Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

Love this song and movie. Back in 2018 my son and I caught the movie in an Art House movie theatre that is located in Nashville. It was cool seeing this 1972 movie on the big screen. On top of a great movie, we got to hear the Curtis Mayfield soundtrack with surround sound in the theater.

Quinten Tarantino was strongly influenced by this movie for Jackie Brown. The endings are very similar. This song popularized the word “fly,” which means unusual and exceptional, particularly when it comes to fashion.

Curtis Mayfield was working on the songs for the movie while it was shooting, and would often visit the set, bringing in demos so the cast and crew could hear how they would integrate into the film. He even appears in the movie, performing the song “Pusherman” in a bar scene.

After seeing the screenplay, Mayfield jumped into the project and was given complete creative freedom. He wrote the songs to suit the scenes, but he made sure they could stand on their own, telling the stories even without the visuals. “Superfly” works very well outside of the film, as the character Mayfield describes could relate to anyone trying to survive and thrive under difficult situations.

The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and #5 in the R&B Charts in 1972.

Curtis Mayfield: “It was a glorious moment for our people as blacks, Priest had a mind, he wanted to get out. For once, in spite of what he was doing, he got away. So there came ‘Superfly’ the song. He was trying to get over. We couldn’t be so proud of him dealing coke or using coke, but at least the man had a mind and he wasn’t just some ugly dead something in the streets after it was all over. He got out.”

Superfly

Darkest of night
With the moon shining bright
There’s a set goin’ strong
Lotta things goin’ on
The man of the hour
Has an air of great power
The dudes have envied him for so long

[Chorus]
Superfly
You’re gonna make your fortune by and by
But if you lose, don’t ask no questions why
The only game you know is Do or Die
Ah-ha-ha

Hard to understand
What a hell of a man
This cat of the slum
Had a mind, wasn’t dumb
But a weakness was shown
Cause his hustle was wrong
His mind was his own
But the man lived alone

[Chorus]

The game he plays he plays for keeps
Hustlin’ times and ghetto streets
Tryin’ to get over
(That’s what he tryin’ to do, why’all)
Taking all that he can take
Gambling with the odds of fate
Tryin’ ta get over [Repeat: x4]
Woo, Superfly

The aim of his role
Was to move a lot of blow
Ask him his dream
What does it mean?
He wouldn’t know
“Can’t be like the rest”
Is the most he’ll confess
But the time’s running out
And there’s no happiness

[Chorus]

Superfly [Repeat: x4]

“Tryin’ to get over” [Repeat: x9]

Beatles – Across The Universe

When I became a Beatles fan way back when I was 8 years old…and up to my teenage years I hardly ever heard this one mentioned by people. I’ve seen its popularity grow through the years. My biggest problem with it is they should have spent more time on it. Lennon accused McCartney of subconsciously trying to destroy it. You could see Paul let out a big yawn while rehearsing in the Let It Be film but that probably had more to do with him being tired after hours of playing in a studio…but maybe Lennon had a point.

One of the reasons John got upset with Paul was because instead of getting professional backup singers or a choir…Paul went out the Abbey Road door and grabbed two “Apple Scruffs” to sing backup on the song. That version did not go on the Let It Be album, however. That version was on a charity album.

This first appeared on No One’s Gonna Change Our World, a 1969 charity album for the World Wildlife Fund. Bird noises were dubbed into this version to create a nature theme. It didn’t sound too bad.

No One's Gonna Change Our World (1969, Vinyl) - Discogs

When I bought the Let It Be album it took a few listens but soon this one intrigued me. The lyrics alone are enthralling because of the imagery. Since I first heard it, the song has taken on huge popularity.

It even had a movie that was made around its title and worked around Beatle lyrics in 2007. That alone boosted its popularity.

I always wondered about the Jai guru deva om phrase. “Jai guru deva, om” translates to “hail to the Heavenly Teacher” or “I give thanks to Guru Dev.” That was a mantra was invented by the Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – the late protégé of Guru Dev.

On February 4, 2008 “Across The Universe” became the first track to be beamed directly into space. It was transmitted through NASA’s antenna in the DSN’s Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex, towards the North Star, Polaris, 431 light-years from Earth. The broadcasting of the Beatles song was done to mark both NASA’s 50th birthday and the 40th anniversary of Across The Universe. Paul McCartney described the transmission as an “amazing feat” adding, “Well done, NASA. Send my love to the aliens!”

