Monday, September 28, 2009

Beating up on Jay Leno

By Steve Crum

So Jay Leno’s new prime time show is being criticized for being a clone of his old Tonight Show. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.

It is a case of not fixing something unless is it broken, and it is more than that. Leno’s late night gig, which he did for *can you believe it* 17 years, was essentially a dupe of what his predecessor, Johnny Carson, did for 30 years. That includes an opening monologue (like Carson, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien); humorous repartee with the band leader (Letterman and O’Brien do the same); reading funny newspaper items and bloopers; guest interviews from behind a desk (this dates back to Steve Allen); introducing stand-up comedians (done since The Tonight Show’s beginning); and comedy sketches featuring Leno (all predecessors did this too). Even Leno’s Jaywalking was done (under different title) by Steve Allen when he hosted the show. Everything old gets new again.

Steve Allen (from 1954-57 the first Tonight Show host) segued from a daily, live, late night show to a recorded, weekly, prime time hour with a near copycat comedy-variety show. He brought along his orchestra leader, Skitch Henderson. A big difference was his establishment of a comic gang of regulars that included Don Knotts, Louis Nye, and Tom Poston. They performed in what became the centerpiece of Allen’s prime time show: the comedy sketches. Music, particularly jazz, was featured, an Allen mainstay throughout his career. Minus the familiar host desk and guest chairs, his prime time show was pretty much a mirror reflection of his recently departed Tonight Show.

Ernie Kovacs, who alternated with Allen as host on The Tonight Show from 1956-57, changed some things when he went to prime time. His series and specials focused on visual comedy. Gone was the live studio audience, since the visual bits and sketches had to be prerecorded. With him as sketch comedian and occasional singer was Edie Adams, who along the way became his real life wife. Kovacs’ foray into prime time included a couple of comedy enhanced game shows.

Jack Paar’s emotional five years as Tonight Show host, 1957-62, emphasized talk, sometimes serious talk (like his infamous interview with Fidel Castro), along with the music and comedy. When Paar shifted to a weekly hour-long prime time show after leaving Tonight, he brought along his orchestra leader, Jose Melis. Familiar Tonight Show guests like Jonathan Winters, Oscar Levant and Alexander King would occasionally appear. Paar also booked personalities like Billy Graham and Richard Nixon. Outside of the studio audience being much more subdued, Paar’s new show, which again included his opening monologue, was only marginally different from his Tonight job. Oh yes, gone was the host’s desk. He had chairs placed beside each other, like Jay Leno now has.

Johnny Carson neither followed his 30 years on The Tonight Show with a prime time show nor did he even have occasional specials. There were rumors he would do the latter, but it never happened.

When it was first announced Jay Leno would have an hour long, nightly prime time show, I was concerned about Leno’s health. Allen and Paar helmed a prime time 60 minutes, with Kovacs settling into a half hour slot. They all stressed over the once a week work load. Sure they had successfully survived the daily grind of late night, but a prime time slot meant stiffer competition and ratings pressure. Steve Allen eventually lost his show to both Ed Sullivan and Maverick.

Leno is tackling prime time for an hour every single week day. Guests have to be higher profile and bigger budget, and the comedy and music have to be A-1 to compete against the ratings rich drama and reality shows CBS, ABC, Fox and the vast cable wasteland offer. Leno is depending on tried and true comedy like Jaywalking, but yet he is experimenting with newer bits like 10 at 10, and the green car racetrack. His opening crowd high fives, the comedy monologue, and his banter with band leader Kevin Eubanks are comfortable Tonight Show deja vu.



As Jay Leno bounces familiar jokes against his new set’s acoustics, think survival. If he makes it through this TV season in ratings splendor, and I hope he does, Leno just might accomplish what his Tonight Show predecessors failed to do. Undoubtedly this involves sacrificing the few remaining black hairs amongst the silver on his head.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You ain't heard nothin' yet!: When Jolson hit Kansas City

By Steve Crum

AL JOLSON (May 26, 1886 in Lithuania to Oct. 25, 1950) was then and remains now the most talented and idolized singer and comedian of the first half of the Twentieth Century. I could write plume about the songs he introduced and the impact this man had on show business--and on yours truly, but it would take a blog site unto itself to cover it all. 

