Bonnie Scotland/Hollywood Party reminder!

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Elizabeth

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Jun 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/14/99
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Well, I hope I'm not being a bore by posting this again, but on Wednesday
June 16, Stan's birthday (Happy Birthday, Stan, wherever you are,
whatever/whoever you've been reincarnated as), Turner Classic Movies will be
showing:

7:30 AM EST - MGM's BIG PARADE OF COMEDY (1964) with clips featuring Greta
Garbo, Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton, et al.

9:00 AM EST - HOLLYWOOD PARTY (1934)
with Jimmy Durante, Lupe Velez, Laurel & Hardy, et al.

10:30 AM EST - BONNIE SCOTLAND (1935)
with a achingly poignant romantic subplot that always brings tears to my
eyes (just kidding!) and the BEST DAMN JIG SCENE IN CINEMATIC HISTORY!!!!!

By the way, does anyone else around here find Jimmy Durante extremely
irritating? Can someone explain to me what the appeal is?

Elizabeth /*\

JVBGUY

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Jun 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/15/99
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"Elizabeth" wrote:

>By the way, does anyone else around here find
>Jimmy Durante extremely irritating?

Jimmy Durante started back in the time when everything, and I mean everything,
cost a nickel. The appeal: Hey, whattaya want for a nickel?

Actually, I find Durante incredibly overbearing in HOLLYWOOD PARTY, which is
probably why I only watched it once. He is a little better in the early
talkies he made with Buster Keaton, but Keaton is not good in them, so what's
the point of watching them?

For me, Durante is at his best when he sings "Young at Heart". Almost makes me
forget the Sinatra version.

Almost.

I hope that answers the question, which at this point, I've forgotten.

John B.
Co-founder, Laurel and Hardy Central
http://members.aol.com/lhcentral/

To e-mail me, remove NOT from the e-mail address.

'The Road Not Taken is Closed. Please Use Alternate Routes" -
from my upcoming book, POETS IN PUBLIC SERVICE

Elizabeth

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Jun 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/15/99
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YEEEEE-HA!!! Thank you, John!!!

I'm honestly not that familiar with Jimmy Durante, except for a general
awareness of him as a famous, oft-impersonated entity. My only recent
exposure to him was HOLLYWOOD PARTY, and I'll tell you, if I'd had a
35-pound rotting pumpkin handy I would have flung it straight at the TV
screen. I found him really obnoxious and creepy. He seemed to avoid making
eye contact with anyone -- never an endearing trait in my book.

As for "Young At Heart," I suppose I should welcome anything that makes me
forget Sinatra's version of anything. (Apologies to the multitudes who
don't share my anti-Sinatra bias.) Anybody ever heard Tiny Tim's version of
"My Way"??? It beats Sinatra's hands down, plus it has sound effects!

Elizabeth /*\


JVBGUY wrote in message <19990614233214...@ng-cl1.aol.com>...

igsjr

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Jun 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/15/99
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Elizabeth <ehof...@sover.net> wrote in message
news:puj93.6112$th1.2...@typ21b.nn.bcandid.com...

> By the way, does anyone else around here find Jimmy Durante extremely

> irritating? Can someone explain to me what the appeal is?
>
> Elizabeth /*\
>

I'm not a huge fan of most of Durante's film work -- primarily the stuff
that he did with Buster Keaton. I agree with Keaton when he said that
Durante didn't know when to shut up. That being said, I must admit that I
do enjoy listening to his old radio broadcasts. They are funny, and the
fact that Jimmy has an audience helps out a great deal...

"You gotta start out each wid a song..."

Remley

Joe Libby

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Jun 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/15/99
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Hollywood Party hardly shows Durante to any great advantage. Too bad,
because he was very funny. I haven't seen that many of his movies, but
he is much better, for instance, as Banjo in The Man Who Came To Dinner.
And his small role at the beginning of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
is quite funny.

Best,
Joe Libby
Sagebrush Productions Web Page:www.inergy.com/jlibby/welcome.html


Hal Erickson

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Jun 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/15/99
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"igsjr" <ig...@prodigy.net> wrote:

>
>Elizabeth <ehof...@sover.net> wrote in message
>news:puj93.6112$th1.2...@typ21b.nn.bcandid.com...
>
>> By the way, does anyone else around here find Jimmy Durante extremely
>> irritating? Can someone explain to me what the appeal is?

My late father was a huge Durante fan, but he qualified this by
telling me that Jimmy was never at his best in films. To fully
appreciate him, one had to see him "In....person!" as the Schnozzola
so often said.

Existing TV appearances bear this out. Jimmy was hardly the most
versatile or brilliant performer on earth, but he always gave 110
percent. As George Burns once noted, "The audience wanted to take him
home with them." The fact that everyone in show business loved the guy
seems to bear this out.

Same with Bert Wheeler. I always found him heaps funnier in his TV
appearances on Jackie Gleason's old CAVALCADE OF STARS (kinescopes of
which still exist) than in his films--with the exceptions of his early
RIO RITA and THE CUCKOOS, when he was still delightfully playing to
the balcony and the not the camera.

--Hal E

Elizabeth

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Jun 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/15/99
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Thanks for the input, guys. I'll try not to judge Jimmy Durante by the one
movie, irritating as he is in it! If other showbiz people liked him
personally, that says something.

Elizabeth /*\

gregory ellis

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Jun 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/16/99
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> > By the way, does anyone else around here find Jimmy Durante extremely
> > irritating? Can someone explain to me what the appeal is?

the schnozzola! hey...in the old days, all you needed was a funny nose.
actually i can take or leave durante...a loud but pleasant sort of hack
with some nice songs.

now...you know who REALLY makes me want to crawl over to the toilet and
barf?

jerry lewis.

sorry if anyone finds him entertaining or whatever, but sheesh! human
kryptomite as far as i'm concerned!

JimNeibr

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Jun 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/17/99
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If you are old enough to remember Durante's TV appearances in the sixties, on
various variety shows, you will likely remember him more fondly. If your
exposure to him is limited to things like Hollywood Party and What! No Beer?
you will probably assess him as simply annoying.

Since today's top comics include the likes of Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey, I
would perhaps embrace Durante as a master of subtlety.

JN

"The most contagious thing in the world is enthusiasm."

lynn paden

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Jun 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/18/99
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all i remember durante from (besides the dude who says "goodbye mrs.
calabash" and inka dinka doo) is _frosty the snowman_.


**sniff** it makes me cry everytime he sings it near the end and
**honk!*** frosty has melted!!


tears all over keyboards! messy, messy, messy!!!


jamison


Elizabeth

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Jun 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/19/99
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>> > Elizabeth wrote:
>> > By the way, does anyone else around here find Jimmy Durante extremely
>> > irritating? Can someone explain to me what the appeal is?

-----------------------------------------------------------
>gregory ellis wrote


>the schnozzola! hey...in the old days, all you needed was a funny nose.
>actually i can take or leave durante...a loud but pleasant sort of hack
>with some nice songs.
>
>now...you know who REALLY makes me want to crawl over to the toilet and
>barf?
>
>jerry lewis.
>
>sorry if anyone finds him entertaining or whatever, but sheesh! human
>kryptomite as far as i'm concerned!

---------------------------------------------------------
Jerry Lewis is not my cup of tea either. But you've got to agree he did a
superb job in straight roles in THE KING OF COMEDY and FUNNY BONES, the
latter of which is one of my absolute favorite movies.

Elizabeth /*\

P.S. Gregory, is it true that you usually change your clothes in phone
booth?


Joe Libby

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Jun 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/19/99
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Let me put in my couple o' cents worth on Jerry Lewis. Yes, some of his
films are DREADFUL, but he can be very funny. And he was excellent when
I saw him in touring show of Damn Yankees.

Crooner

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Jun 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/19/99
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Joe Libby wrote

>Let me put in my couple o' cents worth on Jerry Lewis. Yes, some of his
>films are DREADFUL, but he can be very funny. And he was excellent when
>I saw him in touring show of Damn Yankees.


One more thing we might want to consider is that Jerry Lewis, along
with Bob Hope, are the ONLY two comedy pioneers from comedy's
golden age that are still alive.

