Thursday, March 28, 2013

This Sputtering Blog, 2013 Version

At least two or three times every year, when Writer's Block rears its ugly head, Your Blogmeister concludes "that's all he/she wrote" for Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog. Raising the ante for This Year's Model: the combo of the dreaded Writer's Block with the apparent death of Mr. Blogmeister's MacBook!

Now, the numbers don't lie - this blog has practically no readers.

Alas, Mr. Blogmeister is computer-less, too cheap (stone broke) to advertise and unwilling to post pictures of naked humans, especially Joe E. Ross, to attract readership.

Unfortunately, the one constant that Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog does attract, besides Joe E. Ross fans, is an unrelenting, never-ending horde of shameless spammers.

Yes, indeedy do - Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog has very few readers, but receives unending spam hawking worthless products (as well as their accompanying pathologically and unforgivably uninteresting blogs) on a daily basis. Dear Spammers: GO AWAY!

That said, even if Mr. Blogmeister doesn't manage to acquire a shiny new computer and rediscover his (M.I.A.) Writing Mojo, he respectfully tips the Jimmie Hatlo top hat to all friends, film and animation historians, diehard jazz and rock music aficionados, comedy geeks and especially his intrepid partner from Annie's New York Eats for encouraging the continuance of This Sputtering Blog.

And again, to each and every one of The Spammers: GO AWAY!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Time Travel Back To 20th Century, Anyone?

Now just where in the less-than-lamented 20th Century could be wonderful places to time-travel to? Hmmmmm. . . Let's start with this, Brooklyn's Fox Theatre in 1954 - and headliner Bo Diddley!

Indeed, how could a time-traveler go wrong with a rockin' set by the great guitarist/vocalist?

Or, for that matter, hearing unbelievably great jazz LIVE IN PERSON at NYC's legendary 52nd Street club The Three Deuces (expertly photographed here by William Gottlieb).

How about an excellent time-traveling evening, tripping the lights fantastic at the RKO Palace!

Or out to Vegas at Harrah's Club in 1958, where the headliners are Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams!

What if one could blast back to that very not good year 1939, NOT to the abject misery of war-torn Europe, but into the studio audience witnessing the filming of this Vitaphone Melody Master short, starring the always demure, shy, unenthusiastic and low-key Miss Betty Hutton!

How about going out to Miami Beach in 1950-1951 for some Florida sunshine, r&r and evenings at The Beachcomber, featuring, among others, that Puttin' On The Ritz guy, Mr. Harry Richman.

And. . . standup comedy by Myron Cohen, songs by the original "Red Hot Mama" herself, Miss Sophie Tucker.

Had enough? There's also a rip-roaring set of Nicholas Bros. style dancing by The Will Mastin Trio!

The star of the show-stopping Will Mastin Trio: musician-dancer-actor-impressionist and entertainment legend Sammy Davis, Jr.

Need laughs and a place for the kiddies to go while vacationing in The Sunshine State? There's this matinee show spotlighting The Three Stooges, The Bowery Boys, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and Robert Youngson's compilations of Mack Sennett and Hal Roach comedy classics - big screen fun for everyone.

While one can technically replicate this celluloid lineup via DVD in 2013, there is something about watching classic comedies with a capacity crowd (especially full of kids) rocking the house with belly laughs.

How about enjoying a night at the movies, 1932 style and actually having enough change in your pocket to afford a night out in the Great Depression? This bill includes an Ernst Lubitsch flick and The Mick! What I want to know is just what was the comedy short on the bill and when did Rouben Mamoulian's incomparable Love Me Tonight show here?

Go for that tuneful mid-1960's pop music in a big way? How about this San Francisco summer concert starring The Beach Boys (preceded by about 47 other bands)? And just how did the concert promoters forget to book The Turtles and The Young Rascals for this Summer Spectacular, anyway?

Like psychedelic era rock? Then here's a concert starring the Jimi Hendrix Experience, early prog rock innovators Soft Machine, the blues-drenched Electric Flag, and headbanging metal rockers Blue Cheer!

Enjoy such virtuoso guitar players as Jimi and The Electric Flag's Michael Bloomfield? Well, here's another concert, this one at the legendary Fillmore East on February 11, 1970.

