I realized that I've gotten out of the habit of posting wonderful little-known songs from little-known musicals, and so it's time to get back to that on occasion. And this first song easily qualifies...because it didn't even make it into its show. For reasons I have no idea, because it's my favorite song from it.
The musical is Goldilocks, which has nothing to do with the children's story. Rather it's a spoof of the silent movie era. (A friend who is a deep Broadway aficionado insists the title makes sense. Perhaps it does, but I can't figure how.) The show was produced in 1958 and has great and fascinating pedigree, though it had a short run of just 161 performances. The music is written by one of my favorite composers, Leroy Anderson -- who wrote so many wildly-fun songs, many for the Boston Pops, like "The Syncopated Clock," "Bugler's Holiday," The Typewriter Song," "Blue Tango" and most-famously "Sleighride." The book was jointly-written by Jean Kerr (who wrote the huge hit play, Mary, Mary, which ran for almost four years, and the book Please Don't Eat the Daisies, later made into a movie and TV show) and her husband Walter Kerr, the famous New York Times theater critic -- so highly-regarded that there is a Broadway theater named after him. (Fun fact: the recent one-man show that Bruce Springsteen did on Broadway was at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Additional Fun Fact: when I graduated from the School of Speech at Northwestern, our commencement speaker was fellow-alumni Walter Kerr!) And the Kerrs collaborated on the lyrics with Joan Ford. The show had a solid cast, as well -- Elaine Stritch, Don Ameche, Russell Nype (who had starred opposite Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam), and Margaret Hamilton (yes, that Margaret Hamilton who played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.) But alas, it only ran about five months.
The score is quite pleasant, though not what I'd call standout, but with a few fun songs. But my favorite song is one cut from the show. Perhaps the story got changed, a scene dropped, and the song just didn't fit anymore. I don't know, but it's a lot of fun. Fortunately, there's a series of CDs, Lost in Boston, which is a collection of songs cut from musicals during out-of-town tryouts, richly re-created. It's fun to hear them all, but most for my taste were understandably dropped. A few though stand out and are terrific. And this is one of them. It's called, "If I Can't Take It With Me," performed by Alet Oury.
It was another of those All Trump Stories days yesterday. Clearly, the story that overshadowed them all was Michael Cohen pleading guilty and providing problematic evidence on Trump. (And that's only what little Mueller chose to show the public. He has testified for 70 hours.)
But then there also was Trump canceling the summit with Russia. And Trump offering a $50 million apartment in Trump Tower to Putin. And a New York Times story about how a memo was sent out to two million Federal employees that they couldn't discuss impeachment at work or use the word "resist." Or that Rep. Eric Swalwell on the House Intelligence Committee revealed that chairman Devin Nunes has buried "pages of lies from a number of witnesses particularly in the Trump family, Trump campaign, the Trump business" that he has been protecting each time Democrats on the committee have tried to turn them over to Robert Mueller. That should change when Adam Schiff becomes committee chairman in January. Also in January, House Democrats have made clear their interest in calling Michael Cohen to testify.
But it was one small detail in the Cohen story about pleading guilty that I wanted to reference.
You'll note that when news reports delved into story for its details, a significant one was about plans Michael Cohen was trying to set up with Russia about building a Trump Hotel in Moscow -- and the name of the person he was dealing with and trading emails with (which they quoted from) was...Felix Sater.
And there he is. Again. It's been a while. But longtime readers of these pages will recall the several articles I've written in the past (most notably here, last August) about how critical Felix Sater is to the Russia connections. Well, it's nice to see those details finally bubbling to the surface. No doubt there are many more to come. We tries nots to steers ya wrong...
I thought that in honor of Trump flying to the G20 Summit in Argentina, I'd show their entry in the "Comedy Against Trumpism" series, making their case why, if American is first, they should at least be second. Alas, Argentina does have a video -- perhaps they don't care where they fit in the food chain -- but there is one for Chile which borders Argentina...and they do mention Argentina in it...so that's the best we can do.
In an interview with the New York Post yesterday, Trump said that he thought he would "never" get the Nobel Peace Prize.
This gave me pause, and I sat back to think of all the other things I predict Trump will "never" get --
A real Purple Heart.
A majority of Americans voting for him.
Total honesty from his staff.
The National League MVP Award.
Respect from actual billionaires.
A sense of compassion.
The NAACP Man of the Year.
A high credit rating.
Electoral votes from California.
A bigger inaugural than Barack Obama.
Invited to a CInco de Mayo block party.
The Nobel Prize in Physics.
A loan from a U.S. bank.
The love of his father.
This will be a twofer. I believe I've posted the first video before, a long while back, but not only has enough time passed to have it again, but it's of a piece with the one to follow.
I've long been a huge fan of Tom Lehrer -- the mathematics professor at M.I.T., Harvard, Wellesley and University of California, Santa Cruz -- who had a very successful side career writing (and performing) wonderfully funny and offbeat songs.
