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Bebop Spoken There

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Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meet Danny Wilson and the Quest for the Holy Grail

The last time I saw "Meet Danny Wilson" I was 13 years old which, believe you me, was a long time ago.
Since then, it has become a personal quest - my own 'Holy Grail' - to see it again and to own it on video or DVD.
No joy - the film never showed in either medium, didn't even turn up on TCM.
Eventually I reluctantly gave up searching - mission impossible I thought. After all there were more important things to occupy the mind - then guess what? Santa Claus, prompted by some friends, handed it over to me today - at long last the old movie was out on DVD.
After expressing much joy and many thank-you's I suddenly became frightened. After all this time what if I was disappointed? The critics in the intervening years had shown it no mercy - many saying it was almost as bad as "The Kissing Bandit" which was very bad indeed. Sinatra's career was in the doldrums at the time (1951), he was broke, he was the popular whipping boy of the 'musical' press.
Yet, having made such an impression on me - admitedly at an impressionable age - I felt it must have something otherwise why would I have carried this memory for all those years?
I plucked up courage and played it. From the opening black and white shot of Brooklyn Bridge over the titles I felt a warm glow as the memories came flooding back. Amazingly I could even remember some of the dialogue!
Like the scene in the police cell when Frank (Danny Wilson) asks a guitar player in the next cell what he's in for.
"I hit one of them bebop guys in the goatee" replies the guitarist.
"Where's your guitar?" asks Frank.
"That's what I hit him with" says the guitarist. He then plays the blues on harmonica with Sinatra singing a rare blues chorus.
It was the songs, I guess, that did it. He was moving from the crooner days to the swinging Capital/Reprise era still with a foot in both camps.
"I've Got A Crush on You", "She's Funny That Way", "All of Me", "When You're Smiling", "You're a Sweetheart", "How Deep is the Ocean", "Old Black Magic" and a duet with Shelley Winters on "A Good Man is Hard To Find". Is there another Sinatra film with a better selection?
The truth is, as a film, it's a black and white B movie that, looked at through today's eyes, is as corny as they come.
I wasn't looking at it through today's eyes I doubt I ever will.
Perhaps I should make a copy for when this disc is worn out.
Thank you friends.
Lance.

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