The Rave Cinema Classics Program for which I was the host sadly came to an end on Monday, 6/24/13. I’m optimistic about a similar role for the Cinemark Classics Program which I’ve yet to pitch to the General Manager there. The final Rave Cinema Classic was about ‘the sentimental gentleman of swing’ & his older brother. And there were no issues in the Marino household with Cindy not screening the Classic with me this week. She actually introduced the ‘40’s big bands to me when we first started dating in ‘77. Swing was BIG in the Vance household, especially Glenn Miller and the Dorseys. My wife’s family is Irish. My family is Italian. “There’s only one thing worse than being Irish, and that’s not being Irish”. While they were growing up listening to Mom & Dad’s swing records, we were listening to Enrico Caruso & Mario Lanza. With such a well-rounded upbringing for the appreciation of music, it’s no wonder that I love Jerry Garcia & the Grateful Dead!
I was honored to host Alfred E. Green’s The Fabulous Dorseys, a slightly fictionalized biopic of Tommy & his 1 year older brother Jimmy. It begins in Shenandoah PA when the boys are about 10 & 11. Tommy & Jimmy as youths are played by Bobby Warde & Buz Buckley, respectively, in uncredited roles. Their music teacher father (Arthur Shields) instructs them & makes them practice regularly. The boys argue & fight a lot foreshadowing their infamous on stage breakup. Although the Fabulous Dorseys received no accolades, the original music on it is by: Leo Shuken, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Unsinkable Molly Brown 1965 at the 37th Academy Awards and won for co-writing the Score to Stagecoach 25 years earlier; and 5 time Oscar Nominee, Louis Forbes. Neither gentleman is credited on the motion picture.
I want to talk a little about the younger, more famous brother, Tommy Dorsey. He acted in a number of films & performs off camera or his music is included on the soundtrack of many more. Notably: His 1930 rendition of Sleepy Lagoon is on 4-time Oscar winning Best Picture, Woody Allen’s 1977 comic masterpiece Annie Hall; Song of India can be heard in 7 different motion pictures, including the opening sequence of Martin Scorsese’s New York New York, also released 1977 from the same year; it’s also performed in Ralph Murphy’s 1941 Oscar nominated Las Vegas Nights, which features a configuration of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra that included Frank Sinatra singing I’ll Never Smile Again. Do you remember in The Godfather when Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) tells his future wife Kay (Diane Keaton) how his father got Johnny Fontane, the Frank Sinatra-like character (Al Martino), out of his contract with a bandleader. Well that’s based on the true story. When Sinatra tried to buy out of his contract with Dorsey for $60000, Tommy refused because they were playing packed houses with Sinatra crooning in the band. So Frank used his Mafia connections & mob boss Willie Moretti “made Tommy an offer he couldn’t refuse”. As the story goes, Moretti himself put a gun in Tommy’s mouth & he voided the contract for $1. But don’t plan on seeing that scene played out in Alfred E. Green’s The Fabulous Dorseys when you watch the film, linked below. 3 Stars!