Just here for the old music clips? Go here.

I assume you noticed the different banners above? Four in total, all touting the life-enhancing virtues of the new Frigidaire line. I grew up with a curvy turquoise Frigidaire with an amazing chrome handle, which I was constantly enjoined against “hanging on,” lest it break. (It did, 20 years later, after it had been exiled to the basement and lost all hope.) The switch from Curves to Corners was the great pivots of design in the mid-century culture, and it affected everything. It was the shift from romantic machinery to practical, technocratic culture: fridges would have the same profile as mainframe computers. Streamlining - the idea that every common object should take into consideration its performance in strong headwinds, even if it's a toaster or an ashtray - was the dominant theme until the postwar era, when it fell to the lure of angular, whimsical, playful forms that abstracted cars and end tables into visions of a future that had suddenly arrived ahead of schedule, intact and complete. But Square would triumph, and Square ruled right up until the moment Ford introduced the Taurus, which had curves. I remember thinking how radical it was at the time. I remember thinking we might get tailfins again.

But no. We’ll never get tailfins again. It’s one of those things they just won’t do.

Daughter had another Theater-class variety show today. No, we are not pushing her into the footlights, and no, she is not a limelight-added theater kid who runs around EMOTING. In fact she’s rather amused by the theater kids who do over-emote everything and wave their arms dramatically and mistake exaggerated diction and outsized gestures for “acting.” I suppose you could call her style “natural,” if she has one, and choses to pursue it; not a bad hobby, and a good way to find a group in high school. I know speech and debate won’t be her thing, which is a loss to the school and a stinging rebuke to my own desire to build a dynasty.

Kidding. She won’t take my advice, and that’s that. But last night after everyone had gone to bed (one more person in the house this week; mother-in-law visiting) we had a discussion on a social issue. We differed, somewhat, but not as much as she thought. I enjoyed the argument, of course, but also the fact that she had arrived at an opinion different from mine, could defend it, and could incorporate my arguments into a reevaluation of her position. You can’t make them think what you’d like them to think, but you can help train them how to think, and hope that putting Thinking above Feeling, to use the simplest but most accurate terms, guide them to the proper conclusions. A good argument is like a good cracking bonfire; emotion is an accelerant, and rationality is the wood. Also, marijuana is the flame, heroin is the fuse, and LSD is the bomb.

Sorry; rambling. The kids also sang “Hard-Knock Life,” which every parent of a young girl hears a lot between the ages of 9 and 14, I think. It’s a not bad song to hear. It’s an okay song, that’s clear; instead of flowing, meter halts; instead of praising, lyrics fault.

Huh; yes, I have been humming it to myself all day.

Below there’s something I saw in an old magazine - yes, that certainly sets this Bleat apart, eh? - and there was also a piece on the Negro Soldiers of WW2. Two stood out, the first for his awesome name. ]

NIMROD was an insult when I was growing up; a NIMROD was a particularly vexatious idiot, but it’s a fine Biblical name. Wikipedia says the association with stupidity was cemented by Bugs Bunny, referring to Fudd.

I googled both, and the second man's name turned up in Senior and Junior versions. If I may quote from the latter's bio: "Roscoe Giles uses high performance parallel computers to solve problems in physics and material science and develops algorithms for large scale micro magnetic modeling and molecular dynamics simulation."

And then you look at your own day and think "well, I made burritos."




Now, the Cues! Do I have to explain? Fine. As I say every week: if you're just joining the Listen project, it includes a selection of music cues gleaned from "The Couple Next Door." Library music the producers dropped in to get them in and out of scenes. It's the background soundtrack for mid-century life. Many more can be found here.

#154 This galumphing cue is familiar, but can’t say for sure I’ve played it before:





#155: I found something I know is new - by which I mean old, but never heard before on the show. An episode about a court trial for jaywalking yielded some Serious Business in the Busy City music, complete with the necessary xylophone at the end . . .





#156 . . . and then Confusion Music resolving down to The Chord of Domestic Ease:




#157 . . . and then something that appears to be an argument of birds.




#158 Finally, more of the contentious nervous music, which again swiftly ends with The Chord:




Enough of the CBS Library! you cry. It’s all blending together. Didn’t the other networks have their own library? I imagine they did. In the 60s the show moved to Monitor, where it was compacted down into five-piece stand-alone pieces. Lynch and Bunce are as good as ever, but the music -

Well, it’s just not the same. It’s smaller, and lacks the ambition of the CBS Library. It also has whipsaw keychanges that give your ear a stiff neck:





There’s not much to be gained from the Monitor pieces. Well, this:




Now, something different:

A while back I highlighted the music used in “The Black Museum,” a program in which Orson Welles narrated supposedly true crime stories, using a cast that rotated between the same five actors. While looking through some old magazines the other day, this caught my eye:



I wondered if they ever solved the murder. Googled: indeed. The wikipedia page says it formed the basis for “The Pink Powder-Puff” episode of “The Black Museum,” which I had. No resemblance whatsoever - and they left out the killer’s jaunty line to his executioner, too. ("Prior to his execution, as was the custom, Heath was offered a whisky by the governor. A playboy to the last, Heath replied, 'While you're about it, sir, you might make that a double.'") Anyway, the music’s distinctive. Listen to the way the strings attack and slash:




Now, another 50s show, “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Sink me:

Same composer? There are more similarities; you'll have to trust me. I'll find them eventually.





Finally, commercials. Let’s check in with Don Wilson to see what National Jell-O Week it is this week:





Annnnd this. A PSA for an upcoming program on CBS. A moment will come when you will sit up and say “what?” You will have heard correctly.






That's it for this week - thanks for showing up, and hope you enjoyed your stay. See you around the usual places!



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