This short article in the Los Angeles Times talks about how the Red Roof In chain received the highest customer satisfaction for economy hotels, in a survey done by MarketMatrix research. The article notes that Red Roof Inn makes a concerted effort to pay attention to user comments on the Internet, and keeps making little additions that get suggested, like outlets near beds for portable electronic devices, and free Wi-Fi.
I happened to stay at a Red Roof Inn last year, when I went to Asheville, North Carolina, for a cousin's wedding. And the room was indeed terrific. (They screwed up on the first room they gave me, which hadn't been made up yet, but the room they switched me to was wonderful.) In fact, one of the things it was easy to notice was that free Wi-Fi the article mentions. My recollection is that it was free for only an hour, but that's fine. Simply offering it for free, whatever the length, made a good "we actually care about the customer" impression. (And for all I know, it might have been longer.) And the rest of the room was clean, well-appointed and comfortable.
The price was good, too -- probably on the high-end of economy, but still very reasonable and worth it. I wouldn't hesitate staying at another Red Roof Inn. I'd just double-check to make sure they got the room right the first time...
Yesterday, I posted an audio link for a song from the musical, Barnum, a show which starred Jim Dale, who narrated all the Harry Potter audio books. I've come across a 6-1/2 video which demonstrates wonderfully why he gave an acclaimed, Tony-winning performance as Best Actor. And why I think this is a very under-rated score. (The female lead of Barnum, by the way, Tony-nominated in a supporting role, was an up-and-coming actress, Glenn Close.)
When I first came across the score to Barnum, I'd presumed it had music by Cy Coleman (who wrote, among many things, the show Sweet Charity), with lyrics by Michael Bramble, and a book by Michael Stewart. I presumed this because Michael Stewart was one of the more accomplished book writers of Broadway musicals, with shows like Hello, Dolly!, Bye, Bye Birdie, the recently-mentioned Carnival!, 42nd Street and many more.
I was very impressed with the very smart, sharp and clever lyrics by Mark Bramble, who I hadn't heard of before. But only after a few years did I look more closely at the credits and discovered that I was wrong. Mark Bramble didn't write the lyrics to Barnum -- Michael Stewart did. Bramble wrote the book. I was flabbergasted, since as far as I knew, Michael Stewart was exclusively a book writer, never before a lyricist, and these were the work of a seriously-accomplished professional. Unfortunately, for reasons I don't understand (since Barnum was a big hit, running 854 performances on Broadway), never wrote lyrics for any other shows, though he did do the book for a few musicals. He passed away seven years later, and there wasn't much information on him about it.
However, one day I was visiting with the legendary writer Larry Gelbart and mentioned this to him. (I think it's impossible to mention Larry Gelbart and not refer to him as "legendary." It might be illegal not to, as well, for all I know.) He'd worked a great deal on Broadway, so I figured he might know something about it. Fortunately, he did. He said that Michael Stewart had always wanted to be a lyricist, but because of his success as a book writer, he was never given the opportunity and felt very frustrated by it. He'd finally written the lyrics to a small show -- either off-Broadway or it might not have even gotten that far, I forget -- but that was it. But he finally got his chance with Barnum, and got a Tony nomination for the score. It's a shame he never wrote lyrics to any other musicals, but it's a joy that he got to do this one.
This video is actually two numbers from Barnum at the 1981 Tony Awards. The exuberant Come Follow the Band (which gives a great sense of the grand extravaganza the show was), and then Jim Dale shows clearly why he won the Tony for Best Actor with "There is a Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute," where he bounces his way enthusiastically through every note.
(It's worth noting that not only are lyrics wonderful for the latter -- including a rhyme for "Phineas" -- but writing a song based on a famous line is an extremely tough thing to do. And Stewart pulls it off.)
