Friday Food for Thought: September 16, 2022

Hello Friends, welcome to Friday Food for Thought. Every Friday I’ll help start your weekend by sharing four people, thoughts, or things that are on my mind this week. These may be books or movies, podcast suggestions, interesting people I follow on social media, music, products, or, well, anything. You may find interesting creativity boosts here, some conversation starters, or just a small dose of entertainment. Click here for my previous post. Feel free to share this with friends, or offer suggestions via the comments. Let’s begin!

1) Post Meets Carpenter:

I don’t know why, but the Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988) theme song has been going through my head this week. Maybe it’s my brain’s delayed reaction to the death of Roger E. Mosley last month. I’ll bet you’ve forgotten the original theme music composed by Ian Freebairn-Smith, which was replaced in episode 12 by the iconic Mike Post and Pete Carpenter theme (featuring guitar work by Larry Carlton) we remember so well. Post and Carpenter (Carpenter passed away in 1987) wrote some of the catchiest TV music of that era, in a time when theme songs seemed more relevant and viewing options were not infinite as they are today. Post/Carpenter TV themes include The Rockford Files, ChiPs, The A-Team, and Riptide. Some of the Post/Carpenter themes were more memorable than the shows themselves.

2) Legal Entertainment:

I recently watched the movie Illegal (1955), a riches-to-rags redemption story starring Edward G. Robinson and including one of Jayne Mansfield’s early film roles. Robinson plays an aggressive district attorney who sends an innocent man to death row but ultimately…well, I’ll avoid spoilers. The movie was entertaining, and it’s always a treat to watch Edward G. Robinson, but it wasn’t until I read an overview of Illegal in Joel Dinerstein’s The Origins of Cool in Postwar America that I understood the film’s larger significance. As America shifted from existential angst over the Depression and World War II to economic prosperity among the suburban middle class, 1955 “marks the end of the line for noir’s ethical rebel loner,” and Illegal itself represented “the symbolic end of this noir figure.” I watched Illegal on a DVD double-feature with another noir film, The Big Steal (1949), but it is currently available to rent on some streaming services.

3) The Form is Open:

Lately one of my favorite podcasts is Open Form hosted by Mychal Denzel Smith. Each episode, Smith interviews an author about one of their favorite movies, combining two of my favorite interests, film and literature, and offering a unique perspective compared to podcasts that focus strictly on one medium or the other. Some favorite recent episodes include Deesha Philyaw on Car Wash (1977), Mira Jacob on Mississippi Masala (1991), and Laila Lalami on The Godfather (1972). I find that even if the film being discussed isn’t of particular interest to me, the conversation always is.

4) An In-Crowd All His Own:

Speaking of cool, Ramsey Lewis was so cool he made Joe Cool look square. The long-time jazz pianist, composer, and educator passed away this week. I had the good fortune to see Lewis perform on a double-bill with Dave Brubeck some years ago and he was an inspiration. Lewis achieved a level of mainstream success rare for jazz musicians – his legendary arrangement of The In Crowd reached #5 on the pop charts in 1965, and he recorded albums of movie themes and pop songs, along with more “serious” jazz. Lewis was very much a part of the in crowd, recording commercial work without ever selling out. As always, I prefer CDs, but many of Lewis’ recordings are available for digital download.

That’s all for this week. Have a good weekend!

This post contains NO affiliate links. All suggestions are based on my own personal experience, your experience may vary. Nothing herein is intended to serve as medical, legal, financial, or any other advice for which you should consult professionals and not some random guy on the Internet.

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