Monday, May 24, 2004

There Was No Mistaking That Invitation

Speaking of parody... I found a link, no doubt illegally posted, to one of my favourite parodies, Don Brown's Body by Jean Kerr. It's a spoof of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels of course. It's also a parody of a 1953 Broadway production based on Stephen Vincent Benet's poem "John Brown's Body", directed by Charles Laughton and starring Raymond Massey, Tyrone Power and Judith Anderson. It used a staged reading format, with the actors and chorus reciting lines from the poem and representing the action using props, pantomime and dance. Kerr takes this style and applies it to a Mickey Spillane type of story, sending up the highbrows and the lowbrows at the same time.

Add.: Turns out "Don Brown's Body" was originally written for a Broadway revue called John Murray Anderson's Almanac, starring Cyril Ritchard and Hermione Gingold. "Don Brown," with Orson Bean as Mike Hammer, was the big hit of the evening, and Kerr incorporated it into her book "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" a few years later.

Read that, and then try to find a copy of Kerr's Please Don't Eat the Daisies, which includes "Don Brown's Body" as well as an almost equally good parody of Francoise Sagan's A Certain Smile, in addition to the funny domestic pieces that Kerr is mostly known for today.

I passed this kid sucking a lollipop. Don Brown dead, and him sucking a lollipop. I rammed it down his throat. I hate injustice.

No comments: