Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Touched" By MIKE CONNORS (Tightrope and Mannix)

The passing of Mike Connors (August 15, 1925-January 26, 2017) wasn't a heavy topic in the news. Not with everyone still mourning Mary Tyler Moore. He was also 91, while Mary was 80, and Mary was still sometimes in the news, or receiving a "lifetime achievement" award. I'm not sure if "Mannix" is even in re-runs on some cable network somewhere.

I didn't realize he was THAT forgotten until I happened to mention him to a woman in her late 40's. She gave me a mildly blank cow-expression and asked "Mike Connors?" And I said, "He was Mannix. It was a 70's detective series." "Oh, she said, that was so long ago..."

Well, then, bitch, no point in me mentioning "Tightrope," then.

To be fair, "Tightrope" didn't last long, circa 1960, and I didn't see an episode till I was doing VHS TV show trading on the Net. But to not know "Mannix?" Time does pass, along with people. But yeah, SEVERAL GENERATIONS have been added to the planet since "Mannix" was in the Top 20.

I can understand not caring too much about the show. It was just filler, something to watch, and it featured a likable middle-aged guy in Connors, who lacked the pathos of David Janssen, the sophistication of Vaughn, or the eccentricities of his contemporary TV detectives like fat William Conrad and old Buddy Ebsen. He was just a throwback to the typical action hero who had a good voice, an average-handsome face, and no outstanding abilities in terms of brain or brawn. Mannix could get beaten up and he could also get baffled.

Mike Connors made it look easy. Season after season, "Mannix" stayed on the air while a lot of snappier shows with more charismatic stars failed.

Mike didn't get into the papers much. He was kind of boring; he was married to the same woman, Marylou, since 1949. About the only eccentric thing about him was that early in his career, when he had to do his share of goofy sci-fi films and rock-and-roll exploitation films, he was billed as "Touch Connors." This was the studio's way of pushing him into the same fan mags that were running photos of Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter.

No doubt the Huelbigs who nerdfully shuffled to his memorabilia table were as prone to ask him to sign a movie still from "Shake Rattle and Rock" or "The Day The World Ended" as a portrait shot from "Mannix" or "Tightrope."

"Tightrope," as a theme song, is pretty solid fare. The "Mannix" theme is a bit too lilting. Does it really sound like a detective theme, or something that could've opened "Love on a Rooftop" or "Bridgit Loves Bernie" or some other silly romantic sitcom from 40 or more years ago?

"Tightrope" is credited to Johnny Gregory, while "Mannix" appears on an album by Chaquito, which isn't an alias for Gregory himself. It's for the band. Chaquito recorded a lot of Latin stuff, to be bought by the same people bought Cugat and Esquivel lounge music. "Mannix" is on "Chaquito Plays the Themes From TV Thrillers," and the liner notes pointedly give Gregory credit as the producer and arranger. The trumpet solo on "Mannix" is credited to a guy actually named Albert Hall. John, born in 1928, is still with us. Thank you for your many albums of TV theme music and other exotica, and for doing your reliable job of stretching a quick 30-40 second TV theme past the required two minutes for an album track.

TIGHTROPE written by George Duning and waxed by Johnny Gregory and his Orchestra

MANNIX written by Lalo Schifrin and waxed by Chaquito (Arranged and Conducted by John Gregory)

HALE and FAREWELL - One of the stars of the Classic TV era: Barbara Hale

The blog salutes Barbara Hale (April 18, 1922 – January 26, 2017) one of the nicest stars in Hollywood.

Here she is, with Raymond Burr, as he finds new and startling evidence about the single bullet theory.

As "Della Street" she didn't do much, but she did it very well. The show ran for over 200 episodes, from 1957 to 1966, and between 1985 and 1995 there were an additional 30 made-for-TV moves. That's a lot of Street walking. Through it all, Barbara as Della made the most of the knowing glance and the concerned stare.

"Hi beautiful," was Paul Drake's consistent greeting to her. But, no, she wasn't exactly beautiful. She wasn't exactly sexy. She just was a good-looking comfortable presence. Nobody would have the temerity to suggest that she was more mistress than secretary to Perry Mason, nor would they have any reason to think that she had any great ability to give the great lawyer any legal advice. Barbara Hale simply made everything better just by being around.