Jolie was the Crosby, the Sinatra, the Elvis, and The Beatles of his day. From 1911-28, his nine Shubert produced Winter Garden shows were all standing room only hits. Jolson had over 80 best selling records during his career. He starred in 16 national and international touring shows. He headlined several top radio shows, and starred in the first successful talking movie, 1927's The Jazz Singer. A string of Warner Brothers musicals followed. In 1946, Larry Parks portrayed him, lip synching Jolson's pre-recorded songs, in the blockbuster musical biography, The Jolson Story. Parks played him again, and Jolson did the songs once more, in Jolson Sings Again (1949). Jolson was set to play himself in yet a third film about his life, but died after entertaining our troops during the Korean War, in 1950. His death was front page news worldwide. 

From the beginning of the 1900's through the '30s, Jolson toured in minstrel shows, vaudeville, and Broadway productions. In fact, he was the first to take his NYC shows on tour, at his insistence. Where would talking pictures, records, and touring stage plays be today without the great Jolson?

I am in the midst of a labor of true love, compiling text and images I have been working on for some time. After many hours researching Al Jolson's appearances at the long gone Shubert and Grand Theaters in Kansas City, which I found in the archives of my local newspaper, The Kansas City Star (and Times), I discovered photos, caricatures, reviews, and feature stories covering Jolson's triumphant performances here. Eventually, my efforts will be featured in an upcoming Jolson Journal, the impressive publication of The International Al Jolson Society http://www.jolson.org/. Following is a preview of my treasures. 

I used a magnifying glass to transcribe what you read here from the original, which is difficult to read due to age. This review of one of Jolie's hit musicals, Sinbad, was published on Oct. 25, 1920. Jolson was in KC for a week, part of a cross country tour. Since there is no film footage of Jolson actually performing in one of his shows on stage, just reading the description (by an uncredited KC Star reporter) of his performance seems to transport one back nearly 90 years when Jolson was King of Broadway and, as he was billed, The World's Greatest Entertainer.
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JOLSON AS GOOD AS EVER
Capacity House Welcomed Comedian to Kansas City Last Night
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“Sinbad” Won with Its Blackface Star, Its Cast, the Songs, Costumes and Scenery
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Al Jolson won Kansas City at 10:48 p.m. last night. He had finished singing his last song, “Avalon,” and had walked into the wings, and blonde little Virginia Smith was standing bravely on the runway and trying to lead a chorus through “Hold Me.” The noise the girls struggled against was like the pound of the surf on the beach. It must have awakened the residents in Dodson, Mo.

Jolson strolled back on the stage in a red, black and yellow bathrobe that hit one between the eyes. “This is my last season in this sort of stuff,” he told the audience determinedly. “I’m going to keep acting. I don’t know any other business. But next season I’m going to gratify a lifelong ambition. It’s a crazy wish, but somehow or other I’ve always longed to do it. I’m going to come on stage--on a horse.”

Every seat in the Shubert was taken for Jolson’s opening in “Sinbad” last night, including about five rows of chairs in the rear of the house. It was a Jolson crowd, that was plain from the start. When the comedian, as familiar blackface Gus, came on the stage in the second scene, the performance stopped while he bowed and scraped his appreciation.

“Wait,” he told the orchestra leader, “I want to speak to this audience.” Then, in a surprise aside, he said, “Say, for $3.85 they ought to be spoken to.”

HE SANG--THAT WAS ENOUGH

The rest of the evening kept piling up Jolson’s popularity. His first song was “Swanee,” and he had to rely on his old faithful, “You ain’t heard nothing yet,” to still the house when he finished. He got the same results with “That Says It All,” which came near the end of the first act.

His runway monologue, with the usual two songs, came near the close of the performance. The first number was “By the Honeysuckle Vine,” then the talk, which, if it wasn’t pretty extemporaneous, was a masterful piece of acting, then “Avalon.” Then the deluge.

Jolson is the same Al Kansas City knew in “Robinson Crusoe Jr.,” and its predecessors. His comedy seems to have gained and it is delivered so naturally it seems as though Jolson is telling it all to you walking from hole to hole on a golf course, or waiting for the coffee after a good dinner. It is hard to recall former houses almost losing control of themselves as last night’s did when he said, “You have to have a letter from the pope to get into the Muehlebach,” and then described the tea dancers there.

His voice still has the almost prayerful quality he puts into every tone, and he still sings with his mouth, shoulders, arms, hips, legs, feet. He had his own company laughing as hard as the spectators last night, which is the tribute supreme to any actor. In summary, Al still is Al--and there are few entertainers quite like him.