~ Crooner

Ray Tucker

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Jun 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/20/99
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On Sat, 19 Jun 1999 23:56:45 -0400, "Crooner" <cro...@erols.com>
wrote:

Even though the gags don't always work, I think Lewis' "The Ladies'
Man" is a brilliant film in many respects.

JimNeibr

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Jun 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/20/99
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elizabeth stated:

Jerry Lewis is not my cup of tea either. But you've got to agree he did a
superb job in straight roles in THE KING OF COMEDY and FUNNY BONES, the
latter of which is one of my absolute favorite movies.

-------

"When I made King of Comedy all the critics came out and proclaimed me as a
great actor. I had been acting for nearly 40 years! I didn't break a sweat
doing the role in King of Comedy, but I would have to shower and change after
rehearsing just one bit for The Bellboy."
-- Jerry Lewis to the authors in THE JERRY LEWIS FILMS (McFarland, 1995)

The Bellboy, incidentally, was edited according to directions written on the
script margins by Stan Laurel. Lewis offered Laurel good money to be his
technical advisor, but Laurel turned the offer down. Lewis could not convince
Stan that he wasn't merely being charitable, that he truly benefited from
Laurel's insights. Lewis called Laurel "the only comedian I would rank
alongside Chaplin"

James L. Neibaur
author (with Ted Okuda) of THE JERRY LEWIS FILMS

JimNeibr

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Jun 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/20/99
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>As for "Young At Heart," I suppose I should welcome anything that makes
>me forget Sinatra's version of anything
-----

Yeah, forget the version by the man who virtually invented modern pop song
phrasing.

Oh well, some people dismiss Laurel and Hardy as slow and boring. They're
wrong too.

JN

Crooner

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Jun 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/20/99
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JimNeibr wrote

> Lewis could not convince Stan that he wasn't merely
>being charitable, that he truly benefited from
>Laurel's insights.

I recall reading somewhere that the reason Laurel didn't work with
Jerry was because of their marked different approach to comedy.

Do you recall anything like that in your interviews with Jerry?

~ Crooner


Elmer Pintar

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Jun 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/20/99
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Jimmy Durante was at his zenith in the late 60's when he hosted "Jimmy
Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters Hour" along with a guest stint on
the Desi Arnaz-produced "Mothers-in-Law" series---and you guys missed
it!!

Elmer Pintar


Elizabeth

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Jun 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/20/99
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JimNeibr wrote in message <19990620111756...@ng-fx1.aol.com>...


Although there's other music I like, my personal preference is for music
from the 1900s-1930s, so the notion of "modern pop song phrasing" doesn't
impress me. I'm listening to Annette Hanshaw at this very moment and her
phrasing is brilliant, and she quit recording in 1936.

I don't care for Frank Sinatra because I find his voice cold and
unemotional. Mel Tormé, by contrast, has a warm, emotional voice -- to my
ear. Also, Sinatra's songs themselves often strike me as
blustery/arrogant/boozy, just not my kind of thing.

A couple of years ago I had to go for a root canal and was horrified when I
saw the dentist pop a Frank Sinatra 2-CD set in the CD player. "Oh, great,"
I thought. "This is gonna be even more fun than I expected." Because the
dentist and hygienist obviously really enjoyed Sinatra, I kept my mouth shut
(figurative speaking) and decided to take the experience as a learning
opportunity. An hour and a half later, I could understand why Sinatra is
admired as a great singer and why many people like him very much, but I
STILL DIDN'T LIKE HIM. I just don't have an emotional connection to his
music.

As for anyone who dismisses Laurel & Hardy as slow and boring, they're not
"wrong" in an absolute sense. Laurel & Hardy are just not "right" for them,
and they are not "right" for L&H. (And I'm sure as hell not inviting them
to my next dinner party.)

Elizabeth /*\


JimNeibr

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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Elizabeth stated:

>Although there's other music I like, my personal preference is for music
>from the 1900s-1930s,

So you wouldn't want my extra ticket to this year's Ozzfest despite the fact
that it may be the last time we see the original members of Black Sabbath in
concert.

>I don't care for Frank Sinatra because I find his voice cold and
unemotional.

Then you haven't heard a strong sampling of his work

>Mel Tormé, by contrast, has a warm, emotional voice

Yes, he was very good, and it is because of Sinatra's groundbreaking work that
singers like The Velvet Fog were able to make their own inroads.

>As for anyone who dismisses Laurel & Hardy as slow and boring, they're not
"wrong" in an absolute sense.

Yes they are.

Elizabeth

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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Elizabeth wrote:
>>I don't care for Frank Sinatra because I find his voice cold and
>unemotional.

Jim Neibr wrote:
>Then you haven't heard a strong sampling of his work


If a 2 CD "best of" set isn't a strong sampling then I suggest you alert the
record company. I don't like Sinatra because I don't like him. Period.
He's not my kind of singer, his songs are not my kind of songs. Period. I
have no quarrel with people who do like him and would never attempt to
change their opinions.

>>Mel Tormé, by contrast, has a warm, emotional voice
>
>Yes, he was very good, and it is because of Sinatra's groundbreaking work
that
>singers like The Velvet Fog were able to make their own inroads.

And Bing Crosby, Rudy Vallee, and Russ Columbo paved the way for Sinatra,
and so on and so on and so on back through time, forever and ever, amen.


>>As for anyone who dismisses Laurel & Hardy as slow and boring, they're not
>"wrong" in an absolute sense.
>
>Yes they are.


I would disagree VEHEMENTLY with anyone who finds L&H slow and boring, and I
would disagree while gnashing my teeth and resisting the urge to whack such
an infidel over the head with a frying pan, but at the same time I will
vehemently defend any individual's right to his or her own opinions and
preferences, so long as they are not cruel or harmful. You can't legislate
sense of humor or emotional response. Everyone is different.

Elizabeth /*\


JimNeibr

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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Elizabeth stated:

>If a 2 CD "best of" set isn't a strong sampling then I suggest you alert the
record company.

That would depend on the record company that released it. Sinatra's work at
Columbia is different from Capitol which is also different from Reprise. One
retrospective isn't enough for such a vast body of work. Just as owning all
the Fox films may not be one's best understanding of Laurel and Hardy

>And Bing Crosby, Rudy Vallee, and Russ Columbo paved the way for Sinatra,
>and so on and so on and so on back through time, forever and ever, amen.

Those are all great people. But merely coming before Sinatra is not
necessarily akin to having influenced him (Ham and Bud were a team before
Laurel and Hardy, but I certainly think L&H did something more with the
concept). What the above individuals managed to do was taken a few steps
further by Sinatra. He was more than merely the next in a succession of
crooners. (The best example above may be Columbo, but his tragic death at so
young of an age doesn't give us a chance to assess what he might have become
had he lived).

>I would disagree VEHEMENTLY with anyone who finds L&H slow and boring, but at


the same time I will vehemently defend any individual's right to his or her own
opinions and preferences, so long as they are not cruel or harmful.

Well there we agree -- everyone certainly has a right to his or her own
opinion, even if it is wrong.

Elizabeth

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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JimNeibr wrote:
>Well there we agree -- everyone certainly has a right to his or her own
>opinion, even if it is wrong.


Which is why I am magnanimously granting you the right to yours.

Elizabeth /*\

JimNeibr

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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Elizabeth stated:

-----

and it is wise of you to grant such status to one who obviously knows a bit
more about the subject being discussed.

Elizabeth

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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>JimNeibr wrote:
>and it is wise of you to grant such status to one who obviously knows a bit
>more about the subject being discussed.
>
>JN
>
>"The most contagious thing in the world is enthusiasm."

Your "enthusiasm" appears to be primarily for your own opinions. If it does
indeed prove contagious, I'll be sure to see a doctor immediately.

Elizabeth /*\

Jay Anthony

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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and you seem to aim your enthusiasm at the negative aspect of everything.
Everyone should cheer up and realize theirs is not the only opinion. I think
Jimmy was a great talent. I don't like the Three Stooges. I have many ideas on
good and bad. I'm sure you have just as many counter likes and dislikes, that
doesn't make either one of us right or wrong. That means we just have a
different taste for entertainment. Of course I don't wear a fez to bed at
night. That doesn't mean you are wrong, that means your head is warmer than
mine.

Be Happy,
Jay

Elizabeth wrote:Your "enthusiasm" appears to be primarily for your own

Elizabeth

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Jun 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/21/99
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Jay Anthony wrote in message <376ECC00...@inficad.com>...

