Your RDA of Irony

Veterans Day

Long Ago and Far Away

For some reason, HBO’s series Rome did not feature the music of Jerome Kern.  (Showtime would have; as Rome burned, imagine Nero singing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”.)  But The Roaring Twenties epoch Boardwalk Empire does feature Kern’s melodies.  And so did the World War II saga The Pacific.  His career spanned thirty years; how many of today’s composers will last that long?  Will Green Day make it to Gray?

Kern’s work even was considered suitable by the Third Reich.  His surname was Irish and so passed the German racial requirements.  Of course, the composer would have gleefully told Josef Goebbels that Kern was a recent acquisition; the family’s original name was considerably less Celtic and Aryan back in Austria-Hungary.  Nor did Kern feel very appreciative of his German fans.  Hearing the news of France’s fall to the Nazis, Kern and his friend Oscar Hammerstein wrote in one afternoon “The Last Time I Saw Paris”.  “No matter how they change her, I’ll remember her that way.”

By 1944, we could anticipate victory and the homecoming of our veterans.  This was how Kern–and Ira Gershwin–expressed the public’s hopes and expectations.

And I think that it still expresses our pride and gratitude to all our veterans.

And from the archives:

  1. Brent Hoffmann says:

    Speaking of the veterans of the Roman wars… it’s appropriate today to replant the old chestnut about sword-and-sandals actor Victor Mature during the filming of “Demetrius and the Gladiators.” Still in gladiator costume, he enterered a restaurant. The waitress seemed to go in shock, whereupon Mature supposedly said, “What’s the matter, don’t you serve members of the armed forces?” (Insert rim shot here.)

  2. Maura Cullen says:

    A simple Thank You to all our veterans.

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