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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Silent movie classics all day & night Thursday; Musicals all of Saturday, both on TCM. Aug 3 2017 edition

Here's news for fans of two of everybody's favorite film art forms: musical films and ancient film, the latter from the days when everything was being done for the first time before the "talkies" changed storytelling forever; the former -- musical films -- from the great era when it was done all the time, so the standard for innovation and quality of performance was as good as it gets.

(All TIMES shown in this edition are Pacific Daylight Time / USA. Adjust for other time zones.)

This edition just might make us sound like a commercial for Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Which is a good 'un for a knowing chuckle, since it doesn't have commercials and neither do we. They do you give you short snippets of time to make a sandwich, call for Chinese take out or a pizza, or, uh-hum, go pee without missing anything. But unlike the hyperventilation of cable news, THIS is time well-spent. Enjoy!

As for WHY YOU HAVEN'T SEEN US MUCH LATELY? Read the quickie final item in this short edition. Find it at "Comin' 'round the mountain when she comes... on the risin' wind, up around the bend..."


Today's special broadcast day (now, 'til 3 am tonight) is devoted to the films of LON CHANEY, and includes many of his films that span the delightfully engaging era of the silent feature film, from 1919 to 1928.

Of course, you've seen here, plenty of times, our assertion that "silent" movies are not silent at all, but ably (sometimes brilliantly) CHOREOGRAPHED WITH MUSIC that must be perfectly crafted to fit the action (to the split second) and to convey the emotion, mood, season, place and setting. When done well, it becomes a form of art that enables the participant to smell the flowers, touch the hem of the garments, feel the wind, cheer the hero (and heroine) and boo the villain (and villainess) -- and do all that with more attached engagement than the blathering blah-blah-blah of too much modern cinema defaulting to its crutch of invectives and obscenities to propel its poorly-told stories.

Even if the plots from the tunefully-propelled "silents" seem improbable to our cable-news-obsessed sensibilities, or simply dated by the conventions of presentation from the time when these films were made, they remain supremely entertaining -- with characters about whom you care.

Exactly what constituted a "feature film" in those days was still being decided. Some of today's offerings run just an hour; others range up to two hours.

LON CHANEY was known in many of those original film noir horror films -- the ones we now call "creature features" or "monster movies" -- well into the talkie days. But he was an actor of depth and expressiveness whose true talents are far better demonstrated in these roles that show his face.


1) "The Unknown" (1927), 11 am-noon

2) "Mr. Wu" (1919), Noon-1:45 pm

3) "The Unholy Three" (1925), 1:45-3:30 pm

4) "He Who Gets Slapped" (1924), 3:30-5 pm

5) "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925), an absolute classic, 5-6:45 pm

6) "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" (1928), 6:45-8:15 pm

7) "Tell It to the Marines" (1926), just eight years after WW I, 8:15-10:15 pm

8) "West of Zanzibar" (1928), 10:15-11:45 pm)

9) "Where East Is East" (1929), 11:45 pm-1:15 am

10) "The Unholy Three" (1925), 1:15-3 am


And for the insomniacs or those just getting in from a gig late tonight, there's this: when the talkies resume at 3 am, they bring a 4-star classic from 1937. It's "Dead End," with Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea, adapted from the Broadway stage hit about New York City slum life in the Great Depression.


This is simply an outstanding lineup. Here's what's up for a massive 22 1/2 hours on SATURDAY. It starts early, at (jeepers!) 4:30 in the morning! But it goes all day, waaaay into the night, so dip in for a good helping, fill your plate, and remember the cornbread. Here ya go.

a) "Summer Stock" (1950), with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, 4:30-6:30 am Saturday.

b) "The Pirate" (1948), Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, 6:30-8:30 am Saturday.

c) "Brigadoon" (1954), Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in the adaptation of the Broadway hit, 8:30-10:30 am Saturday.

d) "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (1949), Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in the classic of the grassy diamond and vaudeville, set in 1906, 10:30 am-12:15 pm Saturday.

e) "The Three Musketeers" (1948), with Lana Turner and Gene Kelly isn't usually listed as a musical, but with Gene Kelly in it, you know there's orchestral dance music; 12:15-2:30 pm Saturday.

f) "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), is a Best Picture nominee musical with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, 2:30-5 pm Saturday.

g) "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), is simply one of THE best musicals ever made, period. But you know that unless you've never seen it. Watch it for the fifth time and decide if anything recent asking eleven bucks in the shoebox multiplex that you've endured multiple times is anywhere near as good as this. It runs early enough to still get to a live music gig. It's 5-7 pm Saturday.

h) ONE NOTABLE BREAK FROM THE MARATHON OF MUSICALS: "Inherit the Wind" (1960), the all-time classic with Spencer Tracy and Fredric March is the film version of the hit Broadway stage play about the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Tennessee, when real-life high school science teacher John Scopes was arrested and stood trial before a nationally-riveted newspaper audience in 1925 for teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution in defiance of Biblical Creationism and state law. (Of course, that whole issue is still with us today, but only in America.) Spencer Tracy's character is a slightly fictionalized Clarence Darrow (1867-1938). Fredric March plays a somewhet fictionalized William Jennings Bryan (1860-1926), who was a three-time Democratic populist presidential candidate. (The actor who played Scopes went on to guest on a bunch of "Twilight Zones" and become one of the two "Darren's" in "Bewitched," but get over it, 'cause this film is too good.) The film is brilliant cinematic storytelling. It airs 7-9:30 pm Saturday.

i) "On the Town" (1949), resumes the musicals with the 4-star classic vehicle for Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, 9:30-11:15 pm Saturday.

j) "It's Always fair Weather" (1955), teams Gene Kelly and Dan Daily in a fun musical that dodges mobsters, 11:15 pm-1 am Saturday night/Sunday morning.

k) "Cover Girl" (1944), stars Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly in a 4-star romp to conclude the marathon of musicals, 1-3 am Saturday night/Sunday morning.



The editor has been caring for a dear friend who just had a six-hour cancer surgery this past Thursday. So far, all is going outstanding well with prognosis for her recovery. (HOORAY!) Sorry for the inconvenience on the music journalism front, but, really, you can see now what's been a-goin' on in our devoid-of email, sans-cyber-scoops world.

We'll be back 'fore long with plenty more for ya. Meantime, plan a little time in front of the tube (okay, so it's prob'ly a flatrscreen at su casa). You know you want to escape the heat and sudden spate of humidity, anyway.


The Guide will have
a very massively complete
MUSIC NEWS edition,
coming your way soon.


PLENTY MORE is archived, back to when Lassie was a little bitty puppy dog, Napoleon was a private, and banjos only had four strings.

The entire history and past content of the Guide, since we moved the archival editions to Blogspot years 'n years ago, is searchable at the basic url:

Seriously: Go get lost in acoustica esoterica and memories of past albums, festivals, concerts and events, whenever you're bored with the pop pablum that infests mainstream media.


See you next time!


As always, we invite you to join us and to let us know what YOU are listening to, and what artists or bands just sent you swooning and need to be shared with others.

That's your part, so you'll know that a whole lot more is always coming soon — including fresh MUSIC NEWS, PREVIEWS & REVIEWS, and more additions to our massive guide to the MUSIC FESTIVALS of 2017.

Meantime, with everything happening through these festival-packed, arrival-of-summer weekends? Go get tuneful!



Boilerplate? Where's the main pressure gauge? And the firebox?

What "boilerplate"? Who came up with that goofy term for the basic essential informational stuff...

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Lawrence Wines & Tied to the Tracks.
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♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS — and views of interest to artists everywhere — more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.


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