Sunday, July 9, 2017

John Doyle writes

I Remember Little of the 1970s, But...

The library's closing early this evening,
the caretaker's getting psyched-up for some ball-
game he can hardly win,
and his vacuum cleaner's wheels sound like the twister
from the Wizard of Oz,

whistling and howling;
a man with a mustache
picks up a CD, 
Pretzel Logic;

and I get horny for the blackness of night
that kind of shit evokes,
when night was a place for twisters, and globules of rain,
and boxing on tv, and fast food you had to collect yourself,

and dads watching the Rockford Files - 
and just like boxing, someone would get a good beating
and get on with their life;
and the caretaker finishes hoovering

and I miss the sound of those wheels,
like a parting twister;
and part of me secretly hopes he gets angry at me
for walking on his cleansed carpet.
even if he is in the wrong for cleaning up too early;

part of me would love a good old-school showdown,
in sepia like a large part of the Wizard of Oz was shot in, 
the backdrop a big open city-scope
only Pretzel Logic

can really define,
punches and kicks flying everywhere,
and Jim Rockford watching a cheap Wednesday-night fight,
drinking beer with Noah Beery Jnr -

and one of his eyes blacker
than the night 
I must go out and
press my far too soft face towards.
 Image result for rockford files paintings
 Noah Beery Jr. & Jim Garner, "The Rockford Files"

Rockford Files, That episode when Jim takes a case to protect a beautiful woman from some gangsters but she lies to him about why she is being chased. Jim get beaten up by the mob. -- Ted Meyer
Jack Haley (Tin Man), Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Frank Morgan (Wizard), Judy Garland (Dorothy Gale), Ray Bolger (Scarecrow)Image result for hamlin wizard oz 
Miners' Gate entrance to Central Park, 5th Ave and 79th St, New York -- Raeanne Rubenstein


  1. L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was published in 1900. A young farm girl named Dorothy and her pet dog Toto were swept away from their Kansas home by a cyclone and taken to the magical Land of Oz. There, as she journeyed to get the Wizard of Oz to send her back home, she underwent a number of adventures with her companions the Sacrecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. The first edition of 10,000 copies quickly sold out, selling 3 million copies by the time it entered the public domain in 1956. Baum quickly adapted it to a play, "The Wizard of Oz," a 1902 musical extravaganza with music by Paul Tietjens and others, and sets and costumes designed by the book's illustrator W. W. Denslow. Julian P. Mitchell, the director, made a number of changes, most of which Baum was unhappy about, though the play's success led him to add a dozen sequals to the original novel. The show premiered at Fred R. Hamlin's Chicago Grand Opera House in 1902 and moved to the Majestic Theatre on Broadway in New York early the next year, where it ran for 293 performances until the end of 1904, followed by tours of the original cast. Although Toto was replaced by a cow in the play, the theatrical production served as a partial reference for the 1939 movie (including the title, the introduction of Dorothy's family name, and the miraculous meteorological rescue of the Cowardly Lion from the poppy field rather than the original version in which he was saved by field mice pulling a cart).

  2. After the success of Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in 1937, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought the movie rights to the novel. In typical Hollywood fashion, the script and production went through a number of changes. William H. Cannon submitted a 4-page outline that toned down the magical elements, as the earlier (1925) film adaptation had done; the Scarecrow was actually a man so stupid that his only job prospects were to hire himself as a live scarecrow; the Tin Woodman was a criminal who had been sentenced to wear a tin suit for eternity. Herman J. Mankiewicz delivered a 17-page draft of the Kansas scenes and then a further 56 pages; he was responsible for the color shift between Kansas and Oz. Noel Langley wrote a 43-page treatment and 4 full scripts. Poetic humorist Ogden Nash did a 4-page outline. (One of Nash's poems, "If he were alive today, Mayhap, Mr. Morgan would sit on the Midget's Lap," is usually explained as a commentary on banker J. P. Morgan posing with a circus midget on his knee at the income tax evasion trial of one of his bankers, but it could also be a commentary on the Munchkins and actor Frank Morgan, who played five roles -- the carnival huckster "Professor Marvel," the Gatekeeper at the Emerald City, the coachman of the carriage drawn by "The Horse of a Different Color," the Guard who initially refused to let Dorothy in to see the Wizard, and the Wizard himself -- but never achieved much fame and was the only major cast member from the film who would not live to see the film's revived popularity on television.) Harold Arlen and Edgar "Yip" Harburg wrote the music but also provided dialogue segues to the songs as well as Morgan's speech about brains, heart, and courage. Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf also submitted a script and were assigned to make sure the story stayed true to the Baum book. The final draft was completed by John Lee Mahin, but Victor Fleming made further changes as director (he left to take over the troubled "Gone with the Wind" production), and Jack Haley and Bert Lahr wrote some of their own dialogue. At first the studio wanted to cast Shirley Temple, the country's most popular child star, as Dorothy, but producer Mervyn LeRoy wanted Judy Garland despite her mature age (16). W. C. Fields was originally chosen for the Wizard but could not agree on his fee, so Morgan, a contract player, was cast instead. Buddy Ebsen was the original Scarecrow, and Ray Bolger was to play the Tin Man, but Bolger had been inspired to become a vaudevillian when he saw Fred Stone play the Scarecow in 1902. Bolger and Ebsen switched roles, but 10 days into the shoot Ebsen suffered a reaction to his aluminum powder makeup and was hospitalized in critical condition, so Jack Haley was hired instead (though Ebsen's vocals were retained except for "If I Only Had a Heart"). Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West, could not eat solid food due to her makeup, requiring her to subsist on a liquid diet, and she was hospitalized for 6 weeks after suffering second-degree burns when her copper-based makeup caught on fire during the Munchkinland scene. Due to that experience, she balked at flying on a smoke-billowing broomstick, so stand-in Betty Danko performed the scene instead and was severely injured due to a malfunction in the smoke mechanism.

