Autumn Leaves

 

Something for the weekend.  Autumn Leaves (1945) composed by Joseph Kosma with English lyrics by Johnny Mercer.  Sung by the unforgettable Nat King Cole, it is a good welcome for Autumn, my favorite season of the year.

 

Published in: on October 22, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Autumn Leaves  
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Flag Revolution

 

 

We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.

Justice Felix Frankfurter

I loved this station sign off back in the seventies. May God bless America and may America become worthier of that blessing. Instead of Flag Evolution I would call this Flag Revolution. The American Revolution is ongoing, as our experiment in democracy continues down the years.

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Published in: on June 15, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Flag Revolution  
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Yesterday Once More

 

Something for the weekend.  Karen Carpenter, the Queen of Mellow, sings Yesterday Once More (1973).  Amazing what she accomplished artistically in a brief life of 32 years.  She would only be 72 this year if she were still alive.

Published in: on May 14, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Yesterday Once More  
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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

Something for the weekend.  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.  The film was the ultimate Italian Spaghetti Western of Sergio Leone, showcasing the talents of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach in a violent, albeit often bleakly hilarious, tale set during the Civil War.

 

Published in: on May 7, 2022 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly  
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Video Clip Worth Watching: Ralph Kramden’s Christmas Speech

 

I loved watching re-runs of The Honeymooners when I was a kid.  I appreciated the fact that they were more broke than my family and, like my parents, they met that circumstance with good humor.  In the classic episode above Ralph sold his prized bowling ball to buy a Christmas present for his beloved wife Alice.

The late comedian Jackie Gleason, when asked his religion, would always say “Bad Catholic”.  He was once asked by a Paulist priest to appear on his  television program and talk about religion which he did, stating to the priest that Catholicism was strong enough to withstand an advocate even as bad as he was.

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Published in: on December 12, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Video Clip Worth Watching: Ralph Kramden’s Christmas Speech  
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A Great Film for a Labor Day Weekend

 

Probably the most powerful sermon ever placed on film, Father Barry speaks of Christ and his crucifixion on the docks.  The best performance Karl Malden ever gave.  Elia Kazan’s masterpiece, On the Waterfront  (1954) was also his response to the criticism he received for naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.

The character of Father Barry was based on the actual work on the docks of a hardbitten Irish-Catholic Jesuit Priest, Father John Corridan.  From 1946-1957 he waged a one man crusade in New York against the gangsters who controlled the International Longshoreman’s Association.  One of the bosses who controlled the union was “Tough” Tony Anastasia,  a brother of Albert “The Madhatter” Anastasia, one of the former bosses of Murder, Inc.

In the face of these murderers, Father Corridan, son of a New York cop who had died when Corridan was nine, was completely fearless.  Teaching longshoremen Christian principles in labor\management relations at the Saint Francis Xavier Labor School, Father Corridan faced down a union thug sent to disrupt his class:  “If anything happens to the men I’m trying to help here, I’ll know who’s responsible, and I’ll personally see to it that they are broken throughout this port. They’ll pay and I’ll see that they pay.”

Father Corridan compiled information which eventually filled sixteen filing cabinets on the mobsters who controlled the ports and who made life miserable for honest longshoremen.  He shared this information freely with reporters, including Malcolm Johnson of the New York Sun who won a Pulitzer for his series in 1948 on “Crime on the Waterfront”.  Father Corridan realized the pressure that could be exerted on the mob and the crooked politicians who protected the mob by such stories, and he used every opportunity to expose them in the press.  He wrote scorching articles himself for America and other publications.  Gradually the public began to become aware of the problem of mob domination of the docks.

A turning point came in 1951 when a faction of the longshoremen rejected a union negotiated contract and went on a wildcat strike.  Father Corridan supported them to the hilt.  The strike shut down ports in New York and New Jersey for twenty-five days.  To refute a claim by the mob dominated union that the strikers were communists, Father Corridan held a public prayer service with the strikers.  He also successfully pressured Governor Dewey of New York to address the issue of mob control of the docks.

