Daily Update: Friday, October 30th, 2015

10-30 - War of the Worlds and Voodoo Music and Arts Experience 2015

With no Saints to honor today, we note that on this date in 1938 the Mercury Theatre On The Air production of Orson Welles broadcasting his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds brought Welles instant fame. We also note that today is the start of the three-day VooDoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans. And it was on this date in 2000 that Richard was hired by the casino.

The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast of the radio play, with the action transferred from England to contemporary Grover’s Mill, an unincorporated village in West Windsor Township, New Jersey, were presented as a series of simulated “news bulletins”, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a ‘sustaining show’ (it ran without commercial breaks), thus adding to the program’s quality of realism. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage. The program’s news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast, but the episode secured Orson Welles’ fame. (In 1998 a monument was erected commemorating where the Martians in the broadcast landed in Van Nest Park, Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.) The VooDoo Music + Arts Experience is a music festival that takes place, usually on the weekend on or before Halloween, at City Park in New Orleans. As it has been going on since 1999, it is a pretty well established festival; in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, the festival was held both in New Orleans and in Memphis. The main headliner today at Voodoo are Modest Mouse, Jason Isbell, Girl Talk, Jack Ü, and Florence & The Machine. And in 2000 Richard was hired by the casino as a part-time dealer. He later became a Full-Time dealer, along about 2002, and has always worked on the Graveyard shift.

I woke up, sans alarm clock, at 9:00 am at Matthew and Callie’s place in Groton, Connecticut. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, ate my last two roast beef poboys for breakfast, and read The Boston Globe and the USA Today (which Richard had gotten for me ear at the local convenience store). I then did my Internet Devotional Reading.

At Callie’s suggestion, Richard and I left the house at 12:15 pm and went to Clyde’s Cider Mill in Mystic, where we got some stuff to bring back to the house. We also tasted some wine and cider. We also stopped at the local package store, where Richard got me some Mudslides. We arrived home at 1:30 pm, just as Matthew got home from duty on the base. For the rest of the afternoon we relaxed and watched television, though while Matthew and Callie got caught up on American Horror Story I went upstairs to continue reading The Fortune of War by Patrick O’Brian. And though it is still early, I will do my Daily Update now, before I drink too many Mudslides.

We have no Saints to honor, but tomorrow is Halloween, and the second day of the three-day Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tomorrow is also the birthday of my favorite (and only) sister, Liz Ellen in Eastern Kentucky (1960). I will again not set my alarm. We do not have anything planned, especially since our LSU Tigers have their bye week this weekend, except that we will go to Amy’s parents house for Trick or Treat. And our New Orleans Pelicans will play a home game with game with the Golden State Warriors.