Haven't seen a larger or original version of this photo, but there it is - Bill Graham and Co. somehow got all of these rockers onstage for a Grateful Dead-Allman Brothers-Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac jam session. There is a recording of this set featuring The Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Mickey Hart, Bill Kruetzmann) with special guest guitar-slingers Duane Allman, Peter Green and Danny Kirwan, plus keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Allman and drummer Mick Fleetwood. Yup.

And then there's jazz, the evergreen that grows stronger and with deeper roots every year - and such super-swingin' concerts as this. While some of the 1940's Jazz At The Philharmonic lineups were even better - for example, the concert that included Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet playing "I Can't Get Started" or the 1944 one with guitar guru Les Paul and pianistic powerhouse Nat King Cole driving the band - this ensemble . . . is pretty darn special.

Tough to say, having not been there, whether the JATP concerts with Charlie Parker and Lester Young making magic onstage together or the evenings co-starring Coleman Hawkins and Stan Getz or trumpet kings Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie were the toppers. You just know all the sets were great!

In any case, this lineup that hit the stage at Stuttgart sounds pretty darn wonderful - and when it comes to vocals, Ella can't be beat!

And this amazing photo shows another stunning ensemble; for non jazz-fans, that would be Charlie Parker A.K.A. "Bird" and "Yardbird", Dexter Gordon (before his series of super albums for Blue Note and Prestige), and, very early in his music journey, Miles Davis. . . YOW!!! Were the 52nd Street music fans in 1945 lucky or what? One-two-count 'em THREE geniuses onstage together!

A certain Carnegie Hall audience in November 1952 got a treat as well. . .

We'll finish with these references to The Village Gate, where John Coltrane (in his Ascension era) performed with an octet and both redefined the sonic boom and set a new bar line for the physical/emotional/sonic/spiritual limits of woodwind players. Check out who's playing back-to-back engagements (1962?).

The Village Gate "coming events" list brings to mind the thought "how could we be so lucky as to have a Miles and a Trane living among us"?

Indeed, while there are countless 20th century places and scenarios that one would never, ever time-travel back to in a gazillion years, all of these great happenings and greater artist/entertainers are definitely not among them. Dear Extraterrestrials: check the aforementioned visionaries out - they're the best humanoids have to offer!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Psychotronic Paul's Papal Pick

While a tad disappointed, Mr. Blogmeister does understand that a principal requirement for the new pope is. . . that he actually still be living.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

My Favorite Cartoon Voice Artists Not Named Mel Blanc or Stan Freberg

I'll admit it - I'm a sucker for the cartoons of Jay Ward Productions, even to the extent of having tracked down Bill Scott in November 1981 and interviewed him at length.

Jay Ward Productions' incredible roster of character actors/voice talents - Scott, June Foray, Bill Conrad, Daws Butler, Edward Everett Horton, Charlie Ruggles, Walter Tetley - combined with the studio's satiric edge still gets Mr. Blogmeister laughing after all these years.

In the TV cartoon field at that time, the Jay Ward cartoons were only equaled - in comedy writing and voice work - by Pantomime Pictures' Roger Ramjet series.

For more info, by all means get a copy of the Jay Ward Studio history, The Moose That Roared.

The story of Jay Ward, Alex Anderson, Bill Scott and the multi-talented animators and voice artists involved in these shows has been painstakingly researched and entertainingly written by voice artist - impressionist - film and radio historian Keith Scott.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Sheet Music, 1928-1932 Style

Kudos and a tip of the Jimmie Hatlo top hat to sheet music collector and friend of this blog Kitten On The Keys for the following awesome late 1920's time capsules - and further Bravos and Huzzahs (plus TWO top hat tips) to the expert on Broadway and film music who posted the following rarities, making them available to this correspondent in the first place, Mark Forer.

The following were for songs from now long lost films starring quintessential platinum blonde Alice White, a.k.a. The Princess Of Pep and a huge star in the early days of talkies.

And this blog also extends tips of the Jimmie Hatlo top hat to Clara Bow, Alice White, Eddie Cantor, Lupe Velez, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant and Bing Crosby: great stars all.