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

Musical Indulgence #4

And you thought Orson Welles' talents extended to the realms of acting directing, writing, raconteur-ring, doing magic tricks for Hollywood drunks at parties . . . and no further??

Then pay heed, ye fools and apostates; and listen up!

In this performance from Dean Martin's venerable NBC variety program of the 1960s, the aforementioned star of 'Crack in the Mirror' lends his vocal gifts to Stephen Sondheim's 'Everybody Ought to Have a Maid', with an assist from Martin, Jack Gilford and (as something of a visual aid) Pat Crowley, a full decade after her appearance in Tashlin's Hollywood or Bust and looking only slightly the worse for wear.

No longer does one have to imagine Welles' singing voice, sports fans; get a load of it here.


Anonymous said...


Tom Sutpen said...

Well, this should give you all the insight you'll ever need into the haphazard organization of this production.

Though I'm actually surprised, considering our methodology, that this doesn't happen more often.


Ivan G. said...

Well, clearly Orson was lucky that he didn't give up his day job--but I enjoyed the hell out of this.

That's the problem with television today--there's nobody available with the necessary array of talents to host a program like this every week and to allow celebrities to let their hair down and generally make fools of a good way, of course.

Tom Sutpen said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Ivan, but I don't think it's because there's no one with that kind of versatility, per se. For a myriad of reasons (none of them having anything to do with entertainment) we have a horribly regimented show business culture today that discourages the kind of sublime, slightly anarchic foolishness that programs like Dean Martin's specialized in (which was a large part of their appeal, even in retrospect). What we have now with over-rehearsed, over-scripted, over-managed, carefully-timed, un-threatening entertainment is professionalism dragged into its most dreary state.

I'm convinced there are probably performers out there who would be an absolute revelation were they allowed to cut loose and engage with the audience more or less directly. But we don;t know who they are.