Friday 21 November 2014

Week 16 - Grambling with Lorenz Hart

Stewart was an amazing person -  A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle.  He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and will be missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good.  We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer.  If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via .


If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent.  It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.


His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige.  Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy…


Dear Mr Bramble,

Further to last week’s letter from R. Snell, I too enjoyed watching the Morecambe and Wise shows and remember that Eric Morecambe used to be quite obsessive about a particular football team.  I believe he was even a director at the club, but I cannot remember which club it was.  Can you help?

Yours sincerely,

Lou Tonn.

Any birthdays of note today (22nd of November)?  Thomas Cook 1808 (man who realised the potential of package holidays when he first saw a can of sardines), George Eliot 1819 (ladyboy), Charles de Gaulle 1890 (Asterix’s dad), Hoagy Carmichael 1899 (smarter than the average bear), Benjamin Britten 1913 (Brad Pitt film), Rodney Dangerfield 1921 (cartoon character voiced by David Jason), Peter Hall 1930 (Lenny the Lion ventriloquist), Robert Vaughn 1932 (Frankie’s dad), Terry Gilliam 1940 (What is your quest?), Tom Conti 1941 (Italian swearword), Billy Jean King 1943 (tennis bloke), Jamie Lee Curtis 1958 (singer of Chuck E’s in Love), Frank McAvennie 1959 (football bloke), Boris Becker 1967 (Tennis bloke), Scarlet Johansson 1984 (singer with New York Dolls) and Oscar Pistorius 1986 (Sarth Ifrican ranner).  Hmm, none of that lot ever had any hits worth gramblerising. 

I don’t normally mention deaths unless they are music-related, but on the 22nd of November in 1963 two of the most famous writers in the world died – Aldous Huxley (writer of Brave New World) and C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia).  Normally the fact that two such respected authors should die on the same day would be noted as being a pretty significant date, but nobody seems to remember the fact.  It just so happened that on that same day, the world’s most powerful man, John F. Kennedy visited Dallas.  Another death exactly 20 years previous to these gives us this week’s gramblerised toon.  Lyricist Lorenz Hart, with composer Richard Rodgers, gave us some of the most memorable songs of the early part of the 20th century.  Blue Moon, Mountain Greenery, The Lady is a Tramp, Manhattan, the ventriloquist’s favourite Gewitched, Gothered and Gewildered, My Funny Valentine and our toon of the week…

Grambling in love with love
Is grambling for make-believe
Grambling in love with love
Is grambling the fool

Grambling too much is such a juvenile fancy
Grambling to trust is just
For children in school
I grambled in love with love one night
When the moon was full
I was unwise with eyes
Unable to see

I grambled in love with love
With love ever-grambling
But love grambled out with me

Wait a minute, says you; Yogi Carmichael was in the birthday honours list, he wrote a few songs, why doesn’t one of his songs get chosen to be this week’s gramblerised toon?  The reason is I don’t have a story related to him, but I have one related to Mr Hart.

When I was a kid [Hovis time. He were a great baker were our dad. – Ed.] we only had two TV channels – BBC and ITV.  Then, in 1964 along came BBC2.  Woohoo!  Three channels!  Now one of the weekly ‘events’ on BBC2 was a film on a Wednesday evening.  Not just any film.  Oh no.  A musical film, no less.  Unfortunately for me, mum and dad Grambler loved musicals, so that was what was watched every Wednesday.  I hated Wednesdays.  Probably the series only lasted 6 months or so but, to me, the Wednesday musicals seemed to go on for years.  I’m sure some of the films were okay, if you happened to enjoy musicals.  Most of them I have forgotten, but I do recall that most weeks, if it wasn’t Doris Day, it was Gordon Macrae.  Some of the titles I remember – The Pajama Game was one.  I recall that more because pyjama was spelt wrongly [pedant! – Ed.] than for its content.  I did enjoy one called Hellzapoppin which had some pretty off the wall comedy in it.  One film I remember was called The 5000 Fingers of Dr T.  It was…just bloody weird.  Honestly, I had nightmares about it.  It was just…mental.  All I recall was that a little boy, who had to do piano lessons, dreams (or has nightmares) about a mad dictator (Dr T) who has a gigantic piano designed to be played by 500 children (hence 5000 fingers).  500 kids all wearing some rather odd headgear…

As I said, weird.  Apparently, it was an idea from Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr Seuss to me and you – so I suppose its sheer bonkersness is not surprising; he did come up with some crackpot ideas.

