Thursday, March 21, 2013

What? How? Geez!

 Every two weeks or so, I scroll through the Turner Classic Movie channel on DISH and pick out old movies I have either loved or always wanted to see and I record them during the early morning hours when other things I watch regularly are NOT on the schedule. 

Consequently, I've had the fun of watching Bel Ami (ooh, Robert Pattinson is delicious!), North by Northwest (who doesn't love Cary Grant?),  and the Old Maid (no actress is better than Bette Davis) just this past week. 

Last week Finian's Rainbow showed up and I decided to record it because I didn't believe I'd ever seen it.  And I was right.  This was a 1968 version and unbelievably,  Francis Ford Coppola was director.  Which astounded me.  I had no idea that he had ever directed a musical like this.  It starred Fred Astaire as Finian and Petula Clark as the daughter.  This was Fred's last film screen musical and he was 69 years old. 

Finian's Rainbow was first on Broadway in 1947, according to Google info.  The movie is clearly a product of it's time -- the cooperative in Rainbow Valley is trying to produce a lucrative tobacco plant that is minty -- but problems arise when it won't light and then won't smoke.  Now-a-days smokeless tobacco would be all the thing. 

The racial satire in the film clearly depicts the attitudes of the 1960's but the scene in the movie where the black botanist tries to be a subservient butler to the very bigoted white Mississippi senator had me rolling on the floor.  I have not laughed so hard in a long, long time -- that scene is certainly worth the time I invested in the movie though I have to admit I did fast forward through long parts of the story that involved dancing around the glen trying to find Finian's pot of gold.  

Here's the strange thing, though -- and I have no idea how it happened.  I knew the music and lyrics to nearly every song in the show.  I don't remember ever hearing the songs played on the radio or having sung them in my youth.  I did not play them on the piano, own the record, and this wasn't the type of music my mother enjoyed and played by ear.  Clearly at some point in the 1950's or early 1960's I did hear all these songs -- and hear them often enough that I memorized them.  I have utterly no recollection of anything about this musical at all.  The plot was brand new to me -- I have NOT seen the movie or the stage play.  But I sure can sing a medley of tunes from the show. 

I know How are Things in Glocca Mora, Look to the Rainbow, Old Devil Moon, If This Isn't Love, and On That Great Gettin' Up Day -- word for word and note for note. How in the world was this possible? 

I wonder what else I might know and have no idea about?  Maybe I'm a science genius or have hidden artistic ability and just haven't discovered my talents yet.  Or maybe -- I have some hidden savant characteristics that lie undiscovered.  I'd better find them fast though, before I get too old to remember I've got them.

Look, look, look to the rainbow -- follow it over the hill and stream . .

1 comment:

VirginiaMom said...

Delurking to say that my high school used "Finnian's Rainbow" as our class play in the spring of 1963. I'd ALMOST forgotten. Thanks for reminding me.