David Bowie also did a good version of this song. Liam Gallagher has cited this song as a huge influence on him starting to write songs.

John Lennon: “I was lying next to me first wife in bed, and I was irritated. She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into sort of a cosmic song rather than an irritated song… it drove me out of bed. I didn’t want to write it, but I was slightly irritable and I went downstairs and I couldn’t get to sleep until I’d put it on paper.”

John Lennon: “It’s one of the best lyrics I’ve written. In fact, it could be the best.” He added: “It’s good poetry, or whatever you call it, without chewin’ it. See, the ones I like are the ones that stand as words, without melody. They don’t have to have any melody, like a poem, you can read them.”

John Lennon: “The Beatles didn’t make a good record of it. I think subconsciously sometimes we – I say ‘we’ although I think Paul did it more than the rest of us – Paul would, sort of subconsciously, try and destroy a great song… meaning we’d play experimental games with my great pieces, like ‘Strawberry Fields,’ which I always thought was badly recorded.”

The World Wildlife Fund

Across The Universe

Words are flowing out
Like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
Are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me

Jai Guru Deva, Om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Images of broken light
Which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
Restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe

Jai Guru Deva, Om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter, shades of life
Are ringing through my opened ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love
Which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe

Jai Guru Deva, Om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva

Hollywood (1980)

If you have the slightest bit of interest in documentaries or in silent movies, this is the series to watch. Not only is it a great wealth of info on the silent era…it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever watched. It is made up of 13 different one-hour sections. It’s quite a series at 676 minutes.

All of these are on youtube. I have them listed at the bottom… just click on the links I gave. If a link doesn’t work…just copy the title of the episode on youtube and it will show up. If you want to watch a couple give it a try…I would suggest Episode 8: Comedy – A Serious Business and Episode 12: Star Treatment (The Great Stars Of The Silent Films).

There is one misconception about silent films that most have. When you think of a silent film what do you think of? Some people think of the hard-to-see Keystone cops running about like they snorted Peru… that is NOT what most silent films looked like. They played at normal speed and the cinematography was breathtaking in many of them. They are as clear as any movie you will watch if the print has been taken care of or restored.

Kevin Brownlow's Outstanding 1980 Documentary Miniseries HOLLYWOOD is  Online | Austin Film Society

There was a problem with some prints after the silent era. The holes in the film were at a different gauge for the then-modern film projectors and they played them fast and transferred them fast…that meant everything was sped up.

This documentary is to the Silent Era what Ken Burns Civil War doc is to the Civil War. It starts with the pioneers of the movies to the very end when sound took over and changed and some people say ruined an art form. When movies were silent…they were international…no need for translations…just different text. The sound changed all of that and silent movies were at their height.

You get to know the great directors, actors, actresses, cameramen, stuntmen, and movie moguls.

They interviewed these ladies and gentlemen in the late seventies and it was many of their last appearances on film before they passed away. I’m thankful that Kevin Brownlow got this finished and we now have first-hand knowledge of films’ most exciting eras.

I do wish sound pictures would have been held off a few years. The studios weren’t ready for talking pictures. The first “talky” pictures were clumsy and still. The mics had to be placed in flower vases and other stationary places. The silent artists perfected the art of pantomime. Most had great quality (especially in the 20s) that looked better than movies 40 years later. One problem was with the early transfers from the films…now with Criterion and others cleaning up the transfers…we can watch these beautiful movies the way they were intended.

Just like today, you had your formula movies and your great movies. In my opinion, I think the best genre of silent movies is comedies. Not Keystone Cops…they are more like cartoons than films. For me, it would be Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. They both had some of the most subtle and genius gags. Many of their gags have been copied to this day. There were others like Harry Langdon and Harold Lloyd that were popular.

I know it’s a big task BUT…if you like documentaries or silent movies…this series is worth it! Every episode is out there on youtube.

Critically Acclaimed: We've Got Mail #10 | Buster Keaton vs. Charlie  Chaplin!

Here are the different episodes.

