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August 4, 2018:

THE VERY NECESSARY HAIRCUT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I must write these here notes in a hurry because our stumble-through is at noon o’clock and Sami comes at eleven for her second rehearsal, and therefore I must be up by nine-thirty at the latest so I can get ready and get my voice in some kind of shape to cover for Guy Haines, who cannot attend the stumble-through.  Johnny Mathis is currently singing my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein song, Love, Look Away with a chart by Nelson Riddle.  It’s very nice. 

I was up at nine-thirty after about seven hours of sleep.  I answered e-mails, showered, and then left for the Monica of Santa at ten-fifteen for the eleven o’clock breakfast/lunch aka blunch with Nick Redman and his friend from the UK.  Up until I transitioned to the 405 freeway going south the traffic was fine. Then it was insane most of the way to my off ramp.  Once off the freeway it was pretty easy going to Fromin’s Deli, a deli I’d never been to before.  I arrived ten minutes ahead of time.  I got us a table and then Nick and friend arrived (can’t remember her name, unfortunately).  I hadn’t seen Nick in way too long, so we had fun catching up and I gave him a big bag o’ Kritzerland stuff and he gave me a big box o’ Twilight Time stuff.  We were there two hours and it was a wonderful two hours at that.  I had a sky-high extra lean pastrami with cole slaw and Russian dressing.  But like most LA delis that ultimately don’t please me, despite the extra lean it showed up with too much fat for me.  When you order extra lean at Langer’s there is not an IOTA of fat anywhere.  It wasn’t terrible, but fat in pastrami makes me want to vomit on the ground.  I pulled those bits out and the Russian dressing and cole slaw were actually pretty good.  But this was all about the company and conversation.

After that, I drove right back to the San Fernando Valley and attempted to do my banking before the haircut.  So I went to the nearby branch of my bank, which, as always, was ridiculous.  There were lines at all five ATMs five deep – I mean are these people morons?  And I could see the line in the bank was right to the front door and not only that, there wasn’t a single parking place in that lot that must hold over 100 cars. I was done.  I came home, had my haircut, which I desperately needed, and then I went and picked up no packages and went to my actual branch where there was one person ahead of me in line.  I was in and out in two minutes.  Dear nearby branch: learn from your betters, although it’s really the people who need to learn, but for some reason idiocy prevails.

Once back home, I listened to a little music whilst catching up on stuff, then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a new Twilight Time Blu and Ray entitled My Sister Eileen, the 1955 version starring Betty Garrett and Janet Leigh, along with Robert Fosse and Tommy Rall.  It’s directed by Richard Quine with a screenplay by Quine and someone named Blake Edwards.  It should be a better script, frankly, but the movie has so many charms it’s easy to overlook that little thing.  My Sister Eileen has so many interesting six degrees – first the stories, then the play, then the film of the play starring Rosalind Russell, then the musical of the film and play, Wonderful Town, with a score by Leonard Bernstein and Comden and Green, which also starred Rosalind Russell – and that version was also a live TV spectacular.  Keeping up? Then we have the 1955 film under review – that one has a completely different score by Jule Styne and Leo Robin. Styne would, just a year later, write Bells Are Ringing with Comden and Green.  Then there would be the CBS TV series starring Elaine Stritch.  The film was choreographed by its co-star, Robert Fosse (that’s how he’s billed).  And you can really see his style being born almost full blown, first in the incredible challenge dance with Tommy Rall, which is breathtaking, and then the amazing choreography for the four leads in Give Me a Band and My Baby, certainly the best of the film songs.  It’s all very enjoyable.  It does have a fairly ordinary performance from Jack Lemmon, who could do no wrong back then, but the role is just written so blandly he couldn’t do anything with it. Quine’s direction is terrific and Janet Leigh is so adorable and a terrific singer/dancer in this film.  The transfer is gloriously glorious, with absolutely perfect color and contrast and it sounds great in stereo.  A fantastic disc and highly recommended by me.

I then watched the first twenty minutes of Let’s Make Love starring Miss Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand, along with lots of fun guest stars and supporting players. I’m thinking I like the film a bit better than most.  The script is pretty lame, and Mr. Cukor was already past his expiry date – those are the two biggest problems – and Miss Monroe ranges from magical to barely there. From what I’ve seen of the transfer so far, it won’t win any awards, as the color’s a bit on the brown side, but it’s certainly fine.  Looking forward to finishing it.

I also watched thirty minutes of Take a Girl Like You, one of the few films starring Hayley Mills that I never saw.  In fact, I never even heard of it, and if it played in the US it must have been for about a minute.  I was living in New York when it was released and was seeing pretty much everything, so this one must have had no press at all.  Hayley is at her most adorable here, but unfortunately so far the character played by Oliver Reed is so disgustingly MALE and slimy and his insistent behavior with Hayley’s virginal character would have the Me, Too movement hurling bricks at him.  But we’ll see where it’s going.  Thus far the transfer from Sony is great.

I then listened to music, talked to Elizabeth Sherman, and listened to more music.

Today, I’ll be up early, get ready, Sami will rehearse her numbers, including our duet, and then we do our stumble-through at noon o’clock.  I’m sure some of us will have a bite to eat after – perhaps even at Barone’s. I’ll hopefully pick up packages, do a bit more banking, and then I must relax for the rest of the day and evening, listening to music and watching motion pictures.

Tomorrow I’ll relax until it’s time to mosey on over to The Federal for sound check, and then we do our ninetieth show.  I look at that number and I must marvel that we’ve achieved this rather incredible feat and it is incredible.  I don’t think at this point it’s much of a secret that this will be our final show at The Federal.  We’ve been there month in and month out for almost six-and-a-half years now, a good run. In September we’ll be at our new home for the remainder of our shows – Kritzerland Upstairs at Vitello’s.  I’ll explain the why of all this next week. Next week is very busy, as I want to get the September show planned and ready – I think we only need one more person to complete our cast.  And the good news is I know what all the shows are through the end of the year. Plus there are the usual meetings and meals.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, get up early, rehearse with Sami, do a stumble-through, bank, eat, hopefully pick up packages, and eat.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Janet Leigh, Robert Fosse, and Miss Hayley Mills.  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have the very necessary haircut.

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