There's one other thing worth mentioning in the video, though it's really just of a personal nature. At 1:28 into the clip, you'll see a pert, young girl come bounding onto the stage from the left-hand corner, twirling a baton. Her name is Sophie Schwab, and for such a small role in the show, she got a lot of attention. Critics were stunned by a chorus member who not only could toss a baton, but was so truly amazing at it, doing some gasp-worthy tricks. What they didn't know at first -- but I did -- is that although Sophie Schwab had been in the theater department at Northwestern University, she had also been the school's majorette in the marching band and had won many awards as a twirler. I began going to Northwestern football games with my dad from the time I was eight, and we had adored watching Sophie, looked forward to Sophie. She wasn't just a twirler, she was absolutely remarkable. (In an interview I later came across, she said that she could never remember dropping the baton during a performance -- she didn't mean the performance of Barnum, but any performance, whether while marching or in a competition. From what little you can see in this clip when they cut to her -- her boundless skill is clear.) Our time attending Northwestern overlapped, so I got to see her tossing batons for years. I also saw her co-star in a hilarious play, the Flying Karamazov Brothers' version of Shakespeare's, A Comedy of Errors. It was wildly entertaining, filled of course with much juggling and every bit of vaudeville shtick you could imagine. Including, yes, there was baton twirling. The audience went wild. It's one thing to see a baton twirler in a musical about the circus. But in Shakespeare, during a soliloquy, no, the audience really wasn't expecting it. Well, okay, I was...
So, here is an enthusiastic Jim Dale, preceded by the showstopping, "Come Follow the Band." (With Sophie Schwab at 1:28...) The video quality isn't great, but everything speaks for itself.
Windows Secrets is an excellent newsletter that I subscribe to, though you can also get access to their articles online. This is a detailed piece they did that's sort of a refresher course about Facebook security. It's well-worth taking a look at if you are a subscriber to the service.
During last year's Republican primaries, much was made of Ann Coulter fatuously begging Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) to run for president. And so too did many other Republicans, seeing him as a hope of the party with no real, substantive other candidates who could compete on the national stage. That perception has continued, following his actions during Hurricane Sandy, helping give him a high approve rating in New Jersey.
At the time, a year ago, at the peak of the, "Oh, dear God, please run, Chris Christie," mania, I would discuss with others my confusion about all of this. After all, while I knew that Gov. Christie -- for all his many flaws to my own views -- was the most appealing of potential candidates to Independents and Democrats...he wouldn't be running for the nomination of Independents and Democrats. And, indeed, the very things that would be more appealing about him than any of the radical right candidates -- that he was only moderately conservative -- were the very things that today's Republican Party would gutterly hate about him.
To be clear, Chris Christie isn't even a moderate, he's conservative, but compared to today's far right GOP, he's almost a radical Hippie leftie. And for all his popularity in New Jersey, a lot of that recently has come from how he worked with Barack Obama and praised the president -- something that rational humans appreciated, but is akin to being in league with the Devil to the Republican base.
So, for all those Republicans who were (and are) pining for Chris Christie to run for president, all I could think was, "Be careful what you wish for." He's not really someone you'd like. Democrats might be able to borderline tolerate him slightly, but his own, national Republican Party would hate him. Alabama and Mississippi and Nevada and Wyoming are not New Jersey.
And so it has come as no shock to me the reaction that Gov. Christie has received from this year's major CPAC convention, the Conservative Political Action Committee. It's not that attendees didn't like what the governor had to say -- it's not that they gave him a bad speaking slot -- it's that...well, you see...he hasn't been invited.
Let me repeat that: he hasn't been invited. They don't even want Chris Christie there.
Keep in mind, this is supposedly the candidate who was supposed to lead Republicans to the Promised Land. "If you don't run, Chris Christie, we'll lose." And the Conservative Political Action Committee -- the base of the Republican Party -- does not want Christie to say a single word.