THE PRODUCTION A BIG ONE

As for the production, “Sinbad” is a massive spectacle, girls, music, beautiful scenes, splendid costumes. It must have cost a lot of money to stage and its salary list also should prove a source of profitable investigation to the income tax collector. There is a thread of plot running through the evening, much more clearly defined than in most similar productions, and the two acts and fourteen scenes unfold picture after picture which please.

Among the noteworthy scenes are a street in Bagdad, the palace of Sinbad, the grotto in the Valley of Diamonds, and the Island of Eternal Youth. Meghans’s leaping hounds, dogs that register 100 per cent as an animal act, raise the house to a high pitch of enthusiasm--even before Jolson appears.

A uniformly good cast is in “Sinbad.” Supporting the star are: [Seven cast names follow that are in smaller print and nearly impossible to read.]

There is a chorus which changes costumes many times and wears tights often. It does its work well. There also is Ma-Belle, a good toe dancer; Wilburt Dunn, a very acceptable partner for her; and Eddie Lynn and William Burns, who dance well with Sue Creighton.

There also is Jolson. Now, speaking of Jolson....
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Here is Jolson's original hit recording of Gershwin's Swanee, recorded in 1920 and introduced in Sinbad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB5_FScm41Q

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No lie, ‘The Informant!’ has darkly brilliant Damon amid confusing plot

By Steve Crum

To tell the truth, The Informant! is neither another funny Jim Carrey Liar Liar nor a take on the upcoming Ricky Gervais comedy-fantasy, The Invention of Lying. But The Informant! is definitely about a liar, and one can’t help laughing at it. Yet in retrospect, it is guilty laughter since the central lying character, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), has psychotic problems that influence the fibs. Factor in he is based on a real life guy. It is sort of like admiring Sandra Bullock’s humorous, love struck character in All About Steve when, in fact, she is pretty much a criminal stalker. Funny and pathetic intersect.

Using Kurt Eichenwald’s 2000 book of same name, director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven) and his scribe, Scott Z. Burns, pretty much meet the challenge of balancing darkly humorous aspects with base facts. Yet, due to very nature of the story, too often the plot befuddles the audience in its mix. This is a compliment to Damon, since his character’s pathological lying has to be so convincing that we are hooked into his schemes. In his best acting to date, Damon is this corporate leader who is also a family man. He is also scheming against his own company, stealing from it, and confessing to it for his own, warped self esteem. That his confession is peppered with exaggerations just makes the story more and more preposterous and funny. Telling the simple truth is simply not enough for Damon’s Whitacre.

The story, told in Whitacre’s documentary-like narration (sounding like David Nelson of Ozzie & Harriet), opens at an Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) plant in Decatur, Ill., circa 1992. ADM is an agri-business super plant for which youngish Whitacre is employed as an executive particularly concerned with his company’s corn sales and lysine. The lysine, a food additive, is apparently tainted and ruining all the corn. Whitacre’s discovery and ensuing crisis is amplified through his vivid narrative: “It was like a Crichton novel....” Whitacre takes the news to his bosses, adding his concerns that there is sabotage by Japanese competitors involved. Boy, does he add his concerns. After riling his superiors up, he convinces them to send him to Japan to meet with someone who has been trying to bribe him to turn on ADM.

Meanwhile, Whitacre tells his wife Ginger (Melanie Lynskey) of his fears that his life in in danger, embellishing his story even more, to the point of convincing himself to contact the FBI. Skeptical at first, the agents (Scott Bakula and Joel McHale) hook into Whitacre’s story when he escalates the millions of dollars involved, and his “facts” that ADM may be part of a global price-fixing conspiracy. Playing the proverbial both ends against the middle, Whitacre obviously enjoys the glamour and attention of espionage and intrigue. The “evidence” he keeps promising the FBI seems too fantastic to believe--with good reason.

Years go by with numerous phone taps. Whitacre is not only compliant to be wired at meetings with ADM executives, he is overjoyed. His excitement, in fact, nearly blows his cover in several instances. As Whitacre’s lifestyle now includes daily spy activities, he goes too far in trying to make a case that originally did not exist. Yet the FBI and ADM string along with him.