>and you seem to aim your enthusiasm at the negative aspect of everything.
>Everyone should cheer up and realize theirs is not the only opinion. I
think
>Jimmy was a great talent. I don't like the Three Stooges. I have many
ideas on
>good and bad. I'm sure you have just as many counter likes and dislikes,
that
>doesn't make either one of us right or wrong. That means we just have a
>different taste for entertainment. Of course I don't wear a fez to bed at
>night. That doesn't mean you are wrong, that means your head is warmer
than
>mine.
>
>Be Happy,
>Jay

Thank you, Jay :-)

Elizabeth (no fez -- cooling my head for a moment!)

JimNeibr

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Jun 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/22/99
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Jay stating:

and you seem to aim your enthusiasm at the negative aspect of everything.
Everyone should cheer up and realize theirs is not the only opinion.

------

You might want to realize that I said nothing negative about any peformer being
discussed here. I was merely challenging Elizabeth's negative comments about
Sinatra, which she had some trouble backing up. I agreed with her positive
comments about Columbo, Crosby, Torme, et al. Just as I defended both Jimmy
Durante and Jerry Lewis in these same threads.

If anything, I am against negative opinions on ALL of the classic performers,
hence you will see none from me. You will only see me defending against
negative opinions that cannot be backed up with any real substance.

Elizabeth

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Jun 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/22/99
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JimNeibr wrote in message <19990622102201...@ng-ft1.aol.com>...

I believe that Jay's comment about aiming enthusiasm at negative aspects of
things was directed at me, and it's an observation I accept without
complaint. Occasionally I have strong emotional reactions to
performers/performances, books, artwork, etc. If my reaction is negative, I
may rave and rant, which is something I've done in the newsgroup several
times lately, maybe to excess. (I also rave and rant in a nice way when I
like something.) But I rave and rant with a clear sense that my opinion is
my opinion -- it is not absolute truth, any more than anyone else's opinion.

My initial negative comment about Sinatra included the statement "apologies
to the multitudes who don't share my bias." In other words, I don't like
him but I know I'm in the minority. And I have the right NOT to enjoy Frank
Sinatra without being told that I'm "wrong!" I've heard him plenty of times
in my life, and I know that I will never enjoy his singing or his music. It
has nothing to do with Sinatra's technical proficiency or whether he's
significant in the history of popular music. I simply do not have a natural
affinity for his work. My mother is of the Sinatra generation and she
doesn't like him either.

Everyone's likes and dislikes are different because their perceptions are
different, and their perceptions are different because their realities are
different. A person's reality is the product of personal history, time
period, geographical location, cultural/ethnic/religious background, gender,
education, socioeconomic status, genetics, and who-knows-what-else. If I
love a certain movie and my friend doesn't, that doesn't mean the movie is
"bad" or "good"; it means that I perceive the movie in one way and my friend
perceives it in another way. Personally, I don't mind hearing negative
opinions because they may shed some light -- or shadow -- on a subject and
lead me towards a new understanding of it, or at least of the person
delivering the opinion.

A while ago I asked in the ng which L&H feature people thought was best
after SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST. And practically everyone had a
different answer, which I thought was fascinating. As I recall, people's
reasons for liking the ones they liked were often quite personal, e.g. they
had some fond memory of the first time they saw the movie. It'd be silly to
tell anyone that their favorite shouldn't be their favorite because some
other is really the best. As with L&H movies, so with everything else.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion, of course ;-)

Elizabeth /*\
___
|___| (soapbox)


Card53

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Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
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As my day is not complete without at least one Sinatra song, I thought I'd jump
into this fray here...

Elizabeth writes:

>I believe that Jay's comment about aiming enthusiasm at negative aspects of
>things was directed at me, and it's an observation I accept without
>complaint. Occasionally I have strong emotional reactions to
>performers/performances, books, artwork, etc. If my reaction is negative, I
>may rave and rant, which is something I've done in the newsgroup several
>times lately, maybe to excess. (I also rave and rant in a nice way when I
>like something.) But I rave and rant with a clear sense that my opinion is
>my opinion -- it is not absolute truth, any more than anyone else's opinion.

I think this is Jim's point (apologies if I'm putting words in his mouth):
there are opinions and then there are informed opinions and they are not of
equal value. And your opinion regarding Sinatra seems to be based on emotion
rather than the result of having informed yourself as to his importance in the
history of things. I don't see that you're backing up your thoughts with
reasons or examples at any rate.

I'm a former English teacher and I don't happen to *like* the novels of Henry
James. I find his ideas just aren't worthy of his torturous and convoluted
syntax. But I arrived at this opinion after reading most of his writings and
educating myself as to his stature and influence in the world of fiction. So
if my students ask me about Henry James, I could answer in one of two ways,
both of them entirely consistent with my thoughts on the man:

"One of the most important of English novelists, a tremendous influence, and an
absolute master of the language."

Or I could say:

"I don't like him. He's boring."

Now, which is the more useful answer? The one which acknowledges his stature
or the one based on my emotions?

>My initial negative comment about Sinatra included the statement "apologies
>to the multitudes who don't share my bias." In other words, I don't like
>him but I know I'm in the minority. And I have the right NOT to enjoy Frank
>Sinatra without being told that I'm "wrong!"

It's not a simple matter of right and wrong or what you like or don't like. It
has to do with the fact that you have to be careful about casually dismissing
one of the few great artists America has produced with an "I don't like him"
and without somewhere demonstrating that you know what he's all about in the
first place. Kind of like the kid who "hates" Shakespeare -- how much do you
think that kid really knows about Shakespeare?

>I've heard him plenty of times
>in my life, and I know that I will never enjoy his singing or his music. It
>has nothing to do with Sinatra's technical proficiency or whether he's
>significant in the history of popular music. I simply do not have a natural
>affinity for his work.

And here you admit that your criteria are the most superficial. Yes, forget
his technical proficiency! Forget his significance! What matters are your
feelings!

I'm not coming down on you for your feelings about Sinatra. It's that your
opinion on Sinatra seems to be based on nothing but your feelings.

It might make for a better case on your part if you were to perhaps give a
serious listen to a great Sinatra album, say, "In the Wee Small Hours" or
"Songs for Swingin' Lovers" and then specifically explain what there is not to
like about him. (Of course, I suspect that if you actually did this, you just
might change your mind altogether.:))

>My mother is of the Sinatra generation and she
>doesn't like him either.

Proving....???

>Everyone's likes and dislikes are different because their perceptions are
>different, and their perceptions are different because their realities are
>different.

Full appreciation of an artist's significance has little to do with likes and
dislikes or with your individual perceptions. Opinions, yes, appreciation, no.
And I maintain that an opinion is a pretty worthless commodity until you've
gone through the Full Appreciation stage.

>A person's reality is the product of personal history, time
>period, geographical location, cultural/ethnic/religious background, gender,
>education, socioeconomic status, genetics, and who-knows-what-else.

True enough. But there's also such a thing as the common culture. And it's
been pretty well established that Sinatra appeals to a wide cross-section of
the culture, regardless of gender, education, socioeconomic status, etc., etc.
Your main defense seems to be coming up with ever-more creative ways to say
"I'm entitled to my opinion."

>If I
>love a certain movie and my friend doesn't, that doesn't mean the movie is
>"bad" or "good"; it means that I perceive the movie in one way and my friend
>perceives it in another way.

Let's say that the movie you and your friend saw was SONS OF THE DESERT.
You're schooled in Laurel & Hardy, seen all their films a hundred times, but
it's your friend's first exposure to them. And let's say your friend's
reaction is "Okay, now I've seen Laurel and Hardy, and I don't like them. Too
slow, too boring." Now how are you going to react?

>A while ago I asked in the ng which L&H feature people thought was best
>after SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST. And practically everyone had a
>different answer, which I thought was fascinating.

How many of them disliked L&H outright? L&H fans debate their best films just
as Sinatra fans debate his best album. But these debates arise out of an
appreciation of the artists to begin with.

>As I recall, people's
>reasons for liking the ones they liked were often quite personal, e.g. they
>had some fond memory of the first time they saw the movie.

Fine, but that's not very scholarly criteria, is it?

