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27 November 2017

What do old folks do on Sundays?

They sit at home, turn on PBS and watch them wheel out old performers, prop them up, and have them try to remember the words to the songs that made them famous fifty or so years ago.

Some of them are still pretty good.  Debbie Reynolds looked like "Tammy" up until the day she died, I swear.  I wonder how much makeup that took.  Other females looked perky with the help of wigs and foggy camera lenses.  But the boy groups that we all loved are now older, more wrinkled, grey and with a lot more padding around the middle.  Sometimes one of them will forget the words to their signature songs. 

The show we watched this morning (can't remember which year it was originally broadcast) was hosted by Pat Boone, or a guy who looked like a skinnier, much more wrinkled version of the young heart throb that used to be Pat Boone.

But no matter what they all looked like, it was fun to hear all the songs again (especially since I mostly listened instead of watched since I was working on the computer).

I'm wondering if 50 years from today there will be nostalgic retrospectives of rap music of today. I watched a video of Bruno Mars recently and can't imagine that today's stars won't be hampered by arthritis!

The retrospective with stars of old singing today was followed by "Songbook Standards," which was the same kind of show but instead of the musicians today, it was video clips of them in their heyday.  I swear the clip of Dinah Shore was from her high school years.  Likewise, Rosemary Clooney was almost unrecognizable, she was so young and so thin.

The picture of Bing Crosby, with Clooney, reminds me of Al Franken, which may seem strange, but let me explain.  Through the years of my show biz obsession, there are idols who turn out to have feet of clay.  For some of them, I will excuse anything.  I loved Judy Garland through all of her drug years, her run ins with people, her divorces.  I didn't care about her private life.  I liked her for her singing and that overcame everything.

But there are some performers about whom I hear terrible things that alter how I feel about them.  Bill Cosby, for example.  After all the accusations about him came out, I just could not watch the Cosby Show any more.  All I could think about was the accusations that women made about him.

Bing Crosby is another one.  No, there were never (that I knew about) any scandals about him.  I knew that he had a big disconnect with the sons from his first marriage.  And I knew he had two or three children from his second marriage.  But I saw an interview where, in a question about his religion, he was asked what he would do if his daughter told him she was pregnant.  His body stiffened and he very coldly said "I would throw her out of the house and never see her again."  I think of that every single time I see him on film.  I also heard  that he was a very cold man with no close friends (not even Bob Hope) and on this "Songbook Standards" show, there was a clip of him singing "True Love" with Patti Page and I had such a negative reaction to seeing the two of them cuddled up together, remembering how Rosemary Clooney talked about his coldness and distance when they recorded together.  I can listen to Crosby and still enjoy his voice (it's not Christmas until Crosby sings), but I have lost the ability to enjoy his romantic scenes on film.

Yeah, I'm weird.  And there was a time when I followed this stuff much too closely.  My mother and I were both into Hollywood and stars and stuff when I was in grammar and high school (this was helped by the fact that my grandmother had friends in the movie business, whom we occasionally got to meet).  Today I can't even recognize most of the current big stars.

But at the moment, Al Franken falls into the Judy Garland category for me and sincerely hope he doesn't slip into Bill Cosby territory.



Christian groups are pushing for a Target boycott because of their bathroom policy.
I am going to be sure to do some of my shopping at Target, and hope that you do too!
I'll even be sure to make a potty stop.

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