An irony is that Barbara really was sexy early in her movie career. HOW sexy was she...

She padded her career (didn't need padding elsewhere) with B-movies. She was a spunky cowgirl in "The Falcon Out West," and co-starred with Robert Mitchum in "West of the Pecos." Also in the cast was Bill Williams. He was the lucky one, and married Barbara. Bill would later gain fame among baby-boomers as "Kit Carson" during the 50's "Western craze" that saw dozens upon dozens of "oaters" filling up prime-time and Saturday mornings. Bill Williams' real last name was Katt. He never officially changed it, and his son with Barbara, was "William Katt." He played Paul Drake Jr. in some of the "Perry Mason" made-for-TV movies.

Barbara considered me a pretty big fan of both herself and her husband. She gifted me with a couple of odd autographed photos. One was of herself with Raymond Burr, signed by both of them, and the other, a photo of Bill as "Kit Carson," and signed by him. I can choose to think she had a small stash of these around and gave them to very special people, or that she had a bigger collection and had some fun forging Raymond Burr and Bill Williams.

Either way, I treasure them.

Real Barbara fans would also point out that she played Jolson's wife in the sequel, "Jolson Sings Again," and was a big enough star to snare the lead as that attractive cookie "Lorna Doone" (1951). She was back to Westerns in the next few years: Last of the Comanches, Seminole (get your mind out of the gutter, that's an Indian tribe), Houston Story, The Oklahoman and 7th Cavalry. But then came the "Perry Mason" years, and...yes...that famous theme song.

It was a dignified, dark and moody theme song and it conveyed an aura of mystery But...

....if you listen to the music without conjuring up an image of Raymond Burr, you might agree that the original title, "Park Avenue Beat" is appropriate...and this is actually some pretty sexy R&B jazz. It's the kind that could be played while a stripper performs, or in a nightclub as hip couples grind against each other with their full bodies (and full bodied couples grind against each other with their hips).

Let Fred Steiner describe the origins of this double-named tune:

"The original title was "Park Avenue Beat," and the reason for that was I conceived of Perry Mason as this very sophisticated lawyer; eats at the best restaurants, tailor-made sutis and so on. Yet at the same time he was mixed up with these underworld bad guys, and murder and crime.

"So the underlying beat is R&B, rhythm and blues. In those days, jazz, R&B whatever, was always associated with crime. Those old film noir pictures, they've always got jazz going. It's like whenever you see a Nazi (in a film) they play Wagner. It's kind of symphonic R&B, that's why it's called "Park Avenue Beat," but since then it's been known as "The Perry Mason Theme."

"It's gone through several changes depending of the timing…they would change the main titles year in and year out. " Mostly, the changes have been in tempo. There's one big difference in the Perry Mason theme used for the 1980's made-for-TV movies: after the ominous introduction, there's a cymbal crash before the main theme begins. You get that version as well as two of the many vinyl cover versions released back in the day.

First up, Johnny Gregory's take, which does add some kind of weird instrumentation just for added color. Thankfully, it wasn't a zither. Johnny did try, as usual, to liven up to two minutes + a theme that originally lasted for half that time.

Yes, Hatch is the guy who was behind so many Petula Clark hits of the early 60's...and he radically changes the tempo to make this more of a teen dance number, that frug-head.

I wonder if Perry Mason ever heard "Park Avenue Beat" and imagined Della Street stripping to it! OK OK, that remark is "irrelevant, incompetent and immaterial..."

The Perry Mason Theme…. Johnny Gregory

The Perry Mason Theme…. Hatched by Tony



An irony is that Bob Holiday died not long after Dick Gautier. As far as Broadway is concerned, both were forgettable hunks, each known for merely supplying some beefcake for a musical hunk of hash.

Gautier died January 13th, and Bob Holiday died on January 27th (he was born in Brooklyn, November 12, 1932).

Bob Holiday was the 4th guy to become famous as Superman. There was Bud Collyer on radio (and in the theatrical cartoons), Kirk Alyn (in movie serials), George Reeves (on TV) and then, on Broadway, Bob Holiday.

“It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman” didn’t last very long on Broadway. The music and lyrics were from Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, who reached their peak with another pop musical some years earlier, “Bye Bye Birdie,” with Dick Gautier.