Episode 1: Pioneers (Groundbreakers Of Film)

Episode 2: In The Beginning (Birth Of Cinema)

Episode 3: Single Beds And Double Standards (Censorhip) 

Episode 4: Hollywood Goes To War (World War I)

Episode 5: Hazard Of The Game (Stunts And Stuntmen) 

Episode 6: Swanson & Valentino (The 2 Great Hearthrobs Of The Silent Films)

Episode 7: Autocrats (The Great Directors) 

Episode 8: Comedy – A Serious Business

Episode 9: Out West (Westerns) 

Episode 10: The Man With The Megaphone (The Evolution Of Directors)

Episode 11: Trick Of The Light (The Cameraman) 

Episode 12: Star Treatment (The Great Stars Of The Silent Films)

Episode 13: End Of An Era (The Birth Of Talking Pictures)

Clara Bow - Hollywood Star Walk - Los Angeles Times

This is the 12th episode and it is about two people…John Gilbert and Clara Bow. Clara Bow is my favorite actress of all time…and yes that includes today.

The cast listing is below the video.

Actors

  • Mary Astor
  • Eleanor Boardman
  • Louise Brooks
  • Olive Carey
  • Iron Eyes Cody
  • Jackie Coogan
  • Dolores Costello
  • Viola Dana
  • Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
  • Janet Gaynor
  • Leatrice Joy
  • Lillian Gish
  • Bessie Love
  • Ben Lyon
  • Marion Mack
  • Tim McCoy
  • Colleen Moore
  • Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers
  • Gloria Swanson
  • Blanche Sweet
  • John Wayne
  • Eva von Berne
  • Lois Wilson

Directors 

  • Dorothy Arzner
  • Clarence Brown
  • Karl Brown
  • Frank Capra
  • George Cukor
  • Allan Dwan
  • Byron Haskin
  • Henry Hathaway
  • Henry King
  • Lewis Milestone
  • Hal Roach
  • Albert S. Rogell
  • King Vidor
  • William Wyler.

Choreographer: Agnes de Mille,

Writer: Anita Loos,

Writer: Adela Rogers St. Johns,

Press Agent/writer: Cedric Belfrage,

Organist: Gaylord Carter,

Cinematographers: George J. Folsey, Lee Garmes and Paul Ivano,

Writer:  Jesse L. Lasky, Jr.,

Special Effects Artist A. Arnold Gillespie, Lord Mountbatten

Agent Paul Kohner

Producer/writer Samuel Marx

Editors William Hornbeck and Grant Whytock

Property Pan: Lefty Hough

Stuntmen Bob Rose, Yakima Canutt: Paul Malvern, and Harvey Parry, Rudolph Valentino’s brother Alberto Valentino

English set Designer Laurence Irving

Bedazzled… 1967

Dudley Moore is probably best known in America as Arthur and Peter Cook is not known much at all which is a shame.

This is one of my favorite comedies. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were always a great team and in this movie, they work very well together. It’s the old story of selling your soul to the Devil for wishes…but as always the wishes are not exactly what the wisher has in mind.

Dudley Moore plays Stanley Moon who is a shy and pathetic figure who pines for a waitress (Eleanor Bron) who works at Wimpy’s Burger and is employed as a cook. Peter Cook is the devil… He is perfect for this part. He is a hilarious devil and at times likable but does the most annoying things like tearing the last page out of mysteries, scratching LPs, and just petty things to aggravate people.

The movie is very British and very funny. The chemistry is great between Moore and Cook and by this time they had been together for a while. There was a version of this movie released in 2000 but it is not as smart and subtle as this one. This is an offbeat quirky film.

This film also features Raquel Welch appropriately as Lust. She is only in it for a few minutes but she plays Lust to the hilt. The film had no name at first and in an interview, Peter Cook said he wanted to name the movie “Raquel Welch”…when asked why he wanted to name it after the actress when it wasn’t about her he said because the Marquee would read “Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in Raquel Welch”… The producers didn’t like that.

Eleanor Bron plays Margaret the waitress and the object of Stanley’s desire…she was also in HELP! with The Beatles.

Check this film out if you can. Personally, I think it beats the remake by a mile.

If you want to hear something else by them…check out Peter and Dudley as Derek and Clive.

Below is the trailer…this is the link for the complete movie. 

Bob Dylan – Eat The Document

This is a film I so wish they would clean up and release. I watched a bootleg version of it in the 80s VHS. 

This was a film that covered Bob Dylan on his 1966 European tour backed up by the Hawks that eventually became The Band minus, Levon Helm. The film was to be shown on ABC television but ABC rejected and saying it was “incomprehensible” because Dylan himself was one of the editors and wanted the film to have more of an artistic feel.

