Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Dad Loved Judy Garland

My dad was a huge fan of Judy Garland. When I was growing up, we had all her records. I honestly think he would have left Mom and married Judy Garland if he had a chance. Well, maybe not. But he really, really liked her.

In the movie "Broadway Melody" in 1937, she played a teenager who was madly in love with the movie star Clark Gable. In a classic scene from the movie, she writes a fan letter — a love letter, actually — to Mr. Gable (as she calls him). His picture is sitting on the desk and she gazes at it fondly as she sings of her love for him.

I heard the song on XM Radio today, and I thought I'd share the lyrics:


You Made Me Love You
words by Joseph McCarthy,
music by Jimmy Monaco, 1913
Arranged by Roger Edens, with special lyrics

Dear Mr. Gable,
I am writing this to you
and I hope that you will read it so you'll know
My heart beats like a hammer
and I stutter and I stammer
every time I see you at the picture show.
I guess I'm just another fan of yours
and I thought I'd write and tell you so.

You made me love you
I didn't wanna do it,
I didn't wanna do it.
You made me love you
And all the time you knew it,
I guess you always knew it.
You made me happy,
Sometimes you made me glad.
But there were times, sir,
You made me feel so sad.

You made me sigh 'cause
I didn't wanna tell you,
I didn't wanna tell you
I think you're grand, that's true
Yes I do, 'deed I do, you know I do.
I must tell you what I'm feeling
The very mention of your name
Sends my heart reeling.
You know you made me love you!


Aw, gee, Mr. Gable, I don't wanna bother you!

I guess you got a lotta girls that tell you the same thing.
And if you don't wanna read this, well, you don't have to.

But I just had to tell you about the time I saw you in
"It Happened One Night". That was the first time I ever saw
you, and I knew right then you were the nicest fella in the

I guess it was 'cause you acted so, well, so natural like —
not like a real actor at all, but just like any fella you'd
meet at school or at a party.

Then one time I saw you in a picture with Joan Crawford, and
I had to cry a little 'cause you loved her so much and you
couldn't have her — not 'till the end of the picture, anyway.

And then one time I saw you in person. You were making a
personal appearance at the theater, and I was standing there
when you got out of your car, and you almost knocked me down!

Oh — but it wasn't your fault! Naw, I was in the way. But you
looked at me, and you smiled. Yeah! You smiled right at me as
if you meant it, and I cried all the way home just 'cause you
smiled at me for being in your way!

Aw, I'll never forget it, Mr. Gable. Honest injun. You're my
favorite actor!


I don't care what happens,
Let the whole world stop.
As far as I'm concerned,
You'll always be the top,
'cause you know
You made me love you.


That song will always have special meaning for me. For one thing, it explains exactly what every person who understands "passion" in movies already knows: movies can make you laugh and they can make you cry and it's all because you feel a connection with the character in the show.

Another reason it has special meaning for me is because everybody at some point in their lives have felt about someone exactly the same way Judy Garland's character felt about Clark Gable. It's very easy to identify with that.

Even as she was proclaiming her love for him, she was still very respectful of his stature. She calls him "Mr. Gable". She calls him "sir"! It's kinda like Mary Richards, who could never get past referring to Lou as "Mr. Grant". It's a delicate concession to the fact that the admiration — however intense — will never really be consummated.

I can imagine that, as my dad watched that movie, he was actually singing the same words in his mind to Judy Garland. She made him love her, even though he didn't want to do it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Rolling Stones' Half Time Concert

I'm not a big football fan or a big Rolling Stones fan. But something that happened during the Rolling Stones' performance at the recent Super Bowl halftime show caught my attention. The Stones sang only three songs — all standards. It was a carefully orchestrated event, guaranteed not to offend anybody and to avoid any possibility of wardrobe malfunctions.

Before singing the last song, Mick Jagger said something like this: "Here's a song that we could have sung for Super Bowl One. But, hey, good things come to those who wait." And then he sang "I Can't Get No Satisfaction". That comment helped me put the Stones in historical perspective.

Yep, "Satisfaction" was written and recorded three years before the first Super Bowl. In fact, I think it's interesting that we are coming up on several 50-year anniversaries in the history of rock-and-roll. (Elvis Presley would be over 70 years old if he were still alive.)

Arguable the greatest rock band in history was The Beatles, but their height of popularity lasted only about five years, from 1964 to 1969. The Rolling Stones have been around for that long and have continuously remained popular and creative. Not many entertainers can claim that — certainly not in rock-and-roll.

I remember a few years ago when George Harrison died, a friend of mine commented, "Oh my God! Keith Richards has out-lived George Harrison!"

So ya gotta hand it to them. No matter what you think of them, the Rolling Stones certainly get credit for success and longevity. Very few people in any industry discover exactly what they want to do and then succeed at it year after year after year any better than Mick, Keith, and Charlie.

Two Mysteries of Life

When I was a young kid, there were two mysteries of life that never made sense to me:

1. Why is it that when you wash your hands frequently, they become more dry?
2. Why is it that when you drive your car through the rain, it becomes dirty?

The punch line of the story isn't that these apparent paradoxes are solved when one becomes an adult, it's that these are the types of issues that children process as they try to figure out this thing called "life".

And that may help explain why children don't understand the importance of taking a bath or of washing their hands after they use the rest room.