Thursday, February 09, 2012

trouble right here!

Channel-surfing last night, I couldn't get away from the recurring image of GOP contender Rick Santorum whipping his devoted followers into a frenzy over something called "the war on religion."

Then I came to the Turner channel, where Morton DaCosta's "The Music Man" was in progress and Robert Preston, as con man Professor Harold Hill, was whipping the townspeople of River City, Iowa, into a frenzy over the presence of a pool table in their hamlet.

The juxtapostion was uncanny.

"Now, Marcellus, I need some ideas if I’m gonna get your town out of the serious trouble it’s in," Prof. Hill says to an old friend (Buddy Hackett).

"River City ain't in any trouble," Marcellus responds.

"Then, I'm gonna have to create some," Hill informs. "Must create a desperate need in your town for a boy’s band."

This dialogue, about trumping up an emergency, is the set-up for Meredith Willson's classic, "Ya Got Trouble," during which Hill successfully instills fear in the denizens of River City, a song which ends rousingly with:

Harold: "Oh, ya got trouble! Ya got lots & lots 'a trouble! That game with the 15 numbered balls is the devil's tool!"

Townspeople: "Devil's tool!"

Harold: "Oh yes, we've got trouble, trouble!"

Townspeople: "Oh yes, we've got trouble here, we've got big, big trouble!"

Harold: "With a "T"!"

Townspeople: "With a capital T!"

Harold: "That rhymes with P!"

Townspeople: "That rhymes with P!"

Harold: "That stands for pool!"

Townspeople: "That stands for po-o-ol!"

I've been amused for years now by the constant state of (feigned?) outrage of the GOP, which always seem to be shocked and appalled.

Last night, Robert Preston added a melody to the aggrievement.


Herb said...

Very funny, and right on the money!

Paula Smart said...

Heckuva analogy!

Tom said...

How true, how true.

wwolfe said...

This made my day. (I somehow can't picture either Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman as Marian the Librarian, though. So I guess we won't get to see Rick sing a duet of "Til There Was You.")

I had the great pleasure of seeing "Music Man" at one of the grand old movie palaces in downtown Los Angeles last year, as part of the LA Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" program. It was a huge treat. (While I myself did not see Mr. Santorum in the audience, I cannot swear for certain that he was not there somewhere, taking notes.)

joe baltake said...

Bill! Palin and Santorum in "The Music Man" would be a real perversion. BTW, I also got to see "The Music Man" on a big screen - at the Crest in Sacramento years ago - and it was a revelation. For me, it may be the perfect movie musical - one musical in which the songs feel truly organic.

s.h. said...

Well put! Call wardrobe and order a sweater vest!

ben said...

Thanks for the mental connection that I will now be unable to erase. Love this analogy!!

Moira Finnie said...

I'd vote for Robert Preston twice on election day if only he could be on the ballot!

Nice comparison, Joe!

Steve in Sacramento said...

That's one of the glories of really good movies (and fiction, etc.) - they tell the truth! Thanks for the post, Joe, that will stick with me as well.

PS LOL to Palin or Bachman as Marian the Librarian!

Steve in Sacramento said...

By the way, I'm not necessarily suggesting "truth" with a capital T (which does in fact rhyme with P!), but I think great art (or even very good art) can come as close to "Truth" as anything.

joe baltake said...

Thanks, Steve! How are things in Sacto?

Steve in Sacramento said...

Hey Joe, things *okay* in Sactown. City/county/state agencies hurting like many other parts of the country. Of course, one of the worst housing markets. Also the Kings' status a little up in the air. Speaking of up in the air, very little rain this winter! And I don't think we've had a regular movie reviewer at the Bee for the last couple of years - presumably because of cutbacks at McClatchy and in the newspaper industry in general.* Overall, I guess we DO have some trouble here in River City! But it's not all bad!

* Btw, very happy to see you're still writing on movies, and glad to have found your blog.

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