Take some time out to giggle like an idiot. Seriously. This shit is funny.
MyDannyKaye.com: A treasure-trove of Kaye minutae. Everything from the original Thurber Mitty story to biographies of his leading ladies. Fun stuff.
Sadly, most of Mr. Kaye’s films are out of print, so you can’t just jaunt down to the local Blockbuster and pick up Wonder Man. Fortunately, this high-tech computer age means several lovely people have uploaded many of the Kaye classics to YouTube. Viva technology!
(These are all in multiple parts, but you should be able to click through to subsequent chapters at the end of the clip.)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Danny Kaye’s most beloved role. He is superb as the neurotic milquetoast mama’s-boy who dreams of—and stumbles upon—lurid adventures. Based on a James Thurber short story.
The Court Jester: A close second in terms of popularity, this medieval Robin-Hood-esque farce is marvelous. Mr. Kaye’s turn as a carnival entertainer-turned freedom fighter-turned undercover agent/court jester is hilarious. Not to mention it features Angela Lansbury when she was a young, delectable honey. The film in its entirety has been removed from YouTube, but is also one of the few widely available on DVD. Here’s a clip:
Knock on Wood: Danny Kaye’s favorite from amongst his films. A wacky espionage comedy that features Mr. Kaye as a ventriloquist, of all things. Excellent.
Wonder Man: Danny Kaye’s second film, and his first split-screen role as both brash nightclub entertainer Buzzy Ballew and his bookish twin. The opera scene at the end is one of the funniest scenes ever captured on film.
A Song is Born: Critics and Kaye fans alike are dismissive of this film, but as a lover of Big Band, I will always enjoy it. Kaye is lovable as a sheltered music professor exposed to the thrilling world of modern music by a gangster’s moll. Features performances by Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Louis Armstrong, among others.
And check out Huilifoj’s YouTube channel for a plethora of Kaye footage, including the films On the Double, Up in Arms, The Kid from Brooklyn, various television appearances, and the PBS American Masters program on Mr. Kaye.
January 18, 2010 at 9:07 am | Happy Birthday! | 3 comments