by Robert Wilkinson
Today is also the birthday of Humphrey Bogart, Cab Calloway, Rod Serling, and Carlos Castaneda!
I can't do clips of all these birthday people today, since I promised Bernadette I wouldn't work! That said, here's a tip of the hat to:
Film legend Humphrey Bogart (December 25, 1899 – January 14, 1957). A screen icon like few others in history, he was always one of my favorites! "To Have and Have Not," "The Maltese Falcon," "Casablanca," "The Roaring Twenties," "High Sierra," "The African Queen," "Across the Pacific," "The Petrified Forest," and my personal favorite, "The Treasure of Sierra Madre." All of these show an amazing actor who died way too young of lung cancer.
Television legend Rod Serling (December 25, 1924 – June 28, 1975). Another icon, famous for his scripts and narration of his creation, "The Twilight Zone," one of the all time legendary television shows known for its excellent writing, production, acting, camera work, lighting, and editing. For five years it "thrilled and chilled" us, and held up a pretty powerful mirror to human failings, fears, and freedom. The series is really worth getting into, since it features superior plots and acting. Rod was a legendary television activist, clashing with television executives and sponsors over a wide range of issues including censorship, racism, and war. And like Bogie, Rod was a heavy cigarette smoker who also died way too young of a heart attack.
Carlos Castaneda (December 25, 1925 – April 27, 1998) was a Peruvian-American author who gave the world the Don Juan tales, "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge;" "A Separate Reality;" and "Journey to Ixtlan." These opened many "doors of perception" in millions of readers, much as Serling's tales opened doors of perception in millions of television viewers. Castaneda gave us a lens to a different reality via Toltec culture and psychotropic drugs such as mescaline, which at the time appealed to millions of us looking to get beyond "an ego-structured state of mind."
The fourth birthday boy is none other than the remarkable Cab Calloway (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994). The Cabster was an extremely hip jazz singer and bandleader who was a regular at the Cotton Club in Harlem. The Man was a master of "energetic scat singing," and his band featured such greats as trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. And Cab was even featured in "The Blues Brothers." How hip is that? I found quite a few movies taken of his performances, so kick back and enjoy several of his best!
From "The Blues Brothers," "Minnie the Moocher."
A real treat!! The ORIGINAL video of Cab from a long time ago in a live and very raunchy performance of "Minnie the Moocher."
From the same performance, Cab live performing "Blues In The Night."
From 1935, produced by Paramount, here's Cab Calloway and his Orchestra at the Cotton Club doing 7 1/2 minutes of pure gold! For your enjoyment, "Cab Calloway's Jitterbug Party."
From 1932, the original audio-only studio version of "The Scat Song."
From 1930, the audio-only studio version of "Viper's Drag."
For a closing number, from 1950, a live film performance of Cab and his Orchestra doing his classic "St. James Infirmary."
So all great thanks and happy Christmas and birthday tidings to these extraordinarily talented people! Christmas certainly produces some amazing beings!!
© Copyright 2012 Robert Wilkinson