We have a bit of an oddity in Part Four of our Second Elisberg Industries International Film Festival, presenting the award-winning musical, Fiorello!, with a score by Harnick and Bock.
Most of the video we've had here has been from an very good production at New York University. This episode does not. Instead, it comes from, of all things, an Elks Charity Ball. And it's not even actually being performed, but rather lip-synched. But -- this is such a wonderful song that I wanted to include it...and they're lip-synching to the original Broadway cast album, so you're getting the song done spot-on
This is the famous "Politics & Poker" number. The local polical boss, Ben Marino, is having an incredibly difficult time finding a Republican who is willing to run -- and lose -- against the corrupt Tamany Hall. His fellow cronies are of little help, some offering up inappropriate names, while most just want to get back to their poker game. And together, all make the connection how much the two games have in common.
A trio of notes:
The actor on the Broadway recording here who plays Ben is Howard DaSilva. He's not well-known to most audiences since he had been Blacklisted during the McCarthy Era, and therefore didn't have much of a career in films and TV. But he did have a solid career on stage. Among many other things, he also played Jud Fry in the original production of Oklahoma! (this is the role played by Rod Steiger in the film version), and was -- of all people -- Ben Franklin in the musical 1776, a performance he repeated in the movie adaptation. It worth noting, too, that with Fiorello! and 1776, Howard DaSilva was in two musicals that each won the Tony Award and Pulitze Prize.
Second, the song actually comes earlier in the show, rather than after "Unfair." (In fact, just before it.) But in the telling of the story under these conditions, it was smoother to include it this way.
Finally, there's some odd technical glitch where the video jumps in the middle of the lyric, coming right before the punch line is delivered. So, I'll explain what's missing -- one of the cronies has recommended that they run a guy named Michael Paniaschenkowitrz. To which Ben Marino explains:
Mike is out.
I'm afraid he just wouldn't sell.
Nobody likes a candidate
Whose name they can't spell.
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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