It was filmed by D.A. Pennebaker who filmed Dylan’s 65 European tour when he played acoustically called Don’t Look Back. Don’t Look Back is terrific. This film is very disjointed. That is not saying I don’t like it. This is the Dylan period that probably is my favorite. The Hawks are raw and powerful and Dylan was

There are some highlights to this odd film. A spontaneous piano duet with Dylan and Johnny Cash, John Lennon and Bob Dylan very high riding around in a cab, and the famous concert where an audience member yells out “Judas” because of Dylan’s conversion to electric music. After the Judas remark, he proceeds to tell Robbie Robertson to play it loud and they kick off in a vicious “Like a Rolling Stone.” My favorite live version of that song. Those folk music fans were harsh.

The film is disjointed and frustrating to watch because some of the songs you want to see and hear are there…but only partly. You will be seeing Dylan performing something and then flash away to something else. Some of the concert footage and film from this ended up in the Martin Scorsese movie No Direction Home…I would recommend No Direction Home to everyone.

Bob was pale and nervous and there is no secret he was doing drugs heavily throughout this movie. After the tour, Dylan had a motorcycle wreck heard around the world and after he recovered he didn’t tour for years.

The cab ride with John Lennon is historical now. Both of them in sunglasses and Lennon trying to inject humor into the situation and Dylan is ok at first and then starts getting sick as the filming stops.

If you are a Dylan fan it’s worth a watch. I’m glad we have “No Direction Home” to see some clear film segments on that tour. Eat The Document has not been officially released but you can get a bootleg of it or watch most of it on youtube.

The Spirit of 76… Movie

This movie is a B movie all of the way…and it plays up that fact… It was released in 1990 and if you are wanting to watch something that spoofs the 1970s… This movie is for you. You will also learn the word tetrahydrozoline.

This movie stars David Cassidy, Lief Garrett, Carl and Rob Reiner, and Olivia d’Abo… Citizen Kane, it is NOT. It’s a fun film about the future where all is gray and they lost every record because of a magnetic storm including the US Constitution.

Adam-11 (David Cassidy) has built a time machine because he wants to go to a beach…beaches don’t exist anymore in the future. The government wants him to use the time machine to go into the past to 1776 and get a copy of the US Constitution so they can rebuild their society with it. To make it work he needs a chemical that’s rare in the future… tetrahydrozoline (the main ingredient to a very popular item in the ’70s… Visine).

The government agrees to give him some tetrahydrozoline but sends two more travelers Chanel-6 (d’Abo ),  Heinz 57 (Geoff Hoyle) with Adam-11 to retrieve the document…but instead of going back to 1776 the time machine malfunctions and goes to 1976.

Devo makes an appearance as the “Ministry of Knowledge”…

It’s a corny movie but they have the 70s down in many parts of the movie. After meeting up with two teenage stoners (The group Redd Kross) they look for the constitution but lose the tetrahydrozoline. If you are looking for a second Gone with the Wind…don’t watch this but it’s funny and silly enough to entertain you.

You have to know a little about the 70s to get some of the jokes…Like David Cassidy’s character looking around a garage in 1976 asking “am I going to be stuck here forever?” while looking at a Partridge Family lunch box.

If you are bored, try this one. The trailer is below the complete movie is below that.

The complete movie

The trailer

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton

Back in the 90s I got into silent films. I would send off for VHS tapes of 1920s classics. The one actress I wanted to see was Clara Bow. After reading about her I started to learn more about Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. I did know of Chaplin but had never seen one of his films. I still love silent cinema from that era.

Charlie and Buster were two of the best screen comedians ever to walk the earth. They both had similar upbringings. Buster and his family in American vaudeville. Charlie worked in British music halls. Charlie rose to stardom in silent movies in the 1910’s beginning with Keystone, Mutual (where he made his best short comedies) Essanay and then he confounded United Artist with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and W. D. Griffith. After that Charlie went into full feature films.

Buster started silent shorts in 1917 with Roscoe Arbuckle. After Roscoe broke out on his own so did Buster….he did some more short films which were brilliant. He then went into full features. Buster was just so different than anyone else. He was so still while the world moved into chaos around him. He was a brilliant actor-director and also writer which he often didn’t take credit for doing. If Buster would have just made “The General” his place in film history would be cemented. The same can be said of Charlie Chaplin and his masterpiece “The Gold Rush.”

