?able Humor: Bad Day Rising? Mr. O’Connor Will Set You Straight in 4:08…

(thanks, ozabbavo77!) 

I remember when I didn’t like musicals much at all, but I’d say that was because I didn’t watch too many of them. I started to fall for them gradually by way of their sneaky as hell way of cracking me up with their precise choreography, offbeat choice of locations or just the sheer number of performers hoofing it up with broad smiles and seemingly not breaking a sweat. I know I nearly fell off a chair laughing the first time I saw Busby Berkeley’s name in a film’s credits because it sounded exactly like the name of someone who’d throw a hundred women and a handful of men into a huge studio and make them dance on a big revolving tower cake staircase a few stories tall until they were doing it in their sleep (and perhaps wanted him a little bit dead for that kind of torture)…

Still, I’d avoided watching a complete musical for a while. Yet for some reason, I could sit through a nap-worthy epic like Ben Hur just for that spectacular chariot race, but it took me three or four times to see The Wizard of Oz from start to finish. I think this went on for a while until I was flipping around and caught the “Make ’em Laugh!” sequence from MGM’s 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain (another film I somehow avoided for ages). I hadn’t truly realized how physically, crushingly hard dancing was until I saw Donald O’Connor throw himself up, down, around and through that set like a human crash dummy, yet still smile as if his face was glued into that shape.

Of course, I still actually held out on seeing the film from the beginning a few times longer until I saw the “Moses Supposes” sequence (pure brilliance and nonsense cubed and yep, funny as hell, to boot) and added it to my must-see list. Anyway, the REAL kicker here is this bit of trivia from the film’s page on Wikipedia:

“Donald O’Connor had to be hospitalized after filming the “Make ’em Laugh” sequence. He smoked up to four packs of cigarettes a day.”

 

Whaaaat Thuh?… Up to four…? Wait, what? Four packs a day? FOUR??! OK, up to four, but still… And doing THAT for a living? Hey, kids! Drop the weed habit and Red Bull plus crap cocktails and take up unfiltered 1950’s ciggies! Check your grandma’s old purses in her closet or just hit up the local Goodwill to go through pockets in the coat section or maybe try eBay! Um, no – don’t do that. Really. Smoking’s not what I’d consider a good thing (despite it sometimes leading to lungs of iron, those aren’t what some of you young invincible kids think)…

Anyway, are you laughing yet? Cringing a little? Either is fine with me. That’s the plan here. And also a little reminder that it’s OK to get stupid once in a while (provided it’s OK with stupid… or else that’s called kidnapping in 44 states) and no one will mind you sharing. Just check for the ones already smiling, as too much of a good thing might cause some unforeseen side effects. If you read all that and didn’t watch the video yet – you might want to consider a pie in the face makeover with a seltzer shower to wash it off afterwards.

Oh, and if you already know and laugh at this part of the movie in your head but wonder why the hot holy heck does that song sound almost exactly like “Be A Clown” from Vincente Minnelli’s awesome (and under-appreciated) comic book-color 1948 musical The Pirate, well, see old Uncle Cecil at the bar out back – he’s got an answer for you that’s a simple doozy…

-GW

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