Our Parting Quote on this Friday evening comes to us from from Robert Goulet, Canadian-American entertainer. Born in 1933 in Lawrence, Massachusetts (and thus an American citizen), the son of French Canadian parents, his rise to fame started at the age of five when his aunts and uncles blackened his face with burnt cork and prompted him to do Al Jolson impressions. Though his performance was well-received by his relatives, the experience was deeply traumatic for the young Goulet, and left him with performance anxiety which plagued him for many years. Despite this stage fright Goulet was encouraged by his parents to continue performing. At the age of thirteen (after his father’s death) he moved with his mother and sister to Girouxville, Alberta. Some years later, the family moved to the provincial capital of Edmonton to take advantage of the performance opportunities offered in the city. Goulet attended the famous voice schools founded by Herbert G. Turner and Jean Letourneau and later became a radio announcer for radio station CKUA. Upon graduating from high school Goulet received a scholarship to The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He studied voice with famed oratorio baritones George Lambert and Ernesto Vinci. In 1952 he competed in CBC Television’s Pick The Stars, ultimately making the semifinals. This led to other network appearances on shows like Singing Stars of TomorrowOpportunity Knocks, and the Canadian version of Howdy Doody in which he starred opposite William Shatner. In 1959 Goulet was introduced to librettist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, who were having difficulty casting the role of Lancelot in their stage production Camelot. Lerner and Loewe, impressed by Goulet’s talent, signed the virtual newcomer to play the part, opposite Richard Burton (King Arthur) and Julie Andrews (Queen Guenevere). In October of 1960 Camelot opened in Toronto, ran for a four-week engagement in Boston, and finally opened on Broadway two months later. Goulet received favorable reviews, most notably for his show-stopping romantic ballad, “If Ever I Would Leave You” which would become his signature song. After the run of Camelot he appeared on The Danny Thomas Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, and became a household name among American audiences. 1962 was a busy year for Goulet; he began a recording career with Columbia Records which resulted in more than 40 best selling albums, had a memorable appearance on The Jack Paar Show with fellow guest Judy Garland, won a Grammy Award as Best New Artist, and had his voice featured as the character of Jaune Tom in the UPA (United Productions of America) animated musical feature Gay Purr-ee. His first non-singing acting role was in Honeymoon Hotel (1964). On May 25, 1965, Goulet mangled the lyrics to the United States National Anthem at the opening of the Muhammad Ali – Sonny Liston heavyweight championship fight in Lewiston, Maine. Goulet had never sung the anthem in public before, and replaced the lyrics “dawn’s early light” with “dawn’s early night”. The gaffe was reported in newspapers nationwide the next morning, and Goulet was criticized in opinion columns for a lack of knowledge of the lyrics. He also had his biggest pop hit in this year, when his single “My Love, Forgive Me” reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1966 Goulet starred as a double agent in the short-lived ABC World War II television series Blue Light and starred in a television version of Brigadoon, a production which won several Emmy awards. He toured in several musicals, including Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, where he portrayed Billy Bigelow, a role he also played in 1967 in a made-for-television adaptation of the musical. In 1968 he was in a television production of Kiss me Kate, opposite his then-wife Carol Lawrence. In 1968 he was on Broadway in the Kander and Ebb musical The Happy Time and won a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for his role. In 1978 he sang “You Light Up My Life” at the Miss Universe Pageant to the five finalists. He received critical acclaim for a cameo appearance as a singer in Louis Malle’s film Atlantic City (1980), and recorded the song “Atlantic City (My Old Friend)” for Applause Records in 1981. He had a cameo appearance in the 1982 TV series Police Squad, in the episode “The Butler Did It (A Bird in the Hand)”, where, as “Special Guest Star”, he died by firing squad in the opening credits. In 1988 he was cast by Tim Burton as a houseguest blown through the roof by Beetlejuice and also played himself in Bill Murray’s Scrooged. In 1990 he sang the Canadian national anthem at the beginning of WrestleMania VI, which was held at the Skydome in Toronto, Ontario. Shortly after he produced an unsuccessful musical with his brothers, Red Ships of Spain. In 1991 Goulet starred, along with John Putch and Hillary Bailey Smith, in the unsold television series pilot Acting Sheriff. That same year he appeared as Quentin Hapsburg, opposite Leslie Nielsen, in the comedy The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear. In 1992 Goulet made an uncredited appearance as the piano player who suffered agonizing injuries in the “Weird Al” Yankovic video for “You Don’t Love Me Anymore”. He starred as King Arthur in Camelot in a 1992 national tour and returned to Broadway in 1993 with the same production. In 1993 he played himself in the The Simpsons episode “$pringfield”. In that episode Bart Simpson booked him into his own casino (actually Bart’s treehouse), where he sang “Jingle Bells (Batman Smells)”. In 1996 he appeared in Ellen DeGeneres’ first starring vehicle, Mr. Wrong, as an insecure TV host. He returned to Broadway again in Moon Over Buffalo (1996) with co-star Lynn Redgrave. He played Don Quixote in the 1997–98 U.S. national tour of Man of La Mancha. Goulet also provided the singing voice of Wheezy the penguin in the Vegas-style finale from the 1999 Pixar film, Toy Story 2, singing a new version of the original “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” at the end of the movie. In 2000 he played himself on two episodes of the Robert Smigel series TV Funhouse; as a sort of mentor to the show’s animal puppet troupe, he was the only character who had the respect of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. In 2003 Goulet sang the theme song to the talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!. In 2005 he starred in the Broadway revival of Jerry Herman’s La Cage aux Folles. In 2006 Goulet appeared in an episode (“Sold’y Locks”) of The King of Queens as himself; that same year he received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. He always wanted to have dual citizenship, and in the last year of his life he was seeking Canadian citizenship with the help of Albertan senator Tommy Banks (died 2007): “I don’t work out. I pay people to do that for me.”

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