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Photo by Dan Chapman ©2001 Stanyan
A Thought for Today
Stick with me baby, and in twenty-one
day’s it’ll be Christmas.
ON NOVEMBER & BEYOND
I have so many conflicting
emotions on the month just past. While I was working almost non-stop
friends were departing more quickly than I could count them, especially
some greats connected with music.
The music world said goodbye to composer-arranger Ralph Burns (the two
time Oscar winner and composer of “Early Autumn”) in November. Jazz
impresario, producer and founder of Verve Records Norman Granz, who
personally guided the long career of Ella Fitzgerald, died at 83. Big band
singer O. C. Smith was taken from us and other musicians including Tommy
Flanagan, Panama Francis and Jerry Jerome took their final bows. And, on
the last day of the month, popular music lost the quiet innovator George
Harrison, who died much too young at 58.
While juggling recording, rehearsals and writing I was part of an all-star
salute to Jerry Herman early in the month and sang and spoke at a memorial
service for my old friend Jay Livingston. Jay, in a lifelong musical
partnership with Ray Evans, co-wrote “Buttons & Bows,” “Mona Lisa,”
“Silver Bells",” “Dear Heart,” ”Que Sera, Sera” and dozens of other
I had nearly forgotten that in the first week of September I was
interviewed for a PBS documentary on the musical life of Petula Clark.
That special has already started airing around the country.
My apologies to those of you in Detroit, Sacramento, Norfolk, Hawaii,
Milwaukee, Chicago and Arkansas for not getting this schedule to you
sooner. Alas, as you’ll note from the schedule below, The Clark PBS
special has already aired in your areas. It plays again tonight in South
Carolina and there is a repeat broadcast on the 8th in St. Louis. (For a
full listing of play dates see the letter further down in the column.)
Next year those stations listed plan to air it again and nearly all the
North American PBS channels will play it four months from now during the
next Pledge Drive.
All of the above and more prevented me from giving a running tally of my
activities in the Flight Plan, but fortunately some of last month’s
unanswered (till now) mail helps explain a lot of it.
A RARE McKUEN SIGHTING
was watching a special on Petula Clark over the weekend on PBS and there
you were! I enjoyed the interview very much. You’re looking good these
days. Love Judy Hearn, Chicago
Dear Rod, What a treat to see you interviewed about Pet Clark. I wish they
had included a segment where you sang together. I can’t complain since I
missed you in your concert earlier this year, this rare McKuen sighting
was just what the doctor ordered. Karen Knight, Detroit
Dear Judy & Karen, See it pays to watch your local Public Broadcasting
Station. I haven’t seen the finished concert or the documentary yet since
it doesn’t play on our local outlet KOCE until next week. Thanks for the
‘heads up.’ Luv, Rod
I received my monthly e-mail newsletter form PBS, and found the following.
“PETULA CLARK IN CONCERT: A SIGN OF THE TIMES
Taped at the acclaimed Virginia Arts Festival, this program includes
classic hits of international singing star Petula Clark, songs from her
film and stage career, and some of her own compositions. (CC, Stereo)
PETULA CLARK: THIS IS MY SONG
This biography chronicles the extraordinary life of singer Petula
Clark, featuring the stories behind her ever-popular upbeat
music, including the Grammy-winning signature song, "Downtown." (CC,
Stereo). Cheers, Alex Butler
Dear Alex, Both shows are coming out on DVD & Video after the first of the
year and are available from PBS immediately for a pledge. The soundtrack
album from the concert is already in stores. Below is a press release with
details on where the show has played, and is playing, that I just received
from Jim Pierson. Jim is currently shepherding Petula around the country
for appearances in connection with the shows.
EVEN MORE PET
Here’s the rundown and Press Release on Pet’s tour and the play dates for
her PBS specials. Happy holidays, Jim.
PETULA CLARK IN CONCERT: A SIGN OF THE TIMES
NEW PBS PLEDGE SPECIAL with guests Lou Rawls & Richard Carpenter
Bonus documentary "Petula Clark: This Is My Song," including an interview
with Rod McKuen and a clip of Petula performing Rod's "Wind Of Change"
from his 1971 BBC TV series, will also air on select stations and to
appear on home video and DVD release "Petula Clark - A Sign Of The Times"
(MPI Home Video).
Petula will be making in-station appearances to promote "A Sign of the
Times" at these PBS affiliates, check your local TV listings for more
Norfolk (WHRO - 8:00 & 10:00 PM., 12:00 & 2:00 AM
12/1 - Detroit WTVS, Ch. 56, 9:00 PM
12/1 - Sacramento KVIE - 2:30 PM
12/1 - South Carolina Public Broadcasting 6:00 PM
12/1 - Norfolk repeat broadcast, 8:30 PM
12/2 - Hawaii PTV- 8:00 PM
12/2 - St. Louis KETC, Ch. 9 -11:00 PM
12/2 - Milwaukee WMVS - 3:00 PM
12/2 - Chicago WTTW, Ch. 11 - approx. 8:40 PM
12/3 - Philadelphia WHYY, TV-12 8:00 PM
12/3 - Arkansas Public Television AETN 9 PM
12/4 - Baltimore Maryland Public TV - 8:00 PM
12/4 - South Carolina PBS (repeat broadcast, 9:30 p.m.)