There was no competition between the two in popularity. Charlie won hands down over Buster and probably everyone else in comedy and drama. His character “The Tramp” was internationally loved. All in all, I’ve always thought Keaton was a better filmmaker but Chaplin the better character. The most recognized character in movie history.  They were two different comedians. Chaplin would reach for pathos…sometimes a little too much. Keaton seemed much more real.

Keaton’s sight gags were incredible and sometimes dangerous to his health…like have a front of a building that weighed a ton (so it wouldn’t twist in the wind) fall on him with the upstairs opening clearing him around 2 inches on each side. He never smiled because it would have ruined his character. Both are worth watching and with Keaton’s films like Sherlock Jr…you wonder how he did some of the things he did with the primitive camera’s they used.

Both were funny men. The other big comedian was Harold Lloyd but he was more of an actor playing a comedian….he was really successful though… second to Chaplin in making money.

Charlie and Buster older both appear in Charlie’s Limelight. This is the only time they ever appeared together in a movie.

Rolling Stones – Hang Fire

I remember this song well. In 1981 I was 14 and after I bought the Start Me Up single I went out and bought Tattoo You. Tattoo You was a good Stones album. In fact, I would say it was their last great album. I did like a few of the albums that would follow but this one had everything.

The Stones had dug down deep in their vaults for several songs. Some songs came from the Mick Taylor era. The Stones first recorded this song in 1978 at the Some Girls sessions. Lyrics were added and it was repackaged for Tattoo You.

The song is said to be pointed at the UK. The Stones rarely performed in England because of the huge taxes that were levied on entertainers… it was much more profitable for them to live and work elsewhere.

Hang Fire means a delay or delayed in taking action or progressing. The original title was said to be “Lazy Bitch,” supposedly aimed at a certain British prime minister.

The tour for this album was massive. I remember vividly wanting to go but they didn’t come to Nashville. It was the first rock tour I remember being publicized as an event rather than a concert. You must remember the Stones were getting “old.” People were saying this could be it for the band because they were over the hill. Mick was a whopping 38 years old in 1981. If only we knew what was coming!

The American leg was sponsored by Jovan which yea…I went out and got their cologne.  It was the largest grossing tour of 1981 with $50 million in ticket sales. Roughly two million concert goers attended the concerts, setting various ticket sales records.

Most importantly about this tour. It was the last time the Stones toured without backup singers and musical help on stage. Yes, they sounded more ragged on this tour but…that fit them perfectly. I would have rather heard Keith sing backup than pitch perfect backup singers. I did get to see them in the 90s and in 2006.

A film of the tour was released in 1983 called Let’s Spend the Night Together directed by Hal Ashby. 

From Songfacts

A “hang fire” is a delay from when a trigger is pulled on a flintlock gun and when it actually fires. The expression means a delayed response, but in this song could apply to the lazy people who won’t take action. It’s also a great phrase to sing, which Mick Jagger does a few different ways throughout the song, sometimes stretching out “fire,” and other times keeping it contained.

In the UK, “Hang Fire” wasn’t released as a single, but in America it was the third single from the Tattoo You album, which hung around for a while. The song peaked at #20 in May 1982, 10 months after the album was released.

MTV launched on August 1, 1981, giving The Rolling Stones instant access to a new audience in America. They were ready, having made several videos (known as “promotional films” back in the day) already with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who returned to helm the Tattoo You videos. “Start Me Up” was the first in the set, showing the band performing the song on an empty set. This was typical, as Lindsay-Hogg kept the focus on the band, which were adept performers with a lead singer who could pull focus. “Hang Fire” had a similar look, but with posters of the album artwork adorning the set. These low-budget videos did very well on MTV, which was thrilled to have The Stones in rotation.

