Sunday, April 15, 2018

Come Follow the Band

Started off a gloomy, cold morning with Buttermilk Whole Wheat Pancakes and a half of a grapefruit. Listened to the soundtrack album for Billy Rose's Jumbo while I ate. The Greatest Showman is hardly the first musical with a circus setting. Jumbo was a Rodgers and Hart show in 1935 that was the last one to play the massive New York Hippodrome theater. The 1962 film used the original idea of warring circuses, most of the original score, and Jimmy Durante. Durante is Pop Warner, whose circus is in dire financial straights due to his gambling habits. He can't even afford to marry his fiancee (Martha Raye). His daughter Kitty (Doris Day) brings in Sam, a new act (Stephan Boyd) and falls for him, but it turns out he's the son of a rival owner. The Warners are forced out...but Sam comes back to them in the end.

This apparently wasn't a hit in either the Broadway or the film version. It would seem that audiences do occasionally want some plot with their circus acts. Too bad, because both film and stage shows have some of Rodgers and Hart's best music. Hits from the Hippodrome show included "My Romance," "Over and Over Again," "Little Girl Blue" and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"; the film version added "This Can't Be Love" and "Why Can't I?" for Day. The movie's on the Warner Archives if you're interested; the soundtrack makes for a pleasant listen if you're a fan of Day or Rodgers and Hart.

Headed straight to work as soon as the record ended. It was cold and very windy at that point...but the rain was only a light mist. We weren't too busy when I got in. I was able to clean the bathrooms, do the inside trash, shelve cold items, and gather baskets. The trouble started after my break, when we suddenly had lines out the aisles. Everyone must have heard it's supposed to pour tomorrow. I'd start one thing, only to be asked to do five other things. I got so fed up, I eventually spent the last hour and a half outside gathering carts, wind be damned.

Grabbed The Last Jedi and a drink on the way out. I thought Jodie said she and Dad were going to get it for me for my birthday, but I guess they forgot. As it turned out, not only did I get the last DVD copy the Acme had, but with my employee discount, it was only a dollar more than Amazon - and that was with no need to buy something extra to get free shipping. The drink was a Bai Antioxidant Coconut Lime. Yum! I don't care what vitamins and mineral whatsit it has. It really tasted like a smooth coconut-lime drink, not at all harsh like I was expecting. I'll have to try that brand more often when it's on sale.

Was blown home by that raging wind and spent the rest of the afternoon inside, writing and keeping warm. Han - Prince Henry - finally confronts the cloaked figure, the specter of Palpatine's magic. He gains enough confidence from Leia and Luke's encouragement to punch him in the cloak. When the cloak drops empty to the ground, they appear in the Grand Hall at Solo Castle, Henry's family's ancestral home. Henry now wears a crown and the repaired version of the clothes Leia and Obi-Wan found him in. He thanks Luke and Leia for helping him to expel Palpatine's influence and says he can handle the remaining demons. Leia wants to stay, but Luke pulls her away. They have to wake up sometime...

Broke for burgers, home fries, and cabbage around quarter after 6 while listening to Olivia Newton-John. Played some Wii Sports after I ate. While I did so well in boxing, I KOed three guys in one match and a fourth in two, I'm still not so good at dodging on the mini-game. (The tilt of the house probably doesn't help.) I'm doing much, much better with hitting balls in tennis - got 30 and a silver medal - and with Target Practice. I'm still need to work on controlling my swing, though.

Moved on to Lego Star Wars after a good work-out. The only round left with more than one piece I hadn't found yet was "Hoth Attack" in The Empire Strikes Back. Two were in really hidden spots I missed the first time. The others were more complicated. I had to knock down ten of the smaller AT walkers to get the pieces. This wasn't so bad with the first piece...but with the second piece, the walkers kept bunching together, making them harder to knock down without blowing them up first. At any rate, I'm now done with that round and Empire in general.

Finished the night with the other major circus stage musical, Barnum, on YouTube. As you can guess from the title, this one does detail the life of P.T Barnum, the famous impresario who was also covered in Greatest Showman. Jim Dale starred in the original 1980 Broadway cast, with Glenn Close as his Charity. Michael Crawford was an even more charismatic "Prince of Humbug" on the West End. I vaguely remember seeing Crawford on a TV musical as a child; this may have well been it. I like that we see a little more of Barnum's actual life here, including more of his relationship with Charity and his later career in politics. Love the singer doing "Black and White" and General Tom Thumb's "Bigger Isn't  Better." Other popular Cy Coleman songs from this show include "Come Follow the Band" and the finale "Join the Circus."

Barnum - Michael Crawford stage version

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