Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 22, 2003
POP CULTURE: Muppet Influence

We rented Chicago over the weekend, and it was pretty much as advertised, a very musical musical; if you like musicals, you'll enjoy it. (Unless I'm missing something, it has to be the first major Hollywood release where two of the top 3 stars' last names started with "Z").

Anyway, considering that the cast mostly broke down between people who hadn't sung and danced in the movies before and people who hadn't sung and danced, period, they pulled it off well. The one part I didn't buy was ubiquitous That Guy John C. Reilly's lead-footed dancing to the song "Mr. Cellophane."

Anyway, as I'm thinking this, I realize that one reason I noticed this is that I remember the incomparable Ben Vereen performing the same song on "The Muppet Show," gliding effortlessly about. Looking back, I realized how many songs and people I was exposed to in those childhood years from watching that show, many of which I might not have heard until years later or not at all otherwise. And it wasn't just show tunes, but pop, rock, country . . . from Sly Stallone singing "Bird in a Gilded Cage," which I believe is a 19th century standard (or sounds like it), to Debbie Harry doing "The Tide is High," which was then near the top of the pop charts, to people like Paul Williams and Leslie Uggams who I would just never have heard of otherwise.

How strange, in a way, that one of the last successful shows to truly present a variety of entertainment was a show aimed at children and starring muppets.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:38 AM | Pop Culture | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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