Again, everyone's entitled to an opinion and everyone's entitled to an informed
opinion. I think what Jim and I want is just for you to recognize and
acknowledge the difference between the two.

>It'd be silly to
>tell anyone that their favorite shouldn't be their favorite because some
>other is really the best.

Well, if someone wanted to make a case for "Ace Ventura" being a superior film
to "The Godfather," I'll bet I could put up a good fight.

Elizabeth, please don't take this as a flame or anything like that. You're a
valuable member of this group and I always enjoy your posts as long as they
don't pertain to Sinatra.:) I recall an article which appeared last year
shortly after Sinatra's death in which the writer made a case for the name of
Sinatra being mentioned in the same breath as Shakespeare, Mozart and Rembrandt
in the years and centuries to come. You don't casually dismiss such a man with
an "I just don't like him" and not expect to catch some flak!

John Larrabee
Co-founder: Laurel & Hardy Central
http://members.aol.com/lhcentral

Elizabeth

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to

Nor is anyone explaining precisely why they like and value Sinatra. If we
can all agree that Sinatra was a fine singer and historically important (and
I've said that I have no argument with this), then what's left is emotional
response, which is hardly irrelevant in a discussion of popular music. What
moves a person to write a song? (Besides money.) What moves a person to
sing? To want to sing really well? (Besides money.) To add a certain song
to the repertoire? To listen to a certain song over and over? What pulls
any of us into the music we love? It's feeling, it's not scholarly opinion.

I have no doubt that you and Jim are more familiar with Sinatra than I am --
because you like him. You probably had a strong positive emotional response
to him when you first heard him, therefore you bought his records, saw his
movies, you learned about him, his life, his work, his influences. And are
you not now having a negative emotional response to me because I'm
"criticizing" somebody/something you love? It's very easy for people to
say, "Oh well, I have facts on my side and s/he just has emotion," but
there's always emotion on both sides of an argument. The very fact that
there's been such a strong response in this case proves there's no shortage
of emotion on the pro-Sinatra side.

Along similar lines, any Laurel & Hardy fan's initial response is an
emotional one (laughter) and may then progress to a more academic interest
in their work, their role in cinematic history, etc, etc. Just as love for
a favorite song begins with feeling moved by it. THEN you get curious about
who's singing it, who wrote it, what else did they write, etc, etc.

>I'm a former English teacher and I don't happen to *like* the novels of
Henry
>James. I find his ideas just aren't worthy of his torturous and convoluted
>syntax. But I arrived at this opinion after reading most of his writings
and
>educating myself as to his stature and influence in the world of fiction.
So
>if my students ask me about Henry James, I could answer in one of two ways,
>both of them entirely consistent with my thoughts on the man:
>
>"One of the most important of English novelists, a tremendous influence,
and an
>absolute master of the language."
>
>Or I could say:
>
>"I don't like him. He's boring."
>
>Now, which is the more useful answer? The one which acknowledges his
stature
>or the one based on my emotions?


They're both useful. Henry James didn't write his books so they could be
taught in school. He wrote because he had ideas to express and stories to
tell. Any writer writes for the audience that will WANT to read his or her
books, not for the ones who will grimace and swallow them like castor oil.
While it can be useful for people (especially young people!) to study what
they don't enjoy -- and perhaps be surprised to find they enjoy what they
thought they wouldn't -- there are so many worthwhile books out there, so
much worthwhile music, something for everyone, that I'd rather put my energy
into the works I'm drawn to naturally, works that challenge me and expand my
mind or my heart in ways that I enjoy. Why drink castor oil when there's
maple syrup in the pantry?

>>My initial negative comment about Sinatra included the statement
"apologies
>>to the multitudes who don't share my bias." In other words, I don't like
>>him but I know I'm in the minority. And I have the right NOT to enjoy
Frank
>>Sinatra without being told that I'm "wrong!"
>
>It's not a simple matter of right and wrong or what you like or don't like.
It
>has to do with the fact that you have to be careful about casually
dismissing
>one of the few great artists America has produced with an "I don't like
him"
>and without somewhere demonstrating that you know what he's all about in
the
>first place. Kind of like the kid who "hates" Shakespeare -- how much do
you
>think that kid really knows about Shakespeare?


America has produced so many great artists! How can you possibly call
Sinatra "one of the few?"

Sinatra and Shakespeare are not in the same category. Shakespeare was a
creative genius whose work has endured for 400 years. (So talk to me in
another 400 years about Frank.) Sinatra was an interpreter and not a writer
(apart from a few songs). Which is not to say that interpretation doesn't
require creativity, but it's not creativity of the same caliber.
Shakespeare is taught in virtually every high school in the country; Sinatra
isn't. They are not of equal weight. You may personally see Sinatra as the
pop music equivalent of Shakespeare, and if that's where he fits in your
pantheon, fine. Just don't try to push him into mine. And don't insult me,
either. I'm not a fourteen-year-old kid; I'm old enough to know my own
mind. By analogy, I don't care for opera, either. I know enough about
singing to know what kind of skill is involved and I realize that plenty of
people are wild about opera; I also know that it will never be something I
personally enjoy. Opera and me are not a good match. I don't really care
for the color orange. Should I go out and buy 20 gallons of orange paint
and paint my house orange because I might decide I like it after all? To
please everyone out there who does like the color orange? Thanks, but no
thanks.

>>I've heard him plenty of times
>>in my life, and I know that I will never enjoy his singing or his music.
It
>>has nothing to do with Sinatra's technical proficiency or whether he's
>>significant in the history of popular music. I simply do not have a
natural
>>affinity for his work.
>
>And here you admit that your criteria are the most superficial. Yes,
forget
>his technical proficiency! Forget his significance! What matters are your
>feelings!

Damn right they do. To call my feelings superficial criteria is just plain
insulting -- and absurd in a discussion about pop music. I've repeatedly
acknowledged that Sinatra is a fine singer and said that he just doesn't
appeal to me. Whaddya wanna do, tie me to a chair and make me listen to
Sinatra until I say you're right and I'm wrong? It won't happen.

>I'm not coming down on you for your feelings about Sinatra. It's that your
>opinion on Sinatra seems to be based on nothing but your feelings.

And let me remind you that a lot of what made Sinatra so popular was young
women in bobby sox screaming their lungs out because they thought he was
really good-looking. They were reacting on the basis of their feelings, not
scholarly criteria. And Sinatra is an icon to a lot of men because he seems
cool and powerful in a way that they admire. Are you ready to dismiss these
reactions as worthless because they're "emotional?" Let's not have a double
standard here.

>It might make for a better case on your part if you were to perhaps give a
>serious listen to a great Sinatra album, say, "In the Wee Small Hours" or
>"Songs for Swingin' Lovers" and then specifically explain what there is not
to
>like about him. (Of course, I suspect that if you actually did this, you
just
>might change your mind altogether.:))


Honestly, I've heard enough of him to know. Take my word for it. To begin
with, I just don't like the sound of his voice. It's not pleasing to my
ear. This is the kind of thing that is truly subjective; it's got nothing
to do with whether he's a good singer or a good guy or anything. It's not a
value judgment; it's a matter of style and personal preference.


>>Everyone's likes and dislikes are different because their perceptions are
>>different, and their perceptions are different because their realities are
>>different.
>
>Full appreciation of an artist's significance has little to do with likes
and
>dislikes or with your individual perceptions. Opinions, yes, appreciation,
no.
> And I maintain that an opinion is a pretty worthless commodity until
you've
>gone through the Full Appreciation stage.

According to the way you define "opinion" and "appreciation" and the
relative importance you assign them.
Which may differ from the way I see them.

>>A person's reality is the product of personal history, time
>>period, geographical location, cultural/ethnic/religious background,
gender,
>>education, socioeconomic status, genetics, and who-knows-what-else.
>
>True enough. But there's also such a thing as the common culture. And
it's
>been pretty well established that Sinatra appeals to a wide cross-section
of
>the culture, regardless of gender, education, socioeconomic status, etc.,
etc.

This is quite a generalization. I'm not sure how much common culture there
is in this country. Music always does a better job cutting across cultural
divides than anything else, but how many African American, Hispanic, Native
American, or Asian American Sinatra fans are there? Some, I'm sure, but can
you say unequivocally that non-white fans exist in proportionate numbers to
white fans? Are Frank Sinatra fans an exact reflection of this country's
population in microcosm?

