Saturday, December 30, 2017

Morgan White, Jr., WBZ Radio, YouTube, "The Wizard of Oz," Jack Haley--and Boston accents

This past week, I was a guest of my friend Morgan White, Jr., on Boston radio station WBZ-AM. He was sitting in, Christmas night, for host Dan Rea, and I joined him for the latter half of the program. As noted previously in this space, Morgan has been with the station for years.  He hosts a Saturday evening program on the station (The Morgan Show, 10 p.m. to midnight, Eastern time); hosts the station's weekend overnight shows every third week; and fills in on other programs, most often during the overnight hours.  I've been his guest on a number of occasions, over the past several years.

One of the subjects we discussed, last week, was that of YouTube--which is, I think, one of the great developments in modern media.  The site, of course, includes (among its other features) video clips from old TV shows (or entire videos of old shows); audio from old radio programs; both brief and lengthy scenes from movies (as well as entire movies); videos of current news events and news-related broadcasts; archival/history-related films, newscasts and newsreels; videos from sports; and a vast amount of recorded music (and music performances--from radio, TV, film, and concerts). There is also, of course, a great deal of junk on YouTube--including a lot of offensive junk--yet the site's virtues are substantial.

During the WBZ program, I mentioned having seen The Wizard of Oz on TV the previous week--and that I subsequently found, on YouTube, one of my favorite scenes from the film; I wanted to watch it again (despite having just watched it, that night--and having seen it many other times, through the years).  It was the famous scene, near the film's end, in which Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion (Judy Garland, Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, and Bert Lahr) meet with the Wizard (Frank Morgan). The part of the scene featuring Jack Haley and Frank Morgan is, I think, one of the most beautiful in the film.  

As many will recall, the Wizard tells the Tin Man:  

"And remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." 

Here is a link to the scene:

I also mentioned, during the radio show, another notable scene from the movie, in which Dorothy and the Scarecrow first encounter the Tin Man.  In the scene, memorably, the Tin Man tells them: "The tinsmith forgot to give me a heart."

Jack Haley was from the Boston area, and his pronunciation of the word "heart" has a distinct Boston flavor to it. (It sounds like "haht.")

In response, Ray Bolger (also from the Boston area) and Judy Garland appear (at least to me) to make an inside joke, of sorts, about Haley's pronunciation. They say, to the Tin Man, "No haht?"  (It sounds as if they are both pronouncing it this way--though it is conceivably just Bolger; his voice, at this moment, seems a little louder than Garland's, and as a consequence slightly overshadows her words.)

The above exchange begins at approximately 2:05, in the link below (it is followed by Haley's performance of "If I Only Had a Heart"):

I mentioned, to Morgan, Haley's pronunciation of "heart"--and in particular, the funny response by Ray Bolger and Judy Garland. Yet in thinking about it, I believe that I was, perhaps, a bit too definitive about the latter subject.  While I do believe that what I suggested was likely accurate--that this was a Boston/New England-related "inside joke"--I nonetheless wish my remarks had been expressed with a little hedging.  I mean--I could be wrong about it.  :)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New BearManor titles (and a sale)

The revised edition of my book about early TV (which will, like the original edition, be brought out by BearManor Media) is not yet available. Thought, though, that I would make note of some new (and forthcoming) BearManor titles (which are/will be available in both hardcover and paperback):

1. Bob Hope on TV: Thanks for the Video Memories, by Wesley Hyatt.

2. Frances Langford: Armed Forces Sweetheart, by Ben Ohmart.

3. Okay? Okay! Dennis James' Lifetime of Firsts, by Adam Nedeff.

4. Petrocelli, by Sandra Grabman.  The book concerns the 1970s TV series, which starred Barry Newman.  Says writer Max Allan Collins: "Now it's time to enjoy Sandy Grabman's fun, informative valentine to the best lawyer series of the 1970s, and one of the best of all time."

BearManor, for your reference, is currently having a sale.  Its softcover and hardcover books are 30% off, through December 10th; there's a coupon code, at the following link. (The Frances Langford and Bob Hope books are not out yet, but can be pre-ordered.)