"His boy Elroy!" If you grew up at a certain time, then you'll probably recognize just that one single snippet of song lyric. It was drilled into your head on Saturday mornings while you ingested cups and cups of toxic sugary cereal. Remember? I do. And yet you never threw up (or at least I didn't).
If you still think fondly of those Saturday mornings, then today's your lucky day. Bring the sugar-shock back with this ultra-deluxe collection of "Jetsons" tunes and music (along with a bit of "Jonny Quest" tossed in for good measure), but don't say I didn't warn you. It's giggly fun, yes, but it just might rot your teeth.
As some of you might know, I have a special fondness for "Porgy And Bess" - in all of its varied incantations. So I just couldn't resist when I happened upon this Cheerfully Summertime Exclusive! It's the 1976 "Collector's Series" edition of "Porgy" with the one, the only, Cab Calloway.
This version also features several popular opera performers of the day, like Eleanor Steber, one of the first big-time US opera stars, and Robert Merrill, who worked in operas as well as on Broadway and in movies. I wasn't familiar with any of them until I happened upon this LP, but if you love this musical, then you'll love this version (which includes an especially haunting version of "Gone, Gone, Gone" by The Robert Shaw Group). And, yes, Calloway absolutely kills on his rendition of "It Ain't Necessarily So." But you knew that already.
Have you ever seen Vincente Minnelli's "Madame Bovary?" It was advertised in 1949 with this irresistible slogan: "Whatever it is that French women have, Madame Bovary has more of it!" Yeowza! Now that's how ya' advertise a movie. Pauline Kael found it "hopelessly overscaled," but I kind of enjoyed all the keyed-up sumptuousness - as only Minnelli can supply; he wasn't derided as a "mere window dresser" for nothing - and Jennifer Jones is surprisingly effective.
So why am I bringing up this movie? To inaugurate a Super Cheerful Exclusive!, the 15-CD treasury of music by famed Old Hollywood composer Miklos Rozsa. Hooray! This generous anthology brings together all the best of Rozsa, who wrote "Madame Bovary's" rapturous score, and of course many more. "Bovary's" been newly restored for this first CD and it's an absolute must.
Did you know? Rozsa was taught piano as a child by his mother Regina. She, in turn, had studied as a child with students of (wait for it) Franz Liszt. By age eight, Rozsa was already composing and performing in public. Oh, and get this: once arrived in Hollywood, Rozsa angrily vowed never to work with Hitchcock again after penning the score for "Spellbound." Hitchcock was gravely disappointed in the score; Rozsa found Hitchcock a major pain in the touchas. Meh, it happens.
Speaking of Old Hollywood masters, what do Lillian Gish and Alfred Hitchcock have in common? Yes, you guessed it, Bernard Herrmann, who wrote the score for TV's "Alfred Hitchcock Hour," including music for an episode entitled "Body In The Barn" starring Lillian Gish, who was in her late 60's at the time.
Interestingly, this aired well before "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte," which started the so-called "Hag Horror" trend - or horror movies with aging movie queens - in the late 1960's. Some even credit it with with starting the trend to begin with (you can click on Lillian to see more).
I won't argue the finer points of "Hag Horror" - though my Cuban Luvuh knows the genre well - except to say that finding more Herrmann is always a happy event. And this delightfully moody CD is chock full of Herrmann at his best.
The Secret Song File will be watching the Oscars this weekend with a bewhiskered Euro paramour in a swank hotel suite. Maybe too swank. She absolutely loathes those awful bowl sinks - you know, the ones that certain designy folk seem to think are so "stylish" and "fashionable" - because when it's time for a quick wash (ahem), no one likes the edge of a bowl cleaving into their midsection (just sayin').
Similarly, The Secret Song File despises new electronica music, since the whole genre seems like it's stuck in the mid 1990's (I'm talking to you, "Air). But this multilingual, American-born, "pine-scented" chillwave artist is different. And in his spanking new second CD, he exhibits gratifying humor and playfulness, not to mention an almost suspenseful track list - you never know where he's going from one track to the next. This is unlike the bewhiskered Euro paramour, who's slightly pretentious and oh-so-predictable; he really seems to think "Amour" will sweep the Oscars this Sunday. Oh, hahahahaha! Silly boy.
To be blunt, I could only stomach the first half of "Les Miserables."
Leave your Oscar picks or anything else on your mind in the comments!