Unlike Gautier, who managed to stay in show business, Holiday didn’t hang around all that long. Realizing that there was no shortage of rugged and handsome stage singers (from John Raitt to Robert Goulet and back), and knowing there was a limited amount of time for him to play Prince Charming or Lancelot, he formed his own business, and did very well for over 30 years.

Bob was only five when he first appeared in a talent show. It was up in the Catskills, a tedious 3 hour ride from Brooklyn. He sang “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” He later tried “The Ted Mack Amateur Hour,” and then after Army service, worked nightclubs. His good looks got him work singing and being a stooge for Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren, both attractions in nightclubs. A neat bit of trivia: Bob once worked as an MC for “The Colony Club,” owned by Lee Harvey Oswald assassin Jack Ruby.

He parlayed a role in “Fiorello” into the part of Superman, and was almost larger than life (6’4”) on that Broadway stage. As you’ll hear below, there was room for both the Zap Bang Wallop camp of a singing superhero, and the angst of a lonely guy with an alter ego. The show arrived in March of 1966, so yes, you’ll hear in the music a dash of campy “Batman” antics, and almost cliche-type action music in the overture.

While the show didn’t last on Broadway (just 129 performances) there was enough curiosity for him to take the show on the road, and play Superman in summer stock productions. He turned up in Los Angeles for a production of “Promises Promises,” but eventually found a lucrative business as a home builder in Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania. Quite a few home owners got a kick out of being able to say, “Superman built my home!” And Bob got a kick out of the original cast album still being around, and Superman fanatics begging for his autograph. He even made some appearances at Superman memorabilia events.

There’s more info at Bob’s website, SupermanBobHolliday.

BOB HOLIDAY Overture and 2 SUPERMAN songs

Mary Tyler Moore is someplace in "Carolina in the Morning" with Dick Van Dyke

I don't know...I really can't bear to hear the fucking song again. But did the lyricist specify whether nothing could be finer than to be in NORTH or SOUTH Carolina?

I think North Carolina was the fictional home to Sheriff Andy Taylor and his Mayberry dingleberries. They were such an adorable bunch. BUT...South Carolina was where the "Swamp Fox" bedeviled the British troops during the American Revolution. The state is still swampy, and loaded with insects, but it does have some good history.

Then again, "Carolina" could be the name of a woman. Isn't that the beauty of lyrics? You can interpret them in so many ways.

Both North and South Carolina, and the rest of the nation, loved Mary Tyler Moore, no matter where she was in her TV world. "The Dick Van Dyke" show took place in Manhattan and New Rochelle, yet everybody watched. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" took place in Minneapolis, and yet it was as strong in the ratings in the South as in the frozen North.

Mary had an apartment right across from Central Park. It was well known to the birders, because it wasn't far from the nest of "Pale Male," the famous hawk. "Pale Mail" would swoop into the park and make off with a starling or a mouse or whatever, and bring some food back to his mate (of the year) and any offspring. Building residents were irritated that people in the park would set up their high-powered telescopes and binoculars and cameras to look at the birds and, egocentric prats that they are, "them." As if you could see into a window that high up from ground level. Mary was high profile in her support of "Pale Male," and in leaving the nest alone.

Mary was buried today, but not in a New York City location, or up in Woodlawn, the Bronx resting place for many famous eople. She was buried in a cemetery in Connecticut, which was immediately festooned by flowers and signs, thanks to whatever local Huelbig (German synonym for fanboy, or asshole) thought this would be a neat photo opportunity.

Maybe she'll rest in peace in a week or two, when the Huelbig assholes of the world stop their gawking.

Aside from the forgotten stage musical failure “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Mary Tyler Moore rarely had a chance to sing a solo song. I’m not sure if she did it much on her short-lived variety show (the one that had an ensemble cast that include a very embarrassed David Letterman trying his best to sing and dance).

Simply put, Mary is such an icon, so beloved, that despite this being the avowed “blog of less renown,” it was important to somehow get her in. Not that anyone cares about whether she’s on the blog except you and me. So…she was an underrated singer. How about that?

Below, one of her many duets from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” If I had unlimited bandwidth, I might’ve added “I am a Fine Musician,” from one of the Christmas shows, only because Mary sings as a piccolo player and, in true Mary-fashion, gets a laugh by suddenly finding herself all alone on stage, and rushing away in charming high-pitched distress. “Deedle-deedle-dee!”

