Large Association of Movie Blogs
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Born On This Day - January 31st

Just about finished with January 2021 - HALLELUJAH - and, as the robot on our kitchen table keeps incessantly mentioning "The Birthday Roundup," we shall spotlight luminaries born on January 31 today, starting by listening to Isham Jones & His Orchestra.

After raising a toast to birthday boy Franz Schubert, since the last blog post was devoted to Ziegfeld Follies star W.C. Fields, we will start with another Ziegfeld Follies headliner, Eddie Cantor, born on this day in 1892.

First and foremost in today's tribute, here's the ultimate classic comedy aficionado Joe Franklin (1926-2015), much-missed expert on all things old school showbiz - and Eddie's #1 fan - remembering his favorite comedian.

Cantor a.k.a. "Banjo Eyes," a first half of the 20th century entertainment powerhouse, starred in vaudeville, Broadway, radio, motion pictures and television. After appearing on stage with the juggling team of Bedini and Arthur in 1911, then as a featured player in the popular "kiddie kabaret" troupe led by songwriter and impresario Gus Edwards, and after that as Ziegfeld Follies headliner in 1917-1919, Eddie Cantor starred in silent feature films.

One, Special Delivery, was directed by none other than Roscoe Arbuckle and another, Kid Boots co-starred the one, the only Clara Bow, the "It" girl who the cameras adored.

Eddie Cantor first made sound films as early as 1923.

Cantor even received the ultimate Hollywood tribute: he was caricatured in animated cartoons.

When it comes to the 21st century view of Eddie Cantor's career, the elephant in the room remains the preponderance of blackface in his movies. It remains very difficult for baby boomers who saw Eddie Cantor flicks on television in the 1960's to comprehend why anyone thought blackface was funny, and utterly impossible to explain the ubiquitous stage makeup to anyone under the age of 40. Weren't African-Americans at least part of the paying vaudeville and moviegoing audiences back then (one would assume they were not)?

There are moments of blackface in the movies of his contemporaries, but it is not a staple of every film, as the burnt cork routine is in Whoopee, Palmy Days, The Kid From Spain and Roman Scandals. His first talkie, the Paramount short subject A Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (1929), is ALL blackface.

Even with historical perspective regarding the first three decades of the 20th century, this staple of entertainment, presented for what would be assumed to be segregated audiences, looks indefensible on all levels. Yet, everybody in show business blacked up - it was standard stage makeup at the turn of the 20th century. Even the legendary Bert Williams, the Nassau-born sensation of Broadway, recordings and the Ziegfeld Follies, used the burnt cork for his stage and silent film appearances.

Eddie's act at first featured a variety of different characters, but the theatre audiences of the WW1 era favored Eddie in blackface. They went bananas over burnt cork Eddie. Is this difficult for us to grasp in 2021? Yes.

Eddie starred in WHOOPEE both on Broadway and as his first sound feature.

In addition, Eddie performed favorite songs in a series of Paramount 1-reel short subjects, including Getting A Ticket and Insurance.

This pre-Code movie aficionado finds Mr. Cantor's movies, especially the Samuel Goldwyn musical comedies of 1931-1937, very enjoyable. The unabashed and unapologetic silliness that permeates Cantor's Goldwyn pictures (and the Busby Berkeley production numbers), has considerable charms. Love Eddie's singing and that quality of cheerful lechery also seen in the starring vehicles of RKO Radio Pictures comedy team Bert Wheeler & Robert Woolsey. The casts feature terrific co-stars (Charlotte Greenwood, Lyda Roberti, Ethel Merman) and plenty of Bert Kalmar - Harry Ruby songs, which, as usual, are a hoot.

Love the 1932 opus The Kid From Spain, directed by Leo McCarey, as much due to the hilarious Lyda Roberti, one of the great comediennes of 1930's stage and screen, as to the way-out Busby Berkeley musical numbers and the wacky pre-Code comedy of Cantor.

Kid Millions (1934) is a particularly zany and fun Eddie Cantor flick.

Among the supporting players in Kid Millions (1934): the extremely, wildly goofy comedienne Eva Sully from Block & Sully, in one of her few silver screen appearances. She is funny, unhinged and way over-the-top, making Cass Daley, Betty Hutton, Judy Canova, Martha Raye, Mabel Todd and fellow Eddie Cantor co-star Joan Davis look shy, retiring and demure by comparison.

