Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Music of Spring

Started a cloudy, windy morning with Whole Grain Carrot Pancakes and the soundtrack from the 1967 version of Finian's Rainbow. Fred Astaire (his last appearance in a movie musical) is the title character and Petula Clark is his daughter Sharon. They've just arrived from Ireland with a pot of gold that he's hoping to bury, thinking it'll grow like the wealth in Fort Knox. Tommy Steele is the leprechaun who is turning human; Keenan Wynn is the bigoted senator. I don't know if the soundtrack is available in a digital format; I do know the movie is on DVD (I have it).

I went to Dad's briefly to see him before he goes into surgery tomorrow. He's still croaking and not doing too well. He and Jodie were relaxing downstairs. They were the only ones home. I thought Rose was coming over; she seemed to indicate that on the phone last night and this morning. No, she'd apparently been around on Thursday and Friday with Khai. At any rate, I got to wish Dad luck. He'll be in surgery for nine hours tomorrow afternoon and evening. Jodie said she'd call me when he got out.

Put on my The Music of Spring LP collection when I got home. This is pretty much a springtime variation on the Columbia Christmas collections like The Great Songs of Christmas. Although a few songs, like "Spring In Manhattan," mention the season, most make vague references like "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" or don't have anything to do with the season at all and were probably just grabbed from Columbia's vaults like the title song from Never On Sunday. There's some things I like about it, though, including a nice Rosemary Clooney version of "I Could Have Danced All Night."

The Acme was a mess for most of the afternoon. Given the gloomy, cold weather, I can't figure out why for the life of me. I guess a lot of people really wanted those sales. Either that, or there were still a ton of St. Patrick's Day parties going on. Thank goodness my relief was right on time. I bought milk (I needed to break a five to do the laundry tomorrow) and headed home.

Had leftovers and put on more music when I got in. Finian's Rainbow was not the first time Tommy Steele played a bemused Irishman who finds himself among a lot of crazy Americans. In The Happiest Millionaire, Steele's a jaunty Irish fellow just off the boat who is hired by the Biddle family of Philadelphia as a butler. Dad (Fred MacMurray) holds Bible classes, teaches boxing, and keeps alligators as pets. His daughter Cordelia (Leslie Ann Warren) starts out as a tomboy who'd rather knock out her suitors than date them. Cordy goes to boarding school, where she meets a young man (John Davidson) from a prestigious New York family and falls for him. Meanwhile, Mr. Biddle deals with his alligators getting frozen and his daughter's impending wedding.

I remember this movie being cute but underwhelming when it would turn up from time to time on the Disney Channel during my childhood. The soundtrack album bears this out. Most of the songs are really just ho-hum, including Cordy and her beau's big ballad "Are We Dancing?" My favorite numbers are "Valentine Candy" as a confused Cordy tries to figure out exactly what she wants out of a romantic relationship, the hilarious "There Are Those" for the two snobbish grandmothers from different social standings, and Steele's opening number on opportunity beckoning, "Fortuosity." I don't think the soundtrack is available digitally, but the movie is on DVD if you're interested in the cast or remember it from cable showings.

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