RIP NYC’s Clarence Williams III, 81, who was the essence of cool in 123 episodes of The Mod Squad. There are 98 other titles under his name at IMDb in a career that spanned 1959–2018. He began in theater and received a Tony supporting actor nomination in 1965 for the three-person play Slow Dance on the Killing Ground. Once the iconic series ended, he went back and forth between the stage and big and small screen. Here’s an interesting quote attributed to him: “I know a little about the street. I used to write numbers. I’ve seen police take bribes. I do know that a lot of officers love to get these jobs in the ghetto because they can shake people down. I know what’s going on, but that has nothing to do with a TV show. I’m not appearing on the show each and every week to seduce people into believing in their police departments.” I salute his career, not his politics. Well done, sir.
Since I’m not interested in any poetry except that of song, I’d never read anything by T.S. Eliot. When a copy of Murder in the Cathedral came my way I felt compelled to give it a shot, especially since the title sounded promising and it’s only 88 pages. It takes place in 1170 and concerns the dispute between Henry II, who does not appear in the play, and Thomas Beckett. The King appointed his friend in the dual role of Chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury. Beckett saw the roles as incompatible and immediately resigned the chancellorship, which aroused the ire of his majesty. The action begins seven years later, as Becket returns from exile predicting his own death. The narrative is told in verse, most of it unrhymed. Its language is unpretentious. Here are a couple of snippets I enjoyed. The first by Becket:
“We do not know much of the future
Except that from generation to generation
The same things happen again and again.”
And this by Tempter:
“When men shall declare that there was no mystery
About this man who played a certain part in history.”
It is a grim depiction of the human condition, its futility. To my chagrin, Netflix has no productions of it, but there is always the outstanding film Beckett (1964), starring Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton at their best, directed by Peter Glenville, screenplay by Edward Anhalt. The play’s Wiki page cites two lampoons of Murder…, one by Monty Python, the other by SCTV. I don’t recall either. Here are the legendary actors in character:
Another day, another learning of something new at youtube — a five-time one-hit wonder. How is this possible? England’s Tony Burrows fronted five different groups. The Flower Pot Men had only one hit, Let’s Go to San Francisco, which climbed to #4 on the UK Singles Chart in ’67. And he sang lead on Edison Lighthouse’s Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in ‘70; White Plains’ My Baby Loves Lovin’, #13 that same year; The Pipkins’ novelty song Gimme Dat Ding, #9 also in ’70; and The First Class’ Beach Baby, #4 in 1974. He also sang lead on The Brotherhood of Man’s United We Stand, #13 in the U.S. in ’70. He had only one minor hit under his own name, Melanie Makes Me Smile, which peaked at #87 in ‘70. He was Beatles-esque that year. He also sang harmony on the recordings of Elton John’s Levon and Tiny Dancer. Although I’m not a big fan of any of the songs, there’s no denying Burrows’ accomplishments and legacy. In 2011 he received the BASCA Gold Badge Award in recognition of his contributions to music. He is 79 and alive and kicking. Here he is back in the day:
Good news in this snippet from an article by Brittany De Lea at foxbusiness.com: “The Department of Justice announced on Monday that investigators were able to recover most of the ransom paid to hackers who interrupted operations at Colonial Pipeline last month…”
There was plenty of shade to work with and a nice breeze blowing as usual along Avenue Z, so today’s session of the floating book shop was a snap despite the heat. My thanks to the gentleman who bought a chemistry text book, and to the woman who purchased three medical texts for her daughter, who was wearing a SUNY Buffalo T-shirt. Maybe she’s studying nursing or pre-med… Given the unprovoked attacks occurring coast to coast, I hope I remember to keep my guard up.
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