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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not-So-Buried Treasure.

W-a-a-a-a-y back when I wrote about a DVD bio of the lyricist-composer-singer Johnny Mercer,it caused me to do an all-out YouTube hunt for everything I could find on Mr. Mercer.
That's how much I loved this DVD and his work.
And probably him if I knew him.
He was one of our greatest lyricists, singers, and, to me, above all, duet artists.
On the DVD, you got to see Mercer performing duets with quite a few people.
The best pairing by far was with Bing Crosby.
Both of their easygoing styles complimented each other's, and the result was divine.
An attempt to recapture that particular brand of magic was turned out by Mercer and Bobby Darin in a 60's album called "Two of a Kind".
It does a very good job of recapturing.
And is easy to find on Amazon.
I recommend it highly.
Mercer and Darin both died in the mid-seventies, both on the operating table.
In both instances, this was very sad.
If Mercer had lived on, I'm sure he would have been included in those duet albums turned out by Sinatra and Tony Bennett.
And it would have been glorious.
By the way, this is another posting that I had intended to make shortly after the Report Card on the Mercer DVD.
Some things just get lost in the files.
But I managed to retrieve it, because I heard something just the other day to remind me of it.
As I said, a YouTube search was launched for everything Mercer.
And I found a duet by Mercer and Bing of a song that seemed new to me.
It was called "May I Have the Pleasure of Your Company?"
It was great.
Information was provided for it's origins.
It was from a show called "The Good Companions", with lyrics by Mercer and music by Andre Previn, which opened in London, was not particularly successful, and never made it across the pond.
My first reaction was "Gee, I hope they made an Original Cast Album of "The Good Companions".
My second reaction was "Gee, I hope it's available somewhere".
My third reaction was "Gee, I hope that if there is an Original cast Album of "The Good Companions", and it's available, I hope it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to get my hands on it".

So I go to Amazon. There it is:
"The Good Companions": Original Cast Album. It is available.
Price: $129.99 New. $39.99 used.
Borders was just about the same.
Limbs would be lost. I had to regroup.

Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning:
"What a major dumbbell I am! I think I've already bought this CD. I think I've heard it. Mercer wasn't on it, and maybe that's why I dismissed it after one listening, but I have definitely purchased this CD and listened to it."
I still wanted to hear it again.
But my CD collection is strewn over many rooms in several residences.
Good luck trying to find it.
I was sitting in my den in Michigan at the time.
You know how whenever you look for something and you find it, it's always in the last place you can possibly look for it?
I went upstairs to my office, opened my closet full of CDs, and sitting on the very top of the very first box of CDs was the Original Cast of "The Good Companions".
Kismet.
I listened to it, and it is far more wonderful than the first time around that I spent with it.
John Mills was it's star, and has some very touching numbers.
The show is about vaudeville, and there are great up-tempo numbers, and numbers that are heartbreaking.

The three or four heartbreakers are handled by a young English actress. They are more acted than sung, and really get to you.
I had to read the fine print on the CD cover to realize that the young English actress in question was Judi Dench, who turned out to be another not-so-buried treasure.
All of this came back to me in a rush because I was listening to Bing Crosby's last concert at London's Royal Palladium.
And he opened the concert with revised lyrics to "May I Have The Pleasure Of Your Company?", which he sang directly to the audience. He couldn't have sung it to Mercer, who had died the year before on the operating table.
I'm sure this was his way of providing tribute to his old friend.

------------------------------------------------------------------------- My book, "Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
You might want to check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
The website "On Screen & Beyond" has two hours of an interview I did on it's podcast in their archives.
Just Google On Screen & Beyond to find them if you're interested.


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Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at macchus999@aol.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."