I was a Mary watcher, it turns out, before there was all that much of Mary to watch. Most Millennials have never heard of “Richard Diamond” (aka “Call Mr. D”). David Janssen (oh, the Selfie bunch don’t know HIM either) was a typical squinty, raspy-voiced detective and Mary played “Sam,” who took switchboard messages. You only saw her legs, and heard her sultry voice. Yes, remarkably enough, high-pitched Mary actually pitched her voice to be a little more Bacall, and pretty sexy.

Some very interesting dramatic roles followed and then came her breakthrough, playing the first sexy modern housewife in a sitcom. Everyone remembers the Capri pants she wore, in lieu of the traditional Donna Reed house dress. After "The Dick Van Dyke Show," Mary got her own long-running series.

Revisionist twats consider it a great example of “women’s lib.” Yeah? The show was written and produced by men. The theme song was written by a man. At the workplace, she had a male boss. Most of the comedy was based on her being timorous and insecure, not a feminist bitch. Mary wasn’t even that funny on the show, leaving it to an ensemble cast of kooks and weirdos to get all the laughs (same as comedian-turned-straight man Andy Griffith did with his Mayberry rubes a few years earlier).

The show was simply a good, charming sitcom, and it presented a realistic look at a single woman living on her own, but having a lot of vulnerable insecurities. The fact that we didn’t see her dating all that much, was simple enough: that shit ain’t funny. How do you get laughs watching a very bright and attractive woman going out with handsome hunks? Besides, we wanted Mary to ourselves. Guys wanted to spy on her in her home, ogle her at work, and NOT see her going out with too many handsome hunks. Female viewers would've been jealous of Mary having a social life (the sitcom was aired Saturday night, when anyone watching was obviously NOT on a date.)

Moore's show also kept Bob Newhart afloat for many many years. After you watched Mary at 9pm, you had nothing better to do than watch Bob, who came on to fill the next half hour. Bob was a lucky guy.

Mary want on to do some fine dramatic roles, and sparingly returned to the stage or to variety TV. The fact is, an attractive woman in her 50’s and 60’s is not going to get big laughs in the sitcom world unless she is a ridiculous horny “golden girl” or some kind of overbearing bitch (“Basil!”). Mary eased into semi-retirement, and then the uneasy battle with diabetes and other ills, including brain surgery. Yes, you wished for her the same serene joy of aging that her one-time co-star Betty White enjoyed. But life is…like that.

She was born in Brooklyn. There’s a statue of her in Minneapolis. It’s doubtful she would’ve wanted to be in “Carolina in the Morning,” but listen…she really was a Carolina songbird here. What a pretty, and clear voice she had.



Dick Gautier (October 30, 1931-January 13, 2017) sang “Honestly Sincere,” and lived by those two words, at least in describing his rather humble career. He had a lot of humility, acknowledging that some of his most memorable roles had a down side. He played Robin Hood in a very short-lived Mel Brooks sitcom. Another sitcom, "Get Smart" only used him a handful of times. And despite having the title role in Broadway's "Bye Bye Birdie" he was denied the film version.

Dick made the most of his odd attribute: good looks that were too good to be true. He was almost a parody of a dashing leading man in his first (and I think last) Broadway role. The download below is from the “Bye Bye Birdie” original cast album. The show was an overlong musical sitcom based on Elvis Presley going into the army. Thanks to some good (at the time) tunes like “Put On a Happy Face,” even adults who hated Elvis music went to the show, which mostly featured MOR tunes. Theatregoers especially enjoyed the ebullient Dick Van Dyke (like Gautier, getting a huge break having been almost unknown) and a newly discovered stand-up comic named Paul Lynde. Lynde played the father of a star-struck Birdie fan. His lizard face and feverish grimaces of chagrin made him seem more neurotic than gay. He was of course, both.

Two members of the cast were NOT in the movie. Chita Rivera was deemed too ethnic (replaced by Janet Leigh) and Gautier was replaced by some guy named Jesse Pearson. As you’ll hear below, Gautier was not really the greatest singer in the world, but maybe that was the wicked aspect of the parody…that teen idiot girls would not only fall for a genuinely good singer like Elvis, but a bad one like Fabian. The show's producers apparently lumped Conway Twitty into the "not great singer" collection. Twitty (who had a slight Elvis moan on his hit "Only Make Believe" had the dubious honor of his silly name parodied as “Conrad Birdie.” Sure, the lead character could've been Elvis Pretzel or something like that. But "Birdie" put a little lawsuit distance between the show and Presley, and make it seem like all pop stars were being tweaked.

