The other day, I mentioned a flop 1968 musical that Vincent Price starred in called Darling of the Day, and posted the video of Price performing a song from the show. I thought I'd dive in a little deeper and also post a few songs, since it's an interesting musical. It has an excellent pedigree, and one of the best scores I've heard for a flop musical. But it was a flop. And a big one only 31 performances..
Darling of the Day is based on a fun 1943 movie, Holy Matrimony, worth checking out, that starred Monty Wooley and the legendary Gracie Fields. The writer of the film, Nunally Johnson,, had a long, acclaimed which included such movies as The Grapes of Wrath (for which he got an Oscar nomination), The Three Faces of Eve, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Dirty Dozen and The World of Henry Orient -- and he got an Oscar nomination for the screenplay of Holy Matrimony. And he also wrote the original script for the musical, though apparently it got rewritten a lot, and he took his name off. What I’ve read is that the show was fun, but it had some book problems, and that Price is better on the album than on stage where he wasn’t as comfortable. Though a friend saw it on Broadway and said it was a lot of fine. I also saw a local production in Chicago and had a good time, as well. But also, the show was badly hurt by opening during a newspaper strike, so no one saw the reviews which was crushing. It also opened in 1968, when Broadway musicals were slowly transitioning into rock, and this was not that in the slightest, so it likely hurt.
Still, although it got mixed reviews, the fact that it got as many raves as it did (many quoted on the cast album) speaks well for such a major flop. Which points to being hurt by the newspaper strike. For instance, there's this one from the well-regarded critic Richard Watts of the New York Post who wrote -- ‘…thoroughly delightful. It has charm, tunefulness, humor, imagination, a good book, impeccable taste and a handsome production. Mr Price is convincing and charming as the artist in hiding… a superior musical comedy!’ Not bad for 31 performances.
As for its pedigree, the score is by Yip Harburg (who wrote the lyrics to Finian's Rainbow and The Wizard of Oz) and Jule Styne (Gypsy, Funny Girl, Bells are Ringing and much more), and it’s terrific. To be clear, it's not a classic score, and has its flaws, But for a flop musical that ran only 31 performances, it’s especially impressive.
Besides which, the show starred Vincent Price. And also Patricia Routlege. Her name may not be especially well-known, and though she was famously in a lot of Broadway flops, she was good enough to keep getting hired for them. And had a strong career in her native England. Furthermore, even though Darling of the Day only ran for 31 performances...she actually won the Tony Award as Best Lead Actress in a Musical. And today, a lot of people know her as the star of the BBC/PBS series, Keeping Up Appearances, playing 'Hyacinthe."
(On purely personal level, one thing I also like about the cast is that a supporting role of a Cockney friend of Routledge's character is played by British actor Teddy Green. As people who read this site a lot know, I'm a major fan of the British musical Pickwick that starred Harry Secombe. Teddy Green was in that original production, as Pickwick's valet, Sam Weller.)
The main character in Darling of the Day is a famous artist in Victorian England who hates high society and moved far away to a South Seas island years earlier. When the Queen decides to knight him, he has to return to England, much to his annoyance. But on the trip back, his butler dies, and there’s a mix-up, since no one knows what the artist looks like, and people think the butler is the artist who died, and that he’s the butler. There’s a romance, and suspicion he’s alive when a new painting he’s done shows up. And other folderol, including the artist's romance and then marriage to a lower-class woman who doesn't realize she's actually married to a member of the aristocracy. It’s fairly enjoyable. The book it’s based on it called Buried Alive.
As I said, I saw a local 2005 production in Evanston, which has a bit of an interesting background. It turned out that a director got the rights from the estates to rework some of the issues in the book, cut a couple songs, add a new one that had originally been dropped from the how, and use alternate lyrics that Harburg had written for one number. I thought most of the changes were fine, though I prefer the original lyrics of the song that had its words changed. And the courtroom scene at the end isn't great -- but then, it's not great in the movie either. If you’re interested in the full story of the updated version, I came across article on it in Playbill, and it turns out that that production I saw was the very first one of the new adaptation.
Which finally brings us to the score. As I noted, I posted one of the song previously, video of Vincent Price singing "I've Got a Rainbow Working for Me" in costume here. These are five other selections.
The overture is so enjoyable that it convinced my dad to join me at that Evanston show. Much as he liked musicals and loved the work of Styne and Harburg, he wasn't anxious to drive out to Evanston to see a very small community theater production of a flop show. And my mother wasn't able to go that night. But I asked them to listen to just a few minutes of the overture -- and they ended up listening to the whole thing, and my dad said he was much better than he expected, so he agreed to go.
