Jim Siergey: To View Or Not To View…

September 20th, 2020

The movie was airing on TCM that night and I hadn’t seen it since I was a youth. I thought about watching it again. I almost did but in the end (spoiler alert!) I didn’t.

The movie? It was “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” from 1949 starring Bing Crosby. I had a fond memory of it from whenever it was that I watched it. Bing Crosby was okay (at the time I also enjoyed the Hope-Crosby “Road Pictures” so I must have been rather young) and was familiar with the story having had read Mark Twain’s tale…in a hardbound edition, no less.

There weren’t a lot of books in the house I grew up in but there was a 24 hardcover volume of the complete works of Mark Twain. The set had been a gift to my mother when she was a young girl which must have been somewhere in the 1930s. The books were green in color. The spines had the title and the volume number lettered in gold on two black bands. In between was a cameo of the visage of Mark Twain. On the front was a black oval outlined in gold and in the center was a stylized M and T entwined with one another in gold as well.  Fancy stuff.

These were the books I read growing up a kid in Cicero.  Lucky me.

So, anyway I was thinking about maybe watching the filmed version again after all these years. It must not have weighed too heavily on my mind because by the time I turned on the set it was already fifteen minutes into the movie.


Der Bingle & friend…


Bing was already in King Arthur’s court and a knight of the Round Table (William Bendix!) had him pinned to a wall with his mighty lance. (Hmmm, if one had even the scintilla of a dirty mind the ending of that sentence reads a bit like it might be the description of a scene from “King Arthur’s Court in a Connecticut Yankee”.)

Nevertheless, even so, however, I continued to watch. One noticeable detail about the pic that was different from my childhood viewing was that dis pitcha wuz in color!   I had only seen it on a black and white TV. The color was rather garish and the blazing combination of the blue of Der Bingle’s eyes and the red of Rhonda Fleming’s hair forced me to don a pair of shades.

(Unfortunately, they were still attached to the lamps.—ba-dum-tss!)

So I did view for a few, actually more than a few, minutos. The role of King Arthur was played by the great British thespian Cedric Hardwicke and he was hilarious! He is what kept me watching for as long as I did.  Whenever I think of Cedric Hardwicke, which I admit, is very close to never, I don’t think of comedy. But here he was and his timing was terrific. The old trouper.

However, at one point Bing began singing so I switched away and never looked back.

There are three hundred and thirty one million stories in the Covid City. Some are interesting and many are not. This has been one of them.


Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Coping With Covid

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