The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Cool Hall of Fame #50

Fred Allen


Anonymous said...

Love the photo. I'm a big fan of "Mr. All - en", but of course more familiar with his radio work. (I do think "It's In The Bag" is a terribly underrated picture. I also wish people still referred to films as "pictures".) I think of him more as a juggler than a ventriloquist in his vaudeville days. (I have a copy of "Treadmill to Oblivion," but haven't yet read it.) My memory is suggesting that perhaps I remember him being a failed ventriloquist? Seem to recall he failed in a seal act as well, or was that George Burns? At any rate, that has to be the most ghastly and macabre ventriloquist's dummy I've ever seen. I'll probably have nightmares about it tonight.

Ivan G. said...

To Anonymous:

After reading Treadmill to Oblivion, you need to pick up a copy of Much Ado About Me. One of the best biographies I've ever read.

To Stephen, Tom, Richard and the rest of the Hee Haw gang:

Thanks for the Allen pic. You just can't kick off the day proper without a photo of radio's comic genius.

Tom Sutpen said...

Thanks, Ivan . . . and saaaaaa-LUTE!!