This song basically introduces the plot conflict, where Vincent Price sings about his idea to switch places with his now-dead butler, “To Get Out of This World Alive” (with some wonderful Harburg rhymes). And I still think it's a hoot to write the phrase , "where Vincent Prince sings..."
This is a lovely waltz sung by Patricia Routledge, who plays the lower-class woman that Vincent Price falls in love with. “Let’s See What Happens.”
I particularly love this song because it has several of "Yip" Harburg’s most-clever rhymes in any of his songs (which is saying A LOT, since he was renowned for writing clever rhymes). It’s sung by an art dealer (played by Peter Woodthorpe) explaining to a couple about the value of art, “Panache.” He becomes the plot’s antagonist, when he suspects the artist is still alive.
Over time, I've posted videos that I've been looking for over decades. This is the audio of one of them -- and it's a holy grail for me to find because I saw it when it was performed at the time on The Ed Sullivan Show. So, I know it exists, and I know that material from the Sullivan program do get released over time. So, I live in hope.
He had Vincent Price and Patricia Routledge on that night, promoting Darling of the Day. Together they sang a ballad, and then she -- with the company -- sang this HUGE showstopping production number. It was a total joy. Indeed, even without seeing it, you can tell how big it would be onstage. And from the audio alone, you can can a sense why Patricia Routledge won the Tony Best Actress Award even though in a flop. The point of the song is that this woman – who has married the artist, thinking he was lower class like her – discovers that he’s actually a famous artist and knighted, making her a Lady. She goes to a bar and gets drunk, and sings “Not On Your Nellie.” It's really a fun song…which just when you think it’s reached its peak, modulates up another notch and goes on from there. And I'm sure it was this number that likely helped solidify her Tony win.
And that's just a hint of the score of Darling of the Day. Again, it’s not that the show is great – it’s not. But it’s got a truly wonderful score for a flop show, written by two legends. With an impressive, if unlikely cast. And it was a treat to finally get a chance to see it, even in just a small local production.
I have no idea if reprehensible Trump sycophant-extraordinaire congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is guilty of the charges he is being investigated for by the Department of Justice. Mind you, that's an easy statement for me to to make because I'm not completely sure of all the things he's being investigated for in the convoluted case. In fairness, though, I'm that sure from his bizarre tweet storm yesterday and his appearance on "Fox News" if even Matt Gaetz is sure of all the things he's being investigated for.
The best I can tell for the convoluted story that goes back several years and seems to start with others, It appears to be related the sex trafficking of a minor across state lines. Except that Gaetz has also thrown in something about extortion by a former DOJ employee no longer in government service, so I'm not sure what could be extorted since Gaetz is being investigated from crimes by the Department of Justice, whether or not he actually is being extorted.
And I'm not sure why he would say that his father was wearing a wire to help the FBI in the claimed-extortion plot, since -- if his father was actually wearing a wire -- Matt Gaetz just blew the secret. And whoever would have been the subject of the surveillance, if it was true, now has a pretty good idea not to say anything incriminating to Matt Gaetz's father. Or, for that matter, not to say anything, period, to Matt Gaetz's father.
I also am not sure if Matt Gaetz understands that the investigation was started during the administration of his ethereal hero Trump until Attorney General Bill Barr's approval. That's because Gaetz appeared to be saying things about getting a pardon from President Biden. And I'm not sure why he'd think Joe Biden would ever pardon Matt Gaetz about anything. Furthermore, I'm not sure why you'd talk about getting a pardon unless there was something to be pardonned for.
And as for things that Matt Gaetz was saying, I am no idea why when he sat down for an interview with "Fox News" host Tucker Carlson that Mr. Gaetz would tell America that Carlson had had a sexual harassment claim against him. And then claimed in front of Carlson that Carlson can confirm a private story of his. Which Carlson has since said he can't. Though that makes Tucker Carlson a witness for Gaetz. None of which doesn't seem to be the sort of thing you want to do to a host friendly enough to invite you on as a guest -- perhaps for the last time ever. After all, another thing I don't know is why Tucker Carlson would now ever have Matt Gaetz back on as a guest. And for that matter, I don't know if any "Fox News" host would want to have Matt Gaetz on their show out of concern for what he might blurt out, in order to (in his mind) help himself.