Hang Fire

In the sweet old country where I come from
Nobody ever works
Yeah nothing gets done
We hang fire, we hang fire

You know marrying money is a full time job
I don’t need the aggravation
I’m a lazy slob
I hang fire, I hang fire
Hang fire, put it on the wire baby
Hang fire, hang fire put it on the wire baby, go ahead
Hang fire

We’ve got nothing to eat
We got nowhere to work
Nothing to drink
We just lost our shirts
I’m on the dole
We ain’t for hire
Say what the hell
Say what the hell, hang fire
Hang fire, hang fire, hang fire, put it on the wire, baby
Hang fire, hang fire, hang fire, hang fire
Hang fire, hang fire, put it on the wire, baby

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo, hang fire, hang fire, hang fire

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo, hang fire, hang fire, put it on the wire, baby
Doo doo

Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo doo
Doo doo

Yeah ten thousand dollars, go have some fun
Put it all on at a hundred to one
Hang fire, hang fire, hang fire, put it on the wire, baby
Doo doo
Doo doo, hang fire, hang fire put it on the wire
Hang fire, hang fire, hang fire, hang fire
Put it on the wire, baby
Put it on the wire

Monkees – The Porpoise Song

This was not one of their well-known TV songs.

This was on the soundtrack to their 1968 trippy movie Head. Where else would you find Annette Funicello, The Monkees, and Frank Zappa in the same movie?

They may have been seeking some countercultural acceptance after their show ended. The movie blew the image of the Monkees up…some say deconstruction of the Monkees completely. It was a stream of consciousness black comedy that mocks war, America, Hollywood, television, the music business, and the Monkees themselves.

If kids went into the theater expecting the Monkees TV show…they were in for a big surprise. On the other hand, kids couldn’t watch the movie because of its R rating.

Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote this song and Goffin produced it…even recording a porpoise for good measure.

I’ve watched the movie and it’s interesting but you have to remember what kind of movie it is. Jack Nicolson help write it with the band along with Bob Rafelson. Nicholson hung out with The Monkees for several weeks, even going with them on tour. Once this movie was made, Rafelson abandoned The Monkees and went off to bigger projects, starting with Easy Rider.

Mickey Dolenz – “It wasn’t so much about the deconstruction of the Monkees, but it was using the deconstruction of the Monkees as a metaphor for the deconstruction of the Hollywood film industry”

The Porpoise Song

My, my, the clock in the sky
Is pounding away
And there’s so much to say

A face, a voice
An overdub has no choice
An image cannot rejoice

Wanting to be
To hear and to see
Crying to the sky

But the porpoise is laughing
Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Clicks, clacks, riding the backs of giraffes for laughs
S’alright for a while

sings of castles
And kings and things that go
With a life of style

Wanting to feel
To know what is real
Living is a, is a lie

The porpoise is waiting
Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

It’s A Wonderful Life

If someone said…you can only watch just one Christmas movie every year…this one would be it. It’s very close to a long Twilight Zone. I have seen this movie more times than any other…hands down.

I didn’t watch this great movie until the late 80s. All it took was one time and I haven’t missed a year of watching it. I don’t tear up very easy..but it never fails at the end of the movie when Zuzu says… Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings…it gets me every time. This movie was released in 1946.

Poor George Bailey. All he wanted to do was travel and get out of Bedford Falls to see the world. Every single time he gets close…so close that it hurts…something happens and George ends up doing the right thing.

Bedford Falls needs George Bailey…every town needs a George Bailey but many end up with only a Mr. Potter. There is one thing about this movie which was unusual. Mr. Potter was never punished for what he did…which drew criticism at the time but it was more in line with reality to me.

This is a Christmas movie but really only the last part of the movie is about Christmas. It is a movie for any time not just for December. We were thinking of names for our unborn child and couldn’t think of one…I was watching this movie in November of 1999 and it hit me…Bailey…so the movie means more than some movies do.

Here is a small summary from IMDB…don’t read it…watch the movie instead. If you haven’t seen it…give it a shot…whether it is Christmas or July.

George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint, Mr. Potter, from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George’s modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Billy loses the business’s $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his wings. He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born.

A Christmas Carol (1951)

I watched this movie Monday night. It gets me in the mood for Christmas. Alastair Sim is such a pleasure to watch and he is the reason that this is my favorite interpretation of  A Christmas Carol.

There have been many versions of this great story. This is the version that I like the most. The great Alastair Sim plays Ebenezer Scrooge and he is the reason I like this so much. When I think of the Scrooge… I think of him.

The movie is in black and white which turns some people off but it makes it that much better to me. They do have a color version but trust me…watch the black and white version. It gives the movie a darker feeling.

The effects they use are obviously not CGI but they get the point across well and serve the story. I like the scene where the ghost of Jacob Marley is warning Ebenezer of being greedy…the two were not on the set at the same time…it looked really good for being 1951…or anytime for that matter.

