Friday, July 11, 2008
A KING WAS BORN TODAY!
In 1915, A King was born on this date. He was of course, the late great Yul Brynner. You of course was the ultimate King in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King And I"--notably with Gertrude Lawrence on the Broadway stage and with Deborah Kerr (whose voice was supplied by Marni Nixon) for the 20th Century Fox Cinemascope move in the late 1950's. It was in this role, that Yul Brynner won the Academy Award. Believe it or, under the category-- "What the hell were they thinking of?"-- the great actor actually appeared in a 1970's sit-com non-musical version of the King and I called "Anna and The King". Yul was also involved in a really misguided Broadway musical. It ranks as the greatest musical flop in Broadway history. The composer was Mitch Leigh-- yes, the same composer who gave us "Man of La Mancha" . The name of the show was called "Home, Sweet Homer"-- yes, a musical version of The Odyssey. Mr. Brynner had been persuaded to join the production in Los Angeles and other non-Broadway cities with the promise that the show would go to the Great White Way. The producers wanted to mercifully close the poor thing in Los Angeles, but an angry Brynner threatened to sue "every body's brains out" if the show did not play Broadway. Under the heading "be careful of what you ask for-- and the language in which you ask for it" the show did play Broadway-- for exactly one performance. Now other shows have played only one night-- this show played one Sunday matinee and closed the same afternoon. No other Broadway musical in history has open and closed in New York on a single Sunday afternoon. They were dismantling the set before the sun set because the performance was scheduled for 2pm. The producers fulfilled their obligation (it played on Broadway, folks!) and an angry Yul Brynner vowed he would never do another show by Mitch Leigh in his life! Today on this day in 1937 we lost George Gershwin. He died tragically at age thirty-eight of a brain tumor. And if that were not enough, it was on this date in 1989 that we lost Sir Lawrence Olivier. He was eighty-two years old. He was married to Vivian Leigh. And lastly, today we lost the great character actor Barnard Hughes. Oh by the way Happy Birthday, Gene Wilder. My sister leaves for her Alaska cruise this Sunday-- I hope she has a wonderful time. The job search goes on, but I took a break on Wednesday and went to Disneyland. My dear friend Bill Lewis passed both John Nugent and I in saving us almost $200 in park admissions. All we had to pay for was parking-- now $12 and lunch. We ate at the Carnation Cafe on Main Street and hate the best meat loaf on the planet-- wow was that good-- served on a bed of french bread and mashed potatoes with fresh veggies. Bill is now playing one of the pirates on the old Tom Sawyer's Island now called "Pirate's Lair" as one of "The Bootstrappers". --singing pirates! A great easy gig if I ever saw one. Well, the search for work goes on! Pray for me!