And by the way, I don't know why Matt Gaetz would even go on any TV show to talk about his case or post just a single tweet, let alone a tweet storm, about the case and even make admissions about some areas of it when he is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
I don't know either why Matt Gaetz was the only member of the 435 representatives in the House (both Democrats and Republicans) who voted against a bill that increased penalties for human trafficking. To be clear, that doesn't mean he had some nefarious reason for his solitary "no" vote or that it proves his guilt. I just don't have a clue what such a reason would be.that was good and noble and made wonderful sense for the benefit of society that zero other congressmen saw.
.I'm sure sure, too, if his close friendship with a fellow-Florida official also under investigation by the Department of Justice for many federal crimes...including human trafficking...has any connection with his own case. Nor do I know if his friend has any information about Matt Gaetz that he'd be willing to trade for a plea deal and better sentencing given that Gaetz as a U.S. Congressman would be a bigger target for the Department of Justice than a former Florida local official.
So, as you can see, I don't know the answer to any of this. I don't know if Matt Gaetz is guilty of this or guilty of anything. I don't know if Matt Gaetz is being extorted. I just don't know what exactly going on since it's all so twisted and maniacal.
The only thing I know for sure is that since there is, in fact, a DOJ investigation of a U.S. congressman for human trafficking, I'm glad that it's Matt Gaetz who is the one being investigated.
This is an oddity and great fun. It was made in 2014 as a teaser for the upcoming Emmy Awards, but it's not your normal teaser, which is usually fairly short. This is over six minutes. And all the better, it teams up the stars of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, in a parody of sorts of "reality" pawnshop shows, playing seedy owners. And to make things all the better, it also features Julia Louis-Dreyfus as herself. And stick around to the very end, because there's a wonderful payoff for fans of Breaking Bad. But then, I only watched a handful of episode, and even I got the joke.
Yesterday, I read a tweet from the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell that I thought was so hilariously lunatic that I posted what I believed was a pretty benign quip.
But manl At the moment, it has gotten around 2,500 "Likes.:
And far too many wing nuts insisting that, oh, no, it's Dominion who should be terrified of the discovery process. Because there's so much proof against them. Like in Michigan where they found voter fraud. And why would Mike Lindell countersue twice if he didn't have the evidence? And the Trump lawyers had their cases dismissed by they didn't have standing. And Democrats couldn't get anything on Trump, so they're going after him this way. And yabba yabba yabba yabba on and on and on yabba yabba endlessly. (One person added to the yabba quotient by insisting Sidney Power has never backtracked and strongly defends the charges she made,
I didn't answer everyone -- there were far, FAR too many. And responding to them all would be like playing megalomaniacal version of Whack-a-Mole. But a few stood out, and I did reply. Generally, I only replied once because then you get sucked down the rabbit hole into oblivion. So, I'd answer, explain too that I didn't debate delusion, and offered a fond goodbye. And then muted them.
The general thrust of my answers were:
The State of Michigan did an official audit -- by hand -- in the county in question and determined it was not a machine error at all, but a human error by a clerk...and the vote total was 100% correct. Read the news.
The Trump Team lost 60 cases, and in those that were dismissed it was because what they were offering as "evidence" didn't have merit -- not because they didn't have standing. Courts have standards that must be met in order to offer evidence to be considered, or else lawyers can be sanctioned. Read the news.
Sidney Powell's lawyer filed a brief in court about her statements making those charges that "reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact." Read the news.
The Mueller Report said that there was collusion -- but it couldn't be proven by a legal standard because there also was obstruction which blocked investigators from the evidence. Read the news.
And a majority of the U.S. Senate (including Republicans) voted to convict Trump, though two-thirds is required. Read the news.
And no charges were ever filed against Trump when in office because the Justice Department has a guideline that says you can't charge a sitting President with a crime. Read the news.
But mainly, as for Mike Lindell, the very person who started this all --.the reason he countersued is because he is nuts. For starters, just look at the statement that was the whole point of my original tweet: that Trump would be back in office by August!!!
Okay, so, honestly, how in the world is that supposed to happen?? How?!!! Seriously, how does Mike Lindell actually believe Trump will be president again in only four months??? For starters, any lawsuit that challenges the election results won't likely even be heard by August. And that doesn't taken into consideration that all 50 states have certified the results. But lets create a monumental fantasy world where a lawsuit is actually filed (none has been yet, of course.) And after motions to dismiss and debate about that, the trial is granted to go forward by the court. And discovery, finding jurors, and hearing witness all take place in just days. And after a very fast deliberation, that the verdict goes goes in Trump's favor. All within just four months.
