The Jack Benny Show – November 4, 1951

An evening pause: This was the first episode in Benny’s second season on television, following nineteen years doing a regular radio show. The first singer is Bob Crosby, brother of Bing. The taxi driver is Mel Blanc, voice of Bugs Bunny and almost all of the characters in Warner Brothers best cartoons.

Almost everything in this episode works, but make sure especially you stay with it to see the Benny’s performance as lead fiddler of a hillbilly band.

Max Ehrman – Desiderata

An evening pause: An excellent meditation for beginning the weekend. From the Youtube webpage:

Max Ehrmann was an American attorney and poet who often wrote on spiritual themes. During his life, he contributed great thoughts to our literary lexicons, blending the magic of words and wisdom with his worthy observations.

Desiderata, which means “things that are desired,” was written by Max Ehrmann “because it counsels those virtues I felt most in need of.”

I think the reading was a bit slow. I think it works better at either 1.25 or 1.5 speed.

Hat tip Cotour.

Lawrence of Arabia

An evening pause: I have posted scenes from this film twice (both sadly gone now from youtube), but I think the trailer sells it well. This movie remains one of the greatest made in the history of film. If you haven’t seen it, you must. Though its facts are of course not entirely accurate, its sense of the history, culture, time, and the political machinations going on in Arabia during World War I are spot on. The visuals, acting, and script (by Robert Bolt) are also magnificent.

It also speaks to the Middle East we see today, and helps explain why the Arabs have so far not really done well with the advantages of western technology.

Hat tip Tom Wilson, who says he makes it a point to watch this epic at least once a year.

The Cardigans – You’re The Storm

An evening pause: Hat tip Dan Morris.

Readers: I am in need of evening pause suggestions! If you’ve seen something on the web that you think would fit, note this fact as a comment below. Do NOT post a link to your suggestion. I will email you and schedule it.

And if you’ve suggested previously, please feel free to email me some new stuff! The guidelines:

1. The subject line should say “evening pause.”
2. Don’t send more than three in any email. I prefer however if you send them one email at a time.
3. Variety! Don’t send me five from the same artist. I can only use one. Pick your favorite and send that.
4. Live performance preferred.
5. Quirky technology, humor, and short entertaining films also work.
6. Search BtB first to make sure your suggestion hasn’t already been posted.
7. I might not respond immediately, as I schedule these in a bunch.
8. Avoid the politics of the day. The pause is a break from such discussion.

Chuck Yeager – Breaking the Sound Barrier

An evening pause: From a 1950s Air Force documentary, describing Yeager’s flight on October 14, 1947. The 75th anniversary of this achievement is thus only two months away. From the YouTube webpage:

Two nights before the scheduled date for the flight, Yeager broke two ribs when he fell from a horse. He was worried that the injury would remove him from the mission and reported that he went to a civilian doctor in nearby Rosamond, who taped his ribs. Yeager told only his wife, as well as friend and fellow project pilot Jack Ridley, about the accident. On the day of the flight, Yeager was in such pain that he could not seal the X-1’s hatch by himself. Ridley rigged up a device, using the end of a broom handle as an extra lever, to allow Yeager to seal the hatch.

Hat tip Mike Nelson.

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers – Never Gonna Dance

An evening pause: We’ve had a lot of 1970s pop songs and dance recently. Here’s an example of one of the greatest movie dance numbers, from the 1936 movie Swing Time. Note how smooth and ballet-like it is, unlike the staccato and gymnastic styles that began to dominate dance after the 1960s.

Note also the remarkable lack of cuts. The dance is performed with only one cut, which means Astaire and Rogers had to get it perfect, the whole way through each of these two shots. It took 47 takes before they succeeded.

Formula 1 crash right after start

An evening pause: This short analysis of a spectacular race track crash right at the start of a Formula 1 race illustrates well the sophistication of modern technology, not only in protecting the driver’s life but in providing the information for reconstructing the cause of the accident. And it all happens during an ordinary sports broadcast.

You’ll probably want to watch this more than once to catch how one car gets flipped over on its back.

Hat tip Tom Wilson.

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