Before giving away too much, I need to emphasize the complexity of the story line. From the beginning of The Informant!, we are led in narrative by Whitacre. When he tells us a conspiracy is afoot, we believe him, partially due to his colorful, Mickey Spillane dialogue. The problem with the film is really Whitacre’s affliction, the fact he is bipolar. Facts and events, through his eyes and words, skew left and right of truth central. Half way through the movie, I was confused, not really suspecting Whitacre had a serious truth telling problem. No doubt he loves attention, I thought, and needs to feed his ego, but don’t we all? That real crime is ultimately revealed just adds to audience confusion. But, again, our trusted narrator is unknowingly confused himself.

A beautiful tip-off to the film’s truth versus reality element is Whitacre’s subtle yanking back his toupee (we kind of suspected he was wearing such) while talking to his FBI pals. Damon pulls the scene off, and his hair back, superbly.

Other pluses include the Marvin Hamlisch score, which is quirky, jaunty, and fun--almost like tapping into Mark Whitacre’s psyche. Look for cameos, in separate and against type roles, by both Tommy and Dick Smothers. The entire cast is super, particularly Damon, who put on pounds, a mustache, and a hairpiece. This is his showcase.

The Informant! had to be a challenge to produce; it certainly challenges the audience. Soderbergh specializes in working multiple, layered plot lines toward intersection. It worked in his Ocean's series, but did not in The Good German. It almost works in The Informant!
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On an A to F Grade Scale: B
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Laughing-In & Out with Henry Gibson


By Steve Crum

Thank you, Henry Gibson, who died Sept. 14, a week before his 74th birthday, for my getting many laughs at your talented expense. Back in 1969, when you popped in--long stemmed flower in hand--for your weekly bit of reciting one of your mini-verses on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, I listened. And memorized. Forty years later, I still recite it whenever possible:

Spider, spider on the wall,
Ain’t you got no sense at all?
Don’t you know that wall’s been plastered?
Get off that wall, you stupid spider.

Oh yes, and Henry preceded it with a sincere, ‘The Spider’...by Henry Gibson.
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The Curious Case of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'

By Steve Crum

Time does have a way of changing things. Take Benjamin Button, please. Most of us know that in last year’s Oscar winning The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the title character (marvelously played by Brad Pitt) is born as an elderly baby, gets younger as he grows up, and eventually (*spoiler*) regresses to childhood and babyhood, wherein he dies in the arms of his now elderly ex-wife.

Director David Fincher received an Oscar nomination, as did Alexandre Desplat, who scored the memorable music. This was not the original plan, however.

Nineteen years ago, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was even more curious. Harry Garfield, Sr. Vice President of Music at Universal Pictures, spoke to me then of Steven Spielberg’s plans for making the picture. Nearly two decades passed before the film was produced, something common in Hollywood. In fact, many film projects are shelved and never realized. But Spielberg had high hopes and big plans for his version of Benjamin Button.

“Spielberg’s project,” said Garfield in 1990, “is an adaptation of (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button--a man born at 80 years in 1920 Baltimore, who learns to play piano and gets younger on the outside, and older on the inside. By 1920, he looks 70, but knows all ragtime music.”

“By 1930,” Garfield said, “Benjamin and his father compete for attention, playing Ellington, etc. Time goes throughout the 1940’s, until eventually he plays rock and roll, and is younger--with a great musical background.”

This is all interesting and revealing, since in last year’s film (not directed by Spielberg) Benjamin does play the piano briefly, but the jist of the story is definitely not on his music expertise. In no way is his father musically inclined or competitive. In fact, he does not reunite with his father for several years.

It is no surprise that Spielberg’s original choice of film composer was John Williams, since Williams had scored the bulk of Spielberg films since Jaws. Spielberg wanted either Tom Cruise or Robin Williams to play Benjamin.

“Spielberg knows he will need an actor who can play the spectrum,” said Garfield, “from 15 year-old to a five year-old who (at the end of the film) listens to Raffi (the then famous children’s composer-singer).” As it turned out, CGI effects placed Brad Pitt’s face on a short actor’s body during the childhood to teenage sequences. When Spielberg was making his plans nearly 20 years ago, pre-CGI, computerizing was in the prehistoric stage.

Then, Steven Spielberg was banking on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and big time. Undoubtedly, other movie gigs took precedence, and Benjamin was put on the proverbial back burner. It would be four years before Schindler’s List would garner Spielberg his first Oscar win.

But in 1990, Garfield said Spielberg had told him The Curious Case of Benjamin Button would be his first big winner: “It’s my Academy Award!”