>>If I
>>love a certain movie and my friend doesn't, that doesn't mean the movie is
>>"bad" or "good"; it means that I perceive the movie in one way and my
friend
>>perceives it in another way.
>
>Let's say that the movie you and your friend saw was SONS OF THE DESERT.
>You're schooled in Laurel & Hardy, seen all their films a hundred times,
but
>it's your friend's first exposure to them. And let's say your friend's
>reaction is "Okay, now I've seen Laurel and Hardy, and I don't like them.
Too
>slow, too boring." Now how are you going to react?

I'm going to react by not inviting them to see Laurel & Hardy again. Why
would I force things on people that they don't like? And in any case, what
I meant was a situation where my friend and I are both seeing a movie for
the first time. I'm talking about the uniqueness of perceptions. Why does
one person laugh when another doesn't? Why does one person cry when another
doesn't? Why does one person feel intellectually or spiritually stimulated
when another doesn't? Who is right and who is wrong? These reactions are
highly personal and subjective.

>>A while ago I asked in the ng which L&H feature people thought was best
>>after SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST. And practically everyone had a
>>different answer, which I thought was fascinating.
>
>How many of them disliked L&H outright? L&H fans debate their best films
just
>as Sinatra fans debate his best album. But these debates arise out of an
>appreciation of the artists to begin with.

None of them, obviously. But there are strong disagreements as to the
virtues of the 1940s movies, and the disagreements can get a bit unpleasant.
And as you move outside L&H into related areas and then unrelated areas
(think of it as concentric circles), L&H fans' opinions diverge more and
more. People seem willing to accept differences of opinion graciously
within that small comfortable center range (L&H Roach films) but the further
out you move, the less likely it is that people will agree and the more
likely it is (evidently!) that they will fight. My point was that if we can
accept small differences of opinion with good grace, we ought to be able to
accept larger ones.

>>As I recall, people's
>>reasons for liking the ones they liked were often quite personal, e.g.
they
>>had some fond memory of the first time they saw the movie.
>
>Fine, but that's not very scholarly criteria, is it

And I'm sure Stan would be terribly unhappy to know we were evaluating his
movies according to fond memory instead of scholarly criteria ;-)

>Again, everyone's entitled to an opinion and everyone's entitled to an
informed
>opinion. I think what Jim and I want is just for you to recognize and
>acknowledge the difference between the two.


Sure, but "informed" and "uninformed" are more relevant in some subject
areas than others. I want an informed opinion from my auto mechanic, my
plumber, my doctor. I don't want my doctor to take my appendix out because
he just doesn't like appendixes. I firmly believe that musical likes and
dislikes are based on emotion more than fact or information. Respect may be
based on fact or information, but affinity just isn't. I don't know how
many times I've seen a movie or read a book and said to myself, "Hmm, that
was really well done, but it wasn't really my kind of thing." This is what
I'm saying about Frank Sinatra. I can hear that he's good, and I know he's
extremely popular and well-regarded, but he's not for me. I'm sufficiently
informed about him to know he's not for me. At the risk of being hooted at
and pelted with bananas, let me shine some light on my affinities by
explaining that my own favorite singer (of the modern era) is Leonard Cohen.
And Mr. Cohen is not for everyone, to put it mildly. I can explain until
I'm blue in the face why he's good and why I like him, but if he's not your
cup of tea, hey, he's not your cup of tea. And it doesn't matter to me if
you've only heard a couple of his songs. If you tell me, "You know what,
Elizabeth? I don't like Lenny because he's a gloomy old pervert and he
sounds like a cow," that's fine with me. It tells me that you don't have a
natural affinity for Cohen's music and there's not much point in your
exploring it further.

>>It'd be silly to
>>tell anyone that their favorite shouldn't be their favorite because some
>>other is really the best.
>
>Well, if someone wanted to make a case for "Ace Ventura" being a superior
film
>to "The Godfather," I'll bet I could put up a good fight.

Sure, but a lot of people love ACE VENTURA. If it makes them laugh, if they
enjoy it, so what? If they enjoy it more than THE GODFATHER, so what? What
harm is done? I bet Marty and Marlon don't care.

>Elizabeth, please don't take this as a flame or anything like that. You're
a
>valuable member of this group and I always enjoy your posts as long as they
>don't pertain to Sinatra.:) I recall an article which appeared last year
>shortly after Sinatra's death in which the writer made a case for the name
of
>Sinatra being mentioned in the same breath as Shakespeare, Mozart and
Rembrandt
>in the years and centuries to come.

Time will tell.

>You don't casually dismiss such a man with
>an "I just don't like him" and not expect to catch some flak!

Yeah, well I certainly didn't expect to catch this much flak. Which again
proves to me that there's a great deal of emotion involved. What I would
really like to hear, in specific terms, is why people do like and value
Sinatra so much. If people can do this without being rude or patronizing.

John, if I can gather one last breath here, let me say that Laurel & Hardy
Central is a fabulous web site. You and the other John do a great job.
Even if you do like Frank Sinatra ;-P

Elizabeth /*\


JimNeibr

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
Elizabeth asked:

>What I would
>really like to hear, in specific terms, is why people do like and value
>Sinatra so much.

------

Easy. But there is an awful lot to say. Here goes....

I did not like Sinatra at all until I became an adult. I was rather busy
during childhood and adolescence with Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and
Black Sabbath. It was not until I got older that my tastes were refined and
objective enough to appreciate those singers whose energy was somewhat
different than that which can be found in rock music.

Frank Sinatra's initial impact as a crooner for the bobby soxers is not the
most important aspect of his presentation. Just as Presley and The Beatles
elicited this same reaction, but it is not the sole reason for their importance
in the realm of rock and roll music. The girls were not swooning over his
physical appearance as much as they were over his voice. His delivery was very
smooth and, for the time, sensual.

But even during the Big Band era, when he was cutting his first records for RCA
and backed by Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, Sinatra was honing his vocal delivery.
Even while singing standards, Sinatra would modify the arrangements so that the
lyrics, however simple, expressed what the songwriter intended, be it
joyousness, loneliness or abject yearning. He did not merely stand before the
mic and sing the song, he carefully expressed every word as if he meant it --
even in these earliest records he was very committed to the music.

His recordings for Columbia during and just after World War Two (the period
during which he was known as The Voice) featured a string of hit songs that
really started the most significant period of his career. His apprenticeship
with Dorsey (and Harry James) mainfested itself with a series of great songs in
which he continues to utter every lyric with the passion as he had initiated at
the outset of his career. This period does not feature his best known work in
retrospect, but Put Your Dreams Away and Nancy With The Laughing Face are two
of the more notable examples.

At Capitol during the fifties, Sinatra asserted himself even further. He went
from a passionate singer of Tin Pan Alley hits, to one who carefully selected
the best composed works by the finest songwriters of the period (Cole Porter,
Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, et al). He performed none of these songs as they
had been done before. With each selected track he created his own style of
presentation. It is here that he also created the persona of the swinging
bachelor; a benchmark for an America that was rapidly approaching middle age,
and whose music was being eclipsed by rock and roll. As the younger people
embraced Elvis, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis, the singers of Sinatra's era
struggled in vain for success. Sinatra, however, with Nelson Riddle, managed
to do some of the first concept albums, including The Wee Small Hours and Come
Fly With Me. Coming to grips with his middle aged status, Sinatra confronted
this with songs like You Make Me Feel So Young and Young at Heart. The musical
era was changing -- it was literally a cultural revolution -- and Sinatra
persevered.

Finally, at Reprise, Sinatra's voice had finally lost its smooth crooning
capabilities to the ravages of middle age. Upon turning 50, he released
September Of My Years, arguably his best album, in which he -- the swinger of
another era -- confronts growing older with sentiment, sorrow, bliss, and,
ultimately, triumph. While The Beatles were changing popular culture in
unfathomable ways, Sinatra maintained his foothold on popular music by actually
scoring Top Ten hits like Strangers in the Night, despite being mired in an era
where everyone finally realized rock and roll was here to stay.

At the end the voice was all but a glimmer of what had been, but even as late
as 1980, the sixtysomething singer was able to belt out Theme From New York New
York with the sort of commitment and passion he had always been counted on to
display in the past. It was the perfect culmination, being able to achieve hit
status from the late 1930s through to the outset of the 1980s despite the
tremendous changes in popular music during those periods.