  3. Norman Taurog had been set to direct, but he only filmed a few early Technicolor tests before being reassigned in favor of Richard Thorpe, who worked on it for about two weeks before LeRoy replaced him with George Cukor, who reversed many of Thorpe's directorial choices but did not shoot any scenes before he too left the set due to a prior commitment to do "Gone with the Wind." He was followed by Fleming, who did most of the movie before he replaced Cukor on "Gone with the Wind." King Vidor completed the task, including the sepia-toned Kansas sequences and Garland singing "Over the Rainbow" (which LeRoy and the MGM head Louis B. Mayer at one point deleted, but associate producer Arthur Freed and Garland's vocal coach Roger Edens managed to have this decision reversed). Despite positive reviews, the film was not a financial success, losing $1,145,000 due to its high production costs(which made it MGM's most expensive release up to that time) and it did not turn a profit until its 1949 re-release. Nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Picture, which was won, ironically, by "Gone With the Wind"), it won in two musical categories, "Original Score" (by Herbert Stothart) and "Original Song" ["Over the Rainbow"]. The film was first aired on television as the last installment of the CBS anthology series "Ford Star Jubilee," then shown annually from 1959 to 1991 (except 1963); it was named the most-viewed motion picture on television syndication by the Library of Congress. Its famed sepia-toned sequences were replaced by black-and-white for its television premier and have been absent ever since. Salman Rushdie claimed, "When I first saw The Wizard of Oz, it made a writer of me," and his first short story, written at the age of 10, was "Over the Rainbow."

  4. "The Rockford Files" was a television series that aired 123 episodes from 1974 to 1980. Roy Huggins had created the "Maverick" TV series (1957–1962) that had featured James Garner; he teamed with Stephen J. Cannell, a writer for Jack Webb productions such as "Adam-12" and "Chase," to create a new show for Garner; their "Public Arts/Roy Huggins Production" made the series along with Garner's own Cherokee Productions and Universal Television. Garner's partner Juanita Bartlett served as story editor during most of "The Rockford Files" run. Garner played Jim Rockford, a wrongfully-convicted-prisoner-turned-private-detective; his father "Rocky" was played by Noah Beery, Jr. (nephew of the movie actor Wallace Beery). The theme by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter went to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement. Despite the show's popularity, it went into hiatus late in 1979 when Garner took time off because of numerous knee injuries and back trouble sustained due to his insistence on performing most of his own stunts. It was then cancelled due to high production costs caused by location filming and the use of high-end actors as guest stars, though it immediately went into syndication. Then Garner and Universal engaged n a lengthy dispute over profits, which was eventually settled out of court in Garner's favor. Eight "Rockford Files" TV movies were made from 1994 to 1999, reuniting most of the original cast (except Beery, who died earlier in the month that the first one aired).

  5. "Pretzel Logic" (referring to fallible, twisted, or circular reasoning)was Steely Dan's third studio album. Released in 1974, it was written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen and was the last album that featured the full fve-member band (Becker, Fagen, Denny Dias, Skunk Baxter, and Jim Hodder), It reached number 8 on the Billboard 200, and the single "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The band had toured steadily since its founding in 1972 but became a studio-only ensemble from 1974 and relied mainly on studio musicians (other than Becker and Fagen, who had teamed up in 1968 and played in various groups, which for a time included Chevy Chase on drums). They named themselves after Steely Dan III from Yokohama, an oversized, steam-powered strap-on dildo in William S. Burroughs' 1959 novel "Naked Lunch":

    “Mary is strapping on a rubber penis. ‘Steely Dan III from Yokohama,’ she says, caressing the shaft. Milk spurts across the room. ’Be sure that milk is pasteurized. Don’t go giving me some kinda awful cow disease like anthrax or glanders or aftosa.…’ ’When I was a transvestite Liz in Chi used to work as an exterminator. Make advances to pretty boys for the thrill of being beaten as a man. Later I catch this one kid, overpower him with supersonic judo I learned from an old Lesbian Zen monk. I tie him up, strip off his clothes with a razor, and fuck him with Steely Dan I. He is so relieved I don’t castrate him literal he come all over my bedbug spray.’ ’What happen to Steely Dan I?’ ’He was torn in two by a bull dike. Most terrific vaginal grip I ever experienced. She could cave in a lead pipe. It was one of her parlor tricks.’ ’And Steely Dan II?’ ’Chewed to bits by a famished candiru in the Upper Baboonsasshole.’ Then Mary works Steely Dan III into Johnny’s ass “with a series of corkscrew movements of her fluid hips.”


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