“Reefer Man,” as far as I can tell, is a Cab Calloway original composition. Unfortunately there’s not much information on the song out there. This particular video is from the 1933 film “International House” Which starred W.C. Fields and Burns and Allen. It’s a pre-code film and I’d totally love to see it some day!
I’ve never smoked weed but I’m glad they made it legal in a couple of states so maybe I’ll get to try it someday. Cannabis is not the point of my post today. The point of my post is 12/21/12, the date I first heard this song. I’m sure you’ll remember that 12/21 is also the day we perished in the fiery apocalypse. Up until then life had been going rather well. I worked, parented, played, dated, ate (a lot), watched some movies, went on some trips, and kept up with lots of my lovely forum friends on other social media. Then we all died which was sad. But then Christmas came and everyone turned on lights which totally thwarted the cockroach uprising. Plus I got a really nifty new Kindle. Here’s hoping everyone else out there is also having the merriest End Of Days ever!
Actor Harry Morgan died today 12/7 after a bout with pneumonia. He was 96. Harry Morgan starred in dozens of movies in his long career including “High Noon” and “The Ox-Bow Incident.” He also starred in several TV shows including “Dragnet” and “M*A*S*H.” I’ve seen him in several roles but I’ll remember him best as Col. Sherman T. Potter from M*A*S*H. Here’s a clip from an interview he did. He’s talking about working with Elvis in the 1966 film “Frankie and Johnny.”
Thank you for all the years of entertainment. RIP Mr. Morgan.
Comedian Alan Sues died of an apparent heart attack last Thursday, December 1. He was 85. Sues got his start in stand-up but he was best known for his recurring roles on “Rowan And Martin’s Laugh In.” He had a long career in theater when Laugh In went off the air. Here’s Alan as Uncle Al the kiddie’s pal.
RIP Mr Sues.
P is for composer Rachel Portman. Rachel has written scores for television and stage but she is best known for her work in film. She is the first woman to win the Richard Kirk Award for composers who have made a significant contribution to film or television. She is also the first woman to win an Oscar in the category of “Best Original Film Score” for her work on “The Cider House Rules.” (1999) Here’s the lovely theme from “The Cider House Rules” with pretty but unrelated pictures of nature.
I had a passage planned about how today’s video is a doggie paradise (trees plus critters to chase), but I just got a call from my mom. One of my aunts passed away suddenly and unexpectedly today. I think I will just listen to this beautiful piece of music and remember her. RIP Aunt Dee.
Actor Karl Slover passed away yesterday (11/15) from cardiopulmonary arrest. He was 93. Karl had roles in a few features and short films during his career but he was best known for his role as 4 different munchkins in the movie “Wizard Of Oz” (1939). Here’s the Munchkin sequence from the movie. You can see Karl as the lead trumpeter in the Munchkin band, the male “sleepy head” Munchkin in the nest of eggs, one of the Munchkin soldiers, and finally one of the Munchkins who leads Dorothy down the yellow brick road.
I can remember watching this movie as a child and sitting on my mother’s lap when the scary Wicked Witch parts came on. I fully plan to continue that tradition with my own daughter. I just hope my Mom’s lap is big enough for the two of us!
RIP Mr. Slover.
J is for dancer Jeanette Hackett. She and her partner Harry Delmar toured vaudeville’s famed Orpheum Circuit and they were superstars. After vaudeville died, Jeanette found work behind the scenes in movies and Harry became a producer of some note. Apparently, during the war, someone remembered Jeanette and formed a dance ensemble using her name. They made a few soundies featuring dancers who were hired more for their cheesecake value than their actual dancing ability and musicians who clearly had no idea how to play the instruments they’re holding. The results need to be seen to be believed. Here’s a 1944 soundie called Southland Swing.
Why would I choose to post about a non-musician and then use a terrible music video which doesn’t even feature the artist? What can I say? I told you I’d cheat!
F is for composer Sylvia Fine. Sylvia studied music at Brooklyn College. She met her husband Danny Kaye while they were both working in a Broadway musical called “The Straw Hat Review.” The pair were married in 1940. Sylvia wrote many of the songs for Danny’s most famous movies. She was nominated for two Oscars and two Emmys and she won a Peabody Award.
Here’s a photo of Danny and Sylvia together:
I added the photo because Sylvia never performed her own work and I always find it helpful to put a face to a name. Here’s Danny Thomas and Barbara Bel Geddes performing one of Sylvia’s most enduring works “Lullaby In Ragtime” from the movie “The Five Pennies” (1959).
Do you know what you learn a lot about when you do an internet search for Sylvia Fine? The TV show “The Nanny.” For example, did you know that Fran Drescher is now a US diplomat? Fran also recorded a song but since we’ve already done both F and D, I won’t be posting it here. You’re welcome.
Since my focus is on women this month, I wanted to put up this newsreel entitled “Women In The War.”
According to “YANK,” the Army’s weekly magazine during WWII, Mary Jane Ford earned the medal in 1944 and she was actually the second woman decorated with the Soldier’s Medal. She earned it by attempting to save the life of PFC Flavius M. Hopkins. Unfortunately, the private later succumbed to his injuries.
Thank you to all who have served.
E is for Eartha Kitt. Who, until now, had been another shameful oversight in this blog. Eartha got her first break in show business in 1943 after a friend dared her to audition for the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe. She landed a role as a dancer and featured vocalist and she remained with the troupe until 1948. In the early 50s she was a nightclub headliner then she transitioned to Broadway, film, and television. In 1967 she landed her most memorable role as Cat Woman in the “Batman” TV series. In addition to all her memorable and award winning work in show business, she was also a philanthropist and a human rights activist. This clip is Eartha singing one of her hit songs “I Want To Be Evil.”
I just looked up a list of “Top Female Villains Of All Time.” Cat Woman made the list twice but neither Julie Newmar nor Earth Kitt’s names appeared anywhere. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.
Actor Sid Melton passed away November 2. He was 94. His career spanned nearly 6 decades and he worked on some of the best known, best loved television shows of all time. He worked in several feature films, two of which were featured on the show Mystery Science Theater 3000. There are plenty of clips on You Tube which feature the comedic talent of Sid Melton but few of them also feature music which is, after all, the purpose of this blog. I did manage to find this clip with the opening theme song for “Captain Midnight” which was Sid’s first television role. The music was composed by Don Ferris and Irving Friedman. The clip also shows the beginning of the episode which features Sid as Ichabod “Ikky” Mudd, the captain’s faithful and wacky sidekick.
RIP Mr. Melton