Of the Cantor co-stars, Ethel Merman in particular has terrific chemistry with Eddie. They riff off each other quite well in Kid Millions and Strike Me Pink.

Cantor’s many decades in show business stretched from the Gus Edwards kiddie review shows in the teens to The Colgate Comedy Hour in the 1950's.

The life and career of Mr. Cantor, fortunately, have been covered at length in David Weinstein's excellent book, The Eddie Cantor Story: A Jewish Life in Performance and Politics.

Shifting from classic movies to sports, the greatness of the recently passed Baseball Hall Of Famer Hank Aaron is still heavily on our minds - and it just happens that today, January 31 is also the birthday of several baseball greats. A particularly stalwart member of the Baseball Hall Of Fame was multi-position player Ernie Banks (January 31, 1931 – January 23, 2015) A.K.A. Mr. Chicago Cub.

Ernie's motto was "let's play two!"

The former San Francisco Giant players and the team's announcers have spoken glowingly of Ernie, an ambassador for the sport and the most likable, upbeat, energetic, positive guy ever.

Nolan Ryan, who this blogger saw, in a Giants-Astros game, have one of his extremely rare off days and give up 8 runs at San Francisco's windy Candlestick Park, was termed the Ryan Express for throwing unhittable fastballs and knee-buckling curveballs, baffling hitters in both the National and American Leagues.

Lots of Nuke LaLoosh types hit 105 MPH on the radar gun, but very few of them can throw smoke and paint the corners, a.k.a. pitch, as Nolan Ryan did, let alone still be on the hill in the big leagues at the age of 46. Happy Birthday, Nolan - Mr. Von Ryan Express!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

And This Blog Loves William Claude Dukenfield - W.C. Fields

Exhaling a profound sigh of relief today, watching Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (while cursing Blogger for not having a functional Preview), thoughts turn to another amazing actor who, as Cary Grant did, got big laughs on the big screen, the great comedian W.C. Fields (January 29, 1880 — December 25, 1946), arguably the funniest of all the comics who enlivened the silver screen.

Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog last posted about W.C. Fields on the centenary of the comic/writer/actor/juggler extraordinaire's first silver screen appearance in Pool Sharks (1915). Since the Statute of Limitations on this topic has expired (along with approximately 97.8% of this blogger's writing mojo), today shall be devoted to W.C. Fields.

What do we love about Fields? Well, in addition to the fact that Fields, using such memorable pseudonyms as Mahatma Kane Jeeves, Charles Bogle and Otis Criblecoblis, contributed screenplays, gags and storylines to many of his movies, it's his independent attitude towards life. When Fields mutters in the reel world, he's saying what is on our minds. In the real world, one can only be so cantankerous, insubordinate, defiant and contemptuous of authority; say ANYTHING along those lines of Fields' mutterings, even under your breath, especially around those in positions of authority, and the results will always be bad, not good!

The Fields seen in the 1930's Paramount features is not an anarchist (a la The Marx Brothers and Clark & McCullough) but a harried and stressed-out everyman.

Am most partial to the trifecta of starring vehicles that followed Fields' initial appearances at Paramount Pictures, You're Telling Me, It's A Gift and Man On The Flying Trapeze.

It's A Gift is the film that best expresses the stressed everyman characterization. As funny as then iconoclastic Fields from the later Universal features is, these three Paramounts are this comedy aficionado's favorites, due to the booze-loving and spoiled brat-hating persona's inspired work within the characterization and the storylines.

Harold Bissonette, Fields' small-town grocer in It's A Gift, surrounded by louts, blowhards, busybodies and a shrewish spouse, tries his very best to get through his daily tasks, as indignities upon indignities are heaped upon him. He's the predecessor of Rodney Dangerfield's guy who got "no respect," but quietly defiant and irreverently well aware of the rampant idiocy in his midst. The idealized small-town America of the day, and its citizenry, does not get the Frank Capra treatment but is skewered deliciously, to a significant degree due to hilarious performances by the supporting players, especially Charles Selton as the blind but unrelentingly obnoxious Mr. Muckle.

Through it all, Fields' skilled acting distinguishes him as one of the funniest and most brilliant comedians and character actors ever to appear in motion pictures.

The followup, The Man On The Flying Trapeze, includes much of the It's A Gift cast and gets considerable comic mileage out of similar themes.

Among our all-time favorite comedy films here at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog are the Fields & Alison Skipworth "road hogs" segment from the 1932 anthology feature If I Had A Million and the Paramount gems Million Dollar Legs and International House.

