Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Silver's Good Enough For Me, Mr. T

Reading about the upcoming Sweeney Todd movie, I remembered that I always derived a lot of silly, juvenile amusement from the fact that Mrs. Lovett calls the title character "Mr. T" a couple of times. Of course this was 1979, long before Rocky III made "Mr. T" mean something else, so the creators of the show can't be blamed for that. But what's their excuse for calling characters "Buddy and Sally" in Follies? or Stephen Sondheim's excuse for using the expression "Sorry, Charlie" (in Merrily We Roll Along) without apparently realizing that it's a Star-Kist reference? Or for that matter the creators of Kiss Me Kate for calling a character "Lois Lane?" Sometimes it seems like people who write musicals should be a little more aware of what's going on in popular culture, just so they can avoid stuff like that.

However, if Mr. T were cast in Sweeney Todd, it would be way better than with Johnny Depp. Think of how much better his big number, "My Friends," would become:

This is my van,
No car can catch it.
Why should I fly
When it beats any plane,
My van,
My big black van.
Don't touch my van,
Maybe you'd scratch it,
And if you did,
I'd be bringing you pain
Very soon,
Respect my van.
It gave the slip
To Colonel Decker,
Plus those other Colonels
And also General Fullbright.

My van is cool,
Wish it was private.
Those other guys
Need a van of their own.
This van
Is not their van.
Murdock, that fool,
Once asked to drive it.
Asking me that,
He deserved to be thrown
To the moon.
Lay off my van.
We can outrace
The Dukes of Hazzard,
Then we'll beat the Bandit,
And maybe Buford Justice.

MRS. LOVETT (countermelody)
It is indeed, Mr. T,
If your teammates need, Mr. T,
Speed, Mr. T,
A van of their own
Ain't as good.
Hannibal would wilt in a Pontiac.
Murdock's wacked out, Mr. T,
You were right to shout, Mr. T,
That he deserved to be thrown
To the moon.
Wish you would.
And them Dukes
Haven't a chance with you
And your custom GMC,
Mr. T.

(Mr. T finishes his repairs.)

MR. T: At last I can drive to the youth center again!


Anonymous said...


Will Finn said...

you sir, are nuts.

i saw sweeney 3 times in it's original L.A. run and listened to the cast cd every day for a least a year after. and now i will never hear this song again without thinking of the A-team star.

i especially like the implied rivalry with the Dukes of Hazard.