Of course the big deal a few years after “Bye Bye Birdie” was Gautier parlaying his wooden acting into the robot part on “Get Smart.“ He was so memorable he almost seems like a semi-regular (along with Bernie Kopell's "Siegfried") but no, he was used very sparingly. Some game show geeks will recall that he was a sly guy with a bluff on “Liar’s Club” and other daytime series. If you know him from anything else, you really are a fan!

Behind the scenes, Gautier showed other talents. He was an excellent artist, and wrote many books about cartooning. He also put together a very good book collecting the original art of other talented actors and actresses. He wrote an autobiography, and even a mystery novel, which unfortunately is only available in a Kindle edition.

You were expecting the ironic “I Got a Lot of Living to Do,” as the choice? No, no. Gautier’s “Honestly Sincere” was actually released as a single. The song was also covered by The Marcels, in appropriately goofy fashion. Not related to the writer Theophile, or to the French singer Mylene Farmer (born Gauthier), Dick was pretty unique nonetheless, and if you visit his dotcom, you can find out more.


Settin' a Rap-Thief's Lust On Fire (and a salute to Homer & Jethro and Hank Williams)

Some years ago, this blog created a Photoshop item to go along with "Settin' the Woods on Fire."

It was this:

The ill-ustration was for Hank Williams' song about eating campfire chili so hot, he was "settin' the woods on fire" when he took a dump.

Rather than imagining ol' Hank, I had woman farting a combustible billow, and fanning (or fannying) the campfire flames.

As I usually do with "original works of art," I put an identifying ILLFOLKS tag on it.

The picture was cropped and stolen to wittily reference rap garbage on "tape." Yeah, cassettes, the hippest media on Earth.

Altogether now, "How TERRIBLE when somebody doesn't give credit for somebody else's HARD WORK."

Yo, there wasn't even a line about "credit to the original uploader."

Imagine that. And these rap pussies even "censor-blurred" the anus flame.

What ARE "mix tapes?" It's the Black culture's version of music stealing. The deal is home-made cassette tape collections (they still like the boom boxes, y'all) sold in bodegas or by some jerk sitting on the curb with a cardboard box marked "$4 each 3 for $10."

"Mix" is not much of an art form. Photoshop can be. In this case, I took a rather generic picture of a chick with her pants down, and dropped it close to a campfire, made a flaming fart shoot out of her ass, had the blast set a campfire blazing, and cloaked it all in the eerie darkness of a dark night in the South Carolina swamp.

At the risk of getting an affirmative nod from any rednecks out there, any five songs by Hank Williams will beat the ENTIRE output of ALL rap music ever released. Most of it is such inane shit, with such stoooooopid and illiterate rhymes. But let's get back to the REAL SHIT, which is DOPE, y'all.

I learned about Hank's intestinal inspiration from Merle Haggard:

"Hank was on the road, and they stopped at this Mexican joint. There wasn't a rest stop for miles so Hank went in the woods and took a shit. He said, 'I'm setting the fucking woods on fire!' That was the hottest godamn chili I've ever seen!' Before they'd driven another few miles, Hank had a song."

If Hank spied a lady squatting in the woods like the image above, he might've called out "Hey, good lookin' watcha got cookin'?" Or penned "Your Cheatin' Fart"

Submitted for a shit-eating grin, the Homer and Jethro version. H&J are still woefully neglected. While the "Sons of the Pioneers" have a box set from Bear Family, that company has NOT done one for Homer & Jethro. Doesn't the Bear Family shit in the woods? Don't they know that Homer & Jethro are far more entertaining than those campfire fruits? Face it, there's something mighty queer about cowboys all by themselves with no women, and harmonizing about tumbling tumbleweeds that perform 69 on each other. Not that a re-issue of all of Homer & Jethro will do those dead guys any good. Why, even back in the day they weren't makin' much money for their record label. To quote a revised line in this parody: "poor ol' Victor needs the money!"


