Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Song Selection - The Man that Got Away

“I try to bring the audience's own drama - tears and laughter they know about - to them.” -
Judy Garland

Thankfully, the weekend is upon us and, once again, it’s time to share another musical treasure. The song is a classic. The composers are renowned. The entertainer - the definition of a legend. But this week’s selection was chosen, primarily, for this extraordinary performance.

A staple of the American Songbook, “The Man that Got Away,” has been covered by female vocalists ranging from Barbra Streisand and Ella Fitzgerald to Cher and Sheena Easton. With a little lyric adjustment and a touch of testosterone, “The Gal that Got Away,“ became part of the male repertoire, as well, with recordings from Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin, among others. Falling somewhere in between, was the interpretation by one time television variety show regular and America’s favorite celebrity female impersonator of yore - Jim Bailey. But, like “Over the Rainbow“ before it, and as witnessed by this remarkable clip, “The Man that Got Away,” belonged to Judy Garland.

This version is from a 1962 Judy Garland special that featured a pair of little known guest stars, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and served as the pilot for Garland’s CBS variety series. Since then, it’s been repackaged, re-released and re-titled as “Judy, Frank and Dean: Once in a Lifetime.” Unfortunately, it’s also been re-hued, as it’s now colorized, but that’s a small price to pay to have access to this great and timeless hour of television.

In the two degrees of Judy Garland department - I was fortunate enough to work with daughter, Liza Minnelli on one occasion, and I’m happy to note that she couldn’t have been nicer, more pleasant or more cooperative. On the downside, our much-publicized and scandal-plagued marriage, was very short-lived.

Saturday, September 18 Birthdays -

The man with direct ties to both Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love and Annette, the Italian-American Goddess of the Mousketeers - Frankie Avalon turns 70.
Former Ace Trucking Company member, who spent years working with Raymond J. Johnson Jr. - but you don’t have to call him Johnson - dry-witted, comedy icon, Fred Willard is 71.
She’s Rocky the Flying Squirrel. She’s Jokey the Smurf. She’s Cindy Lou Who. And she’s turning 93 - June Foray.
And lastly, we remember the late Rossano Brazzi, born 94 years ago today, who could neither be washed out of Mitzi Gaynor’s hair, nor be sent on his way. Get the picture?

Now, from the 1954 film, “A Star is Born,“ with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Ira Gershwin - an Oscar nominee for Best Original Song - “The Man that Got Away.”

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