Father Barry in the movie had his sermon on the docks.  Father Corridan preached many of them and one of them had this memorable statement:  “I suppose some people would smirk at the thought of Christ in the shape-up. It is about as absurd as the fact that He carried carpenter’s tools in His hands and earned His bread by the sweat of His brow. As absurd as the fact that Christ redeemed all men irrespective of their race, color, or station in life. It can be absurd only to those of whom Christ has said, ‘Having eyes, they see not; and having ears, they hear not.’ Because they don’t want to see or hear. Christ also said, ‘If you do it to the least of mine, you do it to me.’ So Christ is in the shape-up.”

The shape up was the system by which the mob completely controlled which longshoremen would work and which would not.  Father Corridan succeeded in having the shape up banned by the time that he left the docks in 1957, and a New York\New Jersey commission was in place to regulate the harbors.

Father Corridan went on to teach economics at LeMoyne College in Syracuse , theology at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City and was a hospital chaplain in Brooklyn until his death at 73 in 1984.  It is said of Father Corridan that he could swear like a longshoreman himself at the sight of injustice.  If true, then I imagine his language is pure in his final abode.

Published in: on September 6, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on A Great Film for a Labor Day Weekend  
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Less of Me

Something for the weekend.  Less of Me sung by the Statler Brothers.  I heard this song sung by the Statler Brothers endlessly back in the early seventies as my parents had the radio on in the kitchen tuned,  as always, to country western station WPRS in Paris, Illinois, as they prepared for work and my brother and I were still in our room before we got up to prepare for school.  Originally recorded by Glen Campbell in 1965, the song is a rendition in music of the poem A Creed by English-American poet Edgar Albert Guest which he wrote in 1909: (more…)

Published in: on July 17, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Less of Me  
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Combat: Which Member of the Squad Are You?

 

Some kind soul has posted all the episodes of Combat on YouTube and I have begun re-watching them with my bride.  It was a good show back in the Sixties, now it seems like Shakespeare compared to the current drek on television.  It received raves at the time from World War II vets who loved its gritty look at an infantry squad battling their way across France in 1944, ordinary men doing a tough, dirty and oh so necessary job.  It was so realistic that apparently the Marines at the battle of Hue in 1968, not being trained in urban combat, fell back, with great success, on tactics used in Combat episodes for street fighting.

Go here to take a quiz on which member of the squad you would be.  I was Sergeant Saunders, which surprised me as I have never sold shoes in my life!

My Bride came out as Lieutenant Hanley so I guess I will ma’am her a lot today!

 

 

 

 

Published in: on March 25, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Combat: Which Member of the Squad Are You?  
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Now This is How a Trailer Should Be Done

So many trailers have all the imagination possessed by a sedated Swedish bureaucrat who ate too much meatballs in cream gravy.  If you have a story to tell, do it with gusto and panache!

Published in: on March 21, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Bare Necessities

 

Something for the weekend.  The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book (1967).  My Bride and I watched The Jungle Book (1967) earlier this week.  It  had been decades since I last watched it and I had forgotten just how immensely entertaining it was and is.  The last film produced by Walt Disney before his death on December 15, 1966, ten days after his 65th birthday, Disney made no bones about the fact that the movie was to bear little relationship to Kipling’s masterpiece which Disney found to be somewhat dark.  This was to be a fun Disney production with lots of singable tunes and endless merchandising opportunities.  (His kindly Uncle Walt image was largely make believe, but Disney was a potent combination of artist and uber shrewd businessman.)  The Jungle Book was the second most popular animated film released by Disney, and I recall how in ’67 families flocked to see it.  The film is all about fatherhood, good and bad.  In Bagheera we have responsible Dad who wants get man-cub to a village to save his life from the tiger Shere Khan.  Baloo the Bear is fun loving Dad who teaches Mowgli about all the food, including tasty ants, that exist in the Jungle.  The various surrogate Dads in the film ultimately save the man cub from the tiger.  One wonders what Kipling would have made out of all this, but doubtless he would have cashed the Disney check, Kipling being one of the few professional writers who didn’t die broke and alcoholic.

Bonus:

That’s What Friends Are For.  The three mop topped Vultures were originally supposed to be voiced by the Beatles, but, regrettably, Lennon nixed the idea.

Bonus 2:

 

Go here to take The Jungle Book quiz.  I was Mowgli.

 

 

Published in: on February 20, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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