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Saturday, 30 August 2014

College Pigskin Preview: The New Amazing Return of A Crazy American Girl

p. 77
Nehi Corporation advertisement for Royal Crown Cola: Life, 13 November 1944 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

Pumped for a rhyming line into air
A football falling through registration,
Here I come: That’s Cathy’s Clown,
A song by Don and Phil in her
Consciousness. And mine. A beverage
Passes between lips, they’re her lips;
I am that beverage. Her Royal Crown
Classes break on the hour
Bar, O falcon of the lecture!
Fall, footballs, through the leaves!
We clown in airs of each other’s consciousness:
I bring hers stealthy cigarettes,
Between-halves tears; she brings mine
Contemporary milk of the lectures.

TC: A Crazy American Girl, 1960

File:Kooning woman v.jpg
Woman V: Willem de Kooning, 1951-52 (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra)

Woman III: Willem de Kooning, 1951-53 (private collection of Steven A. Cohen)

p. 106

Longines Watches advertisement for Longines Watches: Life, 10 October 1936 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

Junge Frau (bunt) / Young Girl (coloured)
: Gerhard Richter, 1965, oil on canvas, 80 x 65 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)
p. 123 
Nehi Corporation advertisement for Royal Crown Cola: Life, 12 March 1945 (Gallery of Graphic Design)

Don Everly sits laughing at the table while Phil dances with a friend to the jukebox, 1950s
: photo by Alamy, c. 1959
File:Red Grange Field.jpg

Red Grange Field, Wheaton, Illinois: photo by Dhalls, 31 May 2006; image by BKLuis, 8 November 2009
Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company advertisement for Chesterfield Cigarettes: Liberty, 29 November 1936 (Gallery of Graphic Design)


TC said...

I drank a ton of RC Cola as an obnoxious American brat, so that's a pleasant memory, sort of... until I remember that, in tribute to the pre-eminence of sugar in the Midwestern diet, I no longer possess teeth. But then, it's all about divestment now, anyway, so the more parts that are lost, the easier the departure is going to be... maybe.

Barbara Stanwyck, the original anti-Angelina, probably wouldn't be most people's choice for a Crazy American Girl. She did do a couple of not-crazy Royal Crown adverts, though. (As Sinnead O'Connor put it in sharing her agonizing indecision over whether to accept an invite to perform again in Haifa, the worst place, she said, she'd ever been in, for ten times her normal fee: "I decided I absolutely would not go, but then I had a talk with my agent, who pointed out I could do with the money...").

Stanwyck's Royal Crown Moment in the fall of 1944 seems to have been a plug for My Reputation. Made in 1943, not put in general release until 1946, the film was meant as a contribution to the "war effort", and had its world premiere in 1944 at the base cinema (a Nissen corrugated-iron hut) on the 467th Bomb Group airbase in Rackheath, England. The film's not at all crazy, actually, but a fairly serious bit of business, with great shadowy camera work by James Wong Howe, and Gossip as the villain of the piece.

My Reputation (trailer)

I remember liking the movie as a kid because it's set in Chicago, and the train station in the closing scene... a boyhood haunt.

Nothing whatsoever to do with football, that.

I believe the first major college football game I attended was under the shadow of the holy Golden Dome at South Bend, Notre Dame, on 13 October 1951. A skinny kid named Fred Benners playing quarterback for SMU stunned the house by filling the air with missiles and committing to the record books a historic performance, completing 22 passes in 44 attempts for 326 yards and four touchdowns. “No one could have been more adroit in picking the spot for a super-duper performance,” solemnly opined the august New York Times. 44 forward passes, that was a lot, back then. I've never cared much for the ground war, in any case. But John Wesley would have been done proud that day... though then again, it may well be the redneck strain of Methodists never heard of him...

I believe the last major college football game I attended, or ever will attend, was the Ragin' Cajuns of LSU vs the Colorado Buffaloes, in Boulder, some 35 years ago. I believe I was paid $5 to sweep the snow drifts off the seats before the game, as part of a diligent crew. Stayed around to watch as Hokie Gajan of LSU tore the Buffs to shreds all afternoon in front of a large, noisy, predominantly drunken peckerwood throng. The traveling support, that was. The memory of the horrible CU pre-game ritual of driving a live buffalo "mascot" into the stadium in a trailer, making a whole lot of noise, and then letting the terrified animal out, to dash madly around the sidelines as the moronic and largely inebriated Buff rooters and their hideous blaring brass band created a racket audible in the nether regions of the Dumbosphere, remains indelible, sort of.

The last major college football game I came anywhere near was Northwestern at California, last year at about this time. I could still walk, or at least stand upright without falling over, back in those golden days. A skinny Cal kid named Goff filled the air with passes but the always-pathetic Cal lost anyway, and though I had once attended Northwestern briefly, I felt nothing at all about this, but pretended I did, in taking the occasion, as I stood in the street among the exiting masses, with their seat cushions and coolers, to remember any bits I could from the woesome Northwestern fight song, and uttered these randomly into the air, and a few of the purple-clad lard-bottomed traveling support recognized this, and laughed, sort of.

