I hope everyone is enjoying the gorgeous weather this holiday weekend! I celebrated with friends last night and had a delightful evening catching up and eating amazing Vietnamese delectables. Saturday, my neighbour and I took a short road trip to Perth, taking in all the fall colours and lamenting the fact that it would soon be followed by (dare I say it?) — SNOW!
It’s been a funny week. Tuesday morning I was in Dundas, Ontario, Tuesday evening I was home in Ottawa, trying to get back into routines that I haven’t used in over a month. I’ve watched The Wizard of Oz and Legends in Concert: Judy Garland, as well as Judy’s concert special with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Between YouTube video clips, DVD’s, and my CD in the car, I started paying attention to her version of San Francisco which begins with a tongue-in-cheek putdown of Jeanette MacDonald‘s version, sung among the ruins of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 (at least, in the movie). I’ve listened to excerpts from the movie, San Francisco, with Jeanette singing, and the song seems much shorter than the version Judy does. I’ve done some “Googling” and the original songwriters were Gus Kahn, Bronislaw Kaper and Walter Jurmann but I haven’t found out yet who wrote the extended verses and intro for Judy. My best hunch is Roger Edens, her longtime friend and mentor, but can’t verify it yet. OK, so getting to the reason I’m mentioning this: in the middle there’s a musical bridge (pun accidental but not bad) that says: “There’s the Brooklyn Bridge/ the London Bridge/ and the ” and then it goes on to say, “but the only bridge,” etc. Finally, I wondered where the Bridge of San Luis Rey is? I started tracking it down. There’s a mission in California called the San Luis Rey Mission and there’s also a San Luis Rey Turnpike nearby. But, there’s no water anywhere close, let alone, a bridge. When you Google the whole thing, you learn this is a novel! The Pulitzer Prize winning second novel by Thornton Wilder, the author/playwright also famous for his work, Our Town (neither of which has ever been out of print since publication). The Bridge of Saint Luis Rey takes place in the early 18th century in Lima, Peru where 5 people die in the collapse of a century-old rope bridge built by the Incas. A witness, Brother Juniper (a Franciscan monk), spends 6 years compiling information about the 5 victims in an attempt to show God’s plan in the lives of man in this “accident”. Intriguing! So I’ve ordered the book and will let you know all about it under my “Reading on the Road” section. It might be something to take along.
Meanwhile, I’m about half-way through a biography of Judy Garland called Get Happy. I may learn more than I want to about her and it’s a bit off-putting when the author, Gerald Clarke, makes blatant suppositions about things (that probably could have been verified) by equivocating with, “they probably”, “might have”, or “perhaps”, and then, when it comes to things that are likely only known about by two people (who very likely didn’t kiss and tell), he states them as confirmed facts. Also, there’s very little so far about Roger Edens who had a huge influence on her throughout her career from the very beginning at MGM. Anyway, I’m soldiering on and finding it quite interesting. I hadn’t realized before that Judy’s mother had put her on pep pills, as well as drugs to help her sleep, several years before she ended up at MGM at the age of 12.
- Judy Garland Never Had a Chance (california207.wordpress.com)
- Interesting Facts About The Golden Gate Bridge (travelingmyself.com)