Do these people not think there would be...oh, an appeal? And that after that long process, whatever the verdict is, it would not get appealed to the Supreme Court? But that if it actually did, the Justices would call an immediate session and decide on whether or not to hear the case? And would then agree to hear it immediately. And that the lawyers would have to start without time to prepare? And it would only take days? And the Justices would deliberate for a few hours -- and decide in favor of Trump, who would be sworn in the next day??! All so that he could be back as president by August?
Seriously? Or do they just think a district court will make a quick, emergency rule on behalf of Trump, and everyone would agree that, okay, that settles that, and the next day Trump would be president?
As I said, I think it's fair to refer to Mike Lindell as nuts because we're only using his own words
And no, you don't get to use the Trump Gambit of "Oh, no, he didn't actually mean that, you're taking his words literally, and he doesn't mean they're actually literal. It's just sort of the general idea. 'By August' just means some other vague, distant time." Like, perhaps November, 2024.
And yes, I actually did reply to a lot of people with a combination of these responses. Not most, thankfully, but far too many. And the answer to "Why in God's name did you did that?" is basically..."I don't know. Probably because it was a slow day. They were so stupid that it was easy. And it probably annoyed them. But I don't know. We're still in a pandemic, and I'm still sort of sheltering at home, what else would I do to fill up my time?"
And I did, thankfully, eventually give up reading them. Though had to fight responding when my eye did spot a loony reply scroll by. (That's the downside of getting thousands of Likes or replies -- you still have to look to see if someone is writing to you for a completely separate reason... And since you do give up looking at everyone, any of these separate tweets stand a good chance of being missed.)
I don't particularly regret answering the people I did. Not a great choice, but okay, it was sort of fun, if too numbing. And it's who I am. But what I come closer to regretting is posting that first quip.
Closer to regretting -- but not enough regret to not do it again. Besides, it mostly got a tidal wave of positive comments, which were a treat to read.
And in truth, I really do look forward to Mike Lindell's testimony under cross-examination. As someone responded in one of those many positive replies, they should put it on pay-per-view. It would take in a bundle.
Yesterday, 60 Minutes did a show on Boston Dynamics, a research laboratory that develops robotics which the TV show has been trying to get behind-the-scene for years. It was worth the wait. The story is absolutely fascinating, thanks to the remarkable developments by the company. My only two quibbles with the otherwise very good report are are that though the company does a good job explaining away myths about robotics, they don't get into how artificial intelligence works into all this, and also that while the heads of Boston Dynamics are aware of the problem related to job loss, their explanation about it all creating new industries -- while true -- is much to surface to serve as a proper answer.
Still, the story is really worth watching and even fun. But most especially stick with it until you get to the part about the newest discipline they're developing. It's remarkable.
My tech whiz friend Ed Bott has a few favorite comments he makes from his years dealing with people on a lot of different levels, whether directly or from what he reads people have done or have advised to others, or have just floated in the wind around him. His default go-to line about all this is “There’s still a lot of stupid left.” But he has a couple of back-ups which fill in nicely as an occasional change of pace. “Never bet against stupid as the cause" is one. And another that's Pure Bott for its eloquence is "Peak Stupid is an illusion. There's always more stupid just around the bend." And other line pop up from time to time. Ed is a maestro on the subject of stupid. (And other things, but that's another subject all together.)
To be clear, though, this is not about tech. So, not to worry.
Every once in a while, there are things I write about because I just can't begin to understand them, like, for instance, the blatantly craven actions of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). But the other day, a cousin to this concept came up -- something I do understand (soul-sucking stupidity), but am just in awe that such a depth of stupidity exists. (Ed Bott would not have the same level of awe that I do. He'd have a comment about it.)
We've seen in the news for a long while this far-right obsession that has glommed on to their weird belief and insistence that Joe Biden is demented or has Alzheimer's or lost all cognitive awareness and should be removed from off. This medical certainty of there's tends to come from a range of factors -- that he pauses to think before speaking (which apparently is totally bizarre to today's GOP), or that the stumbles a little bit over words (despite it well-documented that he has had a lifetime stutter), or that he veers far off-topic (something he has done on camera with great visual evidence for about 40 years, or just on general principle that he beat Trump and so they're really pissed off. It comes mostly from social media, but the far-right press has picked up on it, and now even some in Congress have tried pandering by dropping hints. Never mind that none of the people I've yet heard offering their theories has a medical degree and could tell you the actual, clinical symptoms of what they're trying to describe. Or have any actual, you know, evidence, other than "He paused and stuttered and said the wrong word," which only qualifies as evidence if your lawyer is Sidney Powell -- and even she said she shoudn't be believed.
