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November 13, 2008:

IN LIVING COLOR

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, these here notes are brought to you in Living Color, which is, I suppose, better than being brought to you in Dead Color. Someday I really would like these here notes to be in Living Color – wouldn’t that just spruce things up? I remember a time when TV shows brought to you in Living Color were a huge deal. I think we got our first color TV sometime around 1962 or 1963 and I used to love to see the NBC peacock in color. Why am I waxing nostalgic for Living Color? Don’t I have notes to write? Well, I shall try to make them colorful of word and thought. Speaking of word and thought, yesterday was another of those non-stop days where you just never even get a break to breathe or, for that matter, a breathe to break. I got up earlier than usual, then did the long jog in the new shoes. The new shoes were really weird – they were so different that I simply couldn’t get used to them and I didn’t care for them at all. But at the two-mile mark, they started to feel better and they did put a new spring in my step for the last two miles. We’ll see how they feel today. After I got home, I had to take a quick shower and then be on my way to the bank. I then headed over to see my lovelier than lovely hairdresser, Teddy. The traffic was grotesque on Laurel Canyon and I was about five minutes late. That was okay, though, because Teddy was still finishing up some woman’s do. I got a nice shampoo and then Teddy worked his magic and I looked quite young and vivacious with my newly trimmed hair and my newly trim body. I told Teddy that I’d made him a legend on this here site, so he may just be reading these here notes today. After Teddy (AT in Internet lingo), I came home to about forty e-mails, all of which had to do with the Bacharach benefit concert. Many of them irritated me, but I dealt with them swiftly and strongly. We’re actually in pretty good shape now in terms of the cast and the song choices, although we are a little ballad-heavy right now, and I’ve asked that any remaining songs be up-tempo. After that, I went and got a foot-long Subway turkey sandwich, and picked up a couple of packages and some mail from the mail place. I came back home and began entering all the little David Wechter changes into the Nudie Musical script – it’s a line here, a stage direction there, a new bit there. At his request I also expanded a section of a number – that took about an hour to write the five lines of new lyrics. I finally finished that, then had a couple of long telephonic conversations, and then a one-hour meeting with our very own Miss Alet Taylor. That ended at seven, and then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched two count them two motion pictures on DVD. The first motion picture on DVD was entitled The Badlanders, an oater starring Mr. Alan Ladd, Mr. Ernest Borgnine, and Miss Katy Jurado. I hadn’t seen it before and I really enjoyed it. It’s basically a redo of W.R. Burnett’s The Asphalt Jungle as a western. Ladd is great, and Borgnine turns in one of his best performances. And Katy Jurado is always a pleasure to watch. The direction by Delmer Daves is terrific. In fact, the only thing keeping the film from being not as good as it should be is the score – there is no score, it’s all tracked with library music and it just hurts the film repeatedly. The German DVD presents the film letterboxed but not enhanced for widescreen TVs. The color is okay, but the source material has clearly seen better days. I then watched the second motion picture on DVD, which was entitled The Man Who Watched Trains Go By. What a strange and interesting and fun to watch film. It’s from a novel by Georges Simenon, and stars Claude Rains, Marius Goring, Herbert Lom, and an impossibly young teenage Anouk Aimee, herein billed as Aimee Anouk. It runs a scant seventy-seven minutes and tells its story quickly and efficiently. Mr. Rains, for me, is one the greatest screen character actors ever. He could read the telephone book and I’d be mesmerized. His role here is a wonderful one and he’s just great in it. The score by Benjamin Frankel is terrific and the Technicolor photography of the great Otto Heller is fantastic. The transfer could be sharper, but the color – the color is perfection and looks just like what IB Technicolor looked like. Now, this is a release from a small British company – my guess is they just put up the source print and did the transfer. So how come we get a perfect color image, and when Warners does Quo Vadis, a film made almost at the same time, we get an ugly brown mess, and then have to listen to the Warners’ apologists give every excuse under the sun why the transfer looks like that. It looks like that because there’s a fool doing the telecine work – turn a few bloody knobs and add some blue to the image, that’s all it takes. Of course, you have to have someone who actually knows what the color is supposed to be and no one at Warners does and that includes the everyone from the telecine operator to the executive in charge of home video. If you happen to have a chance to see The Man Who Watched Trains Go By I recommend you do – it’s really good.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because this section of the notes is feeling a little black-and-white to me. We need Living Color, baby.

Today, I shall be doing more Nudie Musical work, doing Bacharach benefit work, setting up some rehearsal time for next week, and doing errands. Hopefully, it will be a calm day and hopefully I’ll have a little time to relax and smell the coffee or the roses or the rice pudding.

Tomorrow, I have no plans at all and I’m going to try to keep it that way, since the weekend is fairly busy. I’m sure I’ll have things to do, but I’ll try and keep them to a minimum.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do the long jog, write, drive about in my motor car whilst doing errands and whatnot, and I must eat something amusingly amusing. Today’s topic of discussion: It was so much fun doing Frank Loesser songs the other day, so today let’s do favorite Irving Berlin songs. I’m sure we’ve done them but not for years. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, and said posting will, of course, be brought to you in Living Color.

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