Maybe it would have been, should have been.
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Addendum: Benjamin Button’s road to finality includes a 1998 plan, soon scrapped, to produce the film with Ron Howard directing, and John Travolta starring.
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Link ye to the trailer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqeqaweXBV0

Monday, September 14, 2009

IT'S CRUMMY TRIVIA TIME...with DALE EVANS!

By Steve Crum

My childhood heroes were always cowboys--not a cowgal like Dale Evans. However, The Queen of the West, who died Feb. 7, 2001 at 88, was a contender. For over half a century, she was literally, in movies and real life, partnered with The King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers. On top of that, she had her own famous horse, Buttermilk. And she could sing western songs just about as well as Roy. Like King Roy, she even starred in her own line of comic books. So to me and the neighborhood boys who teamed up to play our favorite western stars, Miss Dale only semi-qualified as honorary cowboy hero. 

A dialogue never heard: “OK, Donald, you are Johnny Mack Brown. Bobby, you are Lash LaRue. And I’m Dale Evans.” Playing cowboy was never a drag.

But Dale Evans was more of a Renaissance person than her saddle pard Roy. In addition to acting and singing, she was an author and composer. The Queen of the West was well labeled. No other female outside of Annie Oakley is so identified as a positive role model of the West, albeit in Evans’ case the romanticized West of movies, recordings and TV.

Strap on those spurs and saddle up. Gallop down that canyon pass again with THE DALE EVANS TRIVIA TEST. Answers are either TRUE or FALSE, and are listed at the end of this piece, pardners!
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1.] Unlike Roy Rogers, who hailed from Ohio, Dale Evans was actually born a Westerner.
2.] Evans made only 15 movies.
3.] She starred in three TV series.
4.] Dale Evans wrote a song featured in a John Wayne classic movie.
5.] Roy Rogers was her first and only husband.
6.] The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum is in Southern California.
7.] The song, (How Do I Know) The Bible Tells Me So, was written by Dale Evans.

ANSWERS
1.] True. Lucille Wood Smith was born Oct. 31, 1912 in Uvalde, Texas.
2.] False. Her 41 movies began when she played a girl at the soda fountain in 1942’s Orchestra Wives, starring Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, and ended in 1951’s Pals of the Golden West.
3.] True. Included are The Roy Rogers Show (1951-57); The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show (1962); and A Date with Dale (1996).
4.] True. For John Wayne’s Rio Grande (1950), Dale’s song Aha, San Antone, was sung by co-stars Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., and Claude Jarman Jr. Carey recalls: “That thing about Aha, San Antone was a spur-of-the-moment idea. It was written by Dale Evans and wasn’t in the plans at all. The Old Man (director John Ford) just threw it in. Claude, Ben and I actually sang it ourselves. Ford would never overdub or pre-record, we did it live. It’s a little ironic that Victor Young (the film’s composer) picked it up for Ben’s theme.”
5.] False. He was Numero Four. A mother at 15, Dale was first hitched to Thomas Fox (1927-29); then August Johns (1929-35); Robert Butts (1937-46); and lastly to Roy (1947-Roy’s death in 1998).
6.] False. It's no longer anywhere since it is nonexistent. It was for many years in Victorville, California before it was all moved, including the late Buttermilk, Trigger and Bullet, to Branson, Missouri. Son Dusty Rogers performed there, and ran the museum. Sadly, due to poor attendance, the museum closed a couple of years ago. (Roy would always become outraged when someone called his displayed animals “stuffed.” His horse Trigger, dog Bullet, and Dale’s horse Buttermilk are “mounted.” There is a difference, you know.) NOTE: When this article was first posted, the museum was still in Branson. I have done some updating.
7.] True. As most of the world knows, she also wrote Happy Trails to You, the couple’s theme song.
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If you scored at least four correct, you are Top Buckaroo, so treat yourself to a finger dip of saddle soap. Until we meet again, Dale and Roy.
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For Mr. & Mrs. Rogers singing Happy Trails, follow this link down the pass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcYsO890YJY

Saturday, September 5, 2009

IT'S CRUMMY TRIVIA TIME...with GLENN MILLER!

 By Steve Crum

It was 1954’s The Glenn Miller Story that really got me into big bands. Although I did not see it until it was on TV when I was into young adulthood, hearing that great Miller sound was an immediate hook. Not that I was totally unexposed before that time. There were a handful of 45 rpm records I had purchased during jr. high years. The one I recall best, which I still have tucked away behind DVDs and CDs, is an RCA extended play 45 of Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust performed by four big bands: Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller. Shaw’s version remains my favorite. No doubt I originally got this record to please my parents and grandparents. In those days, most of my age group had long since gyrated into rock ‘n roll land, which I never did.

