And so, we've come to the end. The theater was dark on the holiday, but we're back with the final episode of the Second Elisberg Industry Film Festival presentation of Fiorello!. Think of it as the Encore. I figured that a good way to go out would be with a few off-beat but very appropriate videos. Bear with me, there are a few treats here, especially for your history buffs.. Hey, you've made it this far -- stick around to the finish.
We'll start off with a song that I didn't post during the main part of the Film Festival, that's because there was no in-production performance video of it, a number called "The Bum Won." And there isn't such video still, but this here includes a lot of photos from the show. The song comes after party boss Ben Marino and his political cronies have agreed to let Fiorello LaGuardia run for Congress as a sacrificial lamb against the criminal Tammany Hall organization, with no chance of winning -- and yet to their utter shock the next morning when the results are in, he gets elected. This is one of my favorite songs in the show for the reason that I love songs with counterpoint...and this is counterpoint on steroids, with musical themes overlapping on musical themes overlappoing on even more themes. So, here from the original Broadway album is Howard Da Silva and the cast.
Next, we have a featurette done for the 2013 Encores! concert-production of Fiorello! There's no music in the video, just largely actors and others talking about their roles and the show. But it's noteworthy because it includes the only surviving member of the creative team, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, talking about the show, in particular writing the new number, the reprise of "The Name's LaGuardia."
And finally, two unlikely videos that have absolutely nothing directly to do with the production of musical, but everything to do with the musical. For the past two weeks, we've posting videos about a musical on Fiorello H. LaGuardia, who was mayor of New York CIty for 12 years. Well, here is newsreel footage of LaGuardia himself.
In this first video, it touches on one of the most remembered and beloved parts of his legacy -- something touched on in the musical at the very beginning of the show, which is in essence a flashback. During his term in office, there was a big newspaper strike in the city. And the news aside, one of the consternations it caused was that little children couldn't get their daily comic strips. So, Mayor LaGuardia would go on the air...and read the comics he was able to get access to. Here he is reading from "Dick Tracy" in 1945 -- and one of the fun things, which again they touch on in the musical, is how not only does he read the comics, but every once in a while tosses in little political commentaries that relate to them.
And at least, we come to newsreel footage of Fiorello LaGuardia doing what is, in essence, the foundation that pushed his career forward -- going on the air in 1933 and angrily (and bluntly) railing against the criminal activities of the Tammany Hall organization, still then impacting the city. It's the best way, I suppose, of finishing things here. After all, the name's LaGuardia.
10/20/2019 12:30:13 am
People might like to see the real Marie at home with Fiorello. Here's a brief newsreel clip. I think that the intro, where he's walking up to the building, shows 1274 Fifth Avenue (which according to Google Street View is still there). They lived in an apartment on the the top (sixth) floor for much of Fiorello's time as mayor, only moving to Gracie Mansion late in his term.
10/20/2019 11:12:29 am
Just to clarify the video, the text say that that is Thea LaGuardia, though notes that it's "unconfirmed." From what I know, my very strong guess is that is *not* Thea. Among other things, she died at the age of 26, and that woman in the video appears much older. It more likely is perhaps Marie.
10/23/2019 06:54:23 pm
Excellent point re: identification in the newsreel. I agree that the Getty labelling must be incorrect because Thea passed away more than a decade before Fiorello became Mayor, and he eventually married Marie (though the real-life timing was different from what was shown in the musical). I think he was in his early 50s when this film was made. Marie would be in her late 30s -- the woman who's briefly onscreen does resemble this news photo, so I'm assuming it's her too.
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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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