Sarah Palin will be speaking. Rick Santorum will be speaking. Newt Gingrich will be speaking. Rick Perry and Paul Ryan, too. All of them losers in the Republican Partiy's recent attempts at winning the White House. But CPAC doesn't want Chris Christie.
They do want Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and his water bottle, Bobby Jindal (who blew his presidential hopes the year before Mr. Rubio gave his address), Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush all to be there. But not Chris Christie.
Maybe Gov. Christie will eventually get an invitation for the March 14 event, because someone will pull some strings, or it will be too embarrassing not to have him there. But right now, just a couple weeks before it's scheduled to start, no one has yet sent him a dance card.
The point here is that the next time you read about how much Republicans want Chris Christie to run for president because he has a chance of appealing to Democrats and Independents, just remember this -- first, he has to appeal to Republicans.
I posted a bunch of videos yesterday from the group The Seekers. What I found out later from reader Shelly Goldstein, who I wrote about here, is that both songs -- "Georgy Girl" and "I'll Never Find Another You" -- had music written by Tom Springfield, brother of Dusty. Shelly also mentioned that Tom wrote many songs with a lyricist named Jim Dale. She wasn't sure if he was the Jim Dale, though, but suspected he was.
I checked into it -- and it's one in the same. Jim Dale is widely known to a huge generation of listeners as the narrator of the Harry Potter series of audio books, and won two Grammys for it. He also served as the narrator on the off-beat ABC series, Pushing Daisies. But for many others, they likely know of him for his many films (such as the villain in Pete's Dragon) and on stage, most notably his amazing, Tony Award-winning role in Barnum, where he exploded on stage non-stop for 2-1/2 hours, doing most every circus and non-circus acrobatic imaginable, from juggling to actually tightrope walking.
Back to his songwriting though at the beginning of his career. It turns out that among the songs Jim Dale wrote the lyrics for to Tom Springfield's music was the beloved, "Georgy Girl."
Anyway, for those who've only heard Jim Dale narrate, or maybe seen him act -- here he is singing, from Barnum. It's not the best song in the show, but it's certainly one that shows off how wildly energetic his performance was. He probably deserved the Tony Award for simply getting through this remarkable tongue-twisting number every night, "Museum Song," written by Michael Stewart and Cy Coleman.
Oh, the world can be whimsical.
So, on the same day that Rosa Parks got a statue in Congress, commemorating her courageous actions in the Civil Rights movement, the Supreme Court began hearings to gut the Voting Rights Act.
Most indications appear to suggest that there are five votes on the Court to strike down the measures.
Hey, the way I see it, you might lose your protection, but you got a statue! That seems a fair trade.
A suggestion. Instead of "We Shall Overcome" as the anthem of Civil Rights, how about using a song from South Pacific. "This Nearly Was Mine."
Back in 2005, a fellow named Matt Harding posted a homemade video of himself doing a strange, little dance around the world. It went viral, and got noticed by of all things a gum company (Stride Gum) who asked if he'd mind doing it again, a bit more elaborate at some of the great locations on the globe. And the resulting video in 2006 was again wildly popular. It was known as "Where the Hell is Matt?"
So, that led to yet another. This time, over the next 14 months he visited 42 countries. But there was a twist, since by now he and his too-silly, good-natured dancing around the world had become very well-known...around the world. So, people were told beforehand that Matt would be coming, and -- this time -- if they themselves wanted to join him, they were welcome. The result is a goofy, joyful, total treat that grows in its impact.
He also did a third video, just released last year. There are some slight differences and fun surprises, and in some ways, it might be the most enjoyable of the three.
But I'm going to post the middle one here, from 2008. That's because it's largely encompasses a bit of what's good from all three.
If you haven't see this (or any), just know that there's nothing deep and substantive here. It's utterly silly. And a joy. If you have seen it, the pleasure remains.