TC said...

On the other hand, girls...

Everly Brothers: Cathy's Clown (live in UK), 1961).

Cathy's Clown came out in May 1960, became the US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single on May 17 and held that spot for five weeks.

On 5 May 1960 it became the UK number-one single.

It made a powerful impression on John Lennon, who copped the vocal arrangement for the Beatles' first big hit, Please Please Me.

John later muddied his tracks by saying the song had been influenced by Roy Orbison's sound, but those harmonies...a pure knockoff of the perfectly induplicable. Even by the several generations of Everlys imitators, the Beatles, The Hollies, Abba...

As Linda Ronstadt, who did a respectable 1975 cover of the Everlys' classic When Will I Be Loved, put it: "They had that sibling sound. The information of your DNA is carried in your voice, and you can get a sound that you never get with someone who's not blood-related to you."

The Everlys likely got it from listening very closely to the music their dad, a fine country guitar-picker who' d grown up in Kentucky (Muhlenberg County) brought their way. Think: brother-acts, the Monroe Bros, the Delmore Bros, the Louvin Bros.

Don, by two years the elder (born in Kentucky, while baby brother Phil was born after the family had moved north to Chicago), seems to have done most of the work on Cathy's Clown. That martial beat in the chorus, likened by one critic to the sound of a condemned man walking off into a blazing sunset, was Don's. He would claim the song was inspired by a piece that in that epoch was considered high-classical: the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe.

Made famous in this cinemascope mini-epic of the period: Grand Canyon Suite: Ferde Grofe / Walt Disney, 1958.

The period photo of the brothers out on a double date speaks volumes. Their later falling-out, really a sad bit of more or less common showbiz toxic fallout.

RIP Phil Everly, 1939-2014.

TC said...

Forgot a few essentials, perdoname.

About the time this photo of her was taken (and, one suspects, airbrushed just the wee tad), Stanwyck was just coming off that wicked as ice performance in Double Indemnity. Ladies and gentlemen of the virtual jury, would you dare drink of a cool RC Cola offered you by this woman, even (especially!) if you were a red-blooded GI?

And alas, Don and Phil and their dates are drinking 12-ounce Cokes, not 12-ounce RC Colas.

RC was cheaper, and would have been more... Muhlenberg County? Don, at least, looks pretty darn downtown already, in this pre-fame period. Beautiful candid shot.

Their star fell quickly in the mid to late 60s, things were said to be getting a bit rocky between the Bros, but what they did record always stayed pretty good, sometimes also fairly weird, and sometimes even better than than that. Frinstance one recalls, this time of year, their light summery yet real-feeling return to Kentucky (I believe they'd actually gone back to Brownie, not far from the place named in the song) in Bowling Green (1967); that came out and immediately disappeared about the same time the Rascals were having a summerlong hit with the momentary and forgettable Feelin' Groovy. The wondrous Everly harmonies became doubled when they sang over their own recording over their further harmonic 12-string layerings, as they did on this live version of their cover of the Mickey & Sylvia hit Love Is Strange, the effect unearthly.

Hilton said...

This form - photos and poems and, in the comments, recollection and reflection - makes for a moving memoir, and a pleasure, despite clouds of gone by and not yet or even not ever. Be well.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Wonderful photo of the Everlys, indeed - just perfect capture.

And Grantland Rice! Last thing I thought I'd be reading, and thinking about, this Sunday morning.

His work remained popular here in Pittsburgh long after it faded, I suspect, from general public consciousness. Still get a request now and again across the reference desk at the Carnegie from colleagues in similar states of divestment.

And those requests make me smile, just as this post did. And, my, A Crazy American Girl, 1960 variety.

Thanks, Tom.

TC said...

Many thanks, friends Hilton and Don.

Those "clouds of gone by and not yet or even not ever..."

Still thickening here. Difficulties keeping the blog (not to mention the corpus) up and running these past months.

Almost beginning to feel -- to invert the memorable phrase of Rocky Graziano -- "somebody up there doesn't like me..."

Will we still be around when those clouds lift, if they ever do?

The Everly shot, so so fine... real. We are rarely if ever permitted to see the for-real reality, any more. And the Chesterfields tribute (?) to Grantland Rice (surely there had to be a royalty?) -- the longer I look at that astonishing bit of not-very-well-hidden persuasion, the less I wish to smoke a Chesterfield, and the more I think about what a terrific fear of terror attack might be inspired now by the sight of an enormous lit cigarette, larger than the Goodyear blimp, hovering at the brink of the stadium, menacingly poised to pulverize the tiny marching band...