Million Dollar Legs is part of a noteworthy trio of extremely wacky, irreverent and satiric 1930's comedies, along with Wheeler & Woolsey in Diplomaniacs and the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup.

While these first films Fields appeared in for Paramount Pictures were not vehicles for his specific personality and characterization - he was just one among many talented comedians in the casts of both Million Dollar Legs and International House - they are supremely zany, immensely entertaining and loaded with pre-Code flavor.

Six Of A Kind (1934) would re-unite Fields with fellow cast members from International House Burns & Allen.

Definitely NOT among all-time favorite films but fascinating to watch nonetheless is the 1933 version of Alice In Wonderland, a bizarre curio featuring just about everyone on the Paramount lot, including Fields.

It's an odd but interesting slice of 1933 cinema, and no doubt preceded by pot smoking when screened in the 1960's. It scores points for being a lot weirder than the subsequent but less interesting Walt Disney cartoon version of Alice In Wonderland and, in its commitment to a fantasy world, closer to stop-motion animator Lou Bunin's terrific take on Lewis Carroll.

Castle Films, which distributed 1-reel clips from many of the Fields features for the home movie market, deserves credit, along with the TV stations that frequently showed It's A Gift, The Bank Dick and Never Give A Sucker An Even Break, for spreading the word about the classic comedy of W.C. Fields to a new generation. Numerous movie buffs and film collectors were introduced to Fields by Castle Films reels on 8mm and 16mm.

A Castle Films reel featuring Fields' astounding juggling act (from The Old Fashioned Way) was quite popular among young film collectors who were that new generation in the 1960's and 1970's; this blogger ran his 8mm print of The Great McGonigle over and over and over again.

Sound movies on glorious 8mm film were a big deal to young baby boomer film buffs. Castle Films did very well with their excerpts from W.C. Fields and Abbott & Costello features, as well as from such Universal monster movie masterpieces as The Bride Of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Bride Of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Invisible Man.

Adding to Fields' resurgence of popularity (along with comedies starring The Marx Brothers and Mae West) as baby boomers discovered how incredibly funny he was, along with the films getting shown on television and in said screenings, were how often Fields' 2-reelers from 1932-1933 were featured at rep cinema houses and college screenings.

16mm prints of the Fields comedy short subjects (The Pharmacist, The Barber Shop, The Fatal Glass Of Beer and The Dentist) produced by Mack Sennett were frequently seen in the golden age of repertory cinema.

In addition, author Leonard Maltin's writings spotlighting Fields - The Great Movie Shorts, The Great Movie Comedians and more - did much to keep the memory of film humor's kings and queens alive.

A seasoned headliner in vaudeville by age 21, Fields toured the world as a successful juggler-comedian decades before the motion picture starring roles he is remembered for today. He rocked the Folies Bergère in Paris, the Ziegfeld Follies in 1915 and starred on Broadway in the musical comedy Poppy (1923) and The Comic Supplement (1924). This led to a few appearances in silent features such as D.W. Griffith's Sally Of The Sawdust and That Royle Girl.

He played a character role as an inebriated British sergeant in the Marion Davies vehicle and big budget Revolutionary War drama Janice Meredith, but, unfortunately, Fields does not have much to do. Since Davies, much to the chagrin of William Randolph Hearst, was a gifted comedienne rather than a historical drama grande dame, the possibilities of Davies and Fields doing comedy are not explored. Can't imagine Hearst tolerating a - shudder - comedian sharing scenes with Marion, who, little did the publishing magnate know, was one of the funniest ladies in motion pictures.

Fields starred in a few more silent features, several in collaboration with director-writer Gregory LaCava, for Paramount Pictures, before returning to the stage as the star of Earl Carroll's Vanities in 1928-1929. These late silents included The Potters, So’s Your Old Man, It’s The Old Army Game, Fools For Luck, Two Flaming Youths and Tillie's Punctured Romance, the latter three co-starring Mack Sennett Studio headliner ("Walrus" in the Keystone Comedies) and memorable Chaplin supporting player Chester Conklin. The Potters and the three Fields-Conklin comedies remain lost films. The Fields-Conklin features did poorly at the box office that, at least for awhile, the cantankerous comic gave up on a movie career. He accepted a lucrative offer starring in the 1928 edition of Earl Carroll’s Vanities at a salary of $5,000 per week.