Monday, January 09, 2017

20 TONS OF TNT - 2017 Starts With Tremors (Marion Wade does Flanders & Swann)

Donald Trump.

Enough said.

People all around the world greeted 2017 with a very, very cautious sense of optimism. Which was mostly pessimism disguised by indifference and a few stiff drinks.

Will we have more terrorism? A less stable economy? Will the whole world simply explode?

On the positive side, it's been more than 50 years since the team of Flanders & Swann lowered their masks of comedy and soberly recorded "20 Tons of TNT."

Since you know who they are, my choice is the stark cover version from the unknown New York folkie, Marion Wade. She was as traditional as Peggy Seeger, and even made a point of accentuating the lyrics by going a cappella.

As the small circle here know, I'm perversely fond of SOME a cappella singing, especially idiotic college choirs. Most of the time (The Persuasions and The Mills Brothers would be exceptions) it's an art form that is very hard to take. The more voices added, and the more "arty" the performers are, the more laughable it becomes.

Here, as in the Irish tradition, a cappella is a weapon. You're supposed to pay attention, and even be uncomfortable with that solitary voice rising defiantly out of the silence. You're not being seduced by melody, you're forced to deal with the uncompromising lyrics, and a "voice of doom."

Marion Wade didn't have a Joan Baez voice, and that becomes evident very quickly!

Now WHO was Marion Wade?

An amateur enthusiast who was part of the Pinewoods Folk Music Club, Marion was a book seller, a writer, a mom, and one of the partners in the People's Voice Cafe. She didn't really become a touring performer until she retired. Then she had the time to go off and attend folk festivals, volunteer to sing in schools and public libraries, and self-press a souvenir album.

In 1983, the "folk boom" over by 20 years, Marion wasn't playing The Bitter End, like young Bob Dylan did. She was welcomed at...her own People’s Voice Cafe down in the Boho section of Manhattan, West Broadway near Spring and Broome Street. As late as 1989 she was still playing there, although it had moved a short distance to 133 West 4th. Yes, positively 4th Street. It was still a hippie (not hipster) part of town, with plenty of bookstores and record shops.

Marion offered an eclectic mix of traditional folk songs, oddities (like "20 Tons of TNT," which is the amount each person would be blasted with if the planet got Nuked), and her own material. For "What a Day of Victory" she added political lyrics to an old Protestant hymn, something a Dylan might do.

Like John Lennon, she ended up dying at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. She did linger long enough for her folkie friends to stop by, and if you want the romantic view, then, yes, "she died peacefully surrounded by family and friends." The date was September 9, 1990. She is remembered long, long after her death, and this little download is more proof of that.

She was also remembered shortly after her death, too. Back on September 9th, Marion's minister arrived...too late to pray but not too late to mourn. As Marion's friend Carole Rose Livingston recalled, the minister said, "Her body has just been removed to the hospital morgue. I will not feel right until I go to visit her. Does anyone wish to go with me?"

Carole and another friend joined the minister:

"In the morgue, an attendant pulled open a green metal drawer, and there, swathed in a sheet, with only her face visible, was Marion. We had come to the hospital to sing to Marion--so there in the morgue, the three of us sang her song to her. After her well-lived life, and her gallant struggle with cancer, it was indeed her day of victory."



We usually pay tribute to artistes when it’s too late. Let’s cut that out. I suggest to all bloggers that instead of the “R.I.P.” shit, and giving away entire discographies on Bowie or George Michael, show LOVE to the LIVING. They just might appreciate what Bill Dana called “that warm fuzzy paw on the back.”

Here’s a salute to Jane Morgan, a pleasant pop star who, as tastes began to change, tried to adapt via covers of The Mamas and the Papas and the Young Rascals, among others. OK, this didn’t quite please her older fans, or make many new ones. But these ARE valid interpretations.

Over the years, many older chickens tried to cross over from the middle of the road to the fast lane. Ethel Merman and Cab Calloway tried disco versions of their 78’s, and Bing Crosby tried "Hey Jude" while Frank Sinatra took on "Mrs. Robinson." The road goes in the opposite direction, too, from Pat Boone's heavy metal album to Bob Dylan warbling "Blue Moon" and Rod Stewart recording "The Great American Songbook."