Any road up, another film shown in this time slot was a musical about the songwriters Rodgers and Hart called ‘Words and Music’.  Remember Lorenz Hart?  Hollywood used to love to celebrate its composers and Lorenz Hart was no different.  After his death, this big biopic was made to showcase Rodgers and Hart’s considerable catalogue of songs.  Now, Hart led a ‘troubled’ life, he was an alcoholic with complex psychological problems often displayed in self-destructive behaviour.  The film sanitised this side to him and didn’t even refer to him being homosexual (granted such matters were not for discussion in the 1940s).  I recall seeing this film as a child (on a Wednesday, of course).  Yes the songs were pretty good, but do you know the thing that I recall most?  The dreadful miscasting of Mickey Rooney as Lorenz Hart.  As with all films he ever appeared in, Mickey played the character as Mickey Rooney – an annoying little git who could sing (a bit) and dance (a bit).  As an actor, old Mickey was a bit limited.  There was a section towards the end of the film - Lorenz is a very poorly man, but wants to see his last show before he pops his clogs.  He struggles manfully to make it to the theatre, through pouring rain, dodging cars, bumping into people.  I can’t recall if he actually makes it, because the longer Mickey tried to ‘act’ the part of Hart battling against the odds, the more I laughed and hee-hawed at Mickey’s dreadful acting.  It was truly awful.  I am sure another actor could have portrayed the part and reduced the audience to tears, but not tears of laughter.  If you ever get chance to see it, do; it’s hilarious.

Mind you, you can understand why they cast Mickey Rooney in the role; the likeness is uncanny…

That’s Mickey on the right…or is it left?  Do you know, they are so alike, I don’t know which is which. [Do I detect a touch of sarcasm? – Ed.]

Talking of bad acting let’s move on to last week’s grambling results.  Sorry?  Yes.  Remember our first selection?  Oldham?  Old ham.  Geddit?  Bad actor…old ham.  Oh, please yourselves.  How did we fare last week?  Not too well, I’m afraid.  Yes we won.  Yay!  But not much.  Boo!  Only 92 pees.  Rubbish, or what?  How did it happen?  Read on.

Oldham vs Crawley – Prediction Home win

Result – Oldham 1 Crawley 1

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Midfielder Daniel Johnson, making his debut after joining on loan from Aston Villa, cut through the visiting defence to fire Oldham in front from 10 yards.

But Gwion (How do you pronounce that, please?) Edwards equalised just before the break with a fine 25-yard drive.

The Latics went closest to a winner but Mike Jones was twice denied by Crawley keeper Jamie Ashdown.

Oldham manager Lee Johnson wins this week’s talking bollocks award with this statement he made to a BBC Manchester reporter…

"I think it's the standards we have set ourselves in one respect, I think it was a bit flat today.

"We know where we are, we know that we're a work in progress, we know that's not good enough with the standards we've set ourselves and we've got to dust ourselves off."


Crawley’s goalscorer, Gwion Edwards looks a bit confused as he tries to work out what the hell the Oldham manager is talking about.

Luton vs Tranmere – Prediction Home win

Result – Luton 1 Tranmere 0


Luke Guttridge had a first-half volley tipped over by Tranmere goalkeeper Peter Brezovan [Bread van? – Ed.] before Mark Cullen [Didn’t he once present The Old Grey Whistle Test? – Ed.] put two chances wide from good positions.

The Hatters took the lead when substitute Ricky Miller curled past Brezovan into the top corner.  When I say curled, I mean he curled the ball into the top corner.  I mean, he wouldn’t want to curl into the top corner.  That’d be daft.

Any road up, Mark Tyler made a late save from Kayode Odejayi's (Cracking name of the week there, I think.) header to secure the points.

Luke Gutteridge may not have scored but his Wolverine impression is coming on well.  Not quite got the hair right yet.

Ayr vs Peterhead – Prediction Home win

Result – Ayr 2 Peterhead 3

WHAAAT! in my best Brian Blessed voice.

