Sunday, March 4, 2012

Finishing touches

In one portion of  yesterday's post (the Jean Harlow birthday nod), I wanted to include a video clip from the movie "Dinner at Eight", which would explain that part's title. The clips available on YouTube were of poor quality, and one was even in the wrong frame ratio. So, since it is now within my power (and with many Thanks to the people who helped me lug my stuff around over the years) here's a clip which shows a bit of Harlow's delivery as she sets up Marie Dressler for one of the all time great double takes; a stevil  film favorite moment:

Oh, by the way, it was on this day in 1791 that Vermont became the 14th of the United States.

And there are a couple of birthdays today of people whose efforts have provided me pleasure, and of whom I'd like to take note: that ol' red headed priest and composer Antonio Vivaldi was born today in 1678 (I used to have a thing for chamber music, especially when played on period instruments),  silent serial queen Pearl White, illustrator Milt Gross (worth a long post of his own),

Shemp Howard (there was a time when I was a bigger Curly fan, but depending on my mood I kind of preferred Shemp the last time I checked), magician-card sharpe and author John Scarne, Avery Fisher (audio engineer and benefactor who paid for the acoustic redesign of what had until then been Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center),  actor Edgar Barrier (who I so enjoy in his role as Martok in one of my all time favorite movies, "Cobra Woman"), actor John Garfield (seen below with Lana Turner),

and Ward Kimball - who deserves a multi post of his own: one of Disney's "Nine Old Men", redesigner of Mickey Mouse, designer and animator of the likes of the dwarfs in Snow White, the crows from Dumbo, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, the mice and Lucifer the cat from Cinderella, the hunters in Peter and the Wolf, etc. A short clip (again, from my stuff and from my private files on You Tube):

Kimball was also the trombonist of the dixieland styled band the "Firehouse Five Plus Two". I've played them on my radio show. He also had this thing with steam trains and restored one that he installed on his property in Southern California. He was the first person to do something like that, and it directly inspired Walt Disney's interest.

And last for today, it's time I take note of the passing of Davy Jones. These things are starting to hit close to home now. One guy I know, a few years younger than myself, noted, "I had a crush on Davy Jones, and I'm not even gay." He was pretty damn cute, with a kind of well scrubbed potential bad boy charm.

Reading some of the reminiscences published about him, one of the things that stood out: he decided that he wanted to become a rock star when he was standing in the wings on the Ed Sullivan Show as the Beatles made their first US appearance. He was there to perform as part of the moved over from England Broadway cast of Oliver, in which he played the Artful Dodger. You know I just have to do this:

Thank You for entertaining me, Davy Jones.
Rest in Peace.

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