Thankfully, there is a W.C. Fields channel on YouTube, where the Paramount features Mrs. Wiggs Of The Cabin Patch, The Old Fashioned Way, The Man On The Flying Trapeze and Poppy are, at the moment, available on YouTube (in 10 minute clips) in their entirety. There are also several DVD box sets.

While the baseball fans at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog remain quite sad to note the passing at 86 of Baseball Hall of Fame legend Henry "Hammerin' Hank" Aaron, an unstoppable champion on and off the diamond (and, along with Willie Mays the Greatest Of All Time)

these classic comedy routines offer, like Mr. William Claude Dukenfield's favorite single malt scotch, an exceptional tonic when smiles and laughs are much needed.

For more, check out the official W.C. Fields website and go to Travalanche, which features numerous excellent articles and essays about the great comedian.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Our Sentiments EXACTLY

And this even ties into the last post about this blog's all-time favorite records. . .

Friday, January 15, 2021

This Blog's Favorite Records

Today, the gang at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog is pondering Voltaire’s quote “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities,” while also thinking about all-time favorite 20th century recordings, those sounds that got us through many rough spots in life.

First and foremost, there's music from the movies - and an especially outstanding album is a comprehensive retrospective of sprightly LeRoy Shield themes from Hal Roach Studio classics by vintage movie soundtrack champions The Beau Hunks.

The excellent Dutch orchestra devoted years of hard work and study learning the LeRoy Shield themes that enlivened the Our Gang, Laurel & Hardy and Charley Chase comedies.

The Beau Hunks mastered the sound and feel of LeRoy Shields' high-spirited music, as well as the early 1930's period flavor.

While this writer, unfortunately, has not seen The Beau Hunks in concert, clips from the orchestra's performances accompanying Laurel & Hardy classics are up on YouTube.

Yes, we are indeed big fans of movie soundtrack music; could easily come up with 50 film soundtrack albums, headed by The Beau Hunks and the late Hal Willner's The Carl Stalling Project.

While we love the music of Dubin & Warren, David Raksin, Bernard Herrmann and Michel Legrand, atop the list of film composers is the one, the only Ennio Morricone (1928-2020). The great composer passed last year at 92 after, both on the silver screen and in concert, creating incredible music for decades.

Luckily, Mr. Morricone maintained good health way beyond the point where most of us are six feet under and was conducting the great orchestras of the world in concerts of his compositions well into his 80's.

So many Morricone albums are top-notch, it is tough to pick just one or two favorites from his lengthy career. The Peace Notes Live In Venice concert is on Blu-ray and DVD - and particularly wonderful.

Could not recommend the Morricone Conducts Morricone CDS and Blu-rays more highly. All the Morricone concerts on YouTube are incredible.

In some respects merely a hop, skip and a jump away from movie soundtracks is that genre prevalent in the late 1960's and early 1970's known as progressive rock or "prog" rock, hated by punk rockers but loved by many.

Am partial to those who explored the orchestral side of rock music, from Brian Wilson and George Martin's arrangements for The Fab 4 to Moody Blues to Yes to ELO to Focus. A favorite group exemplifying this genre is King Crimson. Of Robert Fripp's ensemble's numerous lineups from 1969 to the present, we love the lineup of Tony Levin, Adrian Belew and Bill Bruford and the 1994 double-quartet configuration.

Here's a performance in its entirety of the record that's tied with six or seven other Crimson albums as tops with me: Three Of A Perfect Pair.

Not many albums were recorded at Baltimore's Left Bank Jazz Society, but every one this music aficionado has heard is a beaut. Best of the best? One of the greatest jazz albums ever recorded, The Free Slave, an incredible set led by percussionist Roy Brooks (March 9, 1938 - November 15, 2005).

The Free Slave, recorded live at the Left Bank Jazz Society, on gone but not forgotten Muse Records, ranks high on this writer's short list of favorite jazz albums. Along with Brooks' Live At Town Hall recording, it numbers among the few recorded concerts that fully captures the excitement of live music. While this record remains long out-of-print, used copies can be found on vinyl and CD.

Mr. Brooks, while lesser known in comparison to such drummer-bandleaders as Max Roach, Art Blakey and Buddy Rich, is up there among the greatest percussionists in jazz history. Sadly, he would suffer severe health setbacks in later years.

On The Free Slave, trumpeter Woody Shaw rocks the house, and ace saxophonist from Miles Davis and Elvin Jones’ bands, George Coleman, plays at peak inspiration, while bassist Cecil McBee and pianist Hugh Lawson add just the right sounds to the mix and keep the groove going. The synthesis of soul jazz and Horace Silver style hard bop, delivered at fever pitch, is tough to beat.

