Saturday, February 26, 2005

“You’re going out there a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star.”

The Movie: 42nd Street, 1933 (Rian James & James Seymour, screenwriters, from the novel by Bradford Ropes; Lloyd Bacon, dir.)
Who says it: Warner Baxter as theatre impresario Julian Marsh
The context: Marsh gives a last-minute pep talk to Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler), a last-minute replacement for his show’s leading lady (Bebe Daniels)
How to use it: High-pressure encouragement.

My friend John Erath does a funny routine based on this exchange, the oldest of all show-business cliches:

"Do ya know the lines?"
"Do ya know the songs?"
"Do ya know the routines?"
"Yeah, but can ya do it?"
"I'll try!"

And this is the secret of life, I think. No matter how much book learning anyone has, the first time you actually do anything, you're always faking it. I learned to ride a bicycle when I pretended to a neighborhood bully that I already knew how.

Happy anniversary today to my sister Kathy and her husband Adam, celebrating their 18th. Today we're throwing a party for my parents' anniversary, which is tomorrow. All the siblings are here, except for our brother James, trapped in Florida for work. We'll miss you a lot, James.

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