Friday, May 6, 2016

Say Hey!

Thank Abaangui It's Friday!

"Haven't you got that grill fired up yet? Get cracking!"

Entertainment Value

A lot of people right now, including some conservative writers I greatly admire, are trying to play off Trump's becoming the GOP presidential nominee by saying "At least it will be entertaining." Some go so far as to say Trump's entertainment value might even win in November. Sorry, but I don't find that argument compelling in any way.

On May 6, 1937 the German airship Hindenburg burst into flames while trying to moor at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people died.

But it sure was entertaining, right? So let's all just sit back and watch the death of the party of Lincoln and the progressive-on-progressive violence that will be the general election campaign! Popcorn time!

No, the unfolding disaster is not my idea of entertainment. The witless clods who nominated Trump just to "shake things up" and "teach the Republican establishment a lesson" are preposterously mistaken, and they alone deserve to bear the blame for the nightmarish general election campaign to which we're about to be subjected.

"The Hindenburg disaster, really? A tad melodramatic, don't you think?"

Actually, I think I'm underplaying it...and for a somewhat longer look at the 1937 disaster, try this link...

Happy Birthday!

With the New York Giants, 1954

On May 6, 1931 Willie Howard Mays, Jr. was born in Westfield, Alabama.

If you love baseball at all, never mind loving it as much as I do, you revere Willie Mays. I am grateful for having gotten to see him play, even if it was only on television.

To say that Willie had a Hall of Fame career is actually damning him with faint praise. Willie Mays was the embodiment of everything that makes fans love the game.

Rather than rehearse all of the arguments over whether he was or wasn't the greatest player who ever lived, I will direct you to a marvelous article by Joe Posnanski that says everything I'd want to say. It was written on Willie's birthday five years ago...

"Did you ever trade a Willie Mays baseball card for another player?"

If you had teeth, I'd tell you to bite your tongue...of course I didn't...

Speaking of...

On May 6, 1915 the immortal Babe Ruth
hit the first of his 714 career home runs. He was playing for the Boston Red Sox then. Ironically, the New York Yankees won the game 4-3.

Conversations about the greatest baseball player ever are fun to have, and always include both the Say Hey Kid and The Sultan of Swat...

"Baseball doesn't do cool nicknames like that anymore, does it?"

No, it really doesn't...more's the pity... 

True Genius

Welles at age 21, photo by Carl Van Vechten

Baseball is one of my greatest pleasures in life. Theatre in all its incarnations (stage, motion pictures, television) is another. And today the theatrical arts celebrate one of their greatest talents.

On May 6, 1915, the same day Ruth hit his first major league home run, George Orson Welles was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

He would go on the have a legendary career as a writer, actor, director, and producer in every theatrical medium.

If you're going to have a discussion about the greatest talents in the history of theatrical entertainment, Welles has to part of that conversation in the same way the Mays and Ruth do in baseball discussions. "Genius" is a word that get thrown around a lot in the entertainment business, but in Welles's case it is entirely justified.

Weekend Plans

From the droll comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

In 1949 Orson Welles created one of the most memorable movie villains of all time
with his chilling portrayal of Harry Lime in the British film The Third Man. Written by celebrated novelist Graham Greene, Carol Reed's film is considered one of the greatest
in movie history, and Welles's performance is central to it.

His performance as Lime was so memorable that it led to Welles starring in a radio drama based on the character in 1951-52.
Original 1949 "one sheet" poster

Among the remarkable aspects of the film was its score, which featured only a zither, by Anton Karas.

Karas's "The Third Man Theme" became
an international hit. Released in the United States in 1950, it spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Singles chart, followed closely by a version from Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.

Also known as "The Harry Lime Theme,"
the song has been covered by numerous other artists on other instruments, and versions of it are often used as an homage
in other theatrical productions.

Today's send-off is Karas's original soundtrack version. Enjoy...

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