“Forgotten Hollywood”- Two-Bit Thimble Rigger…

Posted on July 17, 2018 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`A con artist blows into town to warn citizens about the TROUBLE invading the community due to modernization that might corrupt the youngsters of any hamlet. Along the way, this two-bit thimble rigger bamboozles the mayor and his spouse, the school board, a librarian, and parents and children. I’m not referring to current politicos selling a collection of hotels from Mar-a-Lago to Scotland… Actually, this is the underlying story of The Music Man.

“`In the early 1960s,  a number of anti-heroes were the subject of important cinema that spoke to the gullibility of small town and big-city America. What emerged from Hollywood were films such as A Face in the Crowd, Elmer Gantry and of course, The Music Man. These tales border on satire, with characters working themselves into a fervent frenzy.

“`The Music Man was written by Meredith Wilson and his purposeful theme was to lampoon the modest values of any collective. For the record, Professor Harold Hill is oft described as a bang beat, bell-ringin’, big haul, great go neck-or-nothin’, rip-roarin’, ever’time-a-bull’s-eye, salesmanas a fast-talking, self-centered, woman-chasing traveling man; and road agent, highwayman, and a pickpocket. In one instance, the Iowa townspeople are labeled as neck-bowed Hawk-eyes. When apprised of their gullible foolishness, the town fathers suggest tar-and-feathers as an appropriate punishment for this so-called spellbinder.

“`The real crime is that Robert Preston (Professor Hill) was snubbed by the film academy for his larger-than-life performance. Others in the perfectly cast musical include Buddy Hackett, Shirley Jones, Ron Howard, Paul Ford, Hermione Gingold, Pert Kelton and superb barbershop quartet, The Buffalo Bills.

“`Just after the turn of the twentieth century, our young industrialized society was shaken to its core by an arrival of Halley’s Comet. The Book of Revelations speaks of fire and brimstone that might befall our planet. And in the late 1930s, the entire Eastern seaboard were terrified by a martian invasion, which was descriptively penned by H. G. Wells in War of the Worlds. The radio broadcast presented by  Mercury Theatre on the Air employed techniques similar to those in The March of Time newsreel. The result was frightening in its presentation, and in its aftermath.

“`The difference of oft-told parables and the current political climate is the redemptive happy endings designed to keep audiences satisfied. Let us hope that we as a culture will be just as lucky during these turbulent times. Rejecting false prophets is a great start.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018 at 7:35 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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