92 year-old Jane Morgan (May 3, 1924) was born with the more evocative monicker of Flo Currier. Sounds like some kind of smoothie at an Indian restaurant, huh? She chose her more commercial name in tribute to two forgotten singers she admired, Janie Ford and Marian Morgan. Oddly enough, she became famous in France, where blonde Americans were scarce. She was signed by Polydor in 1949, and began recording bilingual singles, one side in French, the other in English. She parlayed this voo into gigs in French-speaking Montreal, and then got bookings in nightclubs in New York.

In those days BIG RECORD LABELS (those evil companies run by “The Man,” and whom Pirate Bay still urges us to “stick it to") were always looking for new talent. For Jane Morgan, “the man” was Jewish record exec David Kapp, who first worked at RCA (he was responsible for giving Gogi Grant her odd new name) and then formed Kapp Records. Her debut album was titled “The American Girl from Paris.”

She scored her most famous hit in 1957 with “Fascination.” Into the 60's, her song choices followed Andy Williams (she covered “Moon River”) and Matt Monro (“From Russia with Love”) among others. She was still trying to appeal to French audiences, with “Dominique,” “Poor People of Paris” and “C’est si Bon.”

She began recording for Epic in 1965 and they tried to update her sound with "Fresh Flavor," in 1966. The two songs below are from that album, which had a disappointing photo on the cover (what, no cleavage?) That Doris Day-type picture was not going to win her any fans under 30, and I guess older audiences simply weren't buying a record with unfamiliar song titles like "Monday Monday." Her next album went back to middle of the road songs and a sexy album cover, but she and Epic realized the title was correct: “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”

Jane finished her attempts at hit singles while with RCA. There was the pop tune “Traces,” om 1060. the novelty number “A Girl Named Charlie Cash,” in 1970, and lastly, 1971. “Jamie Boy.” Her last RCA album was the 1970 release “In Nashville,” perhaps an attempt to follow another pop blonde, Patti Page, into more friendly territory.

Yes, most of her output remains of interest to the "easy listening" crowd, a style of music that was never a critics favorite. Jane and others who thrived in that category, rarely sang what could in any way be charitably re-labeled as "jazz," something considered far more worthy. But, although she tended to "swing low," some of her swingin' material does work very well, and hipsters have rescued SOME "easy listening" music and recategorized it as "lounge." Ring a ding ding!

You don’t think of “Good Lovin’” as anything but a hard drivin’ bit of 60’s Rascals rock. Sorry, but Jane’s lounge treatment isn’t sacrilege at all. It does show that basic melody can be interpreted fast or slow.

It’s hard to separate “Monday Monday” from the particular twisted harmonies of the Mamas and the Papas. You remember them: a creepy perv with a too tall hat, an immense blob that people laughed at, an indifferent looking perv without a too tall hat, and a skinny skanky chick that was everyone’s dream of a tough hippie that could somehow be tricked into bed with some superior weed. They basically had only TWO hits, this one and "California Dreaming." The other hit you're thinking of was actually from "Spanky and Our Gang." Anyway...Jane's take is not laughable at all; quite pleasant, in fact. All you sheep who learned to like Sinatra because Dylan was a fan of "Mr. Frank," don't have to feel ashamed for liking this cover version.

Hardly forgotten over the next decades, her music has continued to find an audience on CD, and rather late, 2011, she finally got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And now, 2017, a mention on the blog of less renown!

Oh what a beautiful mornin' -- MONDAY MONDAY gets relaxed by Jane Morgan Instant download or listen on line. No porn ads, pop-ups, waiting or code numbers.


Stream or download. No capcha codes, Zinfart passwords or pop-up crap.

Elsa Lanchester is bawdy, and Illfolks' "Hard Work" gets "borrowed"

Hmmm. Back in 2007, TEN YEARS AGO, I posted an Elsa Lanchester song. As I tend to do, I didn't just post it for a Paypal tip, or use Rapidshare or Megaupload so I might get a free account. It was all "shared" at no profit. I also tossed in one of my typically cheeky Photoshop jobs.

FIVE years later, and another blogger steals (er, "Shares") not my link, but my Photoshop job. Did he/she say "This was done by Ill Folks?" No. Did he/she say "I found this on the Illfolks blog?" No.