12/4 - Rhode Island PBS Station (Rhode Island/Fall River/Mass-Cape Cod
areas -Channel 36- 9:00 p.m.)
12/4 - Toledo (WGTE - CH.30 - 11:00 p.m.)
12/5 - Washington, D.C. (WETA - 8:00 p.m.)
12/6 - New York/Long Island (WLIW, Ch. 21 - 7:30 p.m.)
12/7 - Plattsburgh, NY/Montreal - (WCFE-Mt. Lake PBS, 8:00pm)
12/7 - San Bernardino, CA (KVCR - 9:30 p.m.)
12/7 - West Virginia Public Broadcasting
12/8 - Boston (Ch. 44 - 3:00 p.m.)
12/8 - Reno (KNPB - 7:00 p.m.)
12/8 - St. Louis (KETC, Ch. 0 - repeat broadcast, 11:00 p.m.)
12/8 - Grand Rapids (11 p.m.)
12/8 - Erie, PA (WQLN) 8:00 p.m.
12/11 - Memphis (WKNO) 7:00 p.m.
12/12 - Los Angeles/Orange County, CA (KOCE, Ch. 50 - 8:00pm
12/12 - Indianapolis (WFYI) 9:00 p.m.
12/15 - Springfield, MO (Ozarks PTV - KOZK - 10:00 p.m.)
* - Dallas (KERA, air date TBA)
Dear Jim, Thanks for the schedule. Hang in there on the tour and come back
THE LUCKMAN CONCERT
Rod, You may not remember me, I was the one who told you the last time I
saw you was at Marine World Africa USA. I wanted to thank you for your
time and allowing me to have my picture taken with you. For a fifty four
year old man, I am too old to be a groupie :). But if you need anyone to
carry your bags I'm there. You were very kind and genuine. You told me
about 2003 7.0 I'll be there and looking forward to 8.0 also. Once again
thank You, Bob Croft
Dear Bob, “Tap Your Troubles Away” was lots of fun and I’m glad you liked
it. I’m considering the 2003 Carnegie Hall 7.0 Concert as “The 30th
Anniversary of the 40th Birthday Concert". Maybe it should be titled “From
Blonde to Platinum.” That’s right, as you could tell when you saw me last
month my hair isn’t gray it’s platinum.
Tickets go on sale this coming May nearly a full year before the event. As
for 8.0 from your lips . . . Don’t be surprised if I take you up on your
luggage carrying offer. Cheers, Rod
Dear Rod, What song did you sing for the show on the
10 of November? I thought you would tell us all about it. How is the new
toy? Is it difficult, or a piece of cake? I want you to know, you are the
Cats Meow. Lola
Dear Lola, I ended up singing a marvelous song I was totally unfamiliar
with before David asked me to perform it. The song “Look Over There” is
from the musical “La Cage Aux Follies” and it deserves to become a
standard. Incidentally the concert was recorded and the soundtrack CD will
come out next year.
As for the new toy: Apple’s iPod? Hubba, Hubba! It’s terrific and very
user friendly. I already have over 400 songs on it. Read the following
letters for more information on “Tap Your Troubles Away.” Meow, as ever,
Dear Rod, Congratulations on the rave review of “Tap
Your Troubles Away” received in the Los Angeles Times. Were there any
other reviews? Tony Kaplan, Pasadena
Dear Tony, Thank you. I received the following E-mail from Wade:
ONLINE COMMENTS FOR “TAP YOUR TROUBLES AWAY”
Posted by rpschnei on November 12, 2001 at 13:13:07:
“Angela Lansbury said, "I've always wanted to do
this," and began singing "Hello, Dolly.” After a few verses, an
unmistakable voice over the sound system cried out "Someone's singing my
song!" It was Carol Channing, who then entered and proceeded to sing "Mame."
This was the finale of the Actor's Fund Jerry Herman tribute in LA on
Saturday night, and like the rest of the show, was a mix of the sublime
and ridiculous, as most of these benefits are. To have Angela and Carol on
stage reliving past glories, worked.
I've read that Carol fell earlier in the day, but at first I thought the
cast on her arm was just another one of her eccentric outfits. During the
"Best of Times" sing-along and homage to Jerry Herman, she had to thump
her leg instead of clapping because of the injury.
It would take forever to list all the performances, but there were
definite highlights. They also dug deep into the Jerry Herman catalog and
featured a lot of music that wasn't overly familiar.
It was nice to see Ann Miller and Janis Paige (even though all they did
was nod graciously) during the "We Need a Little Christmas" number. Rod
McKuen did a brilliant version of "Look Over There" from "La Cage." (Note
: Rod, wish I could have seen THAT!....W.)
