On this day in 1854, the great John Philip Sousa was born. He wrote many of the best marches ever written. I know that marches are thought to be kind of a joke today, but they are a wonderful kind of music. When I was in college, a march came into my mind and it has stayed in my mind for the last 30 years. Over that time, I’ve done a complete Mozart. It’s finished. I should really write it down one of these days. The funny thing is that I’ve learned a great deal about the march. It is basically a duet. It is like there are two bands playing together because there are two strong melodic lines. I think you will find this is all marches. Anyway, Sousa did a brilliant job creating these marches and he had a totally kickass band. Here is The Washington Post March. Unfortunately—And strangely!—I could not find any actual Sousa recordings on YouTube (you can find them on the Wikipedia page, however).
The great baseball pitcher Walter Johnson was born in 1887. The truth is that he did not have much finesse. He never did perfect a curve ball. But he could throw the ball so much faster than others of his time, that he managed to be really successful. But mostly he is remembered as being a very nice guy. Now, I always think that it’s a lot easier to be a nice guy when you don’t have to work that hard. Still, as Jonathan Richman said, “He’s a hero to me, I ain’t putting you on son”:
The day, however, belongs to the great Trace Beaulieu who is 55 today. He is best known as the original (and One True) Crow from Mystery Science Theater 3000. He is also, interestingly, the only decent puppeteer on the show. No one else seems to have cared. It’s aggravating to watch the others; I take personal exception. Also, after Beaulieu left the show, Crow became a much nastier character (although he was still hilarious).
In celebration of this birthday, I was planning to start a twitter account, The Gospel According to Crow. It was just to be a single quote from Crow each day. You know, like, “MST3K 3:21 I wanna decide who lives and who dies!” But Andrea seems to think it won’t have enough context for people. Like that line: it was in reference to Joel asking Crow what he wanted for Christmas. So I’m going to think about it for a while longer. But the Word of Crow must be spread.
In the meantime, here is Beaulieu as Crow doing Jay Leno:
Happy birthday Trace Beaulieu!