Monday, August 19, 2013

Arthur Teacher

They say that every now and then, a drunk squirrel finds an acorn, and a bad-winged bird flies high, and even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Except for a stopped digital clock, but you get the point.

Similarly, I was not very impressed with the presidency of George H.W. Bush, although I recognize his steadfast service as a bomber pilot in World War II.

But - there was one thing he did I really liked and have tried to emulate any time I could.  Ol' Bush "Sr" carried in his coat pocket a packet of note cards, and every time he came across someone who was doing their job really well, or provided excellent service, or went out of their way to do something nice - all that sort of thing - he would jot down a thank-you note, a little epistle to that person, maybe just a line of two, but you have to figure it was very much appreciated by the recipient.  It's a good thing to do.

I think of this every time I see "Arthur" (the original movie, with Dudley Moore) because Liza Minnelli was so great in her role as Linda Marolla.  Liza's appeal has been lost on me over the years.  There is always of lot of that "let me belt out a song and remind you of my mother" hokum, there's her history of substance abuses, her parade of epicene consorts and husbands (none of my business, those last two) and so forth.  She's just not been my cup of tea as an entertainer.

Liza as Linda
But, in the movie, she is tremendous.  Linda is a waitress, an aspiring actress like every other server in New York, and she meets Arthur Bach, the dissolute playboy who comes close to literally drowning his sorrows in an ocean of booze before realizing that real love doesn't need real big money behind it. Linda is no angel (she rips off a necktie for a birthday gift for her father) but she and Arthur fall in love and her strengths make up for his weaknesses, and vice versa.

Trivia note:  in the scene toward the end where Arthur shows up at the diner where Linda works, a male customer is grumpily asking for his roll. That man is Lawrence Tierney, who later played Elaine's father in Seinfeld in the great episode where Jerry gets stuck wearing his new suede coat in a snowstorm.

If I were George Herbert Walker Bush, I would send a nice note to Liza Minnelli for her acting in that picture.

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