Friday, June 8, 2018

The 100th Anniversary of Robert Preston's Birth

This week I contracted a particularly vicious strain of of the norovirus, which is why I did not make a post Wednesday or yesterday. I am still feeling under the weather, but I wanted to observe the 100th birthday of Robert Preston. He has always been one of my favourite performers. Early in his career he appeared in such films as Beau Geste (1939) and This Gun for Hire (1942). His everlasting fame would come with the stage musical The Music Man in 1957. He would reprise his role as Professor Harold Hill in the 1962 film adaptation. Later in his career he would play Carole "Toddy" Todd in Victor Victoria (1982), for which he was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Gen Xers might remember him best for his final film role, playing Centauri  in The Last Starfighter (1984).

Here in honour of Mr. Preston's centenary are two videos. First up is "(Ya Got) Trouble", from The Music Man.

Next up is "Chicken Fat", a song that requires a little bit of explanation. "Chicken Fat" was written by Meredith Wilson of The Music Man fame. It was commissioned by President John F. Kennedy's President's Council on Physical Fitness. Two versions were recorded: a shorter version for radio airplay and a longer version that would be sent to schools where it would be played while students performed callisthenics. I am guessing that if you are a Baby Boomer, you might remember it.


Hal said...

Hope you're feeling better Terence!

Preston was always a joy. I'm partial to his riotous performance in S.O.B. (1981), in which he delivers one of the more underrated quotables about his profession after Loretta Swit calls him a shyster:

"A shyster is a disreputable lawyer. I'm a quack!"

angelman66 said...

Just watched Victor Victoria again, coincidentally, and was marveling at Preston's unforgettable Oscar nominated performance.
Nice tribute!