Tag Archives: 1962

Rocks In The Attic #661: Dean Martin – ‘French Style’ (1962)

RITA#661It is 1962. In the conference room of Reprise Records, Hollywood, California, we find the label’s founder, Frank Sinatra, discussing Reprise’s release schedule with various members of the Rat Pack.

Frank Sinatra: Okay boys, what are we going to put out next for Deano? It’ll need to be something good.

Dean Martin: Let’s just do what we always do, Frank. I can record some numbers with the band. Joe Public will lap it up.

Sinatra: That ain’t gonna cut it, Deano. The kids need something new, something different.

Sammy Davis, Jr: What if he does a country record, Frank?

Martin: Yeah Frank, what about country? I love Country!

Sinatra: No, not classy enough. No record label of mine is going to release hillbilly music.

Peter Lawford: What about rock and roll, Frank? The kids go crazy for that stuff. Look what it did for Elvis!

Martin: Yeah Frank, what about rock and roll? I love rock and roll!

Sinatra: No, not classy enough. Presley’s a degenerate. All it got him was a stint in the army. What’s the point of making records if it’s just going to get you shot.

RITA#661aJoey Bishop: What about the blues, Frank? Joe Public’d freak out for a blues record.

Martin: Yeah Frank, what about the blues? I love the blues!

Sinatra: No, not classy enough. He’s Italian-American; he ain’t no half-blind ni…

Davis, Jr: [clears throat]

Sinatra: …er, I mean, he’s not right for that audience. C’mon, there must be something we’re missing…

The room falls into a hush, as they look to the ceiling for inspiration.

Sinatra: …something new…something different…something with a certain…je nes sais quoi…

Martin: [looks at Sinatra and raises an eyebrow]

Hit: Le Vie En Rose

Hidden Gem: C’est Magnifique

Rocks In The Attic #652: Bing Crosby – ‘I Wish You A Merry Christmas’ (1962)

RITA#652As might be expected from a Christmas album, the music on this record was recorded in a hot Hollywood recording studio in July 1962. Bing waited a little closer to the time, laying down his vocals during the following October.

In fact, on the very day he recorded this album – October 5th 1962 – a teen revolution was starting on the other side of the Atlantic, something that would have ramifications for artists of his generation.

The date marks both the release of the Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, and the release of the first James Bond film to hit cinemas, Dr. No. From this date forward, the older generation and their wholesome brand of family-friendly entertainment started to become outdated.

It’s a cracking Christmas record regardless.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Hit: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Hidden Gem: O Holy Night

Rocks In The Attic #616: Alfred Hitchcock – ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ghost Stories For Young People’ (1962)

RITA#616I took part in a trivia night last week, an annual event organised by the company I work for. Our team came a respectable sixth out of twenty five teams, but as always with these things a couple of questions really got under my skin.

In the Entertainment round, one of the questions was Which individual has won the most Oscars (28 in total)?

Now I should know this sort of thing. Ask me about which film has won the most, or which actor or actress has won the most, or even which three films have won all five major Oscars, and I’ll answer spot on, but this one had me stumped.

The rest of my team immediately suggested famous actors. I knew it wouldn’t be this – most actors do one thing and one thing only, with a small handful of people spreading their talents to directing or producing. Somebody else suggested Hitchcock, but if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that the Academy famously snubbed Hitch (he was nominated five times for Best Director, never winning, and only won once for Best Picture with 1940’s Rebecca).

Somebody else suggested Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson’s special effects studio – as New Zealanders love to talk about their own accomplishments, so the quiz writers could have put this in purposefully – but the question did state ‘individual’, and anyway, if it had been Weta Workshop all of New Zealand would know about it (and I’m sure a long-standing effects house like ILM would have won more craft Oscars than a relative newbie like Weta).

It had to be a producer, I thought, somebody who would spread their mark over a number of projects or even take the credit for the work of others. The mention of Hitchcock led me to think of Hitchcock’s American producer before he broke away and signed with Universal. But what the hell was his name? A big name producer, the kind of man with a name as big as the movies he made.

Hitchcock’s producer, Hitchcock’s producer, damn, what was his name? This reminded me of the time I started my GCSE History exam question on the development of the assembly line and mass production, looked at the question and immediately pulled a blank on the name of Henry Ford. Without remembering his name, I couldn’t tackle the question and had to resort to answering the alternative question instead.

What the hell was Hitchcock’s producer’s name? At any other time, I’d be looking on my phone for the answer, but they tend to frown on that sort of thing when you’re in the middle of a pub quiz. I had to rely on my failing memory instead.

Of course, if I had remembered David O. Selznick’s name, it would have been wrong anyway. He only won two Oscars for Best Picture (Rebecca and Gone With The Wind).

The answer – the individual who won the most Oscars – was Walt Disney of course; all for short films and documentaries. Everybody around the table kicked themselves, and we moved onto the music round, which we aced.

Just like I had predicted with my original idea around a producer taking the credit for the work of somebody else, I wonder if Walt had won his Oscars fair and square? Maybe it was a case of – to paraphrase a joke – What’s the difference between Walt Disney and Bing Crosby? Bing Crosby gives credit to others, but Walt Disney.

Hit: The Haunted And The Haunters (The Pirate’s Curse)

Hidden Gem: Johnny Takes A Dare (The More The Merrier)

RITA#616a