It’s odd the way the mind works, making random connections. The other day, I was flipping past the Hallmark Channel. That made me think of a Hallmark Hall of Fame production from 15 years ago that I only caught the end of and had been very impressed by. It was called The Love Letter and starred Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh. (Based on a short story that, from what little of the plot I saw, made it seem along the lines of the later feature film, The Lake House, with a mystical love affair over many years through the exchange of letters.) I went on Netflix to rent it – but it was only available to save, not watch. Either it’s not available on DVD yet, or Netflix hasn’t gotten around to ordering it yet. Whoever’s responsible, I hope they fix this. (And I hope that my cable tier gets the other of the two Hallmark Channels, because yesterday, on the one I don't get, they were running -- The Love Letter!) But I digress. But then, this whole long tale is pretty much going to be a long digression. So, I guess it fits.
Anyway, all of this, from flipping past the Hallmark Channel to The Love Letter to Jennifer Jason Leigh got me to think of The Hitcher. A movie which is about as far from a Hallmark film as one could think. But it had starred C. Thomas Howell and…Jennifer Jason Leigh. (See that whole “how the mind thing” works?!) And in my earlier wayward days, I’d been a unit publicist, and worked on The Hitcher – the original, from 1986, not the remake.
I’ll get around again to Jennifer, since that’s what started all this remembrance, but perspective for a story is everything.
The Hitcher was a creepy, cold-hearted horror film that has garnered a reputation over the years from aficionados of the genre, and I’ve always felt that that was in large part due to the working tandem of director Robert Harmon and cinematographer John Seale. Together, they took what was just a small, cruel, independent horror project and laced it with layers of texture and craft.
As a screenwriter, I like to make sure a film’s script isn’t lost in the discussion of a movie which always tends to overpraise everyone else at its expense. But this was one of the rare cases of a movie I worked on where the praise was due. Robert Harmon added a great deal of class to what’s on screen, with his attention to detail and thoughtfulness. He also will likely be the first to acknowledge how he lucked out getting John Seale by his side.
John Seale was already an admired director of photography, but mainly for his work in Australia with director Peter Weir (as a camera operator on such classic films as Gallipoli and Picnic at Hanging Rock). His U.S. career was only starting. But he had just been the DP on Witness, for which he would soon get an Oscar nomination. And he later went on to win the Academy Award for The English Patient, and get nominated again for Rain Man and Cold Mountain. Other movies he subsequently made include The American President, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Dead Poet’s Society, The Mosquito Coast and…well, okay, you get the idea.
Little, independent horror movies don’t usually get a world-class talent like John Seale as their cinematographer. What happened is that he’d just finished making Witness for the same executive producers, Ed Feldman and Charles Meeker. His next movie fell through at the very last minute, so he was going to head back home to Australia. Feldman mentioned that he had a little movie about to start, so rather than head halfway around the world for just two months, only to come right back here, why not stay and work. So, John Seale did, and The Hitcher lucked out really, really big time.
Although luck was at the heart of it, Robert Harmon was smart enough to work closely together with him . Not all directors would do that, insisting instead that they were king of world. The result was a great collaboration, and the movie that looked far better, far classier than not just this, but most movies ever deserve to.
I remember one day when we were watching dailies – which is the rough, unedited footage shot the day before. There was a scene when the young kid (played by Howell) pulled his car off the side of the road to see what was going on in the car stopped up ahead. It’s a tense-filled sequence, not knowing what he’d find, but the scene was especially gripping in the Harmon-Seale hands – because I noticed something: rather than Howell slowly stepping forward in the middle of the frame, he was far off to the left side. It came across like it was that empty space dragging him forward, and he had no choice. The camerawork was brilliant. When the lights came up to change reels, I noticed that John was sitting in front of me, so I leaned forward to express how much I liked that he didn’t have the character in the center of the frame. In his thick Australian accent he replied, “The ‘center.’ The center’! I hate ‘the center.’ They should take scissors and cut ‘the center’ out of every frame.” (Watch other John Seale movies. You’ll see that he’s always stuck to his standards…)
My favorite John Seale moment, though, had nothing to do with the movie. On a day off, a bunch of us went to the glorious Joshua Tree National Monument. (It’s now a National Park.) I wanted to get myself in a photo with a particular great background. I gave my simple camera to John Seale to snap it – and one of Hollywood’s greatest-ever cinematographers was so befuddled by it that had to ask for my help where to focus and push the button.
