Mar. 15th, 2009

shoebox_dw: (bob&ray)
I haven't done one of these in awhile, mostly because I don't have any new material. I think it may be time to start bugging Shoemom re: that movie.

However, Robert Brackett Elliott - called Bob - turns 86 this month (his partner would've been turning 87, a few days earlier), and realising that is making me feel tribute-y. In what direction, though, I'm not sure. It must be a rather odd feeling to be hailed as a pioneer in any field, but especially within the arts; being constantly feted with stuff you did fifty years ago, surrounded by recordings of yourself at 30-ish. As the Barenaked Ladies once put it, 'And every time I try to do something new/All they want is 1973.' Imagine it being 1953.

Ray Goulding's widow mentioned in a recent interview that he didn't like to have the early episodes of the duo's 1951-53 TV show brought up in later years, because "it was infancy for television" and he was "appalled at how really naive they were about what to wear and how to appear." Bob agrees, mostly: "We were kids. They're embarrassing."
Given the evidence on display, as in my icon (the full-length version of this photo shows Ray in his boxers - he had pretty good legs, actually!) I'm inclined to sympathise. At the same time, it's kind of sad to imagine them disowning all their early stuff. For instance, a 1949 Boston show in which they talk up the great time they had celebrating Chinese New Year the night before, apparently at a local restaurant. Among many other exotica, they were treated to bird's-nest soup:

Bob: But you can't just make it from any old nests, we should mention.
Ray: Oh, yeah.
Bob: I mean, don't go collecting nests out of the trees in your backyard. That won't help anything...
Ray: Yeah, the bird'll be upset, and it won't work anyway. You need the special imported kind of nests. Very delicate flavour.

...Being one of the good ones, that doesn't ever change. So here's to two genuine mensches who somehow turned that very quality into a comedy revolution.

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