This is the work of perhaps the single most important figure in the history of
popular music -- one whose outstanding talents went beyond his base popularity
with bobby soxers. I did not realize this until I was around 30 or so. But
until that point I had only heard the hits, and not a strong sampling of his
vast body of work. Sinatra's music takes a natural progression, both
culturally and historically, which surpasses that which has come before, and
introduces or explains that which follows. It is a truly impressive career,
and it would be awfully difficult to challenge its significance with any real
substance.

You just recently acknowledged Sinatra to be a great singer whose work just
didnt cut it for you. I have no problem with that. But you initially compared
Sinatra's music with root canal and gave no real backup for your reasoning. I
always agreed with the talents of those singers you did cite as favorites, and
never said anything negative about you personally. I don't work that way. All
I asked was that you back up you opinion, and you stated your opinion was
generally enough.

And incidentally, there certainly are many people who like the Jim Carrey
movies better than The Godfather. Subjectively, that cannot be argued with.
But objectively, those people's opinions certainly do not represent an
intelligent appreciation of cinema. Conversely, I like the Elvis Presley
movies but do not care for Wizard of Oz. Yet I am certainly capable of
realizing that Oz is a much, much better film than any Elvis movies. There is
an answer beyond an individual's opinion, and this can be understood as far
back as the earliest literary criticism (I have also taught English).

Jay Anthony

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
I was going to ignore this too long, going no where tirade of meaning less
commentary, but find I can not. Would it not be possible for the two of you to
have this discussion with private e-mail. I though I checked into
"alt.comedy.laurel-hardy". I stand corrected. If you have a soap box, this is
the place for you. And to add a little fuel to John's dwindling argument, I
have never bought a recording of Sinatra and never will because I also do not
like has style. I will never understand the nose in the air arrogance of people
who think they KNOW what is good for every one. John, my e-mail is
jay...@inficad.com. To quote Mills Lane "Let's get it on".

Jay(paid to play music)Anthony


>


BigStar303

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
<< I was going to ignore this too long, going no where tirade of meaning less
commentary, but find I can not. Would it not be possible for the two of you to
have this discussion with private e-mail. I though I checked into
"alt.comedy.laurel-hardy". I stand corrected. If you have a soap box, this is
the place for you. >>

In all my years of being online, I will never understand people who get so
uptight if a thread dares to veer the tiniest bit from the subject.

Hey, we're all complex human beings who care about more than just one thing. I
have found this thread to be very interesting, and find it related plenty
enough to our overall topic, appreciation of two artists that we love. We just
happen to be dealing with the appreciation part of the process rather than the
artists themselves.

If the thread is not to your tastes, then why would you read it at all? It
takes zero effort to not click on a header.


<< And to add a little fuel to John's dwindling argument, I
have never bought a recording of Sinatra and never will because I also do not
like has style. I will never understand the nose in the air arrogance of
people
who think they KNOW what is good for every one. >>

Having said the above, you now make a statement I agree with...mostly.

Myself, I know what's good for everyone, too. The difference is, I try to
restrain myself from telling them about it! (Though I don't always succeed in
doing so.)


Without going into the specifics, I'd just like to say that I'm surprised how
little support Elizabeth has received. I concur entirely with her views. You
cannot strap someone down in a chair and demand that he or she listen/view/read
an artists work with the expectation that the light will suddenly, magically
dawn.

Either they get it, or they don't. I agree that in-depth study can cause
someone to "get" and appreciate something to a greater degree than heretofore
-- but it's unlikely to overcome an initial unfavorable impression.

From my own experience, I know a great deal about the history of rock 'n' roll
and its primary contributors. I have certainly studied not only the music
itself, but the story behind the music, in greater depth than most.

I am highly cognizant of and fully appreciate the enormous contribution Bob
Dylan has made to popular music (to use a broader term than just rock 'n'
roll). I have tremendous respect for Bob Dylan. But this doesn't mean I
necessarily want to listen to Bob Dylan a lot...despite the fact that I own
every one of his albums up through "John Wesley Harding."

Except for the "Highway 61"/"Blonde on Blonde" era, I'm simply not that moved
when I listen to Bob Dylan recordings. As Elizabeth points out, when there's so
much more out there that does move me, I'm likely to spend my time listening to
it (and exploring yet unheard music of this type or others I've yet to
explore).

Sitting me down and saying,"Now you're gonna listen to Dylan and study even
more about him until you 'get it'" would be futile and a waste of time.


Same deal with the boys. I have sat in a room watching their films with
everyone laughing hysterically -- yet with one person staring blankly at the
screen with no reaction whatsoever.

What am I gonna do to change this person's mind -- and furthermore, why should
I even make the effort? He doesn't "get it" -- and nothing I'm gonna do is
likely to change that.

Eddie

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
>
> Nor is anyone explaining precisely why they like and value Sinatra. If we
> can all agree that Sinatra was a fine singer and historically important (and
> I've said that I have no argument with this), then what's left is emotional
> response, which is hardly irrelevant in a discussion of popular music. What
> moves a person to write a song? (Besides money.) What moves a person to
> sing? To want to sing really well? (Besides money.) To add a certain song
> to the repertoire? To listen to a certain song over and over? What pulls
> any of us into the music we love? It's feeling, it's not scholarly opinion.

I agree on this 100% Liz. Compare this to when a man meets a woman, she could
be beautiful and have lots in common with that man and yet no magic spark.
Sinatra sounds ok to me, but I don't really GET INTO his music. If I post all
the good points about 'White Zombie' who's gonna change their minds?? I like
how they sound as much as my taste is changing for sure... I find myself really
starting to like Barbara Striesand and I really don't care what anyone has to
say just like when I hear someone say L&H are too slow.

Hey Liz, can you sing like Barbara? :)


JimNeibr

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
bigstar stated:

Without going into the specifics, I'd just like to say that I'm surprised how
little support Elizabeth has received. I concur entirely with her views.

----

Had she said the exact same thing about John Lennon instead of Sinatra I
believe you would have responded somewhat differently. Opinions are fine, but
to attack Sinatra's voice and delivery without backing it up is -- well --
bounding over one's steps (to keep things on topic).

As I stated previously I do not like negative comments about great performers
without the person backing up said comments. Hence I have offered no negative
comments about any of the classic performers mentioned in any of these threads.

Elizabeth asked me to post reasons behind my appreciation of Sinatra. I have
done so. I do not expect her to become a fan. But I also do not expect that
his music be compared to root canal.

and by the way, Bigstar, John was right -- they really were more popular than
Jesus.

Jim

BigStar303

unread,
Jun 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/23/99
to
Jim wrote:

<< Had [Elizabeth] said the exact same thing about John Lennon instead of


Sinatra I believe you would have responded somewhat differently. >>

I'm not so sure.

Here are the three most telling statements Elizabeth made about Sinatra:

>>I don't care for Frank Sinatra because I find his voice cold and
unemotional.<<

If Elizabeth had said "Sinatra's voice IS cold and unemotional," there might be
a basis for a fight -- I certainly would fight someone who said the same thing
about Lennon's voice (which I happen to think is the greatest to have ever sung
rock 'n' roll).

But she said "I find..." This is a personal reaction to an artist's work -- the
very point Elizabeth later tried to make. I don't see how you can *legislate* a
"correct" one.


>>Also, Sinatra's songs themselves often strike me as blustery/arrogant/boozy,
just not my kind of thing.<<

Of course, not all of Sinatra's songs are like this, but Elizabeth said
"often." She also said "strike me" -- and this speaks to her later statements
about one's own personal experiences in life having so much to do with how one
appreciates (or is "struck by") a work of art.


>>An hour and a half later [i.e., Elizabeth's root canal exposure to Sinatra],


I could understand why Sinatra is admired as a great singer and why many people
like him very much, but I STILL DIDN'T LIKE HIM. I just don't have an
emotional connection to his music.<<

This seems pretty even-handed to me -- rather akin to what I expressed about
Bob Dylan. And I just don't see how you can take Elizabeth to task for saying
this. Again, to do so would seem tantamount to legislating politically correct
emotional responses. That's somewhere I sure don't want to go.