Me, in legendary photo taken by soon-to-be Oscar-winning cinematographer.
Ever-so-slightly, artisitically off-center.
(My second favorite Seale moment also had nothing to do with the movie. John always wore a great floppy, leather, adventurers hat. I’d asked him about it, but the only place available to buy one was in the middle of the Australian Outback. On the last day of filming, though, he tossed me his, and said “Here, it’s yours.”)
It was an odd, though enjoyable vagabond production. Most of it was shot in the Southern California desert. Undulating hills of sand that looked like you were in the Sahara Desert often spread around us. And being as far away from anything as we were, there were many days when the company would still travel 50 minutes to the even farther, even more out of the way locations.
Odder still was that when the film was being made, Tommy Howell was at the height of his teen star phenomenon. (He’s still acting, but also has become an active director.) Yet even in tiny towns way out in the desert, special precautions still had to be taken to protect him at the hotels we stayed at. Because they would be surrounded by packs of young girls waiting for him – in the early morning, and when we got back from the day’s filming. At times, I think the hordes were larger than the towns we were in, and the girls had been shuttled over. But he was quite unaffected by it all, and was very dedicated to his particularly grueling schedule, never complaining, and even fairly bemused by most things.
Which brings be back around to Jennifer Jason Leigh, that started this whole reminiscence. (I told you I’d get there!) Two stories have always stood out.
Jennifer was extremely quiet, to the point almost of shy, but always focused with a driven, almost-surprisingly tough determination, and quite nice to work with. She’s had an impressively long career, first coming to attention in a 1981 TV movie, The Best Little Girl in the World, about a young girl who was anorexic. And the next year she broke through with the feature, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And she’s still going strong, with three movies currently in post-production. And recurring roles in two TV series, Weeds and Revenge. She even co-wrote the screenplay for The Anniversary Party and co-wrote with Noah Baumbach the movie Greenberg.
At one point during the ever-traveling production, we put up rare roots for a while in El Centro, California. To put it politely, El Centro is in the middle of freaking nowhere, somewhere in the middle of the Southern California desert. A town where, when the wind is blowing just wrong, fertilizer permeates every speck of air. Distant, oddly pleasant, and fairly good-sized, since it was the hub of the area, around which there was nothing. Did I mention it’s remote? One night, Jennifer had to get a gift for a niece, and because I had a car, she asked if I’d take her to the local warehouse store. We did our shopping in the cavernous barn and then got in line to pay. As we reached the register, the girl there took the merchandise and gave a little laugh as she rang it up.
“You know who you look like?” she offhandedly said to Jennifer. “My boyfriend and I last night were watching this movie on TV about this girl who was anorexic. You look like her.” And then she turned back to finish bagging.
Now, again, remember, we were in literally the middle of the desert here. This check-out girl probably wouldn’t have even expected to see anyone she knew who didn’t live in El Centro, since the nearest town was miles away. The star of a TV movie she’d watched the night before was out of the question. Her comment to Jennifer wasn’t one of “Ohmygod, it’s you!” recognition. Just – hey, you look like that girl on TV. And then back to the register.
Jennifer had two options, “I get that all the time” and “That was me.” Given how shy she generally was, I wouldn’t have been surprised by the former. But way out in the middle of the El Centro desert? C’mon, who could resist? “That was me,” she replied.