(To be clear, Joe Biden is not as sharp as he once was, but the GOP body-twisting faux outrage isn't that he's not as sharp as he once was -- something that's probably true for a third of the Senate -- but that he supposedly has "dementia" or Alzheimer's, which is another world entirely. And another solar system when you're diagnosing without a medical degree.)
This all hit its latest level after President Biden's press conference, when it was noted that he had a cheat sheet with some notes. Never mind that I suspect most presidents have notes at such events, for points they want to be sure to touch on. We know for certain that Trump did. But whatever the reason for their far-right angst, the bottomline is that they want Joe Biden removed from the White House as Commander-in-Chief.
This where we return to the concept of utter stupidity and the tao of Ed Bott. There’s still a lot of stupid left.
And boy, howdy, does it runs deep.
There are a lot of reasons why this obsession to remove President Biden from office for his GOP-perceived faux mental incompetence. But three stand out far-above all.
The first is that it's really an incredibly bad look when Trump, the guy who you utterly worship as a near God, lost to someone you claim is mentally incapacitated.
The second is that this fake-issue of Joe Biden's supposed dementia is propaganda put out by Vladimir Putin and Russia. And so, spreading it around make you a Russian asset, whether knowingly or not. Or what in Russia they call a "useful idiot."
But most of all is the third reason. Now, keep in mind that the whole push by the far-right to demean Joe Biden is to get him out of office, with some calls for the 25th Amendment to be invoked. But the incredible stupidity here is that there appears to be the belief that because so many Republicans think the election was stolen from Trump and that he's the supposed real president, then if President Biden is removed from office then Trump will get to be declared the actual president. And yes, I know that's a weird observation to make, but nothing else makes sense. Because -- well, y'know, replacing Joe Biden with Trump is not how the U.S. Constitution works.
If for whatever reason the far-right gets its Great Wish and Joe Biden is somehow removed from office, whether by the 25th Amendment or "impeachment" (which some Republicans have brought up -- with absolutely no rational meaning, mind you...), then the person who would become the next President of the United States is a black woman. Which I have to believe is today's Republican Party's worst nightmare. And to make it worse for them -- which you'd think is near impossible -- a liberal black woman. With a Jewish husband.
But it even gets worse in its profound depth of stupidity. Because if the far-right is able to block all that out and be dismissive because they're sure they'll be some way to remove Kamala Harris from office -- who knows how? Perhaps because she's part of Biden's supposedly illegitimate Administration? Or "Being elected while black?" Or whatever reason -- then the person who will replace her is, again, not Trump, but -- Nancy Pelosi!!! Which might be an even worse nightmare to the far right than their worst nightmare. Which is an impressive concept.
I'm going to guess that most people in today's Republican Party who are calling for President Joe Biden to be removed from office because of their claims of mental incompetence haven't thought any of this through. Most especially the third part.
Because...well, Peak Stupid is an illusion. There's always more stupid just around the bend.
I get it. I get that they're that monumentally stupid. The only thing I don't get is how someone can be that monumentally stupid. But...ultimately, in the end --
There's still a lot of stupid left.
This week, we have a new episode, and the contestants are Stephanie Anne & Susan Landers of Albuquerque, New Mexico. And the piece by pianist Bruce Adolph is long and beautiful. Still, I couldn’t get the hidden song, even though it’s very well known. However, to my surprise I actually got the composer style. It’s one of my favorite composers, though I usually don’t guess him correctly when in one of these Puzzlers.
On this week’s Al Franken podcast, Al brings back a guest he’s had on before and often. Although as he puts it in perspective, the guest is “Andy Slavitt (Again!) But Now He’s a Big Shot!” That’s because Slavitt is now Senior Advisor on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. And as Al notes, this time, Slavitt “explains it all.”
On this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, is Swati Mohan, lead engineer of NASA who narrated the Mars landing. Her conversation with host Peter Sagal is pretty straight forward about the Mars project and her work on it, including the famous Seven Minutes of Terror – but it’s fascinating. Including that Mission Control was actually 11 minutes behind the real landing as they were guiding the movement of the craft. Interesting, too, is how many of the panelists jump in with questions. One oddity, given her job, is that the audio quality comes across somewhat like her head is in a wooden bucket.
On this week’s episode of 3rd and Fairfax, the official podcast of the Writers Guild of America, the guest is Alan Ball who won an Oscar for writing American Beauty, created the HBO series Six Feet Under and True Blood, and wrote and directed the Miramax/Amazon film Uncle Frank. He talks about how coming home can be as complicated as coming out.
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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