Jim again:

<< Opinions are fine, but to attack Sinatra's voice and delivery without
backing it up is -- well -- bounding over one's steps (to keep things on
topic). >>

I'm not sure how much more, or what different variety, of "back-up" you want or
can reasonably expect beyond the above.


<< Elizabeth asked me to post reasons behind my appreciation of Sinatra. I
have done so. I do not expect her to become a fan. But I also do not expect
that his music be compared to root canal. >>

Of course, she never did any such thing -- and you know she didn't.

JimNeibr

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
bigstar stated:

I'm not sure how much more, or what different variety, of "back-up" you want or
can reasonably expect beyond the above.

-------

Her initial statement was a long diatribe against Sinatra's music, stating that
a root canal procedure would indeed be more painful if she had to listen to
him. I responded the way I would had she said the same thing about any of the
classic performers. I don't think what she and I were doing was fighting, I
think we were having a discussion and nothing more. I certainly am not angry
at her, nor should I be.

She asked, and rightly so, for me to back up my assertion about his work being
admirable. I did so. I think she and I pretty much understand each other.

The statements you attribute to her were mentioned long after her initial post.

Incidentally, Mike, I recognize what you are doing with your posts regarding
her and my discussion and I must say your gallantry is rather touching.

But we are really getting way off topic --- my apologies to the others in the
group.

moving on....

JN

BigStar303

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Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
[Those who tired long ago of this thread, it goes without saying, are welcome
to skip this. However, just to be clear on a couple of things, I really feel I
must respond to Jim's last post...]


Jim wrote:

<< [Elizabeth's] initial statement was a long diatribe against Sinatra's
music... >>

Perhaps as you say I did miss some earlier posts in the thread. But in
fairness, if there was a "diatribe," it was followed by several reasoned posts
that attempted to explain her feelings in some detail.


<< ...stating that a root canal procedure would indeed be more painful if she


had to listen to him. >>

This seems to have really stuck in your craw, Jim, and I'm not sure why. I
don't find anything particularly untoward about the statement that undergoing
something physically painful with accompaniment of a musical artist you don't
care for is bound to make things even more unpleasant.

Surely you would say the same thing under the same circumstances if a musical
artist you dislike were played. And I have to feel you would take umbrage if I
challenged your statement. Under such circumstances, the artist involved is
truly irrelevant -- all that's relevant is that you don't like him/her/them.


<< I don't think what she and I were doing was fighting, I think we were having
a discussion and nothing more. I certainly am not angry at her, nor should I
be. >>

I didn't think you were fighting either. Nor was I. I never thought you were
angry...nor was I. We were indeed having a discussion, nothing more. I sort of
thought that's what newsgroups were for.


<< Incidentally, Mike, I recognize what you are doing with your posts regarding
her and my discussion and I must say your gallantry is rather touching. >>

Frankly, Jim, you recognize nothing. I find this statement insulting and
possibly sexist as well. The implication is that I'm not saying exactly what I
mean, or that what I'm saying is somehow being influenced by Elizabeth's
gender. It is not.

The fact is, while both your posts and hers have been well-expressed and
thoughtful, I find myself agreeing with Elizabeth. I'm sorry if you're finding
that difficult to deal with.

JimNeibr

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
BigStar stated (first quoting me):

<< Incidentally, Mike, I recognize what you are doing with your posts regarding
her and my discussion and I must say your gallantry is rather touching. >>

>Frankly, Jim, you recognize nothing. I find this statement insulting and
>possibly sexist as well.

It was supposed to be funny ---- oops. Good thing I didn't say "chick"

>The fact is, while both your posts and hers have been well-expressed and
>thoughtful, I find myself agreeing with Elizabeth. I'm sorry if you're finding
>that difficult to deal with.

Your agreeing with her certainly isn't the problem, but I really think you'd
understand her and my discussion more clearly if it was indeed John and not
Frank she dismissed as insignificant in her original post. There is a
difference between an informed opinion and a casual opinion. If you stated you
disliked Abbey Road, I would be surprised, but I wouldn't make an attempt to
defend that album in that I would realize you had heard it as many times as I
did. But if someone who had only heard one of the later Anthology tapes
insisted The Beatles were vastly overrated, well I am afraid I would resond
similarily to the way I did with Elizabeth.

Bottom line -- I don't think anyone should diss one of the classic performers
without sufficient understanding of that performer's work. Same for Jimmy
Durante (where this all started) et al.

If you want to respond, please feel free to E-mail me. I know this whole thing
has gone on way too long (and it has had nothing to do with Bonnie Scotland or
Hollywood Party for some time now).

Ima Moron

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
JimNeibr rote...

>Well there we agree -- everyone certainly has a
>right to his or her own opinion, even if it is
>wrong.


im glad you feel that way bekawze my favrit loril and harty moovey
is for love or mummey.

i like it best mainley bekawze its in colur. i spent a lot of
munney on a colur tv and ill be dammed if im going to watsh black
and wite.

i think they did a grate job of colurizing helpmaits. thear is now
no need to bothur presurving the black and wite vurshun.


Ima Moron

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
JimNeibr rote...
>Lewis called Laurel "the only comedian I would
>rank alongside Chaplin"


their are sevril commedeyins living today who are bettur then
chaplin. for example their is jim karrey, pauly shore, adam
sandlur, peewee hurmin, andrew dice klay, and that guy who plays
ernest.

the fact that thay are all so popular prooves that im rite. ask any
video stoar ownur and they will tell you that way more peepil rent
the cabil guy then citty lites.

JimNeibr

unread,
Jun 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/24/99
to
Eric stated:

their are sevril commedeyins living today who are bettur then
chaplin. for example their is jim karrey, pauly shore, adam
sandlur, peewee hurmin, andrew dice klay, and that guy who plays
ernest.

-------

And it has been quite obvious that you've been heavily influenced by each.

Ima Moron

unread,
Jun 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/25/99
to
Ima Moron wrote...

>their are sevril commedeyins living today who are
>bettur then chaplin. for example their is jim
>karrey, pauly shore, adam sandlur, peewee hurmin,
>andrew dice klay, and that guy who plays ernest.
>-------


JimNeibr wrote


>And it has been quite obvious that you've been
>heavily influenced by each.


thats not the only thing ive bean influensed by. >>hiccup!<<

>"The most contagious thing in the world is
>enthusiasm."

oh my god! a new diseeze! is their a vackseen to prevent it? i
shore hoap i nevver catsh enthooseizm.

p.s.(sp?) pleeze dont address me as eric. altho we shair the same
boddy we prefur to be thawt of as too seprit peepil. eric and me
dont get along to well.


Elizabeth

unread,
Jun 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/26/99
to
Jim, belated thanks for your thoughts on Sinatra. What you wrote certainly
gives me a better sense of why he is/was so popular and why you hold him in
such sincere regard. I'll just respond to a few things. . .

>I did not like Sinatra at all until I became an adult. I was rather busy
>during childhood and adolescence with Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and
>Black Sabbath. It was not until I got older that my tastes were refined
and
>objective enough to appreciate those singers whose energy was somewhat
>different than that which can be found in rock music.


My own tastes have changed too as I've gotten older, but I have still have
great affection for music I used to love because it's a part of my life,
part of my personal history. I don't follow new music anymore because it's
aimed more at teenagers & people in their early 20s, and although I know I'm
missing some great stuff, it would take too much time and energy to sort it
all out and find what suits me. Since I can't go forward anymore, I go
backwards (in time) and sideways (e.g. to Hawaii).

>Frank Sinatra's initial impact as a crooner for the bobby soxers is not the
>most important aspect of his presentation. Just as Presley and The Beatles
>elicited this same reaction, but it is not the sole reason for their
importance
>in the realm of rock and roll music. The girls were not swooning over his
>physical appearance as much as they were over his voice. His delivery was
very
>smooth and, for the time, sensual.

I bet they were swooning at the whole package. (I know a thing or two about
teenage girls.) And certainly his looks were important -- don't forget, his
nickname, "Ol' Blue Eyes," refers to his appearance. If Sinatra had looked
liked Quasimodo, he wouldn't have had the same career. Doors wouldn't have
opened for him, he wouldn't have been marketable, his talent wouldn't have
developed the way it did. Looks, charisma, sex appeal -- whether in the
face or the voice -- they're all essential elements of pop music. I'm not
saying they're the most important elements in Sinatra's case, but it's clear
they played a part.