So get some eggnog or hot butter rum and sit back and watch this great movie.

From IMDB…spoilers

Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) is a greedy businessman who thinks only of making money. For him, Christmas is, in his own words, a humbug. It has been seven years since his friend and partner, Jacob Marley (Sir Michael Hordern), died and on Christmas Eve. Marley’s ghost tells him he is to be visited during the night by three spirits. The Ghost of Christmas Past (Michael Dolan) revisits some of the main events in Scrooge’s life to date, including his unhappy childhood, his happy apprenticeship to Mr. Fezziwig (Roddy Hughes), who cared for his employees, and the end of his engagement to a pretty young woman due to a growing love of money. The Ghost of Christmas Present (Francis De Wolff) shows him how joyously is nephew Fred (Brian Worth) and his clerk, Bob Cratchit (Mervyn Johns), celebrate Christmas with those they love. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Czeslaw Konarski) shows him what he will leave behind after he is gone. Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning, a new man intent on doing good and celebrating the season with all of those around him.

Cast

  • Alastair Sim (Ebenezer Scrooge)
  • Kathleen Harrison (Mrs. Dilber)
  • Mervyn Johns (Bob Cratchit)
  • Hermione Baddeley (Mrs. Cratchit)
  • Michael Hordern (Jacob Marley)
  • Glyn Dearman (Tiny Tim)

Eddy Dixon – Relentless

My thanks to Cincinnati Babyhead (CB to be short) turned me on to this song. The guitar hooked me right away. The song has turned into a cult favorite.

Relentless came from the 1981 cult movie soundtrack Loveless staring Willem Dafoe. Eddy is not an easy guy to pin down to say the least. He has been an actor playing “Rock a Billy Guy” in the 1988 David Lynch TV Mini Series The French As Seen By… and the 1990 film Wild At Heart playing Rex. Dixon has also has been a musician playing rockabilly in New York clubs. He has been called a pioneer of the 1970s rockabilly movement in New York City.

Eddy has also performed out as Eddy Dixon and the the Dixonettes.

In the sixties Eddy was an art student who worked on some John Waters films. Later on he was friends with Willem Dafoe and he introduced Eddy to David Lynch. Eddy really ran the gamut working with Waters and Lynch.

I’ll let Eddy take over from here.

Eddy Dixon on music: 1957. I was 7 years old and my best friend’s parents bought him a Fender Stratocaster. I would hang out at his house and started playing it and it just progressed from there. I went through the Dylan era and the folk era and the British Invasion era. I was playing in bands through the 60s with crazy names like The In Sex, then I got way heavy into country music towards the end of the 60s. Then in the 70s I moved to New York and started my own rockabilly band. I left Baltimore with 50 bucks, a trashbag full of clothes and a $20 guitar. I started doing all the showcases down on Bleeker Street and started hooking up with the real players, turned professional and started playing Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs.

Eddy Dixon on acting: I started off with John Waters back when I was a teenager in the late 60s. I did 5 John Waters films. He’s great – he’s very professional and knows what he wants. When I started, he was starting out and we were all art students in Baltimore living in a block in Bolton Hill. It was the most exclusive neighborhood in Baltimore at the turn of the century, but by this point everything was all run down. There were huge townhouses, gorgeous – 20-foot ceilings, marble fireplaces, mirrors from the floors to the ceilings – and they just sectioned them off and were renting them to the students. Some law firm bought up the whole block and kicked us all out. So we moved down to the docks, where we rented this 27-room double house with a courtyard – the whole deal for about $100 a month. One day my brother brought John Waters down – I think he met him at a party. So every Sunday we would pile into the Volkswagen, go out into the woods and film and that’s how it all started. My brother to this day still does all his sets. I did a Superfly sequel – I don’t know if it ever came out or not. The working title was ‘Don’t Call Me Boy’ and when they finished it they called it ‘The Hitter’. I did Run DMC’s movie – I played a cop in that.

Beatles Get Back Trailer

Just saw this a few minutes ago. Lately I’ve been living in a bubble because of work but this is the new Get Back trailer. This is not the sneak peak Peter Jackson released before. On November 25,26, and 27th… 6 hours of the Let It Be/Get Back music, comedy, and drama will all unfold on the Disney plus.

