..."Up there they calls it their 'thigh-bones'..."
"As Good As It Gets - Comic Strip Adaptations" Dept.:
When I was a lil kid, I wanted *very* badly to be Peter Palmer (that's the fella playing Lil' Abner below) - I've since come to a jaw-dropping appreciation of Stubby Kaye (he's the rounder one in this clip). Stubby's a belty-tenor like I am, and if I could ever look as contented on a daily basis as he does at the in the pose he's in at the 1:39 mark for the lines around "They sets around in this place they got" I'll know I'll have been doing SOMETHING right. Watch out for Billie Hayes (later to be seen as Witchiepoo on HR PUFNSTUF and Weenie the Genie in LIDSVILLE) nodding her head at the 1:24 mark with the grey hair roll on her forehead, being young but playing old as Mammy Yokum ( a part she took over from Charlotte "Mrs Garrett" Rae). Hey Janey, doesn't Mr Palmer look a little like Piotr?
I defy you to keep this tune out of your head for the next 18 hours.
Nobody - and I mean NOBODY was hotter than Julie Newmar in her prime.
Here she is revisiting her original role on Broadway as Dogpatch County's resident Weapon of Mass Destruction. Yes, that's Jerry Lewis making a cameo as Itchy McGrabby. Jerry met Stella Stevens on the set of this movie the day he shot this scene and then immediately cast her as the lead in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. Stella was there because Tina "Too-Good-For-The-Things-That-Made-Her-Famous" Louise had turned the movie part down, in a typical act of career self-implosion (when Bob Denver has nothing kind to say about you... you're a bitch, let's face it...).
What can I say - it's a Broadway showstoppers kinda week...
"As Good As It Gets - Video" Dept.:
As much as I like SOUND OF MUSIC, I've always been more of a WEST SIDE STORY fan - both of which were directed for film by Robert Wise. It's not SoM's fault - well, actually, it is - I was forced to play bass in a pit orchestra in a horrible stage production of this one and it was excrutiating. I'm digressing.
Rita Moreno is another one of those signature, "A-Number-One, top of the list, Queen of the hill, at the top of the heap" actresses for me. Although she was already a featured performer in two *huge* movie musicals before this (SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and THE KING AND I), this is the number that made her a star.
When the counter-melody/middle-eight kicks in at the 2 min mark and the ballet begins I'm gone. Staccato, flammenco... I'm totally gone. This is what Heaven must be like.
This one is partly for WENDYSLIPPERS, who, as yet, is LJ-deprived, but it's very especially for my dear friend the shanmonster.
"As Good As It Gets - Video" Dept.:
Two choreographed by the one and only Bob Fosse. The fact that Fosse really *really* hated popular form-dances like The Frug and The Monkey in the 60's comes through in the sarcastic choreography he doles out in the pieces here. Still, nobody could make his dancers look better, or sexier, when he was firing on all cylanders.
The 6 min RICH MAN'S FRUG sequence from SWEET CHARITY'
For the longest time, I had *such* a crush on Suzanne Charney, the leggy lead dancer in this. Dig her crazy-intricate arm work in the first sequence, and the insane neck isolations that she's doing in the last number - so good that your eyes are drawn to them like a point of light. Something about leggy Broadway dancers scarred my future expectations as a child, and I'm probably still carrying the damage from that. Watch for a very young Ben Vereen dead centre in the second "sketch" in this, and then leading the "Oh Yeah"'s and doing the crazy jump-splits he did every night on stage (twice a day for weekend matinees) for half-a year in the Big Finish.
and for desert - Sammy Davis Jr in THE RHYTHM OF LIFE sequence.
Sammy didn't need Frank, didn't need Dean, and never needed Lawford. He not only brings his game to this, he transcends the Rat Pack in it (and that is the highest of high frigging praise those of you who know me well know I could offer him).