The past week, I've posted a couple versions of the song, "Thank You Very Much," from two stage versions of the movie musical Scrooge. They were both good, nicely done. But they pale in comparison to the original. I thought I should rectify that.
(As previously noted about the scene, Scrooge is with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be, unable to be seen by others, and believes everyone is praising him in the future. In fact, they're thanking him for dying which voids their debts.)
"Thank You Very Much," by the way, written by Leslie Bricusse, received an Oscar nomination as Best Song. There are two reasons the film version is far superior. The first is unfair -- as a movie, they simply had more resources at hand for a bigger cast and far more extensive sets, so given that this is intended to be a jubilant extravaganza, bigger is better. But the second reason is simpler -- the performer in the movie is the wonderful Anton Rodgers.
Most people won't know Anton Rogers, but he was a great British stage actor, who did his fair share of movies and TV, though mostly in England. But he's forever endeared in my heart for playing 'Alfred Jingle,' in my beloved musical Pickwick, both on the West End and Broadway, which I wrote about, in part, here. (My parents saw the show in London, and much as they loved Harry Secombe in the title role and raved about him for decades after, 40 years later they'd still go all googly at the mention of Anton Rodgers, even though it was a supporting role, oozing charm and virtuosity.)
Among some of the things which people might recognize him for are Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, in which he played 'Inspector Andre,' Son of the Pink Panther as 'Police Chief Charles Lazar, and -- for fans of the legendary The Prisoner, he played one of the 'Number Two's' in the episode "The Schizoid Man." Rodgers also was in a great mini-series on PBS, Pictures, about the early days of the talkies, playing a genial, ham actor. But it was on the stage, in dramas, comedies and musicals, where Anton Rodgers' great versatility shined. He was in A Doll's House, played 'Macheath' in The Threepenny Opera, starred as 'Walter Burns' in a musical version of The Front Page called Windy CIty, played Henry V, was in Shaw's Saint Joan, directed Death of a Salesman and The Fantasticks, and even played 'Grandpa Potts, in a recent stage version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
And returning back to the point of all of this, here is Anton Rodgers, exuberantly filling the screen as a charming and utterly overjoyed merchant in the Oscar-nominated "Thank You Very Much." And this, for all those many reasons, is how the song is done.
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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