BTW, I was in no way citing the response of bobby soxers as something
trivial or frivolous. Some of those young women were no doubt very
well-informed fans. Informed opinion and hormonal screaming are not
mutually exclusive.


>snip<


Sinatra would modify the arrangements so that the
>lyrics, however simple, expressed what the songwriter intended, be it
>joyousness, loneliness or abject yearning. He did not merely stand before
the
>mic and sing the song, he carefully expressed every word as if he meant
it --
>even in these earliest records he was very committed to the music.

>snip<


a series of great songs in
>which he continues to utter every lyric with the passion as he had
initiated at
>the outset of his career.

I just want to point out how much you're mentioning emotion, as indeed you
should. The hallmark of a good singer is the ability to express emotion.
And the proof is in the pudding -- do listeners hear the singer and feel
moved themselves?

he also created the persona of the swinging
>bachelor

See, I really can't get into this. It's not a male persona that appeals to
me at all. Plus I've read things about his personal life that have really
turned me off, although I know that there are people who staunchly defend
him as a person. No doubt he had his good points and bad points, like
everyone else.

a benchmark for an America that was rapidly approaching middle age,
>and whose music was being eclipsed by rock and roll. As the younger people
>embraced Elvis, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis, the singers of Sinatra's
era
>struggled in vain for success. Sinatra, however, with Nelson Riddle,
managed
>to do some of the first concept albums, including The Wee Small Hours and
Come
>Fly With Me. Coming to grips with his middle aged status, Sinatra
confronted
>this with songs like You Make Me Feel So Young and Young at Heart. The
musical
>era was changing -- it was literally a cultural revolution -- and Sinatra
>persevered.

You gotta admire somebody who hangs in there. I really love Roy Orbison
(now there's a male persona that appeals to me -- a humble, quiet guy who
was courteous to everyone), and it's quite poignant to think of how he
plugged away long after his mainstream appeal had faded. Lovely to know he
was re/discovered by quite a few people via the Traveling Wilburys record
before he died.

>This is the work of perhaps the single most important figure in the history
of
>popular music

In the July issue of Discoveries (the record collectors' mag) there's an
interesting article called "The Discoveries 100: A Search for the 100 Most
Important Recordings of the 20th Century, Part 3." It's a brief but well
written survey of interpretive singers. Of course the writer discusses
Sinatra but he also mentions Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles as candidates
for Numero Uno. Me, I don't believe in handing out first prize at all.
Whatever floats anyone's boat is fine with me. Reputation is to some degree
just the product of the collective approval of individuals, be they critics,
historians, or ordinary peasantfolk. Some artists have broad appeal, others
have narrow appeal but are just as good. In the end, I believe that what
matters most is how a singer or songwriter touches individuals. (Or a whole
generation -- but generations are composed of individuals.)

>You just recently acknowledged Sinatra to be a great singer whose work just
>didnt cut it for you. I have no problem with that. But you initially
compared
>Sinatra's music with root canal and gave no real backup for your reasoning.

Nope, I said that listening to him while having a root canal was not my idea
of fun. I also said that I would not have dreamt of asking the dentist to
play different music because it was obvious that he really liked Sinatra.
It would have been mean and rude and stupid of me to make such a request, so
instead, I said to myself, "Okay, toots, abandon all hope and open yourself
to this experience and maybe you'll learn something." And what I learned by
listening to Sinatra more carefully than I had on previous occasions is that
he's an excellent singer but he does not move me. Just doesn't do a thing
for me. Roy Orbison's voice can move me to tears. It's just a personal
thing, explicable up to a point and thereafter a mystery. Ruth Etting and
Annette Hanshaw are probably equally good singers, and I like Ruth Etting,
but I LOVE Annette Hanshaw. There's just something delightful about the
sound of her voice.

>always agreed with the talents of those singers you did cite as favorites,
and
>never said anything negative about you personally.

Ahem. In your EARLY TO BED post you said I couple of rather rude things
that were obviously aimed at me. But I threw a couple of nasty snarky
things in your direction, so I'm willing to call it even.

Incidentally, my joking response to that post was not meant to be hostile.
I actually meant it as sort of an olive branch. I suppose I should have
indicated that by attaching a little smiley face. If I'd meant to be
hostile, I would have said, "and I sure am glad Sinatra's part was cut."

>And incidentally, there certainly are many people who like the Jim Carrey
>movies better than The Godfather. Subjectively, that cannot be argued
with.
>But objectively, those people's opinions certainly do not represent an
>intelligent appreciation of cinema. Conversely, I like the Elvis Presley
>movies but do not care for Wizard of Oz. Yet I am certainly capable of
>realizing that Oz is a much, much better film than any Elvis movies. There
is
>an answer beyond an individual's opinion, and this can be understood as far
>back as the earliest literary criticism (I have also taught English).


And THE WIZARD OF OZ was critically slammed when it came out, by critics who
supposedly had "an intelligent appreciation of the cinema." I guess I just
fundamentally don't give a hoot whether anyone's appreciation is intelligent
or not. There are too many different kinds of intelligence and different
kinds of appreciation. Some aspects of film can be evaluated objectively,
others are much more subject to interpretation. If I live in a big house on
a hill and have as many degrees as Professor von Schwarzenhoffen, my opinion
may be officially more "intelligent," but so what? In my book, whatever
brings people joy or comfort or fun is what matters. It's all ashes to
ashes, dust to dust, in the end. I bet that all those sacks of mail Stan
Laurel received in his lifetime meant more than anything the film critics
ever said, good or bad. It's nice to think of him feeling so appreciated in
his retirement.

Thanks again for explaining your views on Sinatra's importance. His role
during the rock & roll era is especially interesting -- gives me a sense of
why he would have mattered so much to non-rock & rollers who were feeling
left out.

Elizabeth /*\


Elizabeth

unread,
Jun 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/26/99
to

>I agree on this 100% Liz. Compare this to when a man meets a woman, she
could
>be beautiful and have lots in common with that man and yet no magic spark.
>Sinatra sounds ok to me, but I don't really GET INTO his music. If I post
all
>the good points about 'White Zombie' who's gonna change their minds?? I
like
>how they sound as much as my taste is changing for sure... I find myself
really
>starting to like Barbara Striesand and I really don't care what anyone has
to
>say just like when I hear someone say L&H are too slow.
>
>Hey Liz, can you sing like Barbara? :)

Eddie, you're a genius. The romantic love analogy sums it up better than
anything. If there's no magic spark, no chemistry, then it just ain't meant
to be.

I also think that tastes in music, film, etc. are a lot like tastes for
food. (The mere fact that the word "taste" is used for both tells you
something.) For example, I really like fruit, practically any kind of
fruit, and I eat tons of it. My partner doesn't eat much fruit. Every so
often I bellow at him, "What's the matter with you? How can you not like
FRUIT???"

And he just shrugs and says, "I like fruit all right, I just don't like it
as much as you." And I know he's lying, because he really doesn't like
fruit very much. He finds it too acidic.

People's taste buds and digestive systems are literally different. What
tastes good and is easily digestible to one person be bitter and
indigestible to another. As with food, so with everything else.

I'm afraid I can't sing like Barbra! Will you settle for some mediocre
ukulele playing and a rousing chorus of "Honolulu Baby?"

Elizabeth /*\


Eddie

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Jun 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/26/99
to

Elizabeth wrote:

Honesty is the best politics... boink :)


Dan S.

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Jul 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/1/99
to
The man's personality makes it hard to become a fan unless you REALLY love
his kind of music...IMHO

Elizabeth <ehof...@sover.net> wrote in message
news:Q80d3.6249$d5.8...@news21b.ispnews.com...

Elmer Pintar

unread,
Jul 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/1/99
to
Great post about Frank--I saw him live in 1992 and 1994, and even with
age and teleprompter working against him, he still gave a great
show--songs like "All or Nothing At All" and "Luck Be A Lady" were still
given first-class perfomances, with Frank on key and the Riddle
arrangements (or was it Don Costa or Billy May?) being used. I now own
all the Capitols, The 40's box set, the Dorsey four volume series, and
the Reprise collection plus "September of My Years". Yet I didn't care
for him until I turned 35 or so, like you apparently. Anyway, back to
Stan and Babe (who was no slouch as a singer, either!)

Elmer Pintar


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