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May 2, 2020:

SASSY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, feeling sassy.  Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, I am sitting here like so much fish, feeling sassy. Why is that, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you why, for why should I keep such things as why from you dear readers?  I am feeling sassy because I am listening to the wonderful song stylings of “Sassy” and “The Divine One” – the one and only Sarah Vaughan.  Her voice was completely unique, she was a superb song stylist, she worked with great arrangers, and always did interesting albums, like the one that’s playing now – Sarah Vaughan does Henry Mancini.  She also has a great Michel Legrand album with Michel himself arranging and conducting.  She’s a perfect illustration that many years ago we had so many distinctive singers, each voice unique.  I find that these days, most Broadway singers, both male and female, all come from the same exact school of phrasing and vocal quality, along with the occasional vocal pyrotechnics.  I think I was lucky enough to work with the last generation of musical theater folks who had unique voices.  I literally cannot tell many of the new folks apart and that goes especially for the fellas. And of course, all the female pop singers tend to have that breathy, whispery, and annoyingly stylized way of doing whatever it is they’re doing.  But Sassy?  Divine indeed.  As was Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen MacRae and Joanie Sommers and Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland and daughter Liza and Eydie Gorme and so many others.  In any case, that is why I’m feeling sassy right now.  If you don’t know the song stylings of Sassy, check her out.

Yesterday wasn’t a bad day at all.  I got seven-and-a-half hours of sleep, got up, got dressed, and moseyed on over to the bank to do some banking.  There was only one person ahead of me and I was in and out very quickly.  I then went to the mail place and picked up a little package, then went to McDonald’s for food.  I didn’t feel like spending twenty bucks or more to Door Dash.  As with the bank, there was only one person ahead of me – in fact, we were the only two people in the jernt.  I was in and out in four minutes.  I came home and ate it all up – it was fine – neither great nor awful.

I did some work on the computer, noodled at the piano, did more work on the computer.  Then it was going over technical details for tomorrow’s show and that took some time, oh, yes, that took some time.  After that, I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched the new Blu and Ray of Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, a much-publicized item, one of the first in a series of “special” Paramount Presents discs.  The original Blu-ray seemed very sharp but had certain night scenes tinted completely green and I really hated it.  I owned five IB Technicolor prints of the film and those scenes were never washed in green – there was some green, but the predominant color was blue.  But it was what it was, and most were happy with it.  Last week we began hearing reports that this new disc had been DNR’d to death, was a smeary mess, much brighter than the 2012 version, with a totally different color scheme and no detail. Of course, the pile on was from people who didn’t actually have the disc – no, they were looking at ill-taken screen caps.  One fellow said one of the most damning things about the color was the fact that the Grace Kelly drives is silver in the old transfer. Well, the car is BLUE, not silver and that was another problem in the older transfer.  Of course, you say that, and people don’t believe you, but some fellow had an IB Tech print and posted some shots from it – blue car.  Oops.  And then they never apologize or bring it up again.  They just move on to something else.  Then Robert Harris chimed in and was not complimentary to the new disc, doubted it was a new transfer, said it was too bright, and thought the green bits were completely gone, which, of course, shouldn’t be – not completely gone.  He also said there’d been some grain management – others reported NO grain at all – and that things were perhaps too smooth.

So, I first looked at the 2012 disc – pretty sharp, but oh that green and the wrong shade of yellow on the main titles.  Then I watched the film in its entirety on the new Blu.  And sadly, it is a bit of a botch.  Is there no detail?  Of course, there’s detail.  Is it too smooth?  Yes. Mr. Harris calls it velvety.  Is it a “smeary” mess? Of course not.  Is it sharp enough?  Nope.  Is it too bright?  Yep. In this day and age there’s really no excuse for that at all and because of it nothing pops as it should and let me tell you this film should pop gloriously.  Every frame of it is designed to do that.  So, what about the color?  For me, definitely an improvement from the last disc.  Main title color is right, the green scenes are blue again, with one particular shot having the right amount of green in it, while others lacked the green highlights.  If the brightness hadn’t been boosted so much, the colors would definitely pop.  In the end, one simply cannot recommend such a disc, especially when you factor in that they left off the original mono track and many of the extras from the previous disc.  Hard to know what they were thinking over there.

After that, I did a quick run to Gelson’s for just a few items – tuna, bagels, ketchup, Drumsticks ice cream cones – stuff like that, so I won’t have to do Door Dash for the entire weekend and maybe even Monday.  Once back, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled Day of the Dolphin, a Mike Nichols film, written by Buck Henry, and starring George C. Scott and other fine actors.  I didn’t see it when it came out, and, in fact, I don’t think I saw it until the DVD came out.  Let’s check. Yes, that was back in 2003.  As I wrote back then, I was quite taken with the film and I’m still quite taken with it and am baffled by its failure.  It’s well directed, well-acted, well written, has beautiful photography, and a great score.  They tried to sell it as an action film, which doomed it, since it’s hardly that.  The second half is a thriller of sorts, but it all hangs together, and the two dolphins are absolutely amazing. I’m tempted to get the Blu-ray because the DVD is not so hot.

After that, I had a Drumstick and listened to Sassy, who’s now singing Michel Legrand.

Today, I think I’ll get up when I get up, and then we’ll do all our final preparations for the big show tomorrow.  I’ll put the links in tomorrow’s notes.  But I’m hoping to see ALL dear readers there – we want to fill the jernt.  And if one site isn’t working for you the other will, which is why we’re doing it this way.  Otherwise, I’ll eat, hopefully pick up packages, and eventually relax and watch and listen.

Tomorrow is the big show day, so we’ll do whatever last-minute stuff we need to and then at five Pacific Daylight Time and eight Eastern Daylight Time we do the show.  I’m sure afterwards some of us will go for a bite to eat – oh, wait, we can’t.  We’re all very excited, nervous, but I’m so glad we’re doing this.  Then next week I can relax and catch up with other stuff and pray for a major miracle.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do the final preparations for the big show, eat, hopefully pick up packages, watch, and listen.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Mr. George C. Scott and Mr. Cary Grant?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, as I continue feeling sassy listening to Sassy.

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