For the most part, I actually preferred my past generations’ music. By the time I was 12 (in 1959), WWII big band music seemed a leap forward to me. That was because my #1 musical preference was the Elvis of the Stone Age, Al Jolson. All it took was one glance and a listen to The Jolson Story (1946), and I became Jolsonized. But that is another blog entirely. My only transition back to big bands is that I have a recording of Jolie, singing both April Showers and Ma Blushin' Rosie, accompanied by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. That said and hummed...
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What was the FIRST GOLD RECORD awarded for any song selling a million records? Hint: It was awarded to Glenn Miller. Choose one:
A. Moonlight Serenade
B. In the Mood
C. Chattanooga Choo Choo
D. Pennsylvania 6-5000
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ANSWER: CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO. RCA Victor, Miller’s one and only recording company, gave him the symbolic gold record in 1942 when the 78 rpm disk reached 1,200,000 in sales. For the record, so to speak, Chattanooga Choo Choo was #1 on the Billboard charts for nine weeks. Its matrix code on the RCA Bluebird label is B-11230-B. More importantly, the recording features Miller regulars Tex Beneke, Paula Kelly, and The Modernaires. A rarely heard 2-Channel stereo track of the song played on-screen by the Glenn MIller Orchestra is a plus to the laser disk release of 1941’s Sun Valley Serenade. Unfortunately, no DVD version is yet available. Written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, Chattanooga Choo Choo was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1996.
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GLENN MILLER [March 1, 1904-Dec. 15, 1944] was serving as major, and heading his Army Air Force Band, when his plane evidently crashed over France during WWII. Neither his body nor the plane and its crew and other passengers were ever found.
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Dedicated to my truly dear Aunt Ada Holley, who did indeed sing with a big band and is now the youngest 85 year-old ever and #1 Glenn Miller fan, please enjoy Glenn Miller and his Orchestra performing Chattanooga Choo Choo in this scene from Sun Valley Serenade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XQybKMXL-k
AND here is pt. 2 of the same scene, featuring Dorothy Dandridge and The Nicholas Brothers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzHIn5S-RbY&NR=1

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Disney team-up should mean a Marvel-ous Main Street, USA

By Steve Crum

The newspaper headline tells all: Spidey hangs in Disney's web now. Mega entertainment buzz is all a twitter and a blog over the Walt Disney Company’s announcement Monday of its purchase of Marvel Enterprises for $4 billion. No MIckey Mousing about it, this adds nearly 5,000 Marvel characters to the Magic Kingdom conglomerate.

Does this sound like a set-up for strained, corny jokes about Marvel superheroes and villains changing the venue of Disneyland and Disney World? You bet your Spidey sense it does. Therefore, with Marvel’s main artist/creator Stan Lee in mind, welcome to...DISLEELAND & DISLEE WORLD!
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While in Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida, DON’T MISS these Disleeland and Dislee World attractions for young and old comic book geeks:

Amusements
FRONTIERLAND SHOOTIN’ AT MARVEL VILLAINS EXPOSITION
MAD TEA PARTY WITH SILVER SURFER SILVERWARE
SPIDER-MAN’S WEB SLING FROM TARZAN’S TREEHOUSE

Big Thrills
HULKING AROUND SPACE MOUNTAIN
SILVER SURFING DOWN SPLASH MOUNTAIN

Family Adventures
BUZZ LIGHTYEAR/CAPTAIN AMERICA ASTRO BLASTERS
ENCHANTED TIKI-THOR ROOM
HAUNTED GREEN GOBLIN MANSION
DR. DOOM’S JUNGLE CRUISE
X-MEN OF THE CARIBBEAN

Fun For Little Ones
AVENGERS IN WONDERLAND
“IT’S A SMALL VULCAN WORLD”

PLUS...Character Greetings from
GOOFY, PLUTO, DEADPOOL AND PALS
WINNIE THE POOH & IRON MAN TOO

Be sure to visit
MINNIE’S AND MAGNETO’S HOUSE

And to make your visit complete, DON’T FORGET to take a ride on
THE DISLEELAND WOLVERAIL
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For a 15 minute Disneyland visit to IT'S A SMALL WORLD (featuring that never to be forgotten but we try song), please go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APmHR2bmQgw