I saw a really silly TV special from 1960 last night, the Frank Sinatra Welcomes Home Elvis Show. It was a lot of show-bizzy Rat Pack silliness that only rarely featured Elvis. There is the famous and somewhat weird duet they do... Frank sings an Elvis song and Elvis sings a Sinatra song (both rather badly). I found myself fast forwarding through a lot of it.
It was interesting to hear girls in the audience screaming for Elvis; Sinatra was no stranger to that at the start of his career. To his credit he matured into an artist who later sang songs about aging and growing older, wiser and - sometimes - regretful.
This is a blog topic of its very own, but I, for one, am tired of rock and roll. I can barely stand listening to a Who song anymore. Sure it's the music of my youth and all that, and there was a time in my life when the themes of defiance and rebellion seemed relevant. But those days are long gone and I've moved on, and I now look for music that means something other than Resist Authority. It's a very good thing I discovered that I liked classical music when I was sixteen. The music of my youth also means orchestral stuff I can listen to from then without wincing. (Which was the case with a Sweet Lp, "Desolation Boulevard," I used to listen to a lot - I couldn't believe I wasted so much time with it when I listened to it again as an adult).
Back to last night's viewing: I attempted to watch 1967's Valley of the Dolls, based on a super-smash blockbuster novel of the same name (which I have never read and likely never will). I recall this film's publicity very well when I was a kid... as I recall, the appeal to audiences back then was along the lines of Sex! Drugs! Pills! Sex! Girls! Sex! Pills! It's the book and film everyone is talking about! So why aren't you? Get with it or you're not hip! You get the idea. I got about twenty minutes into it and gave up, it was so corny and dated. And Patty Duke, whom I know can act, is unwatchably way over the top in this one.
And now I've got that wretched Theme from The Valley of the Dolls stuck in my head. Arrruggh!
Now that I think about it, I don't think there is any film from 1967 I like. I think that year must have been Hollywood's nadir. Oh, wait... there is one: Point Blank, a neo-noir starring Lee Marvin that has metaphysical trappings. I liked that one. But generally, I find I don't often enjoy films made from about 1965 to 1970 or so. It seemed that directors and producers felt compelled to adopt youth culture mannerisms and appeal to the detriment of plot, script, direction and character development. There were a lot of self-indulgent and silly films made then that now look badly dated to me. For instance, I watched Easy Rider for the very first time about five years ago and was bored silly. Why was this film so highly regarded? Ditto Antonioni's Blowup (1966). Ditto Love Story (1970). I can go on and on.
Yesterday I briefly played the Brand Name Game with a friend via e-mail. What's that? You recite brand names of products you have some allegiance to or fondness for. Mine:
Ford (my parents were Ford people, not Chevy people)
Volkswagen (Always loved the Beetle)
Coke (not Pepsi - but I am disappointed that Pepsi makes a cane sugar "throwback" and Coke does not)
Fender (not Gibson - Fender has a SoCal vibe)
Hewlett Packard (there was a time when my HP41C engineering calculator was my dearest physical possession)
Schwepps (I used to drink bitter lemon - turbocharged lemonaid - a lot)
Burger King (not McDonald's or Wendy's)
Disney (Only on the basis of Disneyland, I assure you)
7-Up (not Sprite)
Levi's (although I hate their politics)
...and these are people, not really brand names, but it kind of applies: Beatles, not Elvis.
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