13 Rue Madeleine

I looked at the American Top 40 playlist.  The radio station had taken one week off for the holidays.  The Top 10 songs on December 26, 1970 were “No Matter What,” “Gypsy Woman,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is,” “Stoned Love,” “I Think I Love You,” “Black Magic Woman,” “Knock Three Times,” “The Tears of a Clown,” “One Less Bell to Answer,” and “My Sweet Lord.”  I went out of my way to visit my ATM, and then arrived at the theatre in time for the 1:00 showing of “La La Land.”  I enjoyed it more this second time around, although some of those songs I still didn’t care for.  Hardly anyone writes good melodies, and almost no one has any flair for writing interesting lyrics.  Thinking back, I appreciate Cole Porter’s talent much more.  I liked the scene in the observatory, which was magical.  One person sitting behind me applauded after the first number, but at the end, audience reaction was not so enthusiastic.  I think that a lot of people didn’t care for the ending.  I went out for a hamburger before going back home and sitting in front of the television set to see “13 Rue Madeleine.”  It had James Cagney in it, and people like Red Buttons, E.G. Marshall, and Karl Malden were also in the cast.  It was one of those World War II stories about outsmarting the Nazis.  A lot of it centered on training a group of recruits to find a missile site in France.  The movie that it brought back to my mind was “The Green Berets.”  Cagney’s character is a tough guy, not showing any fear, and patriotic and willing to sacrifice himself.  The German spy in their midst is a real dirty rat.  The Nazis are losing the war, and the Normandy invasion is coming, so the suspense is in whether the double agent will get what he deserves, and whether Cagney and Suzanne will survive the operation.  Cagney is not going to crack under pressure, and he doesn’t have any emotional problems or complaints about his job.  I liked watching this movie again in its directness and simplicity.  I must have seen “13 Rue Madeleine” on the late show one night many years ago.  I will really remember Cagney for “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “One, Two, Three.”  I went out to see one of his movie when he was still alive, and that was “Ragtime” in 1981.  He still had something left at that point.  The director was Henry Hathaway.  I watched the ending of the Star Trek episode about the empath.  I heard about the death of William Christopher, who was Father Mulcahy in the M*A*S*H television series.  He was 84 years old.  I put my new calendars on my walls after I woke up.  Marcus Semien is on the January page of my A’s calendar.  Some of the people who died on January 2 include Erroll Garner (1977), Larry Williams (1980), Bill Veeck (1986), Alan Hale, Jr. (1990), Nancy Kelly (1995), and Anne Francis (2011).  Today is a birthday for Cuba Gooding, Jr. (49).

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