It was a surprise and treat to find that Daniel Radcliffe is a fan, as well, so much so that before appearing as a guest on the BBC's The Graham Norton Show, he learned what is probably Lehrer's most difficult, tongue-twisting song, "The Elements," where every element of the Periodic Table was put to music, so that he could perform it on the show.
Two notes: the first is that when Radcliffe asks if anyone in the audience knows Tom Lehrer, there is near total silence. This is understandable on the one hand, given that Lehrer is an American and not terribly well-known here, and his peak was in the late-'60s, early '70s. On the other hand, it's a little surprising became legendary producer Cameron MacIntosh produced a very success musical review of Lehrer's songs on the West End, called Tom Foolery, so I would have thought the London audience might have a few more people who knew his work.
And the second is that because I think he's thrilled simply that he made it through, Radcliffe leaves off the very short last verse, which is a fun one. More on that in a moment. For now, here's that appearance --
And now for the bonus, twofer part of the evening's entertainment.
This is rare footage of Tom Lehrer himself, performing "The Elements." Complete with that last, very short verse. Actually, there's a full minute of additional material, as well, along with what he refers to as "an earlier version" of the song. (The video shows that it goes on for another half-minute, but it doesn't.) This comes from a 1967 concert in, of all places, Copenhagen.
Daniel Radcliffe delivers a highly-admirable, enthusiastic, a capella version of the song. Challenged even more by having an audience and panel that doesn't know what to make up of it. Tom Lehrer has a piano and adoring audience. And he wrote it. But this is how it goes best --
Over the past few years, I've written several times with updates about a company called Stream TV Networks, which has developed a terrific glassless 3D-TV technology called Ultra-D. You can get the whole story here, but the short version is that the technology is tremendous, it works exceedingly well and resolved the huge problem of needing to wear those 3D glasses, since it doesn't require any. And it's resolved, too, the issue of there being almost no 3D content for TV by being able to convert 2D material to 3D in real-time.
That's the good. (And it's very good.) The bad is all those updates. The technology has been ready for primetime for at least five years, and I've seen working models. In fact, the Ultra-D technology is being actively used in a related business, that of signage. But for a variety of reasons, the TV division hasn't kicked in yet, despite having deals with major TV set companies and several "it's coming in a few months" false starts. It hasn't been because of no market -- among other things, they not only do have those deals in place, but also TVs that use Ultra-D can watch normal programming in 2D, unlike the older 3D-TVs requiring glasses which could only watch in 3D, so at its core, TV sets using Ultra-D have the same basic market as any television -- but the continued delays are the results of other hurdles which its president Mathu Rajan has discussed with me along the way. One of them, for example, has been the desire to stay ahead of technology, and these new sets aren't just 4K models which are now prevalent in the marketplace, but rather 8K and 8K-compatible. (Again, as before, there's no issue with there being no 8K content, since the Ultra-D technology can convert standard content to 8K compatible in real time.)
I now come to the part where I once again say about the delays, "That may be about to change..." and we'll find out if it is, indeed, about to change this time, or if another hurdle gets in the way. A wait-and-see attitude is always a good starting point here. But this one seems to have a couple of things going for it that make it appear that serious progress has been made.
The first is that I was recently in the market for a new Smart TV (long story...), and I like the Ultra-D technology enough to be willing to wait a bit if the sets had a specific date when they'd be coming to the market. So, I brought it up to Mathu. He gave me a target date they now have -- and it's reasonably close, but not imminent and given the uncertainty of market dates being "flexible" in the past, I didn't want to put things off.
And the second is that just yesterday I received an email from Stream TV Networks announcing a big press conference. This is something that Mathu has spoken about having "soon" -- and that was initially a couple years ago, but they each ended up having to get cancelled and no invitations were ever sent out. So, to actually get an invitation is a huge leap forward in this all becoming a reality. Furthermore, the date of the press conference is close enough that there's no wiggle room to cancel it. I don't mean "little wiggle room," I mean none. The press conference is set for...tomorrow.
(I did find one thing amusing about the invitation. Over the past years when they've been planning for the press conference, Mathu has always said how he'd like me there, since I've been writing about Ultra-D so much. And though I'd love to go to press conference -- not only is heading off out-of-town with two days notice a bit of a burden, especially now (long story, see above...), this would be an even significantly bigger burden, since the press conference is being held at 10 AM at the Westin Hotel in...Beijing, China. It was great to see that they're finally having the press conference, but I do have my limits.)
Anyway, for these two reasons together, I do sense that their hurdles may actually have been overcome, and the glassless 3D TV sets may actually be coming to market reasonably soon. (I don't want to jump the gun of the press conference, since the date Mathu told me was off-the-record.) Also the press conference will not only be introducing their 65" model, but also a 10.1" glassless 3D display -- which seems to be the tablet screen the company has been developing alongside the TVs.
So, we'll see what gets announced at the press conference, and how it overlaps with the latest news I'd been told about the upcoming entry to the market. And again, if you're coming to this after the initial articles I've written on the subject, and are interested (which if you've gotten this far, you probably are...), check out the link above.
Watch this space. Still. Updates as they occur. We'll see. Hopefully, literally.
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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