Saturday, December 10, 2011

SOMETHING" FANTASTIK", SOMETHING FLOP


REMEMBER "The Yearling"? Not the novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Pulitzer Prize, 1939).Not the M-G-M motion picture which starred Gregory Peck, Jane Wyman and, in an Oscar-winning performance, Claude Jarman Jr., 1946).But the Broadway musical version (that lasted two days and three performances, back in 1965). It opened on this fateful day at the Alvin Theatre where the musical "Annie" played so many years in te same venue. The show was produced by Lorre Notto, the famed producer of the Off-Broadway champion "The Fantastiks" with all of its many hit songs. This show had a score by Michael Leonard who also wrote the tunes to "How To Be A Jewish Mother" which ran only twenty one performances in 1967. Loree Notto after this disaster vowed that he would never again produce a Broadway show and he didn't.. This composer was reportedly the uncredited composer of songs that were associated with Duke Ellington's melodies in "Pousee Cafe" Only One song from the score became famous and that was Barbara Streisand's standard "Why Did I Choose You? With a Broadway track record like that, it's no wonder that Mr. Leonard is referred to as "one of the entertainment world's best kept secrets in advertisements for a revue of his songs. The young star of this fiasco was Jody Foster later to become a presidential press secretary for Ronald Reagan. I find it amusing that this composer wrote a score for "How To Be A Jewish Mother" and I am writing a TV series about a Jewish Mother who becomes the "First Mother" of the United States when her vice president son suddenly becomes the next president after the elected president dies of a heart attack. John Nugent and I have now constructed seven episodes and I've already done a re-write of the first three punching them up and maker them any funnier than they were. My training of five years with Danny Simon back in the 1980's is really paying off this time. Christmas is fast approaching and John and I really cleaned up the kitchen so that we can do some baking of cookies and bunt cake. We put light all over the outside and as the great old Meredeth Wilson song goes "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas." That great old Christmas standard actually comes from an obscure Broadway Musical called "Here's Love" even though it's based on the classic Macy's story "Miracle on 43rd Street" Also enjoying Christmas this year with two cats: our beloved Joshua: a rag doll Siamese mix and Dusty an older tabby cat. Boy are these guys characters in every sense of the word. I was amused at reading the story of the guy who faked his mother's funeral so that he could get some paid bereavement time off from work. He even put the notice in the paper where it was read by guess who-- that's right his very alive mother and her friends who all went down to the newspaper office to show off that mom was very much alive. As Mark Twain used to say "I think God created man because he was disappointed in the monkey!" So now this guy faces criminal charges, a lost job and the consternation of his mother all in one Christmas. I don't know about you man is the amusing guy of all creation.

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