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This week, listeners, Mike discovers and Vinnie re-discovers the sweet, simple (yet sly) joys of THE MUSIC MAN.
Robert Preston stars as Professor Harold Hill (spoiler: not his real name) in the role that made him a Broadway star, and defined both the role and his career. His charisma and energy is the unstoppable force that throws the entire town of River City, Iowa into an uproar. Standing resolutely firm and throwing some old-timey side-eye is Marion Paroo (Shirley Jones), old maid librarian and the town’s music teacher. Shirley Jones adds warmth and intelligence to a role that could seem trite and cliched. Joined by Buddy Hackett doing…whatever it is only Buddy Hackett can do, a barbershop quartet, and the biggest hats we’ve yet seen, this movie races by faster than Robert Preston’s patter.
It’s tuneful (with a capital T!), funny, and heartfelt – a classic for a reason. Don’t wait for the Wells Fargo Wagon – take a listen now!
The Beatles cover of “Til There Was You”
The Music Man (1962)
Rating: 7.8/10 (18,029 votes)
Director: Morton DaCosta
Writer: Meredith Willson, Franklin Lacey, Marion Hargrove
Stars: Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Buddy Hackett
Runtime: 151 min
Genre: Comedy, Family, Musical
Released: 19 Jun 1962
Plot: Traveling con artist Harold Hill targets the naïve residents of a small town in 1910s Iowa by posing as a boys' band leader to raise money before he can skip town.
Hi, folks… As a Music Man junkie, I enjoyed listening to your podcast. It was fun hearing the reactions of people who were encountering the story and the classic film for the first time.
Regarding “110 cornets,” I’m not sure whether you thought that number was unlikely or merely overwhelming. You may be interested to know that three “Peace Jubilee” events were held in Boston in the mid-to-late 1800s, each one featuring an orchestra/band of 1,000 to 2,000 and a chorus of 10,000 to 20,000. (No, I don’t know how the conductor kept them all together.) The organizer/director was Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, one of Sousa’s mentors. He’s the Gilmore that Harold Hill mentions just before launching into “76 Trombones.”
I have other Music Man trivia on request. (BTW, I learned a couple of things from your podcast. I didn’t know that “you don’t march a bassoon,” and although I did notice Preston’s semi-crouching stance, I never realized that the scene where he comes clean with Winthrop is the first time he stands up straight. Did Preston think of this, or was it director Da Costa? Who knows?)