This wasn’t the first time Roy played at the legendary Left Bank Jazz Society. He and fellow Horace Silver Quintet bandmate Gene Taylor, with pianist Barry Harris, backed the international star, master tenor saxophonist and swing king Coleman Hawkins.

While for this enthusiast, the aforementioned recordings are just the tip of the iceberg, if money is no object, go ahead, buy ALL the records by The Beau Hunks, King Crimson, Roy Brooks (not to mention Woody Shaw, George Coleman, Horace Silver, Woody Shaw and Coleman Hawkins), every one of them, right now. There's also an 18-CD set of Ennio Morricone soundtracks.

These recordings, like the inspired basketball of Steph Curry, restore my faith in humanity.

Friday, January 08, 2021

New for 2021: Cartoon Roots, Comique Magazine and Kliph Nesteroff's latest

Wrote the last post, "What We Want For 2021" on the morning of January 6th, when my agenda was to take it slow, have a quiet after-breakfast time and write something inspired by outstanding 20th century music (that trifecta of The Amazing Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Elmo Hope ALWAYS works for me). Alas, practically the moment after this posted, "I read the news today, oh boy". . .

While the violence, mayhem and swaggering idiocy feels alarmingly like an appalling continuation of horrible 2020, the infinitely better topic of today's post, believe it or else, YES, that's right, I said BELIEVE IT OR ELSE, is that actual good things are beginning to emerge, rather sheepishly, in the thus far miserably misbegotten new year. First and foremost, Tommy Stathes has spearheaded a Kickstarter fundraiser to support the upcoming Cartoon Roots Blu-ray/DVD collection, this one paying tribute to the silent era animation of Walter Lantz.

We are pleased as pomegranates to support the Kickstarter and looking forward to seeing the latest Cartoon Roots release, devoted to Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat. Tommy does great work and somehow manages to find cartoon rarities this lifelong dyed-in-the-wool animation buff hasn't seen.

A collection of the top film historians in the country - the best of the best - have joined forces on COMIQUE - The Classic Comedy Magazine, which can be found on The roster of writers includes many of our favorites. Among them is Sam Gill, formerly of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (and more recently with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum), who knows more about silent era comedy movies and film history than anyone else walking this planet. I'd be thrilled to see some of Sam's interviews with those both in front of and behind the cameras in the silent movie days find their way into future issues!

Kliph Nesteroff, author of The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels & The History Of American Comedy and the mastermind behind the fascinating Classic Television Showbiz website, has a new book: We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy.

It's officially out in February and can be pre-ordered both here and here. Can't wait to read it! As Mr. Nesteroff has an investigative journalist's instincts and drive to get the story, I expect that We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy will go to areas very few authors have attempted to explore.

Nesteroff's 2015 book, The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels & The History Of American Comedy, takes a deep dive into the worlds of nightclubs and standup comedy in mid-20th century America, but not in a way that is pedantic, academic or dull in any way. It remains highly recommended reading.

Mr. Nesteroff, extremely adept of finding the seamy underbelly of show business, is a former standup comic and sees comedy from the inside. From backstage tales of the wisecracking vaudeville and nightclub denizens (and the mobsters who owned the clubs), he constructs an expansive, thoughtful and unsparing overview of 20th century American culture and politics. Add to this a Canadian's take on America and superb reading is the result. For more, listen to the following interviews on WGN Radio and LA Review Of Books.

All that said, I expect to learn a lot from Nesteroff's latest tome and hope he does guest appaearances on such terrific podcasts as WTF With Marc Maron, Norm McDonald Live, Maltin On Movies and Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast to promote it.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Nesteroff will have amazing stories and anecdotes that did not make it into the final book.

While I never had the pleasure of seeing such Native American comedians/satirists as Charlie Hill, quality time spent with standup philosophers from Robin Williams to Richard Pryor to Mort Sahl enriched my life and expanded my perspective in no uncertain terms.

The preference on this blog 99.8% of the time is to stick entirely to 20th century pop culture as subject matter and stay the hell away from current events, but the unspeakably horrible past 48 hours puts us in a .2% scenario. Sadly, this writer is neither surprised nor shocked one bit by this latest turn of events.

All one can say is HOLY SHIT, these are the 1995 Oklahoma City bombers multiplied by 1000!

This is followed by the realization, looking at a rabid, rampaging mob of moronic, violent and vile 4th grade dropout redneck terrorists, a veritable Coup Klux Klan ransacking the United States Capitol, reading about how they, keepin' it classy, smeared feces on the Capitol Building walls and urinated on the carpets (all the while yelling lunatic gibberish and grinning stupid goober grins) and how the coup's ringleaders were trained former police and ex-military officers (no doubt getting revenge for dishonorable discharges), that uncontrolled inbreeding is never, ever a good idea.

Smearing feces on paintings in the Capitol Building and urinating on the carpets are not tactics that will elicit the respect these guys so desperately desire. The Breitbart Brainwashed insurrectionists had the money to travel across the country, spend lots of dough on firearms and stay in D.C. hotels, so they did not represent the hackneyed "Hillbilly Elegy" stereotype, affected by rural poverty.

I don't know if there will be better days ahead, but I will read Kliph Nesteroff's latest and Comique magazine, then enjoy the Cartoon Roots DVDs to take the edge off.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

What We Want In 2021

Well, first and foremost (among many things), the incredible pianistic and compositional brilliance of the great Bud Powell (1924-1966) is what we music lovers at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog want, in 2021 and always!

Bud and his fellow composer/pianists Thelonious Monk (1917-1982), Elmo Hope (1923-1967), Tadd Dameron (1917-1965), Herbie Nichols (1919-1963) and Lennie Tristano (1919-1978) are, with Duke Ellington, the Bachs and Beethovens of the 20th century.

Bud's solo on The Last Time I Saw Paris manages to out-Tatum Art Tatum for emotional commitment combined with mind-blowing technical facility.

Many of the other piano solos The Amazing Bud Powell recorded are no less astonishing.

For your original compositions, artistry and mastery of music, Mr. Powell, we can't thank you enough.

Wish we could time travel and correct the numerous wrongs that were done to you in your lifetime. At least Francois Paudras and many of your former bandmates made their best efforts to do right by you.

Hearing the trio sides from the 1953 Jazz At Massey Hall concert made a believer out of me.

The Bud Powell Trio concerts featuring bassist extraordinaire Oscar Pettiford and power-packed percussionist Roy Haynes on drums are incredible as well.

As Mr. Paudras did, wish we could give you some measure of the respect and love you deserved while you were here living among us. One who did just that was the legendary bandleader, recording artist and saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins, along with Roy Haynes the last still living in January 2021 who knew Bud, a professor of harmony and shooting star of the 20th century music world.

Thou swell!

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year 2021 from Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog

Binge-watched That's Entertainment compilations on Turner Classic Movies to ring out the rotten old year and ring in the new year. Complained on this blog about how 2017 was "wretched," but horrendous 2020 made 2017 look fabulous! Happily, 2021 has arrived - and not a moment too soon. Hallelujah! We are thankful that there are no empty chairs at our kitchen table here on January 1. We're lucky. . . very lucky!

Is the gang at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog at this moment recovering from 48 hours of hard partying - tripping the lights fantastic as Osgood Fielding did? We wish!

Revelry, fun, time with friends, even a faint snapshot from a Grateful Dead New Year's concert from a long time ago, way back when this blogger was actually a young person, well, all sound pretty fantastic right now!

One excellent way to ring out the old year is to watch the great Jack Benny's very funny New Year's Eve show from 1961.

The Mr. Bean New Year's show is a hoot as well.

Have posted in past years about unconventional New Year's Eve tunes, a time-honored way to ring out the old year and ring in the new one. We at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog are big fans of Otis Redding and Carla Thomas' Stax Records cover of ace blues guitarist-vocalist-songwriter Lowell Fulson's classic Tramp (which Fulson and Jimmy McCracklin co-wrote) and it turns out Otis and Carla also recorded an excellent song for New Year's.

Among numerous worthy renditions of "What Are You Doing For New Year's Eve?" the duet of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is a goody.

The doo-wop version of this standard by the melodious Orioles is another goody.

Here is the Lightnin' Hopkins "Happy New Year" song, waxed for Decca Records in 1953.

Ding Dong Ding Dong, George Harrison's "ring out the old, ring in the new" tune, always sounds terrific. Those Silver Beatles could really write tunes, before and after their Fab 4 heydey!

Right now, I'm pondering the very good fortune to have made it through 2020, a year in which COVID-19 killed people right and left. Wishing all readers of Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog have a wonderful and safe new year.

Good riddance, 2020!