The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Roy McCurdy’

Play Misty for me

Posted by keithosaunders on September 5, 2011

The other night I was flipping through the channels when I happened across Clint Eastwood’s 1971 film, Play Misty For Me.  I came in at the halfway point, but ended up watching the remaining half.  I’d seen it several years ago, but I had forgotten much of it.

Two things struck me about the film.  One was how many similarities there are between Play Misty and For Me, and the 1987 thriller, Fatal Attraction.  The most notable difference is that in Misty, Clint Eastwood’s character is a single man, whereas Fatal Attraction’s Michael Douglass is married. 

On the one hand you have this 70’s era cautionary tale about the pitfalls of being a promiscuous single man, and on the other you have an 80’s allegory on what can happen when a married man strays from the path of the straight and narrow.  Even though both movies are titillating in their way, in the end they are proponents of celibacy, and in that way they are conservative.  

In both films a psychopathic woman attempts to commit suicide by slashing her wrist as a means of getting attention from her obsession.  And both films feature a final confrontation between the lovers, culminating in the grizzly death of the woman.  It’s interesting that both films paint the woman as an evil temptress — like the snake in the garden of Eden. 

The other striking facet of Misty is the music.  Of course you are treated to a generous helping of Errol Garner’s Misty, but that’s not all.  In the middle of the film there is a ten minute scene of uninterrupted music without dialogue.  While Clint is falling in love with a new girlfriend, Roberta Flack is heard on the soundtrack singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.  The song eventually went on to become an enormous hit, due in no small part, I m sure, to this film.

The very next scene shows Clint and his new girlfriend attending the Monterey Jazz festival.  Again, there is no dialogue — the music takes center stage, both literally and figuratively.  The scene begins with a burning trombone solo played by a man named Gene Conners, aka the Mighty Flea.  The solo goes on for several choruses.  Conners is playing in the Johnny Otis band.  Otis was a rhythm and blues musician, as well as composer, and his heyday goes back to the ’40s.

After the trombone solo the scene switches to none other than the Cannonball Adderley Quintet!  They are playing a funky boogaloo and you can see his brother Nat on trumpet, as well as a young Joe Zawinul on piano.  (he even had some hair then)  You can hear the great drummer, Roy McCurdy on the track, but he is unseen in the film.

I thought it was striking to see such a long scene without dialogue in a mainstream film that was not a musical.  That would never happen in today’s market-tested, corporately-driven films.  This was as if Clint (who is a huge jazz fan) was saying, “Fuck it, it’s  my film, I love jazz, and I’m going to shoehorn these great artists into the scene if it’s the last thing I do!” 

I’m glad he did.          

 

Jessica Walters

Glenn Close

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Super Bowl memories!

Posted by keithosaunders on February 2, 2011

It’s that time of year again.  A time of renewal and a time to reflect.  Without further ado I give you…Keitho’s Super Bowl sagas!

Before 1977 I wasn’t that interested in sports so my memories from that period are not specific enough to cite.  I remember Miami kicker Garo Yepremian trying to throw a pass after a botched field goal attempt in Super Bowl VII.  I also recall that the Mary Tyler Moore show used Super Bowl VIII — the Dolphins vs the Vikings — as  part of the plot for one of their episodes.   Most of the games in those days were one-sided affairs and were anti-climactic.  On the other hand, there wasn’t nearly as much hype around the games. 

Enough preamble, let’s get started.

Super Bowl XI — Pasadena

Raiders vs Vikings

I was there!  My Uncle Ernie got tickets and I went with my Dad, cousin R, and Ernie.  We parked in the driveway of the home of the L.A. District Attorney, John van De Kamp, who was friends with my uncle and lived walking distance of the Rose Bowl.  Our seats were a few rows in front of O.J. Simpson and Franco Harris who were sitting next to each other.  We also saw Cary Grant.  After the game we found that Ernie’s car was parked in by another friend of the D.A.’s.  My cousin, who had an impatient streak, ended up keying the guy’s car.

Super Bowl XII — New Orleans 

Cowboys vs Broncos

I watched this one in my Van Nuys living room with my Dad and my girlfriend.  The game was a rout but my girlfriend impressed us by knowing the names of the Broncos skill position players.

Super Bowl XIII — Miami 

Steelers vs Cowboys

Once again we were couch side at Casa Saunders although that year I was sans girlfriend.  Present were my Mom, Dad, brother, and cousin.  This was the brother of the cousin who keyed the car at SB XI. 

Super Bowl XIV — Pasadena

Steelers vs Rams

I was playing a gig at a club in Malibu called Pasquale’s with the drummer Roy McCurdy.  Rather than miss most of the game driving to the gig the band decided to arrive early, rehearse, and watch the game at the club-owner/bass player’s apartment, which was located above the club.  It was an exciting game but too bad the Rams lost.

Super Bowl XV — New Orleans

Raiders vs Eagles

The Eagles?!  I remember watching this one at home with my immediate family.  A terrible game but Philly was crazed with success from a few months earlier when the Phillies won the World Series for the first time in their history.  That being said they still await their first Super Bowl win.

Super Bowl XVI — Pontiac, MI

49ers vs Bengals

I missed this one because I was working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  I was upset because it turned out to be an exciting game and up until that year there hadn’t been that many compelling Super Bowls. 

Super Bowl XVII  — Pasadena

Redskins vs Dolphins

I only saw the first half of this one because I had a gig with drummer Dick Berk in Seal Beach which is way he hell down in Orange County, CA.  I remember listening to the second half on the radio and hearing John Riggins break off that long run for the deciding score.

Super Bowl XVIII — Tampa

Raiders vs Redskins 

For some reason I don’t have visceral memories of this one.  I probably was gigging with Berk again.  All I know is that Marcus Allen dominated.  This was the last Super Bowl I experienced while living in L.A.  It’s odd that I don’t remember this one too well since the Raiders had moved to L.A. by then.  You’d think it would have been a big deal for the city finally to have been a champion after all of the years of disappointment with the Rams. 

Super Bowl XIX – Stanford

49ers vs Dolphins

My first Super Bowl as a New York resident found me back on the west coast.  I was on the road with the saxophonist Richie Cole and we watched that game at his friend’s house on Whidbey Island somewhere off of the coast of Seattle.  The Marino era had dawned but unfortunately it would be his first and last Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XX — New Orleans

Bears vs Patriots

Daaaaaaaaa Bears!  Not much memories of this game other than the Bears dominance.  I was living in Brooklyn and must have watched the game at my Aunt and Uncles apartment on Jay St, which was near Brooklyn Heights.

Super Bowl XXI — Pasadena

Giants (!) vs Broncos 

New York had not yet come down from the high of the Mets improbable Series victory three months earlier.  Unlike Philly, New York was able to pull off the daily double and went on to claim the first of their three Super Bowls.  I watched the game at my cousin Judy’s in Rockville Center Long Island with her family, my Aunt Ellie, Uncle Herb, and my best friend Jeff.  After the game Jeff drove us all home which entailed making stops in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.  I tried to get him to go to Brooklyn first but he was having none of it.  After all, it was my family. Why should I get dropped off first?  This typical show of magnanimity on Jeff’s part prompted my Uncle to utter the now famous comment, “Jeff, you’re a prince.” 

To be continued…

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