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October 21, 2018:

WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR?

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish enjoying more music from British composers on Lyrita CDs.  I find this music soothes the savage BK.  I believe I’ve gone through about forty Lyrita CDs this past week – thank goodness I bought all this stuff when it came out in the early 1990s.  Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end. Mind you, the 1990s was not exactly a high water mark, decade-wise, but it was still a time when you could go to a record store like Tower and, for me, Tower Classical across the street – either the main Sunset store or the Oaks of Sherman store – and you could see end racks of new releases, you could spend pleasurable hours rifling through the CD bins and, in the case of the Sherman Oaks Tower Classical, you could shoot the breeze with a young man named Bill Stromberg.  Bill loved Bay Cities and I’d always bring him our latest CDs.  Of course, Bill would go on to become quite an excellent conductor of classic film music scores and does that to this day. I don’t ever seem to get over to Amoeba – I don’t love it there, but they do have a classical section and I do enjoy looking through it, but their selection is nowhere near what Tower’s was. Yes, those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end – and yet end they did, exactly as I predicted they would way back in 2001.  But why am I waxing nostalgic in the waning hours of the evening?  In fact, these here notes should have been up three entire minutes ago, but noooooo, I had to go wax in the waning hours of the evening.

Yesterday was kind of a Saturday, mostly because it was Saturday.  I was up at eight-thirty in the morning after only five hours of sleep, then she of the Evil Eye arrived, I answered e-mails, and then moseyed on over to Jerry’s Deli for my light breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and fruit, not necessarily in that order.  In fact, the exact order would be eggs, toast, bacon, and fruit.  And Diet Coke to jolt my body awake.  I was there quite some time, until it was time to mosey on over to the theater for our first Saturday rehearsal. Unfortunately, we had to be in their upstairs space because they’re having a fund-raising poker tournament today and had to get everything set up for that.  Unfortunately, the upstairs space is a bit small for our needs, and on top of that we were missing about four people.  But I did run the opening number with the staging, and also the party song and the finally.  What is the finally you may be wondering – it’s how I pronounced Finale because for me I’m always grateful when I know the finale is at hand and I always go, “Finally.” After that, we ran most of the musical numbers, just for singing.  I’m surprised that a few people are still struggling with lyrics two weeks into rehearsals, but the surprise is that everyone has had the tracks, sheet music, and plunk tracks for weeks before we began.  I’ve been getting very, how shall I put it, assertive about it, so hopefully that will motivate everyone to get this stuff down.  In fact, everyone is supposed to be off book.

We were supposed to go until five, but I let everyone go at three-thirty, at which point I moseyed on downtown to pick something up.  The traffic was a little nutty, but I got there, picked up what I had to pick up, then endured the traffic coming back to the Valley. I stopped at the mail place and picked up a couple of packages, got a Subway Club for my evening thing, came home, ate it all up, had a bit of toasted coconut almond chip ice cream, and then sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a new Blu and Ray of a supremely wacky and weird and outre motion picture entitled Who Killed Teddy Bear, starring Mr. Sal Mineo, Miss Juliet Prowse, Miss Elaine Stritch, and as Detective Dave Madden, Jan Murray.  This film was made in 1965 and features Mr. Mineo in his underpants, one of the most revealing swimming trunk outfits ever seen on screen, and the fetishistic photography of Mr. Mineo makes you wonder what the filmmakers were really about.  Miss Stritch has a fine role as a not so thinly veiled Lesbian, Miss Prowse is, I think, a DJ in a Discotheque, who plays old 78s of rock music written in 1965 – a little anachronistic but maybe they thought nobody was paying attention.  Mr. Mineo has a sister who fell down the stairs when she was a little girl because Mr. Mineo was, I believe, having sex with his mother.  So, the sister is challenged and wonders who killed teddy bear for reasons that are never fully explained.  Mr. Mineo fantasizes about Miss Prowse and makes obscene phone calls to her – she doesn’t realize it’s the same person she works alongside at the Discotheque (which always seems to have the same three couples in attendance, dancing away).  She and Mr. Mineo dance the Frug together, and then he cannot hide his desires any longer and decides he needs to make love to her fully clothed.  This of course is very traumatic.

But wait, what about Jan Murray as Detective Dave Madden?  Well, he’s on the case, our Jan is.  He mostly works from his small apartment, in which he lives with his cute ten-year-old daughter.  He’s an interesting dad.  He has copies of sex books, pervert books, Teen Nudist, and all manner of other lurid things laying around the apartment, because he studies deviant behavior. These things are in full sight. While she lays in bed trying to sleep, he plays tape recordings of interviews he’s done in which all manner of perversions are discussed.  He plays these quite loud and the ten-year-old daughter listens from her room.

Certain scenes have to be seen to be believed, the swimming pool scene amongst them. It is a no-budget independent film – I’m sure it played somewhere in 1965 but I don’t know a single person who saw it back then.  I’m sure it was shown on TV but I’m equally sure it would have been shorn of several shots and scenes.  The title song is, of course, great, and I recorded it on the Jeepers Creepers album. But the best thing about the film are the shots of 1965 Times Square – a Times Square that simply does not exist anymore.  Playing were Any Wednesday, What Makes Sammy Run, Hello, Dolly, Fiddler on the Roof and lots of other interesting shows.  It’s always amazing to see Broadway lined with one movie theater after another, huge, glorious movie places not a ONE of which survives, which is rather criminal, if you ask me.  The transfer is the same as the Netwerk DVD, but has more detail – but lots of scratches and blemishes galore.  If you like wicky-wacky movies, you will find no wickier-wackier film than Who Killed Teddy Bear.

Well, that went on for too long, didn’t it?  After that, I listened to music, took a hot shower, and relaxed.

Today, I’m going to see a musical comedy out in no man’s land, to see our very own Sandy Bainum and our very own Jenna Lea Rosen strut their stuff in 42nd Street. I’m attending with Sami’s mom and we’ll eat lunch before the show.  She’s gathering me up at eleven so we’ll be able to have a leisurely luncheon at noon or thereabouts.  After that, I’ll come home and relax.

Tomorrow, we have a music rehearsal for the revue I’m directing – I have done no planning for this so I do have to do that tonight – just figuring out who’s singing what.  Then after that we have a Carol Christmas rehearsal.  We’ll have everyone but the one gal we still have to find – we have someone who’s interested and we hope the schedule will work for her.  So, we’ll do a rough run-through of the show, after blocking in the fellow who’s been gone for ten days.  It’s really not that much stuff – I got most of his stuff blocked before he left.  After the run, I’ll work scenes in whatever time is left.  Tuesday is another music rehearsal, and then we have that night off. Then starting on Wednesday we go straight through to the following Tuesday.  And that week is, of course, a Kritzerland week and Halloween.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, see a musical comedy somewhere, I must eat, and I must relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s free-for-all day, the day in which you dear readers get to make with the topics and we all get to post about them.  So, let’s have loads of lovely topics and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as I ponder the age old question: Who killed teddy bear?

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