Have you seen cartoons where a character stops, stunned, and the bottom of their jaw drops all the way to the ground. I believe that girl at the register brought that to life. It may have been the most utterly stunned I’ve ever seen someone, and so full of disbelieving joy. There in the ShopMart, at 8:30 at night, with the wind blowing the wrong way, the Hollywood star of the TV movie she’d watched at home the night before, was right there, buying toys at her register.
You don’t forget moments like that.
The other story I remember because it does a particularly nice job of defining Jennifer. It came on a day when I had to interview her for the film’s presskit I was writing. It was a day off, and I was going to drive to a little rock shop I had passed the day before. (Actual rocks, I mean, not music...) It was probably 10 miles away through the desert. That sounded interesting to Jennifer – it seemed like a nice place to get some gifts for friends— and she asked if she could come along. (I get the sense that her mission in life was to buy gifts for people.) Further, just the fact that she wanted to drive 20 miles round-trip to buy rocks spoke well of her. Me, I’m loopy enough to want to do such a thing. But most Hollywood actresses I’ve come across? They aren’t. Trust me.
(I should note that this story was made particularly memorable to me for another reason. I figured that I could kill two birds with one stone – no pun intended – since I could tape record my presskit interview on the drive. It was always difficult to get actors to sit down for the long interview I needed, and such a distant trip with no escape was perfect. The problem was that a couple miles in, I noticed the tape recorder wasn’t working. I couldn’t say anything though, because I was sure Jennifer would respond, “Oh, then let’s do the interview another time.” And finding “another time” was usually a major challenge on a movie set. So, I stayed silent, gritted my teeth, pleasantly asked my questions – and did everything I possibly could to silently repeat in my head every word she said that I could hopefully, dear God, remember. The moment we reached the rock shop, I cleverly made sure we immediately split up, so that I could rush off into a corner and write everything down the best I could recall…)
Anyway, as we paired up again and were wandering around the store together, its matriarch came up to us. Picture an old woman who owned a rock shop in the middle of the desert. That clichéd image you have in mind was in front of us. White-haired, pink cheeks, in her mid-70s, down-to-earth, in jeans with a bandana, and Mother Earth warm. We got to talking about her and her husband and them running the place and more – and then she grabbed my hand and placed a nice, little stone in it. A smooth, purple-ish amethyst (which I still have, by the way.) “Here,” she said quietly, almost conspiratorially, with I swear a twinkle in her eye. “I like to give a little gift to some of our gentlemen customers.”
Very nice, very sweet. But suddenly, I saw Jennifer’s face scrunch up. And petulantly she said, “Why just the gentlemen? That’s not fair. Why not the women, too??” There was nothing rude about how she asked. She just felt slighted. Her and all womenkind. And it was bluntly clear from her body and expression. As good an actress as Jennifer is, she probably shouldn’t play poker.
The old woman stopped a moment. Her generous action had probably never been questioned, let alone challenged ever, in decades. But now, here was this spirited, young, petite, blonde girl in front of her. The proprietor thought a moment and then said, “You know – you’re right. Women should get one.” And she put a little stone in Jennifer’s hand. And they both smiled.
By the way, yes, Jennifer bought a ton of great rocks. And is still probably buying random gifts for people to this day.
Which brings us, finally, to the end. But like all ends, there usually is a lesson. And I did indeed learn one important lesson on this production. As the PR spokesman, I would get interviewed on occasion, and one occasion, I picked up the paper to read the story afterwards. It quoted me as describing the movie as "a character study." Now, you must understand, this was a film about a manically grizzly, serial killer who brutally murders countless people in the most gruesome manner possible, while chasing after a young guy for some unknown, mythical reason. Not only did the words, "a character study," escape my lips, the phrase never entered my thought process. (As you might imagine, I was chided a tad by the crew after they read the story. "Oh, so, it's a 'character study' we're making, is it?" The lesson I learned was -- always be wary when reading a quote from someone. It might be spot-on accurate. Or it just might be more fantasy than universe of J.R.R. Tolkein.
