Monday, October 06, 2008

another centennial

The beautiful and talented (and tragic) Carole Lombard was born a century ago today. That makes her less than a month younger than Raymond Scott, with whom she also shares a film: Nothing Sacred (1937).

Scott and his Q compatriots headed west under contract to 20th Century Fox in late '37, less than a year after making their sensational Christmas 1936 CBS radio debut. Their first film assignment was a medley of familiar (non-Scott) tunes arranged in the idiosyncratic RSQ style, intended to accompany a cinematic fashion show. The Quintette is heard, but not seen, in the sequence, which occurs early in the film. The medley has never been commercially released, but if you see the film, you'll recognize the RSQ's unmistakable verve.

Scott and his band spent less than a year in filmdom. The residency was both productive and frustrating. During this time Scott expanded his sextet into a small orchestra and recorded scores of demos (which survive, and are being prepared for CD release). At the same time, he deplored the vacuousness of the motion picture industry. Explaining why he left in 1938 and returned to New York, Scott said he hated Hollywood "because they think everything is 'wonderful'."

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