In fact, he/she took pains to Photoshop ILLFOLKS off the photo, and FLIP it, making it seem that his/her version is the original, and mine, posted FIVE YEARS EARLIER, is the copy.

Did you notice that I had Karloff's monster peeking through the window at her? Another little touch I bothered to do. But I see I made a mistake in not putting a name or logo OVER a strategic part of the photo, so an ASSHOLE couldn't just COVER IT OVER and pretend ownership.

Christ, you see this in the "real" world all the time, with ignorant self-entitled brats saying, "I bought that CD, DVD, I'm allowed to make copies to give away, or even sell." No, you bought a COPY with NO rights to COPY it, silly "copyright is copy wrong" SPOILED BABY.

This creature (I have no idea of "Cherrybomb" is a real woman or a campy drag queen) even asks for a donation on the free blog site masked as a dotcom:

As Bob Dylan sang it, "If you live outside the law you must be honest." It would've killed this schmuck to give me a credit, on a that is basically LOW on original content and creativity, and mostly a collection of celebrity nudie images, fake or real? It takes "hard work" to Google celebrity nudes and surf blogs and "harvest" content like grave robbers do with kidneys and livers?

Al Goldstein's lawyer (and who would be a better one on matters involving sleaze) once explained a quirk in the plagiarism laws. Generally, you can't sue and win, or get "treble damages" unless you can PROVE that what happened affected you monetarily.

It comes down to four words: "What are your damages?"

Can I prove that this jerk stealing my Photoshop job deprived ME of income? Of course not. My blog has never posted: "BUY ME A DRINK" or "Help me pay for my time and HARD WORK" with a fucking PAYPAL DONATION button.

The bottom line is that YOU know about MY blog, and you never heard of Cherry's, until just now. (Christ, even the fake name is not original! Cherry Bomb? Ooof!)

The late great Brother Theodore put it this way: "The dog barking at the moon does not bother the moon in the slightest. It just makes the dog look like a jackass."

I have the talent to match up two images to create something unique. That JACKASS had the talent to erase my name from the photo and re-post it. Not exactly the same thing.

And here we are in January, 2017.

I should not even be blogging anymore.

I reached my TENTH ANNIVERSARY. This blog has been around TEN YEARS. If I was Jerry Seinfeld I would've quit a year ago!

Instead, there will be sporadic additions for the "small circle of friends" who visit here.

Oh, you don't have to say "I'm Glad To See You're Back."

I don't exist for "nice" comments.

Just enjoy the photo of Elsa, and if you choose, discover her talents as a Music Hall singer, via the download below:

"I'm Glad to See Your Back."

Students (I stole that greeting off Kay Kyser, and GIVE HIM CREDIT), long before Elsa was temptingly stitched up and then hitched up as "The Bride of Frankenstein," she was a nude model, the star of "Peter Pan" on the British stage, and the flame-haired darling of bohemians and intellectuals. She was well known for singing risque novelty tunes, and for her unlikely marriage to a brilliant but deeply conflicted and troubled actor by the name of Laughton

26 years after her dual role in "Bride of Frankenstein," Elsa debuted on Broadway in a one-woman show, singing, among others, "I'm Glad to See Your Back." The arched "Back" along with "Somebody Broke Lola's Saucepan" and "If You Peek in My Gazebo" had audiences tittering immoderately.

Elsa recorded "Songs for a Shuttered parlor" and "Songs for a Smoke Filled Room" (on the Hi-Fi label) with narration by Charles Laughton, whom she was still married to despite his "degrading" (her word) need to now and then be submissive with a male.

In a decision that probably had Laughton rolling awkwardly in his grave, these two albums were re-issued as "Bawdy Cockney Songs" and "More Bawdy Cockney Songs" (via Tradition) without him. I doubt there was any legal reason for omitting the introductions; the label rightly figured that people like to listen to songs over and over, but not introductions.

Elsa's other two original albums were on Verve, now a division of the Univ-arsal cartel. Maybe they'll toss 'em on Spotify to make a few extra nickels for themselves.

Return to those double-entendre days, as lovely Elsa Lanchester describes being glimpsed in her dressing room by a suitor who likes what he sees:

"Your face may be your fortune, but I like a different view. I'm glad to see your back..."

ELSA LANCHESTER SINGS Instant download or listen on line. No porn ads, pop-ups, waiting or code numbers.