January
18th 2012
Back to the old song and dance routine

Posted under: American history, art, fluff

It’s the first day of classes in the second term for me, folks. Keep yourselves out of trouble. And remember: Aaaaaaaaaaa!

15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Back to the old song and dance routine”

  1. truffula on 18 Jan 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Woo hoo! Moses supposes is my favorite routine of them all. I get into arguments about this with my office manager regularly.

  2. Historiann on 18 Jan 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    What is there to argue about? Should Chester choose something other than chestnuts and cheddar chese for his lunch?

    Do not suppose E-rrrrrroneously.

  3. Susan on 18 Jan 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Well, I might argue with Truffula that Make ‘em laugh is even better, but it’s a pretty close tie.

  4. Western Dave on 18 Jan 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    There’s some interesting parallels between the way the elocution teacher is used in this piece and the dummy is used in Make ‘em Laugh. Now, how do I slip both of them into next year’s History of Film class?

  5. Historiann on 18 Jan 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Cool idea!

  6. koshembos on 18 Jan 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Me too and trying some innovations to get rid of me talking to emailing students for three hours.

  7. truffula on 18 Jan 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    What is there to argue about?

    The Music Man. According to some, the best musical ever. I disagree, largely on the merits of Moses Supposes. Also, Rosemary Clooney singing Love You Didn’t Do Right by Me. I get giddy every time I watch that.

  8. Historiann on 18 Jan 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    I’m sorry, Truffula–The Music Man at least is a coherent story. Singin’ in the Rain is a pretty random story, although it *is* very entertaining. (Gene Kelly is much dreamier than Robert Preston, I’ll give you that. But I had a Great Uncle who looked just like Robert Preston, so I feel nostalgic for my Great Uncle when I see MM.)

    We’ve been on a Mary Poppins jag. I think it’s really much better than The Sound of Music, but I’m sure we could disagree on that one, too.

  9. truffula on 18 Jan 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Random story? No way, I like the story! In any case, Mary Poppins is better than The Sound of Music. The first time my kids watched Mary Poppins with me, they correctly guessed that Tuppence is my favorite song in it. I am an open book.

    I’ve been pondering renting The Wind for one of my classes this term. We are talking about drought.

  10. Western Dave on 18 Jan 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Mary Poppins is a better movie, maybe, then TSoM, but TSoM is a much better show. I’m pretty sure I’ll take the Doe a Deer sequence over anything in Mary Poppins. Plus TSoM scared the pants off me as a kid. Seriously scary movie.

  11. Historiann on 19 Jan 2012 at 7:26 am #

    Srsly? The dancing in MP alone beats the hell out of anything in TSoM (and almost makes up for Dick Van Dyke’s atrocious accent), but songs like “Sister Suffragette” and “The Perfect Nanny” seal the deal. The songs advance the story much more clearly and charmingly than anything in TSoM or Singin’ in the Rain.

  12. Western Dave on 19 Jan 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Have you seen the stage musical of MP? Bad adaptation of movie to stage. It just doesn’t work. I might be biased though because a) my mom not only saw the original Mary Martin TSoM and had us listen to the soundtrack continuously growing up, b) she met Maria Von Trap and the kids at the resort they ran in the Catskills (Maria was zaftig, and not at all like Julie Andrews my mother would remind me and c) when you’re growing up Jewish in the 70s TSoM was as close as we got to Holocaust stories on tv until the mini-series (which I wasn’t allowed to watch because it was on too late). Strong indentification with Von Trap children there. As an adult I’d probably take On the Town or The Wizard of Oz for best all time movie musical (both of which, notably, were not stage musicals first).

  13. Historiann on 19 Jan 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    No, I never saw the MP adaptation to the stage. I don’t think anyone could really top the original Mr. and Mrs. Banks (David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns), or of course Andrews or Van Dyke (the latter on the incredible dancing, anyway.)

    I will say that I found Christopher Plummer a total hunk as Mr. Von Trapp when I finally sat down to watch it as an adult a few years ago.

  14. truffula on 19 Jan 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Well, my mother read the book Mary Poppins with me before I saw the movie and I am glad of it. I kinda like Dick van Dyke’s accent in the movie, it fits in its way.

  15. Western Dave on 20 Jan 2012 at 11:46 am #

    @Historiann I think MP only works with that cast. It was basically a star vehicle so written for very specific strengths of the performers (and animators). Although TSoM is so firmly rooted in our culture, it holds up surprisingly well as a stage show, the leads can be played by just about anybody with a reasonable level of talent (unlike West Side Story – where Tony and Anita are notoriously difficult to cast well, or even Bye Bye Birdie where if you don’t have Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera the whole thing kind of sucks). I’ve seen very satisfying high school productions of TSoM. It’s just a show that works. I do notice that in my list of favorite movie musicals I tend to favor singing over dancing with only two dance heavy shows on my top ten list (On the Town and Singing in the Rain) where as the rest are dominated by singing (Sweeney Todd, Wizard of Oz, South Pacific, TSoM). I want to put the movie of West Side Story on the list along with Holiday Inn. These are two of my favorites from childhood but after rewatching both recently I felt like they both suffer. Holiday Inn’s casual racism just killed it for me. The alterations they made to the movie compared to the show in West Side Story hurt the narrative flow rather than help it.