Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TIME© on my hands

I fished out the latest issue of Time magazine out of my mailbox the other day to find two items of interest…

One is a short interview (one of those Ten Questions deals) with actor-writer Simon Pegg, known for his appearances in films like Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007) (and, of course, the cult Channel 4 sitcom Spaced—now available on Region 1 DVD from Warner Home Video) who’s plugging his latest film, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Here’s one of the questions posed to him:

Why do good British comedy shows like Spaced or The Office last for only two seasons?

It’s like a curse. The “Fawlty Towers curse”, we call it. Personally, I don’t think Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant should have quit The Office after two. I loved that show and wanted to see more.

I feel the same about Spaced.

On a sadder note, the second item to catch my eye was the September 22 passing of singer Connie Haines at the age of 87 from myasthenia gravis. A native of Savannah, GA, she achieved great fame as a female vocalist with the Tommy Dorsey and Harry James Orchestras, where she frequently performed alongside some skinny Italian kid…Sinatra, I think his name was.

She scored a goodly number of hits during her stint with Dorsey and James: Comes Love, I Can’t Afford to Dream, Oh, Look at Me Now, Let’s Get Away From It All and Snooty Little Cutie. Her film appearances include Moon Over Las Vegas (1944), Twilight on the Prairie (1944), A Wave, a WAC and a Marine (1944) and Duchess of Idaho (1950)—one of the few vehicles that allowed her to act rather than just appear as a singer. As a vocalist, however, she was also in huge during the Golden Age of Radio: her best-known gig was as the resident singer on The Abbott & Costello Show from 1942 to 1946, but she also worked alongside funsters like Jack Carson, Jack Kirkwood, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Joan Davis, Jimmy Durante, Cass Daley and Fanny Brice.

I was also surprised to learn (it’s in the L.A. Times obit) that she was the first white singer to record for Motown. You do learn something new everyday.

R.I.P, Connie…you will be missed.

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