, which includes several free tours (by the Weasley twins) of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal's Orlando resort - and they are all 233 minutes?!! (I do think that must be a typo). By the by, the "On Demand" menu structure is a mess. You often can't back up a section, and have to start at the top menu all over again. Just what everyone wanted - a chance to pay more and be tortured at the same time trying to see what you want. Fun!

As I look out my sliding glass door window onto the world of Putney Road, it's evident that something is wrong. There's something missing from the Vermont Christmas landscape. At least YouTube still exists with free old holiday friends (for now.... add ominous background music while thinking of bad legislation half approvedby the US Congress but yet to pass like SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act] and PIPA [Protect IP Act] which will turn the internet over to government and corporate control, but hey, it's Christmas, so we'll talk about this another time.)

Ah, back when songwriters knew what they were doing. Irving Berlin, a Jew, wrote this great classic for the movie above, "Holiday Inn". The song was used again in the early 1950's in an eponymously titled project, using plot elements from the older picture. Originally, it was intended to re-team Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Stories vary as to why Astaire was replaced (some say he turned it down after reading the script, others maintain he was ill) with Donald O'Connor (ill) who was replaced with Danny Kaye. The movie was directed by one of the most reliable to turn out a good piece of entertainment no matter what you throw at him but he is crazy you know directors and by the way he doesn't play well with actors in Hollywood, Michael Curtiz - whose birthday is today. His Academy Award for Best Direction of a movie was for the make it up as you go along classic "Casablanca", a movie with the coveted and rare stevil seal of approval.

"White Christmas" also had a young, hot, vocally cool at her peak Rosemary Clooney torching out with "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me". The movie's uncredited  choreography is alleged to be the work of a very young Bob Fosse.

Which reminds me, Darlene Love belted out her "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" number on Letterman last night. She looked fabulous. There is no way on the face of the earth that I can accept that she is 70 years old. Brava!

And, in case anyone didn't get to see it (sitting through Letterman was a chore - he fell back on slightly homophobic jokes a couple of times, which he always does when he thinks he's losing the audience and which is one of the main reasons I don't watch him) here's a most wonderful way to spend 10 minutes or so that I just found on YouTube:

In my dictionary, the slangish use of the word "fierce" has a picture of Darlene Love.

It's time to get cleaning and laundry done. I'll be back later today with more.


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