JOE BLITMAN'S
FASHION & CELEBRITY DOLLS
2021 HOLIDAY ADVENT CALENDAR
DAY 20




16 Dartmouth Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
323-953-6490

 
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COLE PORTER




1891-1964


Cole Porter, the ultimate New York sophisticate, was born in rural Indiana. 

His grandfather, a coal and steel magnate, was the richest man in the state. 




Porter studied music at Yale and Harvard. 

Although his studies were in classical music, he was irresistibly drawn to the new jazzy pop music. 

He wrote his first Broadway show, “See America First,” in 1916:
 



It flopped.

During WWI, he enlisted in the French Foreign Legion





and, after the war, he spent the next decade in Europe, living it up,





entering into a marriage of convenience (he was actively gay),





and occasionally writing a song here and there that was interpolated into a Broadway show. 

Can you spell dilettante?

It starts with a "D" -- as does "Doll" -- which conveniently leads us to the doll-related items from our website that we are featuring today:




RESORT SET
(1959)
TM label with #1 wedgies
Excellent+ & Complete
$89.00

SOLD - SORRY

 
FASHIONABLE LEGACY VIOLAINE
CARRY CASE
(Nu.Face)
(2021)
Mint
$24.99
SOLD - SORRY


ELIZABETH TAYLOR in
"FATHER OF THE BRIDE"
(2001)
$49.00


SOPHISTICATED LADY
(1963)

Excellent+/Near Mint
& Complete
$109.00


BARBRA STREISAND
(2010)
NRFB
$99.99


DRINK COASTER
WITH 2021 CONVENTION LOGO
(PEOPLE-SIZED)
2021 BARBIE CONVENTION GIFT
(2021)
$3.99


RED FOR RAIN
(1971)
NRFB
$99.00

SOLD - SORRY


ROYAL BARBIE
(1980)
$37.99


BEST BUY #7273
FRANCIE OLYMPIC OUTFIT
(1975)
Near Mint & Complete
$59.00


SILKEN FLAME
(1960)

Near Mint & Complete
$79.00


GIFT CERTIFICATES
IN ANY AMOUNT YOU WANT


In 1928, at the urging of Richard Rodgers and, especially, Irving Berlin, Porter committed himself to being a full-time Broadway composer/lyricist, hitting it big the first time out with the show “Paris.” 




Cut from that show is a song that became a hit nonetheless - “Let’s Misbehave” -- performed here by Christopher Walken in the movie “Pennies From Heaven”:

 
 
“The New Yorkers” was a 1930 show that would have run longer if not for the immediate impact of the stock market crash.




It had one hit song that was labeled by many as vulgar, since it is sung by a lady of the evening -- “Love For Sale.”


A classic rendition is Ella Fitzgerald’s:



Porter's most famous song, “Night and Day,” was written for Fred Astaire (and his somewhat limited 1-1/2 octave range) in “The Gay Divorce.”




Porter's usual way of songwriting was to come up with a beat and the lyric, and then write the melody. 

But for "Night and Day," he did the reverse -- he wrote the music first, and then the lyrics.

In the movie -- renamed “The Gay Divorcee” (apparently divorcees could be gay, but not divorces) -- Fred & Ginger have their very first cinematic seduction dance:





Porter was the undisputed master of the “list” song - where the lyrics literally consist of a list of things, refrain after refrain. 

His very best list song is “You’re The Top,” performed by Cary Grant and Ginny Simms in 1946 in the first of two bio-pics about Porter -- this one the almost-totally-fictionalized "Night and Day":







Porter loved to write risque lyrics, which sometimes so bordered on dirty that the songs had to be rewritten before they could get airplay on the radio.

For decades, four lines of an incredibly inappropriate parody of “You’re the Top” circulated. 

It was only recently that a music historian discovered that the parody lyrics had been written not by Porter, but by Irving Berlin of all people! 

They’re too dirty to print here, but if you need to know, email me and I’ll reply with the lyric in question.


Cole Porter’s biggest hit in the 1930s was 1934’s “Anything Goes,” which has had a number of first-class revivals in the last few decades. 




In a score with many standards, including “You’re The Top," one of the best-known is “I Get a Kick Out of You,” sung here by the incomparable duo of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett:



1935 brought tons of new Porter compositions, including two very different kinds of songs. 

One, “Begin the Beguine,” was very sexy and talks of a dance that is the equivalent of lovemaking. 

It didn’t catch on until a few years later when bandleader/clarinetist Artie Shaw had a gigantic hit with an instrumental version of it:



Joe’s sibling, Patricia, had a nun, Sister Thomas Aquinas, as her homeroom teacher in 8th grade.  “Begin the Beguine” was Sister Thomas' favorite song.  Every day in homeroom, she would play a different version of it on the record player.  Artie Shaw’s was Sister Thomas' fave rendition.




The other song we're highlighting from 1935 was for a musical revue in London entitled “Hi Diddle Diddle.” 

From it came a droll song about a society dame who shoots her cheating boyfriend, as sung by her butler. 

Here, Bette Midler (with the staggering Harlettes) has fun with “Miss Otis Regrets”:


And here, apparently with Porter's blessing, Shell oil has fun with it in an ad from the 1930s:




In 1937, Cole Porter had a horseback riding accident that crushed both of his legs and led to 34 or 35 different operations over the next 20 years and near-constant pain. 

His doctor suggested work might be the best diversion. 

The 1938 show, “Leave It To Me,”
 





introduced the world to Mary Martin and her legendary striptease to “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”:



Also from the 1930’s is Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” 

In the mid-50’s, arranger Nelson Riddle was paid a few hundred dollars to do an arrangement of the song for Frank Sinatra to sing on the album “Songs For Swingin’ Lovers.” 

The result is a miraculous marriage of arrangement and singer.

 

Many Sinatra aficionados consider this Sinatra’s finest 4 minutes:


In the late 40’s/early 50’s, a song Cole Porter had written (and really liked) -- “From This Moment On” -- kept getting cut from shows for which he’d written the scores. 

When MGM bought the movie rights to “Kiss Me Kate” (his longest running hit - over 1000 performances), included in the contract was a clause that mandated MGM include “From This Moment On” in the movie. 




Wouldn’t you know it?  It turned out to be the highlight of a very good movie. 

And became one of the biggest hits of Porter’s career:



Back in the early 1920’s, while still struggling as a songwriter, Porter had a conversation with Richard Rodgers in which he opined on how he was going to turn the public’s lackluster response to his music into one of enthusiastic acceptance. 

He said:  "I'm going to start writing Jewish music." 

What he meant was that he was going to start writing songs in a minor key -- which makes music more heartfelt, more emotional. 

Minor key is the key in which songs are traditionally written in the Mediterranean and Mideastern regions of the world. 

As soon as Porter started writing what he called “Jewish Music,” that’s when he started writing popular hit songs. 

Musically, the following song from 1953’s “Can Can” is as “Jewish Music” as you can get.




Say hello to “I Love Paris,” performed by Tatiana Eva-Marie & The Avalon Jazz Band:


There are so many Cole Porter standards that we would be here typing out “and then he wrote….and then he wrote....” for another 40 or 50 standards. 

But with the showbiz admonition of knowing when to get off stage AND to "always leave them laughing," here’s a clip from the other biopic about Cole Porter, 2004’s “It’s De-Lovely.”



This is “Be A Clown,” with Kevin Kline as Porter in a fantasy sequence with him singing “Be A Clown” to Louis B. Mayer on the backlot of MGM:









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