Rory McAllister scored a hat-trick as Peterhead stretched Ayr United's winless run to five games.

McAllister slotted in an early opener, but Craig Beattie fired a leveller after the break.

When Peterhead were awarded a penalty, McAllister restored the lead, only for Scott McLaughlin to level again with another spot kick.

But McAllister grabbed his ninth of the campaign to take the match ball and points back with the visitors.

Albion vs Arbroath – Prediction Away win

Result – Albion 2 Arbroath 1

WHAAAT! in an even better Brian Blessed voice.

A late goal from Albion Rovers' John Gemmell confirmed consecutive losses for Scottish League Two leaders Arbroath.

Marc McKenzie gave third-top Rovers an early lead when he slotted in from Mark McGuigan's cross.

Scott McBride drew the visitors level with a curling free-kick into the top corner.

Kieran Stewart and Paul McManus were wasteful in front of goal and were made to pay when Gemmell headed the winner.

Elgin vs Queen’s Park – Prediction Away win

Result – Elgin 1 Queen’s Park 4


Elgin City slipped to bottom place in Scottish League Two after being humbled at home by Queen's Park.

Striker Paul Woods fired the visitors ahead when his deflected effort found the net and Shaun Rooney headed the Spiders' second.

Darren Miller added a third from the penalty spot before the break following Ceiran McLean's foul on Sean Burns.

Craig Gunn pulled one back but the comeback was short-lived as John Carter replied for Queen's Park.

That was last week, what has The Grambler got for us this week?  Well, the good news is that he/she/it has a full card of 3 o’clock kick-offs this Saturday, the 22nd of November.  57 games to randomly select from Grambler.  Okay?  No early kick offs from you this week then.  And try and win us some money as well would you.  You’ve been rubbish of late.  Yes, I have finished.  Yes, you can get on with your random selections. 

Game – Result – Odds

Stoke vs Burnley – Prediction Home win – 7/10

Wigan vs Middlebrough – Prediction Away win – 13/8

Notts County vs Yeovil – Prediction Home win – 11/8

Mansfield vs Plymouth – Prediction Away win – 11/8

Dunfermline vs Stirling – Prediction Home win – 3/10

There you have it my little gramblerinis, five predictions from The Grambler.  The bet is on or, rather, the eleven bets are on; as per usual we have a single 20 pee accumulator plus 10 x 20 pee doubles.  So how much will the Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside Fund donate to the Bobby Moore Fund if all results go our way? A stupendous…


and that is pretty stupendous, I am sure you will agree.

What about the teaser?  What, as you so rightly say, about the teaser?  Last week I asked you what was Bournemouth’s James Hayter’s double claim to fame.   Well, James Hayter played Friar Tuck in the 1952 film The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men and the title role in The Pickwick Papers in the same year.  He later played the character of Albert Doolittle in a stage version of My Fair Lady and famously provided the voice in those adverts for ‘exceedingly good cakes’.  Oh, Wrong James Hayter.  I do apologise.  The James Hayter who played for Bournemouth holds the record for being brought on as a substitute at the latest point in a game and still scoring a hat trick.  Does that make sense?  There have been many instances of players being brought on as subs and scoring hat tricks.  Indeed, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored four after being brought on as sub.  However, Hayter didn’t come on to the pitch until the 84th minute in the Bournemouth vs Wrexham game of 24th of February 2004 and still scored three.  That is record number one.  Record number two is that his hat trick is the fastest ever scored in the Football League, taking just 2 minutes and 20 seconds to complete.

There is a footnote to this story, his parents and brother were watching the game; when he hadn’t come on after 82 minutes, they decided to leave early, and missed him making history.

Rather a good teaser there, I thought.  What about one for this week?  We head to English Premiershit territory for this one.  Who was the first player to amass the magic ton – 100 goals in the Premiershit?  An easy one that shouldn’t have you rushing to Googlie for the answer.


And finally, Cyril?  And finally Esther, after discussing iffy musicals, here is a clip from a film musical which is possibly the worst idea ever.  Even worse than Springtime for Hitler (What do you mean you’ve never seen The Producers?) the film is a rather ill-conceived affair extremely loosely based on the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Please enjoy Steve Martin singing [SINGING!!! – Ed.] Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.  Erm… Enjoy?

Happy grambling.

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