As a very young Beatle fan I read about these sessions and only saw still photographs. Later on I saw them do Get Back on MTV while on the rooftop and it was like photos coming to life…I read where they had 56 hours of video footage sitting in a vault from this album. Now we will see 6 hours out of that anyway…you what what? I would happily sit through 56 hours… Peter Jackson has done such a great job on the look of the film…it looks like it could have been filmed yesterday. Peter, need an assistant for free?

With the previews I’ve seen…it looks like it was a lot of fun and the bad drama was not prevalent through the filming. Ringo has said that people have focused on the negative but it was much more positive than that. What is great about Get Back is the good time they had and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I can’t imagine the pressure they were under to deliver and be as good as their last album. In this case, when they filmed this, it was just a few months after they released The White Album…The Let It Be album didn’t get released until after their last studio album Abbey Road.

Enough of me talking…here is the preview.

Santo and Johnny – Sleep Walk

This is my fifth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. Santo and Johnny Sleep Walk.

I have always liked and admired good instrumentals. I look at them the same way I look at the great silent movies of the early 20th century. They have to get across what they want to say without dialog. That is not easy to do but when they succeed…they are great. When I hear Sleep Walk it’s like hearing a dream set to music…haunting and beautiful at the same time. 

 Lyrics would not do this song justice…it says all it needs to say. 

I first heard it on the movie La Bamba and I never grew tired of it. Unlike other soundtrack songs…I don’t think of the movie when I listen to this one. It’s on it’s own little island. 

I like many instrumentals but this one is probably my favorite. It sets a mood like no other. It was written and performed by Santo and Johnny Farina in 1959. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in the UK Charts.

 

The Magnificent Seven

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my Western entry.

There have been actors and musicians that exuded cool…Steve McQueen would be one of the top ones…and he was just starting in this movie…and not the star. 

This cast is just incredible… Along with McQueen, you have Charles Bronson, James Coburn,  Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz,  Brad Dexter,  and the great Yul Brynner. We are not talking about cameos here…Brynner is the unquestioned leader of this band of mercenary gunfighters…but money is not the most important thing to most of them. They believe in Brynner’s character and the adventure.

I could go through talking about each actor, but I won’t…there are a few I’ll touch on. Eli Wallach… did a masterful portrayal of Calvera. He is one actor that I would have loved to have met. His personality was so big in films, but he didn’t over act…he was just that good.

The actor that caught my attention the most in this was the newcomer of the seven. Chico, played brilliantly by Horst Buchholz. His character was young, impatient, cocky, but a nice kid who you saw grow in the movie. He wanted to join the six fighters, but he wasn’t accepted until he persisted and wore Chris Larrabee Adams (Yul Brynner) down.

John Sturges directed this movie and also The Great Escape plus Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. This movie was not shot on some studio backlot somewhere. It was real locations and it showed.

A brief look at the plot. A gang of bandits terrorizes a small Mexican farming village each year. They ride in and take what they want like the village is their own personal store. Several of the village elders send three of the farmers into the United States to search for gunmen to defend them. They end up with seven, each of whom comes for a different reason. They must prepare the town to beat an army of thirty bandits who will arrive wanting food. In came the Magnificent Seven to defend the village and teach the farmers how to fight.

A little trivia about the movie. Yul Brynner had a major role in casting, and he wanted Steve McQueen in the movie. At the time McQueen was in a television western called Wanted: Dead or Alive.

They ended up not getting along because McQueen supposedly was trying to upstage Brynner. When McQueen was dying of cancer he called Brynner and made up with him for the trouble in the film. McQueen said: “I had to make it up with Yul ’cause without him I wouldn’t have been in that picture.”

It’s not only a great western, it has comedy, drama, and most of all…all the characters are real. There is a reason some of them were huge at the time and others went on to be not only popular but legends. 

CAST

Yul Brynner … Chris Larabee Adams
Eli Wallach … Calvera
Steve McQueen … Vin Tanner
Horst Buchholz … Chico
Charles Bronson … Bernardo O’Reilly
Robert Vaughn … Lee
Brad Dexter … Harry Luck
James Coburn … Britt
Jorge Martínez de Hoyos … Hilario (as Jorge Martinez de Hoyas)
Vladimir Sokoloff … Old Man
Rosenda Monteros … Petra
Rico Alaniz … Sotero
Pepe Hern … Tomas
Natividad Vacío … Villager (as Natividad Vacio)
Mario Navarro … Boy with O’Reilly