Saturday, March 26, 2011

This Day So Far

NLM made it into the top 1000 and has managed to stay there for a number of hours tho drifting from the 900s to the 800s and back again.  It was on the mystery>thriller>legal list.  Then it wasn't.  Now it is again, still at #3.  I have trouble with numbers so I think this is a minefield for me. It's so much easier with Sweeps which is just #1.  I don't look farther than that.  I don't understand how this ranking thing works but I do get that the smaller the number the better you're doing.

Hollywood.  This is a conundrum, isn't it?  It was created by a bunch of Jews who didn't have much money and saw an opportunity.  They had a vision of America and it became the prevailing vision.  Which I think was fine and noble.  But I'm not going to talk about that.

So lots of people were offered lots of money to come make movies and many people took advantage of that.  One person was George Gershwin.  I can't speak highly enough of his genius.  He and his brother Ira wrote some of the finest songs that will ever be written.  He so tragically died of a brain tumor in his 30s in the 30s.

In come the Hollywood vultures 10 years later to make a movie about him.  And manage to get almost everything wrong.  It was on this morning so those missteps are fresh in my mind.  Robert Alda was miscast.  And he couldn't act.  He was stiffer than laundry hung out on the line overnight in freezing temps.  The dialog was shriek-worthy.  I was shrieking.  I was mocking them.

Chico Marx.  It was Chick-o!  Not Chee-ko!  They could have called him up and asked how he pronounced his name.   It wouldn't even have been a long distance call.

In real life Oscar Levant was one of Gershwin's closest friends.  Oscar played himself.  Paul Whiteman played himself.  That was enjoyable.  I don't know who the chick was George was supposed to be having a romance with in the movie.  IRL, he was admittedly a man about town, and Kay Swift was his longtime main squeeze.    So this was a cleaned up invention.  With no heat.  As someone said of an actor (you want me to remember everything?) in Sweeps "He was stiff but not in a good way."

George deserved better than this.  He deserved to be left alone.

Geez, I hate these bio-pics.  

I had to think about posting this.  But decided yes.  On the afternoon of Feb. 12 1924 at Aeolian Hall in New York City, Rhapsody in Blue debuted.

In June of 1924 with the same orchestra, Paul Whiteman's, and again George at the piano, it was recorded.  Because 78 records were capable of 9 minutes, the work was cut in half. This was never duplicated altho it was recorded again with Whiteman in 1927.  By then Ross Gorman had moved on and wasn't on the clarinet.  And Ferde Grofe who has arranged the piece originally had formed his own orchestra.  So even with the pops and crackles, to me, this has never been performed better.  This is what George had intended.

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