Saturday Odds & Sods: The Real Me

Image from The Big Combo shot by John Alton.

It’s been a long week. My insomnia is still plaguing me, but it looks as if the COVID plague is in abeyance. The city of New Orleans is lifting some mitigation measures. I hope it’s not premature.

This week’s theme song was written by Pete Townshend for The Who’s 1973 concept album Quadrophenia. I saw the opening show of the US tour. It was a clusterfuck because Keith Moon passed out and was replaced by a drummer in the audience. Oh well, what the hell.

We have three versions of The Real Me for your listening pleasure: the studio original, The Who live in 1999, and Pearl Jam.

I don’t know about you but I’m suddenly out of my brain on the train.

Why should I care? Why should I care?

I seem to have recovered brain functionality so let’s jump to the break before I lose it again.

That deleted jump was really real as are these songs:

We begin our second act in earnest with two takes on Carnival 2022 by the same intrepid New Orleans writer.

Carnival Corner: My friend Katy Reckdahl wrote a marvelous piece for the NYT about the return of Carnival after a year on the sidelines because of COVID.

I have a confession to make: I’ve never heard of Krewe du Poux, but they borrowed their name from Krewe du Vieux so they must be good. It’s what I do; I only steal from the best.

Katy is a busy freelancer. She also wrote a swell piece for the WaPo about the Baby Dolls walking group. It’s an odd but venerable Carnival tradition.

The last word of the segment goes to the Dixie Cups.

The Editor & The Murderer: Since our featured image comes from the film noir classic The Big Combo, a crime story is in order. It’s an excerpt from Scoundrel by Sarah Weinman. Weinman tells the story of Sophie Wilkins who was an editor at Alfred Knopf in the 1960’s.

Wilkins pitched a book by convicted murderer Edgar Smith whose skill as a writer had been praised by William Fucking Buckley. Unfortunately for Sophie, she fell in love with Smith. Pro tip: falling in love with an inmate never ends well.

Let’s play out the segment with some artful noise:

Edgar Smith obviously got too close to the edit…

Presidential Movies: Another Saturday Odds & Sods, another Vulture list. Tim Grierson and Will Leitch take a look at movies about presidents. I already had a movie list for this week, so I’ll do a presidential one next week. Get thee to Vulture for the details.

The last word of our second act goes to Randy Newman.

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: This image comes from a site that has an actors who have played presidents quiz. Check it out it’s fun.

My score was 18 of 20. I expected a perfect score. I’ll still post this Badfinger tune:

Born On This Day: Our March 5th babies are lined up and ready to roll: Former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg, actor Rex Harrison, writer Frank Norris, and writer-director Pier Paolo Pasolini.

This was a tough one. The people who died on March 5th were more interesting. In case you’re wondering, I made that comment about the dead so I could extend the Gary Brooker tribute.

The Movie List: This week, one of the great cinematographers. John Alton’s career ran from 1933-1966. He’s best known for moody film noirs, which is why I’m a fan.

There are two color movies on the list at #1 and #10. How could I pass on Elmer Gantry? And Battle Circus is one of most Bogie’s most underrated movies. I wrote about it in a pandemic potpourri post.

My Top Ten Favorite John Alton Movies

  1.    Elmer Gantry
  2.    The Big Combo
  3.    Raw Deal
  4.    T-Men   
  5.    Hollow Triumph  
  6.    Witness To Murder
  7.    He Walked By Night
  8.    Border Incident
  9.    Mystery Street
  10.    Battle Circus

Alton also wrote the 1949 book, Painting With Light:

The last word of the segment goes to David Raskin’s music for the title sequence of the #2 movie on the Alton list.

Celebrity Ad Corner: Did they call him Burt the Shirt? Beats the hell outta me.

I haven’t the foggiest notion as to why he’s wearing a falconer’s glove complete with a falcon. Burt never played the Falcon. That was George Sanders followed by his brother Tom Conway. They were in one Falcon movie together then Tom took over the series.

Next up, a new recurring feature.

The Best Of Johnny:  There are many fine Tonight Show clips on the YouTube and I’ve been meaning to share for quite some time. Beware: this clip could cause spit takes.

Bette was not amused. Keep your shirt on, Bette.

Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with the GIFs that keep giving. Is that a given?

Saturday GIF Horse: We have two GIFs from He Walked By Night #7 on the John Alton list.

He Walked By Night Vintage GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to cinematographer John Alton. He’s the mustachioed gent seated in the chair.