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Childhood Memories of a Yankee Doodle Dandy




Me, I’m the primary tv era. Those simply a couple of years older or born someplace apart from on the coasts will not be. They are firmly radio era. And, whereas I did pay attention some to radio, we had a tv a lot sooner than individuals in our monetary circumstances most likely ought to have.

As a consequence I fondly recall a lot of early tv. This ranged from reveals made for TV like Crusader Rabbit, Captan Kangaroo, the Roy Rogers Show, and I Love Lucy to diversifications of earlier varieties to varied odds and ends collected from theatrical launch. These ranged from army movies from the 2nd World War like Why We Fight that crammed out earliest morning tv to rehashed theatrical cartoons that crammed a lot of Saturday mornings.

One early characteristic was the annual seasonal film. Like Miracle on thirty fourth Street and It’s a Wonderful Life close to Christmas. And on or concerning the 4th of July, was James Cagney’s Yankee Doodle Dandy. In an period earlier than it was potential to personal and replay a film over and again and again, watching these films 12 months after 12 months was as shut as we got here to such a phenomenon.

My father significantly cherished Yankee Doodle Dandy, and I determine I noticed it 5 or 6 instances. Maybe even seven. (And, okay, a couple of instances as an grownup, too.) Today that is nothing in comparison with the numerous dozens, to the typically a whole lot of instances some kids see some films.

But, it’s the closest analog for my era.

Fast ahead a bunch of years. We had moved to Providence, Rhode Island, the place I used to be known as as senior minister on the First Unitarian Church. While driving down Wickenden Street within the Fox Point neighborhood not removed from the church I noticed a peculiar statue of a man holding his hat in a single hand in what I assume I’d name a theatrical pose. I parked, obtained out of the automobile, walked over and noticed it was devoted to George M. Cohan, the true life topic of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Turned out the true George M Cohan was born in 1878 someplace within the neighborhood on the third of July (not like the 4th as he seems to have claimed for his entire life, and is introduced within the movie as reality).

The film was made in 1942, and it’s a patriotic extravaganza from soup to nuts.

The story opens with an aged Cohan telling his story to President Franklin Roosevelt. It ends with the president presenting the previous actor with the Congressional Gold Medal in appreciation for his many songs together with “It’s a Grand Old Flag” and perhaps most of all for “Over There.”

The actual George M Cohan was an actor, singer, dancer, playwright, composer, lyricist, and producer. He began out in Vaudeville. He ended up on Broadway, the place he wrote over fifty reveals, and, importantly, over 300 songs. Cohan was known as “the man who owned Broadway.”

The movie was made the 12 months he died.

I fondly bear in mind the movie. Probably for the household at residence factor as a lot as anything, however it additionally sticks with me.

Roger Ebert wrote a evaluate of it some years again. He cherished it. Ebert acknowledged the movies limitations, and there are numerous. But he places his finger on why it really works. And that may be summed up in two phrases: Jimmy Cagney.

Ebert opines how “the greatness of the film resides entirely in the Cagney performance.” He goes on to say, “(M)ostly its bio by the numbers–except for Cagney’s electricity. He doesn’t dance so much as strut; he doesn’t act so much as sell you his desire to entertain. In dialogue scenes, when other actors are talking, his eyes dart across their faces, silently urging them to pick up the energy; he’s like Michael Jordan impatiently willing his co-stars to keep up with him. And when he’s in full sail, as in “Give My Regards to Broadway” or “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” it’s like relating to a power of nature.”

That he, Cagney, definitely was.

The film itself is such pure patriotism unalloyed with any complexities that it may be sporting, significantly in our age so marked with a consciousness of the extreme limitations of the nation state, any nation state.

That stated, my recollection of the movie is so fully related to being along with my mom and father and brother, the dad and mom on the sofa, my brother and me on the ground, that I can’t assume of it in any manner besides fondly.

As I write these phrases I discover myself questioning if the previous chestnut is enjoying somebody on the 2 or 300 channels we seem to get on our tv as we speak.

After all, the season has rolled round as soon as once more…


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