And yes, all that came to mind from flipping past the Hallmark Channel. The mind works in mysterious ways. The Hitcher was the first movie production I had worked on from start to finish. Therefore, as you can imagine, it was quite memorable. But mostly, I am happy to say that I believe I have finally gotten all of the sand out of my shoes.
Many of you probably know this already. But even if so, it bears repeating. In fact, it bears relentlessly repeating in order to shame the Motion Picture Academy. Shame them so badly that they finally acknowledge their gaff and don't just say, "Well, we put his picture in our "online In Memoriam gallery," and then they correct it and honor him next year.
Every year there are people the Oscarcast leaves out. Big names. And whenever somebody mentions a name that got forgotten, we all can point to another, "Well, yeah, but what about..." And indeed this year, there were again many big names they left out. It happens. I get it. It's unfortunate.
But how do you leave out Andy Griffith?
I mean, seriously?
Forget that he's one of TV history's most iconic stars. This is about movies, after all.
Forget that he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is about movies, not "for demonstrating the finest qualities of our country and for a lifetime of memorable performances that have brought joy to millions of Americans of all ages."
Forget that he wasn't just a TV star, but made a dozen feature films over 40 years, even up until 2009. Hey, lots of people made a lot of movies.
But if all Andy Griffith did in his life was star in A Face in the Crowd and No Time for Sergeants -- two of the classic, if not iconic films of the 1950s -- THAT alone would be enough to require he be honored in motion picture lore forever. And remembered In Memorium by the Industry he honored.
A Face in the Crowd, for God's sake.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
No Time for Sergeants,
Oh, did I say, A Face in the freaking Crowd...
How do you leave out Andy Griffith?
Putting him in your "online In Memoriam gallery" doesn't cut it.
Who thought it made sense to leave out Andy Griffith? What were their reasons?
How do you leave out Andy Griffith?
This is going to be a bit repetitious to a slight degree -- four videos -- but I think it'll all be worth it. Most especially if you were a fan of the group The Seekers. But even if not.
The first video comes from 1966, at the peak of their fame. If you don't know the group, who came from Australia, this should give a respectable sense. That's Judith Durham singing lead in her distinctive voice, with one of the huge hits, the theme to the movie, Georgy Girl, one of the more iconic movie themes written, which really helped define the film. And when I say "distinctive voice," that's not hyperbole. Among other things, notice how far away she stands from the microphone, knowing how powerful her voice is.
And if you do know the group, this will just flood back a ton of smiles.
The Seekers broke up only two years later, still extremely successful, in 1968. Judith Durham had only joined the group initially because they needed her for 10 weeks. Her stay lasted much longer. But she had other interests in music -- mostly jazz, she later wrote in her autobiography. They had a big farewell concert on the BBC, and that was it. The individuals did stay on touch over the years, but group was disbanded. (Literally.)
However, Judith Durham kept on singing, had some personal challenges in her life (among them, almost dying in a car accident, and also losing her life savings in a bank collapse), but recorded many solo albums with her husband, and became a beloved icon in Australia and England.
And here she is in concert, only 10 years ago, in 2003. Looking joyously happy, clearly not hiding one iota from the hits of her group's past, and singing with such...well, take a look.
The Seekers had quite a few big hits, but perhaps their other huge it was, "I'll Never Find Another You." This is from that same 2003 concert, and I include it here specifically because if you ever want to know how to win over a crowd with the showmanship of simplicity and a sincerity that can't be faked, no matter how much you practice, start taking notes at the 2:00 mark. And observe that the audience just doesn't let up.
I should mention, by the way, that Judith Durham is still performing today. This below might help show why.
Finally -- so, you remember when I said above how the individual members of The Seekers all stayed in touch over the years? That was no lip service. In 1993, all four of the original members, including Judith Durham, got back together for a reunion tour, and here they all are, 25 years after breaking up, in their final concert in Melbourne.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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