Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Song Poem For You

The song poem sub-industry was when amateur poets and would-be songwriters would send in their poems/lyrics to be set to music by professionals, in hopes of becoming the next Johnny Mercer.

A few years ago PBS ran a very interesting documentary on the phenomenon titled Off The Charts :

The most fascinating figure in the song poem world was a multi-talented producer-arranger-musician-singer named Rodd Keith, who I hope to discuss in a future post. For now, here's one of the more intriguing examples of the form, a touchingly romantic piece called "Green Fingernails":

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Allan-A-Dale" (Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, 1965)

A hilarious clip from Cook & Moore's 1960s TV series Not Only But Also, probably the best showcase for Peter Cook, the ex-Cambridge man who revolutionized British humor.

Notice the usually I-Want-The-Spotlight Cook trying to hide in the background. Perhaps his reticence is because, although Cook's genius was as a writer, he didn't write this. It was actually conceived by a Cambridge classmate of Cook's for a Footlights Revue production in the late '50s. I just hope the guy got paid.

Woody Allen on the Tonight Show (1971)

Long long ago in the olden days, when the Tonight Show was based in New York and Woody Allen was doing comedy, he used to sub occasionally for Johnny Carson. This must be one of the few such clips that survives.

Welcome to my world

I'm interested in screenwriting, filmmaking, comedy, music, and lots of other things. So you can expect some fairly eclectic posts. WAGSTAFF, incidentally, is the name of Groucho's character in Horsefeathers. It just seemed to fit.