My friend Dianna alerted me to the death of David Soul. He died yesterday at the age of 80. He's best known as the blond half of Starsky and Hutch. I think my brother Howard might have had a Starsky and Hutch lunchbox...? Anyway I was never wild for that show but I really love Soul's hit single, "Don't Give Up On Us." Classic 70s ballad. This proto music video is hilarious.
I was writing this CDA and thought I'd check the NY Times obits to see if I missed anyone - - I was saddened to see that Glynis Johns had recently died, at the impressive age of 100. She's best known for playing the mother in Mary Poppins but she's forever etched in my memory as the original Desiree in A Little Night Music, the person for whom "Send in the Clowns." ALNM was my first favorite musical, I knew every word of those songs when I was 15. The NY Times obit somewhat uncharitably described the moment in her life when she was cast in the show: "Ms. Johns was 49 and on the brink of her fourth divorce..." Well she ended up winning the damn Tony. So there.
I did a YouTube search for "glynis johns send in the clowns" and found this fascinating relic of a news story from 1973. The journalist says that ALNM cost $600,000 to produce. In today's theatrical universe that'll buy ya three chairs and a samovar. Later on Sondheim goes on about what makes a "hit song," somehow finding his way to mentioning the Alban Berg Violin Concerto! Miss Johns comes in at around 5:00. The end of the video is a sort of jumble of pieces of her singing the song.
Can I share a dimly related story? My best friend Karen and I went to see Brokeback Mountain together, back in the day when we were seeing movies in movie theaters. There's a moment in the movie where the Jake Gyllenhaal character is riding a bull (or something) in a rodeo. He falls off and the rodeo announcer says, "Send in the clown!" This, it seems, is what one says when a rodeo rider falls off and the rodeo clowns need to rush onto the scene to distract the bull (or whatever) before it does any harm to the rider. Anyway, at that moment I turned to Karen and whispered, "I know this is a gay movie but did he just say 'Send in the Clowns'..?"