Jason Graae brought the house down with "You I Like" from "The Grand
Tour." Nancy Dussault sang "Where in the World is My Prince" from the Las
Vegas show that never happened--"Miss Spectacular." Leslie Uggams also
brought the house down with "If He Walked Into My Life."
I particularly enjoyed Charlotte Rae doing "Chin Up, Ladies," a song I
haven't seen done in 30 years since Molly Picon was
touring in "Milk and Honey." Ken Page closed out the first act singing "I
Am What I Am."
The second act was filled with showstoppers. Although divas usually take
center stage at these things, the men really bloomed in the second act.
Davis Gaines sang, "Song in the Sand," Douglas Sills hammed his way
through:"I Promise You A Happy Ending" (less is more)
(Rod, note: J. Foster is a doing a workshop of a new musical with Douglas
Sills in the lead in January.....W.)
Hugh Panaro sang an exquisite "It Only Takes a Moment," and Sam Harris
blew the roof off with "I Don't Want to Know." These men should all be on
Broadway right now. (Note: Especially Rod McKuen. -W.) ? -W
Other Highlights: Rita Moreno did a club act version of "I Won't Send
Roses," that was great. Carole Cook eschewed her trademark comedy and did
a straight version of "Before the Parade Passes By." Lee Roy Reams still
does a great "La Cage Aux Folles."
The evening ended with the presentation of an Actor's Fund award (a music
box that played "Hello, Dolly") to Jerry Herman by Angela Lansbury. All in
all, quite a night.”
(Note: sure sounds like it... W.)
LOOK OVER THERE
you handsome devil, we all made it home, safe and sound. (Well....safe,
anyway – our soundness has always been debatable.)
Your song was great. Maybe it'll find a place on one of your new CD's.
Hint, hint. I swear, when you walked out on the stage, I heard Nan
whisper, "Life is good", just like she always did. And it's true.
I've said it before and I'll say it again; I don't think you realize how
much joy you have given us over the years. Last night is one more reason
to smile. Thank you, 1/4 of the McQuartet, Ann
Dear Ann, Having you, Sonja, Keith and Rev. Dave there meant everything to
me. It’s still hard to believe that Nan is no longer with us, especially
today since it’s her birthday. Her vibrancy coupled with that quiet as a
mouse voice is missed and loved. As ever, Rod
JAY LIVINGSTON & OTHER MEMORIES
It was good seeing you last night at the Livingston event. I emailed
Richard Weize at Bear Family and asked him to send you a DeCastro Sisters
CD with "Flowers on a Hillside," so hopefully he will. (If not, it's
readily available here...)
I spoke to Cherie this afternoon and told her I'd seen you last night and
that you didn't know the song was out. She said that it was their father's
very favorite song and recording out of
everything they ever did and that when he was old and sick he would play
it constantly. Take care and hope to hear from you....Best, Alan Eichler
Dear Alan, Seldom have I been to a memorial service that was as warm and
full of love as that for our old friend Jay Livingston. Too many legendary
musical figures left us this past year. I enjoyed offering my thoughts on
stage with Michael Finestein, Corky Hale, Red Buttons and Army Archard. It
was great too to see so many old friends like Donald Kahn and The
Bergman's. Thanks for introducing me to Monica Lewis.
“Flowers on a Hillside” is one of my oldest songs and one of the first to
be recorded by a major record act. I love The DeCastro Sisters’ version of
it. Great seeing you Alan & we’ll talk soon. All the best, Rod.
P.S. If you're curious, Monica Lewis has an interesting website at
THE PLATINUM COLLECTION
McKuen Platinum Collection arrived today. I've had a very enjoyable
evening listening to it - finding some old songs I haven't heard in many
years. Thank You! Emily
Dear Emily, I just spent the day with Dwight autographing books and discs
that folks have ordered for Christmas. In addition to The Platinum
Collection this year’s best-sellers include, A Safe Place to Land, Early
Harvest, The Power Bright & Shining, Posters, T Shirts, Dusty & Rod video
and Christmas Discs by Louis Armstrong, Crosby, Sinatra and The Stanyan
I’m not surprised at the number of LP’s we’re selling. Album sales have
doubled since a year ago. Dwight’s working overtime to get all the orders
out before the holidays and says it’s still not too late to order. With
Throughout the month I’ll be featuring poems from past Christmas Cards.
Today is the verse I sent out in 1969. Please join Webmaster Ken Blackie
tomorrow for “This One Does It For Me". I’ll see you on Thursday. Sleep
Today it belongs to Bob
Gentry. Here’s an e-mail I got from him last week.
THE BIG BANG
found a dead guy last night...i was in our studio playing the
piano...heard a big bang (sounded more like a pop)...went outside...and
saw a car literally wrapped around a telephone pole...i went closer to see
if i could help....but there was nothing i could do.....ended up calling
911. Very freaky night how was yours? Bob”
Obviously better than yours Bob, and that is the FINAL word.
RM 12/3/2001 Previously